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The murder of Raffaele Mazzoli

7 Ottobre 1828


In the middle of the 19th century, with the "motu proprio", Leone XII reaffirmed the power of the church in the administration of justice. In Bologna, if on the one hand the provisions of Leone XII do not generate any change in the administration of the town necropolis, on the other, they re-emerge in relation to events that occurred within the Charterhouse, such as the murder of Raffaele Mazzoli. In 1826 the Mazzoli had been appointed custodian-demonstrator of the municipal cemetery following the winning of the first public competition held for the office just established. Upon his arrival at the Charterhouse, among the various works in progress, there was also the completion of the Hall of the Pantheon entrusted to the master builder Carlo Perucchi and his sons Paolo and Innocenzo. Once the cover was completed, the Perucchi were excluded from any other work to be performed in the cemetery because the roof of the hall, intended to honor the illustrious men of the city, seems to have been poorly built. Innocent and Paul began to feed the custodian-demonstrator a terrible revenge, which they accomplished on October 7, 1828, at eleven and a half hours.

The crime occurred inside the "magazzeno dei ferramenti" and was assisted by the cart driver Bonora, whose version of the facts was confirmed by other witnesses immediately rushed to the screams. To kill the custodian-demonstrator were the Perucchi brothers who, as confirmed by the autopsy, hit the Mazzoli several times with a "square" and a "mannarino". After several fatal blows, the brothers abandoned the Charterhouse and fled with the complicity of their father. The murder takes place inside the municipal cemetery, and therefore, according to the norms established by the pontifical government, in an immune place. For this reason it was the chaplain of the church of San Girolamo who immediately denounced the Curia and was the first to deal with the observation and description of the body and the crime scene.

For the procedure to begin, a sort of "suspension" of immunity was necessary through a formal act of the governmental authorities of the Papal States. Having obtained this and carried out all the necessary investigations, on 10 November 1828 an arrest order was issued for the Perucchi brothers, who were already abroad. The search for the accused continued for many years beyond the borders of the state. Over the years, the court will receive several testimonies according to which the brothers, together or individually were seen in France, in Lugano, in Turin, in Livorno. Paolo and Innocenzo will never be arrested and the case will be definitively closed in 1863, after 35 years.

Traduzione a cura del Liceo Leonardo Da Vinci, nell'ambito del progetto Scuola Lavoro 2020/21.