A judge in Italy ordered an Italian man to remain in jail on Monday as an investigation into the death of a Nigerian street vendor whose violent beating at the hands of the suspect shocked many in Italy and sparked strong criticism from the Nigerian government continues.
On July 29, police arrested Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32, minutes after the seller was assaulted and left for dead on a busy retail street in the beach town of Civitanova Marche while others watched, including at least two who filmed the attack.
This week, an autopsy will be performed to identify the exact cause of death for Alika Ogorchukwu, 39. According to widely distributed recordings, the suspect was on top of Ogorchukwu, pummeling him with his bare hands after initially assaulting him.
At a jail near the Adriatic coast city of Ancona, Judge Claudio Bonifazi presided over a hearing for Ferlazzo.
Ferlazzo “presented his version of the facts and apologized,” defense attorney Roberta Bizzarri told reporters. She went on to say that Ferlazzo, who is white, stated that “there was no racial element” involved.
When asked if Ferlazzo was apologizing to the victim’s family, the lawyer said, “Yes, to the family.”
Ferlazzo might face murder and robbery charges as a result of the theft of Ogorchukwu’s cell phone.
“Ferlazzo’s apologies are insufficient; justice, not vendetta, is now required,” Orgochukwu’s family stated in a statement issued through their lawyer. “It’s impossible to comprehend what occurred.”
In a phone call, the family’s lawyer, Francesco Mantella, adding that the widow, Charity Oriachi, wants to meet with the suspect “face to face” to try to understand why he killed her husband.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government asked that Italy “bring the perpetrator of the atrocious act” to justice as soon as possible.
According to the dead man’s lawyer, he was attacked after complementing the woman on her appearance. The companion, known only as Elena D., told Corriere della Sera that Orgochukwu had touched her arm but that it didn’t concern her. The woman stated that she was in a clothing store at the time of the attack.
The incident comes as Italy prepares for elections on September 25. Matteo Salvini, the League’s anti-migrant leader, has made immigration and safeguarding residents from violent crime primary priorities.
Orgochukwu needed a crutch after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Mantella had been hired to seek accident compensation for the family, which included an 8-year-old kid who, according to the lawyer, has yet to be compensated.