A group of four African migrants appeared in court for the first time this week, facing charges of voluntary homicide, aggravated sexual violence, and distributing illegal drugs to a minor.
The trial begins a little more than a year after 16-year-old Desirée Mariottini was discovered dead in an abandoned building in Rome’s San Lorenzo district.
The four defendants, Alinno Chima and Mamadou Gara, Yusef Salia, and Brian Minteh are said to have drugged, gang-raped, left Mariottini to die alone in a drug den in a case that sent shockwaves across the nation, Il Giornale reports.
Several witnesses, mostly homeless drug addicts, confirmed to investigators that they had witnessed the group sexual assault take place. An autopsy confirmed that the 16-year-old girl was a virgin before being raped.
“Our pain can never be calmed,” said Desirée’s grandmother as she left court. “No sentence will ever give us back our Desirée,” she added.
“I am not responsible for the death of this girl, I ask her mother and family for forgiveness and excuse, and I respect their pain,” Yussef Salia told the court.
Witnesses who claim they attempted to contact emergency services but were prevented from doing so by the suspects were also heard from. The next hearing is scheduled for January 15th.
Earlier this year in May, the African migrant drug dealer Innocent Oseghale was found guilty of murdering and dismembering 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro and was sentenced to life in prison.
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