SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 22, 2012

Defense, judge pressure DA for deal

(Continued)

Ronchi’s defense team has indicated it will rely on a defense of diminished mental capacity at the time of the killing.

A plea offer would entail prosecutors offering to reduce the charges, to second-degree murder, which has an option for parole after 15 years, or manslaughter, where the sentences can range from probation to 20 years in prison.

After the recess, Inge asked again whether the two sides had discussed a deal.

When Curran said that she had not, Swomley interjected, “If you want to lean on them, your honor...”

“I think it should be probed,” suggested Inge, saying the prosecutor’s back injury was one reason to plead the case out instead of going to trial.

That’s when Curran briefly described the case for the judge, telling him it involved the killing of a pregnant woman and an unborn child.

“That’s a factor, but I don’t see how it forecloses efforts to achieve a resolution,” said the judge.

The added delay, Swomley also said, could cost him money, since he’s made hotel reservations for the weeks he expected the trial to take place.

Swomley practices in Boston.

He at one point suggested that if Curran’s request led to additional costs for his hotel room, those costs should be paid by the district attorney.

Curran said she could not agree to do something like that.

Inge told the prosecutor he did not see why the district attorney, Jonathan Blodgett, would object to such a request by the defense lawyer.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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