Rome murder trial resumes for Bay Area college students accused of killing Italian officer

Dan Noyes Image
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Rome murder trial resumes for Bay Area college students
The murder trial has resumed for Bay Area college students Finnegan Elder and Gabriel Natale, both accused in the death of an Italian police officer in Rome. ABC7 I-Team reporter Dan Noyes has a look from inside the courtroom.

ROME (KGO) -- The murder trial has resumed in Rome on Wednesday, after an August recess, for two Bay Area college students accused of killing an Italian officer.

For the first time, a judge ordered that defendant Finnegan Elder of San Francisco could have his picture taken. He is accused of stabbing a plainclothes police officer to death after a drug deal went bad last summer.

RELATED: Step-by-step account of what happened in death of Italian officer allegedly by Bay Area's Finnegan Elder and Gabe Natale

The widow of Carbinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega attends every hearing, and she was there again Wednesday, clutching her husband's photo.

Her attorney, Massimo Ferrandino, told reporters in the courtroom, "She always said she doesn't want revenge, but only justice, what do you want more than this?"

VIDEO: '32 Seconds: A Deadly Night in Rome'

ABC7 I-Team's Dan Noyes reveals what led up to that night in July 2019 when an Italian police officer was killed. Find out in the ABC7 Original, "32 Seconds: A Deadly Night in Rome."

Marin County's Gabriel Natale is also charged. He struggled with another officer that night and he's accused of hiding the bloody knife in a ceiling panel in their hotel room.

On Wednesday, a homeless man from Romania testified he was sleeping near the incident in July 2019, but he offered few concrete details, admitting he had been drinking and dozing on and off.

Natale's attorney, Fabio Alonzi, said in the courtroom, "I honestly didn't understand what he saw, when he saw what, and what he described. A story full of confusion, and I really don't understand what we can get from this witness who was supposed to be a very important one for the prosecution."

The next hearing is in one week for the young men who first met at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. Scheduled to testify -- a number of carabinieri who handled forensic evidence.

The trial is expected to last through January, with hearings just a day or two a week.

For a look at more stories and videos by the ABC7 News I-Team go here.