Teenage Corinthians fan confesses to setting off flare that killed Bolivian boy
A 17-year-old Corinthians fan has confessed to setting off the flare that killed a 14-year-old Bolivian boy in a Copa Libertadores match against San José last week.
Kevin Douglas Beltran Espada, a high school student, was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital after the firework had penetrated his right eye and caused his brain to haemorrhage.
A Brazilian teenager, whose name was not disclosed, made an emotional confession to a local television channel late Sunday, with his mother by his side.
He told Globo TV: ''When I first pulled the cord to set it off nothing happened, I didn't know how to handle it. When I pulled it again it just went off. I wasn't aiming it, I didn't know it was going to take off like that.
"When I found out what happened I just thought, `My life is over, what am I going to do? I just killed a 14-year-old kid.’
"I feel like I'm the worst person in the world. I don't know what I'll do with my life, I deeply regret what happened."
As a minor, the Brazilian cannot be extradited to Bolivia to face charges for the crime and could just end up facing community service in Brazil.
Ricardo Cabral, the lawyer representing the teen, said: "He will turn himself in, with his mother by his side. A judge will likely give him a social-educational sentence in this first moment.''
Twelve Corinthians fans remained in custody after being arrested following last Wednesday's match, two of which were accused of setting off the flare while the others are being held as accomplices.
The South American Football Federation said the defending Copa Libertadores champions must play their play home ties behind closed doors for the next 60 days.
Corinthians, who had already sold more than 80,000 tickets for its group stage matches, have appealed the punishment and another decision by Conmebol is expected later today.