2 American students handed life sentences in Italy for cop's murder

WION Web Team
Rome, Italy Published: May 06, 2021, 11:11 AM(IST)

Italy: Murder convicts of police officer Photograph:( AFP )

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The two Americans had assumed thugs were following them after what they called a 'drug deal gone wrong'

Two American students have been charged with a life sentence for the murder of a police officer while they were on a summer holiday in Rome.

Mario Cerciello Rega, a police officer, was stabbed during a late-night encounter in July 2019 while he was out with his friend Gabriel Natale-Hjorth.

Finnegan Lee Elder, a 21-year-old, had admitted to stabbing Cerciello 11 times with a seven-inch camping knife. The police officer was stabbed to death on a dark street near the hotel the Americans were staying in.

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However, Elder claims they acted out of self-defence as they thought they were being jumped from behind. The two Americans had assumed thugs were following them after what they called a 'drug deal gone wrong'.

The two will first have to serve solitary confinement for two months and then serve their life behind bars — a sentence that brought Elder close to fainting. They will also have to pay for their trial.

"This sentence is a disgrace for Italy with these judges who don't want to see what emerged during the trial and the investigation," Elder's attorney, Renato Borzone, said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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