An Italian court convicted two US tourists for killing an Italian police officer in Rome. The tourists had fatally stabbing a Carabinieri officer even as they attempted to buy drugs on the sly during their holiday in Rome.
The US tourists, Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 20, were given the life sentence by the Italian court. They were convicted and sentenced on Wednesday. The murder was committed in 2019.
The murdered Italian police officer has been identified as Mario Cerciello Rega, who was a Vice Brigadier.
The men, both of whom were from San Francisco had accidentally met in Rome in July 2019. The crime took place when they tried to purchase cocaine in the Trastevere nightlife district.
They were apparently swindled by the seller, who handed them pills. The men instead grabbed the dealer's backpack and forced him into another meeting where they would exchange the rucksack for the money they had given.
However, the twist in the tale was that two Carabinieri officers came up instead. In the scuffle that followed, the policeman was killed.
It turned out that the drug dealer was a police informant. One of the young men told the court that he panicked and the man he thought was the drug dealer was trying to kill him. "I panicked and believed he wanted to kill me," Elder said while testifying before the court.