Some link Agca’s remark about help in the Vatican to a threefold murder there on May 4, 1998. Allegedly, 23 year-old Swiss Guard Vice Corporal Cedric Tornay shot his commander, Colonel Alois Estermann and Estermann’s wife, and then himself. Estermann was remembered for his heroism the day John Paul II was shot. It was believed that Tornay resented the Colonel’s treatment of French speaking guards and was angry that a medal was withheld from him. A second autopsy of Tornay’s body revealed some inconsistencies in the Vatican’s autopsy report. The team assembled by the corporal’s mother said he was shot by a shell that did not come from his gun and that a supposed suicide note was a forgery.
Estermann had been promoted by the pope to lead the Guard a few hours before this. Estermann and his wife were close to the secretive order Opus Dei, and some believed that Tornay was a source for Vatican Intelligence Agent Yvon Berterello, who was investigating the extent to which the order had penetrated the Guard. It was known that the Guard’s chaplain. Monsignor Alois Jehle, the Guard’s chaplain, was concerned that the Colonel was recruiting Guards for Opus Dei.
Later, Monsignor Giovanni Danzi, head of the Guard’s Security Committee carried out an investigation, suggesting he may have thought a fourth witnessed the shooting. The Vatican’s view was that the forensic evidence clearly showed that Tornay did the shooting. The odd thing was that there were people two paces from the apartment, and they heard nothing.
Timesof London reported that Estermann and Tornay has a sporadic sexual relationship for about two years. Estermann was involved with other guards.
Colonel Roland Buchs-Binz, the former commander, temporarily returned to service and made it clear he did not believe the official explanation. He had Tornay dressed in his uniform and laid beside Estermann and his wife for an observance by the Guard. Soon, two- thirds of the Guards non-commissioned officers resigned.
A Polish paper quoted Marcus Wolf, former second in command of the East German intelligence service, the Stassi, as saying Estermann had been employed by them since 1979. A Turin paper checked with Wolf who said Estermann was not a spy and that the East German mole was a German Benedictine working in a Vatican science office.