Offbeat

Did a Brazilian Television Host Order Killings Featured on His Show?

In a murderous twist on the concept of art imitating life, Brazilian legislator and former host of a police television show, Wallace Souza, has been charged with orchestrating the murders of drug dealers and other criminals to generate sensational footage for his show. Read all about this unbelievable tale of greed and murder most foul.

Gleaning top television ratings is the goal of every producer of every television show in the world. The question is: How far will a host go to insure this? The answer may well come in the form of Wallace Souza, who is accused of ordering hits on his criminal rivals and then covering their deaths on his show in an effort to improve ratings.

The ”Canal Livre” crime television show has featured one grisly murder after another and its makers had an odd knack of always being the first on the scene, forgathering graphic footage of the victim. They always arrived before the police even knew about the crime, and according to state police intelligence chief Thomas Vasconcelos:

“The order to execute always came from the legislator and his son, who then alerted the TV crews to get to the scene before the police. The killings of competing drug-traffickers appear to have been committed to get rid of his rivals and increase the audience of the TV show.”

State officials claim that Souza faces charges of forming a criminal gang, corrupting testimony, drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms. He remains free because of legislative immunity. A practical man, he figured out a way to get two hits in one; kill the competition and drive up the ratings all with one shot.

The former host of the police television show was a drug trafficker as well as a legislator in his more than slightly checkered past. Souza has of course, denied all accusations, and his lawyer has criticized key testimony and questioned the investigation.

In the words of Thomas Augusto Vasconcelos, intelligence secretary for Amazonas state:

“In truth, they went as far as creating acts. It’s been determined that the crimes were committed in order to generate news for the program.”

State Attorney General Otavio Gomes told the press that Souza’s gang has been linked to as many as six slayings. Unfortunately, the prosecuting attorney could not bring charges against him for lack of concrete evidence linking him to the crimes.

A recent hearing concerning the accusations revealed that the complaints were based on the testimony of a former Souza associate, Moacir Jorge da Costa. Once he was arrested, he spilled the beans about Souza, including his role in the slayings. Fifteen people connected with Souza, among them police officers and a chief, have been arrested.

Souza eft the police force some twenty years ago after being implicated in a fuel theft case. Until it went off the air last year after investigation intensified, he received the most votes of any candidate in the last election in the Brazilian state of Amazonas (a place where obviously there is no accounting for taste).

Souza lives in the jungle city of Manaus, which is the capitol of the Amazonas state. This region is known for its corruption and lawlessness and Souza ranted often about the killings and other terrible crimes being committed in his home state.

His lawyer, a man named Balierio, has claimed that officials had no right to investigate the television show due to the fact that Souza has immunity status as a legislator. The state public minister has also brought charges against Souza’s son, Raphael, and the young man has been convicted of homicide, drug trafficking and illegal gun possession. (Give him time and a little space to find himself and he might even be able to do better!)

In Souza’s own words:

“I was the one who organized legislative inquiries into organized crime, the prison system, corruption, drug trafficking by police, and pedophilia.”

Well maybe so, but that doesn’t mean he is innocent of these charges and unfortunately, at least at this point, the lack of material proof does not mean he is guilty either.

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