Murderers of French Nationals in Brazil Planned to Set Building Ablaze

Copacabana's 12th Police District in Rio, Brazil The Brazilian police revealed that the three men who confessed to have murdered three French NGO workers in Rio with refinements of savagery on Tuesday, February 27, had planned to set on fire the Copacabana office of the Non Governmental Organization Terr'Ativa in which they committed the crime.

With the fire they intended to destroy the bodies and the evidence of their crime. That action would have burned a multi-floored building filled with businesses and residential apartments, with the potential to cause a much bigger tragedy.

The group's intention was discovered during the testimonies given by the three men charged with the murders according to Marcus Castro, Copacabana's 12nd Police District's assistant police chief.

José Michel Cardoso and Társio Wilson Ramires, who worked for the NGO, admitted that Luis Oliveira Gonzaga had the intention to burn the scene of the crime.

According to Castro the police had seen the alcohol bottle but hadn't made any connection before the testimony: "When I was at the crime scene, I saw an alcohol bottle. But at the time this went unnoticed, because we didn't know about their intentions. A bottle of alcohol is something quite ordinary."

Christian Doupes and Delphine Douyere, the couple who was killed (a third French national, Jérôme Faure, who also worked for the NGO, was murdered too) decided to move to Rio 14 years ago to work with poor children. Ten years ago they met a street kid called Társio Wilson Ramires, who is now 25, and took him to work with them. It was Ramires who planned the murder.

According to the police, Ramires was the one who hired Luis Oliveira Gonzaga and José Michel Cardoso for 2,000 reais (US$ 945) to help him "give the French a scare". The reason of the crime, say the Brazilian authorities, was to conceal US$ 38,000 (80,000 reais) Ramires had embezzled from Terr'Ativa. 

Friends of the French couple have told journalists that Ramires was like a son for them and that they trusted him entirely. They filed all the papers for a scholarship and were able to get him into an Administration College. The other victim, Faure, had become the youngster's teacher in 1998 and considered him his friend.

Born in Quintino in Rio's north side, the youngest of five siblings, Ramires never knew his father. He met Delphine in mid 1997 before the creation of the NGO, which didn't start before April 2000. 

He was one of the first youngsters to be benefited by the French couple's work. He grew with the organization and was in charge of the Brilho da Lua (Moon Shine) project, which helped 40 children (40 more should be helped this year according to plans) from Morro do Fubá favela (shantytown) in the neighborhood of Cascadura, in the north side of Rio.

In 1998, thanks to his efforts, he got as prize a trip to France to see the World Cup.

Ramires, who took care of the NGO's finances, wrote in the organization's site: "What motivates me is to see people happy. I know that I won't be able to change the world by myself, but at least I will change the life of some people."

The police have concluded that Jérôme Faure was tortured before being killed. He was found almost decapitated and there was blood smeared in the walls of every room in the office.

According to the criminals testimony, Faure was tied to a chair and all bloodied, when the French couple arrived and a fight then ensued. Castro says that only the Coroner's office will reveal what the torture involved: "The wounds were serious. It was a barbaric crime, a Dantean scene."

To the police Ramires said that the French used drugs and were embezzling thousands of reais that were donated to the NGO. "They wanted to cut the project's budget and I didn't accept that," he said unconvincingly. "That's when Delphine contacted me and made me part of the scheme."

The dialogue between the murderers at Copacabana's Police District show how cold and insensitive are Ramires and his accomplices, who, on Monday 26, had bought surgical gloves, Carnaval masks and knives in preparation for the crime. 

"All I wanted was to give them a good scare. But suddenly the fight broke out and then… All I did was to stab Christian once. The rest was all done by Luiz," said Ramires in the presence of reporters. He was dressed in a black social shirt, a brand new jeans and a fashionable Puma tennis.

Luiz Oliveira Gonzaga responded with an ironic smile: "He was the one who killed. Now you are going to say that I've done it all by myself. Then, I'm superman." Gonzaga also knew the French couple for whom he had worked in a dance project. "They were two wonderful people," he said.

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