U.S. teens jailed in Italy in policeman’s killing

ROME (AP) Two American teenagers were jailed in Rome on Saturday as authorities carry out a murder investigation in the killing of an Italian police officer.

A detention order issued by prosecutors was shown on Italian state broadcaster RAI, naming the suspects as Gabriel Christian Natale Hjorth and Finnegan Lee Elder. The detention order didn’t give their ages, but says they were both born in San Francisco in 2000. Police earlier said they were 19.

Prosecutors said in the order that Elder is the main suspect, accusing him of repeatedly stabbing Carabinieri paramilitary policeman Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, who was investigating the theft of a bag after a drug deal gone wrong in Rome. Natale Hjorth is accused of using his bare hands to strike the officer’s partner, who wasn’t seriously injured in the attack.

Both suspects were also being investigated for attempted extortion. Elder’s lawyer, Francesco Codini, said his client exercised his right not to respond to questions during a detention hearing held Saturday in the Rome jail where the two teens are being kept. Natale Hjorth’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available for comment.

A judge at the detention hearing hasn’t ruled if the suspects will be kept in custody beyond an initial three-day period.

An Italian investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity since the probe was ongoing said that the pair had snatched the bag of a drug dealer in Rome after the man apparently gave them “a different substance” instead of cocaine.

The Carabinieri said the Americans demanded a 100-euro ($112) ransom and a gram of cocaine to return the bag. The alleged dealer called police, saying he had arranged a meeting with the thieves to get his bag and cellphone back. Police says there was a scuffle at the rendezvous site and the policeman was stabbed eight times, dying shortly afterward in the hospital.

The Carabinieri said video surveillance cameras and witnesses allowed them to quickly identify the two Americans and find them in a hotel near the scene of the slaying. Police said the two Americans were “ready to leave” Italy when they were found.

In a search of their hotel room, the Carabinieri said they found a long knife, possibly the one used to attack Cerciello Rega. Police said the knife had been hidden behind a panel in the room’s ceiling. Police also said they found clothes the two apparently were wearing during the attack.

The Carabinieri statement said the two Americans admitted responsibility after being questioned by prosecutors and faced with “hard evidence.”

Related: Vintage crime photos from the Daily News

13 PHOTOSVintage crime photos from the Daily NewsSee GalleryVintage crime photos from the Daily NewsUNITED STATES – MARCH 03:Confessed Slayer Enraged. William Patrick Farrell screams as he lunges toward fotog taking his picture in van outside Police Headquarters. Police say that Farrell, 25, father of two, reenacted for them the slaying of NYU coed Ann Yarrow last month. Farrell, a patient at Bellevue Hosipital twice before, was ordered to Bellevue again.(Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – MARCH 25:Leon Liss, Barney Mortillaro, Milton (Shuffles) Goldberg, Louis Liss, Pasquale Chicarelli and gang leader Richard Reese Whittemore (l. to r.) in a police lineup, after they were implicated in a gem holdup on W. 48th St.(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JANUARY 09:Theodore A. Clement in the back of a police paddy wagon after allegedly shooting a man during a poker game.(Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JANUARY 20:Isadore Strauss in jail cell at police headquarters after his arrest for murder and robbery in connection with Whittemore gang job.(Photo by Paul Levine/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 04:Abe (Kid Twist) Reles (center) in a police mug shot.(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – CIRCA 2000:Liquor store owner Abraham Weissman views the body of stickupman, Otis Mims, whom he shot during an attempted robbery.(Photo by Gary Kagan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 01:Mass murderer Harry F. Powers, the Butcher of Clarksburg, tells a detective about the details of his grisly murders in Clarksburg, W.Va.(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 19:Nela Bogacki, alias Nella Bogart, madam of the ‘Continental call girl ring,’ handcuffed to Salema Hontover after being seized by the F.B.I. Both are to be deported for illegal entry.(Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 25:The body of Albert Anastasia – who ran Murder, Inc., a gang of hired killers for organized crime, in the late 1930s – lies on the barbershop floor at the Park Sheraton Hotel, Seventh Avenue and West 55th Street, soon after his murder by two gunmen at 10:20 A.M.(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – APRIL 20:A manacled LeRoy Luscomb is charged with first degree murder in the killing of his wife with a deer rifle. His wife is on the bed in the rear of the photo.,(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)(Original Caption) When John Kerr, of 147 W. 84th Street, and Peter Macon, 490 Columbus Avenue, were being booked on a mugging charge at the West 68th St. Precinct today, photographer Phil Grietzer, New York Daily News photographer, drew a bead on the proceedings with his camera. He didn’t know the boys had a camera allergy. But he found out when the two, although handcuffed together, came charging at him. Another photographer who doesn’t suffer from buck fever, got this picture.UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 16:Driver and bodyguard Thomas Bilotti lies on the street next to car after he and crime boss Paul Castellano were shot to death outside East Side steakhouse.(Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)Up Next

See Gallery

Source: Read Full Article