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Category: The officially involved

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: A Good Profile Of Guede, Now Starting His 10,950 Days

Posted by Peter Quennell



By Nick Squires in Perugia

9:09AM GMT 29 Oct 2008

Within days of Meredith Kercher’s half-naked body being found in Perugia last November, key suspect Rudy Hermann Guede, 21, fled the Umbrian hill town and jumped on a train to Germany.

His flight across the Alps sparked an international manhunt. Italian police wanted him in connection with Miss Kercher’s brutal killing, having found his bloody hand print on a pillow at the scene of the crime.

During a desperate few days on the run, he slept rough in empty train carriages and on a barge on the Rhine.

At one point he was contacted on Facebook by journalists, including the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent, and engaged in an online chat in which he protested his innocence.

On November 20, nearly three weeks after the murder, he was stopped on a Frankfurt-bound train near Mainz after a conductor found him without a ticket.

He was arrested, held for two weeks in a German prison and extradited back to Italy to face charges of murder and aggravated sexual assault.

It was all so different from the life of opportunity his immigrant father had envisaged when he left his native Ivory Coast in the early 1990s with five-year-old Rudy in tow.

Leaving his wife behind, Pacome Roger Guede settled in Perugia, Umbria’s provincial capital, and found work as a building site labourer.

He put down roots in the university town but after a decade decided to return to West Africa, leaving the teenage Rudy in the care of an Italian family, who looked after him as their own son.

For all their good intentions, he developed into a troubled youth, skipping school, dabbling in drugs and dropping out of courses in accountancy and hotel management.

He lived for a time in Milan and proudly posted on his Facebook site a photograph taken of him with Giorgio Armani in the fashion guru’s bar.

His adoptive father, wealthy local entrepreneur Paolo Caporali, 63, told the Italian national newspaper La Repubblica: “It is pointless to hide the fact that for me, Rudy was a disappointment. I hoped to help him build a future. I thought I had given him an opportunity. But as the months passed I understood I was mistaken, that my hopes were all met with delusion.

“He said he was at school, but he skipped class. He preferred to spend the day in front of the television or with video games. He had little wish to study, and even less to work.”

Rudy was thrown out ““ cut loose from those who cared for him for the second time in his life - and drifted into a rootless existence of part-time work, petty crime and drug dealing.

In the evenings and at weekends he mingled with the thousands of students who are drawn to Perugia each year to learn Italian at the town’s University for Foreigners.

He played basketball on the concrete court just up the hill from the house which Miss Kercher shared with Miss Knox and two other students, becoming friendly with the people living in a basement flat.

Through them he met Miss Kercher in a bar at a Halloween party, the night before the murder.

Four days before the party, he was in Milan and broke into a nursery school so that he could spend the night there.

He was armed with an 11-inch kitchen knife, telling police he had to “protect” himself against thieves.

In a 25-page handwritten note he gave to police after his arrest, Guede said he regretted leaving Miss Kercher to die from her injuries. “Had I been a man, I would have saved Meredith”. Instead, he fled the scene and did not call the emergency services.

He described the scene he came across in chilling terms. “When I closed my eyes, I could only see red. I have never seen so much blood. All of that blood on her beautiful face.”

And the inevitable bluster about appealing. Good luck on that one, Rudy.


Next-Day Press: How The Suspects Enjoyed Their Day In Court

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the translation from Ansa.

Actually, it seems they spent the day locked up in the basement. Down below everybody else’s feet. And simply not enjoying it at all.

Presumably they were trotted upstairs one at a time, to be told of the finding by Judge Paolo Micheli.

Guede seems to have remained cool, but Knox and Sollecito were both visibly distressed at their outcomes.

Hard landings. Perhaps a case of too many rosy scenarios. Of lawyers, friends and families failing to let them down easy,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guede Gets 30 Years And Knox And Sollecito Face Trial on December 4

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click on the image above for the Sky News report, and click below for Nick Squires’s piece in the Daily Mail.

So. Almost one year to the day. We reckon justice for Meredith was seen happening today. It ain’t over yet, but the verdict must have been heartening for the Kercher family.

Fine work by the Italian police, prosecution and judge, who were the targets of more pro-defendant hostility than most of us have ever seen. Italian reporting was extremely fair, as far as we can judge, and the Italian ciitizenry seems to have maintained an impressively pro-victim stance throughout.

A fundamentally very nice country, Italy. Everybody should get to go there at some point in their lives. And don’t miss Perugia, 

We guess only the shorter sentence incurred for choosing the short-form trial saved Rudy Guede from life behind bars - plus a fuzzy agreement over his extradition with the government of Germany.

