A court in Italy has cleared a Nigerian asylum-seeker, whose alleged crimes inspired a neo-Fascist to go on a shooting spree against migrants at the weekend, of murder charges.
Innocent Oseghale, 29, was arrested recently in connection with the death of Pamela Mastropietro, an 18-year-old from Rome, whose dismembered body was found in two suitcases on January 31.
“On Tuesday, a judge validated his arrest, but dropped murder charges due to lack of evidence,’’ the ANSA news agency and RAI state television said.
The suspect, an alleged drug dealer, remains accused of concealing and desecrating a dead body, while another dealer is suspected of selling heroin to the victim, who had run away from a rehabilitation centre.
According to ANSA, Oseghale told investigators that Mastropietro died from an overdose in his flat, where police found the girl’s bloodied clothes, large kitchen knives and a meat cleaver.
Her body was found near Macerata in central Italy.
Three days later, a 28-year-old far-right sympathiser drove through the town, shooting and injuring six Africans.
The attacker, Luca Traini, said it was an act of revenge for Mastropietro’s murder.
The violence has led to increased anti-immigration rhetoric in the campaign for Italy’s general elections on March 4, which a right-wing alliance led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is forecast to win.
On Sunday, Berlusconi called migration “a real social bomb ready to explode,” and proposed the expulsion of “at least” 600,000 undocumented foreigners.