Life in prison for two young US men for killing a carabinier in Rome

Rome, May 6 (EFE) .- The Criminal Court of Rome has sentenced two young Americans to life imprisonment for the murder of the 35-year-old police officer Mario Cerciello, who was stabbed and bled to death on a street in the Italian capital in July 2019.

After deliberating for more than 13 hours, the members of the court sentenced Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Natale Hjorth to the maximum sentence last night for murdering Cerciello and wounding his partner Andrea Varriale in a case that has captured media interest in the last two years, with more than 50 audiences.

The two young men went out to look for drugs on the night of July 25 and, after an unsuccessful journey, they ended up confronting and stabbing the police with a knife that Lee Elder had brought from the United States.

“It has been a long and painful process. That will not bring Mario back. It will not bring him back to life. It will not return our life together. Today the first stone has been laid for a new justice,” assured Cerciello’s widow , Rosa Maria Exilio, who burst into tears after hearing the sentence

“Mario’s integrity has been demonstrated despite being the subject of so many insinuations since his death,” he added in statements to local media.

The lawyers of the two convicted, meanwhile, announced that they will appeal a sentence.

“This ruling is a shame for Italy, with judges who do not want to see what has emerged during the investigation and the trial. I have never seen anything so unworthy. We are going to appeal: here is a 19-year-old boy who was attacked. We have witnessed the usual tandem of prosecutors and judges, “said Lee Elder’s defender.

The court also imposed on the convicted persons the payment of one million euros as an immediately executive provisional measure in favor of the civil parties and two months of daytime isolation.

According to the reconstruction of what happened during the trial, on the night between July 25 and 26, the two young men, then 19 and 20 years old, staying in a four-star hotel in Rome, went out to buy drugs in Trastevere, where they met an individual, Sergio Brugatelli, who was going to help them and who ended up calling the police because the boys stole a backpack.

When Cerciello and Varriale arrived at the scene, there was a meeting that ended in the stabbing of the two policemen, who did not previously know Brugatelli, despite the accusations in this regard from the defense. Then the condemned men fled, until two days later they were arrested.

“It was not in self-defense, they both went to the meeting prepared, they were ready for everything. They did not care about the victim’s health, they fled and hid the knife,” the prosecutor declared during the trial. EFE



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