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Prosecutor seeks life sentences for US men accused of killing cop in Italy

Two American students are accused of stabbing to death an Italian police officer in 2019

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ROME, Italy — An Italian prosecutor on Sunday asked for life sentences for two US students accused of killing a policeman during a scuffle in Rome in 2019, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, who were respectively 19 and 18 at the time, are accused of stabbing to death Carabinieri police officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35.

During a four-hour indictment on Saturday, prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta said the events of July 26, 2019 were “serious,” and “serious is the injustice done to a good man who was doing his job,” according to ANSA.

The slain cop, along with his partner, confronted the US pair as part of a plain clothes operation to retrieve a stolen backpack.

Natale-Hjorth and Elder allegedly stole a backpack from a drug middleman who gave them aspirin instead of cocaine. They later demanded money and real cocaine to return the item.

According to the prosecutor, the two Americans went to the meeting prepared.

“The aim was to kill. It was not self defence, they were ready for anything. They did not worry about the state of the victim, they ran away and hid the knife,” ANSA cited Calabretta as saying.

The prosecutor said that Cerciello Rega was stabbed 11 times in less than 30 second and had no chance to defend himself.

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