Case File #0237
The Rainbow Maniac
The Paturis Park Murders
"those who view homosexuality as evil and the work of the devil"
A series of murder in Brazil's Paturis Park from 2007 to 2008 are considered the work of a serial killer who preys on the city's homosexual and transvestite community. Because of the killer's victim preference, he was nicknamed the "Rainbow Manic" by the Brazilian press in reference to the colour of the gay pride flag.
The murders began on 4 July 2007 when 32-year-old José Cicero Henrique was shot to death in Paturis Park. Henrique was found shot in the head, half naked with his trousers around his knees. The murders started after the June 2007 Gay Pride Parade event which had seen an increase in attendance when 3.5 million celebrated through the streets of São Paulo with their slogan that year being ,"For a world without racism, macho sexism and homophobia".
Over the next year another 11 victims were murdered in a similar way, with 9 in almost exact circumstances, shot in the head with a 32. calibre pistol, except for one who was beaten to death. Investigators believed the killer used Paturis Park as his hunting ground because it was considered a meeting place for many of Sao Paulo's gay men and prostitutes. One of the victims was a transvestite who was found shot in one of the city's seedy motels. According to authorities, they suspected the killer was homophobic and believed he saw the murder as cleaning up the streets of what he may view as trash.
According to a study by São Paulo's Gay Pride Association there were 122 homophobic murders in Brazil in 2007 and found that 70% of transvestites had suffered some type of violence. They attributed this to intolerance amongst the community which is instigated by what they termed "ultra-conservative evangelical sects" and those who view homosexuality as evil and the work of the devil. The study also found some churches performed live TV 'exorcisms' of gay and lesbian people and promise to cure homosexuals across the country. There was speculation by a local newspaper who suggested the killer might have been using the internet, specifically the social networking service Orkut to arrange meetings with his victims.
On 19 August 2008 a gay black man was murdered in Paturis Park after being shot twelve times, however this time there were witnesses to the killing who reported the crime to police. This was the killers 12th victim and police now had their first lead in the identity of the perpetrator. São Paulo's State Public Safety Department announced their belief that the killer could be a state police officer and were testing the bullets from each victim to ascertain if the same weapon was used in all the murders.
Several months later, on 10 December 2008 a suspect was arrested. 46-year-old Jairo Francisco Franco was implicated in the murder in August 2008 by witness statements and at the time of his arrest was working as a supermarket security guard. When police investigated Franco, they discovered he was a former state police sergeant during the time of the murders and was identified as the man who shot the victim in August 2008. Another witness claimed that Franco often visited the park late at night looking for gay men to victimise.
With strong evidence police charged Jairo Francisco Franco with the 13 murder associated with the "Rainbow Maniac" of Carapicuiba and he went to trial in 2011. On 23 August 2011 he was found not guilty by a majority vote and released. There are no other suspects in the Paturis Park Murders, which is considered an unsolved case.