Gleydson Carvalho

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On August 6, 2015, Gleydson Carvalho was shot dead by two men as he was presenting his afternoon radio show in the town of Camocim in the northern Brazilian state of Ceará. The two suspects entered the offices of Radio Liberdade FM 90.3, saying they wanted to place an advertisement. Once inside, they shot Carvalho three times, according to the indictment by Camocim’s public prosecutor, a copy of which was reviewed by CPJ.

Carvalho was the director of the small station and presented a one-hour morning show and an afternoon show from noon to 3 p.m., in which he often criticized local police and politicians, Tadeu Nogeira, a friend and colleague who worked on a companion blog to Carvalho’s show, told CPJ.

The journalist had received death threats from anonymous sources that police said were in connection with his on-air reports on corruption and wrongdoing by local police and politicians in Camocim.

A police spokesman who asked not to be identified told CPJ the journalist’s cellphone contained messages sent to family members saying he was afraid because of death threats made against him. Nogueira told CPJ similar threats had been left on his Facebook page.

A day after the murder, police arrested Gisele de Souza do Nascimento, 23, and Francisco Antonio Carneiro Portela, 18, in the nearby town of Senador Sá, the police spokesman told CPJ via phone. The suspects were accused of providing a safe house for the gunmen. Police said they found the clothes that were worn by the suspected shooters, as well as two revolvers and ammunition.

Police also detained a third man in the neighboring town of Martinópole, Daniel Lennon Almada, 31, who was accused of providing the killers with their getaway motorcycle, the police spokesman told CPJ. Lennon was identified as the nephew of João Batista Pereira da Silva, the uncle of the mayor of James Bell, the mayor of Martinópole.

The prosecutor’s indictment named the alleged gunmen as local residents Thiago Lemos da Silva, 22, and Israel Marques Carneiro.

In September 2015, police arrested Lemos and his wife, Regina Rocha Lopes, 19, who was accused of collaborating in the planning of the crime, press reports said. According to police, Lemos admitted to participating in the murder but denied shooting Carvalho.

A report published in 2017 by the Tim Lopes Program for the Protection of Journalists, an initiative of the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism, also named Carneiro as the second shooter.

According to the indictment, the two killed Carvalho because he had criticized Bell, the mayor. In a March 2016 interview with news outlet 180, Bell denied any involvement with Carvalho’s murder.

Police identified the mastermind of the crime as Silva, the mayor’s uncle, according to the indictment. Souza do Nascimento said Silva agreed to pay 9,000 reals (about US$2,300) to the gunmen to commit crimes, including the murder, the police spokesman and press reports said. As of August 2019, Silva remains at large. In December 2015, police arrested his brother, Francisco, who is accused of funding the crime, according to local news reports.

On April 10, 2019, a jury court found Thiago Lemos da Silva, Nascimento, and Lopes guilty of qualified homicide and participation in a criminal organization, according to a statement from the Ceará public prosecutor’s office. A circuit judge sentenced Silva, the gunman, to 27 years in prison, and the two women to 23 years each for providing “logistical support.”