Two American students are facing life sentences after being convicted of murdering an Italian police officer.
Finnegan Lee Elder (on the right in photo above, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth (on the left in photo above), both from Northern California, were accused of stabbing the officer in 2019 in Rome as they tried to return a backpack they stole in retaliation for being cheated in a drug deal.
Elder reportedly confessed to the stabbing, but claimed he acted in self-defense.
Natale-Hjorth was an accomplice, who helped Elder hide the murder weapon, a large knife he had brought with him on his trip to Italy.
They were both given life sentences, the maximum allowed under Italian law.
The police officer was 35 year old Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega, who was stabbed 11 times by Elder.
Rega’s widow held up a photo of Rega in the courtroom, while waiting for the jury to issue its guilty verdict.
In this photo taken on May 5, 2021, Finnegan Lee Elder, right, and co-defendant Gabriel Natale-Hjorth look at each other before a jury began deliberating their fate in their trial for the slaying of an Italian plainclothes police officer on a street near the hotel where they were staying while on vacation in Rome in summer 2019, in Rome.. When prosecutors asked for indictments of two American teenagers for the fatal stabbing of an Italian Carabinieri paramilitary officer, they described the pair as being in cahoots from start to finish, even though only one of the defendants actually wielded the knife in what their lawyers steadfastly contended was in self-defense. When their trial ended, more than 14 months later, the jury’s verdicts embraced the prosecutors’ contentions, convicting both on all charges and sentencing them to life imprisonment. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) May 5th 2021