Vatican No. 2 intervenes to shed light on Swiss Guard deaths

FILE - In this  Saturday May 16, 1998 filer,  members of the papal Swiss Guard carry the coffin of Alois Estermann, newly appointed commander of the Swiss papal guards at the Vatican, out of the St. Stephan's church in Beromuenster, Switzerland. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/TEAM, File ) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday May 16, 1998 filer, members of the papal Swiss Guard carry the coffin of Alois Estermann, newly appointed commander of the Swiss papal guards at the Vatican, out of the St. Stephan's church in Beromuenster, Switzerland. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/TEAM, File )

ROME (AP) — The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally to shed light on one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the confidential court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999.

Parolin cited the “understandable desire that animates the relatives to know the details of a particularly painful event,” according to a March 30 letter from the cardinal to the mother’s lawyers.

Parolin’s involvement was announced by attorneys Laura Sgro and Luc Brossollet on the 23rd anniversary of the May 4, 1998 slayings of Alois Estermann, 43, and his wife, Gladys Meza Romero, 49, in their Vatican apartment, allegedly by Tornay, 23.

Within hours of the discovery, the Vatican spokesman announced that Tornay had killed the couple with his service revolver and then turned the gun on himself. The spokesman said a buildup of resentment over a reprimand by Estermann and the denial of a decoration, combined with a ″peculiar″ psychology, led to the outburst.

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 5, 1998 file photo, an Italian police car is stationed in front of the main entrance to the Vatican. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life.Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 5, 1998 file photo, an Italian police car is stationed in front of the main entrance to the Vatican. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

Nine months later, in February 1999, the Vatican released a 10-page report of its internal investigation that confirmed its initial assessment. It concluded that Tornay was solely responsible for the murder-suicide but added that his marijuana use and a brain cyst the size of a pigeon’s egg could have impaired his reasoning.

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 5, 1998 file photo, a Swiss Guard shuts St. Anna's gate at the Vatican after letting a car in. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 5, 1998 file photo, a Swiss Guard shuts St. Anna's gate at the Vatican after letting a car in. The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally in one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

Tornay’s mother, Muguette Baudat, has campaigned for two decades to have fuller information about the murders and, in 2019, asked for the Vatican investigation to be reopened.


Gallery: The most notorious con artists of all time (Espresso)

Vatican No. 2 intervenes to shed light on Swiss Guard deaths