Photo: Dorothy Stang
A court in the northern Brazilian state of Para imposed a 30-year sentence on the man behind the 2005 murder of U.S. nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang.
The verdict was announced Thursday night by Judge Raimundo Moises Alves Flexa, following the fourth trial of land baron Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura for the nearly 9-year-old crime.
Convicted in May 2007, he was given a second trial under a law that automatically provides for new proceedings if a sentence exceeds 20 years.
That second trial, concluded in May 2008, undid the conviction, but prosecutors appealed to a higher court, which threw out the acquittal in April 2009 and ordered Moura re-arrested.
The third trial resulted in the re-instatement of the original conviction and a 30-year sentence for the landowner, though he was allowed to serve his time under a relaxed regime involving limited periods in custody.
Moura ordered Stang’s murder in collaboration with another big landowner, Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, who was sentenced in 2012 to 30 years behind bars.
Stang, 73, who worked for years to defend landless peasants and protect the environment in Amazonia, was shot six times at point-blank range on Feb. 12, 2005.
Confessed shooter Rayfran das Neves Sales is serving a 27-year sentence, while two other defendants were sentenced to 17 and 18 years in prison, respectively.
The Ohio-born Stang, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, settled in Brazil in the 1970s and distinguished herself by working to defend the Amazon against exploitation by industry, logging interests and landowners.
Stang’s murder prompted then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to send 2,000 troops to Para to deal with violent land disputes that claimed more than 700 lives over three decades.