The trial for the murder of Mario Cerciello Rega, the deputy brigadier stabbed and killed in the summer of 2019, in the Prati district of Rome, arrives today at the Supreme Court.

The supreme judges of the First Criminal Chamber are called today to decide on the sentences decided by the Court of Assizes of Appeal to 24 years and 22 years for Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Natale Hjorth. At first instance, after the investigation of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Rome, the two Americans had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Attorney General of the Supreme Court asks for the confirmation of the convictions for Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Natale Hjorth. The deputy attorney general of the Supreme Court, Francesca Loy who asked for the inadmissibility of Elder's appeal and the rejection of that of Natale clarifying that the carabiniere Cerciello "was unarmed and after identifying himself was killed with 11 stab wounds in 20 seconds".

"The appeals of the defenses must be considered inadmissible - he underlined - The sentences have reconstructed the story in detail. Cerciello had no reason to attack Elder, who immediately pulled out the knife knowing that Cerciello was a carabiniere because he had qualified". "It is excluded that the defendants could have thought that the two plainclothes carabinieri were criminals," said the deputy attorney general. As for Natale's position, Hjorth added: "And he who makes the main contribution to the attempted extortion, knows that Elder has a knife with him and it is he who after the murder hides the weapon in the false ceiling of their hotel room."

The widow's lawyers

"We were very satisfied with the two judgments of the previous levels of judgment and we hope that our satisfaction will be confirmed today by the Supreme Court". So the lawyer Massimo Ferrandino, lawyer of Rosa Maria Esilio, widow of Mario Cerciello Rega, entering the Supreme Court for the hearing of the trial for the murder of the deputy brigadier of the carabinieri, killed with eleven stab wounds on July 26, 2019 in Rome.

The defendants' lawyer

There are still too many gaps in the reconstruction of what happened that evening and for this reason we expect that the sentence of Appeal will be overturned and there will be a new judgment". So Roberto Capra, defender of Finnegan Lee Elder, accused together with Gabriel Natale Hjorth.

The story

The murder of the deputy brigadier of the carabinieri dates back to the night of July 26, 2019: after an unsuccessful attempt to purchase drugs, the two Americans, nineteen years old at the time, stole the backpack of Sergio Brugiatelli, who, in Piazza Mastai, had indicated to them the pusher from which they could refuel.

The Americans demanded 100 euros and cocaine to return the stolen goods, and Brugiatelli (key witnesses in the story, who died in 2021 for an incurable disease) asked 112 for help.

At that point, Cerciello, with his colleague Andrea Varriale, was sent to the rescue to stop the attempted extortion carried out by the two young men. When the military tried to stop them, Elder reacted by hitting Cerciello to death with 11 stab wounds, before fleeing with his friend. The two attackers rushed to room 109 of the Le Meridien hotel, which housed them, a few meters from Via Pietro Cossa, the place of the murder, while Varriale desperately tried to help his colleague who would die shortly after, in hospital.

Elder and Hjorth slept in the hotel, and on the morning of July 26, thanks to the images taken by surveillance cameras and the testimonies collected, the carabinieri found them and stopped them. The two were ready to leave Italy, with plane tickets already purchased, and had hidden in a false ceiling the knife with an 18-centimeter blade used in the ambush, which Elder had brought with him, hidden in a trolley, from the United States.