Illegal immigrant arrested in American's murder in Italy said he left her alive

The lawyer for the main suspect in the death of an American in Florence, Italy said Thursday his client fought with the woman after they had sex and did drugs but that he left her alive on her bed and had no intention of killing her.

Attorney Antonio Voce told The Associated Press that Cheik Tidiane Diaw, a 27-year-old illegal immigrant from Senegal, reacted badly when Ashley Olsen tried to push him out of her apartment after they had consensual sex in the early hours of Jan. 8.

Olsen's body was found the following day. Prosecutors say she suffered fatal head injuries and was strangled.

Voce said Diaw punched Olsen in the neck and pushed her to the ground, where she hit her head, after she pushed him twice. He said Diaw helped her up and left her on the bed, but never strangled her and had no intention of killing her.

Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo told a news conference that DNA traces found on a condom, a cigarette butt and under Olsen's fingernails matched that of the suspect, who arrived in Italy a few months ago.

Creazzo added that Olsen's skull was fractured twice before she was strangled with a cord or a rope. The prosecutor said the fractures were inflicted so violently that they alone would have killed Olsen.

Investigators also said Diaw had taken Olsen's cell phone, put his own SIM card in it and used it.

Diaw is accused of aggravated homicide, given the brutality of the death and that Olsen was in a compromised state, Creazzo said. Prosecutors didn't say if Diaw had a lawyer or had been assigned a court-appointed lawyer.

Creazzo said Thursday that the investigation is continuing but that no other suspects were at the scene of the crime. He said investigators had reached "a great point" in the investigation following the "decisive proof" from the DNA analysis.

Olsen, 35, was found nude on her bed in her rented apartment on Saturday after her boyfriend had the owner open the door, alarmed that the woman had failed to respond to phone calls. Olsen's body had bruises and scratches on the neck.

Citing witness testimony and street cameras, Creazzo said Olsen and Diaw met for the first time at the Montecarla disco in Florence early Friday morning and went together to Olsen's apartment in the Tuscan city's historic center.

Diaw was previously known to authorities for being involved in the local drug scene. Creazzo said the suspect had come to Italy to join his brothers, who had been there for some time. Diaw told investigators he was working odd jobs handing out flyers for local nightspots.

Olsen, originally from Summer Haven, Florida, had been living in Florence for three years as an active member of the expatriate community and art scene. She had moved to Italy to join her father Walter Olsen, who teaches in the Renaissance art city.

"We are devastated that our precious Ashley has passed away resulting from a horrible and senseless crime," Walter Olsen said in a statement earlier this week.

He asked that the family be left to grieve in peace and expressed "faith that the perpetrator will be found and sentenced."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.