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Rancher tied to nun's case is charged

Associated Press / March 12, 2009
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RIO DE JANEIRO - A rancher fighting accusations that he ordered the slaying of an American nun has now been charged with trying to fraudulently obtain the plot of Amazon rain forest she died trying to defend, a prosecutor said yesterday.

The new charge, filed in federal court in the northern city of Altamira, could undermine one of Regivaldo Galvao's key alibis in the murder case, which is separate. He has testified he had no interest in the piece of land that 73-year-old Dorothy Stang was trying to defend when she was shot to death in 2005.

But prosecutors say that Galvao presented documents to Brazil's Incra land reform agency in November asserting he owns the disputed land and saying he wants it back.

Federal prosecutor Felicio Pontes said Galvao's claim is fraudulent - that the land where Stang was killed is public property - and that the attempt to get the land will aid prosecutors trying to convict him of killing the nun, a native of Dayton, Ohio.

"It will help the case of Dorothy's murder," Pontes said. "The case is still open and we can use the facts from this land case in Dorothy's. He is going to be found guilty, I have no doubt."

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