SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 7, 2012

Murder or manslaughter?

Jury now has Ronchi's fate in hands

(Continued)

He snapped, Swomley said, the culmination of years of depression, anxiety, Asperger’s and a host of other problems, coupled with exhaustion and the stress of trying to figure out how to provide for a baby.

Aside from his compromised mental state, the defense suggested, there was not a single moment that evening to “coolly reflect” on what he was about to do, Swomley said. Ronchi is guilty of no more than manslaughter, the defense lawyer suggested.

Curran disagreed, describing how Ronchi had ended the argument by announcing he was leaving and would send money, as he put on his jacket, the one containing a hunting knife.

And even as Galperina allegedly responded by telling him the child, due that week, was not his, he did have time to think, to pull the knife from his pocket and from the sheath, she argued.

“The evidence is there to support a finding of the premeditated murder of Yulyia Galperina and her unborn child,” said Curran, who also argued that the jury could find Ronchi guilty under a theory of first-degree murder through extreme atrocity or cruelty, pointing to testimony from a coroner that Galperina did not die immediately from the 14 stab wounds inflicted by Ronchi.

Swomley, who had made his closing first, suggested that the prosecutor would be forced to back down from her original theory in the case that Ronchi planned the killing.

“The dispute here is about premeditation,” Swomley argued to jurors. “The government began this case by saying Mr. Ronchi came to the apartment that night with the intent to kill Ms. Galperina.”

He called the details offered by the prosecutor about Ronchi’s actions leading up to the night of the killing a “red herring.”

Curran did not abandon her original premise, however. She offered the jury an alternate theory, one they could consider instead if they rejected the idea that Ronchi plotted the killing.

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