Headsup: In "Talking To Strangers" Malcom Gladwell lied to his readers with an inaccurate and venomous attack on Italian justice that gives aid to the mafias. Below is the seventh of maybe 10 posts providing the ACCURATE information Gladwell should have done. Series starts here.

Category: Other legal processes

Friday, November 26, 2010

More On Motive: Some Of The Cases Of “Nice” Girls Who Killed With Little Or No Motive At All

Posted by The Machine



[Above: One of the Manson girls’ murder victims, Hollywood film star Sharon Tate]

The conspiracy theorists trying so hard to spring Amanda Knox now have about zero credibility - because they can’t field even one good expert that any other expert respects. 

The various claims of their various faux experts about this or that aspect of the evidence having been mishandled or misread or contaminated lack the one really crucial element. ANY real evidence.

And NOT ONE Italian interrogator or investigator or prosecutor has been proved to have done even one thing wrong with intent.  Which seems these days to be making the conspiracy theorists more and more shrill in their claims.

An ex campus security guard Steve Moore is now one of the shrillest faux experts - but the conspiracy theorists still seem to think he is their great ace in the hole.

Steve Moore is not exactly what we might call competent as a real-crime-scene investigator. He seemingly can’t get even one core fact right and his knowledge of the Micheli and Massei reports are absolutely abysmal.

Few of this faux expert’s claims arouse more ridicule and sardonic contempt than one sweeping claim made to any lazy and gullible reporter who will listen - Ann Curry, Linda Byron and Steve Shay, for example.

The claim that there is some standard profile for women who kill. And that well-bred educated middle-class girls like Amanda Knox do not fit “it”. That profile.

So it is impossible that they would ever kill.

In an interview with Anne Curry on NBC the faux expert actually claimed: ““This was an honor student; she is not a violent person….  What they are alleging is that she not only helped assault the roommate, but stabbed her in the throat. That kind of deviant, violent behavior doesn’t go unnoticed for 18, 19, 20 years. Some things leak out; you see some episodes, some indication that this person has issues.”

Actually she DID have issues.

Their faux expert clearly does not know the history of Amanda Knox very well. She seems to have started putting out warning calls for help from around the age of four, and there are a number of stories about her quirks and her drugs up to when she left for Perugia.

In this piece, we will look at some some high-profile murder cases in America, Italy and New Zealand involving seemingly normal young women with profiles not unlike Amanda Knox who suddenly committed horrific and senseless murders.



[Above: Laurie Ann Swank’s victim, hotel night clerk Janet Chandler]

USA: Laurie Ann Swank

If anyone thinks the idea that a woman would arrange for men to sexually assault and murder her friend and roommate is totally far-fetched and beyonds the realms of possibility, they should read about the Janet Chandler case.

In January 1979, Laurie Ann Swank held a position of responsibility, working as the manager of the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, Michigan. She was also the roommate and friend of Janet Chandler, a 23-year-old student who worked as a desk clerk at the hotel. 

Laurie Ann Swank lured Janet Chandler to a “party” where she was tied to a chair and raped and tortured for hours by five security guards who were staying at the Blue Mill Inn. After Janet Chandler had been gang raped, she was strangled and her body was dumped on the side of Interstate 196.

The officers involved in the case concluded that Laurie Swank orchestrated the attack on Janet Chandler out of envy and jealousy “to teach her a lesson.” The motive behind this vicious murder was actually admitted by Swank to have been petty jealousy, especially over a boy. She actually watched while Janet was raped and then strangled with a belt.



[Above: Two more of the Manson girls victims Leno and Rose Labianca ]

USA: Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel

Steve Moore seems to think that honor students are incapable of committing murder. His apparent refusal to believe that someone who is from a respectable background and well-educateed could be involved in murder is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Vincent Bugliosi was the chief prosecutor in the Manson trial. He has pointed out that the backgrounds of the Manson killers terrified America precisely because they were from fairly good backgrounds and that many people refused to believe they could be involved. Vincent Bugliosi, chief prosecutor in the Charlie Manson case:

The other thing that terrified the nation so much is when the identity of the killers became known. And who were they? Young kids from average American homes with fairly good backgrounds. There was a feeling that this could be our own children.

Tex Watson, Manson’s “chief lieutenant” at the murder scene, was from Farmersville, Texas, hometown of World War II hero Audie Murphy. Watson was a football, basketball, and track star. He had almost an A average in high school. And when the people in Farmersville learned he was being charged with these murders, the general consensus was this is absolutely impossible, it must be a case of mistaken identity.

Patricia Krenwinkel””another one of the main killers””her father was an insurance executive; she sang in the church choir; got good grades in school; at one time she even wanted to attend a Jesuit college in Alabama. Leslie Van Houten””another killer””she was a homecoming princess at Monrovia High School here in L.A.



[Above: Manson girl Squeaky Fromm attempted to murder President Gerald Ford]

Leslie Van Houten was an honor student and a homecoming queen. She came from a middle class background; her father was an auctioneer and her mother was a school teacher.

In 1968, she joined Charlie Manson’s family. She was not involved in the vicious killings at Roman Polanski’s home - which upset her - but she took part in the savage murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.  She along with Patricia Krenwinkel attacked and stabbed Rosemary LaBianca. Van Houten tied the electrical cord from a lamp around La Bianca’s neck and put a pillow case over her head before stabbing her 16 times in the lower back.

Patricia Krenwinkel came from a fairly normal background. Her father was an insurance salesman. She graduated from high school and then attended a Catholic college for a semester before moving in with her sister. In 1967, she met Charles Manson when he was visiting her sister.

Krenwinkel participated in the Tate and LaBianca murders. She stabbed Abigail Folger more than 70 times. When the police found Folger’s body, they thought she was wearing a red dress.

Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are currently serving life sentences for the Tate and Labianca murders. They are still being denied parole 40-plus years later.

USA: Amy Bishop

Dr. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated neurobiologist, inventor and mother of four, went on a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama. 

Amy Bishop had already shot and killed her 18-year old brother, with a shotgun, during an argument in 1986. Bishop claimed it was an accident and no charges were filed then - but 24 years later, charges were indeed filed.

According to witnesses, Amy Bishop later killed three professors and wounded three others during a meeting at the University of Alabama. They said that she sat through the first 30 minutes of the meeting and then pulled out a 9mm handgun and opened fire until the weapon jammed or ran out of bullets.



[Above: Karla Homolka murdered her own sister Tammy and and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French]

Canada: Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo

Karla Homolka was the oldest child of three. She was regarded as well-adjusted and intelligent. She was a popular child who received plenty of love and attention from her family and friends. She loved animals and after high school she went to work at a veterinary clinic.

When she was 17, Karla Homolka attended a pet convention and met 23-year-old Paul Bernado. They soon discovered they shared the same sado-masochistic tendencies.

On 23 December 1990, Homolka and Bernado gave alcoholic drinks spiked with halcyon to Homolka’s 15-year-old sister, Tammy, at a Christmas party. They took her to the basement and Homolka held a cloth soaked with Halothane to Tammy’s mouth until she became unconscious. Bernado and Homolka then raped her. Tammy choked on her own vomit as she was being raped.

On 15 June 1991, Bernado kidnapped Lesle Mahaffy and took her to the couple’s home, where they repeatedly raped over a number of days. The couple videotaped many of the assaults. They then killed Mahaffy and cut her body into pieces and encased the pieces in cement.

On 16 April 1992, they kidnapped 15-year-old Kristen French and took her to their home and videotaped themselves torturing and sexually assaulting her. The couple killed French before they left for Easyer Sunday dinner with Homolka’s family.

Karla Homolda was convicted for her role in the raping, torturing and killing her own sister, Tammy and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. She was released from prison after serving 12 years in prison. Paul Bernado is still in prison.

There are videos on the seeming normality of very dangerous people like these two here and here.



[Above: Julet Hume who with Pauline Parker battered Pauline’s mother to death]

New Zealand: Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker

Juliet Hulme was the daughter of Dr. Henry Hulme, an eminent physicist and a rector at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 1954, Juliet Hulme and her friend, Pauline Parker, battered Parker’s mother, Honora Rieper, to death with half a brick in a lisle stocking. At the trial, it was revealed that Honora Rieper had been subjected to a sustained and brutal attack. Hulme and Parker had planned to murder Parker’s murder because they didn’t want to be separated.

After the murder, Parker and Hulme ran to a nearby tea shop, upset and covered in blood, claiming that Pauline’s mother had slipped and fallen.

Honora Rieper had 45 separate wounds on her head. The torn blood-soaked stocking with the brick in it was found nearby.

Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker were found guilty of murder.



[Above: Kelly Ellard was convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk]

Canada: Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski

Kelly Ellard came from a middle class family and lived in a well-to-do neighborhood.

In 1997, she and Warren Glowatski murdered convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk, who was the 14-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants. Ellard and six other teenage girls beat up Reena under a bridge. Ellard and Glowatski then dragged Reena to the other side of the bridge and beat her for a second time. It is believed that Ellard forced Reena’s head under the water and held it there until she stopped struggling.

Kelly Ellard was sentenced to life imprisonment for the second-degree murder of Reena Virk on 20 April 2000. . A second trial in 2004 ended in a hung jury. The Supreme Court of Canada reinstated the second degree murder conviction against Ellard in 2009. Warren Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999. Six girls aged between 14 and 16 were sentenced in 1998 for their roles in the initial attack.

Next year Kelly Ellard will apply for parole. Reena’s parents are still waiting for any sign of remorse or sorrow for their loss.



[Above: Nadia Roccia was murdered by her friends Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica]

Italy: Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica

Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica lured their school friend Nadia Roccia to Botticelli’s home with the excuse of doing homework together and then they killed her. It was their second attempt as The Independent reports.

They turned off the lights and Sica began strangling her with a scarf. Botticelli urged her to pull it tighter and kicked Roccia in the stomach. Once satisfied she was dead, they looped a rope around her neck to simulate hanging…

The mother of Nadia Roccia yelled “Bravi ... finally justice for Nadia” as the sentences were read out. In imposing the toughest sentence, the court accepted the prosecution argument that the crime had been “premeditated, ferocious and for futile motives”.

Investigators are still at a loss to uncover a motive for the murder - with theories ranging from Satanic sects to prostitution rings. The pair appeared in court only once, but refused to answer questions and never showed any repentance.

It was discovered that the pair had tried to murder Roccia several months earlier. They offered her a cola drink laced with rat poison, but she refused to drink it. They made her sign a blank sheet on which they later typed a fake suicide note. “I am lesbian and in love with my best friend, that is you, my sweetest Anna Maria ... unfortunately you like men but soon you won’t have to worry about my jealousy any more,” read the note found by Roccia’s body.

