Suspect in death of American in Italy expected to stay in jail: Lawyer

ROME -- An Italian judge is expected to order a Senegalese man, arrested for the death of an American woman, to remain in jail while the investigation continues, the suspect's lawyer said Saturday.

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The judge questioned Cheik Tidiane Diaw, suspected of killing Ashley Olsen, at a closed-door hearing Saturday in Florence to determine if he should stay in jail. A decision is required by Monday.

While prosecutors accuse him of aggravated homicide, no formal charges have been lodged.

Olsen, 35, originally from Florida, was found dead in her apartment on Jan. 9 after her Italian boyfriend, an artist in Florence, became alarmed when he hadn't heard from her and asked the apartment's owner to let him inside to check.

An autopsy determined she was strangled a day earlier and also suffered skull fractures. According to witnesses, Olsen and Diaw met at a Florence nightclub a few hours before the attack.

Prosecutors said surveillance video cameras along the route showed the two walked together toward her apartment. They also told reporters the woman was slain after a night of cocaine-use and sex, which the prosecutors described as consensual.

Speaking by telephone from Florence, lawyer Antonio Voce says his client Diaw told the judge at the hearing that he used Olsen's telephone to try to call for help. He says Diaw denies strangling Olsen, contending he pushed her to the floor twice after she shoved him in what he described as humiliating attempt to make him leave the apartment.

Voce said Diaw has also maintained that Olsen was alive when he left the house in a taxi.

Police arrested him after finding traces of his DNA on a condom and cigarette butt in the apartment. Diaw, 27, was living at his brother's flat in Florence and had work giving out publicity flyers about the city's nightclubs.

Olsen's funeral was held Friday in Florence, where she was buried.

Her father taught at a design school in Florence, a city that draws foreigners for its Renaissance architecture and masterpiece-rich art museums and churches.


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