Category: Raff Sollecito

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So The Trial Date IS Postponed, Now It’s 16 January

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is a translation of the report from La Stampa.

Meredith process, hearing postponed

Amanda and Raffaele have to answer to the charge of murder

The case against Amanda and Raffaele is postponed to allow for the reading of additional investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor

Postponed to January 16, 2009, is the hearing for the murder of Meredith Kercher, which initiates the trialproceedings against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who are accused of murder in the taunting and violence against American student (Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years jis trial having been expedited, ed.)

The presiding judge, Giancarlo Massei, deferred the opening session to enable the parties to get to know the contents of the additional investigations carried out by the prosecutor of Perugia. Tomorrow is the deadline for the submission of lists and texts that will amount to a total of about a hundred.

And a brief summary of some of the other recent developments in the case….

  • A witness who knew her claims to have seen Amanda Knox in a supermarket early on the day after the crime

  • A second witness claims to have heard a scream on the evening of the crime, this one stating a precise time

  • A witness claims to have seen Knox, Sollecito and Guede together previously - if so, they did know one another

  • A cut was apparently seen on Knox’s neck by another house resident; autopsy and scenario are being reviewed

  • A fund-raising event in Seattle apparently raised $11,000 to help defray Knox’s parents’ defense and travel costs

  • And a Kercher family request for a closed-door trial - permitted in Italy for sex crimes - is now being reviewed

One of the great areas of conjecture is whether the alleged defendants actually pre-planned an assault on Meredith.  Or whether it was perhaps just a taunt, one that took on a deadly spiral.

There was an apparent simultaneous switching-off of their mobiles earlier in the evening, for a reason not so far explained. And now an apparent prior three-way relationship between the two charged and the one sentenced? This does not look good.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Does The Defense Campaign Really Have ANY Plan B?

Posted by Deathfish2000





[Added: This was posted in November 2008 after which the demonizers really got carried away; five years later, see how they are all in the soup]

The only ones to claim on the airwaves and in the papers lately that the defendants are being framed seem to be those who seem very out of touch with the facts as they look now.

As previously pointed out here, those very few in Perugia who actually have had access to the full tidal wave of evidence, in the still-sealed 10,000 pages, seem to go notably more quiet.

And not one of them has emerged yet to resume the cries of frame-up.

There have been three possible defenses. A mental or psychological defense, which might have flown, but which no-one has touched. A cool and dispassionate contending of known facts, and a shot at mitigating circumstances such as, it wasn’t planned, and, we were doped. And this peculiar and seemingly now failing “frame-up-of-true-innocents” defense.

The prime suspects in the case, Amanda Knox and her then flick-knife carrying boyfriend of the time, Raffaele Sollecito, now await the trial that starts in about 10 days. With prospects, frankly,  that do not now seem to be looking good at all. Plan A seems to be failing - and there seems to be no other plan.

They are jointly charged with murder, sexual violence, simulation of a crime, and theft - with Amanda Knox facing an additional charge of slander against the former employer she hurt. This was after an astonishingly cautious pre-trial phase, with the evidence being run past judge after judge and found credible again and again.

Rudy Guede was dispatched to serve his 30 year prison term for his part in the crime after opting for his separate fast track trial. His lawyer stated they had chosen that route as they believed Knox and Sollecito were conspiring to frame Guede. It seemed like it might turn out to be a smart strategy - perhaps the first in this case.

But he got no break from the judge. Why did he not - why did he get a stiff 30 year sentence?

Three possible reasons. One, the evidence is tough and very extensive,  it hangs together, and points to a truly depraved scene in the house. Two, Guede and his lawyer chose to contend some of it, but that “some” was quite marginal at best. And three, Guede chose not to come clean over what happened, even in the slightest, or to show any remorse.

Although they were not immediately taken into custody after the murder was discovered, Knox and Sollecito managed to make themselves into almost instant suspects. They themselves really knocked the pins out from under any good “they were framed” defense. Nearly a year ago now.

On initial questioning by the police as witnesses, Knox and Sollecito told conflicting stories, with Knox stating she was with Sollecito at his apartment all night.

Then Sollecito stated that Knox left around 9PM and returned at around 1AM (the period of the murder window).

