Then, the next witness, Connecticut State Trooper Edward Benecchi, took the stand. He testified about responding to a call regarding a man riding a bicycle on the Merritt Parkway, a major thoroughfare where cyclists aren’t allowed.
Ronchi told the trooper that he’d biked all the way from Marblehead, on his way to Oneonta, N.Y., where his late mother had lived. (In fact, he’d purchased the bike at a Walmart in Norwalk, Conn., hours earlier, Ronchi testified earlier this week).
Why not drive, the trooper asked. “He said he likes to look at rare plants,” Benecchi testified.
Under cross-examination by the prosecutor, Benecchi confirmed that Ronchi never mentioned his minivan, abandoned near a Walmart in Norwalk, nor did he ask for help, just directions.
Ronchi’s brother, Emil Ronchi, took the stand to describe their childhood and portrayed his brother as a misfit loner with whom he’d had a falling out, in part due to Peter Ronchi’s “increasing impossibility.”
Emil Ronchi testified that their mother was a Belgian war orphan adopted by an Italian-American family, and their father was a minister who brought her to Switzerland, then left her for another woman.
Throughout his life, Peter Ronchi relied on Emil, his younger brother, who was a certified financial planner, to make financial decisions and take care of things.
This was a source of increasing frustration, Emil Ronchi testified.
The two, who both lived in Marblehead, eventually stopped seeing each other entirely by 2008, though they sometimes exchanged emails.
Under cross-examination, Emil Ronchi acknowledged that his brother had largely managed his own bank accounts and had purchased certificates of deposit without Emil’s assistance, and that Emil was primarily involved in managing the family trust funds.
And countering the brother’s assertion that Ronchi did not interact with others, Curran pointed to his involvement in an adult soccer league.