Rom killed while begging near Naples, Italy

15 May 1998

Shortly after 10 am on September 13, 1997, in the village of Cappella, in the Bacoli municipality on the outskirts of the southern Italian city of Naples, a 74-year-old Italian man named R.B. shot and killed a 21-year-old Rom named Radojica Jovanović who had come to the door of Mr R.B. with his two and a half year-old son to beg. Mr R.B. evidently believed that he recognised Mr Jovanović as a familiar thief. After they started to argue, Mr R.B. shot Jovanović in the neck at point-blank range with a breech-loading twelve-guage shot-gun, blowing his head off.

Mr R.B. turned himself in to the carabinieri. The latter detained him on September 14 but released him several days later. They reportedly suspected that he confessed in order to shield a member of his extended family, because the victim's two and a half year-old son, F.J., an eyewitness, did not identify Mr R.B. as the perpetrator. If convicted, Mr R.B. would receive a light sentence on account of his age. The police reportedly stated that F.J. was the only eyewitness, but subsequent statements by the police indicated that members of Mr R.B.'s extended family may also have seen the shooting. Three members of the family were reportedly at or near the scene when the shooting took place, but the testimony of all three is plagued by inconsistencies and contradictions.

On February 2, 1998, investigating authorities resolved that Mr M.N. and Mr M.S., both members of Mr R.B.'s extended family, had not been involved in the shooting and that the sole perpetrator was Mr R.B. M.N. reportedly told investigators that he could imagine R.B. „shooting a non-European for intimidation purposes." The lawyer of the victim's family continues to maintain that Mr R.B. is shielding younger family members. Mr R.B. will be arraigned on May 19 on homicide with abhorrent motives charges under Italian Penal Code Articles 575 and 576(4), with reference to Article 61(1). He will also be arraigned on the charge of publicly producing a firearm with malicious intent, under Articles 12 and 14 of Law 497/74 with reference to Article 61(2) of the Criminal Code.

(ERRC)

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