In light of the failure of Alibi #1, Knox then claimed to have been in the house when Meredith was killed, and covered her ears to mask Meredith’s screams, as the kindly employer who she fingered, Patrick Lumumba, raped and then murdered Meredith.

This disarray in the alibis led to the arrest of all three as suspects - Lumumba of course was soon released though, as he really DID seem to have been framed. By Knox.

And since their arrests, Knox and Sollecito have both changed their stories several times. Knox has stated she is “confused” and suffered memory loss during the time when the murder happened. She finally reverted back to the statement she made early on, that she was at Sollecito’s all night, as the “best truth I can think of” story.

Her story would have changed again, if not for the intervention and advice of her then lawyer - fired by the Knox family for stating to reporters that Knox indeed intended to change her story again, and that Knox really must now start telling the truth.

None of this above is exactly a strong foundation on which to base a “they were framed” defense.

Knox’s mother has frequently appeared on TV in tears claiming no evidence, a position that really should have been moved away from months ago. And her father, notably in a British TV interview for Channel 4 TV, described the knife-obsessed and flick-knife carrying Sollecito a “nice kid” although he had never met him. He dismissed his flick knife and dagger collection as simply “art pieces”. Art pieces?

Equally indicative of a wrong strategy is the absence of any message of condolence to the Kercher family over the loss of their daughter and sister. Truly extraordinary. A great way to go - if you want to look callous, and by extension make your own daughter look callous. Did they get no good advice on this point, from any of their many advisers?

Since Meredith’s death, a veritable cottage industry based on the framed-innocent concept has sprung up in Knox’s home town of Seattle, with the “Free Amanda” campaign, the “Friends of Amanda Knox” and the “Amanda Defence Fund” to name but a few.

Are the Knoxes getting the financial help they say they need? It is hard to tell. The website asks for your donations of money and air-miles, and it displays images of Amanda Knox as a child, the implication being that an innocent child is not capable of such a crime as this.

Someone does seem to be doing very well. Online, you can buy tee-shirts, sweatshirts, ball caps, trucker caps, handbags, coffee mugs and teddybears all stamped “Made in the USA”. Emblazoned with an infamous image from the crime scene - the seemingly drug-addled Knox looking nervously at the camera. Tee shirts are available in any colour you like, and have “Free Amanda” printed underneath.

Who on earth invented this somewhat surreal and increasingly losing defense campaign? Whoever really though it would fly? Whoever thought it would keep Knox from a lifetime in jail - or knock even one year off her sentence if found guilty?

The strategy looks all the more incongruous when you look at the enormous contrast of the family of Meredith. The ones who really are victims in this horrific affair. 

Since the news of the senseless and tragic murder of Meredith hit the news just over one year ago, one could be forgiven for thinking that her family - the Kerchers, are nothing short of remarkable.

The inner strength and dignity they have displayed in their conduct this past year has moved so many people so much that websites like this have come to exist. To honor Meredith and the family, and to help to push back against those who would dismiss or dishonor them or make a profit from their grief.

Not once, not ever, have they lost their composure in what must be the worst situation for them to endure as a family that they have ever experienced in their lives. The loss due to a brutal moment of madness of their beloved daughter and sister, Meredith.

Quite a contrast with those who have not suffered equally, and whose campaign seems to increasingly comes across as illogical, unbelievable, and losing.

RIP to dear Meredith Kercher…



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wow! Ground Really Disappearing From Under Knox-Sollecito Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Paolo Micheli has now been interviewed by Messaggero Umbria, a newspaper published in Perugia.

The judge really seems to have arrived at a very clear conception of how the cruel, senseless deed took place.  Observe in particular these findings below.

All of them are devastating to the talking-points of Friends Of Amanda recently parroted in dozens of news outlets.

Three attackers were present

I took the opposite approach to that of the defence teams. The lawyers claimed that there was no proof of conspiracy between the three because they didn’t know each other and Kokomani’s testimony wasn’t reliable. They also said that it would have been impossible for them to have organised the crime since they had previous commitments which then fell through. My starting point was the three’s presence in the room where the crime was committed.

DNA on the bra clasp was RS’s

I don’t believe [the bra clasp] was contaminated. The dna either came from outside or it was in the room. It’s not possible that Raffaele Sollecito’s dna was in that room. He had no reason to go there.

