Victim’s mother calls for US soldier to be tried in Italy over fatal car crash

The mother of a 15-year-old Italian boy killed after being hit by a car allegedly driven by a US servicewoman is demanding that the case be tried in Italy and not by a US military court.

Victim’s mother calls for US soldier to be tried in Italy over fatal car crash
A photo released by the Italian fire brigade shows the scene of the crash in Porcia, northern Italy. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco (Italian fire brigade)

A US servicewoman was under house arrest after being accused of killing a teenager while driving drunk, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Pordenone, in Italy’s far northeast, charged the 20-year-old female soldier stationed at the US Air Force’s Aviano Air Base with vehicular manslaughter Tuesday, defence lawyer Aldo Massarut told AFP.

The woman, named by police as Julia Bravo, is alleged to have been driving a car that hit a 15-year-old boy at around 2.30am on Sunday in the northern Italian town of Porcia, around nine miles from the base.

The victim, Giovanni Zanier, had been standing in a bike lane talking to friends when he was hit by the soldier’s car, according to witnesses. He died on the way to hospital.

Authorities measured the soldier’s alcohol level as 2.09 grams per litre, said Massarut, more than three times the legal limit.

The mother of the teenager told the Corriere della Sera newspaper she was concerned the driver would be allowed to leave the country, and said she wanted the soldier tried in Italy.

“I don’t trust the American justice system,” said Scandella.

“We all know that the soldiers on the Aviano base in this area do what they like, that they don’t respect the rules…,” she said.

“We want her to be tried in Italy and that she be given the sentence she deserves,” she said.

Zanier’s death is being investigated by Italian police, but because a US service member is involved the case could be turned over to military authorities in the United States.

Public prosecutor Raffaele Tito said on Monday that in accordance with “international treaties with regard to the jurisdiction applying to Nato forces stationed in Europe” the Italian justice ministry may decide that the case should be heard in the US.

The driver called for medical assistance immediately after the crash, media reports said.

Corriere della Sera said prosecutors had testimony from a witness who claimed to have seen the soldier leaving a nightclub, and who subsequently saw her driving erratically on the road.

The commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, which is stationed at Aviano, issued a brief statement of condolences to the victim’s family on Tuesday.

“Our wing is working in close collaboration with the Italian base command team and Italian law enforcement agencies, specifically the Carabinieri,” said Brigadier General Tad Clark in the statement.

The US Embassy did not respond to requests for information.

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 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.