July 3, 1983, Rione Incis, Ponticelli, Naples. The bodies of Barbara Sellini and Nunzia Munizzi, age 7 and 10, are found in the bed of the Pollena creek. They are placed on top of each other, semi-charred, covered with stab wounds. An autopsy will reveal attempted sexual abuse and violence. “The Ponticelli Massacre” leaves an indelible mark, even in a community that used to count the dead from the fierce Camorra war going on in those years. For almost two months, newspapers and TV have been talking about nothing else. Who could have carried out such a horror?
Although at first the investigation focused on a convicted felon who seemed the perfect culprit, on September 4, 1983, three incensed young men, between 18 and 20 years old, Ciro Imperante, Giuseppe La Rocca, and Luigi Schiavo, were arrested by surprise. The trial delayed and after three years, between Poggioreale and forced stays, came the conviction, which was upheld in the Court of Appeals and Cassation. Life imprisonment, no end of punishment – reads the sentence. A sentence that is the consequence of a series of testimonies and confessions over which the long shadow of doubt extends due to alleged violence perpetrated during interrogations and a possible role played by the Camorra.
Since 2015, Ciro, Luigi and Giuseppe have been free men, having spent more than 27 years in prison together, in the same cell, professing innocence every day. In summer 2022, after three rejected requests for review, the Anti-Mafia Commission voted unanimously to investigate Camorra infiltration that allegedly polluted the investigation.
Today, the three are waiting for a new commission to proceed with the hearing of key witnesses and the much hoped-for review of the trial. What if who killed the two girls is still out there? What if Ciro, Giuseppe and Luigi were really victims of one of the greatest court mistakes in our country’s history? Nearly forty years after the massacre, the case is back in the spotlight involving even the government. The three accused return to talk about their story in this four-episode docu-series. Today, Giuseppe, Ciro and Luigi continue their battle to have the trial reviewed, as they wait for a new Parliamentary Commission to proceed with the hearing of key witnesses.
A Sky Original docu-series, produced by Sky and Groenlandia. By Emanuele Cava, written by Matteo Billi, Emanuele Cava with Shadi Cioffi. Directed by Christian Letruria. Exclusive on Sky Documentaries from 8:15 p.m. April 22, streaming only on NOW and available on demand.