Brazilian man convicted of Omaha murders tries to avoid death sentence

Feb 6, 2013

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Attorneys for a man convicted of killing a husband and wife and their 7-year-old son have filed a motion to try to keep him from being sentenced to death.

Jose Oliveira-Coutinho was one of three Brazilian men charged with killing Vanderlei Szczepanik, his wife, Jacqueline, and their son, Christopher. Oliveira-Coutinho was convicted last year in Douglas County District Court of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of theft.

Investigators say Oliveira-Coutinho and two other men beat Vanderlei Szczepanik to death and hanged his wife and son, throwing the bodies in the Missouri River.

Oliveira-Coutinho's attorneys argue in the motion that Nebraska's death penalty law is unconstitutional.

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