Cerciello murder, appeal bis for Elder and Hjorth: the decision of the Cassation

There will be a new trial. The Attorney General of the Supreme Court had asked for the convictions to be confirmed

Appeal bis for Gabriel Natale Hjorth for the conspiracy in the murder of the deputy sergeant of the carabinieri Mario Cerciello Rega, killed with eleven stab wounds on 26 July 2019 in Rome while for Finnegan Lee Elder for aggravating circumstances only and for the charge of resisting a public official . This is what the judges of the first penal section of the Cassation decided who annulled the sentence that had sentenced Elder to 24 years and 22 Hjorth to a new section of the Court of Appeal in Rome.

The Attorney General had instead asked for confirmation of the convictions. Carabiniere Cerciello “was unarmed and after identifying himself he was killed with 11 stab wounds in 20 seconds”, recalled Loy during the indictment.

“The appeals of the defense must be considered inadmissible – he underlined – The sentences have reconstructed the story in the smallest details. 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 the position of Natale Hjorth, he added: “It is he who makes the main contribution to the attempted extortion, he 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 room in inn”.

In the first instance, after the investigation by the Rome prosecutor’s office, the two Americans were sentenced to life imprisonment. It was the night of July 26, 2019 when the carabiniere, on duty with his colleague Andrea Varriale, was killed a few hundred meters from the hotel where the two young Americans, Finnegan Lee Elder and Christian Gabriel Natale Hjorth, were staying, arrested a few hours after the crime. That night, the deputy sergeant, together with his colleague Varriale, was in via Pietro Cossa to recover the bag that the two Americans had taken away in Trastevere from Sergio Brugiatelli, the ‘intermediary’ with the pushers to whom Elder and Hjorth had turned to buy cocaine, receiving actually tachypirine.

After the theft of the backpack, the two young Americans had organized a ‘return horse’ to get back money and drugs. However, the two plainclothes carabinieri had turned up for the appointment and Cerciello died under the stab wounds inflicted by Elder. After the murder, the two 19-year-olds had returned to the Meridien hotel in via Federico Cesi where they were identified and arrested. In the hotel room, the investigators also found the knife used to hit Cerciello, hidden in the false ceiling. Thanks to the investigations of the carabinieri of the investigative unit, then led by Colonel Lorenzo D’Aloia, with the deputy prosecutors Michele Prestipino and Nunzia D’Elia, the Rome prosecutor’s office requested and obtained immediate judgment for the two young men.

“We express great satisfaction with the outcome, we finally have someone who has heard our reasons. Now a new page is opening in the process”, said the lawyer Fabio Alonzi, defender of Gabriel Natale Hjorth. “The Court has evidently recognized the validity of our censures on the errors made by the lower judges who had considered Gabriel Natale’s participation in the murder. An affirmation incompatible with all the results of the trial”, lawyer Francesco Petrelli, defender of Hjorth together with his colleague Alonzi, told Adnkronos.

“We are satisfied with the annulment of the sentence. There will be a new trial on the heart of the matter, whether or not the carabinieri have qualified as belonging to the forces of order. And this opens up the space for a new quantification of the penalty”. Thus the lawyer Roberto Capra, defender of Finnegan Lee Elde.

“From the first minute in which we examined the procedural documents, we understood that Elder had absolutely not understood that he was facing two carabinieri. That intervention was anomalous”, said the lawyer Renato Borzone, Elder’s defender. ” In practice, this decision could have a great impact on the penalty,” he added.