Trial of alleged Brazilian "chainsaw massacre" deputy begins

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 The trial of the former Brazilian deputy Hildebrando Pascoal was scheduled to began on March 8 at 8:30 AM in Brasília. However the trial began about an hour later, because Pascoal needed to talk to his lawyer.

Pascoal, the former police officer Reginaldo Rocha de Souza and the alleged drug dealer Alexandre Alves da Silva are in trial because they are accused of murdering the police officer Walter Ayala in September 1997.

There are several other serious accusations against Pascoal, including: dealing with the drug cartel, leading death squads, robbery and political corruption.

The case was widely discussed in Brazil because a witness (whose identity could not be revealed since its life was in danger) said that Pascoal personally cut off the arms and legs of a man with a chainsaw. Another one told Pascoal killed at least 60 people.

Pascoal says he is innocent and that all the accusations were forged by his enemies: the former Court President of Acre, Jersino José da Silva and the Federal Prosecutor, Luiz Francisco de Souza.

Pascoal has been in jail for about 6 years.