Finnegan Elder, who is 19, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, who is 18, were taken into custody hours after the slaying of Carabinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega early Friday.
A judge said Elder told authorities he stabbed a man he later discovered was a police officer because he feared he was being strangled. The judge noted the teen lacked neck marks consistent with attempted strangulation.
Italian authorities say a Carabinieri police officer who was fatally stabbed during a confrontation with two American teenagers over a botched drug deal had forgotten his gun that night — but that regardless, there wasn’t time for him or his partner to use their weapons and the suspects then fled.
Carabinieri Gen. Francesco Gargaro defended the police response during a press conference Tuesday, providing the first details about the confrontation in which Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega was fatally stabbed.