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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2006, 03:39 GMT 04:39 UK
Red Baron heiress killed parents
Suzane von Richtofen
Suzane von Richtofen's case has captivated the Brazilian media
A relative of the German World War I flying ace known as the Red Baron has been sentenced to 39 years in jail for killing her wealthy parents in Brazil.

Suzane von Richthofen, 22, whose father was a great nephew of fighter pilot Baron von Richthofen, was found guilty of the murders by a Sao Paulo court.

Her ex-boyfriend and his brother were also jailed for some 40 years each for the killings that took place in 2002.

The case has attracted a storm of publicity in Brazil.

Chief Prosecutor Roberto Tardelli described Suzane von Richthofen as the "mastermind" of the crime.

He said she was motivated by a desire to "get her hands on the money and assets her parents had worked so hard to obtain", the Associated Press news agency reports.

He said she "wanted her freedom and independence without having to work for it".

Packed courtroom

Suzane von Richthofen's former boyfriend, Daniel Cravinhos, and his brother, Christian, have already confessed they beat her parents to death in their Sao Paulo home.

The Red Baron with fellow soldiers
The Red Baron (in cockpit) was a legend in his own lifetime

A lawyer for the brothers said the young woman had urged the brothers to commit the crime by claiming her parents had mistreated her.

However, a lawyer for Richthofen said Daniel Cravinhos was the driving force behind the attack.

"This crime was committed only because Daniel wanted to," he said. "He was the only one with a motive - money."

Suzane von Richthofen's parents are believed to have opposed their daughter's relationship with Daniel Cravinhos, who came from a poorer family.

Lawyers for the three are expected to appeal the verdict.

Some 200 people filled the courtroom to hear the verdict being delivered on Saturday, the Associated Press news agency says.

Baron von Richthofen was shot dead during a dogfight over the River Somme in 1918, ending the career of one of Germany's most skilful - and most feared - fighter pilots.

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