The Knox and Sollecito trials will start on December 4th, and they will probably remain locked up between now and then. They must be seriously pondering some short-form trials themselves.

Nice work by Sky News and the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, who all had fine reporters present at big cost to themselves. We are curious to see how the US media plays this story.

Especially the consistently pro-Knox CBS network. If they even report it at all.


Dramatic Day For Guede, Knox, Sollecito: The Cast Arrives

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above: Prosecutor Mignini


Above: Prosecutor Comodi


Above: Prosecutors Mignini and Comodi


Above: Kercher family lawyer Maresca


Above: Guede lawyer Biscotti


Above: Guede lawyer Gentile


Above:Sollecito lawyers Buongiorno and Mauri


Above: Knox lawyers Ghirgha and Vedova


Above: Falsely accused Lumumba and lawyer Pacelli


Above: And the defendants; in the vans


Monday, October 27, 2008

Peter Popham Of The UK “Independent” Sure Has Drunk The Knox PR Kool-Aid

Posted by Peter Quennell




Popham’s Bias Against Italy

Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

Popham Again Channels Knox PR

Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

See our corrections below.

Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved ““ but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

Our corrections of Popham

1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…


Sollecito Team Turns On Knox? This Is Really Extraordinary…

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





A report says Sollecito places Knox at the scene of the crime.

As she had herself as well, twice, in the evening before her arrest. Still, a surprise move coming so soon after this truce.

The report, by Richard Owen from Perugia for the UK Times went online on the Times website three hours ago.

It also confirms what case-watchers already know; that tomorrow, Tuesday, is quite a cliff-hanger for the third defendant, Rudy Guede, who may be convicted and possibly sentenced right there and then.

Amanda Knox, the American flatmate of the murdered British student Meredith Kercher, has for the first time been implicated as being at the scene of the crime by her former Italian boyfriend.

With a verdict imminent in the pre-trial hearings over the murder in Perugia almost a year ago, the three suspects in the case appear to have turned on each other.

After the conclusion of the hearings, Judge Paolo Micheli, 44, a former Carabinieri officer who has been a magistrate since 1990, will decide tomorrow whether Ms Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend, should stand trial for the murder.

At the same time, he is also due to convict or clear Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast immigrant who is accused by prosecutors of taking part in the killing, but who has opted for a fast track trial in the hope of a reduced sentence if found guilty.

Lawyers for Mr Sollecito have told the judge that, according to a forensic expert called by the defence, Ms Knox’s DNA is on Ms Kercher’s bloodied bra-strap as well as that of Mr Sollecito and Rudy Guede.

Professor Francesco Vinci, the forensic scientist, said the DNA traces were “too contaminated” to be useable as evidence, but showed the presence of “at least three people”.

The admission appears to support the prosecution case that all three were present at the scene of the crime.

It also breaks a tacit pact between Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, who have sent each other supportive letters while in custody and until now have avoided incriminating each other. Mr Sollecito even sent Ms Knox flowers on her birthday this summer.

Lawyers for both Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox have repeatedly claimed the couple spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat, indicating that Mr Guede was the lone killer.

Today, the prosecution and defence lawyers will present their closing arguments. They will argue that if a trial date is set, the suspects should be released from prison into house arrest. Ms Knox has asked to be housed at San Fatucchio, a supervised community and farm in the Umbrian countryside, 40 kilometres from Perugia, for recovering drug addicts and young offenders run by the Catholic charity Caritas.

Last weekend Walter Biscotti, one of Mr Guede’s lawyers, accused Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of framing his client, a drifter and small-time drug dealer who was brought up in Perugia and mingled with the student community. “We believe Knox and Sollecito were the murderers,” Nicodemo Gentile, another of Mr Guede’s lawyers said.

Mr Biscotti said Mr Guede, the only one of the three who admits he was at the hillside cottage Ms Knox shared with Ms Kercher on the evening of the murder, admitted attempting to have consensual sex with Ms Kercher, but had not raped or killed her. The prosecution says that Mr Guede’s DNA was on Ms Kercher’s bloodstained pillow.

Ms Kercher was found last November semi-naked in her bedroom with her throat cut. The prosecution claims she was assaulted just after Hallo’een in a murderous sex game, possibly inspired by a Japanese comic strip about vampires which Mr Sollecito had been reading.

Prosecutors say that Ms Knox stabbed her flatmate while the other two forced her to her knees and held her down, with Mr Sollecito pinning her by the arms and Mr Guede holding her by the throat.

