Category: Defendants in court

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trial: Associated Press Reporting Testy Exchanges In Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

In a testy exchange, Mignini questioned Knox’s assertion that interrogators had extracted false statements from her by bullying her, calling her a “stupid liar” and even hitting her on the head at one point.

Knox gave a description of hours of questioning in which she said that she was told that if she did not tell the truth they would “throw me in jail for 30 years.”

Defence lawyers repeatedly objected during Mignini’s examination, accusing him of badgering the witness and asking her leading questions.

Mignini focused on Knox’s assertions that her false statements—notably, that her part-time employer Patrick Lumumba was the killer—were the result of “suggestions” during aggressive police questioning.

“Was Patrick’s name indicated after they saw (her SMS) message (to Lumumba) or just like that?” Mignini asked, sparking a heated row with the defence team that judge Giancarlo Massei had difficulty quelling.

Knox said she became so confused after “a steady crescendo ... of ‘I don’t know,’ ‘you’re a stupid liar,’ ‘maybes,’ and ‘imagines’ that ... I was led to believe I had forgotten things.”

She added: “When I said ‘Patrick’ I actually started to imagine a kind of movie, images that could have explained the situation, Patrick’s face, then (Perugia’s) Grimana square, then my house” on the night of the murder.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: Sky News Italy Video Of The Defendant’s Opening Statement Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room, which is legitimate for the reporters there to capture.


Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports Knox’s Recounting Of The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Andrea Vogt’s story on the Seattle PI website.

She described how the two spent the night of Kercher’s death at Sollecito’s house, checking her e-mail, reading Harry Potter in German, smoking pot, watching “Amelie” and making love, before going to sleep.

Forensic experts have testified that Kercher’s blood mixed with Knox’s blood were found in the bathroom and back bedroom of the apartment they shared.

Knox herself said she arrived at her apartment the next morning to see the door wide open and drops of blood, which she thought “strange,” but assumed one of her roommates had left in a hurry or was having menstrual issues. She took out her earrings (she had recently had multiple piercings and one was infected) on the sink, then took a shower, scooting from the bathroom to her bedroom on the bathmat, which she also noticed was stained with blood.

Prosecutors have argued that the footprint on the bathmat made in Kercher’s blood, is compatible with Sollecito’s footprint. Knox and Kercher’s DNA was also found on a kitchen knife believed to be the alleged murder weapon.

Concerned by feces left in the second bathroom’s toilet, she went to fetch Sollecito. When roommates, friends and the police arrived and knocked down Kercher’s door, she heard her roommate cry out “a foot, a foot!”

The group of friends all got into a car to warm up and talked about what police were saying might have happened. Upset and in shock, she cried then, she said, as Sollecito held and consoled her.


Trial: Knox Claimed Not To Have Been At The House On The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

New York’s Daily News from various wire services.

Knox said she last saw Kercher on the afternoon of Nov. 1. Knox testified the two talked about what they had done the night before “” a Halloween night out “” and Knox said Kercher still had a bit of her vampire makeup on, the AP reports.

Knox went on to say Sollecito then arrived at the house; he and Knox had something to eat while Kercher remained in her room.

“She left her room, said ‘bye,’ walked out the door,” Knox said, who switched from speaking English to Italian. “That was the last time I saw her.”

Her testimony on the stand was markedly different than the statement she gave police days after her roommate was found dead.

Originally Knox claimed to have been at the house she shared with Kercher on the night of the murder. She later retracted that story and said she was not there.

Sollecito flip-flopped on his story as well. He had told police he was at his apartment watching a movie with Knox and she spent the night with him. Later, he claimed to not remember if she had spent the night.


Defendant Testifies: Is This A Prosecutor’s Dream Come True?

Posted by Arnold_Layne



[click for larger image]

To my knowledge, in the past when Amanda has spoken on her own behalf she was not challenged by the prosecution.  Friday will be different.  On Friday, she will be asked to reconcile discrepancies in her statements.  She will not be a sworn-in witness so it is not clear which lines of questioning will be allowed but the prosecutor will certainly try to impeach her.  If she is a psychopath, things could get knarly.

You’ve all seen it many times on crime shows.  On cross examination, the witness offers some testimony, for example, the fact that she has never been married.  The lawyer then asks to offer into evidence a marriage certificate.  Reducing the credibility of a witness in this fashion is known as impeaching the witness.  There are special rules that apply which allow the attorney to ask questions not normally allowed.  To discredit a claim made by the witness, the prosecutor could, for example, enter new evidence not presented previously during the prosecution phase of the trial.  The jury is then instructed to use the evidence only as it reduces the credibility of the witness but to ignore it when otherwise considering the guilt or innocence.  That’s expecting a lot.

One characteristic of a psychopath is the ability to lie with facility.  This does not mean the ability to spin a yarn or to make up a good story.  Most of us can do this.  It also doesn’t mean that the lie is particularly bad (a boldface lie).  When asked a question when the truth is not going to yield a desirable outcome, most of us will pause a little, maybe lift our eyes upward, as we weigh the consequences of the lie.  Someone who can lie with facility speaks the lie as fast as they would the truth and with the same conviction.

The problem, of course, is that without the pause there is no weighing of the implications of the lie.  There is little checking for consistency.  In social situations this can easily be maneuvered around by saying something along the lines of, “Aw, I was just jokin’”.  Guede adjusted his story to meet the facts as they emerged.  Amanda now also knows the evidence against her and she’s had plenty of time to create a story to match it.  She will be on stable ground here as the Judge and jury weigh her statements against those put forth by the prosecution.  This is a good reason to only have one of the two defendants testify.  They can’t trip each other up.

Cross, on the other hand, is going to be a minefield for her.  Not only will the prosecution point out discrepancies but they will challenge her on them and she will be under pressure to correct them.  She will be up against a trial lawyer’s strong suit.  Mignini will be trying to impeach her.  If she steps on one of his mines, she will probably step on many ““ and he’ll be laying even more as she speaks.

Other incendiaries include her basking in the attention and notoriety she is getting.  Additionally, she is a creative writer.  Who can say what this might lead her to say if she strays from the straight and narrow.

I give her credit for doing this but I certainly don’t envy her.  I can’t say that I have ever done anything tougher myself.  I wouldn’t eat for two days, just as a precautionary measure. Btw “can you smoke on the witness stand?” I’d bring a carton, of Luckies.


Trial: Lunchtime Video Report From The Daily Telegraph

Posted by Peter Quennell


Trial: BBC Posts Video Of First Words Of Knox Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above. Preceded by a brief bit of advertising.

After the testimony shown (it was in the first two minutes) all cameras had to leave the court.


Trial: Reuters And Getty Images Of The Defendants In Court Today

Posted by Peter Quennell





Trial: Richard Owen Reports First Knox Testimony With Nick Pisa Video

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in the Times, and once there click on the video.

When questioned in court today, the American said that when under “police pressure” she had “imagined many things”.

She said she had made her accusation against Mr Lumumba “against my will”. Asked if the police had suggested to her that the murder had taken place during a party at which Ms Kercher had had sex she replied: “Yes”.

Asked if she had been struck by police, she again replied “Yes”. Police have testified that Ms Knox was treated well during her questioning and have denied that she was hit

She said: “They called me a stupid liar and said I was trying to protect someone”.

By the way, no lawyer following the trial that we know thinks the evidence is “flimsy"as the TV anchor seems to think.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Powerpoints #12: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

Previously in the Powerpoint series we presented visually some of the evidence that helped Judge Micheli to conclude that there was more than one perpetrator.

During most of the court sessions in May 2009, Lorenzo Rinaldi and Patrizia Stefanoni and their formidable evidence-processing teams from Rome added a lot to what we know about the forensic evidence found in the house.

Many of the images and diagrams they used appeared in the media, particularly the Italian media. It is now possible to examine even more closely what the evidence suggests about the perpetrators.

Sollecito has tough evidence against him in a number of dimensions. Added now to the woes of his defense team is the analysis of a bloody footprint that was found on a bathmat in the bathroom of Meredith and Amanda Knox.

The Powerpoint title refers to a barren tree. This reference is explained in the conclusion of the presentation. In essence, it refers to a marked tendency of perpetrators to NOT add enough incidental detail to their stories to be really convincing.

Sollecito has so far come up with many barren trees - minimalist stories in which none of them have enough incidental detail to convincingly explain evidence like this.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Trial: More On The Violent Crimes Unit’s Reconstruction Of The Violent, Prolonged Attack

Posted by Peter Quennell



Grim-faced expert witnesses from the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome enter court

1. Reconstruction Of The Attack On Meredith

Judge Massei closed the court for much of the time. No English-language reporters were there.

Nevertheless, reports in La Nazione and other Italian media described the reconstruction of the final attack on Meredith in the court with the aid of many photographs and graphics.

Giuseppe Codispoti, Director of the Analysis of Violent Crime Unit, said in his deposition that the evidence pointed to three subjects in addition to the victim being present in the room at the time.

The evidence included the many wounds on Meredith, the state of her clothing, and the locations and shapes of the bloodstains on the walls, the wardrobe, and the floor.

Wounds to Meredith’s right hand pointed to a desperate attempt to ward off one or several attackers with knives while she was being held by her other arm.

The director of the Violent Crime department, Edgardo Giobbi, told the court that when, on the day after the murder, he handed Knox (not yet a suspect) a pair of shoe covers before entering the apartment below hers, she swiveled her hips and said “oopla.” This attitude made him turn his “investigative attention” on her, he said.

This was dramatic and telling testimony, and for some in the courtroom apparently quite hard to take.

Below: One of the images used in their detailed reconstruction of the final frenzied act in Meredith’s bedroom that suggested three people had to be involved.




2. Prior Testimony That Relates

Judge Micheli summarized the same forensic evidence and concluded for purposes of convicting Rudy Guede and of sending Knox and Sollecito to trial that it did point to three people being involved.

Judge Micheli also concluded that, as part of a cover-up, Meredith was later moved from the location below (by the wardrobe and the window) to where she was found, several feet to the left (by the bed).

3. Defensive PR Reaction To This Tough Talk

In their attempt to ridicule and undermine this compelling evidence, CBS News (48 Hours) in their recent very slanted report repeatedly showed bizarre caricatures of this scene by an Italian cartoonist.

None were remotely correct. That was not, we think, CBS News’s finest hour. They have been very silent on it since.

The paid Candace Dempsey defense blog on the Seattle PI website took a shot at ridiculing the reconstruction image above.

Something rather incoherent to do with not being specific enough about the figures. But the image above was one of a number that the witnesses used.

As real crime experts in the field would all know, it was deliberately not more specific because it incorporated only the known hard evidence.

Contacts of ours in NYC associated with law enforcement are giving the reconstruction an A. It was a careful and clever bit of work.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Damage That Is Now Flowing From A Needlessly Hard-Line PR Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Andrea Vogt’s extraordinary report in today’s online Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Added: Also, in case it scrolls away, this valuable take is copied here.

Police are investigating complaints from a Seattle woman who says she was intimidated and threatened online because of comments she made about the Amanda Knox case.

The unredacted Seattle Police Department report, obtained by seattlepi.com, names a primary suspect and quotes the woman as saying that that the suspect “is engaging in tactics meant to intimidate,” along with “the tacit consent” of Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas. The report names Mellas, but he is not a suspect.

According to the report, the tactics include “veiled threats” and attempts to disable a Web site dedicated to the criminal case in Perugia, Italy.

The development marks an escalation in a ferocious “blog war” that has been brewing for more than a year as Knox faced a murder charge, then went on trial. The blog war has recently become particularly vicious and personal in Knox’s hometown of Seattle.

The battle in the blogosphere has divided the online community into two factions: those who question Knox’s innocence, and those who do not. In Italy, the media have dubbed them “innocentisti and colpevolisti,” or “the innocents and the guilties.”

Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are currently standing trial in Perugia for the slaying of Meredith Kercher. Kercher, a college student from England, was studying in Italy, as was Knox, a University of Washington student. The two shared an apartment.

Seattle police Sgt. Mark Worstman has confirmed that an investigation into cyber-harassment is still open and cautioned those who are concerned for their security to consider avoiding online debates and community forums where aggressive behavior is being allowed.

When seattlepi.com interviewed him, Mellas denied any involvement and said he is not connected to and does not know the person named in the complaint. In fact, he said he and his family also have been harassed online.

“I have not approved or disapproved because I don’t have any part to play in it,” said Mellas, who is a computer-network manager at Bellevue-based real estate development company.

“There’s a bunch of idiots on both sides of this whole silly blogworld. It has degenerated beyond belief, and frankly an article that is going to highlight this is only going to make it worse. But I don’t really care, because I don’t pay attention to it,” Mellas said.

Seattlepi.com is not naming the suspect because he has not been charged with any crime. He did not respond to seattlepi.com efforts to reach him by phone or by the e-mail addresses listed in the police report.

