An Italian courtroom has convicted two US vacationers for fatally stabbing a Carabinieri officer throughout a botched drug purchase on their Roman vacation. One among them admitted to the act however claimed self-defense. Each obtained a life sentence.
Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 20, had been convicted and sentenced on Wednesday for the 2019 homicide of Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega. Decide Marina Finiti learn out the decision in a packed courtroom, siding with the prosecutors who sought life in jail for each males.
The 2 San Franciscans had been in Italy for various causes – Natale-Hjorth stated he was visiting his Italian grandparents, and Elder was touring by Europe – once they met up in Rome in July 2019. They tried to purchase cocaine within the Trastevere nightlife district, however grabbed the seller’s backpack when he offered them drugs as a substitute.
They tried to arrange an appointment to change the backpack for the cash they misplaced, however the two Carabinieri confirmed up as a substitute. Based on Italian media, the seller was a police informant, and he reported an tried extortion.
Testifying earlier than the courtroom in March, Elder stated the 2 males had been in plainclothes and had not recognized themselves as police. He additionally claimed the 2 instantly attacked them.
“I panicked and believed he wished to kill me,” Elder instructed the courtroom.
Cerciello Rega, 35, who police say was not armed, was stabbed 11 occasions with a 7-inch (11 cm) blade by Elder. The officer had lately returned from his honeymoon.
Cerciello Rega’s companion, officer Andrea Varriale, testified that the 2 Carabinieri had proven their badges. The deceased officer’s badge was not discovered on the crime scene.
Whereas Elder admitted to the stabbing and apologized for it at a courtroom listening to in September 2020, Natale-Hjorth initially instructed police he was not concerned and didn’t know his pal had a knife. Nevertheless, his fingerprints had been discovered on a ceiling panel of their lodge room, the place the homicide weapon was discovered hidden.
Elder and Natale-Hjorth had been charged with murder, tried extortion, assault, resisting arrest and carrying an “attack-style” knife. Their trial has captivated Italy because it started in February 2020.
This isn’t the primary time a younger American has confronted Italian justice. Amanda Knox, an change scholar from Washington state, was convicted in 2009 to 25 years in jail for allegedly killing her flatmate Meredith Kercher.
Not like Elder and Natale-Hjorth, nonetheless, Knox maintained her innocence. She and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had been acquitted in a 2011 retrial, and had been cleared of all costs by the 2015 verdict of the Italian supreme courtroom. A burglar whose bloodstained fingerprints had been discovered on Kercher’s possessions was ultimately convicted of the homicide.
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