The body of a US Soldier belonging to the 173rd Airborne Brigade was relinquished to the Army by Italian authorities, two days before a planned autopsy.
Sergeant Kevin Deon Connor’s body was scooped up by the Army from San Bortolo Hospital in Vicenza after the US claimed jurisdiction, adding additional controversy to a case surrounding four paratroopers that Italian officials are trying to connect Connor’s death to.
The paratroopers allegedly connected to Connor’s death -which was related to alcohol and asphyxiation- were originally to be prosecuted by the Italians, who allegedly were “very determined” to see the Soldiers punished.
“The prosecutor was very determined,” lawyer Stefano Grolla told the Stars and Stripes. “She said it’s on Italian soil and I’m going to do my duty.”
Connor has apparently become incapacitated in the barracks after a night of hard drinking, prompting his comrades to roll him onto his side in the bathroom. Leaving for a few moments, his comrades returned and found him unresponsive.
Italian emergency services were dispatched, and attempts to resuscitate him carried on for around 45 minutes. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
In response, the Italian prosecutor began seeing if the four paratroopers involved could be prosecuted for manslaughter, possibly for failing to call for help sooner.
Italian law requires individuals to rescue people in need and mandates that people encountering an incapacitated person must notify authorities.
Connor’s body was ultimately taken by the Army, who will presumably have the autopsy done by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
Home of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Caserma Ederle is located in the city of Vicenza, and the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) has been a factor in several cases of legal and cultural friction between American troops and the Italians.
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