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Brazilian Stripper, Suspected in Boxing Champ's Death, Will Get His Fortune

(AP Photo/Clemilson Campos/JC Imagem)
Arturo Gatti's wife, Amanda Rodrigues, walks out of a women's jail in Recife, Brazil, July 30, 2009, after her husband's death was ruled a suicide.

MONTREAL (CBS/AP) Arturo Gatti's will was changed just three weeks before the ex-boxing champ died under highly suspicious circumstances, his brother Fabrizio confirmed Sunday.

"It's the truth," he said when asked during a brief phone call for confirmation of reports the former fighter had bequeathed everything to his wife, Amanda Rodrigues.

Family friend and sports journalist Jeremy Filosa told The Canadian Press that on June 17, Gatti and Rodrigues changed the ex-boxer's will, leaving his full inheritance in her name.

"Everything that Arturo Gatti owns — past, present and future — goes to his wife. Nothing goes to his children or mother or brothers or sisters," said Filosa.


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Gatti's widow was also named executor of his will and stands to receive $1 million from a life insurance policy, Filosa said, adding the family was made aware of the changes on Friday.

Brazilian police said Friday that Gatti's death was being ruled a suicide — a conclusion rejected by Gatti's friends and family, who asked a Quebec coroner to re-examine the body, buried July 20 in Montreal.

Gatti was found dead in a posh Brazilian resort Jul 11. At the time Brazilian police believed his wife strangled him with her purse while he lay in a drunken slumber. A bloody purse strap was found at the scene. Police had also said Gatti had a knife wound on the back of his head.

Rodrigues was taken into custody after she gave conflicting accounts of Gatti's final night to investigators and was hard pressed to explain how she spent 10 hours in the residence without noticing her husband was dead.

But last Friday, after a partial autopsy determined Gatti's death might have been suicide, Brazilian authorities set Rodrigues free. She had been held for nearly three weeks.

(AP Photo/Mary Godleski)
Photo: Arturo Gatti, shown here winning the WBC junior welterweight championship in 2004, was known as a never-say-quit fighter in the ring. Friends doubt that he committed suicide.

The couple originally met while Rodrigues was working as an exotic dancer in a Brazilian strip club. Family friends say the pair often had fights over jealousy and Gatti constantly complained about her clothing when she traveled to Brazil.

Now that Brazilian authorities have let Rodrigues free, the investigation into Gatti's death will move to Canada.

On Saturday, a celebrity pathologist hired by the ex-boxing champ's family said Brazilian authorities overlooked bruises on Gatti's body in the initial autopsy.

"There were some surprises," Dr. Michael Baden said in an interview with The Canadian Press after a seven-hour forensic follow-up in Montreal.

"The first surprise was that it was a partial autopsy, and not a full autopsy; the second was that there were some important findings, like the injuries that had not been identified."

Partial autopsies are unusual in suspected homicides, said Baden, noting that in this case, the body's organs had not been examined.

Montreal medical examiners will perform further toxicology tests in Canada and are also awaiting more information on the scene of death from investigators in Brazil.

"There were definite injuries that had not been seen by Brazilian authorities," Baden said.

"But one needs all of the information — including the toxicology, which is not available yet — to be able to come to the conclusion as to whether it's homicide or suicide."

Second autopsies often take longer than the first but have the advantage of fresh information, he added. "We had a better idea of what to look for because of the issues that have been raised."

Baden will continue to share information with the Montreal medical examiners overseeing the latest investigation into Gatti's death.

The two Canadian pathologists, described by Baden as "first-rate," will evaluate the additional information before releasing a report on the ex-boxer's death in the coming weeks.

Baden, a U.S. pathologist, is no stranger to high-profile cases. He's the host of the HBO cable TV show "Autopsy," a popular documentary series investigating mysterious and controversial deaths.

Baden has also testified for the defense or prosecution in a number of celebrity cases, including the criminal trials of O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector. He recently performed the second autopsy on the late Hollywood actor David Carradine.


PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
July 30, 2009 - Boxing Champ Aturo Gatti's Death Ruled Suicide
July 15, 2009 - Arturo Gatti's Dancer Wife Wants Out, Says Attorney
July 13, 2009 - Boxing Champ Murdered by Stripper Wife, Say Police

  • Neil Katz

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