Giancarlo Umani Ronchi's Testimony (English)

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Summary of Giancarlo Umani Ronchi's Testimony

  • Appointed by the GUP (preliminary hearing judge) to give a medical opinion with respect to the murder of Meredith Kercher. Ronchi was in charge of issues relating to time of death and with Professor Cingolani injuries and cause of death.

Time of Death

  • Impossible to establish time of death with any degree of accuracy.
    • Temperature of the body could not be used because it was not taken until twelve hours after the body was discovered and the conditions were not constant for that period of time. At points the body was covered and at times it was not, flash photography was used in the room, and the air currents were allowed to change.
    • Hypostatic stains and rigor mortis could not be used because too much time had passed.
    • Henssge could not be used because it requires that the temperature be constant over time.

Gastric Contents

  • Ronchi was provided with 200 cc of gastric contents (Dr Lalli reports that 500cc was recovered) and agrees with Dr. Lalli's report that the gastric content contained mozzarella and slices of apple.
  • Ronchi raises concerns about using gastric contents to determine time of death.
    • Digestion is different for every person and even for a specific person will vary depending on psychological state and what was consumed.
    • Ligatures were not used so possible for material to have moved after death.
    • The meal lasted for a number of hours so difficult to determine when the pie was actually eaten.
    • No way to know if all the contents related to the meal eaten at the British friend's home.
  • Defense asks whether with 500 cc of gastric contents in the stomach there had been any emptying to which Ronchi responds that for the most part the stomach had not emptied. The duodenum was empty but there were also food contents before the ileocecal valve. Ligatures were not used so it is impossible to know if the food contents before the ileocecal valve were not part of the gastric contents or if it had already been emptied.
  • How long does it take for food material to reach the ileocecal valve? No fixed time can be given because digestion is different for each individual and even for an individual the time varies depending on the state of the individual and also if alcohol was consumed. It may take three, four, five hours to empty the stomach or it may take much longer.
  • Donatella Donati for Raffaele Sollecito asks how long it takes for the stomach to empty under standard conditions. Ronchi responds four to five hours.
    • Donati asks Ronchi to confirm that on page 44 of his report he wrote three to four hours and has the judge point out that the sentence continues to page 45 adding that meals with meat and vegetables would take four to six hours to leave the stomach and a meal with flour would require six to seven hours.
  • Mignini asks about mushrooms in the gastric contents per Dr. Lalli finding mushrooms but Ronchi does not remember any mushrooms.

Meredith's BAC

  • Meredith had alcohol in her system when tested at Institute of Legal Medicine of Macerata equivalent to consuming 200cc of gin. This contradicts the Dr Lalli's findings of a much lower BAC. The blood was tested several times so there is no mistake although contamination is possible.

Compatibility of Knife

  • Was shown the knife but not allowed to touch it. Only Professor Cingolani handled the knife.
  • Was told that the DNA testing of the knife had already occurred.
  • The knife was compatible with Meredith's wound.
    • Carlo Dalla Vedova asks for clarification on a sentence in the report that discusses the limits of compatibility. Ronchi explains that compatibility is not length and width of the knife but rather characteristics like if the knife had been bi-cutting then it would have been incompatible. In a follow up question Dalla Vedova asks then would not all mono-sharp knives have been compatible. Ronchi responded yes as long as they also met the minimum length and width.

Giancarlo Umani Ronchi's Testimony

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