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US youths testify that the defense stabbed an Italian officer

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ROME (AP) – A young man convicted of killing an Italian police officer in Rome has told a court he stabbed a victim for fear he would be strangled by a thief.

Finegan Lee Elder, 21, իր His friend Gabriel Natale-Hurt, 20, from California, is accused of killing a Carabinieri gunman on the street of their hotel in 2019 while on vacation in Rome.

The elder told the court that Lieutenant Colonel Mario Churchillo Rega was shaking hands with the Elder. Thus, the defendant claimed that in order to protect himself, he reached for a knife and stabbed Serciello, whom, according to him, he had confused with the thief.

On the morning of July 26, 2019, Elder and Natalie-Hurt clashed with plainclothes Carabinieri officers who indicated that the Americans thought a meeting would take place because of a cocaine deal. a few hours ago in another district of Rome.

Cerciello Rega, 35, and his partner were instructed to respond to allegations that prosecutors alleged it was an attempted small-scale extortion by the Americans, after the defendants paid for the failed cocaine and seized a nuclear bag on his phone.

The Americans reported that they expected the Italian man to come back with a backpack in exchange for a refund of 80 euros ($ 96), which they paid for the medicine but did not receive.

Instead, two men appeared who they had never met before.

“In the blink of an eye, they turned around and hurried to us without saying a word,” the Elder told the court. Imitating the rough body of Churchillo Rega as “a mountain of man”, the Elder added: “He put me on the ground and put all his weight on me.”

The elder said he had little recollection of the next few moments, except for the “shock” horror. I remember, however, that with pressure I felt his hands first on my chest and then on my neck, as if he was trying to strangle or strangle me. ”

“As soon as I felt his hands squeezing my neck, I instinctively took my knife and hit him several times, trying to get him out of me,” the Elder continued in his spontaneous statement in court, which is allowed during the Italian trial. Neither the prosecutors nor the defense withdrew from the interrogation.

The elder said that at the last minute after leaving the hotel room with Natalie-Hurt, he took his knife as a “stupid warning”. Prosecutors described it as an attack knife 18 centimeters (8 inches) long.

Referring to the officer’s stabbing, the Elder said that “after a few blows, he grabbed my hand, the hand with which I was holding the knife, and tried to turn it against me.” The elder testified that he managed to change his hands and “hit the side again.”

Cerciello Rega partner Andrea Variale told the court earlier in the trial that he tried to stop his partner from shedding “blood” like a “spring”. The killed officer, who was unarmed, received 11 stab wounds.

Vararial also testified that he heard his partner shouting at the “carabinieri” when the Elder and the slain officer were fighting in the street.

But the Elder told the court that he had not heard such a shout of identification.

Varriale և Natale-Hjorth testified that the two had a fight with each other.

Prosecutors allege that Natalie-Hurt hid the murder weapon in their hotel room after the stabbing. Natale-Hurt said she did not realize the fight had taken place when a police officer was stabbed. Under Italian law, defendants in a murder case can be charged with murder.

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