One year after the murder of broadcaster Jefferson Pureza in the city of Edealina, in the state of Goias, the six accused of involvement in the crime remain in prison. Three teenagers carry out socio-educational measures, as determined by the law. In essence, one would be the sniper, the other would have driven the motorcycle, and the third would have referred the other two for the service. Councilman José Eduardo Alves da Silva – accused of ordering the killing –, Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos and Leandro Cintra da Silva were committed for trial by Judge Aluizio Martins Pereira de Souza, of the district of Jandaia, at the end of December 2018.
According to the law, this commitment means that the case has to be tried by a jury court. The radio host was killed on the night of January 17, 2018, with three shots to the face, while resting on the balcony of his house. According to the testimonies in the investigation, the crime was negotiated for 5,000 reais and a revolver .38.
In the document, the judge reinforced that preventive arrests were enacted to guarantee public order and that the same reasons for maintaining the prison remain until the final solution of the case, since “the crime under examination is grave”. He also recalled that the accused have been cited before. Besides, he recommended caution because "the possibility remains that witnesses may be coerced or constrained by the freedom of those pronounced." Therefore, he rejected the request for provisional release made by the councilman's lawyer. The defendant's defense also asked for the embargo of the sentence.
“There is robust evidence that proves the participation of the three older men. The defendants' defenses have used procedural means allowed by law to delay the trial. We hope that the jury court will be scheduled in this first semester”, said lawyer Joel Pires, who worked as an assistant prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Office.
The murder of the broadcaster was the first case dealt with within the Tim Lopes Program – developed by Abraji (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism) with support from the Open Society Foundations to combat violence against journalists and impunity for those responsible. In crimes related to the exercise of the profession, a network of traditional and independent media outlets is activated to follow the investigations and publish reports on the allegations in which the journalist worked until he or she was killed. Currently, the network includes Public Agency, Post Office (BA), O Globo, Poder 360, Ponte Jornalismo, Projeto Colabora, TV Aratu, TV Globo, and Veja.
The second case addressed by the program was that of radio broadcaster Jairo de Sousa, in the city of Braganca, state of Pará, who was shot twice and died in the early hours of June 21, 2018, when he arrived to work on the radio station Perola FM. The suspect of ordering the crime is councilman Cesar Monteiro. He reportedly hired a group of eight people to carry out the crime. The councilman and seven others are in jail; one remains at large.
Threats and death
Jefferson Pureza started working in Edealina in 2016 and made constant references and accusations about bids and contracts signed by the city administration in the previous year. The broadcaster belonged to a political group opposed to that of former mayor João Batista Gomes Rodrigues, or “Batista Boiadeiro,” and councilman José Eduardo Alves da Silva, secretary of Urban Actions under Batista Boiadeiro.
One year before his assassination, on the show “A voz do povo” on January 26, 2017, Pureza used the radio microphone to reveal the existence of a plan for his death. He said that if something happened to him, those responsible would be the councilman and the former mayor. The show lasted one hour, starting at 11 am, and was broadcast on community radio Beira Rio FM.
Other incidents occurred throughout 2017. In August, a radio transmitter was stolen, and there was a small fire. The following month, the house where Pureza’s ex-wife and children lived in Pontalina, a neighboring city, was shot. In November, in Edealina, a new arson broke out that destroyed the facilities of the community radio, and the receiver was stolen. To circumvent the lack of physical space for his broadcasts, Pureza used his Facebook profile to run the show for a few days.
The murder took place on the night of January 17, 2018, in a house rented by Pureza just 15 days earlier. He lived there with his new partner, a 17-year-old girl who was then four months pregnant. Since arriving in Edealina, Pureza had also lived in a room at the Hotel Bambu, in the city center.
A few days after Jefferson Pureza's murder, councilman José Eduardo Alves da Silva went to the Edeia police station to provide clarifications even without being officially summoned. In the four and a half-page testimony of January 30, 2018, he narrated his life in the city, his troubled marriage that ended after 17 years, and the attacks he received from Pureza. Silva said that Pureza only referred to him as a “vote transfer councilman” because he accused him of having transferred voters from other cities to guarantee his election and of appropriating the land of the community garden.
Regarding the accusation of having planned an attack on the broadcaster, Silva said that in 2017, he would have arranged with a young man named Junio to beat Pureza up "to get him out of town" and set his car on fire. The promised money, 3,000 reais, would be paid by Pastor Thiago Marinho, current Secretary of Administration. According to the statement, because his wife found out, the plan did not go ahead. Marinho testified that he was not involved in the case.
The councilman also revealed that, in 2013, he separated from his wife, Marley Alves de Jesus Faleiro, for having discovered she had an affair with a young man and, at the time, during an argument, having grabbed her by the neck, threatening her with death. The woman moved to the city of Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais. He also said he was jealous and that he even hired a man named Daniel to kill her for 5,000 reais. However, the councilman's father discovered the plan and made him give up, even though the money had been paid. The couple remained separated for four months, and then they resumed. In November 2017, the two parted ways, because the woman did not forgive his betrayal "with a woman named Kelly."
Separated again, the councilman began to suspect that the ex-wife was having an affair with the radio host and said he had returned to the plan to have Jefferson Pureza beaten up. He said that, in December 2017, Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos introduced him to two teenagers in Aragoiania, a neighboring city. The meeting took place in a car wash, and the set value for the service would be 4,000 reais. Nevertheless, according to him, because Marcelo was arrested for involvement in drug trafficking, the plan was not consummated.
