"We didn't touch him," say the brothers accused in the death of Willy Monteiro Duarte.
Two brothers who are among four people accused of beating to death a 21-year-old Cape Verdian-Italian in Colleferro south of Rome on Saturday night have said they are innocent, reports Italian news agency ANSA.
"We didn't touch him," Marco and Gabriele Bianchi, who are mixed martial arts practitioners, stated during a preliminary hearing on 8 September.
The Bianchi brothers rejected all accusations of their part in the killing of Willy Monteiro Duarte who died after a brutal assault with punches and kicks to the head, after he had stepped in to defend a friend in a fight.
The brothers claim that they "saw a brawl" and "intervened to break it up," adding that "We are saddened and devastated because we are accused of a homicide we did not commit," reports ANSA.
“My clients did not participate in the fight. They got out of their car to act as peacemaker after seeing some of their friends involved in the fight. They indicated the names of these friends to the judge," stated lawyer Massimiliano Pica who is defending the Bianchi brothers.
However, despite the brothers' claim to have noticed the brawl in the first place, Pica said his clients "did not see Willy on the ground," adding that the security cameras only filmed the "arrival and departure" of the car in which the Bianchi brothers travelled, "but did not film the scene of the fight."
The four arrested in relation to the death of Duarte are Gabriele and Marco Bianchi, aged 26 and 24; Francesco Belleggia, 23; and Mario Pincarelli, 22, all from the nearby town of Artena.
Duarte, who had only recently become an Italian citizen, was the son of a Cape Verdean couple and grew up in the small town of Paliano in the province of Frosinone. An autopsy on his body will be carried out today.
View on Map
Italy: Bianchi brothers deny killing Willy Monteiro Duarte
00034 Colleferro, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy