“I’ll put two holes in your head”

Violence in the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison (Caserta)

May 15, 2024


The lawyer of some of the accused agents was threatened in the courtroom; during the trial another witness recanted: “I don’t remember being beaten.”

The images recorded by the cameras of the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison

Intolerant of the defense lawyer’s questions, he blurted out: “I’ll put two holes in your head“. Explicit threat, that of Gennaro Romanocurrently detained for injuries and robbery and constituted a civil party in the maxi trial on the violence in the “Francesco Uccella” prison of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, in the province of Caserta, dating back to 6 April 2020. The man, who was also beaten that day, told of the violence he suffered from when he was in the cell and all the way to the social room, saying that “I had pain in my knee and they still hit me there“.

Lawyer threatened: “I’ll punch two holes in your head”

The threat was uttered during the trial, which is being held in the bunker room of the San Marino court: there are 105 defendants in the dock, mostly penitentiary officers. The hearing was temporarily suspended to restore calm, given that Romano had shown impatience with the lawyer’s questions Carlo De Stavola, which defends some of the accused Penitentiary Police officers. The lawyer has not ruled out filing a lawsuit.

Witness portrayed: “Never beaten by officers”

The witness Antonio Zerillo, who had spoken of the beatings he suffered when he was interviewed by the police, today in court he retracted all accusations, risking being charged for perjury. The man is currently detained in the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison and is not the first witness who, after accusing the officers when he was heard by the military, contradicted himself or partially recanted during the trial.

Prison violence in Santa Maria, inmate in the courtroom: “There are those who have exaggerated the beatings they have suffered”

I don’t remember being beaten – said Zerillo, who also became a civil party in the trial – neither in the cell, nor along the route nor in the room. I got the hematoma on my buttock that day, perhaps by hitting it somewhere“. When the pm Alessandra Pinto she reminded him that he had said he had been beaten up, and asked him if he told the police what was false, he replied: “Maybe I signed without looking at the report“.

Despite the invitations of the president of the college Roberto Donatiello truth be told, the man stood his ground. Prosecutor Pinto then commented that “it is significant that the prisoner is confined in the same prison“, provoking a reaction from some of the lawyers present.

“They beat me and burned my beard”

During the same hearing the witness Claudio Merolla, civil party, said:

despite having mental problems, I was beaten in the cell together with the guard who assisted me. I then went into the corridor of officers and got more beatings, then in the room they put me up against the wall and massacred me; then they grabbed me by the ankles and at that moment I saw the Commissioner, the one with the curly hair, who was looking at her and smiling, even though she didn’t do anything to me; dragging me by my ankles they then threw me into the cell. They also lit part of my beard with a lighter. Even nurses and doctors were inhumane. I suffered violence and torture unjustly and I have never forgotten it.

The commissioner you are referring to would be the accused Annarita Costanzobut it does not emerge from the videos that the woman was present in the social room.

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