Anna Maria Botticelli and Sica, both now 20, heard the sentence on television from their cell in Foggia, 90 miles from Naples. In jail they have completed their high-school leaving exam and are now studying law and economics.

Before Wednesday’s verdict Botticelli’s father pleaded: “I beg you on my knees to give these two girls a chance.”

There was widespread disbelief that Botticelli and Mariena Sica could be guilty of such a horrific murder because they were normal girls from respectable backgrounds. It was only after they were recorded admitting that they were involved, that many people acknowledged their guilt.



[Above: Erika de Nardo at letf with dark hair murdered her mother and brother]

Italy: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro

Erika de Nardo came from a wealthy middle class family - her father was a factory manager and her mother was an accountant - and she grew up in an affluent part of Novi Ligure in Italy. From Wikipedia:

The crime scene, indeed, didn’t suggest a robbery: doors and windows weren’t forced and nothing precious had been stolen. Neighbours noticed nothing unusual and De Nardo’s dogs didn’t bark all evening long. Moreover, Susy and Gianluca had been over-killed (medical examiner counted almost 100 brutal wounds on their corpses), while young Erika was safe and didn’t exactly seem shocked.

She immediately described the presumed aggression she faced, but her version of the facts was full of contradictions. Policemen showed her several mugshots and she “recognized” without any doubt an Albanian teenager named Cezar: the boy was immediately interrogated but proved he had an alibi. Erika stated that she ran away from the garage’s door, but police easily observed that her footprints didn’t mark a run: in fact, she had walked quietly.

Some close friends described the 16-year-old girl as a neglectful, pampered girl, recalled she often squabbled with her parents because of her bad school marks and because her new boyfriend, a bully named Omar Favaro, was someone her mother disliked.

Investigators found Erika’s diary in her bedroom. It was full of terrible sentences such as “That damn child (her brother) made me angry today and I beat him… ” or “This is the end, Mommy, I hate you” or “However we know that everything will be finished by death” and so on. Two days later, Erika and Omar Favaro (a 17-year-old) were left alone in a room at the police station where some hidden microphones and a camera recorded their shocking confession.

It is reported that Erika even performed the very scene of the stabbing and whispered: “I hit her (referring to her mother) right here…” and recalled: “My brother was so strong, he didn’t want to die… he fought so much… was as strong as a bull… oh my God, he was my little brother! He was just eleven years old!” and later ironically asked Omar: “You enjoyed yourself by killing them, didn’t you?”.

But Omar was upset: “You don’t understand, Erika, this is not a game… two people have died… we do risk a life sentence for this!” whispered “Come here, you, murderer!” the boy screamed while shaking her. The girl stated: “I hate my mom, I hate my brother and if you keep on saying this I’ll hate you too! They (policemen and judge) can’t do anything, there are no evidences, they are to believe me!”

De Nardo’s false claim about Albanians (shades of Amanda Knox) caused immense collateral damage. There was an anti-immigrant outcry with Italian newspapers articles demanding a crackdown on illegal immigrants, and anti-immigration demonstrations.

Erika de Nardo drew only a short sentence as a minor and is due to be released in 2012. Omar Fasaro was released a few months ago.



[Above: Erika de Nardo murdered her mother and brother, above]

*******

There are some clear parallels between the Meredith Kercher case and the cases above. There was widespread disbelief that some of the highlighted killers were capable of committing brutal murders.

Like Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, many of these killers attempted to derail the police investigation. And nearly all these murderers came from respectable, middle class backgrounds, were well-educated and had no previous history of violence.

Real experts know that it is indisputable that murderers come from all walks of life. The motives behind the horrific murders described above are beyond the comprehension of any normal person, and in some of these cases a motive was never uncovered.

The claims of faux experts like Steve Moore that Amanda Knox is innocent because she doesn’t fit the profile of a someone who would kill in a violent rage are in fact the complete opposite of true.



[Above: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro after their arrest in Italy]


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #10: The Chief Suspect Sonia’s Boyfriend Now Certain To Stand Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Sonia’s sister Anna moved to Perugia from south-east Italy to wage a persistent campaign]

Indicted chief suspect in Sonia’s possible murder Umberto Bindella is still out on bail, but lacking his passport so that he gets no ideas of fleeing.

He did flee a few months ago and ended up with his car down a steep slope below a highway a few miles south of Perugia. He sat in the car all night, maybe shocked, maybe despondent, maybe suicidal, and he and the car were hauled back up to the highway the following morning.

One theory is that Sonia may have told Bindella she was pregnant and an angry Bindella physically attacked her. The main basis for considering Bindella as a suspect is some phone calls he made on the night, the contents (if recorded) of which have not been made public and the reasons for the calls not explained, plus also other subsequent behavior. 

The Perugia police and lab people and prosecutors and investigating judge have all been ultra-cautious in pursuing the case, as a body that could be Sonia Marra’s has never been found, and in this case unlike Meredith’s the evidence really is quite thin.

Several weeks ago, the results of some court-mandated forensic tests on a jacket Bindella was wearing on the night Sonia disappeared came back, and there was a court hearing for the announcement of the results.

The report from Leggo Italia.

No traces of organic material, female DNA or blood were found on the jacket seized from Umberto Bindella, the thirty-one-year-old accused of killing Sonia Marra, the Perugian student from Puglia who disappeared four years ago….

According to the reconstruction in the indictment against Bindella, who is claiming no wrongdoing,  he wore the jacket on the evening when Sonia Marra had disappeared.

The deposition of the expert lasted only a few minutes. According to the defence lawyers Daniela Paccoi and Silvia Egidi, “this is yet another proof of innocence.” of their client.

Prosecutors Giuseppe Petrazzini and Angela Avila have asked for a trial of Bindella. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Quotidiano di Puglia reported on that second hearing.

The family of Sonia Marra, a student who disappeared into thin air in Perugia four years ago, formed a civil party to the preliminary hearings that began today before the GUP of Perugia, in which Umberto Bindella may be charged with killing the young woman and concealing her corpse with an accomplice, Dario Galluccio, who works in the banking industry.

Family members were represented by advocate Alessandro Vesi. Bindella, 31, was present in court today as were Sonia’s parents, her two brothers and her sister Anna. The hearing was postponed until February 7 when the prosecutor’s request for a trial of the accused will be decided upon.

A careful process where again the judges are showing no bias toward the prosecution. To the contrary, putting it through the same hoops Meredith’s case was put through.

Nevertheless Bindella seems certain to be facing a trial early in 2012.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Perugian Media Report (Neutral As Usual) In Italian On Knox’s Calunnia Hearing

Posted by Peter Quennell

Shown here is the more modern of Perugia’s courts not far from the questura (central police station) and the railway station. It was here that Judge Micheli tried and sentenced Rudy Guede in October 2008 and sent Sollecito and Knox off for trial.

This court is said to be more suited to closed sessions and to sessions where there is a large press. Indictees and perps enter the court via a ramp down to the basement in vans with darkened windows.

These inside shots of the ground-floor corridor are all we have posted so far on the court’s interior. It was a surprise they allowed a photographed perp walk here, there was none at the previous hearing. Maybe to show AK is okay?

That might be Chris Mellas that she gives a faint grin to, to the left. Perhaps he made sure the camera was there.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Another In Seeming Never-Ending Disasters For Hapless Knox Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell





Apparently xenophobia and sliming and serial misconstruing of the evidence isnt working. The Italian authorities continue to be relentless and unblinking.

In court today, Amanda Knox was indicted by the judge and she WILL stand full trial next May for calunnia.  This first report on the BBC News website as follows.

American student Amanda Knox is to face trial for slander after saying police beat her during questioning over the killing of Briton Meredith Kercher.

A judge made the decision at a closed indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 23, told the judge she never intended slander and was just trying to defend herself, her lawyer said.

Ann Wise of ABC News adds this.

American student Amanda Knox was indicted for a second time by an Italian court today, this time for allegedly slandering Italian police for saying they were abusive when they interrogated her for the murder of her roommate.

Knox, who was convicted last year of murdering Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 years in prison, stood up in court and made what Italian legal officials call a “spontaneous statement” before the judge’s ruling.

“I have always tried to defend myself. I never wanted to offend or slander anyone,” Knox said in Italian.

Nevertheless, preliminary hearing Judge Claudia Matteini indicted Knox, 23, for slander.

The charge refers to Knox’s testimony during her murder trial that Italian police were rough with her when they interrogated her overnight just days after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in the house they shared.

She claimed the officers yelled at her, discouraged her from calling a lawyer and cuffed the back of her head. The 12 officers named in the slander complaint have denied being abusive to Knox.

At the end of the long interrogation, Knox signed a statement in which she said she had a confused dream-like recollection of being in the house and hearing Kercher scream, effectively placing her on the scene of the crime.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said Knox was “saddened” by the decision.

Another lawyer for Knox, Maria Del Grosso, told reporters that “for Amanda this (interrogation) was the genesis for her homicide accusation. She is very frustrated and obviously disappointed, but she knows that today’s was only a preliminary hearing and the truth was not ascertained today. Let’s hope it is when the case is debated because there was something that went wrong that night.”

Knox was driven into the courthouse in a police van with darkened windows. The hearing was closed to the public, but photographers were able to get a glimpse of her in the courtroom hallways. Looking thinner and drawn, Knox wore a dark green sweater and black pants, her hair is a jaw-length bob.

Before the hearing, Knox’s stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News that “Amanda is doing better. She is rightfully angry about the slander accusations, and told me she was going to speak out in court this morning. She told me she wanted to tell them that she sees police interrogations shown on TV all the time, and would like to know why her interrogation was not recorded or videotaped.”

But according to her lawyers, she limited her statement to saying she was just defending herself and did not want to offend.

Knox will go to trial for slander on May 17, 2011 before a single judge, Cecilia Bellucci. Matteini said the case needed to go to trial to resolve some formal technical matters, and to debate the accusations, possibly with witnesses.

The lawyer for eight of the police officers, Francesco Maresca, said that the “framework of the request for an indictment was confirmed, and now we await the debate.”

Conviction of the charge could add as much as six years to Knox’s prison sentence.

Again, this is the nexus of Amanda Knox’s accusation against poor Patrick Lumumba who spent two terrifying weeks in Capanne Prison and later lost his business when the customers fled.

Whatever else she may be, Knox does seem to be a serial blamer of others. Blaming the cops for her blaming Patrick, Knox seemed to us to think, was an easy way out.

