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Gatti's wife is accused of killing him

July 13, 2009|Associated Press

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazilian authorities detained the wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti and formally accused her Sunday of killing him at a posh seaside tourist resort.

Police said 23-year-old Amanda Rodrigues was taken into custody after contradictions in her interrogation and presented a formal accusation against her. Prosecutors will later decide whether she will be charged.

Rodrigues, who denies any involvement in her husband's death, was the first to find the slain boxer's body early Saturday inside the vacation apartment they were renting at the Porto de Galinhas resort in northeastern Brazil, police said.

The former junior-welterweight champion was apparently strangled with the strap of a purse, which was found at the scene with bloodstains, said Milena Saraiva, a spokeswoman for the Pernambuco state civil police. She told the Associated Press that the Canadian also suffered a head injury.

Police said Rodrigues, a Brazilian, could not explain how she spent nearly 10 hours inside the residence without noticing that Gatti was already dead.

Rodrigues told police she had a fight with Gatti after dinner Friday night and he pushed her to the ground during the altercation, causing her to suffer minor injuries to her elbow and chin. She told authorities Gatti was drunk and that a third party probably committed the crime after he went to the apartment by himself.

Witnesses had reported to police that the couple fought and that Gatti was drunk.

Authorities were told the couple were extremely jealous of each other and that Gatti constantly complained about her clothing when she traveled to Brazil, Saraiva said.

Acelino "Popo" Freitas, a four-time world champion Brazilian boxer, told Globo TV's website Saturday he was a close friend of Gatti and his wife and he "knew they were having some sort of problem and were about to separate."

They had planned to spend one month in Brazil on vacation.

The couple's 1-year-old son, who was unhurt, was with Rodrigues' sister, Saraiva said.

The 37-year-old Gatti retired in 2007 with a record of 40-9 and 31 knockouts.

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