Brazil Crime News
SAO PAULO – Elize Matsunaga, 30, who admitted to killing her husband and cutting his body to pieces, is enjoying a quiet routine in jail. Almost two months after killing her millionaire husband, food industry executive Marcos Matsunaga, 41, CEO of Yoki Foods, Elize remains behind bars.
Elize Matsunaga’s Quiet Jail Routine
Paparazzi snapped photos of Elize, incarcerated at the old Tremembé prison, in the interior of São Paulo state, since June 20th. Also locked up at the prison are some of Brazil’s most notorious female killers, such as Suzane Richthofen, convicted of murdering her parents, and Anna Carolina Jatobá, who is serving a sentence for the murder of her stepdaughter, Isabella Nardoni.
The photos, published in online media, show a river of brown roots taking over Elize’s formerly bleached-blond locks. She has put on a few pounds and has pasty-white pallor but she appears smiling in at least one photo.
Elize spent 15 days in solitary confinement after arriving at the prison but now spends her time in the general population. The images, shot from outside the facility, show Elize walking to the prison yard with other women. In the photos, Elize is wearing the prison uniform: khaki pants and orange shirt.
The Old Women’s Prison in Tremembé
The old prison, in the center of Tremembé, occupies the building of a former convent. It should not be confused with the new women’s prison of the same name, a modern facility that opened last year outside the city.
The old prison is home to just 153 of the most dangerous women in the country. It is divided into three housing units, has two factories, a chapel and a courtyard, where inmates can sunbathe. The women housed at the special prison have mostly committed crimes which are condemned, even among jail inmates.
Like Elize, Suzane and Ana Carolina, most of the other women here killed children, husbands and parents. They would be at risk in other prisons among the general population. Here, they interact with just 20 women who are not killers, but drug traffickers — some of those, foreigners.
“There is an internal rule among those arrested and imprisoned where they set up which crimes are permissible and which are not. The people in this prison unit are accepting and tolerant. All of them committed very serious crimes,” explained prosecutor Paulo José de Palma to G1.
The atmosphere at Tremembé is quiet. There have never been riots or other problems living. Most of the prisoners work. Suzane and Anna Carolina, for example, are part of a sewing workshop.
Elize, charged with homicide in the death of her husband, faces up to 30 years in prison. She can receive visitors, including her young daughter, but this has not happened yet. Denied bail twice, as a pre-trail prisoner, she doesn’t have to work like the other women.
The Yoki Foods/Marcos Matsunaga Murder Murder
Elize was a pretty prostitute from a humble background when she met her husband, Marcos Matsunaga, CEO of Yoki Foods, a family business which recently sold to General Mills Corp. for nearly one billion U.S. dollars.
Marcos, homely but very wealthy, was a customer who fell in love with the young call girl. They married and produced a daughter together just over a year ago. But Marcos reportedly couldn’t stay away from the working girls.
Elize hired a detective to follow her husband and document his infidelities. When confronted with the evidence, according to Elize, he became enraged and began to beat her. It was then, she said, that she pulled out a handgun he had given her as a present and shot him between the eyes.
What happened next is in dispute. Elize says that her husband was long dead when she decided to cut his body to pieces, pack the remains in suitcases and dump them in the wilderness. Prosecutors say that he was still alive when she dismembered him and that he drowned in his own blood.
If convicted of killing her husband “in a crime of passion,” Elize will be less culpable under Brazilian law and will face only 15 years in prison. If convicted of premeditated murder, as the prosecution alleges, she will face the maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars.
Elize will likely be barred from inheriting any of her husband’s estate, other than half of what he earned during their marriage. Her one year old daughter, though, stands to inherit upwards of $100 million U.S. dollars.