West Seattle resident and professional translator Peggy Ganong, who moderates the discussion site Perugia Murder File under the online name “Skeptical Bystander,” complained to police two months ago, saying she was being harassed for her involvement and for comments she has posted on sites that question Knox’s innocence.

“I am supposed to somehow get behind the home team. It is as simple as that,” said Ganong, who lives just a few blocks from the Mellas and Knox families. “But I had ongoing doubts, I continued to express that opinion, and that’s when I became a target. But the fact that it has spilled over into real life, well there’s something scary and terribly wrong about it.” The sites that question Knox’s innocence and defend court proceedings in Perugia are Perugia Murder File, a discussion board co-moderated by Ganong, and True Justice for Meredith Kercher, founded last September by New Jersey financier Peter Quennell.

“The True Justice site was created because Kercher had become so intensely forgotten, as the huge and well-funded effort gathered speed to paint Knox as the ‘real’ victim,” Quennell said. Quennell said more than 20,000 people have visited his site.

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo” (a stage name, real name Sforza).

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “You sound like you were abused as a child.”

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,” Huff said.

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.”

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “You sound like you were abused as a child.”

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,” Huff said.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Puzzle Of The Cell Phones: Was Rudy Doomed From The Start?

Posted by Arnold_Layne


Current thinking is that about a year after the three were arrested, Rudy Guede’s team decided to request a fast-track trial because his team thought Knox and Sollecito might craft a defense that made Guede appear more guilty. 

After he was convicted, defense supporters of course seized upon his conviction as the basis for the “lone wolf theory”.  It is possible, however, that Guede’s defense team was more correct all along than they might have realized - that he really was being set up.

What did Knox and Sollecito actually have planned?  Admittedly Sollecito had his knife fetish, and Knox’s sexuality was, well, you know.  But since none had committed any violent crimes in the past, it is unlikely that they planned to commit one quite so significant as a murder at this point. 

Contrary to what I had previously thought, Mignini may also be correct in his game theory.  Their plan might have been to coerce Meredith into having sex with someone.  If they couldn’t “talk her into it” they planned on intimidating her with the very large knife they brought along.

There is an inconsistency in the various scenarios that have been put forth.  In one scenario, all three came to the cottage intending to physically harm Meredith, and that is why they brought the knife and turned their cell phones off.  This doesn’t really make much sense because, for a murder, or even an assault with a knife, it was incredibly poorly planned. 

Additionally, and more importantly, none of these people had a criminal past and so it is unlikely they would plan on committing quite such a horrible crime.

Another scenario, which is along Mignini’s lines, is that the three planned to use the knife only to intimidate Meredith into doing what they wanted ““ which was to get involved in a sex act with Guede by coercing and threatening her.  This activity could be considered a sex game. 

If the terrifying trio had planned on going to see Meredith merely to play a game, then why did Sollecito and Knox turn their cell phones off?

They must have realized that there was a possibility that what they were setting out to do could end poorly.  If Meredith went along with what they planned, all would be okay.  Hopefully, she’d be a good sport when it was over.  If this is how it played out, there would have been no need to turn their cell phones off. 

But on the other hand, if she wasn’t a good sport, and called the police, they would be able to move to Plan B: blame Rudy, and deny that they were even there.  Turning their cell phones off fits with this outcome.

What this all suggests is that Rudy Guede really might have been set up. 

He clearly would have left evidence of a sexual attack; but the two others, not so much.  In fact, they may have planned to set Rudy up before they even asked him to participate.  Their plan right from the start might have been to bring in a third person to take the fall if things didn’t go well.

So Sollecito and Knox might have planned a plausible sequence of events as an alibi in which Guede would be the only perp and they could be at Sollecito’s smoking hash and watching Internet movies. 

So they needed someone who the police could easily accuse of the crime, and Rudy Guede filled the bill.

Why did they turn their cell phones off if they were only going to play a game?  I think they had already planned to get a bit more serious, and to implicate Guede as the perp.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Explaining The Italian Theory Of The Attack That Is Being Lost In Translation

Posted by Arnold_Layne





At the trial, Gioia Brocci from the forensic department in Rome just told the court that Knox had reacted visibly when taken into the house’s kitchen after the murder.

She said: “˜‘A drawer with cutlery in it was opened, and I remember that Knox started to tremble, she closed her eyes and put her hands over her ears…. She reacted in such a way that she had to be escorted out of the room and taken into the corridor by the officers from the Perugia Flying Squad who were with her.’‘

Here is one explanation that extends from that testimony. It is in sharp contrast to “A Drug-Fuelled Extreme-Sex Game Gone Awry” which definitely is not what Italians are hearing. 

This scenario leads to the inference that it starts as something of a pre-intended taunting and hazing led by an angry Knox intent on payback. It does not start as a preconceived murder because there seems no preparation for a premeditated murder.

When Knox and Sollecito arrive at the cottage, they bring a jackknife and a kitchen knife.  The kitchen knife may be wrapped in paper and carried in Knox’s handbag.  When they arrive, Sollecito perhaps puts the large knife someplace inconspicuous but handy. 

That place could of course be the knife drawer in the kitchen that Knox later reacted to.

They have collected Guede in the park, Knox lets him in, and the Treacherous Trio is complete. They gather with Meredith in the place where most people welcoming their guests congregate, the kitchen.  They may even munch on some mushrooms.

At some point, whatever has been worked out with Guede ahead of time is initiated.  What some might regard as BDSM, others, like me, consider more along the lines of aggregated sexual assault and battery with a deadly weapon. 

Knox retrieves the kitchen knife from the drawer.  She uses it as an extremely threatening weapon, to intimidate Meredith.  Sollecito and Guede physically restrain her while Guede sexually assaults her.  Possibly Knox directs Sollecito to physically assault her with the small knife to make her be more compliant.

Meredith is anything but compliant, fights back, and pleads with them. 

This leads to the jackknife wounds to her neck and eventually to her being strangled.  Meredith Kercher does not go gently into that good night.  She fights her way back up to her feet, and she screams. 

This perhaps is when Knox delivers the fatal blow to her neck with the kitchen knife, to stop her screaming and getting away to seek help.

They then drag her to her room and lock the door.  At this point, Guede grabs some toilet paper to clean the blood off himself, and they flee.  Rudy goes dancing, and the Deadly Duo go to the park till the way is clear for a clean-up.

Knox and Sollecito return after the broken-down car is removed, arrange the bedroom leaving the bra clasp, stage the break-in, and clean the rooms where they had been.  They have not been in the bedroom very much so this is left pretty much alone. 

They cleanse the kitchen of all DNA and fingerprints and perhaps bring more bleach when the Conad store opens in the morning.

Until Amanda Knox pulls the kitchen knife from the drawer, each of them, Guede, Sollecito, and Knox are acting as individuals with their consciences and moral upbringing intact.

When the knife comes out, they become something else, and the group becomes responsible for what happens, not each themselves.

Is it possible that the reason they are being so tight-lipped is that if any one of them identifies the other’s actions, then that person would have to accept responsibility for what he or she also actually did do? 

Does it stay a group action only if the group remains intact?


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trial: Another Objective Report From ABC News

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Images above and below: the lay judges and lawyers tour the crime scene]

Rome-based Ann Wise reports.

1) More on the issue of the second knife.

With journalists unable to attend the hearing, information on what Dr. Bacci said in court today came from lawyers as they emerged from the courthouse and, as always, interpretations differed.

Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, is a firm believer in the prosecution’s theory that the murder was the result of a sex game gone wrong between all three defendants—Knox, Sollecito and Guede. He told journalists outside the courthouse that Dr. Bacci told the court that whoever attacked Kercher first tried to strangle her, and then stabbed her in the throat, possibly with two different knives.

Bacci said that the knife the prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is compatible with the largest and deepest cut in Kercher’s throat but is not compatible with another, smaller wound. This is the first time a witness for the prosecution has mentioned the possibility that more than one knife might have been used…

Maresca also told reporters that according to Dr. Bacci “injuries suggest” that Kercher had probably participated in a nonconsensual sexual act before she died.

Luca Maori, one of Sollecito’s lawyers, told journalists that based on Dr. Bacci’s conclusions, the knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is “only abstractly compatible” with the wounds found.

2) And more on the visit by the judges, jury and lawyers to the house - sadly, extremely disarrayed, it seems..

The afternoon was the occasion for the court in its entirety—minus the two defendants, who chose not to attend—to visit the scene of the crime. A small crowd, comprised of the two judges, six jurors and their substitutes, the prosecutors and a bevy of lawyers, gathered outside the charming cottage-with-a-view on the edge of old-town Perugia. On the road just above, another crowd of journalists and photographers and some hangers-on watched as policemen activated a generator (the electricity in the house has been cut off) and opened the door to the house.

“The court looked closely at the inside and the outside of the house,” [Prosecutor] Comodi said. The court spent a good amount of time in the room where the murder took place and discussed the position of the corpse. Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer for Amanda Knox, told reporters the house “was a mess, and it was important that the jurors see this. Amanda’s clothes were thrown all over the place.”

There have been many press reports of bad forensic work and bad handling of the scene of the crime on the part of investigators, and this is expected to be an important part of the case the defense will make. The house where the crime took place has also been subjected to two break-ins in recent months, adding to the sorry state of the premises. The house is in “terrible condition,” Bongiorno said. “The mess made by the searches was compounded by the two beak-ins.”

 


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena ““ cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again ““ even for just three seconds ““ she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later ““ after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back ““ at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message ““ certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 ““ but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police ““ but Amanda makes no mention of this advice in describing their decision to call the police.

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) ““ neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 ““ as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom ““ but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele ““ since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time ““ just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up ““ she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning ““ Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible ““ and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first ““ knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room ““ panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants ““ such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports On Patrick Lumumba’s Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt is still providing her usual fine reports on the trial on the Seattle PI website.

Click above for her report late today on what Patrick Lumumba told the court of his experiences. He was the one fingered by Knox as the perp, and it took two weeks to get that charge refuted.

Knox is being prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, on a calunnia charge. 

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

 

 


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Criminal Charges Almost Certain For Serious Disrespecting Of Meredith

Posted by Jools



[above: the Telenorba reporter who may soon be among those facing charges]

Raffaele Sollecito comes from Bari. Precisely one year ago, the local Bari TV station Telenorba did the almost unthinkable.

It broadcast some crime-scene video of Meredith. They showed her lying half-naked on her back on the floor, with the wounds to her throat clearly visible.

The footage was then picked up by the Italian state broadcaster, RAI, and it was rebroadcast a number of times.  Still shots ended up in a number of newspapers. And a video of the broadcast ended up on YouTube where (as of this morning) it still remains.

All of which now appears almost certain to attract a number of criminal charges.

Here is Richard Owen of the London Times describing the broadcast one year ago.

Relatives of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia in November, were said to be shocked and distressed last night after images of her bloodied corpse were broadcast on Italian television…

Telenorba, which showed the footage late at night, warned viewers that it was disturbing and suitable only for adults. It showed police scientists in white protective clothing pulling back the duvet to reveal Ms Kercher’s body and slashed throat, and turning the corpse over to examine her bloodied back.

Her eyes were covered by a mask. RAI did not include this part of the footage in its news broadcasts.

And here is the report in the Daily Mail also one year ago.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: “This is an example of gross journalistic misconduct, which evidently violates all the rules of how to report a story….

Anna Maria Ferretti, the director of the leading Italian TV programme Antenna Sud, said: “For five minutes of television, the ultimate taboo has been broken without any shame.”

Italy’s Order of Journalists has asked for the video to be confiscated so that it is not shown again and a repeat of the programme that had been due to air on Tuesday night was cancelled…

Enzo Magistra, the editor of the programme, defended the show and insisted it had not meant to cause offence.

He said: “When I decided to transmit the images of Meredith’s corpse, I did not have the least intention of violating anyone’s dignity, but merely to do my job with respect to an important event.”

Sparked by a complaint from Mr Maresca for the Kerchers, the Perugia prosecutor initiated a one-year investigation.

And yesterday the outcome was announced. This is a translation of the report in La Nazione.

The prosecutor of Perugia has served notice of the completion of four investigations into Raffaele Sollecito’s family members and two journalists of the TV station Telenorba on the transmission of a forensic video in which the body of Meredith Kercher wa shown…

The report on the investigations (usually a prelude to a request for trial) indicates crimes were committed of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of arbitrary acts of investigation and publication of gruesome acts.

According to the reconstruction by the Perugia prosecutor, the father and sister of Raphael Sollecito had legitimately obtained the scientific survey of the police, and had then illegally provided it to Telemundo.

The report also cites a journalist and the editor of Panorama for the publication of an article in which they reported that blood samples from Meredith had revealed an alcohol concentration above the legal norm - implying she was drunk when she was killed. This claim was proved a lie in the course of the forensic tests.

