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March 2, 2010
High Court of Brazil ends proceedings against those accused of Jorge Vieira murder
Clarinha Glock, RRU - Brazil

The justices of the Sixth Division of the High Court (STJ) rejected the Special Appeal no. 562727 of the Timón Attorney General’s Office that sought to reopen criminal proceedings against three persons accused of the murder of radio reporter Jorge Vieira da Costa on March 23, 200l in Timón, Maranhão. The court made its ruling on December 15, 2009 but it was not published in the Official Gazette until February 22, 2010. The Attorney General’s Office has not so far appealed the decision.

Maria Bernadete Ferreira de Sousa (the Timón mayor’s wife, accused of being joint mastermind of the murder), Dolival Pereira de Andrade (municipal secretary, also accused of being joint mastermind) and Maria Deusa Pires da Silva (municipal official and the mayor’s housekeeper) were thus able to bring the case to an end. Court clerk Og Fernandes testified that there was a lack of evidence against the accused to take up the Attorney General’s Office’s request that they be held in preventive custody. He said there was only “mere conjecture.”

On September 29, 2005 three other persons accused of the journalist’s murder were convicted. Geraldo da Silva e Silva, who was said to have shot Vieira, was sentenced to 19 years in prison on a charge of second degree homicide. Raimundo Teles de Sousa Vidal, driver of the motorcycle used in the crime, was sentenced to 18 years on a similar charge. And João Matias Pinheiro, a.k.a. João do Poço, a military police officer from Piauí who had borrowed the motorcycle used in the crime, was sentenced as a participant in homicide to six years semi-open imprisonment. Only da Silva e Silva remains behind bars, having also been charged with another crime. The others were granted leave to appeal on release from prison.

Vieira hosted a controversial program on the now defunct Rádio Tropical in Teresina, Piauí, which was also widely heard in Timon, the neighboring city in Maranhão state. In his program he would often criticize the administration of the then mayor of Timón, Francisco Rodrigues de Sousa, known as Chico Leitoa.

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