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Italian Mob Boss Surrenders

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Italian Mob Boss Surrenders

Fugitive Mafia Boss Surrenders at Italy Prison After Being Inspired by Pope's Speech

The Associated Press

R O M E, Nov. 14 — A fugitive Mafia boss facing 30 years in prison for murder surrendered Thursday, saying he was inspired by Pope John Paul II's historic speech to Italy's parliament, the suspect's lawyer said.

Benedetto Marciante was particularly taken by the pope's comments on family values, lawyer Roberto Tricoli said. Marciante surrendered at a Rome prison.

"In 30 years of practice, I've never experienced anything like this," Tricoli said from his office in Palermo, Sicily. "It's a miracle."

Tricoli quoted his client as saying the pope's comments, which were broadcast live Thursday on Italian state television, awakened his own religious beliefs despite the "adversity" facing him.

"He decided spontaneously," Tricoli said.

Marciante was convicted in absentia in September of Mafia association and homicide, Tricoli said. Lawyers are appealing the 30-year sentence for homicide but a seven-year sentence for Mafia association has been upheld, he said.

In his address to parliament, the pope urged Italians to strengthen their Christian values, have more children and work for the common good. John Paul also called for clemency for Italian prisoners.

The pope's speech was the first time a pontiff has addressed the Italian legislature.

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