And this is a translation from the AGI news-service website.

Eight “notices of termination of the investigations” have been reported by the public prosecutor of Perugia…  Four Sollecito family members, the TV journalist on Telenorba and the director of the station, are accused of the crimes of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of documents during the investigation, and publication of gruesome acts….

According to the reconstruction, the Sollecito family members delivered to Telenorba the video and photos of the crime scene survey carried out by the forensic team on November 2 of 2007 in Meredith’s house. Telenorba then put the material on the air.

Other investigations are on-going.

The YouTube video of the Telenoirba broadcast as of this morning had had over 9,000 looks. It is in an area for adults only, and it requires registration to get in.

Notwithstanding, these are typical of the angry comments in Italian that appear right under the video.

This video is a disgrace to every individual. There’s a girl who is no more, a family suffering for this, and now has to suffer public humiliation ... Let us never forget that the right to dignity and decency of the victims, especially if already dead.

*********

The video should be removed. The right to record is in conflict with the respect and devotion of the deceased. The publication of such images add nothing to the journalistic chronicle

Mr Maresca, who is in legal practice in Florence, appears to us to have fought hard for the rights of Meredith and the Kerchers.

He put the case for a closed trial (which the Knox and Sollecito forces bitterly fought) and he won the court’s agreement that the most disturbing segments at least would be closed to the journalists and the public. 

Here is the Times report on his battle then with the defendants’ families.

Mr Maresca said Italian law provided for trials in cases of sexual violence to be closed to the public, at the discretion of the judge. He said that showing graphic photographs and video footage of Ms Kercher’s body and the murder scene in open court could do injury to her memory.

Mr Maresca said that 280 journalists had been accredited for the pre-trial hearings, which were held in camera. This led to reporters and photographers trying to snatch pictures of the accused as they arrived and left the court, with defence lawyers and prosecutors besieged by the media outside the courtroom.

And to counteract the massive and pervasive spin being put on every development in the trial, Mr Maresca has been sharp and outspoken on what the growing body of evidence implies.

Other apparent attempts by the Sollecito family to interfere with the course of justice, as suggested in telephone intercepts, are still being investigated by the Perugia prosecutor. Mr Mignini is famous in Italy for fighting for victims’ rights to the maximum.

Mr Maresca is clearly doing a fine job in protecting Meredith’s dignity and the peace of mind of her poor family.

And this throws a MAJOR shot across the bows of the families of the defendants, if they incline to further disparaging of Meredith.

[below: the Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca; his office is in Florence]




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Steel Stairs That Suspiciously Clanged On The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for the series]

Neighbor and witness Nara Capezzali has testified that she heard feet running across the top deck of the parking facility and up some steel stairs.

Despite some truly absurd claims to the contrary we believe every word of this testimony.

Click here for a series of images of the route Ak and RS appear to have followed.

The top of the parking facility at night is well, deathly quiet. You can hear anything that moves. And those steel stairs are so noisy, you would think they had been designed as a giant musical instrument.

Because of something the witness in the park said, we think it was TWO sets of feet: Knox’s and Sollecito’s. What the witness in the park said was that Knox and Sollecito approached the park from the street ABOVE the park.

And also, two witnesses have confirmed that it was Rudy Guede who ran up the stone steps alone, and bumped into one of them.

Across the deck, up the steel stairs, through the arch, up the street, past the gelateria, and down a few of the stone steps to the park.

About a half of a kilometer or a quarter of a mile in total.

By the way, from the point by the arch up the street and down the stone steps, this is the route that MEREDITH also followed that evening, not long before, on her final way home from the English girls’ place.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trial: ABC’s Ann Wise Has More Reporting On Sollecito’s Early History

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report. The police chief from Bari provided testimony:

Antonio Galizia, a police chief from Sollecito’s hometown in southern Italy, said in court today that in 2003 Sollecito and some friends were caught in possession of one ounce of hashish at a nearby beach. That was, however, the only time Sollecito had been in trouble with the law.

When asked by Sollecito’s lawyer Luca Maori, Galizia also testified that Sollecito’s mother, who died when he was a teenager, had not committed suicide.

Maori later told reporters that Sollecito had agreed to have his mother’s death discussed in court, so, as he said, “we can clarify once and for all that she died from natural causes.” There had been repeated reports in the press that it was a suicide and that this had traumatized Sollecito.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Outcome Of Back-Seat Driving: Defense Lawyers Pulling Their Hair Out? Again?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1) Stepfather Chris Mellas

Mr Mellas as reported on Saturday:

He had spoken to Ms Knox on the eve of the hearing. “I told her she’s innocent and she needs to speak up for herself.”

2) Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini

Dr Mignini as reported on Sunday.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

3) Stepfather Chris Mellas as reported on Monday:

Ooops. Did I just cost her 6 more years? Maybe her lawyers really can advise Amanda better than an amateur who doesn’t speak the language. 

I’m on the next plane outta here. Sorry, kid, and all that. Still friends, though, right?

Okay, we made that last one up. But maybe even Amanda Knox is now thinking this way?

4) Times Report - Full Quote

The [UK] Times

Richard Owen, Rome

March 15, 2009

Amanda Knox, the American student charged with the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher, faces an additional charge of slander for claiming that police struck her while she was being questioned.

At the latest hearings in her trial in Perugia, Ms Knox claimed that police had put her under psychological and physical pressure to admit that she was present at the murder.

Ms Knox, who has the right to address the court at any time during her trial, was reacting to evidence from Anna Donnino, a police interpreter who claimed that Ms Knox had behaved “as if a weight had been lifted from her” when she admitted that she had been at the scene of the crime and accused Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked part-time, of the killing. Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher’s screams.

Ms Donnino said that when questioned after Ms Kercher’s body was found, Ms Knox walked up and down nervously at the police station, “hitting her head with her hands”. She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.

“She showed extreme emotional involvement ““ she was crying and visibly shocked, saying ‘It was him, it was him. He’s bad’,” Ms Donnino added.

Ms Knox, speaking in fluent Italian, said police had called her a “stupid liar” during “hours and hours” of questioning during which she had stuck to her story that she spent the night of the murder at the flat of Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend and co-accused.

She said that Ms Donnino had suggested to her “that probably I didn’t remember well because I was traumatised, so I should try to remember something else”. There had been an “aggressive insistence” on the text message she had received from Mr Lumumba, Ms Knox said. She insisted she had been slapped on the head by police, adding “I’m sorry, but it’s true”.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

Ms Kercher’s semi-naked body was found under a duvet on the floor of her bedroom in November 2007, at the hillside cottage in Perugia she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. She had been stabbed in the throat.

The prosecution accuses Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of murdering and sexually assaulting Ms Kercher with Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant who was given a 30-year sentence last October for the crime under fast-track procedures. He began his appeal last week, claiming Ms Knox had killed Ms Kercher in a row over stolen cash.

The all-night interrogation in which Ms Knox accused Mr Lumumba and described blocking her ears was ruled inadmissible by Italy’s Supreme Court because no lawyer was present. However a voluntary statement written by Ms Knox in English repeating this scenario has been accepted as court evidence despite defence protests. The defence claims Ms Knox was not at the cottage during the murder but at Mr Sollecito’s flat.

Mr Lumumba, who was arrested but later released without charge, is suing Ms Knox for defamation. He is also seeking damages for wrongful imprisonment.

Aida Colontane, another police interpreter, told the court that she had noticed a red mark on Ms Knox’s neck which “leapt out” from her “extraordinary pallor”. Laura Mezzetti, one of the Italian flatmates of Ms Knox and Ms Kercher, has also testified that Ms Knox had a red mark on her neck. Curt Knox, Ms Knox’s father, has suggested the mark was a love bite.

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer who helped to question Ms Knox, told the court that she and Mr Sollecito had behaved strangely, kissing and cuddling and talking together in low voices. A number of other witnesses have given the same testimony.

Mr D’Astolto said he had ensured that Ms Knox understood procedures and questions at all times. Daniele Moscatelli, another police officer, said officers had confiscated a long knife from Mr Sollecito, who had explained to them that he collected knives as a hobby. Mr Sollecito appeared confused and nervous during questioning, he said.

At the last hearings two weeks ago the court was told that Ms Knox had done cartwheels and the splits while waiting to be questioned by police. However Chris Mellas, her stepfather, who is attending the trial, said that his stepdaughter was doing yoga exercises and a police officer had asked her to do gymnastics, remarking “You look rather flexible”.

Oreste Volturno, the police officer who led a search of Mr Sollecito’s flat, said he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. The prosecution says the kitchen knife found at the flat which is presumed to be the murder weapon had been scrubbed with bleach in an attempt to erase blood and DNA traces.

The court was told that police investigating Ms Knox had tapped her phone calls and intercepted her correspondence before and after her arrest, including an email to friends in Seattle in which she claimed that she had found Ms Kercher’s body. She had written and received around 600 letters over a six-month period, all of which were intercepted and then translated by a team of four police interpreters. Her conversations with prison visitors were also recorded.

Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the Kercher family, said that the suspects’ alibi that they had spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat had collapsed after Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, said that tests on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed that nobody had used it on the night that Ms Kercher was stabbed to death. Mr Sollecito claims he was at his flat working on his computer at the time of the murder.

Mr Trotta said tests his team had carried out on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed “no human interaction” between 9.10pm on November 1 and 5.32am on November 2, 2007. Ms Kercher’s body was found in the late morning of November 2 but she is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm the night before.

Mr Sollecito says that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30pm. Ms Kercher returned to the cottage she shared with Ms Knox at about 9pm.

Ms Knox’s Italian language teacher in Perugia, Antonella Negri, told the court that as a class exercise Ms Knox had written a letter to her mother, after the discovery of her flatmate’s body but before her arrest. “In it she said she worried and confused and she wanted her mother to travel to Perugia so she could distract herself and they could go shopping together,” Ms Negri told the court. She said Ms Knox had referred to the murder at the start of the class. “She leaned forward on to the desk and lay her head in her arms.”

The trial resumes next Friday, when the six jurors are expected to tour the murder scene in an inspection requested by lawyers acting for Mr Sollecito. The prosecution claims Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito broke a window at the cottage to simulate a burglary, but the defence contests this.

The court was shown grainy CCTV images said to be of Ms Kercher returning to the house shortly before her death. The images were taken by a surveillance camera at the car park above the cottage. Defence lawyers said that the footage was of such poor quality that it should not be admitted as evidence.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Trial: More Testimony On Knox Acting Weird After Meredith Was Murdered (2)

Posted by Peter Quennell




Testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno

This post spills over from the post immediately below.

Translation here is by Catnip. As mentioned in today’s court report, Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased.

He investigated the 20 euro withdrawal reported on Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records. He also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

Transcript of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 177-211

Depositions of the witness Oreste Volturno

The witness, admonished pursuant to Article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

Particulars: Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno, in service with the Flying Squad, Perugia Police; born at Montegabbione (TR), 12 June 1956.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You have carried out investigations on the death of Meredith Kercher?
ANSWER: Yes.

Q: Do you remember what type of investigative tasks you carried out? First list them, then describe them.
A: In practice the first investigative task that I carried out was as regards two containers of Ace bleach that had been seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s house on 16 November 2007. Immediately after the seizure I went around the shops in the environs of Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence trying to understand from where they could have been purchased from, and for this purpose I was showing people the photograph of Raffaele Sollecito, the photograph of Amanda Knox. After a couple of days we tracked down the shop which was a Conad-Margherita shop situated right at the start of Corso Garibaldi, where both the owner and the shop assistants were to identify, from the photographs that we placed before them, [178] Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Raffaele Sollecito was a usual customer of this shop, while the girl had been seen two or three times in his company.

