SALEM — As he drove in the rain toward the Tobin Bridge in the hours after stabbing his pregnant girlfriend, Yulyia Galperina, multiple times, killing both her and the baby, Peter Ronchi said he had a plan to kill himself.
So, then, prosecutor Jean Curran asked, why was there a duffel bag packed with clothes in the back of his minivan?
Ronchi couldn’t answer, telling Curran he does not remember packing the bag, though he “may have.”
Ronchi said that when he realized he couldn’t carry out his suicide plan — “It’s not easy to kill yourself,” he told jurors — he got another idea.
“I did get the idea of going to New York, to my mother’s property,” he said. “My mother was buried there. I wanted to be close to her.”
But, Ronchi said, he got lost on his way to Oneonta, N.Y., ending up instead in Norwalk, Conn.
Then he ran out of gas.
So why didn’t he just use either his Visa World Wildlife Fund credit card or his Eastern Bank ATM card to get more gas at a nearby station, or his ATM card at the nearby bank, the prosecutor asked.
Ronchi had no explanation.
Instead, he spent nearly all of the cash he had on him, about $130, at a nearby Walmart.
He bought a bike and a helmet. He picked up a backpack, a rain suit and a poncho.
Then he went back to his minivan; took some items, including a Leatherman tool and his son’s fishing rod; filled his backpack; and began pedaling away, abandoning the minivan.
The bike, he insisted, was a birthday present for his son. But first, “I was planning to ride that to Oneonta.”
(Oneonta, in upstate New York, is more than 180 miles away from Norwalk).