Ms Knox’s lawyers reject this, saying Ms Kercher was assaulted by “one robust killer”. Last week, Ms Knox burst into tears when the allegation was made in court that she stabbed Ms Kercher, saying: “Meredith was my friend, I had no reason to kill her.”

Mr Guede claims he was listening to his iPod in the bathroom when Ms Kercher was killed in the bedroom. He fled to Germany after the killing, but was tracked down three weeks later in Germany.

Mr Sollecito’s defence team, headed by Giulia Bongiorno, a high profile lawyer and parliamentary deputy, brought props including a shop window mannequin wearing a bra into court last week to back their case. They claim “a thief”, who they suggest was Mr Guede, smashed a window to enter the cottage and killed Ms Kercher when she returned and recognised him, fleeing with her two mobile phones.

Ms Bongiorno argued that the presence of Mr Sollecito’s DNA on the bra fastener but not the rest of the garment proved it was due to contamination and mishandling by police forensic scientists.

Hmmm. Perhaps Rudy Guede should back out of the short-form trial (where the chips are loaded against him but the sentence is guaranteed shorter) and go for the long-form trial instead?

Oh, and better send more flowers, Raffaelle. She is going to be ticked at this one.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Devastating New Information On What Was Probably The Killers’ Weapon

Posted by The Machine

[click for larger image]

This above is the suspect knife found in Sollecito’s apartment.

Kermit analyzed this shot to obtain the precise measurements. As Kermit remarks in the caption, this is no potato peeler, as absurdly claimed by the defense.

It appears that the knife has Amanda’s DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and it was cleaned with bleach and then placed in a cutlery drawer at Raffaele’s apartment.

This has now been independently confirmed by forensic scientists Patrizia Stefanoni and Renato Biondo,

On the box in which the knife was sent to the forensic police were the words “˜Balestra’.” says Luciano Ghirga. (”¦d) Amanda’s defence has focused on the small amount of Amanda’s dna (on the handle) and Meredith’s (on the blade) on the presumed murder weapon found at Raffaele’s house. The prosecution is certain the knife was cleaned with bleach.

However, the knife is said to have been kept in a box for bags, wallets or shoes, before it was sent to the forensic police, upon which was written the name of the famous stylist from Trieste. A box which in turn, was kept at Sollecito’s appartment. Anything could have been in that box previously; personal objects, ornaments, Amanda’s things. And so contamination in this case too, is more than likely…

You can read more of the CU translation on Damian’s blog

There has been a concerted effort by Amanda Knox’s supporters in particular to discredit the work of the forensic scientists, claiming that their work was shoddy and the results were not reliable. However, Renato Biondo, completely refuted these allegations:

We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.

When Raffaele Sollecito was informed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade of the knife that was hidden in a shoe box at his apartment. He very tellingly did not argue that Meredith’s DNA couldn’t be on the blade. Instead, he lied about accidentally pricking Merdith while cooking:

The fact there is Meredith’s DNA on the kitchen knife is because once when we were all cooking together I accidentally pricked her hand. I apologised immediately and she said it was not a problem.

It’s important to point out that Meredith had never been to Raffaele’s apartment. So where did Raffaele accidentally prick Meredith with the knife? There’s another important question that needs answering: Who does the knife belong to? The two Italian housemates, Filomena and Laura, categorically denied that the knife was from their kitchen.

According to Vanity Fair (May 2008), the knife came from the cottage:

And, as Amanda informed her parents during a jail visit, she has no idea how that large knife managed to migrate from her own kitchen to her boyfriend’s house.

Does the double DNA knife found hidden in a shoe box at Raffaele’s apartment actually belong to Amanda Knox? If the is answer is yes, why did she take it to Raffaele’s apartment?

There’s another question that needs to be answered: Why wasn’t Raffaele’s DNA on the knife? It was, after all, found at his apartment.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Professional Rates The Perp Walks

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Someone in the criminal justice profession here in New York who follows the case has taken a look at at the shots of those charged on our People Page

They thought about the demeanors, the bearings (to the extent this can be observed), clothing choices, and facial expressions, and whether they compel, for or against.

They very informally rate Knox first, so far, Guede second (smart move, that $200 Sean John sweater), and Sollecito at the back of the pack.

And they insist on an interesting hedge: if there are any psychopaths in the group, all bets are off.

Smart move.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/28 at 04:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoComments here (0)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Suspect Knox Enters Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

More shots on our People Page


Suspect Sollecito Enters Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

More images on our People Page


Suspect Guede Enters Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

More shots on our People Page

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/26 at 08:34 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Prelim hearingsComments here (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comments On The CCTV Video Seemingly Of Meredith And Guede

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above: this is possibly Meredith returning home. Below: this is possibly Guede, presumably headed for the house as well..