Q: Together with Sollecito?
A: Yes, yes, in his company. In this shop we asked also if by chance they had noticed in the days immediately prior to the murder or straight after if they remembered whether these persons had acquired this product, although they didn’t remember. I have to preface this with the shop is subdivided into two levels, one is higher up where the entrance is and the other is lower down. The one higher up is where all the products are that people take and then go straight to the cashier, while the one below is the delicatessen, cheeses, etc etc where there were two girls working, in addition to the owner, who I think I remember was called Quintavalle. One in particular, an Ecuadorian girl, at the time I recall that it was interesting, she said to us that she had a friend who was doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house and she indicated the cellular device with which we then contacted her, although as for the bleach nothing came out of it, either a person or a mention of something. We were checking that”¦

Q: What was this woman called?
A: (Kiriboga) “¦ the rest I don’t remember. It was actually through the mobile phone number that she furnished that led us to the person who was then doing the cleaning at that time, up until 5 November, the last day that she did the cleaning, and another Ecuadorian girl who was called Natalia. This one was interviewed on the record but she wasn’t able to tell us anything about this bleach. Then subsequent to this episode (Kiriboga) was also heard, she furnished us a version where she said actually that this bleach had been seen by her in Sollecito’s house and that in any case a container [179] had been said, had been bought by Raffaele Sollecito at her request. I asked her why she hadn’t mentioned it at the time that I asked her, the first day, in the days immediately after the search, that is between 16 and 19 November, and she said to me that the same questions had been asked at the firm of Counsellor Maori and that at the time she didn’t recall this fact, but after having been at Counsellor Maori’s she remembers having bought this bleach. However the investigations proceeded onwards because I asked the owner of the shop if by means of the product barcode it was possible to go back to the period in which it was handed over or sold or at the least ordered and which company was the supplier of this bleach. He told me that the company was a Ponte San Giovanni company I believe, the PAC, and I contacted the person responsible in the detergents department who was a Mr Cicognola, I think, who told me that being a product without an expiry he was not obliged by law to memorise it, that is computerise it, and so he was not able to uncover precisely the shop at which it had been sold, at the time. He furnished us information however, namely the boxes were of 18 containers each and had been consigned to Quintavalle’s shop which was a Conad-Margherita, the same label that was on the container seized at Sollecito’s house dated 1 October, 11 November and 5 November the last consignment. Another box of the same product had been consigned to another Conad-Margherita shop which is located about 50 metres further up from Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence, whose owner now I don’t remember. Until 11 October the recommended PAC price for this product was 0.85 euro, while from 11 October onwards the recommended price was 1.09 because he says that before there was a more favourable market and [180] so they had a lower price, although no one was able to rule out that in any case the product being at the old price might have been among the others and then purchased for 0.85, the price that then turned out to have been applied to the container seized from Sollecito’s house. As regards this investigation about the bleach, nothing else was done.

Q: You were in Sollecito’s house?
A: Yes, I had been on two occasions. The first occasion was on the 8th of November during a search when different types of apparel were seized, I seem to recall. On a second occasion on the 16 November”¦

Q: Let’s go in order; the 8th, did you all have footwear and gloves?
A: Yes, yes, we always have footwear and gloves because we’ve got them in the car, they’re from the office.

Q: New?
A: Yes, they’re taken from the boxes as needed from time to time.

Q: So you’d entered on the 8th?
A: We had entered the first time on the 8th and I remember that numerous items of apparel were seized, underwear, jumper”¦

Q: Was there a particular smell there on the 8th?
A: Yes, there was a smell of bleach permeating the inside of the apartment because it was sealed and we broke the seals because it had been sequestered prior.

Q: These items of clothing, where had you put them?
A: The items of clothing were pointed out to our colleagues from the Scientific Police who were taking them and putting them into paper envelopes, one by one and then they were sealed and catalogued inside a big box.

Q: So they actually also had overalls?
[181] A: Our colleagues from the Scientifica yes, we only had the footwear and gloves.

Q: And then, the second time?
A: The second time was the 16th of November although I had not gone inside the apartment because the footwear had run out and I stayed outside on the landing cataloguing the items of evidence that were being handed over to me in envelopes and I was putting them into a big box.

Q: You had gloves on, though?
A: Yes, yes, I had gloves on.

Q: Other investigative tasks?
A: One other investigative task had been carried by me personally on Ms Kercher’s credit cards, because from an account statement extract that had been faxed to us by her parents there was a 20 euro withdrawal at the IMI-San Paolo in Perugia. I contacted them, I believe around the first part of the month of December 2008, I think the 8th, the 9th or the 10th, I don’t recall now precisely, I contacted the manager of the bank, of the IMI-San Paolo in the person of Dr Farsi and I asked him if it were possible to trace back the person who had made this withdrawal or at the least verify that this withdrawal had been made. I also asked him if there were security cameras and he said to me: “Yes, there are, although the security camera only covers the bank entrance and not the ATM, but in any case the video cassettes are reset each week”, time had already passed because the account extract had been faxed to us towards the end of the month of November by the Kercher family, I did the first investigations on it on the 10th of December, or on the 8th of December, so from the 2nd of November more than a month had gone by and the recordings had already been reset multiple times. Mr Farsi examined the funds journals of all four ATMs, of the head office and the branches that there are in Perugia and responded to me by [182] letter that according to the journals there was no withdrawal of that kind neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days preceding”¦

Q: Do you recognise it?
A: Yes, it’s this one.

Q: I don’t know if it is in the evidence file, otherwise I ask for its production.

President: What is it?
A: It’s the reply of the San Paolo bank corporation as regards the investigations on the withdrawal of the 20 euro.

Defence ““ Ghirga: What date is this letter?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: 4 January 2008
A: Actually he in his letter was telling me that that 20 euro withdrawal, that sum hadn’t been done neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days immediately preceding and that practically at this point the investigations were at a standstill because there being no withdrawal there was no”¦

Q: I ask its production then.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, it’s a finding on what we have done, as everyone will recall, a question the other time to a witness and the reply was given that there were no further investigative activities. Up until today, that letter was not in the file, we want to peruse it and give our opinion tomorrow maybe.
President: Certainly. We can proceed in the meantime.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigative activities that you all had carried out and that you yourself had participated in?
A: Other investigative activities that had been carried out by me personally were activities concerning an authorization or power of attorney, a authorization of his as regards Giovinazzo, at the [183] schools attended by Sollecito.

Q: What had you found out in particular? Was it an activity integral with the investigation?
A: Yes, actually from examining the class rolls, the boy’s personal file and everything what we were looking for was not found, that is, a fact that had happened at school. Amongst other things it wasn’t possible to verify it because the class rolls from 2003, which is the last year that Raffaele Sollecito attended secondary school, every five years they’re sent for pulping and so we had arrived when they had already been pulped, for this reason this investigative task was not able to be carried out.

Q: What were you supposed to have been doing?
A: Whether there had been the wounding of a girl on the part of Raffaele Sollecito during the course of school lessons. I preface this with the headmaster of the middle school, at the time the headmaster of the middle school attended by Raffaele Sollecito, that he had also been interviewed for summary information [SI] by me personally, he provided a certain resistance, as if he wanted to hide something. This I believe I also had him”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, these are”¦
President: Maybe if you can refer to the behaviour he had displayed.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, also as to the modality, for heaven’s sake, I don’t believe it’s a prohibition that they are referring to things heard in interview, but if they are however witnesses heard in interview, then they have to be heard or not or he gives us a summary and then we hear them or else he really avoids commenting every time.
A: Counsel, I have said in summary what I have heard and [184] in my view it was omertoso {=mafia code of silence}.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: No, look that this cannot be put into the transcript!
President: Please! The parties will direct”¦
A: He was a little bit reticent.

President: Let’s avoid this, “in my opinion” introduces an evaluation and therefore he cannot express it, only the behaviour that he dsiplayed, maybe if he has answered all questions or else some question he hasn’t.
A: He has answered all questions, but in a very vague manner.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: What other things had you found out specifically?
A: We had found at the Carabinieri station in Giovinazzo, in Sollecito’s file, there was a precedent signalled by the Carabinieri station at Castellaneta, in Taranto province, relating to the year 2003 I believe, when he had been stopped together with another two boys because they were in the possession of the quantity of two and half grams net of narcotic substance, in the form of hashish.

Q: Then other things?
A: Then there were investigative tasks carried out in relation to the death of his mother. Investigations were made at the pathologist’s, at 118 [=the medical emergency number].

President: Excuse me, pertinent matters.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Well, this one about the substance”¦
[185] President: Yes, the substance yes, but he was introducing other things.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigations that you have carried out?
A: I did phone and ambient intercepts.

Q: What investigative leads emerged from the ambient and telephonic intercepts?
A: Investigative leads actually hardly any although all the activity that had been done had demonstrated that, on the part of the family, there was an intention to quicksand, to derail”¦

Intervention: It’s not possible!
President: Excuse me, excuse me everyone. If you’re able to say the facts, the specific circumstances.
A: There are several things”¦

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Those are facts though, it’s not an opinion, then if it’s true or not”¦
President: By what thing was this behaviour manifested that you are now summarising, but the summary constitutes an evaluation.
A: Actually they wanted to eliminate the personnel who were carrying out the investigations, whether professionally or physically.

President: What emerged under that aspect?
A: Menaces, political contacts, those Honourables currently in Government, like the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisana, the Honourable Mastella who were going to have to intervene to find a way to put an end to this thing and this before Cassation’s decision, then evidently, after Cassation’s decision, these [186] persons detached themselves, I don’t know, however the names were”¦

President: Cassation’s decision relating to the Re-examination Hearing?
A: Yes, to the Re-examination Hearing. These persons were named and they’re in the phone intercepts, with the records, the transcripts and everything.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You carried out other investigative tasks?
A: No.

Q: Do you recall a dossier that was acquired, was it acquired relative to everything an investigative task that had been effected?
A: Yes, the dossier had not been acquired, it had been seized and is still under seizure.

President: If you can be more precise about this thing that we know nothing about”¦ what does it concern?
A: It concerns a dossier where actually the Sollecito family, with this dossier, wanted to carry out a media attack on the investigations under way, on the Public Prosecutors who were following up on the case and everything else and it was given to the Telenorba television station and also to the Panorama newspaper, and even on this matter there are the phone intercepts that we have been talking about. Then it had been seized because a warrant writ had been made and our personnel went to the Telenorba headquarters and seized this dossier with the video-cassettes.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: And on the occasion of the publication of the images?
A: Yes, the images had been”¦ On the occasion of the publication of the images in a transmission, which now I don’t remember the name of, which had been transmitted by [187] Telenorba.

Q: Images that portrayed?
A: Portraying the body of Ms Kercher completely naked in the middle of the room and other things.

Q: No other questions.

President: The Civil Parties? No other question. The defence, please.
Defence ““ Maori: Counsellor Maori, Sollecito defence. Inspector Volturno, let’s start in order: investigation that you did in relation to the infamous bleach. You made service notes?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you tell us which ones they are?
A: There’s one for the 19th”¦

Q: Pick it up if you have it. And one from the 28th.
A: Yes.

President: You are authorised to consult your documents.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s start from the 19th; so you make this service note where you refer to the activity that you carried out a couple of days before?
A: From the 16th to the 19th, from the day the two containers had been seized to the 19th on which I make the note.

Q: Exactly. You took various people’s witness statements.
A: No, I had questioned them informally at the shop, not as for a statement.

Q: Who did you question?
A: Quintavalle, (Kiriboga) because she’s his shop assistant and the other girl whose name I don’t recall now.

Q: This Natalia.
[188] A: No, Natalia was not at the shop as a shop assistant, Natalia was the friend of (Kiriboga) who was doing the cleaning in Sollecito’s house, but she wasn’t working in the shop.

Q: You have said earlier that you had photographs of Amanda and Raffaele.
A: Exactly.

Q: And you had shown them to the persons who were to be found inside the food store?
A: Yes.

Q: So therefore both the owner and the shop assistants.
A: Yes.

Q: And you had asked if these persons had presented themselves or not inside the shop in the preceding days.
A: No, I had asked if they were customers of the shop, because I did that with all the shops in Corso Garibaldi, not only with Quintavalle, showing them the photos I was asking them if they were customers.

Q: You though say different things in your notations, not different, in the sense that you specify that you had questioned the owner, Mr Quintavalle, and he mentioned that Sollecito was one of his usual customers and that Ms Knox had come into the shop only on a couple of occasions together with the boyfriend.
A: Yes.

Q: You confirm this?
A: Certainly, it’s written in the notation.

Q: Shortly we will ask for the acquisition, the production of the two notations. Therefore in these words Mr Quintavalle made it known that Sollecito and Amanda Knox “¦ so, Amanda Knox had entered into the residence always in the company of Sollecito?
A: Yes, into the shop, on those two occasions on which she had entered she had entered always in the company of Sollecito.

Q: How come these were not annotated, an SI statement was not done?
[189] A: Because the notation is enough for me.

Q: They’re two different things.
A: Yes, but as regards the investigative tasks I informally question them and put in annotations, that’s also investigating.

Q: On that occasion, that is I’m still talking of the 19th, had (Kiriboga) been asked if she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, although given that I had asked”¦ wait, I had asked the owner and both the two assistants if they had ever seen these persons in the shop and they said to me: “yes, they’re usual customers, only that he comes more often and she’s come on a couple of occasions”. Then I asked if they had bought bleach in the days prior to the murder and nobody said to me: “no, I can’t say” and (Kiriboga) said to me: “I’m less able to say than Quintavalle because I’m located in the small goods section which is downstairs, while the bleach is on the side of the shop above under Mr Quintavalle’s supervision”.

Q: But you hadn’t asked (Kiriboga) whether she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, I hadn’t asked if she had been a maid.

