SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 25, 2012

Ronchi 'wanted to get away'

Testimony continues for man who killed his pregnant girlfriend

(Continued)

“You weighed the pros and cons?” Curran asked, attempting to undercut his claim that he had lost his ability to reason.

“By that time, I was pretty aware of the situation,” Ronchi said. And, “I was afraid, too.”

“I just wanted to get away from everything,” he continued. “I just wanted to get away.”

“So you made a plan to get away,” the prosecutor suggested.

Ronchi, 48, of Marblehead, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the May 16, 2009, deaths of Galperina, 42, of Salem, and their unborn son, already named David. Prosecutors allege that he planned the crime, bringing with him a hunting knife and a change of clothes to her apartment.

Ronchi and his lawyers are hoping to convince jurors that he suddenly snapped after, they say, Galperina told him the baby was not his, and that because of that temporary insanity, he is guilty of no more than manslaughter.

In his testimony both on Tuesday and again yesterday, Ronchi claimed no memory of the actual crime, only an increasing rage at Galperina during an argument over the way the baby, due on May 21, would be raised.

Instead, he testified, he slowly became aware of what he had done as he stood in Galperina’s Salem Heights bathroom, his hands and pants soaked with blood.

But during her cross-examination of Ronchi, which began Tuesday and continued yesterday, Curran sought to show that Ronchi was perfectly capable of planning not only his attempted escape, but of preparing for the possibility that he might not be available for a while after killing Galperina.

Curran pressed Ronchi on the knife, a 6-inch hunting knife he testified on Tuesday that he carried for his own safety during his visits to Galperina.

Ronchi said Tuesday that he had the knife, in a leather sheath, in his jacket pocket. But yesterday, under questioning by the prosecutor, he could not say whether he was wearing the jacket as the two argued. Nor could he recall where Galperina was when he pulled the knife out, whether she was lying on the futon or sitting up.

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