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Category: The wider contexts

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



By Nick Squires in Perugia

9:09AM GMT 29 Oct 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Candace Dempsey’s Hearst-Hosted Defense Blog Abuses The Real Victim Here

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


[Shots here are of Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s owner Hearst Media’s building in Manhattan[


When an article about a controversial subject manages to tick everyone off, this might mean the author has achieved a certain level of neutrality!

Rachel Donadio’s brief article in the NY Times recapping the main developments in the Meredith Kercher murder case, is neutral, using this yardstick.

  • For people who have already decided Amanda Knox is guilty, Donadio left out important details needed to expose the case against Knox.

  • And for people who have already decided on Knox’s innocence, Donadio committed the unpardonable sin of allowing Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family’s increasingly vocal legal counsel, to voice this opinion: “The important thing is they were all there,” he said. “All three are responsible.”

In at least one critical respect, the Italian criminal justice system may be better than its US counterpart. In Italy, the family of the VICTIM has the right to legal representation. This seems to perplexe many in the Knox defense camp.

But anyone who has survived the murder of a loved one will understand why it is so important. They will also understand why comments of the kind being posted on Candace Dempsey’s defense blog hosted by Heart’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer are so reprehensible, and why they must be called out as such.

Kelly13, the first poster to weigh in, notes that Maresca has been increasingly vocal about Knox’s involvement and that he recently expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out Knox’s oral confession. So far, at least, Kelly13 is factual and limits his remarks to Maresca.

But then he goes to work on the Kerchers:

Despite their carefully crafted direct statements expressing a desire for justice, clearly the Kerchers have made up their minds and they don’t strike me as nice or objective people. I wonder if they have created legal liability for themselves, certainly Mr. Maresca can be sued for this unproven claim made against Amanda.

It is hard to pass judgment on “people” who have only spoken to the press twice (that I know of) and who have read brief prepared statements each time. But what struck me as really strange about this comment was how inaccurate and mean it sounded.

Then I remembered where I had read similar sentiments”¦ on the same Dempsey defense blog, about six months ago, by the same poster too. He is a self-proclaimed faith-based activist who says he lobbies for US citizens jailed abroad. Earlier, he noted blithely that the Kerchers needed to “set aside” their grief and jump on the free AK bandwagon.

A few of the few posters on Dempsey’s site tried to explain why his most recent comments were unacceptable, but with Dempsey they were wasting their time.

In reply to those who disagreed, Kelly13 said he knew

...folks who have been through even worse and they had the backbone to stand up against obvious injustice. The least the Kerchers could do is just stay silent and keep their lawyer under control. To fail to do so undermines Amanda’s right to fairness, contributes to her unjust confinement, and shifts focus away from the tragedy that is Meredith. It’s very hard, but in the interest of justice and fairness their lawyer needs to shut up, and only they can affect that.

End of subject for him. He begins his next paragraph: “Moving on”¦”

These comments were still standing today. I note this only because Candace Dempsey has gained huge notoriety mainly for her heavy thumb on the delete button for posts that go against her bias.

Maresca’s current view of the case will ultimately be proven right or wrong. The family has filed a civil suit for damages against whomever is found guilty, which means that it and its counsel now have access to the 10,000 pages of material submitted by the prosecutor. Maresca’s opinion just might reflect his deep conviction, based on an examination of the evidence.

Furthermore, the Kerchers silence might also be due to their belief that justice is taking its course. They owe nothing, not one thing, to Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

Conversely, those with a vested interest in the outcome of this case for any of the three suspects owe it to the Kerchers to keep these thoughts to themselves. It is appalling to read on Dempsey’s blog that Kelly13 hopes the Kerchers will ultimately find themselves at the other end of a lawsuit.

It is so appalling under the circumstances that it is physically revolting. Especially considering how utterly restrained the Kerchers have been with respect to the media and how relatively restrained their lawyer has been. In fact, it is incredible to even have to say this. Kelly13, where were you when brains and hearts were being passed out?

In any case, Maresca’s words in the NY Times will have no impact on Judge Micheli, who is presiding over the pre-trial hearing. Micheli, who already knows what Maresca thinks, is also doing his job “” which is to examine the evidence, hear the challenges, and decide whether or not to press charges.

Maresca may be a thorn in the side of those who have already decided that at least two of the suspects are innocent, but he plays a vital role for the Kercher family. For just about any surviving victim of a murdered person who has been through the criminal justice process, this is a no-brainer.

The comments about the Kercher family on Hearst’s defense blog make me incredibly sad for this family which has shown remarkable restraint and dignity for almost one year.

Back in January, speaking to Meredith’s hometown paper the Croydon Guardian, Maresca noted: “Meredith’s parents continue to suffer enormously and they faithfully await news of every hearing as they are doing so today. Their objective is to reach the truth of their daughter’s murder out of respect for her memory.”

The surviving Kerchers also deserve a little respect, even in the blogosphere, where anyone can say anything. It doesn’t matter what you think about who did what and why.

Shame on you, Candace Dempsey, for this scurrilous anti-victim blog, and shame on Hearst for hosting it too.



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