Italian reports say that she seemed to be scowling or sour or very serious or depressed (no mention of nervousness) and that she had put on a few pounds.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corruption Of Appeal: Angry Top Criminal Judge Chiari Is Blatantly Forced Aside

Posted by Peter Quennell




Very Dirty Business

Only one month ago Umbria’s top criminal judge Sergio Matteini Chiari was to preside.

Now a very angry Judge Chiari has been forced aside with no public explanation from Chief Judge De Nunzio [image below] as to why.

A wildly wrongly qualified judge, Hellmann, a business judge with just two criminal trials in his past, both fiascos, mysteriously takes his place.

Rumors of foul play are appearing in the Italian media. Has Chief Judge De Nunzio been leaned upon politically? Do big bucks or rogue masons have any role in this?

Click here for the rest


Friday, October 01, 2010

Knox Calunnia Hearing: Amanda Knox Enters Court Via The Underground Entrance

Posted by Peter Quennell


Amanda Knox enters the court in the more modern part of town where Rudy Guede was tried last October.

As described by Andrea Vogt in the quotes in the post just below, this is a closed hearing. This is NOT a charge initiated by the prosecution in Knox’s murder trial or for that matter by the State of Italy.

It is initiated by the complaining police (represented by the Florentine lawyer Francesco Maresca, who was also the lawyer appinted to represent Meredith’s family in the Knox, Sollecito and Guede trials) who are denying Knox’s claims that she was maltreated as a witness.

So Mr Maresca and Amanda Knox’s lawyers Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova will go to it toe-to-toe.  Judge Claudia Matteini could put the case on ice today, or she could decide that it goes forward to full trial in one form or another.

Although prison time (up to six years) is a possible outcome of the main trial, if there is one, this is in essence a civil case. Slander cases are not that common in Italy for the simple reason that penalties are very tough - and so there is very little real slander.

Slandering the cops, if Amanda Knox did do that, would seem a singularly ill-advised move. Her own lawyers certainly never advised it, or complained about rough treatment, or even suggested that they believed it was true.

Italian cops generally have an easy relationship with the population, and the crime rate in Italy compared to most other countries is low. The murder rate is only 1/6 that of the United States, for example, and one of the lowest in the world.

Italy also has an impressively cautious and careful justice system described here by our Italian posters Nicki and Commisario and Cesare, which is unquestionably the most respected Italian public institution. The Innocence Project has never helped to overturn a case in Italy, and we believe they do not even have any questionable cases listed.

Amnesty International and the European institutions do occasionally complain of the Italian justice system being slow, but that is essentially a factor of its extreme caution, and all the hurdles that prosecutors have to make their way through.

What the record suggests actually happened in Knox’s brief examination as a witness on the night was described in this post here. 

So not only does Amanda Knox not carry very much credibility here - her charges seem to have been a seriously wrong turn. They perhaps in themselves halved what public sympathy she had left.

As we have often said here, we think her bravado has been very foolishly egged-on


Monday, September 06, 2010

Van Der Sloot’s Attention Seeking Antics In A Peruvian Prison Are Continuing

Posted by Peter Quennell


We have periodically focussed on Joran Van Der Sloot now awaiting trial for murder in Peru because it was noted in the media that he and Amanda Knox both seem to be reveling in their prominence.

In Knox’s case, it tends to drive a new wave of media stories every few weeks (the stories now are about a new book which talks about baby adoption, and a movie) which re-energize a hard-line white knights movement that demonizes Italian officials for framing her to save face or because they don’t like Americans.

There is a present crescendo of such claims as an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the very impressive Massei Report (link at top here) the distribution of which from all sources is now pressing toward 10,000 and which seems to be convincing almost all readers that this really was a fair trial and outcome.

In Van Der Sloot’s case, the new wave of media stories every few weeks also seem aimed at attracting white knights to raising questions over his guilt and how the authorities are handling his cases in terms of competence and fairness.

1) Van Der Sloot has now gone so far as to confess now on Dutch TV that he did try to extort money from the family of disappeared Natalie Holloway - because they had been making his life hell.

“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family “” her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not’?”

He has previously repeatedly hinted that he knows where Natalee’s body was disposed of and that he had some role in her killing. An extradition move by US law enforcement is expected.

2) Van Der Sloot seems to have posed willingly  in prison with several other inmates for a photograph that then appeared in the Peruvian media.

3) Van Der Sloot is receiving visits in prison from an apparent white knight who he is referring to as his girlfriend. 

4) There also appears to be a movie in the works by another white knight who has a history of taking the side of those who attempt to exonerate Van Der Sloot, in part by demonizing Natalee Holloway and her family.

On one side”¦.defenders of Joran van der Sloot and the Aruban authorities who consider him a prime suspect in Natalee’s disappearance but have never charged him. That defense consists mainly of character attacks on Natalee and her mother Beth Holloway Twitty.

Prominent among those pressing that case is Renee Gielen, a film maker from Curacao who produced a 2008 documentary entitled “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lines”“¦.a title that morphs on screen to “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lies.”  The film was widely attacked on line as a cover up and vicious attack on Natalee and her family. Others saw it as a defense of both the van der Sloot family and Aruban authorities.

And so we get to read about them periodically, at least until they grow somewhat older. The customary trend then is for such stories to drop dead.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Similarities Between Amanda Knox And A Teenage American Drug Addict Just Murdered In Mexico

Posted by Peter Quennell




Pretty, popular 18-year old Elizabeth Mandala (half Mexican, half Italian) was from Sugar Land, a rich outer suburb west of Houston in Texas.

That Fox report above of her very violent death was broadcast three months ago, when Elizabeth Mandala was found beaten to death with two unnamed Mexicans in a very dangerous part of north Mexico.

It appears she was already very deeply into addictive drugs. To support her addiction, she had secretly worked as a stripper, and she was secretly seeking to become a “mule” or “coyote” to move drugs or illegal immigrants across the Mexico border into Texas.

Although very under-reported by an American media that wants to give her every possible break, Amanda Knox was a KNOWN drug user back in Seattle.

And around Perugia, the perception of people who encountered Knox and Sollecito is that she was close to becoming or was already a cocaine addict. The same with Sollecito. They are still both referred to as coke-heads.

Possessing and using drugs both in the US and in Italy is of course a crime. It often results in stiff sentences. Prior to Meredith’s death, Knox seems to have already broken the drug laws of two countries, and quite possibly of a third (Germany). 

And this possible drug addict was already down to her last $5,000 or so, and she may have already lost the waitress job which she desperately needed.

This could have been making her desperate and dangerous. Prosecutor Mignini and Judge Micheli both seemed to think it was she that stole Meredith’s rent money which went missing on the night of the murder.

Here now is a long and well-investigated report in last Wednesday’s Houston Press on the circumstances of Elizabeth Mandala’s death. It is well worth reading in full.

You can bet your bottom dollar this story was read in full by a million anxious Houston-area parents, who in turn leaned a little harder on their own little darlings to keep them as far as possible away from drugs.

Paul Knight’s report makes it very clear that EVEN IF THEY WANT TO and it seems they very rarely do, the US State Department and the US Embassies and the FBI will NOT get involved in foreign crimes involving Americans when drugs are one of the factors.

Along with the mountain of evidence, this would help explain the cool attitude toward Knox’s case of the American Embassy in Rome, of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in Washington, and increasingly of that muddled Senator, Maria Cantwell.

Edda Mellas, if you or Curt Knox knew Amanda was on drugs, common knowledge in her circle in Seattle, you REALLY should have stepped in and stopped her. Stopped her drug-use, stopped her going to Perugia and in effect stopped her from killing Merediith.

So. Why didn’t you?






Saturday, July 24, 2010

Master Manipulators, Masks, and Murder: Parallels Of The Amanda Knox And Scott Peterson Cases

Posted by giustizia



Laci Peterson was soon to give birth in California in December of 2002.

On Christmas Eve, her husband Scott reported her missing. In April of the following year, her body and the body of her unborn son Connor were discovered in the San Francisco Bay.

Five years later, in Italy, on 2 November 2007, foreign study student Amanda Knox was at her rental home with her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, when the postal police arrived early one morning to return some cell phones traced to her flatmates; the phones had been found dumped in a nearby garden.

Shortly after, the shocking discovery was made that her flat mate Meredith Kercher had been murdered.

Parallels Between The Perpetrators And Their Crimes And Court Cases

There are some striking parallels between Amanda Knox and Scott Peterson and their crimes and convictions.

The horrific murders of two beautiful young women (one almost at the end of the full-term pregnancy of her first child) unleashed in each case a maelstrom of publicity rarely seen in search of the murderer.

When arrests were made, there also came the stunning revelation in each case that the accused was well-known to the victim ““ in Laci’s case, it was her husband, Scott Peterson; in Meredith’s case, it was her roommate, Amanda Knox.

Ultimately, three people were arrested for the murder of Meredith (a fourth person arrested, Patrick Lumumba, who was falsely accused by Knox as Meredith’s murderer, was released when his solid alibi was proven). Of the three people arrested for the murder of Meredith Kercher, it appeared to the prosecutors that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime.

In each trial, the defendant presented a seemingly normal and middle-class appearance. Neither defendant had a significant history of violence or widely-obvious mental illness. Their families insist on their innocence. Yet both were convicted of brutal murders.

Knox and Peterson were each described by casual acquaintances, neighbors and friends as nice, regular people.

Ann Bird, Peterson’s half-sister, described him as being “charismatic, charming, courteous, polite.”  On Dateline NBC television, a friend of Amanda Knox described her as being “generous, kind, genuine, optimistic, bubbly. Pretty much all the good words that you can find in a dictionary, she was.” 

But they proved superficial assessments that in fact really only scratched the surface.

Parallels: Amanda Knox’s Reckless, Odd Behavior, And Her Lies

Amanda Knox had been cited and she had received a fine (a sentence which could have been much more severe) for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks at a party in Seattle shortly before her departure to Italy.

Knox abruptly and without clear reason dropped a much-sought-after internship in Berlin, Germany, before arriving in Italy.

She posted a vignette on Facebook about a sexual liaison she had with a stranger, a middle-aged man, while on a train in Italy.

Her roommate Meredith had quickly become disenchanted with the American flatmate who brought home different men without warning. “So she’s [Meredith] waking up in the morning and there’s someone making tea. And it’s, who are you again?” commented Meredith’s friend Brittany Murphy on the subject of Meredith’s unease at the strangers Knox brought to their rented Italian home.

Richard Owen, the Italy correspondent of the London Times in Italy, who has written multiple stories on the case, stated that Knox brought home “people who Meredith Kercher distrusted. Didn’t like the look of. It got to the point where she actually confronted Amanda about this.”

And Amanda Knox’s behavior after the Meredith’s murdered body was found in their rental home was more than atypical for someone who had their flatmate killed in such a horrific fashion in such close proximity.

