Brazilian on trial for killing and dismembering British teen

Brazil starts trial in British teen dismemberment

GOIANIA, Brazil — A Brazilian who has confessed to killing and dismembering a British teenager was angry because she refused to marry him so he could apply for British residency, court officials revealed Thursday.

Mohamed D’Ali Carvalho Santos was also enraged that 17-year-old Cara Marie Burke threatened to tell his parents about his heavy drug use, officials said as Santos’ trial began.

Santos, 21, alternately listened attentively and yawned as witnesses described how he killed Burke and stuffed her torso in a suitcase on July 25.

He was expected to be sentenced by Thursday night.

The prosecutor is asking for the maximum penalty of 30 years. Santos’ defense lawyer will argue for a reduced sentence based partly on his client’s heavy drug use and a court report that shows he has mental problems.

Santos’ aunt, Jeane Lucia de Sousa, testified that his nephew is normal when not using drugs but is addicted to cocaine and resorted to sniffing cooking gas to get high when he had no money to buy drugs.

“He’s a calm person when he’s not on drugs, but when he uses drugs he turns aggressive,” the aunt said.

Santos’ girlfriend, Hellen de Matos, said he regrets killing the teenager and wants to enter drug treatment so he can get a reduced sentence and spend time with his son before the boy becomes an adult.

The baby was born in March, and was conceived when Matos had a conjugal visit with Santos in jail after his arrest last year.

Police say Santos killed Burke with a butcher knife, then went to a funk concert before returning to his apartment, stuffing her torso in a suitcase and hiding it near the banks of a river.

Santos allegedly sent his brother a text message saying “the bitch is in the bag.” The message, found in Santos’ cell phone, was written in English, accompanied by a smiley face, police said. The cell phone also contained photos of Burke’s severed head and torso.

Santos scattered other body parts near another river. Authorities eventually recovered them all and sent them back to England two months after the murder.

Odair de Meneses, Santos’ lawyer, said psychological tests show Santos’ mental capacity was diminished at the time of the killing in part because he was high on cocaine.

“He was conscious of his acts but he was having difficulty controlling them,” Meneses told reporters.

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