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Mass. high court rules infidelity can no longer be used as excuse to reduce murder charge

People in this story, February 2023

People facing murder charges in Massachusetts can no longer use their partners’ infidelity to mitigate the charges, the Commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled Feb. 14. The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Frank M. Gaziano, maintained two first degree murder convictions for Peter Ronchi, who was charged with killing his girlfriend and their 9-month-old fetus in 2009 after she falsely told him that the child was not his.

The Commonwealth’s high court specifically ruled that an oral declaration of infidelity, a partner telling their spouse they cheated on them, is insufficient provocation to justify lowering a first degree murder charge to voluntary manslaughter going forward. 

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