Crime

Brazillian Soccer Team Faces Anger For Signing Murderer

| by Erik Kindel

A Brazilian soccer team faces severe anger from their supporters and opponents after the club hired a notorious criminal to play goalkeeper, just weeks after his release from prison.

Bruno Fernandes de Souza, 32, was one of Brazil's most talented soccer players in 2009. But in 2013, he was convicted of murdering and torturing a former lover and was sentenced to prison for 22 years and three months, The Telegraph reports. The murder was gruesome and involved Bruno's wife, another lover, one of Bruno's cousins, and a former police officer.

Nevertheless, Boa Esporte, a soccer club in Minas Gerais state, presented Bruno as their new star on March 14. Fernandes de Souza's legal team managed to secure his release from prison last month on a technicality. He only served seven years.

Though married in 2009 at the height of his fame, Fernandes de Souza was known to attend sex parties and to have multiple lovers on the side. Eliza Samudio, the woman he was convicted of murdering, was one of his lovers. In 2010, she gave birth to a boy named Bruninho.

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Bruno refused to acknowledge the child as his own and proceeded to engage in a legal campaign to dispute Samudio's claims. In June 2010, he kidnapped Samudio and her son after luring them into a car with the promise of a settlement.

He then tied Samudio to a chair and tortured her for six days, in front of her infant son. Every member of the group beat Samudio, and the former police officer involved in the case carried out various despicable acts of torture that Fernandes de Souza watched.

Samudio was strangled with a tie, and her body was deconstructed and fed to dogs or buried in concrete. Her infant son was abandoned in a slum.

At first, Bruno denied everything. He claimed Samudio left the country and that he prayed for her safe return. He even promised to take care of the child he had abandoned, if he was ever found.

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But ultimately his accomplices cracked and Fernandes de Souza was convicted. He spent seven years behind bars until his lawyers were able to prove that his appeal wasn't dealt with in a reasonable time-frame. The technicality releases Bruno pending an appeal.

Though Boa Esporte supports its new goalkeeper as a reformed member of society, many Brazilian citizens have voiced their opposition to the hiring. A number of the club's sponsors have pulled support following the decision, and the club's website was hacked in protest, the BBC reports.

Still, the owner of the club, Rone Moraes da Costa, praised the signing as a high-profile show of the importance of rehabilitation in a statement about the signing on the Boa Esporte Clube's facebook page on March 12, The Telegraph reports.

"In Brazil, we do not condemn people to death or to prison forever," the statement read. "Therefore, when a prisoner is released, they can find means of forming part of society; working and gaining dignity through work."

Sources: The Telegraph, The BBC, Boa Esporte Clube/Facebook / Photo Credit: Cristiane Mattos via The Telegraph

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