Contract killing case in court

ONE OF the first cases of contract killing ever recorded in Portugal was heard at court in Fundão last week, with six suspects appearing in the dock.

The suspects are allegedly linked to a murder which occurred last year, when the owner of a café from Cortiçada, in the borough of Fundão, was shot dead. Among them was the man who is suspected of ordering the killing, ‘computer engineer’ Luís Maia Monteiro, and the two men supposed to have carried out the murder, both from Brazil.

The case goes back to June last year, when 33-year-old black café owner, Fernando Justo, was shot dead at the door to his business. The real motive behind the murder is still unknown, but everything points to it being a racial attack, since Luís Maia Monteiro was known to be a fanatic, with views supporting the extreme right. Monteiro, 38, is currently detained in prison, as are the two men he purportedly contracted for the crime – Jerri Ribeiro Santos and Cassio Rodrigo Luis.

The two Brazilians had entered Portugal via Italy and were preparing to escape to Spain at high speed, following the crime, in a car stolen from a couple in Covilhã, whom they had kidnapped and beaten. However, this plan was foiled when they were captured by police in Porto.

The court heard how Fernando Justo was killed with two bullets, fired at point black range after he answered a call to step outside his café – where the suspects were waiting.

A Guarda police witness told the jury that officers had searched a farm owned by ‘engineer Monteiro’, as he was known in the area of Vale de Prazeres, and discovered “thousands of munitions, including a hunting rifle, machine gun and two hand guns, one of which was used for the crime.”

A further three suspects are being accused of involvement in the murder: Virgílio dos Santos Jesus, a security guard from Chãos, his son Edgar and Joaquim Ventura Dias Ferreira, a car mechanic and resident of Viseu.