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Bruno Fernandes, footballer who was jailed for 22 years

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Bruno Fernandes
  • Bruno Fernandes de Souza was sentenced to prison for 22 years
  • He pleaded guilty for the murder of his former mistress, Eliza Samudio
  • Bruno started serving his sentence in Varginha prison but is now under house arrest

There are several footballers who have gone to jail. Some of the famous footballers who have found themselves behind bars are Ian Wright, Joey Barton, Adam Johnson, Benjamin Mendy and Ronaldinho. Well, it might be a surprise to many football fans that there is a footballer who was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes in action for Flamengo, 2009. Photo/ The Guardian

Bruno Fernandes de Souza is not a strange name to football fans. The Brazilian international was a professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He was among the best young goalkeepers in the world between 2007 and 2009 when he was playing for Flamengo. Bruno Fernandes helped the Brazilian team win the Rio de Janeiro State League for three consecutive seasons; 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Bruno Fernandes got himself in trouble with the law back in 2010 when his former mistress disappeared. Eliza Samudio and Bruno Fernandez were dating despite the fact that the athlete was a married man.

Eliza Samudio got pregnant and claimed that Bruno Fernandes was the father to her unborn baby. Bruno Fernandes however refused to support the child after Eliza Samudio gave birth.

Samudio sued Bruno Fernandes for failing to offer child’s support. The goalkeeper was sued at a time when his transfer to AC Milan was being negotiated.

On 9 June 2010, Eliza Samudio disappeared. Bruno Fernandes’ wife later turned up with Samudio’s child. A Brazilian court ordered the arrest of Bruno Fernandes on suspicion of Samudio’s murder.

Few days later, Bruno Fernandes’ 17-year old cousin told the police that Eliza Samudio was dead. He also revealed that he had taken part in Samudio’s abduction. However, he did not reveal to the police how they murdered Samudio or where her body was. The teenager also told the police that Bruno Fernandes was the father to Samudio’s child.

Flamengo suspended their contract with Bruno Fernandes immediately after the reports from Bruno’s cousin went viral. Flamengo’s lawyers who were representing Bruno Fernandes in court also stopped representing him immediately.

In late July, Bruno Fernandes confessed he was involved in the disappearance and murder of her former mistress, Eliza Samudio. According to the police, Bruno’s cousin later revealed that Samudio’s body was cut up and fed to dogs while other parts were buried under a concrete.

Bruno Fernandes was formally charged with forming a criminal gang, kidnapping, murder, hiding a body and corrupting minors. On 8 March 2013, Bruno Fernandes was found guilty by a Brazilian court and eventually sentenced to 22 years in jail for the torture, assault and murder of Eliza Samudio. Bruno Fernandes’ case caused a debate worldwide concerning the misbehavior of athletes.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes with Brazilian police officers. Photo/ The Sun

However, the athlete was released from prison in February 2017. The release came after his lawyers filed a petition because of the slow processing of his appeal request. Immediately after his release, Bruno received a number of contract offers from several Brazilian teams. He signed a contract with Boa Esporte Clube FC.

In a media interview after signing with the Serie A club, Bruno admitted that he made a mistake. He also said that he is not a bad guy, mistakes happen in life.

“What happened happened. I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happen in life – I’m not a bad guy. People tried to bury my dreams because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career.”

However, Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered Bruno Fernandes’ arrest barely two months after he was released from prison. According to the Supreme Court, the athlete’s defense legal team was partly involved in the delay of his appeal so he could be released. Bruno Fernandes was therefore imprisoned again.

In July 2019, Bruno Fernandes was released from prison to serve in a “semi-open” program. In the program, the athlete could train or work in the day. However, he was under house arrest at night. He was supposed to return to jail each night.

Varginha Prison where Bruno Fernandes was serving his sentence had inadequate facilities to accommodate the coming and going of detainees. This led to the goalkeeper enjoying house arrest. As of now, Bruno Fernandes is still serving his 22-year sentence while under house arrest.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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