Category: Other witnesses

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inaccurate Report By The Associated Press Carried By Over 2,000 Media Sites

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above is one inaccurate headline. The witness Curatolo has NOT been convicted of drug dealing. No reason to be feeling encouraged. .

1) From the original A&P release last Saturday

That Antonio Curatolo, the eye-witness in the park, had already been convicted was maybe mischievously planted by Luciano Ghirga (image below) the hands-on lawyer for Amanda Knox.

Or maybe he just made a mistake. This wrong fact was then widely quoted in commentary and blog posts. Total search hits are over 2,000.

A defense lawyer for Amanda Knox, the U.S. college student serving a 26-year prison sentence for the murder of her British roommate, expressed optimism Saturday that a drug charge conviction of a prosecution witness might help the American in her appeal in Italy.

The defense always maintained that Antonio Curatolo, a homeless man in the university town of Perugia, wasn’t a credible witness, Luciano Ghirga told The Associated Press in Rome.

Perugia court offices were closed Saturday, and officials could not be reached to confirm Italian news reports that Curatolo had been convicted earlier in the week for dealing drugs. It wasn’t immediately known what his sentence was or if he had been jailed….

“We have always said that he was not a credible witness,” Ghirga said, referring to Curatolo. “It was the court that held he was credible.” The drug charge conviction “will be an additional thing to help prove the witness is not credible,” Ghirga said in a phone interview.

2) From the A&P correction issued today.

This release states that Curatolo has NOT been convicted. As of noon New York time on Tuesday the number of sites carrying this correction is less than 1,000.

ROME “” In a Jan. 15 story about a prosecution witness in the Perugia murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox, The Associated Press, relying on information from a lawyer, erroneously reported that the witness, Antonio Curatolo, had been convicted on a drug charge. Curatolo has been ordered to stand trial on a drug charge, but has not been convicted.

The defenses are seeming pretty desperate. Understandably so. Luckily for justice for Meredith, in Italy as in the US and UK the defenses cannot use a mere charge against a witness to discredit them on the stand.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Proposed Defense Witness Aviello Cell Searched: Could Be Setback For Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: So-called supersnitch Luciano Aviello as he looked maybe 20 years ago]

The defenses could be about to find that neither of their requested key witnesses will be willing to mount the stand. 

The Italian media are reporting that the prison cell of Luciano Aviello has just been searched. Aviello is the supersnitch from Naples who has a history of falsely accusing others to try to give himself a break.

We have been remarking for a while that both Aviello and the baby killer Mario Alessi could face perjury charges and another few years on their sentences if the police can uncover evidence that if either testify, they committed perjury on the stand.

Both prospective witnesses were interrogated in prison by both the defense teams and the prosecution. The defense claims after their interrogations always sounded pretty desperate. The prosecution have never ever revealed what they heard.

The purpose of the Aviello search was stated to be related to a possible charge of calunnia which in effect is criminal defamation of others. Possibly Aviello’s cellmate snitched. That sure would be ironic.

Let us take a leap in the dark here. Do Italian authorities REALLY not like people who lie in the course of criminal proceedings? Whether on the stand or in the mass media?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/11 at 03:06 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnesses31 Aviello hoaxComments here (0)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Report #1 On Perugia: I Meet A Very Decent Brave Man

Posted by SomeAlibi


I walk the journey to the cottage from where Meredith and Sophie parted ways at the Via Del Lupo. Time from there to the cottage is 5 minutes at a leisurely pace. I video the journey for proof.

As I finish, I decide to walk up Via Scortici with the wall of the basketball court to my left, just to prove to myself that it isn’t what sane people would normally do (they go round the basketball court on the stairs of the Via Della Pergola which is why Amanda saw Rudy, practising on the basketball court, daily).

Managing not to get spread against the wall by a slowly passing car which honks at me for my patent stupidity, I come to the bottom corner of Piazza Grimana by the news-stand. The entrance to Corso Garibaldi, Raffaele’s road, is five metres away.

I turn round to look at the entrance to Piazza Grimana and see the figure of a man on crutches with shoulder-length white grey hair poking out from the bottom of a striped bobble hat walking away from me and towards the steps. Is it? I cross quickly and go round the top of the basketball court, along the pavement of Via Pinturicchio trying to look down to see if I can identify him. If it’s who I think it is, I haven’t been able to find him in previous days.

The man is dressed in a white and blue ski jacket and moves purposefully, even with the crutches. He goes to the steps of Via Della Pergola and heads down towards the cottage. But then he does a right and disappears into Via Melo which is half way down the steps and leads to an area of public garden. I go down after him, down the steps, and turn into Via Melo too. I try to take a picture but inadvertently engage video mode. That has to go quickly ““ I need to catch him.

I walk past a woman and then overtake him. As I do, I look back at him naturally as if just with a friendly passing nod. I allow my “˜spontaneous’ surprise to stop me.

“Mr Curatolo?” I say, in my best very English sounding Italian. He looks at me in a friendly way. His eyes are bright, unbothered, looking straight at me. He furrows his eyebrows minutely at me.

“Curatolo” he says with a pronunciation which is different from mine but in ways in which I’d never be able to explain. “Yes, I’m Curatolo” he says in Italian.

His voice is soft, clear, his diction precise, also unbothered, and he looks at me calmly.

I smile at him and nod, mostly to myself. I size him up for a couple of seconds. I reach out to shake his hand which he does so unhesitatingly, taking if from the crutch at his side. As I draw close to him, I hate myself for doing it, but I use an old trick a policeman taught me and breath in deeply through mouth and nose. It looks like a normal inhalation, which of course it is, but I’m smelling him. There isn’t the slightest wiff of alcohol or smoke about him, not from today or last night, completely corroborating the precision of his speech.

My spoken Italian, worse than my understood, will now let me down but I will try in Italian and English combined. He replies only in Italian.

“Thank you,” I say, shaking his hand, “Meredith Kercher; what you saw ““ so important.” I point to my eyes as I do so.

“Ah, Meredith Kercher,” he replies, understanding my action and nods. “Are you a friend?” he asks.

Well that’s a complex one. “Yes, in a way”, I reply, waggling my hand from side to side in the universal language of “˜kind of’.

“Ah, I see. That is a good thing,” he replies.

“Thank you,” I say again, patting my chest with the flat of my hand. “Many people say thank you. Many people.”

He nods.

“It is my pleasure,” he says in that calm voice again. Then he shrugs with those crutches of his but in a very measured way. “I saw what I saw” he says simply.

I look him straight in the eyes throughout the whole conversation. He doesn’t once break eye contact back ““ never - and I particularly note it when he says those final words. I look at him some more and I nod again.

“I know you did,” I say.

But this time I really do know it, with certainty. And since Raffaele and Amanda never said they went to the basketball court on the previous night and did what Curatolo saw them doing, I know when he saw them too.

“For you, sir,” I say and give him a twenty euro note to help him through today.

I ask if I might possibly take a quick picture, just to prove it happened, and he graciously says yes. I take a single one and then I shake his hand once more. I pat him on the back and smile a last time.

And then I say a final thank you and goodbye. I haven’t got the Italian to talk to him further but more than that, I want him to know that sometimes people say thank you and mean it without wanting anything else.

I walk off back towards Piazza Grimana and out into a little sunshine on an otherwise grey day as the bells start to chime out one o’clock.

Seeing the three disco buses last night after 11pm helped, about what happened that night in the square. But this meeting helped me more. I’ve dealt with more liars than most people have had hot breakfasts: I know the deeply credible ones, the squirming ones, I know the lies of drug addicts and thieves and other types more innumerable than I care to mention. He’s none of these things whatsoever. He is calm, measured, collected and together, softly spoken; a man with dignity even if he is down on his luck.

Curatolo saw what he saw, and now, as I start walking with a smile on my face, I know he did too.

Posted by SomeAlibi on 10/31 at 11:36 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesThe wider contextsPerugia contextComments here (14)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report:  All Judges, Lawyers And Witnesses At Trial Jan-Dec 2009

Posted by Storm Roberts



[Above: Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court]

Our intention with this new series of posts is to show how thorough the trial was, and how compelling the Massei Report on the grounds for the Knox-Sollecito sentence is. 

At the beginning of the trial, the witness counts were considerable: approximately 90 for the prosecution, 60 for the civil plaintiffs, 90 for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, and 65 for the defence of Amanda Knox.

However, a large number of witnesses for both Amanda Knox and for Raffaele Sollecito were removed from the witness listing. Thus the actual number of people testifying was lower than originally expected. 

Here is a comprehensive list I have compiled, made by going through the Massei Report, picking out the witnesses, and noting what they testified about. If I had the information available, I have noted where a witness was specifically called by the defence of either of the then defendants.