  • “As she put them on she swiveled her hips, pulled a face and said ‘hop la’ - I thought it was very unusual behavior and my suspicions against her were raised.” (Edgardo Giobbi, a police forensic scientist, testifying in court, describing Knox’s behavior just hours after the murder, after he handed Knox a pair of shoe-covers to prevent contaminating the evidence during a search of the house. Sky News, UK, May 30, 2009.)
  • “While I was [at the police station] I found Amanda’s behavior very strange. She had no emotion while everyone else was upset. I remember one thing that really upset me. [Meredith’s friend] Natalie said, ‘I hope she wasn’t in too much pain.’ Amanda said, ‘What do you think? She fucking bled to death.’ At that point no one had told us how Meredith died.”  (Robyn Butterworth, a friend of Kercher’s, testifying in court. London Evening Standard, Feb. 13, 2009.)
  • “Their behavior at the police station seemed to me really inappropriate ... They sat opposite each other, Amanda put her feet up on Raffaele’s legs and made faces at him. Everyone cried except Amanda and Raffaele. I never saw them crying. They were kissing each other.” (Amy Frost, a friend of Meredith’s and a student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia at the time, testifying in court. The Independent, London, Feb. 14, 2009.)
  • “My daughter was a Leeds student with Meredith in Perugia. They went out together on Halloween. When Amanda Knox was asked how she felt on 2 November, she said: “Shit happens”, which contrasts rather sharply with the contrived way she addressed the Italian court about “my friend Meredith”.  (Marc Rivalland, in a letter to the editor of the Observer commenting on the Knox case. The Guardian, UK, 12/13/2009.)
  • “They came into the shop at about 7 p.m. and were there for about 20 minutes. She bought a camisole and G-string. I heard her tell him that “˜Afterwards I’m going to take you home and put this on so we can have wild sex together.” (Store owner Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi’s testimony in court about Knox and Sollecito’s behavior in his store, taped on closed-circuit TV.)
  • “Knox and Sollecito were seen laughing as they hold up various G-strings. In one still shot taken from the footage, Raffaele is standing behind Amanda with his hands on her hips and his groin pressed into her. It was the same day as the candle light vigil memorial for Meredith, a few days after her murder.” (Excerpt from the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau.)

Perhaps the most controversial claim in the Knox trial was Knox’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba was placed under arrest and jailed for two weeks, until his solid alibi set him free.

Knox, who said nothing to help him during the two weeks Lumumba was incarcerated, changed her story after he was freed. She then claimed she was coerced by the police into making confusing statements. Knox’s parents made charges of human rights violations and anti-Americanism against the Italian justice system, though to date the U.S. government has refused to become involved.

  • “He’s bad. He did it. He killed her”¦It was him, it was him, he was crazy, he killed her.” (Amanda Knox’s statements, according to police at the police station, accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher. The Daily Telegraph, UK, March 6, March 21, 2009)
  • “She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge. By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty, dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.” (Patrick Lumumba, bar owner in Perugia and Knox’s boss. Daily Mail, UK, November 25, 2007)


Parallels: Scott Peterson’s Reckless, Odd Behavior And His Lies

Scott Peterson had all the appearances of an upwardly mobile middle-class white-collar worker. He was a salesman with a pretty wife and a baby on the way, and they owned a nice home in Modesto, California.

His friends and family described him as charismatic and friendly. But under the surface was a lifestyle filled with lies and mistresses.

Scott Peterson had hooked up with a mistress, Amber Frey, in November of 2002, leaving his pregnant wife home alone during the holiday season to see Amber Frey, with excuses of business meetings.

Peterson told Amber Frey that he was a widow, and also that he was traveling in France when he was actually in California - two of many false claims Peterson made to her.

  • “I’m near the Eiffel Tower. The New Year’s celebration is unreal. The crowd is huge.”  (Scott Peterson, from a taped telephone conversation to his mistress Amber Frey, telling her he is in Paris, when he is really in Modesto, California, about to attend a candle-light vigil for his missing wife. Dateline, NBC, 1/4/2005)

Shortly after Laci Peterson was reported missing, that candle light vigil was held for Laci. It was on New Year’s Eve.

  • ”˜Three witnesses testified that Peterson’s behavior at the candle-light vigil seemed inappropriate for a worried husband. One woman said that he showed no emotion during the service and was grinning as he “socialized” with friends afterwards.’  (From The Murder of Laci Peterson, TrueTV.com)

The jurors were shown a photo of the grinning Peterson at the vigil at the trial as evidence. He called his mistress before and after the vigil ceremony, while Laci’s distraught family members tried to cope with the situation of their missing relative.

  • “Scott came in with a great big smile on his face, laughing, it was just another day in paradise for Scott, another day that he had to go through the motions,” said one juror, Mike Belmessieri. “Scott had no emotion on his face. Scott was being Scott.” (Juror of the Scott Peterson Trial, commenting on his unusually cool demeanor in court. New York Times, March 17. 2005)

Shades of Amanda…

  • “The cartwheels? This is Amanda just being Amanda. As her friends would say, it’s an Amanda thing.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Knox turning cartwheels at the police station. The Guardian, UK, June 27. 2009)
  • “I couldn’t help but think how cool and calm Amanda was. Meredith’s other friends were devastated and I was upset, but Amanda was as cool as anything and completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t seem to show any sadness, and I remember wondering if she could have been involved.” (Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s Italian boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs from the murder. Metro.co.uk, November 18, 2007)

Parallels In Forensic Evidence

In both cases, there were no eye witnesses or “smoking gun.”

In Scott Peterson’s case, the ONLY piece of hard evidence was a single strand of Laci’s hair, found on pliers in Scott’s boat, which the defense charged as being contaminated evidence. The rest of the evidence at his trial was circumstantial.

Both the circumstantial and forensic evidence in the Knox trial were more considerable. Key items of hard evidence included a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment that had Meredith’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA on the handle, and it was presumed to be one of the murder weapons.

A bloody footprint, the size of Knox’s foot, was found on a pillow underneath Meredith’s body. Mixed DNA material of both Knox and Meredith were found in several spots in the house where the murder occurred.

Parallels In Strange Coincidences

Laci and Connor’s bodies were found in the water in the bay area of San Francisco. Scott Peterson happened to own a boat and liked to fish ““ in fact, he said he went fishing on Christmas Eve, the day Laci disappeared, at a location where later the bodies turned up only about 3 miles away.

Meredith was sexually molested and killed by knife wounds. Raffaele Sollecito has a fascination with knives and he owns a large collection. Amanda Knox created and posted a fictitious story about rape on the Internet.

Sollecito posted a photo of himself on the Internet swathed in bandages and holding a large meat cleaver and a jug of a chemical-looking liquid. Knox and Sollecito were the only ones at the house on the day when the police showed up and later discovered Meredith’s body.

The juries in both trials concluded that these factors were more than mere coincidences, and represented incriminating evidence of guilt of the crime.


Parallels In How The Families Supported Their Children

Not all convicted murderers have a history of mental disturbance or violence. If there were any red flags regarding Knox’s and Peterson’s behavior, one would not know it from the descriptions provided by their families:

  • ”˜Lee Peterson said his son never posed a discipline problem, did not rebel as a teenager and was a perfect baby. He was said even to lose golf games because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his opponents. ‘‘He woke up smiling and went to bed smiling.’’  (Scott Peterson’s father of his son, testifying to the jury after Scott’s guilty verdict but before sentencing.  New York Times, December 2, 2004)
  • “She was an incredible easy-going kid even from a baby. She was so mellow”¦She loved being read-to, she loved books. As she got a little older she always wanted to be outside - building camps, playing soccer. She never watched a lot of TV - she still doesn’t. She was an excellent student.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Amanda Knox’s character the week of her guilty verdict. The Sun, UK, December 5, 2009)

Parallels In Family And Groupie Websites

Peterson and Knox’s families insist on their innocence. There are family and groupie websites for each convicted murderer. They each proclaim innocence for the guilty, make charges of police incompetence, and make requests for money for the defense cause and legal expenses:

  • “Scott Peterson Family Mission Statement: “˜This web-site is a combined effort of our family and our support system. We know Scott is innocent and that he has been unjustly convicted. Our pursuit of justice for Laci, Conner and Scott remains steadfast. We want to keep you informed as to the specifics of the case, the appeal, and related topics. We also want you to know how grateful we are for your prayers and support.’ (From: http://scottpetersonappeal.org/)
  • “Amanda Knox - A heartfelt thanks for your support. On behalf of Amanda and her family, we want to thank everyone who has contacted FOA to express their concern and to offer help in the wake of an unjust and unsupportable guilty verdict. We are developing a strategy to raise public awareness of this case and help bring about a reversal of the verdicts against both Amanda and Raffaele. Once it is in place, we will welcome all the help we can get, and we will be in touch with you.” (From http://www.friendsofamanda.org/home_eng.htmleartfelt)

Parallels In The Verdicts Jurors Delivered: Guilty As Charged

The jurors in each trial fitted together all the pieces of the puzzle: timelines, witness testimony, cell-phone records, forensic evidence, lack of solid alibis, incriminating lies, and odd behavior of the defendants.

They each concluded after lengthy deliberation that the defendants were guilty of murder.

Non-Parallels In How The US Media Has Reported Both Cases

Of these two cases, not many people have questioned the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson trial. He has been sentenced to death via lethal injection, and he is currently incarcerated in San Quentin prison in California.

There are no repeated media interviews of Peterson’s mother in tears, insisting on his innocence and his release from prison. There are no angry declarations from Peterson family that the police, prosecution and legal system abused, railroaded and framed Scott Peterson.

If such media coverage were to exist, it would be widely considered in the US to be extremely upsetting and insulting to Laci’s parents and family and to the memory of the victims Laci and Connor.

Peterson’s media coverage, thankfully, has dissipated. He still pursues an appeals process, possibly to be heard next year by the California Supreme Court.

Amanda Knox’s story plays out very differently. After her arrest, her family hired a public relations team that puts forth a determined effort to change Knox’s image of wild child and murderer and to keep her in the news.

They obviously do not consider their repeated loud public outcries for release of their daughter distressing to Meredith’s parents and family, and they don’t perceive their actions as being disrespectful to the victim, Meredith.

Or of course, as many people suspect, perhaps Knox’s relatives do realize it but they simply don’t care.

Non Parallels In Future Legal Prospects

Imprisoned in Italy, Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. Italian prosecutors are now appealing that decision, and asking for life in prison. But regardless of this and the PR campaign, Knox’s prospects are considerably brighter than Peterson’s: she gets two automatic appeals and the worst case scenario is she serves life in prison.

