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Italian Cops Ordered Prison Hit on U.S. Cop Killer Teens Finnegan Elder and Gabe Natale Hjorth, Messages Show


Italian Cops Ordered Prison Hit on U.S. Cop Killer Teens Finnegan Elder and Gabe Natale Hjorth, Messages Show

ROME—As the two young American men convicted of fatally stabbing an Italian police officer in 2019 pleaded for their lives in an appellate court on Thursday, another court heard how rogue cops wanted them severely beaten or even “dissolved in acid” in the hours after the slaying.

Finnegan Elder and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth were 19 and 18 when Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, died of 11 knife wounds inflicted by Elder on a cobblestone street in Rome in July 2019. Rega, working undercover with his partner Andrea Varriale, had tried to retrieve a backpack the Americans admit to stealing from a drug deal interloper after they were given crushed aspirin instead of cocaine they bought.

The Americans were sentenced to life in prison last May, and their automatic appeal began in Rome on Thursday. But the day before, a separate trial was underway against two officials accused of abusing their authority in connection with the teens’ arrest. One was an official who illegally blindfolded Natale-Hjorth shortly after he was arrested, and another was the officer who sent a photo of the blindfolded teen around.

That trial revealed WhatsApp messages among four other Carabinieri officials who urged each other to kill the boys in a jailhouse hit. “Beat them to death,” one message said. “Dissolve them in acid,” another urged. A particularly disturbing message even said, “Do him like Cucchi”a reference to the 2009 murder of Stefano Cucchi, a young man who died while in custody for a drug deal. Two police officers were eventually sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter in his death.

Italy’s justice minister said a full investigation into the four officers who exchanged the messages would be conducted.

The Americans are appealing the sentence based on the circumstances that led up to Rega’s death. As the undercover cops approached the then teens, a fight broke out and Elder admits he pulled out his military grade knife and fatally stabbed Rega. Elder and Natale-Hjorth say the cops—who did not have weapons or badges—jumped them first and they had no idea they were law enforcement…

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