SALEM — Yulyia Galperina’s grown daughter had planned to come to Massachusetts in May 2009 to help her mother prepare for the arrival of a new baby.
She delayed her trip by a few days, however, so she could be with her boyfriend during a memorial service for his grandfather.
Now, prosecutor Jean Curran said, she lives with the question of “what if?” Could she have prevented Peter Ronchi from killing her mother and the new baby brother she was planning to help care for in the days after his birth?
“She feels terrible she wasn’t here,” Curran said of Yevgenya Nepomnyashchaya, who is now 26. Instead, when she called her mother as she was boarding a train to travel to Massachusetts, a police officer answered the phone.
Nepomnyashchaya was not present in Salem Superior Court yesterday to see a jury convict Ronchi, 48, of the first-degree murders of her mother, Galperina, 42, and the baby she had already named David. As it turns out, she is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated her New Jersey community.
Ronchi, of Marblehead, was found guilty under the theories that he premeditated the May 16, 2009, deaths of both Galperina and the baby, due five days later, and that he acted with extreme atrocity or cruelty in killing Galperina, who was stabbed 14 times in the back, chest and neck.
Ronchi had hoped a jury would find that he “lost it” in a moment of rage that he said was provoked when Galperina told him the baby was not his. He showed no reaction as the verdicts were read. He and his lawyer had hoped for a verdict of manslaughter.
In the moments before Judge David Lowy imposed back-to-back life sentences without parole, Ronchi turned back toward his brother, Emil Ronchi, in the front row of the gallery and nodded, then mouthed what looked like the words “thank you.”