American students convicted of murdering Italian policeman

Rosa Maria Esilio, the widow of Rega, responded to the verdict with gratitude. “We can only thank for the complicated work of the judges, thank our talented lawyers and all the people who really supported Mario because they knew him, because he was everyone’s son, because he was everyone’s. rifleman,“she said after her announcement.

The former’s lawyer, Renato Borzone, called the result “a shame for Italy” and told reporters outside the court that he planned to appeal. “This sentence represents a disgrace for Italy, with a jury that does not want to see what came out during the investigation and in the trial. I have never seen such an indignant thing. We will appeal. We are talking about of a 19- year-old boy who was assaulted. ”

Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta had argued that, given the circumstances of the case, the two should receive the maximum sentence allowed by Italian law. Italy does not have a death penalty.

The 35-year-old officer, Mario Cerciello Rega, was stabbed eight times at 2 a.m. on July 26, 2019, in Rome’s Prati neighborhood, near the hotel where the two men were staying, police said in a report. communicated at the time. Rega was pronounced dead later that night.

Elder and Natale-Hjorth were reportedly sold crushed aspirin for $ 80, instead of a gram of cocaine, in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. When they discovered they had been duped, police said, the then teenagers stole a backpack from Sergio Brugiatelli, who presented them to the person who sold them the aspirin.

Police said Elder and Natale-Hjorth stabbed Rega when he and another officer attempted to retrieve the stolen backpack. The officers were not armed and did not wear uniforms.

Police said Elder confessed to stabbing Rega, but said he acted in self-defense. The two Americans, who were 19 and 18 at the time of their arrest, said police attacked them first.

Elder and Natale-Hjorth have now been sentenced to solitary confinement for the next two months. Judge Marina Finiti also ordered them to pay the legal costs of the other civil parties and to compensate the “damages” to Cerciello’s family, his police partner and Brugiatelli.

CNN’s Hada Messia and Vasco Cotovio contributed reporting.

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