Judge upholds trial by jury for man accused of killing Franco

The decision comes four years after the Rio councilwoman was murdered

Published in 15/03/2022 - 15:30 By Felipe Pontes - Brasília

Judge Rogério Schietti, of Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice, denied the appeal of retired military police officer Ronnie Lessa and maintained his trial by jury. He is believed to be one of murderers of former Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes.

The decision was made Monday, when the crime turned four years old. Human rights activist Marielle Franco and Anderson Gomes were shot inside their car in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

Lessa’s counsel had requested his acquittal or the withdrawal of the ruling that sent the case to jury. He answers for aggravated murder, with motive and use of resources that make it impossible for the victim to defend themselves as aggravating factors.

Judge Schietti, however, did not accept the motion, having considered that the decision to send the case to jury was fully justified. In the evidence presented, he mentioned records that Lessa had been monitoring Franco before the day of the crime, researching online the places where the victim used to work, and stalking her at the headquarters of PSOL, the political party she was affiliated with, as well as other addresses she used to visit often.

The accused

Accused of being the perpetrators, former military police officers Ronnie Lessa and Élcio de Queiroz are being held at the Federal Penitentiary of Campo Grande, a maximum security prison complex in Mato Grosso do Sul state.

They will be tried before a jury, with no date disclosed as yet.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Valéria Aguiar

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