Scott Peterson sits on death row in San Quentin Prison in California, waiting for the legal process to move his appeals case along.

It is curious that the fervent supporters of Amanda Knox do not crusade for the release of Scott Peterson as well. After all, he was convicted on LESS direct evidence, and also in the midst of a maelstrom of publicity. CNN.com had called the Peterson prosecution case so weak and “unimpressive” that they speculated that he could end up with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

But with the exception of his own family, no one has picked up beating the drum to overturn the jury’s conviction of Peterson. Perhaps it is because Peterson doesn’t fit well the damsel in distress role? More likely, it is because the American public trusted the jury’s assessment of the evidence and trial, as they and the American media usually do, and they feel that the jury delivered a just verdict, and justice to Laci and Connor Peterson.


Epilogue ““ Master Manipulators

How is it possible that two “regular” people like Knox and Peterson ended up in jail for horrendous murders? Below is a condensed version from an AP article about the type of personality attributed to Scott Peterson:

It is interesting to note that life transitions are tremendous stresses to a psychopath. Psychopaths also wear “false faces” and are master manipulators. They are the ultimate con artists and they are able to fool even those closest to them.

Peterson’s closest friends “never suspected there was a monster inside Scott’s psyche.
Motive still a question in Peterson case
By the Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP)””Of all the questions surrounding the Laci Peterson murder case, the one that seemed to be running through practically everyone’s mind was this: If Scott Peterson was so unhappy in his marriage, why didn’t he just get a divorce?

Experts on the criminal mind say the answer may lie in what lurked beneath Scott Peterson’s charming veneer “”a psychopathic personality.

“When you say you’re going to get a divorce, everyone knows that it’s a long, tedious process. The psychopath wants the short-term solution,” said San Diego forensic psychologist Reid Meloy.

Peterson, 32, was convicted earlier this month of murdering his eight-months-pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, and the jury decided he deserves the death penalty.

Criminal psychologists say Peterson appeared to be a master manipulator who lacked the capacity to feel remorse or consider consequences “”some of the same psychopathic characteristics exhibited by serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

Psychopaths “tend to con people very well and they wear false faces,” said former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. “They tend to be able to fool everyone from their families to their friends to society, schools, their community.”

At Peterson’s trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous liar who continued to carry on an extramarital affair even as police searched for his wife. They said he killed her to escape marriage and impending fatherhood for the freewheeling single life.

Whether Laci’s pregnancy was the catalyst for Peterson’s plan may never be known. But experts said pregnancy can lead to seismic changes within a relationship.

Pregnancy “represents commitment, fatherhood, another dependent, a lifelong bond ... and all of those things are strongly despised by the psychopath,” Meloy said”¦ pregnancy represents a life transition, and there are stresses around that transition.”

Peterson’s case was made all the more perplexing by the lack of signs that the couple’s marriage was in trouble. Although Peterson had cheated on Laci at least three times, according to defense attorney Mark Geragos, he appeared to family and friends to be a doting husband and father-to-be after Laci became pregnant.

Those closest to the couple said they never suspected there was a monster inside.

Heather Richardson, the maid of honor at the Petersons’ wedding, is still hoping for a plausible explanation to emerge. Perhaps, she said, Peterson suffers from a disorder that has yet to be revealed.

“It would be at least comforting. Then I would realize that the person I knew and loved dearly was there. He was that person and the other person, too,” Richardson said. “So at least part of him was not a lie.”

And A Last Word On Masks

Here is Amanda Knox in her own words about masks “” while taking the stand for the final time at her trial in Italy (CNN, Dec. 3, 2009): “They say that I am calm. I am not calm ... I fear to lose myself, to have the mask of the assassin forced upon me.”

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

For all the sources used here, please “Click For More” below the videos for Laci and Meredith

Click here for the rest


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Pesky Confession: Now Joran Van Der Sloot Is Trying Hard To Backpedal

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for another seeming parallel with Perugia.

When the police first confronted him, Van Der Sloot seemed eager to talk and to tell a version of the violent murder of Stephany Flores in which he was involved. Presumably to get a few breaks as the prisons in Peru sound like they are no party.

Van Der Sloot now seems to be trying hard to re-bottle that particular genie.

His own line here is that the confession he gave was on bad advice from his first lawyer, Ms Luz Romero Chinchay. He now has his current lawyer, Maximo Altez, suing her for “misrepresentation”.

However, a Lima Peru judge ruled several weeks ago that the confession itself was perfectly valid. And it looks like he will be facing some horrific new charges as well. 

For sex trafficking. The kidnapping and enslaving of women for sex. What he might have been trying to do with poor Natalie Holloway, who vanished while on vacation in Aruba.

It seems Van Der Sloot is sitting on some money but apparently not what he thinks he is worth. And (surprise, surprise) Van Der Sloot’s mom refuses to visit him in jail.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Strange Tale Of Ex New York Times Reporter Who Christian Longo Impersonated On The Run

Posted by Peter Quennell

In follow-up to Lilly’s raw truth of a post on Christian Longo and the similarities with Amanda Knox.

Two things really stand out in this five-minute CBS interview - which sets things up nicely for a longer CBS 48 Hours report, by the way, it seems they don’t always get things wrong.

First, there is the fascination some people have for psychopathic narcissists who have killed. Especially those people who seem themselves not quite right and morally a bit untethered.

And second, there is the cold preening cynicism of the killer himself, who apparently even admitted to Finkel after the trial was all over that, yes, he did kill his wife and three little tots.

But he claims he did that to “save” them. Being bothered about it just isn’t his thing. In prison, Christian Longo’s highly attention-seeking antics, self-pity, and strong public denial continue.

Even Longo has his several white knights. “Such a nice guy.”  Yeah. Right.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Could Michael Heavey’s Muddled Stance Be Facilitating Future Killers?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Is Heavey’s Muddled Stance Dangerous?

Michael Heavey presumably doesn’t think so.

Read this post on TJMK and this post on The Examiner.

You will see that Judge Heavey is STILL framing this as a case of an Italian justice system intent on railroading Amanda Knox; and he as the White Knight that rides to her rescue.

But is Heavey turning a blind eye to a troubled mind?

But let Judge Heavey read Lilly’s post below and the comment thread directly underneath, about psychologically troubled potential killers, and the ways in which they can be detected and even prevented.

Then let Judge Heavey tell us if he still feels he got the framing of the problem just right. We reckon the real framing of the case should be as follows.

MEREDITH’S DEATH WAS TOTALLY PREVENTABLE. Many people in Seattle KNEW Knox was a loose canon. Meredith Kercher did NOT have to die.

Amanda Knox was for many years putting out warning signals in Seattle that all was not well in her hard wiring. Maybe it was something Amanda was born with, or maybe, as the first symptoms seemed to surface right after, it was something to do with the extreme family trauma of her parents’ ugly divorce and the ugly aftermath that followed.

Imagine if Knox’s family and her friends and her teaching faculty in Seattle had more forcefully stepped in to HELP her whenever she acted peculiar. And had prevented her from getting more and more into hard drugs. And had not sent her off to Perugia unstructured, unsupervised, under-funded, and still on drugs.

Would Meredith be in her grave and Amanda Knox in prison right now?

Amanda Knox is far from alone in putting out psychological warning signals. Each time there is a mass killing in the US we hear more about this.

If the books on charming psychopaths and the clinical psychologists have this right, there are literally millions in the US alone that have the defective hard wiring to kill in the “right” circumstances.

Many of them put out warning signs, often for many years. In their own way, perhaps, cries for help.

The Virginia Tech case reported in the video above is a lot more extreme than Meredith’s, and in fact there 32 people died. But the two cases have this one thing in common. In each case, responsible people KNEW there were ominous symptoms in the one who turned to killing.

They did not act sufficiently. And Meredith and 32 other people about her own age died. 

Court officers like Judge Heavey should presumably be encouraging universal consciousness of such warning signals, and protecting the wider public from future killers above all.

Not deflecting public attention from that vital need, and onto to a rampaging Italian justice system that exists only in his own mind.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Very Telling Parallels Here With Murder Cases Like Christian Longo’s

Posted by lilly


Many of the apologist writers claiming that Amanda Knox was railroaded have made “there was no motive” a main argument of their articles.

Most recently, The Machine took apart that claim as made by Amy Jenkins in the UK and Judy Bachrach in the US.

Other posters here on TJMK and and on PMF have frequently noted that neither under Italian not under UK and US law is any proof of a motive required for conviction.

Many of the apologists have also claimed that what looked to most watchers like bizarre red-flags patterns of behavior by Sollecito and Knox before and after Meredith’s death and at trial were just, you know, kids blowing off some steam.

Really. Nothing to sweat over.

Had the writers been experts in the relevant fields, or consulted some experts, or even simply done some online research, they would have turned up hundreds of examples where a motive remained hazy or non-existent. And where the killer came across as pleased with themselves, attention-seeking, and totally self-absorbed, regardless of pain inflicted on others. 

Christian Longo is one of many examples who confused the more gullible of the watchers over his motive and mindset.

In 2001 Christian Longo killed his wife and three small children on the northwest coast of Oregon. He still won’t or can’t explain why he did it, and at first he tried hard to deny it.

The Last Psychiatrist blog (TLP) has a fascinating analysis of Longo’s story.

Longo is a pathological narcissist, and there are some interesting parallels with the way Knox has behaved before and after her conviction for the murder of Meredith.

Longo’s crime is sickening. He strangled his wife MaryJane, attempted to strangle one of his daughters, packed her into a suitcase and then dumped her, still alive, into a river.

Then he drove his other kids to a bridge, tied stones to them, and threw them still alive into the water as well.

That done, off Longo went to Mexico.

When he was finally captured by police, he was enjoying a lifestyle of socializing, snorkeling, beer, drugs and pretending to be a journalist. His behavior was highly attention-seeking, and he seemed very pleased with himself.

Longo had no prior convictions, and no history of violence.

According to TLP, Longo’s behavior is that of a classic narcissist. Narcissists don’t feel guilt. Longo doesn’t feel remorse for his crime.

Initially, Longo denied murdering his family. It wasn’t him; it was an unknown intruder. Later, he blamed his wife. It wasn’t him; she actually started it.

When that didn’t work, he claimed he couldn’t remember what happened. He gave testimony, but he never explained his actions - as if what really happened wasn’t important.

The Last Psychiatrist writes: “This isn’t a coherent defense, it’s pass interference, it’s reasonable doubt.  It’s not important what did happen, it’s only important that it wasn’t him.”

The only thing of importance is that it wasn’t him. Remind you of anyone yet?