Officers Of The Court

  • Judges:  Dr Beatrice Cristiani and Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court.
  • Prosecutors: Public Ministers Dr Manuela Comodi and Dr Giuliano Mignini.
  • Interpreter for Amanda Knox:  Dr Anna Baldelli Fronticelli.



[above: the two prosecutors]

The Legal Teams:

  • For the family of Meredith Kercher:  Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna.
  • For Diya “Patrick” Lumumba: Carlo Pacelli.
  • For Aldalia Tattanelli (the owner of the house): Letizia Magnini.
  • For Amanda Knox:  Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova.
  • For Raffaele Sollecito: Giulia Bongiorno, Daniela Rocchi and Luca Maori.



[above: Amanda Knox’s legal team]

Witnesses


The following is a list of witnesses and a brief note as to the evidence they presented. I am not detailing their arguments here, merely indicating the areas the witnesses were heard in.  For full details of the evidence and the court’s arguments please read the Massei Report in full and the summaries coming up.

  • Amanda Knoxtestified while not under oath at the request of her defence and the legal team representing Diya Lumumba.  Her testimony was heard on 12th and 13th June 2009. Raffele Sollecito made a couple of interventions from his seat beside his three lawyers, but he did not get up on the stand.
  • Mrs. Elisabetta Lana and her son, Alessandro Biscarini.  They discovered two mobile phones, both belonging to Meredith Kercher (one was registered to Filomena Romanelli, Meredith’s flatmate), in their garden at Via Sperandio.
  • Dr. Filippo Bartolozzi - at the time Manager of the Department of Communications Police for Umbria - Dr. Bartolozzi received the mobile phones from Mrs Lana, the first at approximately 11.45 to 12.00hrs on 2nd November 2007, the second at approximately 12.15 to 12.20 hrs.  He traced the first phone to Filomena Romanelli and, at noon, despatched two officers to her address to investigate why her phone was in Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi - the two officers despatched by Dr. Bartolozzi.  They arrived at 7 Via della Pergola at a little after 12.30 hrs - they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sitting outside the house.  They gave evidence about the circumstances leading up to the discovery of Meredith’s body and with regards to securing the scene whilst awaiting the Carabinieri and Scientific Police.
  • Filomena Romanelli who was Meredith’s flatmate gave evidence regarding the phone she had lent to Meredith.  She also detailed when she had moved into the flat at 7 Via della Pergola and the living arrangements.  She told of her plans for the 2nd November and how a worrying phone call from Amanda Knox led to her calling her back and returning to her home earlier than planned.  A key point of Ms. Romanelli’s evidence was her disagreement with Amanda Knox over when Meredith locked her door - Ms. Romanelli stated that Meredith had only once locked her door and that was when she had returned to England for a few days.
  • Paola Grande, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri - the other young people who were at the property when Meredith’s body was discovered.  Mr. Altieri broke down the door to Meredith’s room.
  • Laura Mezzetti - the fourth flatmate in the upstairs flat at number 7 Via della Pergola.  She testified with regards to the living arrangements and also that Amanda Knox is an early riser, a “morning person”.
  • Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Sophie Purton and Nathalie Hayward - Meredith’s friends from England.  They testified as to when they last saw Meredith and described the behaviour of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Police Station in the evening of 2nd November 2007.  They also testified that Meredith had no plans after returning home at around 21.00 hrs on 1st November other than to study and have a rest as they had been out late the previous night and believed that they had classes the next day.  Meredith’s friends did not know of Rudy Guede and had not heard Meredith mention his name.
  • Giacomo Silenzi, one of the young men living in the flat underneath Meredith’s flat.  He was Meredith’s boyfriend.
  • Stafano Bonassi, Marco Marzan and Riccardo Luciani the other tenants of the downstairs flat.  Along with Mr. Silenzi they testified as to the the interactions between themselves and the girls upstairs, the gatherings they held, the fact that Rudy Guede was known to Amanda Knox.  They testified as to Rudy Guede’s actions at their house.  They gave evidence of having met or known of Raffaele Sollecito and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Giorgio Cocciaretto a friend of the young men in the downstairs flat testified with regards to knowing Rudy Guede through playing basketball and having seen him at the 7 Via della Pergola house when both Meredith and Amanda Knox were present.
  • Rudy Guede availed himself of his right not to participate in the trial of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito.  Judge Massei details Rudy Guede’s involvement based upon the evidence available in order to complete the reconstruction of events of 2nd November as he was charged alongside Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Marta Fernandez Nieto and Caroline Espinilla Martin - two young ladies living in the flat above Rudy Guede, they testified than on the night of 31st October they had been in the presence of Rudy Guede and that the only girl they saw him dance with was a “blonde girl with long smooth hair”.
  • Gioia Brocci from the Questura of Perugia who testified with regards to a trail of shoe prints leading from Meredith’s room to the exit of the flat getting fainter as they went.  Ms. Brocci also testified as to the lack of signs of climbing on the wall below Filomena Romanelli’s window.  She also collected evidence from the bathroom next to Meredith’s room.
  • Sergeant Francesco Pasquale testified as to the possibility of breaking into the flat though the window in Filomena Romanelli’s room.  Sergeant Pasquale was a consultant for the defence.
  • Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, Paolo Brocchi, Matteo Palazzoli and Cristian Tramontano testified with regards to previous incidents involving or possibly involving Rudy Guede.
  • Edda Mellas , Amanda Knox’s mother.  She testified as to communications with her daughter on the 2nd November amongst other things.
  • Antonella Negri a teacher at the University who taught Amanda Knox and who testified as to her diligence as a student.
  • Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele Sollecito.  He testified as to his son’s character and about his communications with his son.  He also spoke of his son’s relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri station commander in Giovinazzo, the Sollecito family’s home town.  He testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of hashish.
  • Jovana Popovic testified as to the presence of Amanda Knox at Raffaele Sollecito’s home at two points in time on the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s employer at “Chic”.  He testified that he has sent her a text message excusing her from work on the evening of 1st November.
  • Rita Ficcara Chief Inspector of the State Police - to whom Amanda Knox delivered a written statement composed whilst she was awaiting to be transferred to Capanne Prison.
  • Antonio Curatolo - Mr. Curatolo testified as to having seen Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the basketball court in front of the University (the Piazza Grimana) in the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Maurizio Rosignoli - who runs a kiosk in the Piazza - testified with regards to the timing of buses at the Piazza Grimana thus corroborating times in Mr. Curatolo’s evidence.
  • Alessia Ceccarelli - who worked managing Mr. Rosignoli’s kiosk - gave evidence as to Mr. Curatolo’s presence in the Piazza.
  • Marco Quintavalle, who runs the shop “Margherita Conad”, testified he had seen Amanda Knox at 07.45 hrs on 2nd November, she was waiting for him to open his shop, she went to the section of the store that had items such as groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products but he did not serve her at the till so could not specify what she bought if anything.  He testified that he knew Raffaele Sollecito as he was a regular customer.
  • Officer Daniele Ceppitelli gave evidence with regards to the 112 calls made by Raffaele Sollecito at 12.51 and 12.54 hrs on 2nd November.  In these calls Raffaele Sollecito declared that nothing had been stolen from the flat.
  • Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and Maria Ilaria Dramis gave evidence of unusual sounds and activity coming from the area around 7 Via della Pergola - namely a scream and the sound of running footsteps.



[one of Sollecito’s three lawyers with Sollecito]

