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Trial begins for U.S. teens accused of killing Italian cop

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:22s - Published
Trial begins for U.S. teens accused of killing Italian cop

Trial begins for U.S. teens accused of killing Italian cop

The first hearing of the trial of two U.S. students jailed over the murder of a police officer in Rome last year started on Wednesday.

The gruesome killing shocked Italy.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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It was a gruesome killing that shocked Italy and on Wednesday (February 26), the first hearing of the trial of two U.S. students jailed over the murder of a police officer in Rome last year got underway.

Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, both from San Francisco, were arrested in July on suspicion of murdering police officer Mario Cerciello Rega after a dispute following a failed drug deal.

Police say the 35-year-old officer -- who was unarmed and in plain clothes -- was attacked by Elder as he was trying to arrest him and Natale-Hjorth, on suspicion of stealing a backpack from a drug dealer who they believed had cheated them.

Another police officer was allegedly injured in the incident by Natale-Hjorth.

Police say Cerciello Rega was stabbed 11 times with an 7-inch combat knife that Elder brought to Italy from the U.S..

The Americans have said they did not know the man stabbed was a policeman.

However, the city's police chief said at the time that both officers had clearly identified themselves as police to the pair before the attack.

The pair have been kept in a Roman prison and will face charges of murder and attempted extortion.




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