The mother of a convicted murderer, Danelo Cavalcante, who was apprehended on Wednesday after nearly a two-week escape, has offered a defense of his actions, asserting that he felt he “had no other option” but to commit the crime against his ex-girlfriend.
Iracema, Danelo Cavalcante’s mother, placed responsibility for the tragic event on his girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in an interview conducted on Tuesday.
“Did it happen? It happened. But it happened because of the stranglehold she put on him, the stance she took with him,” Iracema said of her son stabbing Brandao to death while her young son and daughter were present.
“It wasn’t femicide,” Iracema told the New York Times. “He had to, he had no other choice.”
According to New York Post Pennsylvania authorities have strong suspicions that Danelo, aged 34, took the life of Brandao, aged 33, back in April 2021. It’s believed she made a grim discovery that he had been involved in a murder in his native country, Brazil, four years prior.
In relation to the earlier case in Brazil, Iracema claims that Valtar Júnior Moreira dos Reis had previously issued threats against her son’s life, thereby creating a sense of urgency.
With Danelo now in custody and having been escorted by a SWAT team into a van on Wednesday, Iracema has expressed her concerns for her son’s future. The extensive manhunt involving over 400 law enforcement officers characterized the fugitive as “extremely dangerous.”
As part of their efforts to compel Danelo to surrender, authorities played a message recorded by Iracema, in which she implored her son to turn himself in. However, Iracema has since shared her apprehension regarding Danelo’s fate, expressing worries that a potential life sentence or a violent confrontation with law enforcement would be unjust outcomes.
“If I said my son didn’t make a mistake, I’d be lying,” she said.
“I know what my son did was wrong. I know my son should pay for his mistake. But I want my son to pay for his mistake with dignity — not to pay with his life.”
She continued by suggesting that, given the prospect of spending life in a maximum-security prison, Danelo might consider that a preferable alternative to his fate.
“If [the choice is] to go to a place to suffer and die in that place, it’s better to die soon,” she said. “You don’t have to suffer so much just to die later.”