Prosecutors Called Her a "Personification of Evil"

Malinda Fusco

Sketch of Suzane von Richthofen from Wikipedia Commons

You may have heard of the Red Baron pizzas. They have a handsome brunette pilot on the box. You know the ones.

The real “Red Baron” to inspire the brand, Manfred von Richthofen, was a fighter pilot in WWI. But his legacy doesn’t stop there. Suzane von Richthofen, an heiress to the Red Baron name, was found guilty for the murder of her mother and father (the great-nephew of the original Red Baron).

In fact, prosecutors called her a

“personification of evil.”

Who is Suzane von Richthofen?

Suzane is the Brazilian daughter of Manfred Albert von Richthofen and Marisia von Richthofen. She has a younger brother, Andreas. Her father was a director for DERSA, which is a company that manages Sao Paulo’s highways.

Basically, Suzane’s parents were extremely wealthy. They had a declared net worth of about $5.5 million. Declared is the keyword there. It’s estimated that his net worth was way higher, closer to $17 million after all the money laundering and off-shore accounts that her father managed.

After graduating high school, Suzane studied law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo. Law, people!

Suzane was financially well-off and educated. You’d think if she studied law she’d be a lot smarter when making life choices, like murdering her parents or not, right? Wrong.

Star-Crossed Lovers?

It was the summer of 1999 when she met and fell in love with Daniel Cravinhos.

So, let’s be real. Suzane’s parents were not a fan of Daniel. There were a few circulating reasons for this:

  1. Daniel smoked marijuana daily.
  2. He had a low-class background.
  3. He didn’t want to attend further education.

Basically, they thought their daughter could do better. The longer the relationship went on, the less they approved. The less they approved, the closer Daniel and Suzane became.

When Suzane’s parents went on vacation for a month in July of 2002, Daniel stayed with Suzane and Andreas. This time together only fueled the lovers’ relationship and bond.

When her parents got back, Suzane asked her father to buy her an apartment for her and Daniel to live in. Manfred obviously refused and basically told her that if she made her own money she could do what she wanted. Clearly, Suzane was not a fan of this answer.

Little did her father know that he sealed his fate.

A Halloween Murder

October 31, 2002. That’s right, just like a bad B-rated movie, 22-year-old Suzane decided Halloween was a perfect time for murder.

And if you’re wondering if they celebrate Halloween in Brazil, they do. I checked.

Apparently, once her parents were fast asleep, Suzane disabled the alarm system and let her boyfriend and his brother, Christian Cravinhos, into her house. I guess an alarm system doesn’t do you any good if you have a murderous kid.

The two Cravinhos brothers went upstairs to the parents' bedroom and beat them with iron bars. Since that didn’t do the trick, they then strangled them with towels. Yeah, yikes.

Once the deed was done, the troublesome trio tried to stage a break-in. Basically, they messed shit up and pocketed some cash (think of it as a tip). Then, they fled the scene.

The two lovebirds went to a hotel and Christian went to go get some fast food. Because nothing makes you as hungry as murder, right?

The next morning, Suzane and her boyfriend Daniel picked up her kid brother Andreas (15 years old, by the way) and went home to “discover” the crime and call the police.

Investigators Zero In on Suzane

So, thankfully, the investigators looked at the scene and knew that it wasn’t a standard burglary. They zeroed in on people close to the family, questioning the kids, Suzane and Andreas, along with the hired help. What really made Suzane a prime suspect under their lens was two things:

  1. They realized the alarm system had been turned off.
  2. Suzane was very nonchalant about her parents' death, and that's putting it nicely.

Poor Andreas was devastated, but Suzane was pretty chill about being orphaned. She was spotted swimming in her parents’ pool with her boyfriend the day after the “discovery” of her parents. Then the day after their burial, she celebrated her 19th birthday with her besties in a huge party.

This is probably not the behavior you display when your parents are tragically murdered, and considering she studied law, I’m surprised she didn’t know better.

Despite all the speculation about Suzane’s cold-hearted behavior, what triggered the arrests was that Christian (again, her boyfriend’s brother) went out and bought a brand new motorcycle with his hard-earned cash from the “burglary.”

It was paid in unusually high bills, and remember, the Cravinhos brothers came from a lower-income bracket. Suspicious, much?

He didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy his sweet new ride. A few days later on November 9th, 2002, the trio of wrongdoers were arrested and Suzane quickly confessed to the murder.

The Trial and Verdict

On June 5, 2006, Suzane and the Cravinhos brothers were put on trial for the Brazilian equivalent of first-degree murder. Somehow, the trial was delayed until July 17, 2006.

In short, the trial was a bunch of finger-pointing. Suzane blamed the boys. The boys blamed her. No one wanted to get convicted.

It was Prosecutor Roberto Tardelli that dubbed Suzane as the “mastermind” of the whole event. He demanded 50 years of prison time for each of them: Suzane, Daniel, and Christian.

It did not take long for a verdict. On July 22, 2006, Suzane and Daniel were found guilty and sentenced to 40 years each in prison. Christian was sentenced to 38 years for conspiring with them.

Currently, Suzane is serving her time in Brazil.

But there’s a kicker…

Remember how rich her father was?

Well, her father had opened Swiss bank accounts in Suzane’s name (to help launder the money) back in November of 2001. The accounts were estimated to have over 10 million dollars.

Suzane will likely get that money when she’s released from prison since the accounts are in her name. That’s right: even though she was convicted for his murder.

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