Q: You then had spoken of the fact that (Kiriboga) subsequently, when interviewed, had made it known that she had in her turn been interviewed by me.
A: Yes.


Q: This statement, that I had then immediately deposited and afterward it was reviewed by my learned friend, have you read it?
A: (Kiriboga)‘s statement?

Q: My statement which I deposited.
A: No, I haven’t read it, I have mine.

Q: You haven’t read it?
A: No, I’ve read mine, the one that I’ve taken from [190] (Kiriboga), I haven’t read yours.

Q: (Kiriboga) during the course of the statement says that: “the same questions that were being put by you”¦” by you the police officers, were also being put by me.
A: Yes, she says, in fact it’s written in the statement.

Q: Therefore you again confirm not having read the statement that I’ve deposited?
A: No, I haven’t read your statement. She says to me: “Counsellor Maori asked me the same questions” and I’ve put it into the statement.

Q: Very good, there’s congruency between the questions on my part first and on your part subsequently. Let’s go the second; on what relates to the bleach, you on the 16th November effected a domestic search.
A: Yes, I was present at the search but I had not entered into the apartment.

Q: Yes”¦
A: And on the 16th November the two containers of bleach were seized.

President: In the house used by Raffaele Sollecito?
A: Yes.

Defence ““ Maori: I see in the seizure record signed by you that as regards the Ace brand bleach “on the cap there was a small sticker Conad brand bearing the numbers 085”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: 85 cents.

Q: Therefore referring to the price.
A: To the price.

Q: And how was this sticker?
A: Conad ““ Margherita.

Q: But was it faded, was it old, was it new?
[191] A: This I don’t remember, there was a sticker, the price was visible and”¦

Q: Who redacted the record actually?
A: Perhaps”¦

Q: Pick it up so that at least we can see”¦
A: Yes.

Q: Go to page 3, it’s the first item of evidence, exhibit RS3.
A: Yes.

Q: Here it says: “digits ““ after the numbers 085, which you have clarified as being the purchase price ““ digits barely visible with a magnifying lens.”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: That it was faded but the amount could be read.

Q: Therefore it was an old sticker?

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No!
Defence ““ Maori: Pardon me, I am asking the questions because you Madam Prosecutor want to suggest”¦
President: Counsellor, please!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: You’re right because the no came out too loudly.
President: Here though we can’t hear even the witness, but everyone is asked to not do so.
A: 085 the sticker was barely legible.

Q: Therefore was does it mean.
A: That it was a bottle”¦

Q: You remember now this sticker that we’ve identified?
A: Yes, yes, definitely.

[192] Q: Therefore was it an old sticker or a new one?
A: Old.

Q: Therefore surely prior to the 11 October as you have indicated?
A: Definitely, but prior as a price.

Q: As a purchase as we will see. In relation to the credit card the police had received the letter of 4 January 2008, in this letter the owner, manager Paolo Farsi, tells you that it is not possible to effect a check, a check relative to the fact that there had been withdrawals with that card on 2 November at the ATM in Perugia or environs, and this thing needed to be asked of the issuing bank directly.
A: Yes, not exactly.

Q: I’m reading it here.
A: Mr Farsi says that on the 2nd November and in the days immediately following there was no withdrawal of that amount made at that bank. If we want to know something more precise it was necessary to go to the English bank issuing the credit card, which was not done because from the moment that he tells me that no withdrawal of that amount was made neither on the 2nd day nor in the preceding days I had not considered it advisable to carry out this investigation.

Q: I’ll read out what has been written in this letter: “our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that”¦”
A: I have it.

President: Yes, also to facilitate the witness’s listening. Continue Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: “Our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that the only way to find out the information for that withdrawal [193] (branch involved, date and time) is to ask for this information from the English bank issuing the card itself, seeing that each issuing bank is certainly able to retrieve all the activity performed on each of its issued cards”. Then to my question, which you have already partially replied to, seeing that the 2nd of November, it was the 2nd of November from at least from the indications that had been given to you, that an ATM withdrawal had been made from the San Paolo bank, and seeing that the San Paolo bank had said to you: “it is necessary to ask the issuing bank to be certain who had made this withdrawal” why hadn’t you felt it within your scope to ask the English bank who had made this withdrawal at what time, on what date and at which branch?
A: Because I hadn’t thought it useful, because the period before this which you have read out tells me that on the 2nd of November nor on the days immediately preceding there was no 20 euro withdrawal either at the IMI-San Paolo bank in Perugia or from the other three branches in the province of Perugia.

Q: And if this withdrawal were to have been made somewhere else, in the province of Terni, you know perfectly”¦ you’re an experienced police officer”¦
A: No because the account statement”¦

President: Wait until the question is finished.
Defence ““ Maori: You’re an experienced police officer and you well know that all the ATMs have a security camera and therefore who, and if it were to have been withdrawn effectively on that 2nd of November by means of that credit card, the person who would have made the withdrawal [194] would have surely been captured by the camera. You’d never thought of this?
A: Counsel I have already said before that the check had been made, that the camera covers the entrance to the bank and not the ATM and we had received the account extract at the end of November and the bank resets the video every week. If I need to repeat it again just tell me!

President: Don’t worry, it could also be useful to us because these are particularly technical subjects and therefore maybe sometimes”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Apart from which there’s the memory in the camera by which it is possible to effect”¦
President: Counsel we will take notice.
Defence ““ Maori: An experienced person like you would have had to effect”¦
A: In fact.

President: Let’s only ask questions please.
Defence ““ Maori: I show you now this letter from National Wide, a fax from 30 November 2007, referring, precisely, to Miss Kercher, with the reference “cash San Paolo ““ IMI, Perugia, 20 euro of the 2nd November, AT 1440”, it’s information naturally in your possession.
A: I have it too in fact it’s IMI-San Paolo Perugia, not Terni, Counsel.

Q: I never said Terni, I only said”¦
A: No, you said: “if it were to have been made at Terni”, I can tell you that for Perugia the investigations had been [195] made both at the central IMI-San Paolo office and at the three branches in the province of Perugia and the day journal of all four ATMs had no trace of this 20 euro withdrawal, neither on the 2nd nor the days before.

Q: Therefore you didn’t feel it within your scope to ask the issuing bank”¦
A: No, for me that line of enquiry had finished.

President: Counsel he has already given a reply to this, perhaps”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Maybe the face of the killer could have been found if things had proceeded differently! We take notice on this, it wasn’t done and therefore I’m not able to ask further questions on the point.
President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Investigations at Giovinazzo. You have spoken before in response to the Public Prosecutor’s question of the fact that you had investigative leads in relation to a wounding done by Sollecito at school and therefore you had gone to effect a transfer of these investigations. Had you seized the class rolls?
A: No, we had photocopied them and did authentications of various notes on various class rolls.

Q: And which were the notes in relation to Sollecito, these serious notes?
A: No, they weren’t serious notes, they were notes in relation to Sollecito that we had however photocopied because we had considered it advisable to do so.

Q: For example, “Sollecito plays with his pen notwithstanding [196] being reprimanded [196] for it”.
A: It was a note.

Q: Therefore when a person is accused of murder you”¦
President: Excuse me, Counsel, let’s avoid opinions though! Let’s stay on circumstances of fact!
Defence ““ Maori: Another note: “Sollecito is throwing paper pellets at his classmate”.
A: Another note Counsel.

Q: These are the notes that you have”¦
A: They are notes however that I had had the disposition to acquire, to verify, I had photocopied them and I had them authenticated.

Q: You hadn’t found one note that Sollecito had wounded”¦
A: No, because”¦

Q: Allow me to finish.
President: Excuse me, let’s always wait for the question to finish. Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: You hadn’t found notes that Sollecito had wounded a classmate, boy or girl?
A: No because as I have already said before the school rolls of Molfetta Middle School, Einstein High School, Via Togliatti, had been sent for pulping because every five years they are sent for pulping and we found no trace in those rolls where maybe there was this note that we were looking for, but we had not been lucky.

President: You were looking for this on the basis of what?
A: There was an investigative lead that there had occurred, an incident during Sollecito’s scholastic attendance, [197] where there had been a girl injured with scissors and we were looking for a note of the sort, but the rolls had been sent for pulping and we had not found it.


Defence ““ Maori: What does “lead” mean?
President: What were you aware of? That a girl had been injured with scissors?
A: Exactly, during Sollecito’s school attendance and we had gone to see if the class rolls, during middle school and high school, were holding a note that would have referred to this incident, but unfortunately the class rolls had been pulped.

President: It could have been anyone in the class who could have occasioned this fact, not necessarily”¦
A: No, no, we had gone to see if there were a trace of this fact.

President: And who it might have been?
A: Exactly.

President: The hypothesis was that it could have been Raffaele Sollecito.
A: And we had gone to check, but the rolls were at the pulpers and so it had not been possible to look them up.

President: You had not been able to find neither the truth of the fact nor the author?
A: Definitely.

President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Just to clarify Mr President, seeing that your curiosity is also ours”¦
President: No it was a question pertinent to the question and the answer otherwise it would not have been able to be understood, it was not a curiosity. Please.
[198] Defence ““ Maori: This investigative lead what does it mean? Someone had said to you: “there was a wounding with scissors in Sollecito’s class”?
A: There had been report of this incident and we had gone to find out about it.

Q: But what does “there had been report” mean? An informant?
A: An informant.

Q: And this informant how”¦
A: I am not obliged to discuss informants.

Q: The informant’s name no, this is true, but you are obliged to tell us in what manner this information had arrived, by phone, through a person who turned up at the Police Station and had made known that a boy or a girl had been injured, this you can say.
A: By word of mouth, an encounter on the street with a person who was aware of certain things and this fact had been mentioned to him and we had gone to find out.

Q: And you found out that Sollecito was throwing paper pellets!
A: We had found out nothing because the rolls no longer existed.

Q: And he was disrupting the lesson!
President: No, excuse me Counsel. Let’s stay solely on the questions. Please.
Defence ““ Maori: You before had made reference to ambient intercepts, quicksanding, etc”¦
A: Yes.

Q: And there was reference to a proceeding in Cassation?
A: To an appeal in Cassation.

Q: A proceeding before the Supreme Court of [199] of Cassation, therefore an appeal for Cassation. Given that neither myself, Counsel Maori, nor my learned friend, Counsel Bongiorno, were the defenders at the time of the proceedings in Cassation, I was only in on the phase on the merits, not for the proceedings in Cassation, and Counsel Bongiorno had not even been nominated for any kind of proceedings, can you explain what type of quicksanding would have been carried out by these gentlemen and then if there had been any final outcomes in relation to these intercepts?
A: I have not spoken about quicksanding, I spoke of attempts to derail and quicksand and tamper.

President: Maybe these aspects can be circumstantiated.
A: There were intercepts Mr Justice on which I am not able to refer.

President: Therefore we are directed to the contents of the intercepted conversations?
A: Exactly.

President: Following these conversations however intercepted, about which you say you are not able to refer to, were you able though to carry out investigations, from succeeding investigative activity?
A: Yes, also following these intercepts the famous seizure was made of the dossier that had been made by the Sollecito family and that had been broadcast by Telenorba and by Panorama.

Defence ““ Maori: Were criminal proceedings begun?
A: Yes, criminal proceedings were begun which however I don’t believe form part of these proceedings, they are different proceedings.

Q: Do you know if the subjects have been investigated?
A: This I don’t know.

[200] Q: One other point Inspector. You in your experience have you done, not only in these proceedings but also in others, any activity directed with the prison for acquiring documents? In these proceedings you have acquired documents like memoirs, notebooks, from any of the accused?
A: No.

Q: You are certain of this?
A: I don’t remember, show me the record but I haven’t acquired”¦

Q: I’m not speaking of records, I’m speaking of”¦
A: If it was acquired there’s a record.

Q: I am speaking of whether if you have ever received from a non-commissioned officer of the Penitentiary Police a notebook, a memoir of Raffaele Sollecito’s from around the middle of the month of November 2007?
A: No.

Q: The notebook, this photocopied notebook, prison of Perugia, travel notes, which were the reflections of Raffaele Sollecito and which should have been handed over to us lawyers, were photocopied inside prison and they were handed over by whoever.
A: To me?

Q: Can you confirm this circumstance or not?
A: I’m telling you no.

President: Excuse me, Counsel. He has already twice replied no.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s formalise his negative response in a more forceful manner, and then we will see in the course of the proceedings if his declarations are truthful or not. I ask its acquisition, or rather I would like to produce therefore I ask acquisition into the documents of the court file of the two annotations of the 19 November 2007, [201] of the 28 November 2007 of Inspector Volturno, as well as a copy of Raffaele Sollecito’s class rolls from Molfetta High’s third class, as well as a copy of the San Paolo corporation letter of 4 January 2008, signed by the manager Paolo Farsi.
A: Sorry for interrupting, those photocopies are from the Giovinazzo middle school, not from Molfetta High.