Expert Witnesses

  • Dr. Lalli, the Coroner, he performed the post mortem and ascertained the cause of death and a “time window” when death was likely to have occurred.  He put the time of death between 20.00 hrs on 1st November 2007 and 04.00 hrs the following day.
  • Dr. Domenico Giacinto Profazio was head of the Perugia Flying Squad at the time of Meredith’s death.  He gave evidence regarding the investigative procedures and safeguards including the physical security of the property.
  • Dr. Marco Chiacchiera, deputy director of the Perugia Flying Squad also gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.
  • Monica Napoleoni, Deputy Commissioner of the State Police gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.  She also testified as to Raffaele Sollecito’s desire to remain with Amanda Knox.
  • Mauri Bigini a chief inspect at the Flying Squad confirmed the evidence given by Profazio and Napoleoni.
  • Armando Finzi a chief inspector at the Flying Squad gave evidence regarding the examination of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat and the collection of the knife which is now termed “the Double DNA Knife” (Exhibit 36).
  • Stefano Gubbiotti and Zugarini Lorena confirmed the evidence regarding the search of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat.
  • Dr. Giunta from the Scientific Police in Rome directed the detection of latent prints at the scene.
  • Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni from the Scientific Police in Rome collected biological trace evidence for analysis.  She also performed the analysis of DNA evidence and testified extensively on all aspects of DNA - from the background science, through the collection and the testing methods employed to the analysis.
  • Professor Mauro Marchionni, Dr. Vincenza Liviero and Professor Mauro Bacci, the three consultants appointed by the Public Ministers to analyse the forensic medical evidence testified as to various aspects of Dr. Lalli’s report including the cause of death, timing of death, the sexual assault and the wounds.  They reported on the degree of compatibility of the knife - Double DNA Knife, Exhibit 36 - with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Gianaristide Norelli, the consultant for the civil party, is a forensic police doctor. He testified with regards to the time and cause of death and the sexual assault against Meredith.  He testified as to the degree of compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Francesco Introna, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence testified with regards to the forensic medical evidence (cause and time of death, the sexual assault). His opinion is that the murder was committed by one person and that the Double DNA Knife was not the weapon used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He hypothesised that Meredith was already undressing at the end of the day when she was surprised by her sole attacker who attacked from behind.
  • Professor Carlo Torre, a consultant appointed by Amanda Knox’s defence testified with regards to the same areas as described above.  In his opinion the Double DNA knife was not the knife used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He believed a stabbing from the front was the most likely dynamic, and he saw nothing that would lead him to believe there was more than one attacker.
  • Professor Vinci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, he testified with regards to the stains on the bed sheet -which appeared to be made in blood, outlining a knife.  Professor Vinci also testified with regards to footprints found in the flat.
  • Dr Patumi, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified with regards to the neck wounds suffered and also with regards to the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Anna Aprile, Professor Mario Cingolani and Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi, all independent consultants appointed by the judge (GIP) at the preliminary hearing. Professor Aprile testified specifically on the question of the sexual assault, Professors Cingolani and Umani Ronchi again considered the evidence with regards to the cause and time of death and the compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.
  • Dr. Torricelli, the consultant for Meredith Kercher’s family, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Dr. Sarah Gino, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Tagliabracci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified and gave his opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.  He also gave evidence with regards to the effects of certain drugs.
  • Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici and Gregori Mirco officers of the Postal Police, gave evidence with regards to the seized computer equipment and also with regards to internet activity at the home of Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Mr. Fabio Formenti, the technical consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence - observed the Postal Police’s analysis of the computer equipment.
  • Dr Michele Gigli and Dr. Antonio D’Ambrosio, consultants appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified with regards to the computer and internet evidence.
  • Chief Inspector Letterio Latella gave evidence with regards to mobile phones and how they pick up signals from base stations which cover certain areas, he also testified with regards to the call records of the mobile phones of the defendants, victim and others.  He detailed how a connection to the network was picked up by the base stations and how the location of the phone can be approximated through knowing which base station was used.  He was able to tell the court which connections to Meredith’s two phones were made from her own flat and which from Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Assistant Stefano Sisani provided evidence with regards to both landline telephone services and mobile phone services.
  • Bruno Pellero an engineer appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence to give evidence with regards to telephonic communications.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT, gave evidence regarding shoe prints and footprints (including those highlighted by the use of luminol.
  • Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia, who worked alongside Dr. Rinaldi.
  • Chief Inspector Claudio Ippolito a consultant who reported on shoe prints - appointed by the public minister.



[Background: the Judges and jury (lay judges) for the trial]>


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Aviello Story Seems To Show The RS & AK Defenses All But Concede Guilt Of All 3

Posted by Peter Quennell


Defenses Grasping At Straws?

The Sollecito defense latched with alacrity onto baby-killer and jailhouse-snitch Mario Alessi three months ago.

This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Sollecito defense’s desperate weakness, rather than as a get-out-of-jail-free trump-card for RS.

Several weeks ago, the Amanda Knox defense latched onto Camorra clan-member and jailhouse snitch Luciano Aviello.

With a lot less alacrity though - his various stories have been around for a long time.  This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Knox defense’s desperate weakness,

Luciano Aviello, who is now in prison, and his brother Antonio, now on the run, are or were connected to the Camorra (NBC Dateline report above) which is Naples’s equivalent of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the NDrangheta in Calabria. The Camorra was in some ways the older, larger and badder of the several mafia arms.

Luciano Aviello and Antonio Aviello were living in Perugia at the time the crime against Meredith took place. Over a year ago, our poster Catnip posted this translation of a report from Italy on the Perugia Murder File board.

Saturday 09 May 2009

Prisoner writes: ‘I know real murderer’s name’

“I know the real name of Meredith’s killer, a fellow-brother Albanian friend of mine told me, and it’s not Raffaele Sollecito.” Luciano Aviello is Raffaele Sollecito’s ex-cellmate and, now, maybe encumbering his admirer, is writing another letter to Court of Assize president Giancarlo Massei.

A few weeks ago he had sent a letter in which he claims to have asked two of his friends to break into the murder house to prove that anybody could have done so. Yesterday, the page count of his letter jumped to five, and the tone was angrier.

He’s had it with journalists, because they’ve referred to his less than clear past, and because they wrote about his previous never-proven-true “revelations” on various important and dramatic criminal cases (like the disappearance of little Angela Celentano).

He’s had it with the police too, in whom he confided his secret about Raffaele’s innocence and who didn’t even give him the time of day.

He maintains that, actually, he has a letter written by an Albanian friend, which contains the real name of the murderer, and he wants to speak only to the court president, Giancarlo Massei, to reveal it to him.

Even the lawyer on the civil side of the case, Francesco Maresca, acting for the Kerchers, remains skeptical: “That letter ought to be re-read carefully: it’s not flour from his grainsack*”.

*****************

* This is a proverbial phrase (non è farina del suo sacco = “it’s not grist from his own mill”) meaning it wasn’t written off his own bat, and that other hands contributed to it.

And there is a video of a Sky News Italy report in Italian dated 21 April 2009 which in effect says “this isn’t any big deal’.

Judge Massei showed no interest in him. So Aviello and his kaleidoscopic claims thereupon went onto the back burner.

Fast-forward to several weeks ago, when the Knox defense engages in a high-profile, noisy flurry of activity to get a deposition from Luciano Aviello.

This time, Luciano recalls,  it was actually his own missing brother who did it, and he himself buried some clothing, a knife, and some keys.

Casting total doubt on everything Luciano Aviello ever says, his hometown newspaper Il Mattino in Naples comes out with this report. It is our translation.

The Meredith Case - A Mariano Clan Supergrass Pops Up

“Amanda Is Innocent”

By Gigi di Fiore

In the newsroom of the Mattino he seemed at ease. Luciano Aviello was [20 years ago] just over twenty years old, and had asked to recount his experience as a “streetwise youth in the Mariano Camorra clan”.

In an earlier time, a war was in full swing in the Spanish Quarter [of Naples] between the Mariano clan, the “picuozzo” [another name for this clan after the “picuozzo” or cord around a monk’s habit] and the Di Biase family, also known as the “faiano”.

The DDA (Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia or Distict Anti-Mafia Directorate) did not yet exist, but Federico Cafiero de Raho was already employed as prosecutor in the investigations into organized crime.

It was he who dealt with that bloody war. Twenty years later, Aviello had become a news-magazine character. Now in his own words, he claims to have a rolet in the Perugia trial for the Meredith Kercher case as a “decisive” witness.

On 19 April of last year, he addressed two little hand-written pages to the President of the Court of Assizes of Perugia, Giancarlo Massei. He declared himself ready to tell the truth, and revealed that he had twice given some friends of his the task of breaking the seals on the house where the crime took place.

On 31 March of this year, Amanda Knox’s defense team video-recorded the declarations made by Aviello, who is now 41 years old. As the weekly news-magazine “Oggi” writes, he said: “It was my brother who murdered Amanda [sic]. I can recover for you the knife used in the crime and the keys of that house”.

This fellow arrived on the third floor of via Chiatamone [Editor’s office of the Mattino] wearing casual clothes with a pretence of elegance: he never retracts anything, always seeking to find suitable words to best describe his “revelations”.

Contact lenses, slim, a cousin killed because he was affiliated to the Mariano clan, Aviello spoke, revealing an outline personality, in a shadow world of braggadoccio, always on the sidelines of the dealings and violent acts of those in power among the clans of the Quarter at that time.

He ended up in jail, having confessed to a murder. It wasn’t true, but they had promised him 5 million lira, a lawyer and an annuity.

The clan didn’t respect the pact, and so he began to talk freely. Enticed by the good life, he began to act as a gofer/go-between selling “black lottery” tickets. He felt important. He earned 500 thousand lira per week.

It wasn’t bad. Then he did “embassies” [message-running], little services, but never great criminal leaps. The clans considered him “not very trustworthy”.

