Algarve club killing case goes to trial

By TPN/Lusa, in Algarve, Crime, News · 19-03-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The young man accused of shooting dead another young man who was working at a nightclub in Boliqueime, Loulé, showed regret for the crime when appearing in court on 16 March and claimed he had no intention of killing the man when he fired the shots.

“I am very sorry for what I did and I never shot to kill anyone", said António Tavares, 21, at the end of the first session of the trial held in Faro Court, during which the hearings of all the people listed as witnesses were concluded.

The crime dates back to the early hours of 23 August 2019, when 19-year-old Lucas Leote, who belonged to the staff of the Lick nightclub in the Algarve, was fatally shot in the head, with the suspected shooter having fled the scene.

According to the indictment, to which Lusa had access, the crime occurred "following an argument that occurred moments before with security guards of the establishment", and the accused acted in "revenge", with his face "covered by a helmet".

In court, one of the investigators from the Judicial Police (PJ) who collected evidence at the scene, reported that two shots were fired "in a continuous act" from a straight line distance of about seven metres from one of the entrances to the club, reserved for guests and where Lucas Leote and two security guards were.

After viewing the video surveillance images captured in the early hours of the crime and questioned about the alleged skill of António Tavares in handling the weapon, the witness noted that the defendant had "an ability to master the weapon".

According to the court, when he fired the shots, the accused assumed a body posture in which his legs were slightly bent, a position that, according to the PJ inspector, "allows him to shoot more effectively".

After being confronted with the images and asked whether he thought that the accused had experience with weapons or was holding a gun for the first time, the witness said he presumed that it was "a person with experience, by the way he assumed that posture".

One of the shots had a deviation in trajectory, ending up hitting the edge of a kind of aluminium screen placed next to that door of the nightclub, but the other did not suffer any deviation and pierced the aluminium, hitting Lucas Leote.
When questioned about the alleged intention of hitting someone, the inspector replied that he considered that there was such an intention on the part of the shooter, stressing that the security guards were visible from where the shots were fired.

According to the indictment, the Public Prosecutor's Office believes that the accused took "aim at the area of the head of the individuals who were at the scene, as this is where the essential organs of life are housed, knowing full well that the bullets fired would penetrate this region and that such conduct was likely” to cause their death.

The nine millimetre calibre firearm from which the shots had been fired was never recovered, as well as the bullet that fatally wounded the victim.

Tavares was on the run for about a year until he was arrested on the outskirts of Paris and handed over to the Portuguese authorities in August last year.

Speaking to journalists outside the court, the defence lawyer said that the defendant should be applied the young offenders' regime, given his age at the time of the crime, when he still could not "understand the value of the action".

"A person who is 20 years old does not have this notion", said Pedro Benamor Marvão, arguing that the defendant should be given "a non-custodial sentence", for example, in a correctional establishment, and not in prison.

According to the lawyer, António Tavares did not know the victim and "had no intention" of killing him, because when he fired "it was just to scare him", there was no "intent of malice", but rather "an attitude of reprisal against the provocation" of the security guards.

The defendant is charged with one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of attempted murder in the second degree, one count of possession of a prohibited weapon and one count of driving a motor vehicle without legal authorisation.

The reading of the judgement is scheduled for 26 March at 3pm at Faro Court.



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