Lawyer in Rome slain officer trial: boys made mistakes

Lawyer in Rome slain officer trial: boys made mistakes

The family attorney of one of the two young American men on trial for the 2019 murder of a Carabinieri police officer in Rome alleged Tuesday that there were inconsistencies in prosecutor’s evidence.

Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, died after being stabbed 11 times on a street near a hotel where the two Americans were staying.

Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, insisted that Cerciello Rega and his partner in plain clothes were criminals who wanted to attack them.

Prosecutors have alleged that Elder repeatedly stabbed Cerciello Rega with an 18-centimeter knife that he brought back from California on a trip to Europe.

“I would hope the phrase would realize that these are two boys who made some bad choices, but that ultimately there were other people who made some really bad choices,” said Craig Peters, attorney for the Elder Family.

“Had these other bad decisions not been made, Cerciello Rega would be here today. If the Carabinieri had simply followed the protocol for an undercover operation.”

Peters said he hoped that “everyone’s share of the responsibility” would be recognized upon the officer’s death, adding that Elder was “ready to provide fair justice.”

Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta has called for the harshest criminal punishment in Italy, life imprisonment, for both defendants.

The case will go to the jury on May 5 after the defense rebuttals are closed earlier that day.

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