He was implicated in the investigation into the Spanish Quarter Camorra, and convicted.

Today, Federico Cafiero, now deputy prosecutor and DDA Coordinator for the investigations into the Caserta province clans, says of him: “He was altogether untrustworthy, although every so often he would invent a new one [new story]. A revelation, as he would call it, which would subsequently reveal itself to be out and out nonsense”.

Such as when he said that he knew where Angela Calentano was to be found, or that he knew the hideouts of the main fugitives of the D’Alessandro di Castellammare clan.

For his “revelations” against Tiziana Maiolo, ex president of the Justice Commission of the Chamber, he was hit with a trial, in 1997, for calumny.

Two years ago, he fired off his biggest tale yet: he accused a public prosecutor from Potenza in the famous trial on “dirty robes” between Catanzaro and Salerno. He was given an audience by the prosecutor Rosa Volpe in Salerno.

He had announced revelations. His contradictions were immediately exposed.

On those occasions also, the sources of his stories were newspaper articles or gossip with his cell-mates. Such as Raffaele Sollecito, or Gennaro Cappiello for the “dirty robes” investigation.

A compulsive liar, a seeker of publicity?

Twenty years ago, Aviello seemed to be a self-centred person, proud to present himself as a witness to “important facts”. But he never managed to arrive at a scheme of constant collaboration.

For various crimes, he has so far served 17 years in jail. Now the Perugia case appears. Who knows?

Our poster SomeAlibi seems to have had the last meaningful word on the absurdity of this tale. SomeAlibi posted this rather devastating satire on the PMF forum.

I can see it now..

Ghirga: “Well thank you Mr Luciano Aviello, that testimony I think the court will find extremely interesting concerning why Amanda Knox couldn’t have done the murder because it was your brother who was responsible. Despite the fact he’s missing. But thank you and I believe we’re finished.”

Luciano Aviello (quietly): “We ain’t finished”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “So, about this de-fa-may-shun thing.”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “She didn’t do it.”

G: “Sorry?”

LA: “She didn’t dooo it.”

G: “But Mr Aviello we brought you here to talk about the murder not the—”

LA: ”—see it sounds like you ain’t hearing me too good. Perhaps you need a little airation of your ears to help you with that. How would a 22 millimetre hole strike ya? She didn’t say nothing. She didn’t doooo it, capice?”

G: “But, she said it in interview. And in court. I mean, we were all there”

LA (putting tooth-pick on witness stand) “See, now you are making me repeat myself and I don’t like that at all, no I don’t. But I am a tolerant man, so maybe once more for luck ok? She didn’t dooooooooo it.”

G: “All of us were there!... She doesn’t actually disagree she said it…. hello… Mr Aviello… hello… what are you…. what are you doing… why are you counting?”

LA: “Now requiring this many pine boxes ain’t going to be ecologically acceptable my friend, so I suggest EVERYONE here learns to listen up real good ok?”

Court (all): “Huh?”

LA: “Repeat after me. She didn’t dooooooooooooooooo iiiit”

Court (all): “Like hell she didn’t”

LA: “Wise guys, huh?”

Well… that certainly went very well! This all reads like an Italian movie called in English Johnny Stecchino by Italy’s favorite funny actor Robertio Benignii

He accidentally finds himself confused with a mafiosos in Sicily, sees his days are very numbered, and starts talking fast. Very fast… He gets out of it, somehow, but the real mafioso still takes the hit.

Nice knowing you, Luciano…


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Claimed Guede Confidant Mario Alessi Has Been Moved Two Hours North To Parma Prison

Posted by Peter Quennell

Nice city, Parma. Famous for good food. Where the prosciutto hams come from.

The French singer on the video is Juliette Greco. The French generally love Italy, the fifth most visited country in the world (it is also the fifth largest industrial producer). Tourists from France and Germany constitute the largest national groups.

Not that he is likely to enjoy it very much. But it is reported that Mario Alessi has just been moved from the Viterbo prison north of Rome to the prison in Parma.

The newspaper website Viterbo Daily reports that this was a precautionary move by the Prisons Department, in the light of the bitter disagreement between Guede and Alessi as to whether Guede confided to Alessi that he had a companion along on the night Meredith died.

Alessi’s claim has been met in Italy with great scepticism, and it seems unlikely that the two ever even talked.  No-one else has made a similar claim. Those grasping at straws argued that Guede also confided in a priest and a nun, but they seem to have gone awol.

Alessi is serving 30 years and if it can be proven that he lied under oath in his testimony to prosecutors Mignini and Comodi, he could see his term extended by several years.

Our next post (a complex one) hopefully later today looks again at Rudy Guede’s role in the case.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01 at 03:19 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (2)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Behind Mario Alessi’s Own Trial And Life Sentence: The Kidnap And Murder of A Baby Boy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Mario Alessi and his wife Antonella Conserva at trial in Parma, Sicily, in 2008.

A notorious and very cruel case. A masked Mario Alessi kidnapped a baby at gunpoint, and 20 minutes later beat him to death with a shovel. He received a life sentence and his wife Antonella 30 years.

Here on the People You’ll See In Hell website is one apparently quite accurate English-language report of their crime.

Tommaso Onofri was a beautiful baby who lived with his mum, dad and older brother in a country house near Parma, Italy. The evening of March 2nd, 2006, seemed a normal one at Onofri home. The family was having dinner, and 17-month-old Tommy was in his usual place for this time of day, sitting in his high chair.

Suddenly, two men with their faces covered by balaclava burst into the room. The family, terrified and thinking they were being robbed, wisely told the pair of bandits, “Take whatever you want.” But this was no robbery ““ no, it was much worse than that. To everyone’s shock and surprise, instead of taking money or jewels, one of the men pulled the baby out of the high chair,and the two intruders ran off with little Tommaso Onofri.

The Police and news media went mad about this case. The Onofris seemed like such a normal family, without secrets, and they were not rich. Nobody ever asked for a ransom. Little Tommy was an epileptic baby who needs daily medications, but days passed and there was no trace of the child or the kidnappers.

Investigators looked at every angle. They found traces of child pornography in Mr. Onofri’s computer, and for a short time police suspected him, but it turned out there was no evidence to support the theory that he was connected to the disappearance of his son.

Then, police checked on a man who worked in the Onofri house as a builder, some days before Tommy was kidnapped. His name was Mario Alessi and he’d done time for sexual assault; some years before, he raped a girl in front of her boyfriend.

But now he was a free man, and he had a wife and a son. Police interrogated him, and Mario Alessi became the first legitimate suspect. But again, they had no evidence and were forced to release him.

He went back home and did an interview with his wife for an Italian TV show (for money, I suppose). Video cameras went to their house, they showed what fine, upstanding people the Alessis were, how suspecting them was a huge mistake. “You shall not touch children!” said Alessi to millions of fellow Italians on TV.

Some days later, he, his wife, Antonella Conserva, and another builder who worked with Mario Alessi, Salvatore Raimondi, were arrested for the kidnapping of Tommaso Onofri. But where was little Tommy? Antonella ConservaIt seemed to everyone that now that the case was over, the baby should now be back in his mother’s arms.

Finally, in April of 2006, one month after the disappearance of little Tommy, Mario Alessi confessed. He led the police to a river not far from the baby’s country home. The police found the body of 17-month-old Tommaso Onofri buried in a shallow grave at the bank of the river, in high state of decomposition. It turns out he was murdered just 20 minutes after he was taken from his highchair.

Here’s how police say this crime took place. Mario Alessi and Salvatore Raimondi planned the kidnapping. They had decided to kidnap the baby because they did some work for the Onofris and mistakenly assumed they were rich. The original plan called for them to give the baby to Alessi’s wife, Antonella Conserva, to care for him, while they made arrangements to ransom Tommaso.

But something went terribly wrong: Alessi took the baby and ran off on a motorbike. First he heard police sirens closing in behind him, then he saw police cars on his road, and he started to get nervous. Little Tommy couldn’t stop crying and Alessi began to panic, so he went down to the river. Finally, fearing the police would hear the baby’s cries, Mario Alessi took a shovel and beat Tommaso Onofri to death. He buried the body in the sandy soil at the bank of the river.

Mario Alessi was condemned to life in prison. His accomplice, Salvatore Raimondi, got 20 years (he was the first to confess and he had chosen an abbreviated process), and Antonella Conserva was sentenced to 30 years”.

Amanda Knox and Raffele Sollecito: please meet your new best friend from hell…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/12 at 05:37 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (4)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jailhouse Snitch With “New Evidence” Doesn’t Seem To Be Widely Believed

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Andrea Vogt as usual has the best report. Key excerpts:

1) Claims by a fellow prisoner oif Rudy Guede

In a bizarre development Friday, attorneys for Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend, deposited a new piece of evidence in the slaying of British student Meredith Kercher—the deposition of a Sicilian bricklayer serving a life sentence in the same prison as Rudy Guede in Viterbo, Italy.

