Defendants in Marielle Franco's Case get Jury Trial, Judge Decides

Retired PM Ronnie Lessa and ex-PM Élcio Queiroz will be tried for the double homicide of councilwoman and her driver Anderson

Rio de Janeiro

A Brazilian judge decided on Tuesday that the two accused of killing councilwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL) and her driver Anderson Gomes will go to a jury trial.

Retired military police officer Ronnie Lessa and ex-PM Élcio Queiroz will be tried for the double homicide and the attempt to kill a former Marielle aide who was in the car at the time of the crime. The murder turns two years old next Saturday (14), and there is still no date set for the trial.

The councilwoman was murdered inside the car, in the Estácio neighborhood (downtown Rio), at around 9:30 pm on March 14, 2018. Her vehicle was shot at while she was returning from a meeting with black women in Lapa.

These images diplayed to journalists during a press conference by Brazilian authorities on March 12, 2019 shows Brazilian military police sergeant Ronnie Lessa (L), 48, and Elcio Vieira de Queiroz, 46, who had been sacked from the military police, both arrested during an operation related to the killing of Rio de Janeiro's councilwoman and activist Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes a year ago. - Franco's death triggered protests around the world and mass demonstrations in Brazil, but there had been little sign of progress in the murder investigation before Tuesday's arrests. (Photo by HO / HANDOUT / AFP) - AFP

Marielle was in the back of a white Chevrolet Agile with her aide, who suffered minor injuries. At the front was his driver, Anderson, 39, who also died.

The criminals’ car pulled next to the vehicle Marielle was in, on Joaquim Palhares street, near the Estácio metro station. After shooting, the car sped off without stealing anything.

Ronnie and Élcio denied in their depositions involvement in the death of Marielle and Anderson. The first is accused of shooting at the victims, and the second, of driving the car used in the crime. The two said they were in a bar watching a game of Flamengo on TV at the time of the crime.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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