The Family of the Brent Sikkema Murder Suspect Points Fingers at the Gallerist’s Ex-Husband

Prevez's lawyers had previously called the case a "crime of command."

Brent Sikkema in New York City, 2007. Photo by Will Ragozzino / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

The sister of the man suspected of killing gallerist Brent Sikkema has called her brother “easy to manipulate” as his lawyers pointed fingers at Sikkema’s ex-husband Daniel Sikkema.

Greg Andrade, a lawyer for suspect Alejandro Prevez, compared the situation with his client to the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. He said in a recorded message translated from Portuguese that the plot of the book “is more or less what Daniel did with Alejandro.” According to Andrade, Sikkema’s ex-husband manipulated Prevez with money and exploited his need for a father figure.

Andrade provided a recording of Prevez’s sister, who was not named, discussing her brother, whom she called “very easy to manipulate.” In the recording, translated from Spanish, Prevez’s sister explained that her brother never had financial problems until the death of her grandfather in 2020, the same time their mother, Leticia Prevez Pascual, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died in 2021, prompting Prevez to leave Cuba for Brazil. His father, Rolando Triana Paredes, is a businessman in Cuba whom he has little contact with.

But in Brazil, Prevez “felt lonely” and that that he no longer had all the benefits he had in Cuba from a stable work and personal life. “Daniel has known all about this,” the sister said, claiming that Sikkema’s former husband met Alejandro at some point in 2021 after the death of their mother and knew that Alejandro wanted to emigrate from Cuba. “Alejandro is in Brazil, he starts talking to Daniel… and Daniel gives him an easier way.”

Prevez’s sister alleged that Daniel began to send him large amounts of money and a promise of financial improvement, which “dazzle[d] him.” She called her brother economically and emotionally weak, and though she doesn’t know all the details of their conversations, alleged they might have included a promise of immigration to the United States from “a male figure that Alejandro had lost.”

An autopsy report by the attending examiner Andre Luis Dos Santos Medeiros shows that Sikkema suffered 18 stab wounds, mostly to the face and chest, with no defensive injuries. Documents provided by Andrade further add details and context to the horrific murder of Sikkema, much from a copy of the testimony that Simone Nunes, the gallerist’s Brazilian lawyer, provided to police. Nunes, who had known Sikkema for a decade, managed his properties in Brazil including the apartment where he was killed and another home he had just acquired.

Nunes said Sikkema had arrived in Brazil on December 9, 2023, and intended to stay until January 16, just one day after he was killed, before returning to New York. She added that Sikkema had a 14-year-old son with Daniel Sikkema, with whom he was married for around 15 years. The couple was going through divorce proceedings.

“When Brent was married to Daniel, and came to Rio de Janeiro, they both attended gay saunas,” Nunes said in her testimony. Particularly, the couple frequented saunas in Copacabana and another on Rua Candido Mendes, she said. Nunes suggested that she had spoken to Daniel, who indicated he “could try to identify the perpetrator of the events, having added that he knew many ‘boys’ in the saunas but not their names.”

Nunes also testified about Sikkema’s private and sexual life, claiming he used drugs including cocaine and was undergoing treatment. She said he liked sex workers of a “young” age, though did not clarify what that meant, and added that he “had a habit” of taking them to his house. According to her, before his death, Sikkema told her he had met a boy before Christmas, whom he was in love with. An Uber driver, Luis Otávio Nascimento Martins, who had ferried Sikkema days before his death, also testified to police that Sikkema made a video call during the ride to a boy to whom he told, “I love you.”

Ultimately, through toll booth and surveillance footage, police were able to track Prevez down as the suspect, as reported by Artnet News. It has also now been revealed that police recovered the knife allegedly used to kill Sikkema shortly after his death.

The car suspect Alejandro Prevez allegedly used before killing Brent Sikkema is pictured in security footage. Photo courtesy of Gabriel.

In copies of the warrants obtained to search and arrest Pervez, police indicated that robbery may have been the primary motivation for killing Sikkema, and investigators said Prevez had traveled to Rio de Janeiro from São Paulo where he lived for the sole purpose of committing robbery. The latest documents also indicate that the car Prevez is seen driving in surveillance footage was borrowed from its owner under the false pretense that Prevez would use it to make deliveries for the company Mercado Livre.

Among the latest developments in Prevez’s defense is the revelation that Andrade had sought to keep the case under seal “in view of the sensitivity of the investigation and the public outcry due to the repercussion of the facts.” Prevez’s lawyers also argued that his arrest and pre-trial detention violate his constitutional rights because the warrant was written “in a generic way.”

Like in the United States, Brazilian courts consider a person’s possible risk of flight when ordering pre-trial detention. Court documents show that authorities were concerned about a risk of flight when ordering a temporary 30-day arrest on burglary charges because Prevez had already allegedly fled the scene to São Paulo and is a Cuban national. His whereabouts were also not precisely known at the time, though his lawyers claimed that the arrest warrant “clearly stated his home address.”

State prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro argued against sealing the case.

“The mere repulsion that a crime may cause to society does not constitute, in itself, sufficient grounds to authorize the decree of absolute secrecy regarding the basic data of a criminal proceeding,” prosecutors wrote in a document. “The present investigation is investigating the death of North American tourist Brent, with no public outcry, nor is there any sensitivity in the investigation.”

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