Trial of US teens for Rome cop slaying to start in February

International

ROME (AP) — The lawyer of one of the two American teenagers jailed in Rome over the slaying of a Carabinieri police office says their trial has been fast-tracked and will begin early next year.

Craig Peters, representing Finnegan Lee Elder, said Thursday that the first hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 26.

Earlier this week, prosecutors requested a swift trial, a so-called “immediate trial” procedure.

Elder and his friend Gabriel Natale-Hjorth — both from San Francisco — were jailed in July as authorities investigated their alleged roles in the fatal stabbing of Mario Cerciello Rega.

Italian prosecutors said Elder confessed to knifing the officer during a scuffle, while Natale-Hjorth allegedly assaulted the slain officer’s partner at the end of a chain of events sparked by a drugs deal that went wrong.

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