In the statement, deposited Friday and obtained by the seattlepi.com, the fellow convict claims Guede confided in him that Knox and Sollecito were innocent and that the murder was committed by a friend of Guede’s who had gone to Kercher’s house for a threesome.

Mario Alessi, 38, is currently serving a life sentence in connection with the brutal kidnapping and murder of Tommaso Onofri, a 2-year-old boy from Parma known as Tommy, whose high-profile disappearance and murder in 2006 shocked the nation….

Sollecito’s attorneys requested authorization from the Bologna Court of Appeals and sent their legal assistants to videotape Alessi’s statement in Viterbo, where he is detained in the same sex crimes section of the prison.

In the statement, Alessi claims three other prisoners can confirm his declarations. He said he wrote several letters to Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, because he felt the need to tell her what he had heard from Guede during their open air breaks.

Buongiorno is a noted lawyer from Sicily who is also a parliamentarian and heads a governmental justice commission. On many occasions Guede said explicitly and clearly that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were completely extraneous to this homicide, he said in the deposition.

Around the time of Guede’s appeal, Alessi claims Guede confided in him that the murder was actually committed by a friend of his, who had joined him at Kercher’s for a threesome, which she resisted. Alessi gives a detailed description of the scene as he claims was described to him by Guede: with Kercher getting wounded as he tried to get away from her knife-wielding attacker. While Guede tried to stem the bleeding, the friend said “we’d better finish her off or we’ll both rot in prison,” according to Alessi’s account.

The friend then stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and fled, leaving Guede to try to stop the bleeding, Alessi claims. Later, the two saw each other in the disco, where the friend gave Guede money to flee to Germany, Alessi claims he said. The name or identity of the friend Alessi said Guede was referring to was not given. Guede’s attorney, Walter Biscotti, drove to Viterbo on Saturday to speak with Guede, who emphatically denies the conversation ever took place.

2) Denials by Guede, his lawyers, and prison authorities

In the strongest terms possible, Rudy denied ever having talked to Alessi about these matters, Biscotti said. Alessi’s appeal of his life sentence was denied, so he is not credible. He is doing what those who are desperate do grab onto someone else in desperation. But Guede is bothered by the fact that he is always being dragged into the middle, Biscotti said.

Authorities who interrogated Alessi in the Onofri case said Saturday that they do not believe he can be considered reliable and had given misleading declarations in the past.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/10 at 04:04 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (7)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Apartment Below Meredith’s Is Re-Tenanted And Hers Will Be Too Soon

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for larger image]

The Italian news service AGI has a report on the re-renting of the house that includes this:

Apparently annoyed but amused. one new tenant [of the basement apartment] did not want to talk to reporters. A few days ago, he rented the apartment with two other students…

‘‘No money, no declaration. I want three thousand euros” said the boy in imperfect English when jokingly speaking to reporters who were waiting outside the house on Via della Pergola…

He knows of the attention that will be paid to him by journalists because he has chosen not to live inside the Perugia old sity in an ordinary house, but instead in one that became the scene of a heinous crime for which a trial still proceeds.

The boy, about twenty years old, perhaps Spanish, went out in the afternoon and returned home at around 4:00 pm bringing a small bag, a trolley with two bags, a bag for PC and a backpack.

After closing the green gate behind him which gives access to the house, he stayed home for about ten minutes and then went out again.

Dressed in jeans and a red and blue shirt with a “9” printed on the back and the word ‘‘Espana’’ on the front, he seemed more amused than intimidated by the presence of the journalists. The young man reiterated his unwillingness to speak…

Then, along with three friends, probably all Spanish, he headed out again for a nearby bar to get some coffee takeaways to bring back to the new apartment.

On entering the house the four young men dragged the kitchen table and some chairs outside and they then set to talking quietly, with some amused glances reporters in the garden opposite the front door.

And the Italian news agency APCOM has a report that a Perugia estate agency is in several ongoing negotiations to rent out Meredith’s apartment, now extensively refurbished.

The house is owned by a retired woman who lives in Rome and who seems to be dependant on income from it to pay her way. We believe the Italian government made a payment to her for the period the house was sequestered - for most of the time it was sequestered at the request of the defenses. 

That one of the apartments is again tenanted by students suggests there was no hike in the rent. But the value of the property seems certain to zoom soon in light of this proposal and might one day come down to make way for more parking in the area.

Our poster Kermit created a great Powerpoint show on the house’s rather strange history.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Trial: Defense Expert Tries To Claim Sollecito-Sized Footprint Is Guede’s

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the Daily Express’s full report. The relevant section:

A bloody footprint found at the house where a British student was killed in Italy was wrongly attributed to one of the defendants in the case, a forensic expert has testified at the murder trial.

The footprint was found on a bathroom rug in the house in Perugia where Meredith Kercher was killed in November 2007.

Prosecutors have attributed it to Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian who is on trial on murder charges with Amanda Knox, his girlfriend at the time. Both defendants deny wrongdoing.

In his testimony, expert Francesco Vinci compared detailed pictures of the footprint on the rug with images of Sollecito’s feet, arguing that the sizes and shapes “absolutely don’t match”.

“Differences, one by one, can be seen,” said Vinci, who is a witness for Sollecito’s defence.

According to Vinci, the footprint is “compatible” with the foot of a third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In effect then, the claim is that Guede was participating with bare feet in the cleanup of the crime scene some time after the death of Meredith - although precisely what he cleaned up is unclear, as strong evidence of his presence remains.

Like many of the defense’s attempts at rebuttals, this sounds to us like a tragedy that is now playing out as farce.

In one of his clinically precise powerpoints Kermit already refuted this claim

 


Friday, August 28, 2009

Maybe Why Meredith’s House Was So Tough For Some Of The Police-Cars To Find?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Most of the police team seem to have made it with alacrity to 7 via della Pergola on the day after.

They have very fast cars and pretty good navigation. But one or two had to call in for directions.

This led to some ridicule among those who actually think that ridicule helps Amanda Knox.

Their fast route to the house is to head east up the hill from the Questura (if that is where they all came from). Then through Piazza Grimana by the School for Foreigners. And then down to via della Pergola, by way of the famous tee junction.

Click above for the route from Piazza Grimana down to the tee junction (the last several shots there are of the stone steps that Rudy ran up) and then click below for the street sign they would have encountered. 

Via della Pergola heads down to the LEFT here. The street sign says that via San Antonio begins to the RIGHT here.

And Meredith’s house is clearly off to the RIGHT.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trial: ABC News Has The Only End-Of-Day English Report

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Ann Wise’s report. “Rejected offer to leave” seems rather misleading.

In some of the Italian reports it is observed that Knox was told very soon after the death of Meredith was discovered that she was not allowed to leave Perugia for the time being, so she really had no choice but to stay. Cousin Dorothy and Ann Wise seem not to have known this.

In fact all of the key witnesses including Meredith’s English friends were told to remain in Perugia until the investigations were further advanced. Although it was very tough on them all because of a voracious media, they had to remain there for some weeks.

Only two witnesses were heard today - the second was the mobile phone specialist that Ann Wise mentions - leaving half a dozen witnesses to testify tomorrow or after the summer break.

We are told that the uncertainty about whether Judge Massei would be recovered enough to preside this Friday and Saturday resulted in several scheduling problems and forced absences. This is a busy press corps and few of them actually live in Perugia.

Apparently Judge Massei looked well and very attentive today, and interrogated the mobile phone specialist on his contribution to the timeline for the morning after.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Trial: Il Messagero Describes Testimony Of Knox Relative From Germany

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the original report in Italian on the testimony of Aunt Dorothy.

The woman, who lives in Germany, said she listened to Knox on the phone after the murder, and found her “scared and confused.”

Dorothy claimed to have suggested to Amanda to come to Germany, but she said ‘no’ because she wanted to be of help to the police and answer questions.

The relative of Amanda also said that the young American, before being arrested, wanted to “meet the father of Meredith to console him and tell him what she knew.”

Other defense testimony today will focus on the mobile phones, the effects of smoking marijuana, and the nature of the knife Sollecito carried at all times.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/17 at 01:47 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (6)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Trial: Testimony Of Sollecito’s Childhod Friends From Giovinazzo

Posted by Peter Quennell


The defense DNA experts Carlo Torre and Gino Sara have been postponed into next week.

Testifying today instead were five friends of Sollecito’s. He was born in Giovinazzo on the flat and underpopulated south-eastern coast. Giovinazzo (images) is just north of Bari, where his father practices medicine.