Everything Longo says in his defense is “bullshit” says TLP. “These endless words…are a way of wearing you down into giving him the benefit of the doubt.  Look, you know me, you know the kind of person I am, right?  I can go on and on about this all day; just trust me.”

Even in prison, on Death Row, he’s wearing the mask of a real nice, successful guy who’s been badly treated.

Knox is another convicted murderer who deosn’t seem interested in explaining what happened to her victim, Meredith. It simply is not important to her.

The only thing of importance is that it wasn’t her.

Immediately after the cruel murder of Meredith, Knox raised the suspicion of investigators by her oddly smug and strongly attention-seeking behavior.

From the very start, Knox attempted to upset the investigation by leading police down the wrong track. Her judges and jury (and earlier Judge Micheli) concluded that she and Sollecito cleaned up the murder scene to remove the traces of their involvement.

They moved the victim’s body. They faked a break-in to make police believe a random intruder did it. And when questioned, Knox recalled Meredith screaming, and coldly and deliberately accused an innocent man, her kindly employer Patrick Lumumba, of sexual assault and murder.

Then she claimed she couldn’t remember what had happened on the night. She early-on put this down to drugs. And in court, she said she made the claim against Patrick because the interrogating police beat her.

The message Knox gave when she had the chance to address the judges and jury at the close of the murder trial was a strong indicator of a pathological narcissistic mindset.

Given a golden opportunity to voice real sympathy for Meredith and her suffering family, Knox instead said only that she didn’t want to be forced to wear “the mask of an assassin”.

TLP makes a very interesting comment about motive in Longo’s case. Narcissists kill because they are scared of being exposed. They are scared that the masks they have carefully constructed will be ripped away or replaced. Their identities are threatened.

Knox seems to desperately need people to believe in the identity she’s carefully constructed and maintained.

In reality, sadly, she was in danger of losing her job, she was quite close to being broke, she had chosen an insignificant study-load in Perugia, she was on drugs going back to Seattle, she had not managed to make any real friends in Perugia other than Sollecito, and she had a conviction back home which could have incurred a serious penalty.

But she wants and needs people to believe she was actually a talented student, a pretty young woman with a bright future, a popular and attractive person with a nice family back home.

Some mask, one has to say.

Meredith Kercher was the opposite of Amanda in so many ways - in fact, Meredith was a popular, well-funded, hard-working super-achiever with a very bright future. 

When we delve a little into Knox’s history, in light of the above, we see there are many possible motivations.

Her seeming callous narcissistic syndrome, often noted before she ever left Seattle. Her known growing jealousy of Meredith, whose perhaps rather disdainful presence Knox seemed to find a threat to her self-image and economic security. Fueled by drugs, strong drink, an obsession with violent rape fantasies, and risky casual sex. Coupled with a troubled boyfriend on drugs with a penchant for violent porn and a combat knife collection.

Meredith was perhaps the biggest threat to her mask that Amanda had ever encountered.

TLP says of Longo: “You want a simple answer: why did he do this?”¦The important question is the one no one asks anymore: What was there that would have held him back?”

Sadly now it is too late for Meredith and her family. But instead of continuing to paint Knox as a suffering innocent victim, Knox’s parents should ask themselves: Who and what should have held their daughter back?

If they’d answered that question early-on, when they should have, Meredith might very well still be alive.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Amanda Knox’s Supporters Obtain Rome Embassy Cables About Knox, Prove Of No Help

Posted by True North


The American Embassy in Rome above, and the State Department in Washington below.

Ninety-nine percent of the reason why countries put embassies in other countries is because they really want to get along.

The US and Italy in fact do get along, extremely well, and there are thousands of transactions between the two countries every day. Thousands of Americans live in Italy, and millions of Americans are of Italian descent.

At the request of the US Administration, the Italian government recently put a large contingent of Italian troops in Afghanistan.

Under the US Freedom of Information Act,  any American citizen can request and usually obtain astonishing amounts of official documentation, far beyond what can usually be extracted from the bureaucracies in most other countries.

Occasionally this information has embarrassed the department concerned, or the party in power in the Congress or the White House. But usually the documents are innocuous and without drama. Conspiracies simply never show up.

The blogger History Punk on his website Historiographic Anarchy has posted some cables (pdf format) from Rome to Washington, which report periodically on the Rome Embassy’s monitoring of Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison and her trial and appeals in Perugia.

As we would expect, these cables are extremely mundane. They were sent by a middle-level official in the consular section of the Rome Embassy to the Italy desk in the State Department.

They report carefully on the careful Italian legal process, and they never remark on anything wrong. No charges or claims or complaints are relayed from Amanda Knox. There is no talk of any anti-Americanism. No instructions, questions or comments are cabled from Washington in return.

One cable was not released. It was marked confidential and the contents are unknown. Here’s a guess at its contents: “Please keep those xenophobic ranters on a chain - they are doing the American cause in Italy no good at all”. 

My first post here on TJMK and proud of it. This is a good fight I join.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Legal Analysts Abrams & Kelly Who Reported Badly On Meredith’s Case Turn “Expertise” To Peru

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) Dan Abrams

Above: NBC’s legal analyst Dan Abrams on recent developments in Peru. Immediately below: Dan Abrams after the Knoc-Sollecito verdict last December.

Last December, Dan Abrams exaggerated the Italian media depictions of Amanda Knox and their effects - has he ever watched the CNN and Fox crime shows at home in New York?!

But he essentially got it right on the hard evidence presented and on the legitimacy of the verdict. He did not slam the prosecution or Italy in general, and he displays at least some token understanding of how the Italian legal system works.

Missing only was any mention of the (then forthcoming) judges’ sentencing report, and the key fact that that report represents the point of departure for the appeals. A report that is strongly loaded against the flaky scenarios of “who REALLY did it”.

By the way, Dan Abrams here followed some minutes of appalling reporting by NBC’s Keith Miller, who has surely been the worst and most biased reporter in Perugia. Miller is apparently based in London, a freelance, and not Italy, and he speaks no Italian.

If you so wish you can see Paul Miller here fawning over the Knox family and Amanda Knox, and misrepresenting just about every “fact” he selects to mention.

2) John Q Kelly

Below: John Q Kelly, a New York lawyer who is often on the airwaves, generally with a heavily pro-victim slant, talking about the Lima and Aruba murder cases in which Joran Van Der Sloot is the one suspect in each. 

On Meredith’s case John Q Kelly got it very screechily very wrong.  That was probably the single worst lawyer’s commentary on Meredith’s case (leaving aside Anne Bremner’s absurd rants) that we have ever seen.

KELLY: “My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.”

Not surprisingly, John Q Kelly has not since said another word on Meredith’s case.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wow! Seems A Spreading Epidemic Of Lone Wolves, Now Being Claimed On Two Continents

Posted by Peter Quennell


While in Santiago Chille before he was extradited to Lima Peru (above) this is what Van Der Sloot reportedly told police.

Van der Sloot gave a different account of events while in custody in neighboring Chile, where he was captured after the killing and quickly extradited.

In the version offered to Chilean investigators, Van der Sloot said he and Flores were surprised in the early morning by two robbers in an apparent assault.

“A man came out of the bathroom blocking the access door with a knife in his hand. On the bed was another man with a gun,” the Spanish-language report quotes him as saying. “The man with the knife said to be quiet, but Stephany began talking in a loud voice and he hit her in the face, making her nose bleed.”

It also says Van der Sloot told Chilean agents that the previous day, he and Flores had been extorted by apparent police officers who demanded $4,000 and a wristwatch he brought from Thailand.

Two lone wolves!  Apparently he then got some advice from Seattle that that one is copyright, and and that he could not use the “14 hours without food or interpreter or lawyer” line, not right now.

However. it could soon become available. Along with a cheap Spiderman act..

After weighing how absurd all this was sounding, he was overwhelmed with the truth.


Friday, June 11, 2010

The Charging Of The Stephany Flores Murder Suspect In Lima Peru This Morning

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Lima + Aruba Murder Suspect Appears To Be Frantically Dealing: A Lesson For AK And RS?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Not surprising considering the thought of this.

That would grab any half-smart perp’s attention. Smart of the Lima authorities to make that hellish future quite plain.

Dealing is the only way Van Der Sloot can go now, several of our lawyer posters believe. His latest defense lawyer was talking of trying to have his confession to Stephany’s murder revoked, apparently on the grounds that his first lawyer (from Peruvian legal aid) was not a “real lawyer” whatever that means.

Perhaps he is not thinking things through.

Rudy Guede clearly dealt with the system too. He gave away a few things, but not very much (less than we would have liked) but still, he did end up facing only 16 years.

There is a rumor (just a rumor at the moment) out of Italy that Sollecito might - might - be separating himself out. He just might have offered to talk, and to do some sort of a deal.

Our lawyers suspect that Della Vedova and Ghirga might have wanted to try to deal for Amanda Knox too - maybe a psychological or hard-drugs based defense.

But that the hard-liners on the Knox bandwagon in Seattle and elsewhere (Preston, Ciolino, Anne Bremner, Michael Heavey, John Q Kelly, and so on) seem to have duped the Knoxes and Mellases into thinking that an innocence outcome was a very high probability with a hard-line PR campaign and defense.

And now look at where Amanda Knox stands. Not at all pretty. 

In our lawyers’ views, what is the worst move of all moves that the Knox bandwagon drivers and the AK groupies have made?

Arguing that this was simply a lone-wolf attack, and probably only by a seemingly very very very nimble Rudy Guede.

A lone-wolf- attack was totally ruled out over a year ago by Judge Micheli.

He based that on (1) the evidence from Meredith’s autopsy which showed 100% that two or three had to have been involved, (2) the overwhelming signs of a clean-up and the moving of Meredith’s body - several hours after the attack, (3) the various witness statements, and (4) the total meltdown of AK’s and RS’s various alibis.

And the AK + RS sentencing report due out soon on PMF and TJMK in English will be absolutely the kiss of death to any serious defense based on the lone-wolf scenarios (such as they are).

There is not the slightest possibility that Meredith was attacked by just one perp - with TWO knives - while being sexually attacked - while attracting all of THOSE wounds to her body - and not revealing ANY signs of being able to fight back.

Frankly, if the lone-wolf theory is the Knox campaign’s last best shot,  Amanda Knox is well and truly cooked.  She might still achieve a shorter sentence, some final peace of mind for Meredith’s family and friends, and some self-respect for herself through the rest of her life.

But she does need to deal.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Charges In The Murder Of Stephany Flores In Lima Peru Are Expected Tomorrow

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: the father of Stephany Flores describing her to the press in Lima. Below: the hotel where she met a violent fate.

