updated 10/31/2007 2:12:12 PM ET 2007-10-31T18:12:12

A Brazilian court has convicted a man of killing French charity workers who rescued him from life as a homeless child and gave him a job as an accountant.

Tarsio Wilson Ramires, 25, was sentenced to 59 years in prison for killing Delphine Douyere, 36, Christian Doupes, 42, and Jerome Faure, 38, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday. She declined to be identified according to court policy.

Douyere and Doupes brought Ramires in from life on the street more than a decade ago and eventually gave him a job as an accountant for their nonprofit organization Terr'Ativa, which translates roughly as Active Earth, that works to help poor children.

Prosecutors alleged Ramires killed the three after he was accused of embezzling.

On the morning of the killing, a doorman heard screams from the group's third-floor office and captured Ramires as he tried to flee with a safe. Two other suspects were arrested within hours.

Ramires' two alleged accomplices are set to stand trial for the same crime in December.

The sentence is largely symbolic because in Brazil, no one can serve more than 30 in prison at single stretch.

Ramires also will receive an automatic retrial, which Brazil grants to all first offenders sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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