I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Italian Police stabbing suspect posted on Instagram with knife before trip

ROME (KGO) -- In an exclusive ABC7 I-Team interview, an attorney for the San Francisco teen accused of stabbing to death an Italian police officer is criticizing the criminal investigation and dismissing a social media photograph showing the suspect with a knife before his trip to Rome.

Ethan Elder arrived in Rome today to see his 19-year-old son for the first time since the death of the Italian police officer; now spending his sixth day in jail.

Dan Noyes calls to Finn Elder's father, "Ethan, Ethan."

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The father of the San Francisco teen suspected of stabbing to death an Italian police officer walked by the cameras waiting for his arrival in Rome.

But the family attorney, Craig Peters, spoke to us exclusively.

"They look forward to seeing their son," Peters said, "This is where they spent their honeymoon. They have a great love for Italy. They feel devastated that this happened here."

Peters is also dismissing this photo posted to Finn's Instagram account, that aired on the Italian public television channel RAI Wednesday. It shows him in San Francisco before his trip holding a knife that appears to be the same style as the murder weapon.

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"The kid had a knife," Peers tells the I-Team. "At least in San Francisco certainly, in America, that is not a super surprising thing. People carry it for protection."

Peters is questioning the police handling of the case, complaining about leaks from the carabinieri.

"Well, I don't know what happened," he said. "I am convinced at this point that there is a pretty good chance that the police don't know what happened."

As for the other defendant, Dan Noyes tried to reach Gabe Natale's grandfather at the seaside villa where the young man spent several weeks each summer. No one came to the door.

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Gabe's Italian lawyer says the suspect has been crying non-stop in his jail cell here in the center of Rome.

His father, Fabrizio Natale, an investment adviser seen on his Linkedin, declined an interview but issued his first statement that reads in part, "We are deeply upset by his predicament, while at the same time fully convinced of his innocence. Gabriel never imagined there would be a confrontation and did not know his friend was armed. He only became aware of what actually happened after his arrest."

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We learned that a second investigation has been launched into why police handcuffed and blindfolded Gabe before his interrogation. An Italian judge has already called that "illegal" and "unacceptable".

Also, lawyers for both suspects and the widow all came back to the hotel, where the young men stayed. They want a forensic team to look for new blood evidence.

The I-Team's Dan Noyes is in Italy covering the investigation for ABC7. Follow his updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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