Convicted murderer Bruno Fernandes de Souza will make a return to the soccer field.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper signed a contract to play with Boa Esporte of the Brazilian soccer league Campeonato Brasileiro Série B on March 10, shortly after being released from prison. Bruno’s contract with the club is a two-year deal.
Fernandes de Souza, known simply as “Bruno” to many, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend, Eliza Samudio, in 2010. The woman had said that Bruno, who was married, was the father of her child and reportedly threatened legal action in an effort to obtain child support prior to her death.
Here’s what you need to know about Bruno:
1. Bruno Was Sentenced to 22 Years In Prison, But Is Out on Appeal
Samudio disappeared on June 9, 2010. She reportedly went missing after being taken to Bruno’s second home near Belo Horizonte, a city in Brazil.
One month later, a Brazilian judge ordered the arrest of Bruno in connection with her disappearance and the investigation that surrounded it.
In an interview with police, Bruno’s 17-year-old cousin, Jorge Rosa, admitted that he took part in the abduction of Samudio alongside his friend. He also told police that she wasn’t missing, instead she was dead. But he didn’t initially say how she died or where her remains were.
Rosa eventually told investigators that he and Bruno’s friend, Luiz Henrique Romao, picked up Samudio and her child from a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, telling her that she was being taken to speak with Bruno about the paternity claims. The four drove 220 miles to Bruno’s second home, and Samudio was held hostage for six days before being strangled to death.
A short while after Rosa’s confession, Bruno was charged with murder, kidnapping, forming a criminal gang, corrupting minors and hiding a body and he surrendered to police.
Samudio, who was 25 at the time, had a four-month-old baby and was believed to be demanding child support from Bruno. Her child was found with Bruno’s wife after her disappearance, according to Telegraph.
Seven others were also charged with carrying out Bruno’s orders to murder Samudio, including his wife, an ex-lover and an ex-police officer.
The trial in 2013 was a dramatic scene. Bruno cried as he told the court how Romao paid someone else to murder Samudio. He said to the jury that he didn’t order her killing, but he “accepted” it.
But the prosecutors in the case said that Bruno did indeed order her murder because she had threatened legal action against him if he didn’t pay child support. Bruno reportedly claimed that he was told about Samudio’s kidnapping after it had happened and that she had been taken to his second home where her hired killer was waiting.
Bruno was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison. He served less than a third — seven years — of the sentence before his lawyers secured his release, The Guardian reported. The reason he was granted early release was due to a petition for habeas corpus, a document that reports an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court. The petition was filed because Brazil’s slow courts failed to rule on his appeal for years.
Video of Bruno being released from prison and led to a car surfaced March 10.
2. Bruno Fed Parts of Samudio’s Body to Dogs
In his 2013 trial, Bruno admitted that Samudio was murdered, dismembered and fed to dogs. Previously, he had said he was unaware what happened to her, claiming she was likely alive but out of the country.
Others charged in the case claimed hired Marcos Santos, a former military police officer, to torture Samudio before strangling her with a tie and chopping up her body. Parts of her corpse were allegedly fed to Santos’ rottweilers and the rest of them were buried in concrete.
Bruno said during the trial that he wasn’t there for Samudio’s murder, but Rosa told him what happened.
There he held her hands and asked (Romao) to tie them in front of her, and put a tie around her neck. And (Romao) even kicked Eliza’s legs away. That’s what Jorge told me. And that they had chopped up her body, that they had thrown her body for the dogs to eat.
Santos was allegedly paid about $10,000 USD to kill her.
3. Bruno Reportedly Tried to Commit Suicide Twice
Bruno had refused to testify for much of the trial, denying the accusations and continuing to claim that he wasn’t sure where she was.
During a hearing, Romao informed the judge that he and the goalkeeper were no longer going to cooperate with the court. He told judge Pasta Marco Jose Couto Mattos that the “goalkeeper tried to kill himself several times” as a result of the trial and imprisonment.
But the Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro denied that Bruno had tried to commit suicide. Prior to a court hearing, Bruno fainted inside of a cell after he suffered from a drop in his blood-glucose level.
4. Samudio Was a Model & Became Pregnant With Bruno’s Child After an ‘Orgy’
Samudio was a Brazilian model, a student and a big soccer fan.
She reportedly first met Bruno in 2009 at a party at a teammates’ home after a game. Bruno was married and had kids, but the two connected at the party and had an ongoing affair that lasted roughly three months. The party was reportedly a “footballers orgy” in May 2009, Daily Mail reported. According to the article, the pair had sex, and Samudio was pregnant after Bruno’s condom burst.
Bruno then reportedly “demanded” that Samudio have an abortion, but she moved forward with the pregnancy despite his wishes. When she was about four months pregnant, Samudio allegedly had informed police that she was held captive by Bruno and others and was forced to take Cycotec, an illegal abortion drug. During the incident, Samudio claimed that Bruno placed a gun to her head and said, “You don’t know who I am or what I’m capable of. I’m from the favela.”
The Cyotec dose eventually failed, and Samudio ended up giving birth to the baby, named Bruninho, in February 2010. Bruno never acknowledged he was the father of the child and denied attempts to take a paternity test. Eventually, DNA tests proved that Bruninho was indeed the child of Bruno.
Samudio previously had claimed to have an affair with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
5. He’s Been Playing Professional Soccer Since 2002
After playing youth soccer in Brazil, Bruno signed a deal with Atletico Mineiro in 2002 and played there until 2006. He played in 59 games with the club before signing to play for Corinthians. But Bruno spent all of his time with Corinthians as a backup to goalie Marcelo and never played in a single match.
His contract from Corinthians was loaned out to Flamengo, and Bruno was playing in Brazil’s highest soccer league, Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.
Due to injury of Flamengo’s starting goalkeeper, Bruno found himself as a starter right away and made the most of the opportunity. He helped the team win a national championship in 2007.
One year later, Bruno was named the captain of Flamengo. He continued to find success and figured to play a part on Brazil’s national team eventually. But the murder charges and eventual conviction resulted in the Flamengo suspending Bruno’s contract. The club said it wouldn’t support Bruno or welcome him back even if he was found not guilty of the charges.