Simonetta Cesaroni she was twenty years old when she was assassinated on 7 August 1990 in Rome, in the offices of AIAG, the Italian Association of Youth Hotels, better known as Youth Hostels. The case became media news with the toponym “via Poma”. Archetype of the unsolved crime, of the Italian mystery always on the verge of a twist: a thirty-year-long legal case, three suspects the doorman of the building; the nephew of the elderly architect who had designed the district and who lived there; the boyfriend of the times then all acquitted, and no one guilty. The leads remain, some of which fallacious, with tragic repercussions. The photograph of Simonetta at the sea remains, in a white bathing suit, looking in the camera.
There remains a family that asks for truth and justice, because if death recedes over time, pain has no end. And a trace remains that could mark a turning point towards the cold case solution par excellence. 2022 was an important year in this sense. New statements, new witnesses. The case also landed in parliament, in the anti-mafia commission, which reported after hearing from Simonetta’s sister, Paola Cesaroni, the family’s lawyer Federica Mondaniand the writer Igor Patruno, scholar of the story. The prosecutor has reopened an investigation file against unknown persons. We talk about it with Patruno who has been following the case since the beginning, he has written two books, while the third, together with the jurist Luca Givenwill arrive in bookstores in the coming months.
The assassination of Simonetta Cesaroni has remained in the memory of the Italians and many, still today, have the story at heart. What do you think it depends on?
«This crime is a photograph of Italy in 1990, it carries within it all the malaise built up in the 80s and ready to explode. There is the profound injustice of not being able to answer the canonical questions about the brutal murder of a twenty-year-old girl, a suburban girl killed while working in the neighborhood of the rich, in a building in “good” Rome. We don’t know who, we don’t know why, and we don’t even know for sure how and when. The where remains, via Poma, which opens up two questions, the only possible ones: Who knew that Simonetta would be working alone that day? And who was there that day? A real “census” does not appear to have been carried out, perhaps because, convinced that the culprit was the goalkeeper, alternative areas and scenarios were completely left out. The lead came before the investigation. Interrogations, verifications, search for evidence, were carried out according to a single thesis. It is often said that if a case is not resolved or at least well routed in the first 48-72 hours then things get complicated; that’s how it went here. But perhaps it can still be remedied ».
The investigations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office: is there a file and what does it concern? Do you think a solution to the case is possible after almost 33 years?
«After a complaint from Simonetta’s sister, Paola, subjects are being investigated who in previous investigations have been considered marginal or who have never been heard from or involved. So the Public Prosecutor’s Office is working and the possibility of identifying the culprit exists, just as there is a genetic profile identified and extracted by the RIS in 2007 starting from a trace of blood found a few centimeters from the victim’s blood. This profile, compared with that of the subjects involved in various capacities during the previous investigations and with the database, has not been matched. It therefore belongs to an unknown male subject. An investigation similar in scope to the one carried out for the Yara Gambirasio case would be needed. Two restricted circles on which to draw attention: the “territorial” of via Poma in that period, that is, those who frequented the complex for whatever reason; who was close to contact with Simonetta, or who for one reason or another, knew her girlfriend.
In this affair, too often the interpretation of the facts came before the facts themselves. His idea: how did things go?
«I have my own idea, anyone who knows the history of via Poma has one. The effort is to avoid it because the picture is composed only by maintaining neutrality. You have to read the papers, limit yourself to the evidence. In the book written with Luca Dato who has concrete experience in researching and reading documents, we only let the latter speak, which give very precise indications. The same happens with a 3D reconstruction of the 29 wounds inflicted on Simonetta. This map of injuries carried out by the doctor and criminologist Franco Posa tells us two things: there is brutality and overkilling. In other words, it cannot be a staging. Consequently, it becomes difficult to imagine a crime committed in silence during a summer afternoon and it becomes impossible to believe that the person who killed did not get dirty and did not have to look for a place to clean up or hide”.
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