The version gained new details with testimonials from those involved, and, on April 6, 2018, the Public Prosecutor's Office filed a complaint against the councilor, Marcelo Santos and Leandro Cintra da Silva, owner of the car wash where the negotiation would have happened. The complaint says that "motivated by the criticism received and jealous of his [ex] wife," the councilman planned to kill Jefferson Pureza in January 2017 for 3,000 reais, but the plan did not go ahead. A new plan was created in December, when Silva, along with Marcelo, found Leandro and the teenager Gabriel Gonçalves Feliciano, to whom he proposed to kill the radio host.
Feliciano did not accept the deal and referred to Thiago Batista Nunes, who rejected the 4,000 offered and claimed that he would only accept the service for 5,000 reais and a revolver. Marcelo Santos would have named Rodrigo Moura to ride the motorcycle. After the crime, Thiago Nunes sought out Feliciano and threatened him if he revealed the backstage of the negotiation. The councilman would also have sought Feliciano and given him 200 reais for having indicated the teenagers to carry out the crime.
Accompanied by lawyers, those involved gave other versions of the crime. The councilman denied that he ordered the killing of the radio broadcaster. He also said he went to Aragoiania just to help Marcelo Santos look for a job card and talked to him about the problem he was going through, his separation, and the suspicions of her involvement with the radio host. In this version, Santos would have taken him to the car wash and introduced people to execute the radio broadcaster's death. After a few conversations, the councilman would have given up on the matter.
Santos, on the other hand, admitted that he was an ex-con and had been arrested for not having appeared in court for working on a temporary job. He confirmed that he went with the councilman to Aragoiania in search of his work card that was in a previous job. In this version, the councilman is the one who would have talked about giving Pureza a beating. Santos denied having introduced the underage trio to the councilman.
Accused of shooting the broadcaster, teenager Thiago Nunes denied the crime but confirmed that he was approached by Gabriel Feliciano to do a job. He said he met the councilman, who was very nervous and would have offered him 5,000 reais and a gun, but that he had not accepted the offer. Rodrigo Moura -- who would have ridden the motorcycle used the night of the crime – later denied knowing any detail.
In his turn, Feliciano claimed to have received the proposal from the councilman to kill the radio broadcaster, but that he did not accept and referred Nunes and Moura. He also said that, after the crime, he was threatened by Nunes to assume the entire crime; otherwise, he would kill his family.
Feliciano said he was afraid of dying and, when questioned at the police station in Edeia, he confessed the crime, but as he did not know the details, fell into contradiction and told what had happened at the meeting with Nunes. The owner of the car wash, Leandro Cintra da Silva, confirmed the meeting held at his establishment, but said he left and heard nothing.
In his radio shows, Jefferson Pureza referred to two 2015 lawsuits involving ex-mayor Joao Batista Boiadeiro filed before the Court of Edeia. One of them concerned public works and suspicion of bid fraud. In the case, the Intelligence Center of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the state of Goias presented a report made on December 16, 2016, in which it showed the links between the companies and the former mayor.
The report included data from different companies. The representative of one of these companies, called Leopoldina Construtora, was Jose Cassiano da Costa, who also appeared in another contract between the city and a company called Leiliane Alves de Lima, who won a school transport contract. In this second contract, he was identified as the driver who would carry out the transportation. Costa was cited in the report in which the Public Prosecutor’s Office asked for new steps, in addition to requesting that everyone involved be heard again to explain this relationship between company contracts and the former mayor.
The report showed that the company Leopoldina changed its corporate name, continuing to win bids for public works and events, since it incorporated other activities to the company. The process is stalled at the Court. Currently, Costa is the city secretary responsible for the Department of Transport, Works and Urban Development, under the management of the current mayor, Winicius Miranda, of the same political group as the former mayor.
In this process, the work in question was a parking lot. The complaint was made by Sirio dos Santos Souza, who said he was hired for the work, received from the mayor himself 25,000 reais, and performed 85% of the service when he was dismissed. The city government then hired another company, Leopoldina Construtora, to perform the same service, which was nearly done, and to receive 13,000 reais. The company closed other contracts with the city in 2015, totaling 384,800 reais in payments. Leopoldina changed its corporate name to Sheknar Construtora and expanded its functions with another branch of the company, Sheknar Eventos, which also used the name VHS Eventos.
In the second case, on December 19, 2017, prosecutor Maria Cecilia de Jesus Ferreira filed a complaint against former mayors Joao Batista and Divino Celio Neves. The case occurred in 2015 and resulted, at the time, in the arrest of the then-mayor João Batista – who would be using city hall machinery for illegal extraction of sand in a river that passes through the Divino Neves farm. The cargo would be taken to Joao Batista's farm. The complaint was made, and the police arrested the then-mayor.
Forensics showed that there was an environmental crime and then started a battle of appeals, in which the Joao Batista had a partial victory since he had jurisdictional prerogative since he was then the mayor. The case was put on hold until 2018 when a new appeal was made, and it was found that Joao Batista would no longer have the benefit of jurisdictional prerogative and could be tried. The Public Prosecutor’s Office then filed a complaint. So far, there has been no progress in the case.