Second rancher found guilty in murder of Dorothy Stang

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A court in Brazil May 1 sentenced a second rancher to 30 years in prison for ordering the murder in 2005 of Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Dorothy Stang, who defended poor peasants and opposed the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

A jury in the Amazon port city of Belem found Regivaldo Galvao guilty of ordering the murder of 73-year-old Stang, according to a statement on the web page of the Para state judiciary.

Defense lawyers will decide within 5 days whether to appeal, the statement said.

Galvao was the last of five defendants to be tried in the Stang case. Last month Galvao's accomplice, Vitalmiro Moura, also a rancher, was convicted in a retrial to the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for hiring gunmen to commit the murder.

Stang was shot six times in February 2005 as she held her Bible and was left lying in the mud in the town of Anapu in Para, a frontier state where loggers and ranchers have deforested huge swaths of the world's biggest rain forest.

Stang, an Ohio native, had for more than 20 years helped peasants threatened by loggers and ranchers in Brazil's northern Para state, one of the most devastated by deforestation

Prosecutors said Galvão and Moura offered to pay a gunman $25,000 to kill Stang because she prevented them from stealing a piece of land that the government had granted to a group of poor farmers.

The trials were seen as a litmus test for Brazil’s ability to begin to end the lawlessness that reigns in the Amazon region, an area the size of the United States west of the Mississippi River. The government has little presence in the area, and illegal deforestation and illegal mining are rampant.

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