Lawyer for Italian student arrested in ex-girlfriend’s slaying says he’s disoriented, had psych exam

ROME (AP) — An Italian man who was extradited from Germany for the kidnapping and slaying of his former girlfriend hasn’t yet spoken about the “merits” of the accusations and will appear before a judge on Tuesday, his lawyer said.

The hearing before the judge to decide whether Filippo Turetta should stay jailed while the investigation proceeds will be his first occasion to formally respond to prosecutors’ allegations that he kidnapped and killed Giulia Cecchittin, whose disappearance and slaying gripped Italy and fed demands for action to stop violence against women.

Turetta, 21, was flown aboard an Italian air force plane on Saturday from Germany to Italy. He had been held for several days in a German jail after he was found by police a week earlier in his car, out of gas and parked on an emergency shoulder of a German highway after days of an international search.

“He’s very, very tried” and “disoriented,” lawyer Giovanni Caruso told reporters on Saturday evening after visiting Turetta in a Verona jail. Asked if Turetta had spoken about the allegations, the lawyer replied: ”We didn’t enter into the merits” of the case.

Asked about any comments the defendant made about the case, Caruso replied: “The young man said essentially nothing.”

Caruso said his client underwent a psychological evaluation to see if there is “risk of self-harm.”

There was no answer Sunday at Caruso’s law office.

The lawyer said that Turetta would have an opportunity to read prosecutors’ documents about the cases before the hearing Tuesday. Under Italian law, a hearing before a judge must be held within a few days of a jailing to see if there are conditions to continue to detain a suspect, such as flight risk or the possibility of tampering with evidence.

Cecchettin, 22, disappeared after meeting Turetta for a burger in a shopping mall in northern Italy on Nov. 11. Her body was found a week later in a ditch near a lake in a remote area in the foothills of the Alps, and a medical examiner noted that there were 26 stab wounds and injuries indicating that she had tried to ward off the blows.

According to her friends and family, Turetta refused to accept her decision to end their relationship and resented that she was about to get her degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Padua before him in the same department.

Surveillance cameras in the days following the woman’s disappearance captured sightings of Turetta’s car in northern Italy, Austria and Germany.

A camera a few kilometers from Cecchettin’s home on the night of Nov. 11 had filmed Turetta’s car and a woman bolting from it and then running a few steps down a sidewalk before a man, apparently Turetta, struck her repeatedly, she fell to the ground and was bundled into the car.

Cecchettin’s elder sister, Elena, told fellow young people who gathered near the family home to “make noise” to demand action against violence targeting women in Italy and to combat a patriarchal culture.

People across Italy took up her appeal, and in vigils, marches and rallies across the nation, including in several cities on Saturday that drew big crowds, rattled keys, shouted and otherwise indicated they wouldn’t stay silent.

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