The Italian Minister of the Interior and Vice-leader Matteo Salvini has called for two Americans who allegedly stabbed a police officer in Rome for life imprisonment if they are found guilty.
Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, are accused of stabbing police officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, on Friday in Rome in a failed drug deal.
Salvini, who leads the right-wing League party, hit after a photo of one of the suspects – Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth – leaked to the press and showed him what the police described as an & # 39; illegal blindfold & # 39; .
& # 39; To those who complain about the arrest of a prisoner, I remember that the only victim to cry is a man, a son, a 35-year-old husband, a Carabiniere, & # 39; he said, referring to Rega.
Matteo Salvini, Italy's Deputy Leader and Minister of the Interior, said no one should feel sorry for two Americans arrested for killing a police officer after one of them was blindfolded in custody
Salvini (pictured at the officer's funeral on Monday) also said the pair deserves & # 39; the prison for life & # 39; if they are found guilty of the murder
Finnegan Lee Elder, 19 (left), and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18 (right), were arrested Friday in a hotel in Rome (photo) where police say they found a knife that stabbed Officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35 , till death
& # 39; A servant of the land died in service at the hands of people who, if guilty, deserve only life imprisonment. & # 39;
According to Italian media, stabbing began when Hjorth and Elder tried to buy cocaine from a man outside their hostel in Rome, but crushed aspirin was sold instead.
They would have stolen a backpack from the suspected dealer and told him that he had to pay them 100 euros and they got a gram of cocaine to get it back.
The man agreed and set a meeting place and time, but instead called the Carabiniere and reported the bag as stolen.
Mr. Rega and his partner then went to the meeting instead of the man while dressed in civilian clothes in an attempt to recover the stolen property
It is unclear whether they knew about the stolen cocaine.
Rega and his partner then confronted the American couple and identified themselves as police in Italian.
Elder then stabbed Mr. Rega 11 times, also once in his heart, after he did not understand him because he does not speak Italian.
While stabbing was taking place, Hjorth is accused of repeatedly slapping Mr Rega's partner.
CCTV then caught the two suspects fleeing the crime scene back to a nearby hotel, where they were arrested a few hours later.
The police say they have discovered the murder weapon – a large knife that they say Elder identified his own – and clothing the pair wore at the time of the attack.
Investigators say the couple initially accused each other of administering the fatal strikes when they were interviewed separately, but later admitted their role in crime.
Hjorth was shown as blindfold in police custody, which led to an investigation after the image was leaked to a local newspaper because such blindfolds are illegal
Some time between the arrest and the police announcing that the couple had known, a photo of Hjorth was blindfolded while sitting in a chair leaked to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The Italian police described it as an & # 39; illegal blindfold & # 39; and said that the officer who wore it at Hjorth was wrong and was suspended during the investigation.
But officials also said the blindfold was only on him for five minutes to prevent him from seeing details of his case on a computer screen.
Both suspects may be confronted with murder and are also being investigated for attempted extortion.
The suspected dealer is being investigated for drug offenses.
Lawyer Francesco Codini said his client Elder & # 39; worn & # 39; was after he exercised his right not to answer questions during a hearing.
Natale-Hjorth's lawyer did not speak to reporters who waited outside prison after the hearing.
Italian state radio reported Sunday that the judge ruled that the Americans remain in prison while the investigation continues.
Suspects who are considered to be a flight risk are often not released. The Italian police said the two teenagers were preparing to leave Italy later on Friday.
The authorities swore that justice would be done.
The assassination of Cerebiello Rega made international headlines and sent shock waves all the way to Mill & # 39; s birthplace Mill Valley, a rich suburb 10 miles north of San Francisco en route to the towering sequoia & # 39; s in Muir Woods National Par.
The city with 14,000 inhabitants is a desirable destination for families who are attracted to the safe, green neighborhoods and renowned public schools.
The two boys graduated from Tamalpais High School in 2018 and were reportedly enrolled at Santa Barbara City College.
Natale-Hjorth invited an elder to Italy, where he has family and comes to visit every summer.
Elder & # 39; s family said they were & # 39; shocked and appalled & # 39; are on the news of his arrest, while many of the teen's neighbors say they are not shocked. Two told KPIX5 how elder had been ill for their home after getting drunk several times.
Rega had only been married for six weeks before he was stabbed to death (wedding day, photo) and only returned to work after his honeymoon
The new wife of the killed officer, Rosa Maria, laid her head on his coffin when it was taken to the church where they married for his funeral
Graduate Matt Kearney told ABC7 from Natale-Hjorth: & # 39; I always saw him as a little vague, but nothing bad. & # 39;
Another classmate, who did not want to be mentioned, said: & # 39; If Gabe uses drugs, he is crazy. He has a lot of anger.
& # 39; He is known here as a drug dealer. I feel like he thinks he can get away with anything. He got away with so many problems in Marin. & # 39;
Hundreds of people appeared to honor Cerciello Rega when his body was taken to a chapel in central Rome to be able to lie on Sunday.
The new wife of the killed officer, Rosa Maria, wept and laid her hands on his coffin while it was being carried inside.
A funeral will take place on Monday in the same chapel where she married Cerciello Rega on 19 June in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana.
Forty-three days later, Rosa Maria returned to the church as a widow.
Mayor Salvatore Di Sarno of Somma Vesuviana proclaimed a & # 39; day of mourning & # 39; for the city near Naples.
Cerciello Rega had just returned to service after his honeymoon in Madagascar when he was stabbed.
Photos of the officer wearing his uniform for his wedding and showing off his wedding ring as he sat next to his shining bride dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers on Saturday.
Flowers, mementos and letters of condolence have gathered at an improvised monument outside the Carabinieri headquarters.
Station commander Sandro Ottaviani told reporters that Cerciello Rega was a beloved member of the armed forces who always thought of his neighbors, both during the service and when he was not wearing the uniform.
& # 39; He used to make pilgrimages to Lourdes and Loreto to help the suffering people every week, & # 39; said Ottaviani, referring to two major Catholic places of pilgrimage. & # 39; Without telling anyone, he volunteered. Not only a brave Carabinieri dies, but a great man. & # 39;
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called his death a & # 39; deep wound for the state & # 39 ;.
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