Homicide Suspect is Olivet Student

By: News 10 & Associated Press
By: News 10 & Associated Press

Police say an American college student has confessed to killing an Italian man in Florence.

Lead investigator Filippo Ferri says Johnathan Robert Hindenach of Charlotte, Mich., suffers from some psychological problems and had consumed drugs and alcohol before the slaying.

Ferri says Hindenach was detained near the storefront where police discovered the body of 62-year-old Riccardo Nistri.

Police don't have a motive, but Ferri says Hindenach fled the hotel where he was staying with a group of students Wednesday night, saying his colleagues wanted to kill him.

Hindenach's court-appointed attorney, Maristella Taggi, declined comment, saying she was working with the U.S. Consulate to determine if Hindenach would hire his own attorney.

Hindenach is enrolled at Olivet College and was touring Italy with a group from the college. Olivet released the following statement:

May 8, 2009
OLIVET, Mich. – A group of eight Olivet College students and one professor left Saturday, May 2 for a biennial overseas art class to Italy. The group was scheduled to visit Florence, Siena, Tuscany and other parts of the country over a 10-day period, and return to the United States Monday, May 18. This is the 10th trip Olivet College has hosted to Italy as part of its visual arts program. It is one of the most highly organized and structured overseas study programs sponsored by the college.

Johnathan Hindenach, a junior art major, was among the students attending the trip. Johnathan transferred to Olivet at the beginning of the spring 2009 semester. During his brief career at the college, he was an honor student and was recognized just a few weeks ago at Olivet’s Honors Convocation with the Visual Arts Program Award. Johnathan also attended Grand Valley State University and Lansing Community College.

Olivet College is working with Congressman Mark Schauer and the American Consulate in Florence to resolve this matter. The college does not know whether any charges have been filed against Johnathan and has no other information at this time. The remaining students attending the trip are returning to the U.S. immediately.

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