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An Italian man who was serving 30 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend was recently released from prison because judges ruled that prison food didn’t allow him to go on a diet behind bars.
In 2017, Dimitri Fricano was arrested for killing his girlfriend, Erika, during a heated argument, while they were vacationing in Sardinia. He originally told police that robbers had attacked and killed his partner, but as investigators found more and more holes in his story, he eventually admitted that he had been the one to stab her 57 times. Apparently, she had scolded him for leaving too many crumbs on the bed when eating, and he became so angry that he couldn’t control himself. Two years later, he was put on trial for murder, but he only got convicted to 30 years behind bars in 2022, due to pandemic-related delays, before being released this month for being dangerously obese and not being able to lose weight.
At the time of his conviction, Dimitri Fricano weighed 120 kgs (260 lbs), but over the next 12 months, he ballooned to 200 kgs (440 lbs), a weight that doctors say puts him at high risk of cardiovascular disease. He reportedly cannot even get around the prison building without crutches or a wheelchair, and a court has ruled that his condition is ‘incompatible with the prison regime’, because prison makes it impossible for him to follow a low-calorie diet.
“He needs assistance that cannot be provided in the institution,” a panel of judges ruled, adding that he cannot remain incarcerated because his obesity and chain-smoking habit put him at an imminent risk of dying.
Dmitri Fricano will now serve the rest of his time under house arrest in a town near Biella, a verdict that has infuriated his victim’s family. Although the law states that, should Fricano’s condition improve, he will return to prison, Erika’s parents believe that it is unlikely to happen.
“The house arrest for Dimitri? It’s a shameful decision,” Erika’s father told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera. “When some friends let me know, after reading it online, that Dimitri had been placed under house arrest, a wound reopened. It was like receiving a stab to the heart. His is a rare case. To think that not even the mafiosi [Mafia] receive this treatment.”