For 14 days, the country — and particularly those living in southeastern Pennsylvania — waited to see if and when police would capture escaped murderer Danelo Souza Cavalcante.
The community was relieved when police finally apprehended Cavalcante in the early hours of September 13. Now that the chase is over, what additional criminal charges does Cavalcante face as he returns to prison?
The Crime & The Escape
Before Danelo Souza Cavalcante made national news, he had been an inmate at the Chester County Prison located in southeastern Pennsylvania for only a couple of weeks.
On August 16, Cavalcante was found guilty of first-degree murder for violently killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandão. Cavalcante is said to have killed Brandão in April 2021 because she knew he was wanted in his native Brazil in a 2017 homicide case. According to CNN, when Brandão learned of the case, she threatened to expose Cavalcante to police, so Cavalcante murdered her.
Cavalcante stabbed Brandão 38 times in front of her two young children. In Pennsylvania, the crime carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
But just two weeks after his conviction for killing Brandão, Cavalcante was out of prison.
Cavalcante broke out of the Chester County Prison on August 31. Surveillance video shows him crab-walking between two walls to scale to another floor of the building. The walls were topped with razor wire, but that didn’t prevent Cavalcante from jumping from the roof to the ground below.
Cavalcante escaped into woods in the area of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the chase began.
The Chase & The Capture
For two weeks, police tracked Cavalcante as he made his way around southeastern Pennsylvania.
During the first week of his escape, Cavalcante was sighted multiple times by residents in the area, but police were unable to apprehend him. On September 9, Cavalcante was able to escape the police search perimeter, change his clothes, and steal a van, as reported by AP News.
Just one day later, Cavalcante ditched the van, and the next day, he walked into an open garage, where he stole a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition. The homeowner confronted Cavalcante and shot at him several times, but Cavalcante again escaped capture.
It wasn’t until two days later when police finally caught Cavalcante.
Early in the morning of September 13, a thermal imaging camera picked up Cavalcante’s heat signal. Police moved into the area, and a search dog was able to locate and subdue Cavalcante. He was taken into custody around 8 a.m.
The New Charges
Cavalcante now faces new charges in Pennsylvania. Upon his capture, he was charged with one count of felony escape in the third degree.
In Pennsylvania, the additional charge carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
In Florida, the crime of escaping prison is a second-degree felony. It is defined in Florida Statute 944.40, which says “any prisoner confined in, or released on furlough from, any prison, jail, private correctional facility, road camp, or other penal institution, whether operated by the state, a county, or a municipality, or operated under a contract with the state, a county, or a municipality, working upon the public roads, or being transported to or from a place of confinement who escapes or attempts to escape from such confinement commits a felony of the second degree.”
The consequences for the crime in Florida are up to fifteen years in prison or fifteen years of probation and a $10,000 fine.
It is likely that Cavalcante will also face additional charges related to vehicle and gun theft. He will have a hearing on September 27.
Any additional jail time Cavalcante receives won’t have much consequence as he is already sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
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