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Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2005

Suspect in U.S. nun’s death claims self-defense

December 10, 2005

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— The man accused of killing the American nun and rain forest defender Dorothy Stang told a jury Friday that he acted in self-defense after mistaking her Bible for a gun.

Rayfran das Neves Sales is accused of killing Stang, 73, with six shots from a .38-caliber revolver on Feb. 12 on a road deep in the Amazon rain forest.

Stang was killed in Para state, which is notorious across Brazil for corruption and land-related violence.

Sales testified he and Stang had an argument over who owned the land he was working, and that Stang threatened to "finish him off" with the help of some 150 people living on a sustainable development reserve she was trying to establish.

"She said, 'The weapon I have is this,' and reached into her bag," Sales said. "I didn't know what she was going to pull out of her bag, so I shot her."

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