Prosecutor Seeks Life Sentence for Individuals in Killing of Italian Officer

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ROME — An Italian prosecutor on Saturday requested that two San Francisco males on trial within the 2019 killing of a navy police officer in Rome obtain the utmost sentence of life in jail.

Wrapping up a virtually four-hour summation in a stuffy Rome courtroom, the prosecutor, Maria Sabina Calabretta, argued that the 2 males acted with “homicidal intent” once they assaulted Deputy Brig. Mario Cerciello Rega and his associate on a July evening in 2019.

“A grave injustice” had been “dedicated towards a very good man who was working,” she stated, and solely the convictions of Finnegan Elder, 21 and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, would be sure that the officer “not be killed once more.”

The yearlong trial has drawn intense media scrutiny in Italy and headlines in america with its give attention to the habits of the 2 Individuals the evening of the confrontation and the tragic demise of the newly married officer.

The officer, who served within the Italian navy police, often known as the carabinieri, died of stab wounds inflicted by Mr. Elder with a fight knife throughout a scuffle that occurred within the early hours of a sultry Roman evening.

Brigadier Cerciello Rega and his associate had been attempting to retrieve a backpack that the 2 Individuals had stolen after shedding 80 euros attempting to purchase cocaine. The backpack belonged to a person the Individuals had met in a classy Rome neighborhood earlier that night who had acted as a go-between with a drug vendor.

When the officers approached the 2 Individuals close to their lodge, a scuffle broke out that lasted lower than 30 seconds, Ms. Calabretta reminded the jurors on Saturday. Whereas the 35-year-old officer was being stabbed, Mr. Natale Hjorth tussled with a second officer, Andrea Varriale, however shortly managed to interrupt free.

The crux of the case is whether or not the Individuals had been conscious that the 2 individuals who approached them had been law enforcement officials.

At a listening to this previous week, Mr. Elder testified that he thought the 2 plainclothes officers had been “thugs” despatched by the intermediary whose knapsack they’d stolen, and that he and Mr. Natale Hjorth had acted in self-defense after the 2 officers jumped them. He stated he had “panicked,” and stabbed Brigadier Cerciello Rega, who he thought was attempting to choke him.

Mr. Elder testified that the 2 officers didn’t determine themselves as carabinieri and that they didn’t present their badges once they approached him and Mr. Natale Hjorth, a San Francisco faculty buddy who had joined him for 2 days in Rome over the past leg of a summer time journey in Europe.

Ms. Calabretta on Saturday challenged Mr. Elder’s account of the confrontation, noting that Officer Varriale had testified final summer time that the officers had recognized themselves as legislation enforcement and proven their badges.

The prosecutor additionally contested the protection narrative that urged that the 2 Individuals had been unexpectedly tackled by the officers from behind. As an alternative, she stated Saturday, the 2 officers had approached them head-on and had been assaulted by the defendants and not using a second thought.

“Cerciello had no time to react,” she stated.

“It was a violent, lethal, disproportionate assault,” she stated.

Mr. Elder had introduced a knife to the encounter, an indication of his “homicidal intent,” she added.

In his assertion to the courtroom final Monday, Mr. Elder stated he had put the knife within the pocket of his hoodie as a result of it made him “really feel safer.”

After the confrontation, the 2 defendants returned to their close by lodge unaware, they testified, of the seriousness of Brigadier Cerciello Rega’s situation. They had been arrested of their lodge room a couple of hours later.

In asking for a life sentence, Ms. Calabretta stated that neither the younger age of the defendants nor their lack of legal data ought to mitigate “the seriousness of the crime.”

The 2 defendants have additionally been charged with extortion for asking for cash and a gram of cocaine in alternate for the backpack.

Ms. Calabretta stated Saturday that despite the fact that Mr. Natale Hjorth had not wielded the knife that killed the officer he was equally responsible, the mastermind of the plot to alternate the backpack for cash.

His lawyer, Francesco Petrelli, stated Saturday that the prosecutor had requested for “the mistaken sanction for the mistaken defendant in a mistaken trial.”

A verdict is predicted earlier than the summer time.

Brigadier Cerciello Rega’s widow, Rosa Maria Esilio, declined to talk to reporters on Saturday. Her lawyer, Massimo Ferrandino, stated the prosecutor’s request resulted from an “exhaustive” investigation that will now be as much as the jury to substantiate.

“We sit up for justice being finished,” he stated.

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