NATIONAL NEWS

Escaped murderer back in court over crimes authorities say he committed while on the run

Nov 17, 2023, 12:12 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

A convicted murderer who escaped from a southeastern Pennsylvania prison earlier this year and eluded a massive two-week search before he was recaptured was arraigned Friday on theft, burglary and other charges in connection with alleged crimes committed while he was on the run.

Danilo Cavalcante, 34, did not say much during the brief hearing where he appeared via video conference. Authorities have said that following his Aug. 31 escape from Chester County Prison, he stole a transit van and burglarized homes in southeastern Pennsylvania, where a rifle and ammunition, clothing, a sleeping bag and other items were stolen.

During the hearing, prosecutors consolidated the new charges with the initial escape charge Cavalcante faced after he was captured. A preliminary hearing will be held where more information regarding both sets of charges will be discussed, but a date for that hearing has not been scheduled.

Cavalcante was charged Monday with felony counts of burglary, criminal trespass, theft and possession of a firearm as well as a number of misdemeanor charges including theft and receiving stolen property. The county public defender’s office, which is representing him, and prosecutors declined comment following Friday’s hearing.

Cavalcante had been sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of killing Deborah Brandao in front of her children in 2021. Prosecutors say he wanted to stop her from telling police he was wanted in a 2017 killing in Brazil. He was awaiting transfer to a state prison when he scaled a wall and then jumped from a roof to escape.

Cavalcante was captured Sept. 13 after a two-week search that left residents on edge and led to school closures right at the start of the academic year, as well as warnings for residents to lock their doors and blocked roads over the busy Labor Day weekend.

Law enforcement’s big break came when a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Cavalcante’s heat signal, allowing teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.

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