The Brazilian police have concluded that colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, the man responsible for the 1992 Carandiru prison massacre in which 111 rebelled inmates were killed, was murdered by his own girlfriend during a fit of jealousy and rage.
The inquiry conducted by the Homicide and Personal Protection Department of the São Paulo Civil Police concluded that lawyer Carla Prinzivalli Cepollina is guilty of the death of Guimarães and used one of the colonel’s own guns to kill him.
In a 55-page report summarizing 1,400 pages of the inquiry, police chief Marco Antônio Olivato, from the 1st Bureau of Homicide and Personal Protection Department (DHPP), says that Carla killed Ubiratan out of jealousy.
Cepollina killed the colonel in his São Paulo apartment with a shot in the abdomen, in the night of September 9. According to the document, the lawyer went into a jealousy fit after Ubiratan got a call from a woman. She has no accomplices in the crime.
Cepollina has admitted that she had visited the colonel the night of the crime, but denies having killed him. Neighbors interviewed by the police, though, say that they saw the woman leaving the colonel’s apartment after the time he seems to have been murdered.
It also weighted against the lawyer the fact that when asked to hand over the clothes she was wearing the night of the crime she turned in instead other pieces of garment, apparently in an effort to hide any trace of gunpowder or blood that might be detected by lab tests.
A review of the building’s security cameras has shown that Carla was wearing a light blouse and a brown jacket that night, but she gave police a black blouse decorated with spangles and a black jacket.
The investigation lasted 34 days. During this time Cepollina alone was interrogated five times and 20 other people were also heard by the police including friends and residents and workers in the building where Guimarães used to live.
The police decided to end their investigation despite the fact that some of the expert reports haven’t been concluded, They argue that they have more than enough evidence to charge her with the crime.
Most of the evidence comes from the probe of the call phones made by 7 people, among them, Carla, her mother and Renata Madi, a woman police chief. The suspect answered a call from Renata to the colonel’s cell phone. The police say that at that time Cepollina had already killed the colonel.
The crime, according to the police’s assumption, was fueled by a call the colonel got at 7:03 pm, that Saturday, from the 26-year-old federal police chief Renata Azevedo dos Santos Madi from the state of Pará. Santos called Guimarães to ask if he had sent her a text message. He answered he couldn’t have done it because he was asleep.
The police found out that at 6:54 pm Renata had received a torpedo asking: "Where are you, girl?" To which she answered: "I’m getting there. I’ll call you soon." The police believe that Carla used the colonel’s phone to send the message. It seems that the couple started an argument when Guimarães woke up and found out what Carla had done.
The testimonies of Renata and of two doormen show that Carla was inside the colonel’s apartment when three neighbors heard, between 7 and 7:30 pm, the shot that killed Guimarães. At 8:26, the lawyer answered the colonel’s home phone. On the other side Renata asked to talk to the colonel. Carla’s answer: "He can’t right now. We are having an argument." Police believe that by then the colonel was already dead.
The Public Attorney Office has 15 days to bring a formal charge against Cepollina but she will only be prosecuted if the Justice accepts the charges against her. Promoter Luiz Fernando Vaggione who oversaw all the DHPP’s Investigations has already said that he will indict her.
For the defense lawyers, however, the Police are jumping the gun since according to them there is not enough evidence that their client committed the crime.
According to friends, the relationship between Cepollina and the colonel was a stormy one, full of ups and downs. They had known each other for two years, but apparently most of the time they had been apart due to fights. Carla, friends of the couple say, was extremely jealous and used to lose her temper when they argued. Guimarães had commented to some close friends that their relationship had no future and even announced that he had a new girlfriend.
As for colonel Guimarães, he was convicted for the Carandiru inmates deaths and sentenced to 632 years in prison. He appealed the ruling, however, and didn’t spend a single day in jail. The final verdict sparked a national and international furor with charges that Brazil continues to be the land of impunity.