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World Briefing / Brazil

Retrial ordered in U.S. nun's death

April 08, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

A court ordered the arrest and retrial of a rancher acquitted of orchestrating the murder of an American nun in the Amazon.

The top court in Para state reversed last year's not-guilty verdict for Vitalmiro Moura on a technicality, a court spokesman said.

Moura is accused of masterminding the 2005 shooting death of 73-year-old Dorothy Stang.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Stang spent three decades on the Amazon's wild frontier, working to preserve the rain forest and defend the rights of poor settlers whose lands were seized by powerful ranchers.

Prosecutors contend that Moura and rancher Regivaldo Galvao hired gunmen to kill Stang over a disputed plot of land. Moura was found guilty by a state court in 2007 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. But that ruling was overturned last year after the man who confessed to shooting Stang recanted earlier testimony, insisting that he had acted alone.

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