SALEM — After leaving Susan Slowick’s home on that Saturday night in May 2009, Peter Ronchi had one more commitment: his standing, late-Saturday-night visit to Yulyia Galperina’s Salem apartment.
He usually got there around 10 p.m., Ronchi, 48, told jurors yesterday, taking the witness stand in his own defense in his trial on first-degree murder charges.
Sometimes he’d visit earlier, say 9 p.m., and sometimes as late as 11, he acknowledged during cross-examination. He rarely stayed the night.
They almost never went out, save one trip to the movies he could recall.
But on this visit, there would be no sexual intimacy, he told jurors, because Galperina, 42, was due to give birth within days and they’d decided to wait until after the baby was born.
Then, however, she put on one of the nursing bras they’d recently purchased.
“I was bothered,” Ronchi said. “She wanted me to test it, and one thing would lead to another.”
The conversation turned to the baby, already named David. As they lay on the futon in the living room, where Galperina slept so her two children, ages 2 and 8, could have their own rooms, she brought up issues they had disagreed on, he said, including vaccinations and not introducing the baby to his older children.
“I was angry,” Ronchi admitted under questioning by his attorney, John Swomley. “She was going back on something.”
When he protested, “She said it’s her child, we’re not married, and she can do what she wants,” Ronchi testified.
“I told her that since I’m not making any decisions here, I’m leaving, and I got ready to leave,” he said. He said he offered to send money to support the baby.
“She said, ‘Don’t bother, it’s not your child,” he said.