German priest Wolfgang Johannes Hermann, 46, was knifed to death Tuesday afternoon, April 10, in Belém, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Pará. The crime's main suspect was arrested in flagrante delicto. The priest's body was found in the apartment where he lives. Hermann was an English language teacher in a seminary.
Belém authorities say that Kássio Adriano de Jesus Figueiredo, 18, married, unemployed, was caught minutes after the murder while trying to escape, in the ground floor of the building where the priest lived. The police informed that Figueiredo confessed to the homicide.
Corporal Pinheiro, who arrested the suspect with the help of another police agent told reporters what happened: "We were told by radio that something was happening at the building. Neighbors had called police saying they had heard screams coming from the priest's apartment. When we met Kássio, he was all bloodied, without a shirt and wearing a Bermuda short.
"I went to help the priest while corporal Ferreira took Kássio to the Municipal Emergency Hospital. Upon entering the apartment, I saw that the priest was also full of blood, wearing a Bermuda short, fallen to the ground, beating his own body and moving the head, which was on top of some kind of suitcase."
Figueiredo told Police that he didn't know the priest. HeÂ said that he met the religious man just a few hours before the crime. The young man said that he was approached by Hermann at a shopping mall's food court. The priest, according to him, started talking and offered to buy him something to eat and drink.
"At first I didn't want anything," stated the young man, "but then I agreed to have a soft drink and a sandwich. He was drinking beer and started to ask about my finances and then I told him I was jobless and having a hard time. At that time he didn't make any proposal, but he touched my leg and told me he was willing to help me find a job. I went to the bathroom and when I came back I told him I had to go because I wanted to go to the Universal church (a popular evangelical religion).
The priest then, always according to Kássio's story, invited him to go to his apartment so the German man could better know the teen. They took a bus and Hermann revealed that he was a priest. When they arrived at the apartment the priest tried to hug the young man and offered him 100 reais (about US$ 50) to have sex with him. Kássio says that he didn't know if the man was serious or not because he was talking like it was a joke.Â
"I told him to stop," the young man told police,Â "but soon I noticed that the situation was getting more and more serious. I looked at the door and couldn't see the keys anymore. Then, suddenly he got a knife that was on the table and pulled my arm. I told him I was going to ask for help and started to scream. He then grabbed my shirt and tried to cut my face."Â
Figueiredo also told that the priest only let the knife go after he stepped on his foot. "At that moment, I got the knife and I stabbed his neck and did it again and again. Maybe ten times. I asked for the key, but he couldn't talk anymore. I looked for it all around the house and finally found it inside his pocket."
Maneolina Magno Barbosa, Belém's chief of police, revealed that Figueiredo has a police record for thefts he committed as a minor. She also commented that she thought it to be odd that a jobless man would stroll by the shopping mall.
"Kássio certainly thought the citizen had money to accept the invitation to visit him," the chief observed. "Getting there, it must have occurred some altercation like an attempt to rob the priest. It was some situation that ended up surprising both of them. For now there is no evidence that they had any sexual relation. This was a cruel crime because even after the first stabbing the murderer kept on stabbing and then he comes and tells everything without showing any remorse."
The victim was a teacher at the São Gaspar seminary. Belém's religious authorities are not saying anything for the moment.
José Alberto Sidrin, one of his students, described the priest as a friendly religious man:Â
"He was very serene and from all we know he had no non-conforming-to-standards relation. Hermann was a happy person and very intelligent. He was very well liked in the seminary and we still can't believe what happened to him. It certainly was a robbery."
Sidrin said that the priest's relatives in Germany were informed of the tragedy Tuesday night, through the Internet. They should decide when to take the priest's body back to his hometown.
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