First, the whole video really REEKS of wetness. Looks like Frank of Perugia Shock gets it wrong once again. All the horizontal surfaces are gleaming. Take a look at the last shot below. The reflection of the car headlights suggests a light rain - still in progress.

Second, the CCTV monitors in our own parking buildings here have a much wider field of view than we are seeing in the video. The video (see the post below) gives the impression of having been zoomed-in for the TV broadcast version - they do that a lot. And it is very compressed.

Three, it is something of a surprise not to see Meredith returning home by way of the steel stairs. That (blue line) is the shorter route for her. What we see here suggests she used the stone steps. Maybe the light is better on that route. Or maybe she picked up a gelato from the gelateria up the top..

Fourth, it is puzzling that Guede arrives from the direction of the steel stairs. That (the red line) is not the quick route down from the kebab place, and he may have had business in the direction of the Chic bar.

Or wanted very much to hide his face en route. For SOME nefarious purpose.

Two more images from the parking-facility CCTV camera.


[click for larger images]

Above: this is possibly Meredith returning home. Below: this is possibly Guede, presumably headed for the house as well.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24 at 09:27 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedEvidence & WitnessesOther witnessesComments here (3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More On The Evil That Was Rained Down On Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell



The Tom Kington Interview

Tom Kington of the UK Observer interviews Patrick Lumumba.

Diya Lumumba, 39, was at last week’s first pre-trial hearing in Perugia at which Knox, 21, appeared in public for the first time since her arrest last year. ‘Why did she accuse me?’ he asked. ‘The black is always the killer in films, and I am convinced that is why she named me as her way of derailing the investigation.’

It was November last year when Knox, by then in custody, implicated Lumumba in the killing, telling police he entered Miss Kercher’s bedroom in their shared house on the night of 1 November, while she covered her ears in the kitchen… Police raided Lumumba’s home and arrested him in front of his Polish wife Aleksandra and baby son Davide, saying only: ‘You know what you did.’ Investigators leaked an allegation that Lumumba had entered the isolated house outside Perugia’s medieval walls to ‘possess’ Miss Kercher…

Click here for the rest


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Knox & Sollecito Teams Form Truce To Dump ALL Blame On Rudy Guede?

Posted by Peter Quennell




This is from a surprising report from the Guardian’s Tom Kington in Rome:

Claims have been made of a pact between Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24. It is alleged their lawyers have agreed to work together to blame the murder on Rudy Guede, 21, a part-time gardener from the Ivory Coast and the third accused.

Now, Guede’s lawyers are threatening to call for a separate trial for him alone - well away from the legal teams of the other two whom they fear could prejudice his case.

It is a pact, says Guede’s lawyer Walter Biscotti, that can be traced back to July when Sollecito sent Knox a bouquet of yellow flowers on her 21st birthday which both celebrated in prison.

‘There is a clear desire to make Rudy the guilty party, and it’s clear they will try anything,’ Biscotti said.

All three accused deny murder. Knox, or Foxy Knoxy, as she was known at her Seattle high school, shared a flat with Meredith, from Coulsdon, south London, who was studying in the city as part of her degree at Leeds University.

Knox has attracted headlines through a leaked prison diary in which she detailed her sexual escapades and a Facebook page on which she wrote about rape and fantasy. She has also speculated Sollecito, her then boyfriend, could have been responsible.

Knox’s lawyers maintain that bloodstains in the flat and DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s flat cannot put her at the murder scene.

Sollecito’s lawyers will also question whether his DNA, found on the back of Meredith’s bloodied bra, is conclusive proof of his involvement. He and Knox claim that they were at his flat when the murder took place.

Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, is the only suspect who has admitted to being in Kercher’s bedroom on the night she died. He states that they were planning to have sex - though he denies rape and murder. He has stated he was using the bathroom when she was killed, claiming Knox and Sollecito had rushed past him as he emerged.

Sensing a campaign against his client, Biscotti may press for the hearings to be separated in the hope Guede will be cleared quickly. It could involve a fast-track trial behind closed doors and a verdict as early as mid-October.

This could mean that Guede is convicted before a decision is made on whether Knox and Sollecito even stand trial.

‘There was a tacit agreement to just work on the defence of your own client,’ said Biscotti of the other legal teams. ‘But it looks like this is finished.’

He points to a recent briefing by one of Sollecito’s lawyers, Giulia Buongiorno, an MP and high-profile lawyer who has previously defended former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti against Mafia charges, who told journalists that there had been just one killer.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: ‘We are holding out for a trial of the other two, even if Rudy is found guilty.’


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