Italian prosecutor seeks life for Americans accused of killing officer

ROME – An Italian prosecutor on Saturday moved to prison for two young American men accused of killing an Italian police officer in central Rome.

Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta asked the court to find the two defendants – Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20 – guilty and to impose Italy’s maximum sentence for July 26, 2019, with the death of Vice -Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed to death. Calabretta called the attack “disproportionate and fatal”.

The defense will advance their final arguments from March 18, before the court decides on the verdict and verdict.

The two Americans were on vacation in Rome when they were confronted with a pair of plainclothes Carabinieri officers who the couple believed would be a meeting with the broker in a cocaine deal that had gone bad.

Claiming self-defense, Elder testified this month that he stabbed the victim for fear of being strangled by a thug.

The 35-year-old Cerciello Rega and his partner were hired to respond to a small blackmail attempt alleged by prosecutors after the friends had paid for cocaine they had not received. As a reprisal, the Americans grabbed the broker’s backpack with his phone and arranged a rendezvous to exchange him for the 80 euros they had lost to the bad drug trade.

The partner of Cerciello Rega, Andrea Varriale, testified that he tried to stop the leakage of blood like a “fountain” from his partner. The killed officer, who was unarmed, was stabbed 11 times.

Varriale has also testified that he “Carabinieri!” Heard calling. when Elder and the slain officer fought in the street.

But Elder told the court that he had not heard such an identity scream.

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