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CRIME

American student died ‘after brawl with homeless man’

A 40-year-old homeless man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering 19-year-old American student, Beau Solomon, Italian police said on Tuesday.

American student died 'after brawl with homeless man'
Beau Solomon was found dead in Rome's Tiber river after going missing on Friday. Photo: Facebook

Massimo Galioto, from Rome, was arrested for manslaughter, police said in a statement.

Solomon’s body was found in Rome’s Tiber river, near Ponte Marconi, on Monday morning, three days after he went missing.

Galioto's companion, with whom he shares a tent on the embankment, told Italy's Rai Uno he had not meant to hurt the student.

A drunk Solomon had “bumped into Massimo and they began to argue. They were pushing each other. Massimo pushed him, the boy pushed back, and then he fell in the water,” she said.

Two witnesses told police they saw a man being thrown into the river in the early hours of Friday morning.

Solomon had arrived in the capital on Thursday to undertake a five-week course at John Cabot University.

The student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was reported missing the next morning by his flatmate, who “was worried when he did not see Beau at orientation that morning”, John Cabot University said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

The friend had reportedly lost contact with Solomon at around 1am while together at a bar in Rome’s popular Trastevere area.

Solomon’s body, which had suffered a wound to the head, was identified by his family, who flew to Rome on Sunday.

Police suspect Solomon may have hit his head on a rock when he fell in. It was not clear what he was doing on the embankment.

His bank card had been used while he was missing by someone who withdrew over €1,500 ($1,675) in Milan, but Galioto's companion said the homeless man had nothing to do with the theft, accusing foreign thieves instead.

Galioto returned to his tent and went to sleep after the incident, instead of alerting emergency services, Italian media reports said.

Solomon had reportedly survived a rare form of cancer as a child and hoped to enter politics after university.

John Phillips, the US Ambassador to Italy, on Tuesday sent his condolences to Solomon’s family.

“I was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Beau Solomon,” he said in a statement. “My heart goes out to his family and friends. The U.S. Embassy stands ready to provide support to Italian authorities investigating his disappearance and death.”

John Cabot University also said in a statement on its website: “John Cabot University is greatly saddened by the death of Beau Solomon, a visiting student from Wisconsin Madison. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and we are committed to assist the family in any way possible.

“John Cabot remains in constant contact with the Italian authorities and the US Embassy as the investigation into Beau’s death unfolds. There have not been any indications of elevated threats to our students or the local community. The University continues to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of all our students.”

CRIME

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.

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