High court acquits US teenager of his mother’s murder charge

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May 12, 2012

JODHPUR: US teenager Jon Carlo Patten, who was sentenced for the murder of his mother Cynthia Iannarelli at Jodhpur, has been acquitted by the Rajasthan high court. Jon was in the custody of a juvenile home at Jodhpur since May 2011.

May 12, 2012

JODHPUR: US teenager Jon Carlo Patten, who was sentenced for the murder of his mother Cynthia Iannarelli at Jodhpur, has been acquitted by the Rajasthan high court. Jon was in the custody of a juvenile home at Jodhpur since May 2011.

The 15-year-old teenager from South Fayette (Pennsylvania) and his mother Iannarelli, a 51 year-old divorcee working as a business consultant, were holidaying at a desert resort in Osian village, 60 km from Jodhpur, in August 2010. Two days after their arrival, on the morning of August 13, Iannarelli was found murdered at the foot of a sand dune close to the resort. Her throat was slit and the nude body was wrapped in a bed-sheet.

Jon was preparing to leave for the US and about to board a flight from the Jodhpur Air Port the same day when he was arrested by the Jodhpur police. A chargesheet was filed against Jon on September 23, 2010 as the police accused him of the murder. As per the police, Jon had a heated argument with of his mother on the night before the body was found.

The Juvenile Justice Board convicted him of the murder on May 2, 2011 and sentenced him to three years detention at the special home meant for juvenile criminals. His counsel Rahul Mehra appealed against the conviction before the Sessions Court, which upheld the conviction on October 15, 2011.

During the court trial Jon wrote a letter to the Board's presiding officer and pleaded innocence. The teenager alleged that the police falsely implicated him for the murder and that was coerced into making a confessional statement.

Jon's counsel later filed a revision petition before the high court, which quashed the lower court's decision. Considering the witnesses and evidences, the high court acquitted Jon of the charge and ordered his immediate release on Thursday. "He has been given his passport and is currently in the possession of the US Embassy officials who will arrange to send him back to the US after the receipt of the court order's copy," Jon's counsel said