ROME — An Italian prosecutor demanded life imprisonment on Saturday for two young Americans charged with the murder of an Italian policeman in the center of Rome.
Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta asked the court to find the two defendants – Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20 – guilty and impose Italy’s maximum sentence for July 26, 2019, stabbing death of Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega. Calabretta called the attack “disproportionate and deadly.”
The defense will present its arguments from March 18, before the to research decides the verdict and the sentence.
The two Americans were on holiday in Rome when they were confronted by a pair of undercover rifle officers in what the couple believed was an encounter with the middleman in a cocaine deal gone wrong.
Elder claimed self-defense, testifying this month that he stabbed the victim because he feared being strangled by a thug.
Cerciello Rega, 35, and his partner had been tasked with responding to what prosecutors allege was a small-scale extortion attempt by the Americans, after the friends paid for cocaine they did not receive . In retaliation, the Americans snatched the middleman’s backpack with his phone inside and set an appointment to exchange it for the 80 euros ($96) they had lost in the bad traffic drug.
Cerciello Rega’s partner Andrea Varriale testified that he tried to stop the blood from flowing like a ‘fountain’ from his partner. The slain officer, who was unarmed, was stabbed 11 times.
Varriale also testified that he heard his partner shout “Carabinieri!” as Elder and the slain officer struggled in the street.
But Elder told the court he did not hear such an identifying cry.