American students convicted of murdering Italian policeman

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They were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

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.

Renato Borzone, the lawyer representing Elder, said prosecutors’ request ignored “anomalies” found during the investigation, which he said were “intended to present the facts in a different manner from the how they evolved. “

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, police said in a press release at the time. Rega was pronounced dead later that night.

Police say Elder and Natale-Hjorth, who were 19 and 18 at the time of their arrest, stabbed Rega as he tried to retrieve a stolen backpack.

Police said Elder confessed to stabbing Rega, but said he acted in self-defense.

Mario Cerciello Rega pictured with his wife on his wedding day.
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He and Natale-Hjorth were reportedly sold crushed aspirin for $ 80, instead of a gram of cocaine, in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. When they found out they had been duped, according to police, they returned and stole the bag of the man who put them in contact with the person who sold them the aspirin, allegedly trying to get their money back. and get real cocaine.

After police were contacted by the owner of the stolen bag, officers met with Elder and Natale-Hjorth, police said. The officers were not armed and did not wear uniforms.

Police alleged that Elder and Natale-Hjorth assaulted officers, who allegedly identified themselves as law enforcement officers, during the meeting. The two Americans had previously said the officers attacked them first.

CNN’s Hada Messia and Vasco Cotovio contributed reporting.

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