On Monday, the sickening case of Bruno Fernandes de Souza, the Brazilian footballer who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 for masterminding the kidnap, torture, and murder of the mother of his son, took another sickening turn.
Last month, Bruno (like most Brazilians, he is referred to by his first name) was released from prison on a technicality. On Monday, he signed with second-division soccer club Boa Esporte at a redemption-themed press conference. His agent told Goal that Bruno had received nine offers in total.
It’s worse than it sounds. Once a rising star in Brazilian football, national celebrity, and contender for the Brazilian World Cup team, Bruno was arrested in July of 2010 and charged with orchestrating the abduction and killing of Eliza Samudio, a 25-year-old model and the mother of his son Bruninho.
Police said Bruno was angered by Samudio’s decision to keep the child, and he had previously been convicted of abusing and assaulting her. In June, shortly after Samudio sued him for child support, Bruno lured her and the 3-month-old child to a Rio de Janeiro hotel room. He kidnapped the pair and drove them six hours to his home in Belo Horizonte, where she was tortured, killed, and fed to the star’s Rottweilers under his watch. The child was later found in the care of a family nearby.
Bruno was released last month after a court found that his appeal had not been fairly considered. He could still be sent back to serve the remainder of his term, but he can await the outcome of the appeal from outside prison—and beneath the spotlight of a soccer stadium.
In February, the disgraced star told a Brazilian television journalist that he intended to seek custody of his son, who has been raised by Samudio’s mother. “The one who suffered the most from the whole story was him. I want to bring him close to me. I’ll fight for him,” he said. Some outlets have reported that the infant child was present when Bruno’s friend murdered Bruninho’s mother.
As the Guardian observes, that a team of Boa Esporte’s stature would even consider signing a convicted murderer who fed the mother of his children to a pack of dogs reveals the prevalence of Brazilian misogyny:
In its latest country report, Amnesty International noted that lethal violence against women had increased by 24% over the previous decade and confirmed that Brazil was one of the worst Latin American countries in which to be a girl or woman. One in three women had suffered physical, verbal or psychological violence over the past year, according to a survey released last week by Datafolha.
It is also the latest and most disgusting incident in a long, long history of easily forgiven violence against women by professional athletes.