A plan to assassinate Marielle Franco and get rid of the vehicle: an inmate recounts details of the crime | International

Marielle Franco
A mural with the image of the Brazilian councilor Marielle Franco, assassinated in Brazil in 2018.Isaac Fontana (EFE)

One of the two arrested for the murder of the Brazilian councilwoman and activist Marielle Franco in March 2018, Élcio de Queiroz, has reached a collaboration agreement with the justice system that led him to confess numerous details of the event and which, ultimately, seeks to find the masterminds of the crime. This is an important step to find an answer to the big question that half of Brazil has been asking for the last five years: who ordered the killing of Marielle, and why. The country’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flávio Dino, explained it this Monday at a press conference, who did not give details about the information that Queiroz provided to preserve the investigation, although he did imply that it was quite relevant. “The summary of the day is that Élcio’s confession allows information that leads to clarifying the entire dynamic of the crime and obviously other participations.”

The minister advanced that in the coming weeks there will be new police operations that could reach those who commissioned the murder. He cited the role of the militias and organized crime in Rio de Janeiro, the main hypothesis that has always been used to explain this political assassination. Until now, the Federal Police investigation was based on the perpetrators of the crime, but that chapter is now considered closed.

Queiroz, a former agent of the Military Police, is the one who was driving the car that was chasing Franco through the streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro on the night of March 14, 2018. In the back seat was Ronnie Lessa, another former military police officer who fired four shots into the councilor’s face with a submachine gun. The blast also killed his driver, Anderson Gomes. Both Queiroz and Lessa, the two material authors, were arrested just a year after the murder and have remained in a maximum security prison ever since, awaiting a trial that has not yet been set. In your agreement award-winning denunciation, Queiroz confessed to the crime, gave details of how they planned the murder and how they disposed of the vehicle afterwards, and presumably provided information that could lead to the masterminds. That sensitive agreement with justice will bring him some criminal benefit, but the Minister of Justice advanced that he will remain in prison.

He decided to speak out after the police connected the dots that led to a third person: Maxwell Simões, known as sel, a former firefighter who on his social networks exhibited a life of luxury and who considered himself Lessa’s best friend. The suspect had already been in prison and was sentenced to four years in prison for obstructing the investigations, but he was serving his sentence in a semi-open regime. This Monday he was arrested again. Until now he was accused of having hidden the murder weapon and of having commissioned some collaborators to get rid of it by throwing it into the sea, in front of the Barra da Tijuca beach. But now it is known that he worked with Lessa planning the murder for months: he kept an eye on the councilwoman’s routines and waited for a window of opportunity. He would drive the car and Lessa would shoot. At the end of 2017 they were about to kill her, but Simões alleged a mechanical failure in the car that ruined the operation. Lessa interpreted this as a retreat and finally called Queiroz to replace him; This is how the couple that finally executed the progressive leader was formed.

The councilor’s sister, Anielle Franco, who is now Minister of Racial Equality, said this Monday on her social networks that she trusted the investigation led by the Federal Police, but added: “I repeat the question I have been asking for five years: who ordered Marielle to be killed and why.” During the years that former President Jair Bolsonaro was in power, Franco’s family did not want the investigation to leave the Rio Civil Police (where it seemed to be stuck) and pass into the hands of the Federal Police, which depends on the central government. The police institution began to immerse itself in the convoluted case in February of this year, barely a month after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assumed the presidency, who ordered to give top priority to the total resolution of the homicide.

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