Four African migrants face charges of voluntary homicide, aggravated sexual violence, and distribution of illegal narcotics to a minor, one year after teen Desirée Mariottini was found dead in Rome.
The four men, Yussef Salia, Mamaodu Gara, Brian Minteh, and Chima Alinno, saw their first hearing this week with one of the defendants, Mamaodu Gara, complaining to the court of the absence of an interpreter during a prior hearing in October, Il Giornale reports.
“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.
The court also heard from witnesses. Some said they had been the ones who had attempted to contact emergency services to help the 16-year-old but claim the suspects prevented them from doing so. The next hearing has been scheduled for January 15th.
The alleged murder of Ms Mariottini shocked much of Italy when prosecutors claimed that the migrants involved had purposely given her a number of drugs that would lead to her overdose and death and took turns raping her.
Her body was discovered in an abandoned building on Via dei Lucani in the San Lorenzo district of Rome in October 2018. In the investigation that followed, investigators found several witnesses, mainly homeless drug addicts, who said they saw the sex attacks.
Just months after the alleged murder, three Albanians and two Moroccans were arrested for locking up four Italian girls after luring them with alcohol and drugs. The migrants are accused of taking turns sexually abusing one of the girls as they filmed the ordeal on their phones.
Earlier this year, another Italian teen girl came forward claiming to have been raped by Moroccan migrants in the city of Trissino. The 15-year-old said that her older friend had “sold” her to the migrants in exchange for drugs.