Samuel Romã

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

At around 6 p.m., four gunmen on two motorcycles shot radio host
Romã outside his home in Coronel Sapucaia, in the southwestern state of
Mato Grosso do Sul. Police took the journalist to the municipal
hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Romã, 36, was the owner of Radio Conquista FM, based in the
Paraguayan town of Capitán Bado just across the Brazilian border. Romã
was an active member of the opposition Democratic Labor Party (PDT) and
the host of the one-hour talk show, “A Voz do Povo” (The Voice of the
People), on which he often voiced his political views. Known as a harsh
critic of the local government, he had been particularly vocal during
the year prior to his death.

According to the daily O Progresso, Romã had demanded that
police investigate several recent murders in the area. He said he had
documents proving that important local figures were involved in
organized crime, the daily Correio do Estado reported. Romã had
also denounced Eurico Mariano, the mayor of Coronel Sapucaia, for
alleged financial irregularities, according to other news accounts.

Initial speculation centered on a number of motives, including
Romã’s political and journalistic activities, local sources told CPJ.

In June 2006, state prosecutors accused Mariano of being involved in
Romã’s murder and requested his temporary detention, according to local
press reports. A state judge granted their request, but a federal judge
revoked the detention and ordered Mariano’s release.

On August 10, 2007, the former mayor was convicted of hiring Romã’s
killers and sentenced to 17 years and nine months in prison, according
to the Brazilian press. Judge César de Souza Lima concluded in his
verdict, which was reviewed by CPJ, that the former mayor ordered
Romã’s murder in order to silence his commentary. Mariano can appeal
his sentence.