Guilty Verdict in Missing Family's Murders - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Guilty Verdict in Missing Family's Murders

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OMAHA (KPTM)- A man accused of killing a Brazilian family has been convicted of three counts of murder and one count of theft.

A jury came back with the verdict in Jose Oliveira-Coutinho's case Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors say he killed Vanderlei Szczepanik, his wife Jacqueline and their son Christopher.

Two others were also accused in the killings. Valdeir Goncalves-Santos pleaded guilty to murder last year. He testified against Coutinho along with Coutinho's wife. Elias Lourenco-Batista was also charged, but authorities have been unable to extradite him to the United States due to the Brazilian Constitution. The Douglas County Attorney tried to work with Congress to extradite him.

Prosecutors said Christopher's body was found in the Missouri River last year. His parents still haven't been found. The family went missing in 2009.

Prosecutors said Goncalves testified that Vanderlei Szczepanik was beaten and that his wife and son were hanged. He helped lead police to Christopher's body.

Police said the three worked for the family that was renovating a South Omaha school. Police say the three stole from the family's bank accounts.

The jury took only three hours to reach a guilty verdict. They were called back hours later to determine if there were aggravating factors in the murder that would warrant the possibility of the death penalty.

The jurors returned that verdict in about half an hour.

They determined the death penalty should be considered. The aggravating factors were: the murders were committed for financial gain, there was more than one murder committed and two of the murders were committed to cover up the first.

Now the decision will be handed to a judge panel to decide if there is enough evidence for the death sentence. The final sentencing has not been scheduled yet.

The county attorney says the last time someone was sentenced to death for a crime in Douglas County was about five years ago.

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