Editor of the Italian daily paper Il Dubbio, journalist Carlo Fusi, reports from Rome.
A judge has said that the two American men arrested over the homicide of a Carabiniere police officer in Rome last week were devoid of self-control in the order for them to be kept in jail. Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, were arrested Friday on suspicion of killing the Carabiniere police officer Mario Cerciello Rega at the end of a chain of events sparked by a drug deal went wrong. An autopsy showed Cerciello Rega bled to death after being stabbed 11 times.
The American students had been staying in an upscale hotel and had allegedly had tried to buy cocaine from a man who led them to a dealer. The dealer then reportedly sold them crushed aspirin instead of the drug. The students reportedly took the middle man's bag with his phone in it in retaliation, after which the man contacted the police and arranged a meeting between with the two during which he was to have given them money to get his belongings back. Rega and one colleague, both in plainclothes, went to near the hotel where the two young men were staying. The students, who were on holiday in Rome, and the two police officers ended up in a physical altercation during which Rega was stabbed with a knife later found in the students' hotel room.Elder, who police say has confessed to stabbing Cerciello Rega while Natale-Hjorth punched his partner, told his lawyer in jail that he mistook the police officer for a pusher, sources said Monday. "I was afraid," Elder said, according to the sources.