17 year sentence causes outrage in Italy.

Rogerro (left) and the crime scene. Credit: Facebook and Italian press release

WHAT would you do if a group of men ran into your business, threatened your family and stole your belongings? 

Mario Roggero, aged 68, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the death of two criminals, after they entered his jewellery store, tied up his daughter, threatened his wife and fled from the scene with many stolen items. Mr Roggero then chased down the men, shooting and killing two, as well as injuring a third. 

‘A victory for crime’, or a deserved punishment? This is the current topic of conversation in Italy and around the world at the moment, as the prison sentence has sent shockwaves through society, and sparked a fierce debate on the limits of self defence. 

The incident took place on April 28, 2021 in Grinzane Cavour, Italy, after which Mario Roggero was immediately accused of culpable excess of self-defence, as according to the public prosecutor’s office, Roggero would have shot the men as they fled ‘with the intention of causing their death, thereby voluntarily exceeding the limits of legitimate patrimonial defence’.

The recent sentencing has caused outrage from the public and many Italian politicians, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini. “He worked hard all his life, and he was just trying to defend his family and his business,” stated Silvani, also expressing his “full solidarity”.

CCTV shown in court captured the moment the robbers entered the shop and proceeded to tie up Roggero’s daughter, before rifling through various cabinets and filling their pockets with expensive goods. A man, who appears to be Roggero, is shown to be moved at gunpoint into a back room. Roggero later told the Italian press that at this point the criminals “were counting: five, four, three… I thought I was going to die.” At some point during this time they also threatened his wife. The men then filled large sacks with rings and watches, before making their escape, at which point, Mario Roggero claimed in court, he believed they had actually kidnapped his wife. Security camera footage from the car park then shows Roggero pulling a gun on the thieves and shooting at them as they run away, in what prosecutors are calling, ‘an execution’.  

Andrea Spinelli and Giuseppe Mazzarino died on the street a few metres from the shop entrance, a third robber, Alessandro Modica, was injured and later arrested. Due to this fatal result, Mario Roggero now faces nearly 20 years behind bars. “If you carried out a survey, 95 per cent of people would be against this sentence” stated Lucio Malan, a member of the Fratelli d’Italia.


Euro Weekly News spoke to father and husband, Daniel Powell, about his views on the verdict. “If it was me and I had a gun, yeah they’d be dead” he said, before adding that “the guy was just protecting his family, he doesn’t deserve that”. Sheila Hall, a mother of two, also expressed that she can “understand what he did”, agreeing that “the sentence is harsh”. Miguel Liñan, also a father of two small children agreed, explaining that “no doubt about it, you threaten my family, you’re asking to die”. 

However, a different response came from David Radley, aged 81, who told Euro Weekly News that, “realistically the danger was gone, him and his family got a lucky escape, but then he allowed himself to be consumed by anger, chased them and yes, committed murder”. 

Roggero said the verdict was a “victory for crime”, and is expected to appeal the conviction.

The debate now continues as to whether this punishment is deserved. Do you think it is a fair sentence? 

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Written by

Jennifer Popplewell

Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.


    • Mads Jessen

      06 December 2023 • 20:36

      In that state, you cannot be expected to act rationally at all. You are in a state of shock and it is without a doubt comparable to a momentary state of insanity !

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