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11th May 2022

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They were both given life sentences in prison.

Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta had argued that given the circumstances of the case, the two should receive the maximum sentence permitted under Italian law. Italy does not have a death penalty.

Renato Borzone, the lawyer representing Elder, has said that the prosecutors’ request failed to take into account “anomalies” seen over the course of the investigation, which he said were “directed at portraying facts in a different way from the way they evolved.”

The 35-year-old officer Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed eight times at 2 a.m. on July 26, 2019, in the Prati neighborhood of Rome, near the hotel where the two men were staying, police said in a statement at the time. Rega was declared dead later that night.

Police alleged Elder and Natale-Hjorth, who were 19 and 18 at the time of their arrest, stabbed Rega as he attempted to recover a stolen backpack from them.

The police said that Elder confessed to stabbing Rega, but said he acted in self-defense.

Mario Cerciello Rega pictured with his wife on his wedding day.

He and Natale-Hjorth were allegedly sold crushed aspirin for $80, instead of a gram of cocaine, in the Trastevere district of Rome. When they found out they had been duped, police say, they went back and stole the bag of the man who put them in touch with the person who sold them the aspirin, allegedly attempting to retrieve their money and get real cocaine.

After police were contacted by the owner of the stolen bag, officers met with Elder and Natale-Hjorth, police said. The officers were unarmed and were not wearing uniforms.

The police alleged that Elder and Natale-Hjorth assaulted the police officers, who reportedly identified themselves as law enforcement officers, during the meeting. The two Americans previously said the officers attacked them first.

CNN’s Hada Messia and Vasco Cotovio contributed reporting.

2021-05-05 21:39:41


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