Family upset that US youths get Italy’s harshest sentence

Italy Police Slaying Trial

Finnegan Lee Elder and his co-defendant Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, right, listen as the verdict is read, in the trial for the slaying of an Italian plainclothes police officer on a street near the hotel where they were staying while on vacation in Rome in summer 2019, in Rome, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A jury in Rome on Wednesday convicted two American friends in the 2019 slaying of a police officer in a drug sting gone awry, sentencing them to life in prison. The jury deliberated more than 12 hours before delivering the verdicts against Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, handing them Italy’s stiffest sentence. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — When prosecutors sought indictment of two American teenagers for the fatal 2019 stabbing in Rome of an Italian paramilitary officer, they described them as being in cahoots from start to finish.

That was even though only one defendant wielded the knife in what their lawyers steadfastly contended was in self-defense. When their trial ended more than 14 months later, the jury convicted both on all charges and sentenced them to life imprisonment, Italy’s harshest punishment.

A lawyer for one defendants’ family called the ruling “a mockery of justice.” He lamented that the two young Americans got a sentence in Italy that is often meted out to mob bosses who have ordered premeditated assassinations.

Categories: National News