Q: Yes, from the middle school.
President: So they’re from the middle school?
A: Yes, from the middle school because as I’ve been saying those from the high school”¦

President: And how come, do they have a different practice?
A: They have a different archival philosophy.

President: On these requests? But the Public Prosecutor had asked for the production of the San Paolo corporation letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: But why are we always making triplicate productions, we have already produced it.
Defence ““ Maori: It’s your letter.
President: The Public Prosecutor has produced the letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Then it’s Public Prosecutor production.
President: Yes, it’s Public Prosecutor production and the others are Raffaele Sollecito Defence productions.

Notice is taken that, given the absence of opposition, they are to be acquired for the purposes of utilisability.


Defence ““ Bongiorno
[202] Q: Counsel Bongiorno. Respecting the three politicians to which you have made reference to in the ambient intercepts, you have carried out subsequent investigations yourself personally, or did others, to see if these politicians had committed breaches, were they enrolled on the notification of crime register; or were they politicians, these three to which you have referred, mentioned in the ambit of conversations, and then that’s it, finished?
A: Mentioned in the ambit of conversations as persons to be looked at.

Q: Have you investigated if then effectively these politicians had been contacted, had they pressured Cassation?
A: No.

Q: Respecting instead the Telenorba thing”¦

President: Excuse me Counsel, you hadn’t investigated or else there were no”¦
A: No, I hadn’t investigated, they only emerged from the intercepts as persons who”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Because then confusion is created, in the intercepts there are these names, those that I have understood and he has confirmed to me, then they haven’t followed through on investigations on these matters and that’s it, finished. Instead the fact of Telenorba is a fact on which investigations do exist or don’t they.
A: There are investigations, the dossier had been seized.

Q: Who’s following up on the investigations?
A: Bari I think.

Q: The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bari?
A: Yes.

Q: With respect to these investigations, do you know what outcome they’ve reached?
A: No.

Q: When were they begun?
A: I think after the seizure of the dossier, of the [203] video cassettes, of the materials.

President: Therefore what period are we in?
A: This I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Do you know if case archivation was requested, or of remand to trial? You don’t know anything about this?
A: No, I don’t know.

Q: That is you at that point, in terms of jurisdictional competency as to what was relating to the Telenorba matter, Bari was dealing with it. Is this the idea?
A: Definitely.

Q: And so then you don’t know what”¦
A: No.

Q: No other questions.


Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Counsel Dalla Vedova for Ms Knox. I wanted two clarifications, the first in relation to the activity that you had carried out in dealing with the Marco Quintavalle matter.
A: Yes.

Q: You have said that you had asked the manager of the commercial enterprise if he had ever seen the two accused.
A: Exactly.

Q: Exactly what was the response?
A: He said that Sollecito was a usual customer while Amanda Knox had been seen on a couple of occasions in company with Sollecito.

Q: You asked this question of the other managers?
A: Yes, I went round all the shops in the street, but the others hadn’t recognised them.

Q: In Corso Garibaldi?
[204] A: Yes. The only other one who had recognised Sollecito’s photo was the other Conad above his place, where he had been seen one or two times, rarely however.

Q: And Amanda?
A: No, Amanda no.

Q: You carried out other investigations in the surrounding zones or just in Corso Garibaldi?
A: Corso Garibaldi and surrounding zones but I did not”¦

Q: But still all business concerns?
A: Yes, business concerns that had that product on sale, the famous bleach that then had been seized, it was done due to that.

Q: Therefore only business concerns that were selling this product, not in general?
A: Exactly, no.

Q: In relation to another activity where you appear to have participated in, that is the 16 November search of Sollecito’s house, in the objects collected there appear the entire contents of the topmost drawer of the kitchen cupboard, specifically 6 spoons, 4 knives, 5 (..) , 2 ladles, 1 breadknife with serrated edge 35 cm in length in total. You are aware that there already had been, a seizure had been made from that same drawer of another knife?
A: This no because I had gone back to work on 7 November and the day after I did the first search in Sollecito’s house where the clothing and intimate apparel were seized and then the second time, the 16th, the one that you are referring to, I participated in the search but I didn’t enter inside the house and they were bringing me the envelopes that I was putting into a big box about which I’m not able to tell you what there was in the envelopes, I can see from the subsequent record.

Q: I wanted to know whether you had already been ordered on a seizure”¦
[205] A: No, because I had come back to work on the 7th and that day when that seizure was done I wasn’t there.

Q: Because it appears that”¦
A: The seizure of that knife that you are talking about had been done when I was still not back at work, I came back on the 7th.

Q: However you knew that already”¦
A: No, I became aware gradually that investigations were going forward but I did not know that.

Q: Therefore when did you come to know of it? On the 16th you had gone at 16:30”¦
A: Yes.

Q: At 16:30 you already knew that in the case in hand Dr Chiacchiera and his assistants had already organised the seizure of a single knife on the 6th November.
A: I on the 16th knew what we had seized that day, not what had been seized prior because given that there were multiple apartments and a whole flood of”¦

Q: No, I was not asking you if you knew.
A: No, I didn’t know.

Q: I was asking if you knew if there had been a seizure already done at that house.
A: No I didn’t know, I came to know about it subsequently.

Q: Therefore after your one?
A: After.

Q: All the same you are aware that there exists a seized 31 cm knife with a 17cm blade retrieved from the same drawer?
A: If it’s that one in the kitchen yes.

Q: You know today.
A: No, not today, I knew about it before but in any case not on the date you’re saying, subsequently.

[206] Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You are aware of an article appearing in Panorama recently on the case containing an interview with members of the Sollecito family.
A: No, I am not aware of this.

Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Let’s go back for a moment to the bleach. You have perfectly described the investigations that you did, including on the items, the various items that had been sent from PAC 2000 to the two shops in Corso Garibaldi, therefore I won’t go back to that because I imagine the Court has understood perfectly. You have also said that the bleach found, one of the two?
A: Yes.

Q: One of the two containers found in Sollecito’s house had”¦ you can repeat it, a sticker?
A: The Conad-Margherita sticker with the price.

Q: With the price?
A: 0.85.

Q: Which therefore corresponded according to your investigations to what item?
A: To a consignment of bleach to one or other shop before the 11th of October.

Q: And had they been sold out before the 11th?
A: No, usually the shopkeeper puts an order in for a new box when he sees they are getting close to finishing.

Q: When was the subsequent reorder?
A: The subsequent consignment was the 5th of November and from the 11th of October the PAC-recommended price was €1.09, while up until the 11th of October it was €0.85.

[207] Q: When you had spoken of an old sticker what did you mean?
A: That it was a bit worn on top.

Q: And that the price was old?
A: No, the price was legible, with the magnifying lens you could in fact read it was corresponding to the price that was in force prior to the 11th of October.

Q: When you had interviewed Raffaele Sollecito’s cleaning lady”¦
A: (Kiriboga) or Natalia?

Q: The one you had asked”¦ let’s put it this way: what questions did you ask both of them as regards the bleach?
A: If they had ever used bleach inside Sollecito’s residence.

Q: And what had they replied?
A: Natalia, who is the one who actually did the last cleaning, up to Monday 5th”¦

Defence ““ Maori: Can we have the other two answer directly when they are heard?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: There is no prohibition on this because they are on the witness list.
Defence ““ Maori: I ask for the contents of the declarations!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Yes, but they are on the witness list therefore there is no prohibition, the important thing is that the main witnesses are then heard.
Defence ““Maori: No, the member of the Prosecutor’s Office cannot answer on this.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No, I can refer to it [208] then, why not?

President: Excuse me, everybody”¦.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: We’re arguing a point of procedure, but you can mention the main things that were said to you and have been said to you.

President: Therefore you had interviewed”¦
A: Yes, both the two girls who were doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Natalia, who was the one who had actually done the cleaning until 5 November 2007, had said that she had never used bleach because Raffaele Sollecito asked her to use Lysoform, that is she was using Lysoform inside Sollecito’s house, Viakal and other products but never bleach and she didn’t remember seeing the two containers under the sink. While (Kiriboga), when she was interviewed, subsequent to the meeting at the Maori law firm, said that a container had been used by her to wash the floor rags and for this reason she had asked Sollecito to buy some bleach, he went out and came back with another container which was likewise Ace bleach, same as the first, and with which she then washed those rags and remembered well that under the sink there were two containers, one half full and the other full.

Q: And this washing when would it go back to?
A: So then (Kiriboga) told us she had been working as a cleaning lady at Sollecito’s house until the end of September, then due to the state of her pregnancy she sent her friend.

Q: And how had you found these containers when you had seized them?
[209] A: One was half full and the other was full.

Q: Therefore the woman, let’s repeat this again one more time, the woman who instead did the cleaning subsequently?
A: Subsequently to this she said she had never seen the two containers in the house.


Civil party ““ Maresca: Counsel Maresca for the Kercher family. Inspector a clarification if you can tell us the people who were placed under telephone intercepts.
A: So then there was Francesco Sollecito, Vanessa Sollecito”¦

Q: Tell us also the”¦
A: Francesco Sollecito is the father, Vanessa Sollecito is the sister, then there was Francesco Sollecito’s current wife, Marisa Papagni, then there was the uncle, Giuseppe Sollecito, then there were still more people forming part of the family but I don’t remember the names.

Q: These phone intercepts were all carried out by you?
A: Yes, by me and by my colleagues.

Q: They were all authorized with the relative writ obviously?
A: Yes, they weren’t only telephonic, they were also ambient.

Q: You have mentioned earlier about attempted pressuring of political personages etc. Can you tell us the names of these political personages?
A: Yes, I have already said them before”¦

Q: And then they became the object of intercepts themselves, that is I’ll frame the question like this, did you also intercept the phone call of the political personage or else was it just as matter of choice?
A: No, it was a matter of choice, phone [210] calls to these people had not been intercepted and in any case the politicians were the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisano and the Honourable Mastella.

Q: Do you remember”¦
A: Persons who were named by them as possible”¦

Q: When you say “by them”, by everybody or by some members in particular?
A: By some members of the family, above all by the father and the sister.

Q: Do you remember if the lawsuits by the Kercher family for the Telenorba incident and for the Panorama incident had been filed at Perugia or at Bari?
A: This I don’t remember, in any case I know that Bari is proceeding as regards concerning the seizure of the material broadcast by Telenorba.

Q: Thank you.


President
Q: But the two people who were working at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, you took their witness statements [the SIs]?
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore those circumstances you were referring to them on the basis”¦
A: Yes, of the SIs.

Q: The house in use by Raffaele Sollecito how big is it? If you remember?
A: So then I seem to recall that it gives out onto a landing on the ground floor, there is the front door, there’s the kitchen on the right, a room used as a kitchen, then there is the bathroom immediately to the left of the front door, then stairs go up and there’s the bedroom upstairs.

Q: Therefore it covers these environments?
A: Yes.

[211] Q: And you before have hinted at the presence of the odour of bleach when”¦
A: Yes, when you go in there’s the kitchen and you could smell the odour of bleach.

Q: Where was it, was there a place where there was more”¦
A: Yes, the kitchen because there’s the tiled floor and given that the apartment was placed under sequestration and sealed when I went for the first time on the 8th of November to do the search this bleach odour was still permeating the inside.

Q: And the bleach in the kitchen environment?
A: In the kitchen environment.

Q: Although the kitchen was tiled.
A: It was tiled.

Q: The other environments instead, what type of flooring was there?
A: Look I think there might have been parquetry in the bedroom but I’m not sure.

Q: Very well, you may go.


Trial: More Testimony On Knox Acting Weird After Meredith Was Murdered

Posted by Peter Quennell




Overview

Click above for the full ABC website report.

Perhaps ABC News is attempting to turn over a new leaf here. Long conspicuous for banging the PR-inspired drum about a frame-up of Knox by those meanie Italians, ABC now seems the one American network attempting its own reporting.

This story was written by Ann Wise, apparently in Rome on 13 and 14 March,  with Zach Nowak, an American resident of Perugia, in the courtroom.

Witnesses on these two days included investigators D’Astolto and Volturno and interpreters Colantone and Donnino.


1) Testimony about Knox hitting herself on the head

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer in Perugia, told the court today that he was asked to come to the police station on Nov. 2, 2007, the day Kercher’s body was found, to help question Knox.

“She seemed calm, as if nothing had happened, while everyone else was crying,” said D’Astolto. However, when D’Astolto accompanied Knox to have her fingerprints taken, he said Knox “paced up and down the hallway pretty nervously, and brought her hands to her head, hitting herself on the temples.”

D’Astolto said her behavior worried him, and he offered to get her something to drink, but Knox said she was fine.

At bottom here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


2) Testimony about Knox shaking uncontrollably back at the house

Another interpreter, Ada Colantone, described Knox’s behavior two days later when she and the two Italian women who also shared the Perugia apartment were taken back to confirm that the knives found in the kitchen belonged there. Knox “started shaking,” recounted Colantone.

