A popular jury sentenced a man to 14 years in prison for involvement in the murder of radio journalist Jefferson Pureza, who died on Jan. 17, 2018 in the city of Edealina, in the state of Goiás, central-western Brazil.
The trial held on Oct. 4 at a courthouse in Edeia, a town about 19 miles from Edealina, sentenced Leandro Cintra da Silva, 25, to 12 years and four months in prison for qualified homicide and one year and eight months in prison for corruption of minors, as reported by the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji, for its acronym in Portuguese).
In April 2018, Cintra was accused of the two crimes after police concluded that he brokered the negotiation between Councilman José Eduardo Alves da Silva, accused of being the mastermind of the crime, and three teenagers.
One of the minors allegedly killed Pureza, another allegedly drove the motorcycle that took them to the journalist’s house, and a third allegedly recommended the first two for the service, according to Abraji.
The trials of Alves da Silva and Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos, who is also accused of brokering the crime, have not yet been set, but are expected to take place by December, the organization said.
Pureza’s murder was the first case to be investigated by the Time Lopes Program for the Protection of Journalists. Launched by Abraji in September 2017, the program fights impunity in crimes against journalists by investigating murders and attempted murders of press professionals, and continues the reporting interrupted by the perpetrators.
According to Abraji's investigation, Pureza made constant references in his radio program to alleged irregularities committed in the administration of former Mayor João Batista Gomes Rodrigues, known as Batista Boiadeiro (PTB).
Councilman Alves da Silva, accused of being the mastermind of Pureza’s murder, was Secretary of Urban Actions under Batista Boiadeiro's administration and told police that Pureza referred to him as a “councilman of vote transfers,” accusing him of having transferred voters from other cities to get elected in Edealina, as Abraji reported.
However, the alleged motivation of the councilman for the crime would be due to a relationship between Pureza and a former wife of the councilman, according to police, who maintain that Alves da Silva paid R $5,000 (about US $1,200) and a revolver to teenagers accused of executing the murder.
When he was murdered, Pureza was working to rebuild the headquarters of Beira Rio FM radio station, which broadcast his program “A Voz do Povo” (The Voice of the People). The radio station had been destroyed by a fire in November 2017, the second in little over a year. Friends of the journalist told the press that he received threats due to his work for more than a year before being executed.