The police and prosecution news conference that had been announced for this morning has been put off for 24 hours, at which time a judge is expected to announce the charges against Joran Van Der Sloot.

Apparently the average time between charges announced and a verdict announced in Peru is about two years. Van Der Sloot would be kept in prison for the whole time, standard practice to prevent disappearance and maybe to prevent further crimes..

Those who think that the actually pretty mild media depiction of Amanda Knox in the weeks after Meredith was found should perhaps take a look at this headline in a New York newspaper this morning.

This is pretty typical of the coverage of suspects in horrific murders in the United States, and the very benign treatment of Knox seems a total outlier. The cable new netwroks between them are giving this case about three hours a day, and all have had crews in Peru.

The FBI and police in Alabama seem to be envisaging a request to extradite Van Der Sloot to the United States for the attempted $250,000 fraud of Natalee’s mother. It is still not clear who paid Van Der Sloot the $25,000 he apparently mostly blew on gambling in Lima.

There is also a report that his mother and, before he died of a heart attack in Febriuary, his father were increasingly distancing themselves from their son.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Associated Press Confirms That Joran Van Der Sloot Has Confessed To Murder In Lima, Peru

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: images of Lima in Peru - one of the world’s driest cities (it almost never rains) so the greenery is pretty remarkable.

The Associated Press is today confirming what reader Nell posted on the thread below last night.

Joran Van Der Sloot has confessed that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez in a rage, after she discovered his role as chief suspect in the presumed murder of Natalee Holloway. She did this via his laptop, while he went out to get breakfast (recorded on camera - that hotel sure has good CCTV) at 10 past 8 in the morning.

Peru’s chief police spokesman, Col. Abel Gamarra, told The Associated Press that Van der Sloot admitted under police questioning Monday that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores on May 30…

Gamarra said the case would now be turned over to prosecutors to present formal charges and Van der Sloot will be assigned to a prison while he awaits trial. Murder convictions carry a maximum of 35 years in prison in Peru and it was not immediately clear if a confession could lead to a reduced sentence.

Van Der Sloot’s father, a judge, recently died of a heart attack in Aruba, while playing a game of tennis. He was originally there as a judge in training, which explains why his son Joran, then 17, was also there. He was long suspected of possibly helping his son to dispose of Natalee’s body and of using his connections to slow or stall the Aruba investigation.

Either way, it sounds like Aruba could use someone like the officer in charge of the case in Lima, Peru, to close the Natalee Holloway case once and for all. Or someone like Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

A tragedy that it was not resolved before Van Der Sloot headed out for Lima - using money from Natalee Holloway’s mother. It seems the Aruba police, with help from the FBI, already had all that they needed.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Knox, Anthony, and Van Der Sloot: Why Some Murder Suspects Revel In Their Sudden Prominence

Posted by Peter Quennell



Click here for Barbie Nadeau’s report on bizarre murder suspect mindsets in Newsweek.

Quite typical of charming psychopaths.

Today Barbie Nadeau starts with the Dutch murder suspect Joran Van der Sloot, possible killer of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez, whose capture in Chile and extradition to Peru (video above) has been on every US newscast.

He has previously been shown on TV in an interview secretly filmed (video below) in which he gleefully pretty well admits that he killed American student Natalee Holloway in Aruba, a Caribbean island that is an integral part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.

Now, as such smug suspects often do, he seems to have killed again.

In this case, as in the case of Casey Anthony, who is charged with killing her baby daughter Caylee, there has been no murder suspect’s PR campaign, no adolescent sliming of the prosecutors, and no adolescent mis-stating of the evidence. The true victim is the one getting all the sympathy.

The far more typical stance of the US media in such cases.

Certainly no one is more famous as an irreverent celebrity suspect than Seattle native Amanda Knox, who is serving a 26-year sentence for the sexual assault and murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.

In the early days of the Kercher murder investigation, Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, acted absurdly. Knox, with no apparent grasp of the seriousness of a murder investigation, performed cartwheels for the cops in the police station waiting room.

The two suspects admitted to being high before talking to police, as Sollecito said, “to take the edge off.” They told investigators multiple stories and lies, including Knox’s naming her Congolese nightclub boss as the real assassin.

For added flavor, she even described Kercher’s screams to investigators. During her 11-month trial, she behaved like a beauty queen on the runway, making what jurors later called a mockery of the court by her blatant disrespect of the Italian legal system.

In the final days of her trial, when things were looking grim, she started to act demure. By then it was too late.

Dupes like Oprah and Geraldo Rivera and certain others should wake up to the true danger of charming psychopaths. They do tend to kill again. And also wake up to the one true victim in Perugia, whose name was Meredith Kercher.

By the way, in a bizarre parallel, it now seems that Joran Van Der Sloot is setting out to further entangle his mother.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calunnia Claims At The Core Of The Problem For Amanda Knox - And Her Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell



Here is Amanda Knox claiming mistreatment as the reason why she falsely fingered Patrick Lumumba.

This was the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room on 12 June 2009. It was legitimate for the reporters there to capture it.

Our Italy-based Italian-speaking posters Fiori and Nicki both observed that to many or most Italians. Knox’s two days on the stand rang pretty hollow. She apparently needed to come across as a lot more fragile for the claims in the video to ring true.

Yesterday at the first hearing to set the date for Knox’s new trial, the number of police interrogators who are considered to have been targets of calunnia Amanda Knox was stated as twelve.

They will presumably all be testifying both at Knox’s new trial in October, and at the trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who allegedly repeated Knox’s claims on TV, and for whom the first hearing is coming up on 7 July.

They could face prison time and/or fines.

Judge Claudia Matteini observed that her presiding over the early hearings into Meredith’s case in 2008 (and denying Knox house arrest, a denial believed based in part on a psychological profile never made public) was not automatically a reason for her being replaced as a judge in this new case.

Knox had not made the claims you can see in the video at the time Judge Matteini was presiding. However, she agreed with what seems a reasonable defense request that a higher court should take the question of a possible conflict of interest under review.

She stated that the appeals court will issue a decision on who should be the judge for the new trial on 17 June.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Knox Hearing On Calunnia Charges Technicality, Then Trial Set To Be Under Way June 16

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Nick Squires in Rome for the Daily Telegraph has the report which includes this.

Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, argued that it was inappropriate for the slander charge to be heard by judge Claudia Matteini, because she had been involved in one of the preliminary hearings into the Kercher murder.

The case on Tuesday was adjourned until June 17, when another judge is likely to be assigned to the case.  The trial is likely to start on October 1. Her appeal is also expected to start in the autumn, meaning that the two cases could run concurrently.

If Knox is found guilty of slander, she could face another six years in jail, on top of the 26 years she is currently serving.

And Knox could face MORE time than 26 plus six years if the prosecution wins it on appeal. Possibly a total of forty.

So much for the PR campaign and the ongoing misinterpretation of the evidence and sliming of the prosecution by the “pro-Knox” websites. Guede of course ran no campaign, his lawyers and friends were always respectful, he took the short-form trial (an admission of some kind of guilt), and he tried some sort of apology to Meredith’s family.

And after his first appeal he emerged with only 16 years.


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #9: Extreme Caution Over Non-Repetitive Testing In Sonia’s Case Too

Posted by Peter Quennell


It will be interesting to see if the defense observer ducks out of this examination in this case too.

La Nazione/Umbria describes a hearing last Monday in Perugia on the jacket the chief suspect was perhaps wearing on the night Sonia disappeared.

Together in the same courtroom without a word spoken between them.

On the one hand, Anna, the sister of Sonia Marra, the student from Puglia who disappeared from Perugia in November 2006. On the other hand, Umberto Bindella, who is accused of killing the girl and concealing her body.

At this preliminary hearing, Judge Carla Giangamboni fixed the date on which the police investigations will start on the jacket seized from the suspect.

Professor Giuseppe Novelli is the expert appointed by the court, the task of checking whether there are biological traces of organic material possibly due to Sonia Marra.

Prosecutor Joseph Petrazzini agreed to carry out investigations into the black jacket Bindella was wearing when first arrested, three years earlier, after the death of Sonia, in response to defense attorney Daniela Paccoi, who request the forensic examination.

They will be carried out in the laboratories of the faculty of medicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. The garment examination will begin on June 7.

Following the tests for the defense will Dr. James D’Agostaro, an expert in genetics…

Bindella had been in prison but he was released by the magistrate [judge Micheli] who concluded the investigators had not proved ‘serious indications of guilt’.

The jacket is now an object of tug of war between the prosecution and defense. It was confiscated by agents of the police post from the closet of Bindella before his arrest.

It was ‘“similar to that worn by the unknown assailany,” said a girl, a neighbor of Specchia student, who claims to have seen a man enter the apartment in via Purgotti where Sonia lived.

In that house biological traces of Bindella [Sonia’s former boyfriend] and the vicrim were found.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #8: Bindella Hearing Tomorrow - Prosecutor Won’t Ask For Incarceration

Posted by Peter Quennell


Our previous posts are here. There is a surprise move in the case.

The prosecutor leading the Sonia Marra investigation, Joseph Petrazzini, has withdrawn his appeal to the court of review against the decision of the investigating judge, Paolo Micheli, to release Sonia’s boyfriend, Umberto Bindella, pending further investigations.

The scheduled hearing on this appeal will still be held tomorrow in Perugia, but it is expected that all that will happen is that the withdrawal of the prosecutor’s appeal will be noted. So Bindella will continue living at home.

Two reasons for this are being hypothesized. One, that Bindella won some sympathy when he recently disappeared and drove his car down a steep slope. He did not really seem to have the makings of a great getaway artist.

And two, that there may be problems with such evidence as there is against him, or possibly a new line of investigation is opening up in this difficult, frustrating case.

Sonia’s sister Anna (right above) is part of a nationwide missing persons support group. Someone she may have known - the mother of a girl, Paola, who disappeared 17 years ago in Turin - has now taken her own life.

Anna remarked in sympathy: “No, I do not think it was hopeless for her I think that she just had not found anyone who listens. That’s what happens all too often to the families of missing persons.”


Friday, April 02, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #7: New Evidence Check And Decision Soon On Umberto Back In Custody

Posted by Tiziano



[click for larger image]

Sonya’s is the other recent case of a woman student in Perugia who ended up in harm’s way.

In Italy this case gets as much attention as Meredith’s case, in part because Sonya is also very appealing, and in part because here to there seems to have been such callous cruelty.

You can read our previous posts here concluding with her boyfriend’s strange disappearance - the image above is when Umberto Bindella reappeared, out of his vehicle which had plunged down a slope, perhaps with suicidal intentions. 

Tam Tam is now reporting new developments. This is translated from the Italian:

Developments in the Sonia Marra - Umberto Brindella case.

