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You Get The Blue Max For Eighty Kills, 39 Years For Two
Sat, 29 Jul '06
Red Baron Descendant Sentenced For Murdering Parents
A family branch descended from the line of Manfred von Richthofen
has come to a tragic end in Brazil. In Sao Paulo on Saturday, a court sentenced three young Brazilians to long prison terms for the October 31, 2002 murders of Manfred Alberto von Richthofen and his wife.
Apart from the interest resulting from the famous name, and the brutal nature of the crimes, the story has made a worldwide splash because of the identity of the murderers: the von Richtofens' 19-year- old daughter, Suzane; her boyfriend, Daniel Cravinhos; and Cravinhos's brother, Christian.
According to Brazilian press reports and the Associated Press, the root of Suzane's falling out with her parents was her relationship with Daniel Cravinhos, of whom her parents disapproved. Prosecutors suggested that the motive was not only to end the parental nagging, but also to get hold of the parental estate valued at almost a million dollars.
The Richthofen family, an old Prussian Junker line, has spread around the world and contained many unusual characters, but none more famous than the flying Richthofens: Manfred, Lothar and Wolfram. Manfred, the "Red Baron" of World War I, was a protege of Oswald Boelcke
who went on to become the ranking ace of the war with 80 kills. His younger brother Lothar was a forty-kill ace in his own right in the same squadron, Jasta 11. Distant cousin Wolfram, a latecomer to Jasta 11 who still shot down eight aircraft by war's end, went on to become a dive-bomber specialist whose ability brought him to the rank of Field Marshal in the World War II Luftwaffe. (Only five other men ever held that rank).
All three flying Richthofens died young: Manfred under the guns of Canadian pilot Wilfrid "Wop" May; Lothar in a crash of a civilian aircraft in 1922; and Wolfram in 1945 of a long illness that forced him into early retirement in 1944.
Another Richthofen emigrated to the United States in the 19th Century, and went on to build a replica of the family's castle. Yet another was recently in the German diplomatic service, and served as German Ambassador to the UK in the 1990s.
The latest von Richthofen in the news, Suzane, was sentenced to 39 years in prison Saturday, and the Cravinho brothers to forty each.
They bludgeoned the Richthofens; as crimes often do, the master plan quickly unraveled and Suzane confessed. The intervening four years have been spent in legal maneuverings, which are now at an end.
It's probably a good thing that the Red Baron didn't live to see this.
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