Life terms for US men who killed Italian policeman

5 May 2021, 22:44

Finnegan Lee Elder listens to the verdict (Gregorio Borgia/AP)
Italy. Picture: PA

Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20 were convicted by a jury in Rome.

An Italian jury convicted two US friends in the 2019 death of a police officer in a drug sting gone awry, sentencing them to life in prison.

The jury in Rome delivered more than 12 hours before delivering the verdicts against Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, handing them Italy’s stiffest sentence.

Elder and Natale-Hjorth were indicted on charges of homicide, attempted extortion, assault, resisting a public official and carrying an attack-style knife without just cause.

Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, left, and his co-defendant Finnegan Lee Elder, pictured last month (Remo Casilli/AP)
Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, left, and his co-defendant Finnegan Lee Elder, pictured last month (Remo Casilli/AP)

Prosecutors alleged that Elder stabbed Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega 11 times with a knife he brought with him on his trip to Europe from California and that Natale-Hjorth helped him hide the knife in their hotel room.

The July 26 2019 killing of the officer from the Carabinieri paramilitary police corps shocked Italy.

Mr Cerciello Rega, 35, was mourned as a national hero.

His widow, brother and partner were in the courtroom as the jury went into deliberations.

By Press Association