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Two US students who butchered newlywed Italian policeman with a seven-inch Rambo knife are jailed for life in Rome

Two US students who butchered a newlywed Italian policeman with a seven-inch Rambo knife are jailed for life in Rome.

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A PAIR of US students who stabbed an Italian police officer to death with a Rambo knife in a botched drug sting has been jailed for life.

Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, must serve Italy’s stiffest sentence of at least 21 years behind bars for killing Italian cop Mario Cerciello Regain 2019.

 US students

US students Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, have been given life sentences for killing an Italian cop[/caption]

 US students

Italian cop Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed to death as he scuffled with Finnegan Lee Elder[/caption]

The seven-inch Rambo knife used to stab Mario Cerciello Rega to death in 2019[/caption]

The 35-year-old officer had recently returned from his honeymoon when he was stabbed to death in a scuffle with the pals after a bungled drug deal.

Elder had admitted to stabbing Rega 11 times in the attack on July 26, 2019, but argued he acted in self-defense, believing the cop was a thug.

Under Italian law, accomplices can also be charged with murder.

Elder and Natale-Hjorth were indicted on charges of homicide, attempted extortion, assault, resisting a public official, and carrying an attack-style knife without cause.


Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, faces at least 21 years behind bars before the possibility of parole[/caption]

Finnegan Lee Elder

Gabriel Natale Hjorth, 20, was handed a life sentence in Italy for his involvement in the crime[/caption]

The school friends from California were on holiday in Rome when they tried to buy cocaine in the Trastevere area near Vatican City.

Investigators said a man named Sergio Brugiatelli helped the pair to find a dealer.

But the students were allegedly sold crushed aspirin instead of drugs.

After stealing the middleman’s rucksack, demanding their money back, and a gram of cocaine in exchange, Mr. Brugiatelli rang cops.

Undercover officers Rega and his partner, Andrea Varriale, arrived on the scene before the fight broke out – with the US students claiming the cops never identified themselves.

Speaking to the court in March, Elder said he stabbed Rega because he feared a “thug was attacking him,” reported the BBC.


“As soon as I felt his hands squeezing my neck, I instinctively took my knife and hit him a few times to get him off me,” he said.

Last month prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta argued that the pair should be given life sentences, which she described as “a just penalty.”

Cerciello Rega’s widow, Rosa Maria Esilio, sat in the front row during the trial clutching a photo of her husband, who was killed just 43 days after the couple had got married.

Cerciello Rega’s widow, Rosa Maria Esilio
Rosa Maria Esilio and Mario Cerciello Rega had been married just 43 days when he was killed.
Rosa Maria Esilio

Widow Rosa Maria Esilio broke down after learning her husband’s killers would be jailed for life[/caption]