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American apologizes in Italy court for taking officer's life

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ROME (AP) — A 20-year-old California man accused of murdering an Italian police officer has apologized in a Rome court for taking a man's life. Finnegan Lee Elder has been on trial for the July 2019 slaying since February along with a fellow American. Elder said Wednesday he was “filled with remorse” and hopes one day the family of Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello will forgive him. Cerciello was stabbed 11 times as he and another plainclothes officer scuffled with the Americans after the young men were involved in a botched drug deal. The defense insists Elder and 19-year-old friend Gabriel Natale-Hjorth didn’t realize the two Italians were police officers and thought they were criminal thugs.

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