The 75-year-old leader of a satanic cult in Brazil denied charges she tortured, castrated and murdered children in black magic rituals over a decade ago and declared, “I haven’t the courage to kill a chicken.”
Valentina Andrade, the last of five defendants to stand trial in connection with the torture-killing of children from 1989-93 in Altamira in northern Brazil’s Para State, has been in preventive custody since September 5, shortly after the first of the trials opened in late August.
Prosecutors said a total of 19 children aged eight to 13 had suffered mutilation and torture. They said they opened seven investigations, but only one of them produced sufficient evidence to bring the five defendants to trial.
Only five of the 19 children survived, they said.
Prosecutors said Andrade and her four alleged accomplices had over several years blocked the investigations through influence peddling, intimidation of witnesses and vanished evidence.
The trials have been held in Belem do Para, some 690 kilometres east of Altamira, because all five defendants are influential members of Altamira society.
The first four defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 32 to 77 years.
On Wednesday, the first day of the last session of the trial, presiding judge Ronaldo Valle played an audio cassette of a simulated castration, saying he wanted to give the jurors an idea of the suffering experienced by the victim.
Andrade was described as the leader of the Superior Universal Alignment (LUS) sect, which believes that children born after 1981 are evil and must be expunged. It contends that only members of the group will survive the pending destruction of the Earth by escaping in a spacecraft.
The four defendants already convicted included two physicians who conducted the castrations.
Two surviving children have testified in the trials.
Wandiclei Pinheiro, now aged 22, was nine years old at the time of the crimes, and managed to flee his captors after being castrated and left for dead.
He identified one of his torturers, and recounted in graphic detail his abduction, being put to sleep with a foul-smelling rag held over his face, and how he awoke, apparently left for dead in a wooded area, naked and without his genitals.