Councillor and five others accused in murder of Brazilian radio journalist

On April 4, the Civil Police of the State of Goiás handed the Brazilian justice system the completed investigation of the murder of radio journalist Jefferson Pureza, who was killed in the city of Edealina on January 17 of this year. The police investigation concluded that councillor José Eduardo Alves da Silva, of the Party of the Republic (PR), ordered the crime and should be charged with double-qualified homicide, for trivial motive and for payment, according to G1.

In addition to Alves da Silva, two other men and three teenagers were also accused –two of the teenagers allegedly committed the crime, invading Pureza's house and firing the three shots that killed him, the investigation concluded.

According to what police officer Queops Lourdes Barreto Silva told G1, the politician was displeased with the radio journalist because of the criticisms made on his radio program. However, the trigger for the murder was the discovery that Pureza was involved with the councilor's ex-wife, Barreto Silva said.

“He planned to kill the radio broadcaster early last year, but that did not materialize at the time,” the officer said. “From the moment that he discovered the relationship [the councilman] reached out to two men and one minor, they took him to the two teenagers who were paid to carry out the murder,” he said, adding that the councilman also planned the assassination of the ex- wife, which was not carried out.

The two teenagers would have received R $5,000 (about US $1,478) and the weapon used in the murder to assassinate the radio journalist, G1 reported. They and another teenager who allegedly brokered the negotiation of the crime, according to the police, must respond for an act similar to homicide.

The farmer Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos and the businessman Leandro Cintra da Silva, who police say brokered the negotiation between the councilman and the adolescents for the crime, must respond for homicide and corruption of minors, G1 reported.

The councilman and the other suspects were arrested on Feb. 9 for alleged involvement in the killing. They are still in prison and, according to the officer, deny authorship of the crime, as reported by Jornal Opção. “The investigations concluded that the crime had political and passionate motivations. None of the accused even confessed to the crime, but police have no doubt that these people were directly involved in the murder,” Barreto Silva said.

Jefferson Pureza hosted the program “A Voz do Povo”, on Beira Rio FM radio, in which he denounced alleged irregularities in public administration and criticized municipal and regional authorities. According to what his friends told the press at the time of the murder, the radio journalist had been receiving threats for his work for at least two years. When he was assassinated, Pureza was working to rebuild the radio station that broadcast his program that was destroyed by a fire in November 2017 - the second in less than a year.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.