A jury in Brazil has sentenced Tatiana Ferreira Lozano Pereira to 25 years and eight months in prison for killing her 17-year-old son, Itaberli Lozano.
According to prosecutors, Pereira never accepted her son after he came out and in December of 2016, they had a fight that resulted in Lozano moving in with his grandmother. Following that argument, Pereira is said to have lured Lozano back to the family house by claiming to want a reconciliation. An investigation found she had actually hired hitmen named Victor Roberto da Silva and Miller da Silva Barissa to kill Lozano upon his return.
When Lozano came back, prosecutors said, the hitmen beat the boy but refused to kill him. At that point, Pereira took up a knife and stabbed her son herself.
Then Pereira and her husband, Alex Pereira, took the body to a cane field and set it on fire. The remains were found a week later, and required a forensic investigation to identify.
Speaking to police, Lozano’s uncle Dario Rosa said, “He had a job, he was very polite, [and] he never quarreled with anyone. He only had problems with his mother, who did not accept that he was a homosexual.”
At trial, Tatiana Pereira said that she fought with her son because he brought men home and used drugs — she maintainted that she was not homophobic. She said that Lozano had flown into a rage and threatened to kill her.
Investigators uncovered evidence on social media that Pereira had hired thugs to beat her son in the days before the fatal attack.
Hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people have risen in Brazil since the election of wealthy right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. Earlier this year, Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that the country’s nondiscrimination laws much cover sexual orientation and gender.
There have been some discrepancies in reporting around the case, making some facts difficult to determine. According to some accounts, police were notified of the boy’s disappearance by a grandmother. But other reporting indicates that the mother eventually went to police a week after the murder was committed.
In addition, although British tabloids say the hitmen refused to participate in the crime, Brazilian media indicates that they were sentenced to 21 years in prison on unspecified charges. Some reports suggest that there was a third hitman, though that may be the result of confusion over the role of the husband.
Pereira is expected to appeal.