The plantation owner who ordered the murder of Dorothy Stang is sentenced to 30 years in prison

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Pará court condemned, at the end of the night this Thursday (September 19, 2013), the plantation owner Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura,Bida and Dorothy Stang “Bida,” to 30 years in prison, initially without being able to leave prison*, for the death of Sister Dorothy Stang, as a coauthor and instigator of the crime. The trial, the fourth conducted after a new set of lawyers, lasted more than 14 hours. The verdict was read by Judge Raimundo Moisés Alves Flexa.

Dorothy Stang was shot dead in Anapu in southwestern Pará, on February 12, 2005. According to prosecutors, she was murdered because she defended the deployment of rural settlements for workers on public lands that were contested by ranchers and loggers in the region.

Investigations of the Civil and Federal Police at the time of the crime indicated that Rayfran das Neves Sales and Clodoaldo Batista were the perpetrators of the murder. Amair Feijoli Cunha, ‘Tato, was appointed as an intermediary. He was hired by Bida and Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, known as Taradão, who paid R$ 50,000 [approximately $25,000] for the murder of the missionary, according to research. The defense of Bida claimed that there was insufficient evidence to confirm his involvement in case.

Sentenced to 30 years in the first trial, in 2007, Bida was entitled to a new jury in 2008 where he was acquitted. The second trial, however, was annulled for procedural fraud. In the third trial, which lasted more than 50 days, Bida was again convicted, but the lawyers were able to set aside claiming curtailment of defense.

On occasion, the plantation owner went to trial represented by a public defender, who later admitted that they had access to the whole process, which was used for the subsequent defense of Bida to ask for a mistrial.

*Ed. In Brazil, some prisoners have a work release program. Initially, Bida will be unable to leave prison for any purpose.