A 19-year-old American student has regained consciousness on Friday after allegedly being stabbed by his best friend, who says he has no recollection of the events after a drug-fueled night of Halloween partying in Italy’s capital.
The victim, New Jersey-born Fabio Malpeso, was in intensive care and listed in critical condition after his roommate allegedly stabbed him 25 times early on Thursday morning while he slept.
Malpeso is a student at John Cabot University, an American school in Rome, and the shocking attack came on the five year anniversary of the stabbing death of British exchange student, Meredith Kercher – whose roommate Amanda Knox was convicted and ultimately exonerated in her friend’s 2007 death.
The alleged attacker, Reid Alexander Schepis, also attends John Cabot University. He is an American-born student with both U.S. and Italian citizenship and was arrested early on Thursday in the apartment they shared overlooking Rome’s famous Colosseum.
Malpeso is now recovering after undergoing surgery for stab wounds to his lungs and other parts of his body.
The incident occurred on the five year anniversary of the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher, who was killed on the evening of November 1, 2007.
Her American roommate Amanda Knox and Knox’s then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were accused of Kercher’s death and were convicted after a widely publicized trial in December 2009.
Their convictions were eventually overturned in October 2011 and both were set free.
On Saturday, a judge confirmed Schepis’ arrest and said he will decide in the next day on a defense request that Schepis be held under house arrest.
He is currently in police custody as they probe the attack. Police have said a motive for the attack is unclear, but they suspect ‘drug- and alcohol-related delirium’ might be a factor.
Attorney Vincenzo Comi, who represents Schepis, told NBC News that his client told the judge that he ‘did not remember anything of the episode.’
On the night of the incident, Malpeso, Schepis and two unnamed men went to a club called the Atlantic, where they were ‘drinking alcohol, smoking hashish and taking what he was told was ecstasy.’
Comi said his client started feeling ill and has little or no recollection of what happened until he woke up the next day in a police cell.
The boys are both in their second year of university, but are believed to be longtime friends whose parents also know each other.
A third man, an Italian in his 30s named Andrea Rinaldi, suffered injuries to his arms and hands trying to defend Malpeso, and was also in the hospital, police said.
Rinaldi is the boyfriend of Malpeso’s sister, Federica.
The couple had returned to the flat about 6 a.m. on Thursday and had not gone to the club with the foursome, as earlier reported.
The two unnamed youths with Schepis and Malpeso had returned to the flat, too, but left before Malpeso was stabbed about 7:45 a.m., according to court testimony.
John Cabot’s president, Franco Pavoncello, described the crime as a ‘tragic event’ in a statement.
In a message on the university’s web site, he said press or social media ‘rumors’ do not accurately reflect what happened, but offered no details. He urged prayers for the families of the victim and alleged assailant.