American Teen Arrested in Slaying of Italian Police Officer Claims He Was Acting in Self-Defense

One of the two Americans currently jailed in Rome for allegedly stabbing and killing a police officer says he was acting in self-defense, the Associated Press reports. Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, reportedly told an Italian judge he stabbed officer Mario Cerciello Rega after he felt pressure on his neck, although Judge Chiara Gallo wrote that Elder did not have any neck marks indicating strangulation. The officer died Friday after being stabbed 11 times. Investigators are alleging Elder stabbed the officer after Cerciello Rega and his partner, working undercover, identified themselves as “carabinieri” or military police. The Americans say they did not understand them to be police and thought they were being attacked. The officers were reportedly following up on a report of stolen backpack tied to a drug deal involving Elder and 18-year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, who are both California residents. Both Americans have allegedly confessed to their roles in the officer’s murder and could face murder charges, but officers now say they are also now accusing each other of being the ring leader.

Read it at Associated Press>

SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Marianne Dodson