‘Ottawa’ Team signs Brazilian goalkeeper Sentenced to 22 Years for Murdering Model Girlfriend, but free on Appeal
A Brazilian goalkeeper convicted of abducting, organizing a murder and feeding a woman to dogs has recently been signed to a two-year contract by Brazilian soccer club Boa Esporte.
Bruno Fernandes de Souza, 32, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 and had been serving time in Apac de Santa Luzia prison, some 355 km north of Rio de Janiero. He had been imprisoned since 2010.
That was until a Supreme Court Justice, Marco Aurelio Mello recently granted him the “right to remain at liberty,” according to The Associated Press. Due to long delays in the Brazilian court system, Bruno’s defence team was able to free the goalkeeper while he awaits the verdict of his appeal.
Formerly of Brazil’s most renowned soccer club Flamengo, Bruno was considered a possible heir to the goalkeeping position on the Brazilian national team until his arrest in 2010.
Within days of his release, the goalkeeper— who is eligible to play according to Brazilian soccer laws —had signed a contract for the second division side.
In a statement from the club’s president, Boa Esporte — from Varginha not far from Bruno’s home near Belo Horizonte— said that the goalkeeper had experienced punishment and that the club was granting him a sort of social rehabilitation through “the dignity of work,” The Guardian reports.
“What matters to me is the fresh start in my life, I’ve been preparing myself for a long time,” Bruno said in a press conference. “I was surprised at how well I was received here.”
Bruno, as he is known in Brazil, met model Eliza Samudio at a party in 2009. After becoming pregnant with Bruno’s child, Samudio filed a suit in an attempt to prove paternity and receive child support.
The Brazilian goalkeeper then hatched a plan with his wife, friends, and former policeman Marcos Santos — who also face sentencing — to torture and eventually kill Samudio in 2010, the Daily Mail reports.
Supporters of the club have taken to Facebook and other forums to express their discontent with the club’s signing. “The residents of this beautiful city do not support a monster like this living close to their children. The residents are campaigning against you,” The Guardian reports.
The goalkeeper defended himself in the press citing other examples of celebrity crime like prominent Brazilian soccer player Edmundo Souza, who escaped a lengthy prison sentence after being involved in a collision — while drunk — that led to the death of three passengers in his car. “Just like other players, singers, public figures went through it, overcame it and won. I hope that’ll be my path as well,” Bruno said.
For some, the willingness to overlook the guilty verdict and the years that Bruno is still to spend in prison, are a sign of Brazil’s opinion towards the protection of women.
“I think sometimes people hold things that happened in the past against a person,” Bruno said.
The Popular Feminist Front of Varginha has scheduled a protest at the soccer stadium, posting on Facebook, “We protest both against this contract and against the willingness of the team and its sponsors to have their images linked to feminicide,” The Guardian reports.
“A woman-killer must not be allowed a life acclaimed by the media,” the group posited. “Bruno is no longer just a goalkeeper; his notoriety reflects the ease with which a woman’s life is forgotten in the interests of a sporting career.”
For Bruno, his freedom is a matter of religion, “God is opening the doors for me again,” he said. “It’s divine intervention. Without a doubt, God is behind it.”
With files from Victor Ferreira, National Post
What Bruno said in his first press conference since being released from prison: