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Nebraska Supreme Court upholds convictions, life sentences of man who killed Brazilian family


OMAHA, Nebraska — The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder convictions and three life sentences of a man who killed two Brazilian missionaries and their 7-year-old son in Omaha.

Jose Oliveira-Coutinho alleged numerous errors by the trial court in his appeal. On Friday, the state's high court rejected them all.

Oliveira-Coutinho was one of three Brazilian men charged with killing Vanderlei Szczepanik, his wife, Jacqueline, and their son, Christopher. Valdeir Goncalves-Santos was sentenced to 20 years for his role. The other man remains in Brazil.

Prosecutors say the men beat Vanderlei Szczepanik to death and hanged his wife and son before throwing their bodies in the Missouri River. The family was last seen alive in December 2009. Christopher's body was recovered in 2011, but his parents' bodies were never found.

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