Four childhood friends from there testified along with one who knew him in Perugia. Some translated excerpts:

Raffaele is a romantic, shy, kind, and always available, and honest with everyone…. The television described him as a womanizer, in fact he was shy and introverted. 

He typically carries a knife in his pocket. For him it was a decorative object to be matched to his clothes. He was once wrapped in toilet paper with a meat cleaver and photographed for a joke.

He occasionally smoked a joint, but was not a habitual consumer of hashish, and would not use other drugs. The joints had a sedative effect and made him want to sleep,

Concerning his first sexual intercourse, he had told one of his friends he had been with a girl from Brindisi who lived in Perugia in 2004 or 2005.

Sollecito then issued a correction. “It was actually in 2007” he said through his lawyer.

The civil lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, made it clear that he was skeptical of much of the testimony.

Perhaps with good reason. Sollecito wrote in his occasional newspaper column in Bari that he was a virgin when he met Amanda Knox.



Friday, July 03, 2009

Trial: Not Even These Days Will Be Easy For The Defense Teams

Posted by Kermit



[Sollecito’s lawyers Buongiorno and Mauri last October]

I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the upcoming defence “experts”, unless there’s some statement like “and then the investigator picked up the bra clasp after picking his nose”.

If I were on the jury, the first thing I would ask myself is “why are there Carabinieri - who are part of the state police structure - declaring against their brethren’s work, the investigation done by the Polizia?”.

Why? for two reasons: the different state police units all compete with one another for historical reasons. We have the same thing here in Spain between the Guardia Civil and the National Police. Organizations with different historical roots and overlapping roles which compete between themselves.

Something else to consider in the Perugia case - and probably more significant than competitiveness between police branches - is that Raffaele’s sister is a Carabinieri, and the taped Sollecito Family phone conversations show her to be one of the most active members in behind the scenes “making water flow uphill” activities.

if I were Mignini, in my turn to cross-examine the Carabinieri witnesses, the first and only question I would have is: “are you aware that the sister of Raffaele Sollecito is also a Carabinieri like you, and that the immediate famly of the accused is under investigation for perverting the course of justice?”.

It doesn’t matter how they answer.

As regards Carlo Torre, for as respected as he is, I see him simply as an “outside defense expert”, who is to be expected to counter the prosecution forensics. Carlo Torre is not a surprise figure who the Defence have just found, but he has been making comments in the press on behalf of Amanda’s team for months now. I recall - I believe - that he has also been on Matrix or another TV show opining on the case.

The jurors know it and may well take the attitude of “well even though he’s a respected scruffy old professor, he has been making PR noise for some time now in favor of Amanda, from months before the detailed technical data was released with the final investigation report”.

Mignini could have one question for Torre: “Professor Torre, please tell the jury the first time you appeared on television or you were quoted in an article concerning this crime, where you expressed an opinion on the evidence”.

He would give a date from over a year ago. In the John Follain The Times interview with Curt and Edda, they refer to Torre saying that Meredith’s DNA on the Double DNA knife “could belong to half the population of Italy”

Okay, next week may be tough. It wouldn’t be any other way, as it’s the Defences’ turn to bamboozle the jury with their smoke and mirrors show. But the jury knows that behind the curtain, there’s a meek, weak Wizard pulling a few cables and levers.

The same creaky levers we’ve been hearing over and over for over a year and a half now.



[Knox’s lawyers Sollecito’s lawyers Ghirgha and Vedova last October]

Posted by Kermit on 07/03 at 12:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesReal timelinesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (0)

The Trial Resumes: The Court Agenda For Friday, Saturday And Monday

Posted by Peter Quennell

On Friday and Saturday Raffaele Sollecito’s defense will interrogate several of the Carabinieri who will explain how they think the police made mistakes at the crime scene. 

And on Monday the forensic scientist Carlo Torre will testify for Amanda Knox’s defense team. Dr. Torre is one of the most prominent forensic scientists in Italy and some of those he has testified for have walked.

These witnesses may make a dent or they may not. It is common to have experts from within law enforcement who say, well, they would have done it another way.

Mr Torre may be more impressive but the forensics are only a fraction of the case and no-one else has undermined them so far.

And there is the endlessly confounding question hanging over Knox: who moved Meredith later - much later? 

A whole day of prosecution evidence on the final day was offered on this belated rearrangement of the crime scene.

It may leave Mr Torre pretty stuck for an answer.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trial: Defense Witness Testifies To Occurence In Nearby Piazza The Next Day

Posted by Peter Quennell


AGI is reporting the testimony of the final witness for today. A quick translation:

Alessia Ceccarelli, the girlfriend of the owner of the newsstand in Grimana Square (above and below; house is down the hill) stated that she had noticed a “boy” on the morning of November 2 around 7:00-7:30 who shouted on his cellphone “kill you bitch’.”

She remembered that the boy was wearing a white wool cap, a dark jacket and jeans, and had “dirty blood on the right hand.”

AGI adds that this is a fact that already emerged in the past but which, according to investigators, was found to have no connection with the crime.

On the Perugia Murder File Forum our poster Brian has posted this comment.

This guy is a total red herring. He’d just had an argument with his girlfriend. She, somewhat forcibly, threw him out of the house and he shouted “kill you bitch” into his mobile phone.

He was seen by lots of people cursing and swearing while washing his bloody arm in the fountain. He was soon picked up by an ambulance and taken to hospital. He was a known junky.




Trial: Defense Witnesses On Scream On The Night And On Relationships.

Posted by Peter Quennell


Today a Tuesday is for the first time a trial date as the momentum speeds up before the summer break. A verdict has been predicted for the end of October. 

L’Unione Sarda and AffarItaliaNI are reporting the testimony of the first two defense witnesses for the day.

Pasqualino Coletta from Rome was the driver of the car that would not start on the street above the house on the night in question and had to be towed away. He stated that he heard no scream or any sound of broken glass. He explained that he was on via Pergola between 10.30 and 11:00 pm and “was not attracted to anything in particular.”

And Marzana Marco, a student who lived downstairs, stated that he noticed no friction between Meredith and her flatmate. He also described the two times that Rudy Guede had slept on the sofa of their apartrment.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

How The Media Should Approach The Case If Justice Is To Be Done And SEEN To Be Done

Posted by Hellodalai


The American media are really playing with fire here.

This is one of the most seriously misreported cases in recent history, and a line really needs to be drawn.

Much of the media are doing no digging, consulting no Italians, repeatedly recycling discredited sources and those with a vested interest in the outcome, stating facts that are not facts, ignoring other facts that really are facts, revealing no understanding of how the Italian judicial process works, and often depicting the Italian professionals with contempt.

And so far no-one is really calling them on it.

From this perspective, I have been reading all the articles and information on this case for the past few days. I too was very disappointed in the NY Time pieces by Egan.  Rather than attempt to discuss the facts and evidence that are known so far, he painted “broad brush” strokes to argue that this trial is unfair.

The TIME magazine report just below - where the reporter basically allowed a Knox advocate to state her position unchallenged - is equally mediocre in terms of investigative and reporting quality. It was one of dozens that have done that.

Here is my own analysis of the case which I advance as the appropriate depth that EVERY reporter and print and TV analyst should aim to achieve before they start telling the rest of us what to think.

Motive

Egan points out that Amanda Knox had no motive to kill or participate in killing Meredith Kercher.

I agree that there seems to be little evidence on this issue.  One roommate testified as to tensions between Amanda and Meredith.  Roommate tensions are common, though, and rarely lead to murder.

Neither Rudy Guede, who has been convicted already, nor Raffaele Sollecito, who was Amanda’s boyfriend of less than two weeks, seemingly had motives, either.

All three were young adults who liked alcohol, music, marijuana, and sex (although Rudy has been described as a petty thief and small time drug dealer; other reports state he had no criminal convictions). None seemed likely to erupt into a murderous rage.

One of the downstairs male students testified that Guede expressed some interest in Amanda and said that Meredith was beautiful.  Sollecito wrote in a newspaper column that he was a 23 year old virgin when he met Amanda.

So Sollecito was vulnerable to Amanda’s influence.  Guede may have wanted to gain Amanda’s favor.  Add alcohol and drugs and group dynamics and - the threesome may have spun out of control.

Since the murder, Amanda’s behavior could certainly be questioned.  Who does cartwheels at a police station during an investigation of their murdered roommate?  What defendant wears a shirt to their murder trial that says “All you need is love” when the prosecution is trying to portray them as someone with out-of-control sexual behavior?

If this case rested solely on whether Amanda had a motive to kill Meredith, I would agree with Egan’s stance that the trial is unfair.  Egan seems to stop at that issue, however, and seems unwilling to examine all the evidence objectively.

