Verdict for the murder of an Italian police officer in 2019
A court in Rome sentenced two American students to life in prison for the murder of Italian police officer Mario Churchill Reggae.
After nearly 13 hours of deliberation, the jury found Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjort, 20, guilty of killing a police officer who had just returned to duty after his honeymoon when, at age 35, he was stabbed to death. death on the street in the center of Rome in July 2019.
A state funeral was held for this police officer, who prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta said was killed in an “unjustified and deadly attack.”
According to the Guardian, Elder looked stunned when the verdict was read on Wednesday night, and earlier that day, during a brief appearance in court, he told his lawyer that he was “under stress” and then kissed the crucifix he was wearing on his necklace and aimed it at the sky.
Maria Churchiel Rega’s widow, Rosa Maria Ezilio, began to cry when the verdict was read.
“Regardless of the fact that the man is dead and deserves every regret, the fact that two people go to prison is not a reason for anyone to rejoice. “And they are human beings who, although they deserve punishment, also suffer,” Franco Kopi, the widow’s lawyer, told Rai News.
Natale-Hjort was visiting his Italian relatives near Rome when he met Elder, a former school friend from San Francisco, who was traveling in Europe on July 26, 2019.
Elder, who arrived in Italy with an 18-centimeter-long combat knife in his suitcase, and Natale-Hjort claimed that they thought the policemen were criminals who attacked them and that they acted in self-defense.
Churchiel Rega was stabbed 11 times, and his colleague, Andrea Variale, was injured when, both in civilian clothes and without official weapons, they confronted Elder and Natale-Hjort in the Roman district of Prati while investigating a case of bag hijacking.
The students then fled the scene, but the next day the police found them at the hotel, where there was a knife with which Churchill Rega was killed.
Elder admitted to stabbing Churchill Regu several times, but claimed he and Natale-Hjort thought the two men were drug dealers.
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