The man believed to have killed Brent Sikkema in his apartment in Rio de Janeiro may confess to the crime, his lawyers indicated.
Alejandro Triana Prevez, a 30-year-old Cuban national, was arrested just days after the 75-year-old New York gallerist was found dead in his apartment in Rio’s affluent neighborhood of Jardim Botânico. Sikkema’s death shocked the art world, spurring heartfelt messages of remembrance.
Prevez’s lawyer Greg Andrade revealed that his client had confessed and alleged the crime was masterminded by another person in an interview with the O Globo newspaper. Edna de Castro, another attorney for Prevez, told Folha de São Paulo that he might have been drugged before the killing.
Andrade would not confirm if his client had confessed to the crime or had been drugged, but did tell Artnet News in text messages that his client had presented him “with some facts and information that has not yet been provided to police.”
“We are waiting for the police chief,” Andrade said, adding that Prevez may provide a written statement through his lawyers after speaking to authorities. “He has a lot to say. This story is much more complicated than we can even imagine.”
According to Andrade, Prevez comes from a family of four brothers. His father is a Cuban businessman and his mother a nuclear chemist who immigrated from the Soviet Union to complete her post-doctorate in Brazil. She was later diagnosed with cancer and died. Prevez, who has previously authored three books with one published, intends to write his story from prison in Brazil. His lawyers added that they took books to him today including Dom Casmurro, an 1899 novel by Brazilian author Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, and O Primo Basílio by the Portuguese author José Maria de Eça de Queiroz.
“We can’t give any more details so as not to hinder the investigations, but he is willing to tell the whole truth,” Andrade said of Prevez.
The press office of the Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro said by email that it does not have access to the content of testimonies to confirm whether he had confessed.
Andrade also told Folha de São Paulo he met with Prevez for two hours on Friday at a jail and prison complex called Gericinó in the Bangu neighborhood of Rio’s West Zone. He said that a statement from his client could be expected by Tuesday.
“He’s going to cooperate with all aspects of the investigation. He admits the crime and goes further,” Andrade said. “As we expected, it’s a crime of command.” Andrade said his client is not a “consummate criminal,” but a man “who made a wrong choice.”
The O Globo newspaper revealed that, before his death, the gallerist bought a new home in the Leblon neighborhood with the key to the new property expected to be handed over to him just days after he was killed. Sikkema brought $40,000 with him from the United States that he planned to use to decorate his new home over a long Christmas holiday.
Prevez was arrested at a gas station between the cities of Uberaba and Uberlândia in the state of Minas Gerais, more than 550 miles away. He was identified by investigators with Rio’s Capital Homicide Police using surveillance footage. The security firm Gabriel has provided Artnet News with camera footage showing the suspect ahead of Sikkema’s death.
“The police identified that the man was in São Paulo before committing the crime,” officials said in a previous statement. “It was to that state that he returned after the murder. From then on, he began to move around [until his capture].”
Police are reported to be investigating whether Trevez had a relationship with Daniel Sikkema, identified by O Globo as the gallerist’s ex-husband. Daniel Sikkema is also reportedly from Cuba.
Friends of Sikkema told Folha de São Paulo that Brent Sikkema had been to court trying to get permission to see the son the pair shared, born through a surrogate. Daniel Sikkema allegedly sought $6 million from Brent to see their son. Police confirmed such details to O Globo in a news conference.
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