No contamination of the knife DNA

It’s true that Amanda’s dna was also on another knife found at Sollecito’s home but there can’t have been contamination. I checked both the objects seized from the cottage in via della Pergola and Sollecito’s apartment in corso Garibaldi. Only once, on Nov6 last year, were objects taken from both locations on the same day and the officers who entered the two buildings were not the same.

Guede was not unknown to other two

The fact that there were no calls [with Rudy] is easy to explain; since Oct27, Rudy hasn’t had a mobile phone. It was taken off him by the police. One of the couple knew Rudy. Meeting people in Perugia is easy, it could have been a chance meeting too.

There was definitely sexual assault

There are some doubts about the dynamics and the position of the victim’s body when she was stabbed. These are however not sufficent to repudiate the hypothesis of sexual assault…. Sexual assault is also an “˜invasion’ of the body as was described in the autopsy. It is certain that the rapist pulled the victim’s top up. Some blood had also run down onto the trousers. It’s therefore plausible to think that whoever violated the victim put their hand down her trousers.

Why there was no rape

Why didnt they complete a rape?] Because she screamed. Also with a knife at her throat and being held down it’s likely that she shouted out. There is a witness, Nara Capezzali, who said she woke up and was shocked by this scream.

Meredith was restrained while taunted

On the victim’s right-hand there was one small cut, a few milimetres long, in between two fingers. On the left-hand, there were four clearly visible cuts. Also the tip of the finger had blood on it. This indicates that the victim’s right-hand was being held as she tried to defend herself with the left. After the fatal stab, she put her hands on the wound.

That last remark really drives home the true horror of Meredith’s incredibly cruel last few minutes. Someone was ferociously slashing away at Meredith like a maniac with a knife. And then did nothing at all to save her.

Walked out on her while she was still alive, clutching her neck to stop the life-blood flowing out of her.

After months of murky semi-silence from police and prosecutors, now the sentencing dossier quoted below and this interview seem like a fire-hose of information.

Is the judge signaling to the defense that a long-form trial will not work to their advantage? That they should simply cave now? Plead guilty, and hope?

And if they don’t, how on earth can they fight THIS sad, sick, depraved stuff?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sollecito Turns On Knox? This Is Extraordinary…

Posted by Peter Quennell





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.


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.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Suspect Sollecito Enters Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

More images on our People Page


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Judge Micheli Presides Over First Hearing To Decide If The Three Must Stand Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell




Not decided today: is there enough evidence to indict any or all of the three? But there were some developments:

Rosa Silverman of The Independent reports:

Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede came face to face yesterday with the family of Meredith Kercher, the British student they are accused of murdering in Italy last year…..

Judge Paolo Micheli granted a request for a fast-track trial for Mr Guede [if indicted] who is fearful of a pact between Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito to frame him for the killing…

The family were admitted to the court as civil plaintiffs, as was a Congolese former suspect, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, 38, who was cleared of any involvement in the crime….

The owner of the house Miss Kercher shared with Miss Knox and others… has also been admitted as a civil plaintiff, and can therefore claim damages if someone is convicted of murder….

It was the first time that Miss Knox, from Seattle, had been seen in public since she was imprisoned last November. Dressed in blue jeans and a white embroidered top, her hair scraped back neatly in a half-ponytail, she was escorted by two female jail guards….

The next hearing is scheduled for 26 September.

Nick Squires of The Daily Telegraph reports:

The judge has yet to rule, however, on whether the case should go to trial - a decision which is expected at a future hearing, probably next month.

And Tom Kington of the Guardian reports.

The family of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia last November, came face to face with two of her alleged killers for the first time in an Italian court yesterday.

Amanda Knox, 21, the American student who was Kercher’s former flatmate, appeared nervous as she passed photographers outside the courtroom. Rudy Guede, 24, who has dual Italian and Ivorian citizenship, followed her minutes later. Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito did not attend court, but it was unclear why not. One of his lawyers said he felt unwell, but another claimed the IT student wanted to avoid “a media circus”. All three suspects, who are in custody, deny any wrongdoing.

Yesterday’s hearing was the first of six, after which Judge Paolo Micheli will decide whether to send Knox and Sollecito to trial next year. He accepted a request from Guede to undergo his own fast-track trial which could be concluded by the end of next month.


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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