Aviano airman accused of killing teen in car accident asks for speedy trial, reports say
Stars and Stripes November 17, 2023
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — An American airman facing vehicular homicide charges for the death of an Italian teen sought to reduce a potential sentence during a preliminary hearing this week, according to Italian media reports.
Julia Nicole Bravo was intoxicated while driving home from a club at about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2022, when she lost control of her vehicle upon trying to navigate a roundabout in the Porcia suburb of Sant’ Antonio, according to a report by Il Gazzettino.
Giovanni Zanier, 15, was on the sidewalk outside the roundabout after attending an event at a nearby club, and was struck by the vehicle and killed.
Bravo’s attorneys requested an abbreviated procedure Monday from judge Rodolfo Piccin that would allow the reduction of a third of the potential sentence, according to online reports from Pordenone Today and Il Gazzettino.
Bravo, 21, assigned to the 31st Security Forces Squadron, was quoted as telling the judge: “I wish I had died,” in the Il Gazzettino report.
Both Italian media reports said attempts to reach a plea agreement were not successful. Bravo’s attorneys, Aldo Massarut and Maria Grazia Formentini, were unavailable by phone for comment Friday.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is an aggravating circumstance for vehicular homicide. A conviction can carry 8 to 12 years in prison when the blood alcohol level is above 0.15%, the reports said.
An Aug. 22 report from Pordenone Today listed the reported level as more than 0.23%, well over the threshold. Bravo’s attorneys disputed that level in court Monday.
At the time of the accident, the roundabout connecting Lazio street and Roveredo street, adjacent to the large Conad Superstore, was dark due to an energy-saving policy established by the municipality. The street lights were shut off at 2 a.m., according to an Il Gazzettino report shortly after the fatal accident.
In August, a compensation agreement was reached between the United States and the family of the 15-year-old, according to the Pordenone Today report. No terms were disclosed.
Local media reports have stated that Bravo is still on duty at Aviano Air Base and cannot leave Italy while awaiting trial.
The 31st Fighter Wing said Friday in a statement that “we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Giovanni Zanier for their loss,” adding that they are coordinating with Italian authorities to educate service members on “smart decision-making to avoid tragic events like this in the future.”