DNA Evidence

One of the better reports on the case included this statement:

“But perhaps more damning even than the knife was Stefanoni’s testimony that a mix of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the floor in the bedroom of a third roommate, Filomena Romanelli. While it might not be noteworthy to find mixed genetic traces of residents of the same house, Romanelli’s room is critical in this crime.

Her window was broken with a large rock that prosecutors believe was used to stage a break-in. The mixed Knox-Kercher trace was found after investigators used luminol, a substance used in forensic science to bring out blood that had been cleaned up.

In addition, Stefanoni testified that a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the drain of the bidet, on the bathroom sink, and on a Q-Tip box in the girls’ bathroom.”

That is FOUR different blood samples with mixed Knox-Kercher DNA.  Yes, it does seem that the investigative methods were sloppy and not all samples may be reliable (I acknowledge that there are some problems with the prosecution’s case).

But I have yet to read even one article where a reputable DNA expert can explain why sloppy police procedures would result in four separate mixed blood samples.  I did read one explanation that Amanda bled from a pierced ear—thus providing some explanation, although weak, for why her blood may have been in the bathroom.  That doesn’t explain why her blood was in the bedroom of Filomena Romanelli (another of her roommates) or why her blood was found mixed with Meredith’s - or why her blood would be recoverable from an area that had been cleaned after the murder to eliminate evidence.

Similarly, the DNA evidence from Sollecito, found on Meredith’s bra clasp is not explained away by scientific reasoning.  True, the police left the clasp in Meredith’s room (which was sealed) for weeks and did not retrieve it, but DNA is not transferred by “flying DNA”; there is no “innocent” scientific explanation why Sollecito’s DNA (not sloughed dead cells, which do not contain DNA) would affix itself to a bra clasp worn by the murder victim after the clasp had been torn from her body.

As to the DNA evidence found on the knife located in Sollecito’s apartment,  the DNA sample from Meredith was very tiny, according to reports, and the DNA from Amanda could be explained by her using the knife at Sollecito’s apartment. (Sollecito explained Meredith’s DNA by stating she had come to his apartment for dinner with Amanda and that he had accidentally pricked her. But no witnesses have been found who remember Meredith ever talking about going to Sollecito’s apartment)

True, the knife is not the same size as most wounds on Meredith, but it is the same size as one wound. The knife showed evidence of bleach cleaning and some scratches (Sollecito’s apartment showed a lot of evidence of bleach cleaning, even though his maid did not use bleach to clean).

Clean up motives and evidence

I have yet to see a careful review of the testimony and possible conclusions that may be drawn from the known facts and circumstantial evidence, including the clean up after the murder—which, to me, are very compelling.

The neighbor has testified that she heard a very loud, long scream that night (presumably Meredith’s last), followed not long thereafter by the sounds of two to three different people running from the area (it was unusual to hear people running at that time of night).  The neighbor was 69 and could not remember exactly the date she heard the screaming, but she was firm that it was the night before Meredith’s murder was discovered.

It is not a stretch to link the screaming to Meredith, given that loud, long piercing screams are uncommon.  Also, a murderer or murderers would realize that Meredith’s scream may bring the police at any moment—so running from the crime would be expected. 

The uncontradicted testimony is that there was a fair amount of effort to “clean up” the crime scene (the defense merely claims that Knox and Sollecito were not involved). It also appears that whoever came back for the “clean up” also broke a window in Filomena’s bedroom (as mentioned, one of the two other roommates living upstairs; there were also four male students living downstairs in a separate unit), in an attempt to throw the investigating police off the scent. 

Filomena testifed that she found clothes strewn around her room the next day and that she had left the room tidy.  She testified that glass from the window broken in her bedroom was on top of those strewn clothes.  If the window was broken by someone entering the home who was intent on rape and/or robbery, then the glass would not be on top of the clothes as those clothes would not have been under the window then (Filomena also testified that she had valuables in plain view in her bedroom and that none were taken).

The evidence suggests that someone placed these clothes around the room and THEN broke the window to “stage a scene” (as there is no explanation for why anyone would have any motive to randomly take clothes and throw them around a room).

Let’s start with Guede first and the assumption that he came back to the home that night - either by himself - or with someone other than Amanda and Sollecito.

Guede’s motivation to come back to the crime scene would be to clean up the most incriminating evidence against him and to stage this crime scene to lead the police in a direction away from him.

Guede left DNA inside Meredith, bled on Meredith’s body, and left a bloody hand print on the pillow underneath Meredith’s head.  He also left feces in the bathroom toilet (the bathroom near Filomena’s bedroom - -not the “bloody” bathroom between Meredith and Amanda’s bedrooms).  He would know that if he came back to clean.  He would know that that evidence would be the strongest against him.

During this “clean up phase,” the DNA inside Meredith, Guede’s blood on Meredith’s body, the bloody hand print, and Guede’s feces in the bathroom toilet were all left untouched. 

The “clean up phase” spent a lot of time in the bathroom next to Meredith’s bedroom (it was also next to Amanda’s bedroom), the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom, where the “break-in” was staged (it is possible at least part of this crime occurred in the bathroom, as Meredith’s blood was found on the bathroom light switch when it was in an up position - meaning it was touched when the light was on.  The bathroom had numerous droplets of her blood, some of which were commingled with Amanda’s blood.)

Despite the cleanup in Filomena’s bedroom, the police were still able to obtain DNA samples.  Guede’s DNA was not found in either the bathroom or Filomena’s bedroom.

Six bloody footprints from bare feet were identified.  One was visible to the naked eye in the bathroom and five were visible only after the police used luminol, which allows blood evidence cleaned by bleach to become visible under a special light.  The luminol did reveal five bloody footprints that had been cleaned up (one shoe print was also found under Meredith’s pillow - the print is consistent with the size of Amanda’s shoe).

None of the six bloody footprints are consistent with the size of Guede’s feet.  All six of these footprints are consistent with the size of Amanda and/or Sollecito’s feet.

Why would Guede concentrate his clean-up efforts on areas where there is little to no evidence from him and ignore the areas where there is substantial evidence of his involvement?  Wouldn’t he at least flush the toilet?

As to the staged “break-in,” would Guede be motivated to set this up?  If the police believed a “break-in” had occurred, would they then be led away from investigating Guede as a suspect?

If the police believed that a break-in had occurred, then they would focus on looking for someone who was either a complete stranger to Meredith or someone she would not readily admit to her home late in the evening if they knocked on her door unanounced.  Guede was not a complete stranger.  One of the four male students who lived in the separate unit downstairs testified that Guede sometimes came to the apartment of the four male students and met and talked to Amanda and Meredith there (the testimony is that Meredith dated one of those four male students).

The evidence suggests that Guede only slightly knew Meredith. So, Guede was not someone who could knock unannounced on Meredith’s door late at night (at least 9:30—after Meredith talked to her mother) and be readily admitted. 

Guede had no motivation to stage a “break-in” because a break-in would in no way lead the police away from his scent.  Plus, there is no evidence that Guede was ever in Filomena’s bedroom where the “break-in” was staged.  If he had participated in this staging, a footprint consistent with the size of his feet should have been illuminated by the police’s luminol.

It wasn’t.

Conclusions that jurors would normally draw from facts and the circumstantial evidence relating to the “clean up” and “break-in” point to someone OTHER than Guede participating in the “clean-up” and “staged break-in.”

Let’s now look at the assumption that Amanda and her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, were the ones who came back for the “clean up” and “staged break-in.”

If Amanda and Sollecito were with Guede when the murder occurred (accounting for the extra footsteps running away shortly after the last scream of Meredith) and then came back to get rid of evidence of their guilt, their motivation would be to clean up their blood and DNA evidence and lead police away from their scent.

As for whether Amanda bled that night, another roommate of Amanda’s and Meredith’s, Laura, testified that she saw a a mark under Amanda’s chin the day after the murder that was not there the day before the murder; Laura testified the mark was not a hickey as a hickey would have been purple and more round. 

I have read two different comments on this issue from Amanda’s father.  One stated that the mark was merely a hickey and is evidence she spent the night with her boyfriend.  Another was that a physician examining Amanda on Nov. 6th - -the murder occurred the evening of Nov. 1st - did not note a mark under the chin.  (Interestingly, the police interrogating Amanda the next day did not report such a mark, either).

I then found a photo that was posted online taken of Amanda the day after the murder.  It clearly shows a mark under her chin—and would account for her blood being found at the apartment.



[click for larger image]

If Amanda and Sollecito did the “clean up,” they would be motivated to leave evidence of Guede’s guilt and point the police in his direction.

Forensics don’t show either way whether bleach was used to clean up Meredith and Amanda’s apartment, though it was used in Sollecito’s apartment AND on the knife found in his apartment containing the DNA of Meredith and Amanda. 