A jacket belonging to the young man from Marsciano will be subjected to precise scientific analyses in the next few days; on the other hand, a decision on the appeal against his release from prison is expected on May 7th.

On April 7th the scientific analyses on a jacket of Umberto Bindella, the young man from Marsciano under investigation for the disappearance of the student Sonia Marra, will be carried out.

The investigators therefore are continuing to sound out the relations between the two.

On the other hand, the hearing of the Tribunal to examine the Proscutor’s appeal on the merits of the provision to release Bindella from prison is set down for May 7th.

The regional TV news in its afternoon edition also referred to talk about a failure to find telephone records between Bindella and Ms Marra.

This fact is said not to have repercussions on the investigation, but would add another “mystery” to the whole business.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

CBS Producer of Most Biased Perugia-Case Reports Pleads Guilty To An Unrelated Crime

Posted by The Machine



CBS 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman plead not guilty just a few months ago to a blackmail attempt against a popular late-night comedian.

Yesterday, as the report above shows, Joe Halderman really changed his tune.

He now pleads guilty as charged - and he is apparently very relieved to be receiving only 4 to 6 months behind bars, a fine, and community service.

Slimy ethics at play. Not to mention criminal behavior, and a nasty intent to hurt others.

Unsurprising, really, that he worked for 48 Hours.

The CBS production team of Halderman, Longhini and Ely Hulse have tried very hard for two years to sell the American public on the fiction of an innocent Amercian girl being railroaded by corrupt and incompetent foreigners.

The CBS documentaries on Perugia have been exceptionally biased and xenophobic, worse even than those of ABC, highly one-sided, pandering to the Knox family, ignoring of Meredith as the real victim, and absolutely riddled with factual errors.

In particular the CBS team went to town on Prosecutor Mignini, having Doug Preston in his predictably shrill and cowardly manner rant on at great length about him.

This has all been documented here on TJMK.

CBS have never apologized for their anti-victim bias, or their sliming of Italy and the official participants, or their misrepresenting of even the most basic of facts. And now in an example of real poetic justice, one of their lead producers is a convicted criminal, and he has to spend 4 to 6 months behind bars.

We hope that Halderman reflects on his crimes against the trusting American public while inside, as well as his bizarre crime against a CBS colleague.


Monday, March 01, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #6: The Sole Suspect Goes Missing For Several Days

Posted by Tiziano


We have posted several times previously on the case of Sonia Marra, a missing and possibly murdered Perugia student.

Her boyfriend Umberto Bindella (above after being found) is the sole suspect. On March 12th the Review Court will decide on the appeal by Prosecuting Magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini against Umberto Bindella’s recent release from Capanne Prison, where he was being held while police investigations were advancing.

Terni In Rete reported a couple of days ago that Umberto Bindella had gone missing for several days and there was a fear that he might have caused himself harm .

BINDELLA FOUND. “THEY HAVE RUINED MY LIFE AND CONTINUE TO DO SO”

FEBRUARY 28TH 2010 18.08 HOURS

By Adriano Lorenzoni

Bindella has been seen in the woods near Deruta in the vicinity of the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths.

UPDATE: The Carabinieri from Deruta have found Umberto Bindella in the woods around Deruta, near the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths. According to the first reports it has been learnt that Bindella was found in a confused state.  His vehicle was bogged down in a pool of mud. His parents and his lawyer, Daniela Paccoi rushed to the spot.  Bindella himself exchanged a few words with journalists to whom he insisted that he had absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance of Sonia Marra.

“They have ruined my life and continue to do so.  In reply to the reporters who asked him why he had run away from home, he replied, “I needed a break to think”.  His mother as well repeated that her son was “a victim”.

Lawyer Daniela Paccoi asked for “respect on behalf of the media” for her client.  “Umberto is confused, it’s been two days since he ate, he needs peace.  Perhaps we will give a press conference, for now let’s leave him in peace.”

Umberto Bindella was found safe and sound.  He was seen in the early afternoon by a group of trippers who were on a horse ride through the woods around Deruta.  The Carabinieri who were alerted straight away went to the spot.  First they found Bindella’s car, then they came upon Bindella himself, who was found in good physical conditions.  According to first reports, Bindella is supposed to have told the officers that he had no intention of going home.

During the 48 hours when Bindella left no trace of himself, his parents feared that he could have done himself extreme harm.  He had left papers on his desk in which he expressed his disappointment about justice, holding himself to be its victim….



And La Nazione has the story on what he claimed happened, and Bindella is now back in Perugia. 

Perugia, the finding of Umberto Bindella

Luca Vagnetti

“I didn’t run away, I just needed to be alone and think a bit, away from everyone.” The mystery around the disappearance of Umberto Bindella finished in a little stretch of woods, between Deruta and Casalina.

Deruta, March 1st, 2010 ““ On Friday evening the traces of the 31year-old young man accused of the murder of the student Sonia Marra (missing since November 2006 when she was 25) were lost. 

Yesterday the Carabinieri of the Deruta Branch found him not far from the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths, from where it seems that he had not budged in the period of time between his leaving home and his discovery.  Upset and nervous to the point of attacking a photographer, but alive, hidden in a little wood on the edges of the highway in his Honda Jazz, which had ended up accidentally in a ditch.

Therefore the possibility of a tragic final gesture has been averted.  “My family knows that I could never do such a thing,” Bindella said referring to the theory of a suicide which had actually circulated straight after he went away. The arrival of the forces of law and order, of his parents, of his sister and brother-in-law served to calm down the young man, who then vented his feelings into the microphones of the press.

“The system is disgusting” he said “and this event is ruining my life.  I’m not afraid of the trial, I’m afraid of the system; in spite of everything I still trust in justice, I’m ready to defend my honour and to show my innocence.”

Wearing a dark red jumper, blue jeans and black shoes, Bindella let himself go and intensely showed his state of mind.

“They are depriving me of liberty, of dignity, of work and everything.  This whole business is stopping me from living the years between 30 and 40; and once all the accusations against me collapse, nobody will be able to give me back what has been taken away from me.  I am innocent, I reaffirm this, but the system thinks differently: I have clarified my position; I have given all the explanations, everything that I have been asked.”

“I don’t feel like a scapegoat, at the most a victim: the investigations are all going in one direction; they are trying every way to find me guilty, without examining other possibilities.”

Bindella speaks openly of the “obtuseness” of the magistrates, while his mother holds her hand on his shoulder and seems to almost hold up this big man who is almost a foot taller than she is.

“I believe him ““ the woman declares, her eyes dense with emotion and understandable concern ““ because he is a good lad.  He needed to think and probably he could have done so differently; he’s done something foolish, but this going away doesn’t mean anything in itself.”

The tow truck arrives to pull out Bindella’s car, a small crowd gathers on the edge of the road: the young man who wanted to reflect all alone thus finds himself once again with so many eyes directed at him.

Below: Deruta is about 20 minutes drive south of Perugia at the west edge of a forrested area.


 


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #5: Prosecuter Indicates Case Against Sonia’s Lover Is Strong

Posted by Tiziano


Sonia Marra and Meredith Kercher may be the only two women students to meet a brutal and senseless end over a very long period in Perugia.

This case - one of a search for true justice for Sonia - remains a demonstration of the same carefulness of the Perugia judiciary, cool persistence of the police and prosecuting magistrate, and restraint of the Italian press that we have seen in Meredith’s case. 

Last week Umberto Bindella was released from Capanne Prison as a murder suspect and he headed back to his apartment in Perugia. We presumed that Friday’s would be our final post on the case, at least for a while, and that it might never be solved.

Not so fast, it seems.

The prosecuting magistrate has now argued that the judge who released Bindella (Judge Micheli, yes, our Judge Micheli) had not considered new evidence against Bindella seriously enough, and seeks to put Bindella back behind bars to ward off the possibility of his disappearing.

This report on this stand of the prosecutor, which may or may not win out, appeared in today’s La Nazione - Umbria Edition.

THE PM: BINDELLA MUST GO BACK BEHIND BARS

By Erika Pontini

It was on the cards and it has happened: the magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini wants Umberto Bindella behind bars and has lodged an appeal against the decision of judge Paolo Micheli who decided to free the only person under investigation for the murder of Sonia Marra because, in his opinion, the serious indications of guilt which permit the application of custody on remand were lacking.

“A leap in quality in the consistency and seriousness of the clues had been demonstrated, as evidenced above, precisely in the realisation that he [Bindello - Ed] had allowed himself to make incriminating admissions [to his police officer friend when he was supposed to have said “˜I’ve made a real mess.’-Ed] when he should not have yet known anything about the disappearance of Sonia Marra…. Up until today the clues were lacking that last but essential element.”

It will now be the Perugia Review Tribunal - presided over by Dottoressa Nicla Flavia Restivo - which will decide whether the thirty-one year old from Marsciano must go back to a cell, or whether the prosecution will continue investigations with Bindella out on bail. 

The tribunal should decide within twenty days.

Doubts remain about many of the statements of the person under investigation - this is even the opinion of investigating magistrate Micheli - who probably lied about some of the profiles noted above, both about relations with the girl and about [his friend the financier who provided an alibi - Ed] Galluccio, with whose contribution, whether as a witness or as a co-accused, it is fair to imagine it would be possible to reach concrete results. And the statement of the witness remains valid [the little girl’s - Ed] and has an important circumstantial value.

But in itself it is not sufficient to maintain the restriction on Bindella’s personal liberty.It is reasonable to hold that, on the basis of what has been gathered, he should be tried: but the law requires that he should take part as a free man;  also, the theory that the differences can be resolved between the possible reconstructions of the phone call with [the police officer friend -Ed] through a confrontation between the latter and the person under investigation himself, does not legitimise the continuation of remand in custody, there exists nonetheless a situation of doubt where the general principles of the law bind this judge to resolve in the sense favourable to the accused, who must be permitted to take part in that and other trial activities as a free man.”

Umberto Bindella had been investigated in recent weeks after three years of uninterrupted investigations into the disappearance of the student from Specchia.  On January 18th judge Paolo Micheli, accepting the request of the prosecution, had ordered the measure of remand in custody against the ex forestry worker accused of murder, concealment of a body and the theft of Sonia’s two mobile phones.

After 19 days in a cell and following the application of the defence - Daniela Paccoi and Silvia Egidi - judge Micheli changed his mind and decided on the release of the man under investigation.  The Prosecuting Magistrate, however,  is not convinced by that reasoning and in five pages explains to the Review Court why the thirty (sic) year-old from Marsciano must go back behind bars.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meredith’s Perugia #22: Salento In South-Eastern Italy - Where Sonia Came From

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


 


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