ROME — Two American males have been discovered responsible of homicide on Wednesday and sentenced to life for the killing of an Italian navy police officer in July 2019, when the 2 younger San Francisco natives have been vacationing in Rome.
Ending a 14-month trial held largely behind closed doorways due to pandemic restrictions, a jury discovered Finnegan Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, responsible of the homicide of Deputy Brig. Mario Cerciello Rega, 35.
Gasps have been heard throughout the courtroom because the verdicts have been introduced, and the slain officer’s widow leaned in opposition to her lawyer and sobbed.
The 2 Individuals have been of their teenagers on July 26, 2019, when an early-morning scuffle on a abandoned road nook with two plainclothes law enforcement officials — Brigadier Cerciello Rega and one other officer, Andrea Varriale — turned lethal.
The protection argued that the 2 Individuals had acted in self-defense throughout the altercation, which lasted for lower than a minute, believing that the officers have been ill-intentioned thugs. The prosecution maintained that the pair had acted with homicidal intent.
The combat capped a convoluted night that started with an aborted drug deal in a stylish nightlife neighborhood. After an unsuccessful try to purchase cocaine, the 2 Individuals stole a backpack belonging to Sergio Brugiatelli, a intermediary who had brokered that drug deal, after which demanded cash for the bag’s return.
Brigadier Cerciello Rega and his associate had been dispatched to retrieve the backpack, and the officer was killed on the rendezvous for the handover.
Mr. Elder repeatedly stabbed Brigadier Cerciello Rega with a seven-inch military-style knife after they started combating, and Mr. Natale Hjorth briefly wrestled with Officer Varriale. Mr. Elder by no means denied killing Brigadier Cerciello Rega, however mentioned he had acted in self-defense, believing that the officer was attempting to choke him.
The youngsters have been arrested at their resort, simply down the block from the place Brigadier Cerciello Rega was killed, a number of hours after the homicide.
Officer Varriale, 27, who was bruised whereas wrestling with Mr. Natale Hjorth, has repeatedly stood by his account that he and his associate had recognized themselves as carabinieri, or members of Italy’s navy police, once they approached the youngsters. When he took the stand final July, he mentioned that they’d pulled out their badges and clearly introduced themselves.
The case attracted worldwide consideration partially due to the younger ages of the sufferer and the boys on trial. Brigadier Cerciello Rega, who had simply returned to work after his honeymoon, was given a hero’s funeral, broadcast reside on nationwide tv.
Brigadier Cerciello Rega’s widow, Rosa Maria Esilio, was within the massive courtroom — normally used for main terrorism trials — when the decision was learn. After studying that the prosecution had prevailed, she hugged her husband’s brother.
Mr. Elder and Mr. Natale Hjorth have spent the final 21 months in prisons in Rome whereas awaiting the trial and verdict.