António Luís Costa

António Luís Costa

António Luís Costa is an ex-GNR soldier from Santa Comba Dão, Portugal, who killed three young women. On 31 July 2007 the court found the defendant guilty of all crimes except for the crime of hiding the body of one of his victims, since she was still alive when she was thrown to the Atlantic ocean.

Alleged crimes

The first alleged victim was Isabel Cristina Isidoro that went missing on 24 May 2005 and her body was recovered from the ocean on 31 May 2005. [http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/16336.htm Diário de Coimbra ] ] The second alleged victim was Mariana Lourenço that went missing on 14 October 2005 and whose mutilated body was found in June of the following year. The alleged third and last victim was Joana Oliveira that went missing on 8 May 2006 and whose body was recovered under a bridge following directions given by Costa. Costa said that after he had a consensual sexual relation with the first victim and asked for a kiss to the second and third victims, when they threatened to tell he suffocated them. [http://www.portugaldiario.iol.pt/noticia.php?id=831207&div_id=291 PortugalDiário - A informação actualizada ao minuto: as últimas notícias do país e do mundo ] ] [ [http://www.asbeiras.pt/index2.php?area=geral&numero=47087&ed=01082007 asbeirasonline ] ]

Arrest and confession

Costa was arrested by the Polícia Judiciária on 24 June 2006. At first he confessed the crimes, both to the police and to the judge conducting the preliminary investigation, but later withdraw his confession and accused an uncle of Lourenço for the crimes. [http://www.asbeiras.pt/index2.php?area=geral&numero=47090&ed=01082007 asbeirasonline ] ] He said that he was coerced by the Polícia Judiciária to confess, but the Polícia Judiciária refutes that accusation. [ [http://dn.sapo.pt/2007/06/04/sociedade/quarta_vitima_e_pecachave_acusacao_c.html DN Online: 'Quarta vítima' é peça-chave na acusação contra "serial killer" ] ] [ [http://sol.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Sociedade/Interior.aspx?content_id=39729 Sol ] ] He was telephone tapped confessing the crimes to his family. [http://expresso.clix.pt/Actualidade/Interior.aspx?content_id=397768]

Trial

The trial started on 4 July 2007. The defender was charged with three murders, three crimes of hiding the body, one crime of profaning the body (for undressing a body [http://www.correiomanha.pt/noticia.asp?id=252317&idselect=9&idCanal=9&p=200 Correio da Manhã ] ] ), two crimes of attempting sexual coercion and one crime of calumnious denunciation (for accusing an uncle of Lourenço for the crimes). During the trial, Costa claimed his innocence and remained mute except for the first and last court sessions.

The Ministério Público (public prosecutor) asked for a sentence of 25 years of prison, the maximum allowed under the Portuguese law, and said that the only reason they don't ask for more is because it is not possible. The prosecution said that the defender acted on a sexual impulse and that from the start Costa tried to be considered insane as a means to escape the trial, but two psychiatric examinations found the defender to be sane enough to stand trial.

The defense said that a psychiatric examinations found no psychopathy and no promiscuous sexual behaviour. [http://sol.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Sociedade/Interior.aspx?content_id=44806 Sol ] ] Also said that the rights of the defender were not respected since he was treated as a guilty psychopathic serial killer. The defense said that the testimony given by witnesses may not be reliable because of inconsistencies and because the witness discussed the case between them. The police investigation was criticized by the defense that said that some persons where not investigated enough.

On 31 July 2007 the court found the defender guilty of all crimes except for the crime of hiding the body of Isidoro, since she was still alive when she was thrown to the ocean. [ [http://sol.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Sociedade/Interior.aspx?content_id=42058 Sol ] ] The defender was sentenced to 64 and a half years in prison, reduced to 25 years, the maximum penalty under the Portuguese law. The defense lawyer announced that the defense will appeal the conviction. [ [http://diariodigital.sapo.pt/news.asp?section_id=13&id_news=288653 Diário Digital ] ]

Media coverage

The case received extensive media attention in Portugal. It was front page in some newspapers. [http://www.correiodamanha.pt/noticia.asp?id=252344&idCanal=20] [ [http://dn.sapo.pt/2007/08/01/index.html#papel DIÁRIO DE NOTÍCIAS - Capa DN Quarta-feira, 1 de Agosto de 2007 ] ] [http://jn.sapo.pt/2007/08/01/imagens_jn/cpais.jpg]

Criticism to the maximum penalty of 25 years

The case raised some criticisms towards the Portuguese rule that sets 25 years in prison as the maximum penalty. Some people argued that more severe sentences should be allowed. [ [http://www.correiomanha.pt/noticia.asp?id=252259&idCanal=21 Correio da Manhã ] ] [ [http://www.correiomanha.pt/noticia.asp?id=252317&idCanal=9 Correio da Manhã ] ] [ [http://www.sondagenspt.net/index.php?module=sondagem&res=r&id=376 SondagensPT - onde o teu voto conta ] ]

References


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