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Pele’s Son Convicted of Murder

October 6, 1999

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ The son of Brazilian soccer great Pele was convicted of murder Monday for taking part in a car race on a city street seven years ago and killing a motorcyclist.

Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, 29, will serve six years in a work release program. He can work outside prison during the day but must return at night.

Also convicted, and receiving the same sentence, was Marcilio Jose Marinho de Melo, 25. He and Pele’s son were charged with striking and killing 50-year-old retiree Pedro Simoes Neto while racing their cars in Santos, 50 miles from Sao Paulo. Neto was struck by Melo’s car during the race in October 1992.

The verdict was appealed by Nascimento’s lawyer, Marlon Machado. He said some of the witnesses lied.

``It was so obvious, that the judge reminded one of them that he was testifying under oath,″ Machado said by telephone. ``They helped convict two innocent people.″

A ruling on the appeal is expected by August. Until then, Nascimento and Melo remain free.

In a tape aired by Globo News, Nascimento denied responsibility for the death.

``I witnessed an accident that happened in front of me,″ he said. ``My only involvement was as a witness.″

The Agencia Folha news agency quoted Nascimento as saying: ``We should congratulate the prosecutor because he managed to condemn two innocent people without proof.″

Nascimento was a reserve goalie for eight years on the Santos team, Pele’s former club. He retired from pro soccer in June.

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