Brazilian Testifies To Dismembering British Teen

By: Marco Sibaja, Associated Press Email
By: Marco Sibaja, Associated Press Email

GOIANIA, Brazil (AP) - A young Brazilian man calmly testified Thursday that he stabbed a British teenager to death and dismembered her last year after they argued about his heavy drug use and his refusal to give her money.

Mohamed D'Ali Carvalho Santos said he had been smoking crack cocaine for four days when 17-year-old Cara Marie Burke threatened to tell his mother he was spending all his money on drugs if he didn't give her an unspecified amount of cash.

Santos also testified that Burke threatened to have a police officer who was her boyfriend confiscate his drugs and sell them so she could get the money she wanted.

As she went into the living room toward a telephone to call the officer, Santos cranked up the volume on his stereo, he testified.

He put one hand over her mouth and started stabbing her with a knife that he had been using to cut up cocaine, Santos testified. She grabbed at the knife, and he bit her arm so she would let go.

"I don't remember where I stabbed," the 20-year-old Santos testified. "I kept on stabbing away, not knowing where, and when I saw what I had done, she was dead."

Santos said he then took a bath and went to an all-night party. On the way home, Santos testified, he stopped at a supermarket and bought a larger knife so he could cut up her body.

After arriving home, he put her body in a bathtub and severed her limbs and head, putting them in one suitcase and her torso in another, according to his testimony. He disposed of the remains near two rivers in Goiania, a central Brazilian city of about 2 million.

Police found a text message in Santos' cell phone saying "the bitch is in the bag." The message 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 spoke without emotion in response to questions by a prosecutor. And he laughed when the judge asked him to describe in English the verbal exchange he and Burke had just before her killing.

"She said, 'I'm going to call your mother and tell her you spend your money on drugs,"' Santos testified in English. "I said, 'I don't give a (expletive)."'

Santos also confirmed during his testimony that he had sent text messages complaining that Burke had backed off plans to marry him so he could apply for British citizenship - the main motive cited by the prosecution for the killing.

In response to a question from his lawyer, Santos said he liked Burke and was sorry he killed her.

Burke came to Brazil last year after she met Santos in London and he invited her for an extended stay in Goiania. The two were not a couple, according to testimony.

During earlier testimony, Santos alternately listened attentively and yawned as witnesses described how Burke was killed July 25.

The jury was expected to deliver a verdict Thursday night, with sentencing by the judge shortly afterward.

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

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.

Santos' aunt, Jeane Lucia de Sousa, testified that her 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," she 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.

Born in March, the child was conceived during a conjugal visit after Santos' arrest last year.

Santos' brother Bruce Lee Santos testified that the defendant stabbed him twice during arguments and used to take a handgun to school.

Bruce Lee Santos also said his brother was deeply affected as a child by the killing of his father, a police officer. The aunt testified the father's body was found with his genitals and legs cut off and his eyes gouged out.

The father named his sons after two of his heroes: boxer Muhammad Ali and martial arts star Bruce Lee.
Associated Press writer Alan Clendenning in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.

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