06 May 2 US Students Convicted of Murder After Stabbing an Italian Policeman 11 Times
Two US students, Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, have been convicted of murdering an Italian Policeman, Mario CercielloRega. According to the reports, Rega was stabbed 11 times by Elder after a drug deal went wrong in 2019. Both Californian students have been given life sentences in an Italian prison.
Elder admitted to killing Rega. However, in the trial, he also stated that it was an act of self-defense as he thought that undercover Rega was a thug.
Because under Italian law, accomplices can also be charged with murder, Natale-Hjorth is also announced with a life sentence for helping his friend conceal the weapon.
The two men, who were just teenagers when the trial started, said that Rega was not in his uniform and so they were not able to identify him and took him as a criminal.
Rega’s murder got a lot of attention in Italy. Reportedly, he had just returned from his honeymoon and was newly married at the time of his death. To pay tribute to him, large crowds gathered at his funeral, which was conducted in the same church where he got married just 43 days ago.
According to the reports, it all started when these two students went to Rome on vacation. In July 2019, they tried to buy cocaine near Vatican City. Sergio Brugiatelli, an Italian man, helped them get in touch with a dealer. However, they were sold crushed aspirin instead of the drug. In a fit of anger, both men stole the Brugiatelli’s rucksack and demanded him to pay his money back. Allegedly, they also demanded a gram of cocaine in exchange.
As a response, Mr. Brugiatelli called the police. However, when undercover policemen, Rega and his partner, Andrea Varriale, arrived at the scene, Elder mistook him as a thug and stabbed him 11 times with an 18cm blade.
Mr. Varriale was also charged with “dereliction of duty”. for not carrying a weapon in time of need.