A fugitive mobster turned himself in to police today, prompted by Pope John Paul II's speech to the Italian parliament on Christian values that was broadcast live around the country, his lawyer said.
Benedetto Marciante, who has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder and seven years for association with the Mafia, surrendered to police in Rome, where he was in hiding, his lawyer, Roberto Tricoli, said.
"The pope's words moved him so much, he immediately turned himself in," Tricoli said in a telephone interview.
"My client is a simple man and the comments on family values and the importance of being a Christian really affected him in a kind of miraculous way," he added.
In the pope's historic speech today, he urged Italians to have more babies and appealed to Europe to cherish its Christian roots. It was the first time the 82-year-old pontiff had addressed Italy's parliament.
Marciante, 50, is a native of Sicily, where he has been found guilty of murder and criminal association.
Tricoli said Marciante did not admit to the crimes when he turned himself in. "He just suddenly felt the need to do what was expected of him by the law," he said.