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Brazil police arrest alleged serial killer they say murdered 39 people

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 03:  Police officers patrol the recently "pacified" Babilônia slum, or favela, on December 3, 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Babilônia is one of a number of Favelas in Rio where the police are attempting a softer touch by participating in community policing after they clear the area of drug gangs. It is believed that the police want to continue with these programs citywide ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. As Brazil prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics international scrutiny is falling on Rio de Janeiro`s favelas where over 5,000 people were murdered  last year alone. In the last week violence in tourist areas has increased as drug gangs are increasingly reacting to an increased police presence in the favelas. In figures released Tuesday by the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística) statistics agency it was found that an average of 68 young Brazilian men died violently each day between 1998 and 2008. These numbers included murder, traffic accidents and gang violence involving the police.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 03: Police officers patrol the recently "pacified" Babilônia slum, or favela, on December 3, 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Babilônia is one of a number of Favelas in Rio where the police are attempting a softer touch by participating in community policing after they clear the area of drug gangs. It is believed that the police want to continue with these programs citywide ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. As Brazil prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics international scrutiny is falling on Rio de Janeiro`s favelas where over 5,000 people were murdered last year alone. In the last week violence in tourist areas has increased as drug gangs are increasingly reacting to an increased police presence in the favelas. In figures released Tuesday by the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística) statistics agency it was found that an average of 68 young Brazilian men died violently each day between 1998 and 2008. These numbers included murder, traffic accidents and gang violence involving the police. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)  (2009 Getty Images)

Brazilian police announced Thursday that they had captured a man who confessed to 39 murders.

The man's lawyer said his client was coerced into confessing crimes he didn't commit.

Investigator Norton Ferreira in the city of Goiania said police had linked a gun found in the home of suspect Tiago Rocha to the killings of at least six women this year.

Ferreira said that since being arrested Tuesday, the 26-year-old Rocha had confessed to at least 33 other killings in the country's Midwest dating back to early 2013, including several other young women and some homeless people.

Lawyer Thiago Vidal told the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo that his client confessed to crimes he didn't commit under aggressive questioning.

Rocha tried to slit his wrists in his jail cell using the base of a broken lightbulb but he was prevented from completing his attempt by a guard who managed to subdue him, the Civil Police chief of Goias, Eduardo Prado, who is one of those in charge of the investigation into the slayings, told Efe.

The multiple murderer needed several stitches on his wrists, Prado added, going on to say that Rocha, whom he described as a "cold and calculating" person, "showed no remorse at any time."

Prado told Efe that Rocha said he committed the crimes because "he felt a lot of rage" and that after the "initial pleasure" of the killings he felt a "great depression that pushed him to do those things (commit more murders) again."

The investigation has not yet been wrapped up in the case, the ballistics reports presented to date have confirmed that the weapon Rocha had with him when he was arrested on Wednesday is the same one used in six of the 39 murders to which he confessed.

The Associated Press and Efe contributed to this report. 

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