Third Ex-policeman Confesses to Murder of Street Kids
BRASILIA, Brazil (CNN) -- A third former police officer confessed Saturday to shooting to death a group of Brazilian street children as they slept. Marco Aurelio Alcantara, who goes on trial next month, was identified by one child who survived the shooting and later identified him.
Marcos Vinicius Emmanuel, the first former policeman to go on trial for the 1993 shooting deaths of eight children, confessed, and was given a 309-year sentence for his crimes. Even though by Brazilian law, Emmanuel will only serve 30 years, the conviction is seen as a major step forward for human rights, since no Brazilian policeman had ever been convicted for murdering street children before.
Human rights groups believe about 1,000 homeless children are shot each year, many by squads hired by shopkeepers. Off-duty policemen are believed to sometimes participate in the squads.