The Conad store owner reported the presence of Amanda in the household cleaners part of his store early on the morning after the murder (when Amanda and Sollecito contend they were asleep) although rumored receipts for bleach were not presented at trial.

Meredith’s body, which contained Guede’s DNA and his blood (mixed with hers) was not cleaned and Guede’s feces was not flushed from the toilet.

The bathroom, which even after the cleaning, contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and a bloody footprint which is consistent with the size of Sollecito’s foot (trial testimony was that it was “likely” Sollecito’s footprint), had a lot of cleaning activity.

The hallway and Filomena’s bedroom, which even after the bleaching contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and bloody footprints, was the site of a lot of cleaning activity (these footprints were all consistent with the size of the feet of Amanda and Sollecito, but not consistent with the size of Guede’s feet) .

The “cleaning” evidence, and conclusions which may be drawn from it, point to Amanda and Sollecito as participants.

Would Amanda and Sollecito have a motive to stage a break-in?  Amanda obviously had a key to the unit and did not have to break into her own apartment.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would probably focus on people who had a key to the apartment or friends of Meredith she would readily admit to her apartment at 9:30 at night.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would question Amanda and Sollecito at length - and they would obviously know that.

Amanda and Sollecito had a strong motive to stage a break-in to focus police on looking for a stranger, or someone like Guede who only knew Meredith very casually.

What about the next morning?  Let’s first assume Amanda was innocent and she is being truthful when she testified that she did not come home until around 11:30 the next morning.

Amanda testified that when she came home around 11:30 a.m. that the apartment door was open, that there was visible blood in the bathroom (which would have been numerous scattered blood drops, a ten inch smear on the bathroom door, and a bloody footprint on the floor) and that there was feces in a toilet.  Amanda says that she called out for Meredith and no one answered.

She then took a shower and went to Filomena’s bathroom and used her dryer to dry her hair (this is the bathroom with Guede’s feces;  this toilet is different than American toilets in that it had a large flat area so that the standing water in the toilet did not submerge the feces) and returned to her boyfriend’s apartment.

If Amanda were truly innocent when she arrived that morning, wouldn’t she also try to open the door to Meredith’s bedroom after Meredith did not answer, even when she banged on her door more than once?  Amanda’s fingerprints were not found on the door knob and she has never testified that she tried to open the door.  Sollecito testified that when he arrived later with Amanda that he tried to open the door - and his fingerprints are on the door knob.

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she text Meredith, as she did several times two days before?  Wouldn’t she call both of Meredith’s cell phones and let them ring to see if they were in her bedroom? (Phone records show she called each phone one time; one for three seconds and the other for four seconds, despite Amanda telling Filomena that day that she had called Meredith’s cell phones and that the phones just kept ringing) 

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she also call out for Filomena and Laura - because she would not know for sure if they might have returned that morning (she knew Filomena had spent the night in town and that Laura was in a nearby town)?  Wouldn’t she look into their bedrooms (Filomena’s door was closed that morning, according to Amanda; Sollecito says it was open) and have noticed that Filomena’s bedroom window was broken and her clothes were strewn about? (When Amanda first called Filomena she did not mention that Filomena’s bedroom had been broken into).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she have just flushed the exposed feces down the toilet?

If Amanda were innocent and truthful, wouldn’t her hair three hours later look like it had been washed and blow dried that day?  Look again at the photo posted above.  It was taken about three hours after the alleged washing and blow drying.  Is that the hair of a woman who washed and blow dried her hair three hours earlier?

Wouldn’t Amanda have noticed that the lamp in her bedroom, which was the only source of light for that room, was missing? (Police later found it in Meredith’s room).  Wouldn’t she have immediately noticed the missing lamp when she first entered her bedroom that morning so that she would have immediately either left the apartment without taking a shower or called the police to come over? (Police and phone records show that Sollecito didnt call them until 12:54, even though the Postal and Communications Police had been at the apartment with Sollecito and Amanda since 12:26 - the Postal Police unexpectedly showed up at the apartment because Meredith’s cell phones had been found.)

People react differently to unexpected happenings and Amanda may not have done all of those things, but surely she would have done at least one of them.

If Amanda were truthful about showering and drying her hair, wouldn’t her fingerprints be in both bathrooms? (Since these activities would have occurred AFTER the clean up).  The police only found one of her fingerprints in her residence - on a glass in her kitchen.

As to this time frame, what about the recent trial testimony of Amanda’s mother that Amanda told her in their first phone call that day that she thought someone was in her apartment?  Cell phone records place that call at 12:47, some 21 minutes after the Postal Police arrived. (A nearby video camera documents that time, as does Postal Police log records;  the defense has tried to argue that the Postal Police did not arrive until after 1:00 p.m., but do not have evidence for that position.  In fact, Filomena testified that she arrived back at her apartment before 1:00 and that the Postal Police were already there.)

Postal Police testified that both Amanda and Sollecito were in Amanda’s bedroom with the door closed at 12:47 - the bedroom with no lamp or overhead light (neither Amanda nor Sollecito mentioned to the Postal Police or Filomena when they emerged from that bedroom after many minutes that the only lamp in the room was missing).

Let’s keep assuming Amanda was innocent.  Would she have come back to her apartment with Sollecito, still not having called police, and then start a load of washing of Meredith’s clothes? (The Postal Police said the washing machine was running when they entered;  Filomena, who arrived a little later, said that the washing machine was still warm and contained Meredith’s clothes.)

Amanda has testified that she got out a mop and bucket the first time she went to her apartment that day and took it back to Sollecito’s because there was water on his apartment floor from water used in cooking pasta the night before (Sollecito said, however, that the water was from a broken pipe;  Sollecito’s diary written in prison talks of a dinner of stir fry mushrooms and vegetables).

Who has water spills from cooking pasta so large that the next day it is still puddled to the degree it needs to be mopped?  Who voluntarily carries a mop and bucket several blocks to clean up water from cooking pasta the night before? (Especially a person who has been labeled in trial testimony as messy and unkempt in their cleaning habits).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she and Sollecito have called the police after Sollecito tried to open Meredith’s locked bedroom door and couldn’t open it?

Instead of calling the police, Amanda and Raffaele went outside and stood next to the mop and bucket.  Why didn’t they just put the mop and bucket back up in the apartment when they first arrived?  Why leave it outside the apartment?  Why then go back out and stand next to the mop?

If Amanda and Sollecito were innocent, that means that Guede (and perhaps one or two accomplices) murdered Meredith, then ran away, and then came back at some point and cleaned up the crime scene PARTIALLY (but ignoring and leaving the most damning evidence against him) and THEN GUEDE CAME BACK that morning after Amanda had showered and left - so that GUEDE could do a LOAD OF WASHING of Meredith’s clothes - presumably blood stained, all the while ignoring his feces in the toilet and his bloody hand print on the pillow under Meredith’s body - only for GUEDE to then leave again right before Amanda and Sollecito arrived (so the washing machine would still be running when the Postal Police arrived a short while later).

What type of person or persons would come back to a crime scene to clean it up?

The most likely person to return to a crime scene for a clean up is someone who knows that they can do a clean up with little chance of being caught. 

Guede might have known that the four male students downstairs were all away due to his occasional appearances there.  But how would Guede know that Filomena and Laura, the other two upstairs roommates, would not come back either that night or in the morning?

Amanda and Sollecito, on the other hand, would know that everyone who lived in the house would be gone and that they could do a clean up that would take some time and have a good chance of not being caught in the act.  Only the unexpected appearance of the Postal and Communications Police interrupted the mopping and cleaning (as there was still a ten inch blood smear on the bathroom door near Meredith’s bedroom and numerous visible blood droplets).

No one else other than Amanda and Sollecito, and who may have been involved, had such knowledge.   

Conclusion

     

The facts, testimony, and conclusions that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence, including circumstantial evidence (that is what juries do all the time), lead me to believe that Amanda will be found guilty.

Let any reporter or analyst run the case through their minds at this depth and then make sure that at a minimum, they keep their cool and don’t misrepresent.

When I read an article or blog in the New York Times or Time magazine, I expect thorough, well-reasoned, well-researched, investigative journalism. Judicial cases DEMAND it.

Instead, here I have found articles that IGNORED the evidence and some very mediocre journalism. What happened to journalistic standards?  Where is the public outcry against the U.S. media’s handling of this case? 

For the sake of true justice, a line now needs to be drawn.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Trial: The Testifying Parents Of The Defendants Arrive At The Courthouse

Posted by Peter Quennell



[courtesy AP, click for larger image]



[courtesy ANSA, click for larger image]

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/19 at 03:49 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (2)

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