“She was shaking so hard that the coroner went over to her. She was visibly upset, and made to lie down on the couch.” She said Knox also began crying.


3) Testimony about Knox’s “emotional shock” at seeing Patrick’s text message

Anna Donnino, an interpreter for the Perugia police, said she was summoned to the police station to translate just after midnight. Knox was calm as police talked to her again about what she had been doing the evening of Nov. 1, the night Kercher was slain, Donnino said.

But Knox had an “emotional shock” when she was shown a text message she had sent to Patrick Lumumba, her boss at the pub where she worked occasionally. “She brought her hands to her head, and shook it,” Donnino told the court. And also: “It’s him, he did it, I can feel it,” referring to Lumumba.

The questioning stopped, and when Knox was asked if she wanted a lawyer, she said no, according to Donnino. Donnino repeatedly confirmed that Knox was never mistreated, and made her statements voluntarily.

Included in this post is a transcript of Anna Donnino translated by Catnip.


4) Testimony about Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno’s investigations

He testified that he took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased, and investigated the 20 euro withdrawal from Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records; and also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

On the next post here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


5) Finally, Knox rose in the court today to attempt some damage control:

In Italian courtrooms, defendants are allowed to make statements during their trial, and Knox stood today to refute the police depiction that they treated her well and that her statements were made voluntarily.

In a respectful but insistent tone, Knox said in clear Italian, “The witnesses are denying things about the interrogation. There were hours and hours that they don’t talk about, during which I confirmed my story and there was an aggressive insistence on the text message to Patrick,” she said.


6) Translation Of Testimony Of Assistant Fabio D’Astolto

Fabio Astolfo helped translate during interviews, helped with food and drink from the vending machines, and observed Amanda hitting herself while on the way to get her fingerprints taken.

Transcript translated is of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 68-84

[68]
Depositions of the witness Fabio D’Astolto

The witness, admonished pursuant to Article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

Particulars: Assistant Fabio D’Astolto, with the Perugia Police ““ Flying Section; born 22 July 1972 in Sydney (Australia).

President: Mr Public Prosecutor.

Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You on the date of 2 November 2007 were in service at the Perugia Police Station, in which office in particular?
ANSWER: I was at the Flying Section of the Station.

Q: You were born in Australia?
A: Yes.

Q: Your mother tongue is English?
A: Yes, yes, I lived in Australia until 14 years of age, I studied several”¦

Q: I wanted to know this, you remember the murder of Meredith Kercher, you took part in investigation activity or anyway had been called in relation [69] to the investigations that were being carried out?
A: I had been simply called as someone knowing English the afternoon of the 2nd.

Q: Do you remember the exact time?
A: It was afternoon but the exact time, exactly I don’t remember.

Q: Were you there in the Police Station?
A: I was at home and then they had called me from the Station saying that they needed a person who obviously knew the English language, I did nothing else but take the car and go to the Station.

Q: You knew that Meredith Kercher was dead and how she died?
A: No.

Q: What did you know?
A: I knew that there was a decease, but how”¦

Q: Knew from whom?
A: Yes, then when I had arrived at the Station that I went to the office they had mentioned that there was an English girl but I absolutely didn’t know how this girl had died.

Q: So it could even have been a natural death?
A: For me it could have been a natural death, suicide, I don’t know, anything.

Q: So no one had informed you?
A: No.

Q: So you arrive at the Station and then what happens?
A: I arrive at the Station, I go into the Inspector’s office, I go in, I sit down beside the Inspector and I begin, in quotes, to translate what they were asking me and then I was referring, that is I was re-translating the words of the signorina.

Q: You’d spent”¦
A: This was my job. Miss Amanda.

[70] Q: You’d spent how many hours at the Station?
A: A lot, up until around seven in the morning, more or less.

Q: You had in practice carried out the functions of an interpreter?
A: Yes, simply translating what was asked and then the reply.

Q: By Amanda Knox?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you say what behaviour Amanda had?
A: Her behaviour was, in my opinion, enough”¦

Intervention: No, not your opinion, let’s avoid evaluations!

President: Like a photograph.
A: Yes. Her behaviour was one thing only, in the sense that it seemed to me to be something calm enough, as if absolutely nothing had happened, this was her behaviour.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Were there also other girls?
A: Yes, there were other friends, I think acquaintances, anyway there were other girls inside the Station, at the Flying [Squad] and they were all obviously tried.

Q: What were they doing?
A: They were seated quietly, they were really”¦ some were crying, some were a bit distressed obviously by the event.

Q: Amanda, you had seen her also waiting to be heard or else you’d seen her only in the”¦
A: I had seen Amanda for the entire span of time that I was inside the Police Station because obviously then we were there also with the other persons, every now and then I was accompanying some girl down to get something to drink, something to eat, we have a little [71] automatic machine, a vending machine downstairs, so if they needed anything we were always obviously at their disposal.

Q: You saw her with Sollecito in the Station?
A: Yes, yes.

Q: This when, before being heard or after?
A: After.

Q: And after what was she doing?
A: There’s a small waiting room there by the Flying Squad offices where there was obviously everyone, the ones who were waiting to be heard etc etc, their behaviour they were kissing each other, they were hugging, every now and then they were laughing.

Q: Were they talking to each other?
A: Yes, they were talking also between themselves.

Q: Were they talking in a loud voice?
A: A lowered voice, I in fact had heard absolutely nothing of what they were saying. They were talking amongst themselves.

Q: But they had said something at that moment or one of the two”¦
A: Every now and then, I remember that Sollecito asked me once: “But what time are we finishing?” and I had simply told him: “a bit of patience, we’ll try and finish as quickly as we can”, to stay calm for a sec, it takes what it takes.

Q: You’ heard her first at the beginning, that is you’d translated the questions and the answers.
A: I had simply translated the questions that the Inspector had asked and then I’d referred obviously to Amanda, always asking her: “you’ve understood?” and then as Amanda was going me the reply I simply retranslated for the Inspector.

Q: She was demonstrating an ability to in part understand Italian?
[72] A: Yes, yes, she was understanding also because I more than once had asked her “Have you understood? Do I need to repeat the question?”, so.

Q: Then you had also seen her subsequently? Had there been things ascertained?
A: Yes, then I think that it was around four, now I don’t remember well, in the morning obviously, I had accompanied her down where there’s the Scientific Police to take her prints, for the mugshots basically. We had gone down, no problems, then at a certain point along the corridor, right in front of the Scientifica there’s a corridor, she was walking up and down in a quite nervous manner and every now and then she was taking her hands and she was putting them like this on her head, she was hitting herself a bit like this. I at a certain point I started to get a bit worried, if she was feeling ill, I don’t know. Then I asked: “Do you need some water? Do you want a coffee? Do you want to sit down for a bit? Don’t worry yourself, stay calm” and I remember that she had turned round as if to say”¦ in fact she’d said to me: “no, no, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything”. I’d left it at that, I’d said: “OK, it’s no trouble at all’, if you don’t need anything”.

Q: These blows she was giving herself”¦
A: Basically she was making this gesture here.

Q: Were they strong?
President: A gesture where she was lifting both her hands simultaneously to the height of her temples?
A: Yes, of her head.

President: Repeatedly?
A: Yes.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: She was hitting herself on the head with her hands or just lifting her hands to her head and that’s it?
A: No, no, she was hitting herself.

[73] Q: You have said in the statement of 21 December 2007 “strong enough”, you were saying that she was hitting herself rather hard, at page 10.
A: Yes I confirm that.

Q: You then tried, you insisted?
A: Seeing this scene I became worried and asked her: “Do you need some water? Do you need a coffee? Do you need something? Do we want to go a bit to the machines and get something?”

President: This, when is it that”¦ what time are we at, what day are we at, can you make it precise?
A: It was around four in the morning of the 3rd, so at night basically, around four in the morning if I’m not mistaken. Nothing, I asked her if she needed anything, she turned round and said, “no, I don’t need anything!”, “sorry, OK”.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Did you by chance hear what they were saying to each other, what she was saying?
A: No.

Q: What she was saying not only to Sollecito, but in the event to the other girls present, to the young English people for example?
A: No, I don’t remember having heard anything, also because she was whispering quietly.

Q: And after having taken her to the Scientifica she left there?
A: Yes, then I accompanied her back up.

Q: How was she after the mugshots actually?
A: She was calm enough and settled herself back down in the waiting room.

Q: So these blows to the head, she was giving them to herself before going to the Scientifica?
A: While we were downstairs, when we had gone down to the [74] Scientifica”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President excuse me because while I’ve been talking to Sollecito, and asking him questions, we have documents on the computer, it’s an electronic instrument”¦
Intervention: It’s linked to the Internet, Mr President!
Defence ““ Bongiorno: {incomprehensible "“ overlap of voices}
President: Everybody! Please, I point out that the order of proceeding in this hearing at this moment is”¦ given the defenders may speak with each other, there are no particular security reasons for which the accused need a different location, they can remain where they are, they can talk and also consult the documents they’re consulting. Please continue”¦
A: Then actually while we were down at the Scientifica, I repeat around four in the morning, more or less that was the time, we had gone down, at the moment in which we had entered the corridor where there was the door to the Scientifica, she started to walk up and down the corridor making this gesture of lifting her hands.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Multiple times, this?
A: Multiple times, yes.

Q: But you had asked her questions? Had there been something, had you encountered someone?
A: Nobody, we hadn’t encountered anybody, I had taken her and accompanied her downstairs.

Q: And as soon as you had arrived downstairs”¦
[75] A: As soon as we had arrived downstairs we entered into the corridor where the Scientific is she had started to make this gesture and to walk obviously nervously up and down the corridor.

Q: You didn’t occupy yourself with asking any more questions?
A: No, absolutely.

Q: Then you accompanied her back and that was it?
A: I’d accompanied her back up and then I did other things.

Q: I have no further questions.

Defence ““ Ghirga:

Counsellor Ghirga, Amanda Knox defence. It was the 2nd of November when they called you, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Now 15:30 or 16:30 we’re in the Police Station. You were at home, you said?
A: Yes.

Q: Was your morning shift finished, or else were you on holidays? You were at home?
A: Yes, I was at home in any case.

Q: And they were calling you for?
A: They were calling me saying”¦

Q: You were at home, but I asked you: had you finished your shift, were you on holidays?
A: Honestly I don’t remember. I was simply at my home where a call arrived from the Station saying that they needed a person who knew English. No problem, I did nothing else but take the car and go into the Station.

Q: So you take the car and go to the Station?
A: Yes.

Q: Why are you still today saying: “for me, it could have been an accidental death?” If they were calling you that [76] first afternoon, you go to the Station”¦
A: For only a bit.

Q: You’ve used this expression.
A: Then, for a bit only”¦

Q: Mr President he cannot contest what I’m saying!
A: No, I’m not contesting anybody, if you make me respond I will explain.

President: He’s not contesting, he’s waiting to be able to respond.
A: If I’m made to respond I will explain everything.

President: The defence is asking how come they were calling you at home”¦
A: They called me at home.

President: You knew if there was”¦
A: No, absolutely, I went up to the Station, I entered the Inspector’s office, I sat myself down and I began to translate, that’s it.

Defence ““ Ghirga: I’m a step before that, you have said: “for me it could have been an accidental death”, yet you say: “once I arrived at the Station I was informed about something”, is that so? Relating to the death of the girl.
A: Now then after ten minutes or so, twenty minutes, I don’t remember perfectly now, obviously I tried to understand what might have happened, but I was aware that there had been a decease, but I was unaware for what reason.

Q: A couple of questions on the modality of exercising the interpretative activity.
A: Yes.

Q: So you get to be called because you know English, you’ve said, and it couldn’t have been anyone else but, who was translating Inspector Ficcara’s questions.
A: Yes.

[77] Q: Therefore questions in Italian translated into English for Amanda Knox, Amanda was replying and you were translating into Italian the replies given in English?
A: Yes.

Q: Is that so?
A; Yes.

Q: You were translating the questions and you were translating the answers?
A: Exactly.

Q: In the first three pages of the statement of the 2nd, which is in the case file, I don’t see one question, can you explain why?
A: By question is meant, obviously in the moment in which we were taking the summaries [the SIs] it needed a second to say: “What do you call”¦”

Q: No, no, no, excuse me for interrupting, you’re going ahead. I don’t see one question asked by Inspector Ficcara and translated by you, how come?
President: Counsel is asking, in the statement you had said”¦
Defence ““ Ghirga: Not the personal details or the address.
President: You’ve said that you were translating the questions that were being put to Amanda Knox, but Counsel is saying: “I can’t find the questions in the statement”.
A: In the moment in which I was being asked to translate what it was called, where it was obviously needed to formalise the summaries.

