Beyond the Bison: Boa Esporte: A club for killers

Bri Pomonis, Sports Co-Editor

In 2010, Brazilian soccer player Bruno Fernandes de Souza had his 25-year-old mistress kidnapped, strangled, dismembered, and fed to dogs. After serving under seven years in prison, he will once again return to the field.

Eliza Samudio claimed the popular goalkeeper, who was married at the time of the affair, was the father of her four-month-old son. At the time of her murder, she was seeking financial support and in the process of proving the child was Fernandes’ biological son. After his refusal to make payments and denial that the child was his, Samudio publicly sued the rising-soccer star, who was working toward a transfer to Italian powerhouse A.C. Milan. DNA tests later confirmed that the child was his.

During the pregnancy, Samudio filed a police report claiming that associates of Fernandes had attempted to forcefully terminate the pregnancy by making her take an illegal abortion drug. The attempt was unsuccessful, and Samudio gave birth to son Bruninho—translating to “Little Bruno”—in February of 2010.

Bruninho and Samudio were abducted by three associates of Fernandes in June of that year. According to a participant’s later confession, Samudio was tortured and strangled to death in front of her wailing son. Under his orders, the body was dismembered, fed to his Rottweilers, and the bones were buried under cement. The infant was found physically unharmed in a slum district in southeast Brazil.

Fernandes, his 17-year old cousin, his ex-girlfriend, and a former police officer all received sentences for her murder. As the primary orchestrator, Fernandes was charged with murder, kidnapping, hiding a body, conspiracy, and corrupting minors, resulting in a 22-year sentence.

In February 2017, he was released with 15 years left on his original sentence. His lawyers successfully filed a petition of habeas corpus, and Fernandes was released from jail, pending an appeal.

Upon his release, the once-World-Cup-prospect was quickly swarmed with offers and ultimately signed a two-year contract with second-division team Boa Esporte. Club owner Rafael Góis Silva Xavier defended his club’s actions by explaining that Fernandes “was found guilty, he served his time and he was released by the courts.” Xavier claimed that Fernandes “deserves another opportunity.”

And another opportunity he shall have. Despite the outrage, disgust, and loss of sponsorships the club has experienced since the announcement, there have been no signs that it will revise its decision.

What is arguably most disturbing about the nightmarish story is Fernandes’ eagerness to move on, and his encouragement to others to follow his lead.

“Dude, what happened, happened,” Fernandes said in his first interview after prison. “I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happen in life—I’m not a bad guy. I’m starting over.”

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