Walgney Assis Carvalho

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An unidentified assailant shot Carvalho, 43, at least twice in the back as he sat at a popular fishing hole and restaurant, before riding away on a motorcycle, according to news reports. Carvalho was a freelance photographer who contributed to the daily Vale do Aço in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

Durval Ângelo, a state congressman and president of the State Assembly’s human rights commission, posted on Twitter that authorities should investigate a possible link between Carvalho’s murder and that of Vale do Aço journalist Rodrigo Neto on March 8, according to news reports. The congressman said that Carvalho had apparently told people he knew who had murdered Neto, but did not offer further details.

Neto had covered police corruption throughout his career, and had frequently received threats, especially for his coverage of cases in which police officers were suspected of being involved in local murders. Vale do Aço reported that Carvalho also did photography work for the local police.

Fernando Benedito Jr., a local journalist and friend of Neto, told CPJ in an email, “Like Rodrigo, he [Carvalho] knew too much.”

In the weeks after the murder, Minas Gerais state police chief Cylton Brandão announced a shuffling of law enforcement leadership and, while he said police couldn’t yet confirm that the two journalist murders were linked, acknowledged the possibility of police involvement.

In late April, authorities announced that several police officers had been placed in preventative detention in connection with one of the murder cases that Neto had been investigating. Local journalists interpreted the news as a hopeful sign that the authorities were beginning to hold criminal police officers accountable, but it was unclear if and how exactly the suspects had any links to the Neto and Carvalho murders.

On August 19, 2015, a court convicted Alessandro Neves Augusto, known as “Pitote,” for killing Carvalho and sentenced him to 14 years and three months, according to news reports. Augusto was sentenced in June to 16 years in jail for Neto’s murder. The two sentences would run consecutively, the prosecutor told CPJ. Augusto said he would appeal.

The prosecutor, Juliana da Silva Pinto, said that jurors were told that Augusto killed Carvalho to silence him after the photographer told friends he had information about Neto’s murder.