Italy jury deliberates fate of 2 Americans in police slaying – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-05-05 14:00:00 –

Rome >> A Roman jury today begins deliberations on the fate of two young American men charged with killing an Italian police officer near a hotel they were staying in during the summer vacation of 2019. did.

Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, were charged with murder, attempted blackmail, assault, resistance to civil servants, and carrying an offensive knife for no good reason. They face life imprisonment, Italy’s highest sentence.

Judge Marina Finity said the verdict could take place later today or Thursday.

Prosecutors allege that the elder stabbed Deputy Brid Gadie’s Mario Celciero Lega 11 times with a knife he brought from California to Europe, helping Natale Hyors hide the knife in a hotel room. did.

On July 26, 2019, police officers from the famous Carabinieri paramilitary organization shocked Italy. Celciero Lega, 35, was mourned as a national hero.

The two Californians on trial were allowed to leave the steel-banned defendant’s cage in court and sit with a lawyer before the case went to a jury.

“I’m stressed,” the elder told one of his lawyers. Just before he went to court for a short time, the elder took the cross on the chain around his neck and kissed it. He also turned to his accomplice, Natale Hyors, and offered a cross to him through a glass partition and moved toward heaven.

The elder joined the courtroom by his parents. After the jury went to deliberations, he and his father crossed each other’s fingers for good luck. Natale-Hjorth was greeted by his Italian uncle who lives in Italy.

Cerciello Rega recently returned from her honeymoon when she was appointed with a plainclothes police partner, Officer Andrea Varriale, to follow up on the reported extortion attempt.

Prosecutors allege that a young American made plans to include stolen bags and cell phones after failing to buy € 80 ($ 96) of cocaine in the nightlife district of Trastevere in Rome. Natale-Hjorth and Elder testified that they paid for cocaine but did not receive it.

Both defendants alleged that they acted in self-defense.

During the trial, which began on February 26, 2020, Americans told court that they thought Serciero Lega and Variale were thugs or gangsters to attack them in the dark and deserted streets. It was. The policeman wore casual summer clothes rather than uniforms, and the defendant claimed that the policeman never showed the police badge.

Under Italian law, an accomplice on murder charges can be prosecuted for murder without virtually committing the murder. Prosecutor Maria Sabina Carabretta demanded life imprisonment for both defendants.

Barriere, who suffered a back injury in a fight with Natale Hyors while her partner was wrestling with the elder, testified that officers identified them as Carabinieri.

At the time of the murder, the elder was 19 years old traveling to Europe without a family, while 18-year-old Natale Hyors was spending summer vacation with his Italian grandparents living near Rome. The two former alumni of the San Francisco Bay Area met in Rome for a few days of sightseeing and a night out.

Prosecutors alleged that the elder repeatedly stabbed a 7-inch (18 cm) military-style attack knife into the Celciello Lega.

The elder told the court that he was afraid that a heavy set of Serciero Lega, who was fighting him, was on the ground and strangled. The elder said he pulled out the knife and stabbed him so he wouldn’t be killed, and when the police didn’t let him go immediately, he stabbed again.

After the stab, the American rushed to the hotel room, and according to Natale Hyors, the elder asked him to clean the knife and hide it. Natale-Hjorth testified that he hid the knife behind the ceiling panel in the room. The knife was discovered by police hours later.

Defendant told the court that he tried to buy cocaine in the nightlife district of Trastevere in Rome, hours before the puncture wound. With the intervention of an intermediary, they paid the dealer but received aspirin-like pills instead of cocaine.

Before Natale-Hjorth confronted the dealer, another Carabinieri patrol in the neighborhood intervened and everyone was scattered. In retaliation, the Americans snatched the intermediary Knapsack and used the cell phone inside to set up a meeting aimed at exchanging the phone for cash lost in a bad drug deal.

Meanwhile, Cerciello Rega in a T-shirt and long pants and Varriale in a polo shirt and jeans went out to follow up on what’s called a small attempted blackmail. They didn’t have a service pistol.

From its very beginning, the trial was largely summarized in Varriale’s words to that of a young American visitor. The victim’s widow, Rosa Maria Esilio, sat in the front row, often holding a photo of her husband. After the wedding, a photo of the newlyweds in a dress uniform by Celciero Lega was widely exhibited in the Italian media after the murder.

Near the end of the trial, one of the elders’ defense counsel, Renato Borzone, claimed in court that deep psychiatric problems, including constant fear of being attacked, appeared in fatal puncture wounds. .. Borzone told the court that his client saw a world full of enemies due to psychiatric problems and something “shorted” when the elder faced a police officer.

Italy jury deliberates fate of 2 Americans in police slaying Source link Italy jury deliberates fate of 2 Americans in police slaying

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