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Bolsonaro links to Franco murder suspects coincidence, say police

14 March 2019

And police said it was a mere coincidence that the second suspect, retired military police officer Ronnie Lessa, shared a residence with Bolsonaro.

One of the detained policemen lives in the same gated community where Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has a home and lived before being elected previous year. Investigators said they have no reason to think that any of the Bolsonaros are linked to Franco's killing.

Investigators said Lessa fired the shots that killed Franco and Gomes on March 14, 2018, while Queiroz drove the auto that ambushed them. While police had questioned many people, before Tuesday nobody had been arrested or charged in the shooting of Franco, a prominent activist for Afro-Brazilian and LGBT rights.

"It's a reaction of repulsion to her political actions", said Simone Sibilo, one of the prosecutors. A poor, black woman who grew up in the Maré favela in the north of the city, Marielle devoted her life to fearlessly combatting power structures and fighting repression.

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"I don't like how politicized the case has become. we need to be very cautious", the prosecutor added.

A police spokesman said two men, both former police officers, were taken into custody early Tuesday.

De Queiroz's lawyer, Luiz Carlos Azenha, denied there were any photos of him inside the vehicle on the day of the assassination.

"Treat it as another misstep made by the police and courts", he said.

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Marcelo Freixo, a state legislator and friend of Franco, told Globo TV the arrests were an important step, but the case "has not been resolved". "They still need to know the motive of the crime and who ordered it".

"This wasn't some criminal on the corner", Anielle told reporters outside the prosecutor's office. Mr. Queiroz, accused of driving the silver Chevrolet Cobalt used in the ambush of Ms. Franco, was expelled from the corporation in 2016 when he was found guilty of providing illegal security services to an illegal gambling house in Rio de Janeiro. Four of them hit Marielle, three on the head and one on the neck, killing her instantly.

Witzel, a former judge who was inaugurated January 1, was criticized previous year when he participated in a rally with other candidates who had broken a street sign commemorating Franco.

Throughout the investigation, there have been numerous media leaks and optimistic statements by authorities about getting close to solving the case, drawing sharp criticism from the family of Franco and human rights groups that argued such actions lowered the chances of getting justice. Economists say the reform is key to steadying the country's rickety public finances.

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Bolsonaro links to Franco murder suspects coincidence, say police