President: Yes, but at the moment of the exposition of the facts, who was transcribing it into the record?
A: The Inspector.

President: You were translating into Italian and into English?
A: Yes.

Defence ““ Ghirga: Then he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t know why the questions were not translated.
[78] Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: But translated or transcribed?
Defence ““ Ghirga: Listen, in the first three pages there isn’t”¦
President: Counsel it’s clear.
Defence ““ Ghirga: It was only to understand the modality and that’s it.
President: Do you know how come the questions weren’t also put into the record?
Defence ““ Ghirga: When he says: “I was translating the questions”, he’s not saying something true because the questions aren’t there.
President: Excuse me, Counsel, please! Why aren’t the questions you say you were translating also reported in the record, if you know.
A: I don’t know.

Defence ““ Ghirga: And the last three are: “RTQ ““ replies to question”, here as well do you know why?
A: I don’t know.

Q: Do you know at what time the bar at the Station opens in the morning?
A: The Station bar varies, the times vary every now and then, in the sense that if there’s a service or anything else, a special service, I don’t know, usually they also open earlier, usually around a quarter past seven, 7:20, I don’t know the opening times exactly because I hardly ever go there.

President: Who manages the bar? Internal Station personnel?
A: No, no, if I’m not wrong they’re external, they have a contract [79] if I’m not mistaken.

President: So they are called in for a particular need?
A: It happens, it’s happened often.

Defence ““ Ghirga: No, I haven’t understood then.
A: The opening hours”¦

Q: You’ve answered about the opening hours, there’s no bar inside the Station?
A: Yes, it is, of course! Sure there is!

Q: You’ve said no now.
A: It’s on the first floor.

Q: Who manages it? Someone private?
A: I think that it might be someone private.

Q: You don’t know the opening hours?
A: Exactly, no, because I hardly ever go there, I’ve been only a very few times.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Just one clarification: do you remember the exact time that you arrived at the Station?
A: Frankly I don’t remember because I wasn’t standing there with a watch, usually I don’t even wear a watch.

Q: Was it in the afternoon or in the evening?
A: No, no, in the afternoon.

Q: Could we say around five or around six?
A: No, it was earlier, at five or six I was already in the Station, it was earlier, much earlier.

President: It was still daytime?
A: Yes, yes.

President: Daytime still?
A: Yes, yes.

President: It’s November, it was still daytime, afternoon.
[80] A: Yes, although I repeat I don’t remember the precise time because I don’t wear a watch, out of habit, and I wasn’t there either to look at the clock honestly, they had called me, they needed someone, I take the car and go, inasmuch as I had no particular need at home and I went.

President: He doesn’t recall. Please, Counsel.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: You carried out the function of interpreter also with the other non-Italian girls who were present at the Station, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Exactly what did you do? Were you translating questions also for them?
A: I have to repeat, my job was to translate”¦

Q: I’ve understood that, I asked you if you also interpreted for the other girls, for example Ms Jade Bidwell?
A: Yes.

Q: And also other girls as well?
A: Yes, I remember having also done translation for the other girls.

Q: It was always an interview with an Italian functionary who was asking questions in Italian and you were translating into English and then the English person was answering in English and you were translating into Italian or was there”¦
A: There were summary informations [SIs].

Q: Was it only an enquiry if they needed something, like you referred to earlier, because you were also concerned with offering them a coffee, some water, taking them downstairs.
A: Certainly. Now the point is this: we are human beings to start with, so if a person needs something we have to”¦ if they need a coffee, a glass of water, something else, there are [81] machines downstairs, they’re accompanied downstairs and they’re given it, that’s it. We aren’t”¦

President: Yes, but Counsel was asking, in addition to this activity, which before you had described in relation to Amanda Knox, you have also carried out the function of interpreter and in the examination of Amanda Knox and also in the examination of the other English girls.
A: Sure.

President: How many other English girls if you’re able to recall? All of them or “¦
A: No, now I don’t recall, I think it might have been three, now I don’t remember exactly.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Do you remember having taken part in the statementing of the SIs of Jade Bidwell, mentioned earlier, on the 2nd at 21:30?
A: Possibly yes, although I repeat I frankly don’t remember the names. I don’t remember the names of these girls.

Q: Another clarification in relation to your activity at the Police Station, when you took Ms Knox to the Scientifica to do the prints and photos had you informed her what thing you were going to do?
A: Yes.

Q: And what did you say to her?
A: I said to her that we were going downstairs, that we had to take these prints and that’s it, like what was done with all of the others.

Q: And you also accompanied the other English girls in this activity?
A: I don’t remember, I think no.

Q: You don’t remember?
A: I don’t remember, I honestly don’t remember.

Q: But the other girls also had had the same [82] necessity to do the ID-ing with their fingerprints?
A: I think so, I say I think.

Q: But they were foreigners, was there someone helping the girls in explaining what was happening? If you were with Amanda how was it done? Was there someone else?
A: The point is also this, that some of these girls were also understanding Italian a bit, therefore definitely my colleagues had explained it to them definitely, then I must reiterate I am only one person.

Q: There was some other interpreter that evening?
A: I don’t think so.

Q: So you, from the afternoon of the 2nd until four in the morning of the 3rd, were the sole official interpreter who was working inside the Police Station for all the foreigners, for all the foreign girls?
A: Yes, I think so.

President: You were however the only one, that’s what he’s asking, that you knew about?
A: That I know of I think it was only me.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova:

In this whole period of time you had always stayed near Amanda?
A: During the summaries and then when I took her for the prints and mugshots, then I was present while she and the other friends and with the other friends were in the Squad office, in the waiting room, so I was there next to the wall, standing there, watching.

Q: And listening to the conversations?
A: No.

Q: But if you were standing there”¦
A: Obviously when they were talking aloud I was hearing something, but it wasn’t that I was”¦

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox’s phone rang, [83] did she receive calls?
A: This I don’t remember.

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox had made calls?
A: I don’t remember this either frankly.

Q: Do you remember whether in translating the questions the subject of sexual activity had been put to Ms Knox? If anyone had asked her questions on this subject?
A: I don’t remember.

Q: You don’t remember this subject?
A: No.

Q: And do you instead remember the subject of the vaseline? Whether this question in relation to a presumed usage or in any case the presence of this material had been put?
A: This I absolutely don’t remember. This is news to me, I don’t remember.

Q: You remember in any case whether Amanda Knox had a phone?
A: If I’m not mistaken yes, I think yes.

Q: And the other young people had a phone?
A: I think so, some had used it, I think so.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: But this is cross-examination, they’re not questions”¦
President: Let’s limit it to what was the examination.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Although seeing that he was changing his stance and that he had acknowledged the fact that”¦
President: In fact these questions are being put.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Since it appears from the documents that almost everyone was making phone calls, it would have helped me [84] to understand how come he can claim that the young people were quiet, therefore I wanted to know if anyone had made calls for example to their parents or in any case at that moment.
President: So he remembers that they had them, from their behaviour, under this aspect.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Exactly, under the aspect of their behaviour, when he had claimed that the other girls were quiet, I wanted to better understand what led him to that conclusion, that’s all. Thank you, I have finished the examination.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Only one question: when the bar in the Police Station is closed, if you want to have a coffee, a tea, a brioche, a bottle of water, do you have to go outside?
A: No, actually on floor zero, on the ground floor”¦

Q: Which is the same floor where there is the bar also?
A: No, the bar is on the first floor. So on the ground floor there are three small machines, one for drinks, the other obviously for snacks etc etc, then there’s the other one for coffee, like those outside.

Q: Which work 24 hours a day?
A: Yes, yes, 24 hours a day.

Q: Is the electricity switched off?
A: No, 24-hour, they’re always on.

Q: Thank you.

President: Very well, you may go.

- - -
Note: “fotosegnalazione” ““ “the taking by police authorities of a person’s fingerprints and face-on and profile photos for identification purposes” ([Italian Neologism Observatory]) ““ has been translated here as “˜(fingerprinting and) mug shots’, according to context. Usage of the term carries no imputed meaning as to legal status.



On the next post here is a full translation of the testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno by Catnip.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Patrick Lumumba Seeks Damages For His Time In The Big House

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the story.

Knox is being tried on a charge of calunnia for her false implication of Patrick (see an explanation of calunnia at bottom). Patrick was of course the owner of the Le Chic bar, now closed because of the heap of trouble that his former waitress Amanda Knox dropped on his head.

He was held in Capanne Prison for about two weeks as a suspect, after she alleged (voluntarily, in writing) that she had seen him in the house on the night of the crime. And heard Meredith’s screams as he committed the murder.

Might he perhaps not have been so ticked if she had recanted the accusation any time in the next two weeks? Maybe. Maybe not. But Knox might easily have done. Nobody was pressuring her to do otherwise.

This seems an open-and-shut case. The evidence is all there. So Knox lives and learns. We hope.

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

 


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Powerpoints #11: Countering The Spin By The Defenses On The Recent Cottage Break-in

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

TJMK is getting a reputation for cool, precise, painstaking, and illuminating examination of the evidence made available.  We have frequently wanned others not to jump the gun or to mischaracterize known evidence when so very much of it is not yet in the open.

Just over two weeks ago, on 18 February, the Italian police discovered that in recent days intruders had broken their way into the girls’ apartment in the house on Via della Pergola.  The intruders had entered through the kitchen window to the north, opening onto the balcony.

This strange happening sparked many concerned questions, especially in Italy. For example, was the break-in perhaps related to the crime of 1 November 2007 and the trial now underway?

Nobody knows as yet. Police investigations continue. But it is just possible that it WAS related to the case. And if it was, there seem to be several possibilities as to why:

1) Proof of easy access for burglars?

The break-in could have been a demonstration of how a thief could very easily make his way into the cottage, similar to the notional “lone wolf” attacker that Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Bongiorno has been promoting as the real perpetrator of the crime.

2) Proof of contamination of DNA evidence?

If an undetected thief could have entered the cottage between 2 November 2007 and the date when the bra clasp with Raffaele’s DNA was collected in mid-December, that could be an explanation for the unlikely DNA contamination which the defence teams claim might have occurred.

3) Modification or removal of remaining evidence?

The break-in could have taken place with the object of modifying or removing some remaining evidence which the police have not yet collected, evidence which may soon become significant for example in the course of a confession by one of the defendants or Rudy Guede..

4) A threat or message to the police?

The fact that during the break-in some knives in the cottage were arranged in a suggestive manner, and one was placed on a police envelope (apparently brought in by the intruders and unrelated to the previous evidence gathering) might point towards the intruders making some threat to the police, or trying to send some message to them.  This possibility becomes a bit more significant when one considers that the break-in occurred just before the resumption of the trial, when the 12 police investigators who were involved in the crime-scene investigation were all just about to give their testimonies before the court.

5) Unrelated possibilities to explain the break-in?

Perhaps it really was some sort of satanic rite. Or a prank or a hoax. Or it might simply have been some itinerants getting in to spend a night out of the extreme cold.

Defense spin has been attempted along most of these lines, to suggest that the prosecutors and crime scene investigators really did botch the investigation.

The most outlandish of all claims was in the blog section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. That, because the perpetrators of this break-in quite easily got in through the KITCHEN window it proves they easily could have got in through a BEDROOM window. And this despite the facts that:

These Powerpoints here set out to demonstrate that there is no possible parallel between this THEORETICAL break-in through Filomena’s bedroom and the ACTUAL break-in through the kitchen window.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cartwheels Or No Cartwheels? You Be The Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: examples of cartwheels, not by Amanda Knox]

The ever-careful and supremely objective Steve Shay has another scoop!

This below is Mr Shay’s report to gullible Seattleites (if there are any left) in the, ah, very well-edited West Seattle Herald:

“Amanda accompanied Raffaele to the station where he was then interrogated by Monica Napoleani, the Perugia chief of homicide. Amanda was there to support him, as he had supported her before, when she was interrogated,” said Chris Mellas. Chris Mellas is the husband of Edda Mellas, Amanda’s mother. Both live in West Seattle.

“She was actually sitting alone in a separate room waiting for her boyfriend, and Napoleani said in court Friday (Feb. 27) that when she went to get some water she walked by the room where Amanda was and saw Amanda “˜doing the splits.’ She said she thought this was “˜odd behavior,’ and that Amanda should have instead appeared to be mourning the loss of Meredith.

The tabloid press further sensationalized her statement by changing “˜the splits’ to “˜cartwheels,’ and the mainstream press ran with that. “

“Amanda does yoga to calm herself down and relieve stress, and she told her father and me that’s why she was doing the splits. Also, in those four days she was in mourning over Meredith, which followed her outrage. Six hours after the discovery (of the body) she was like, “˜Let’s find the bastard who killed her.’”

Meanwhile, back here in the real world….  This was the actual report from the BBC News:

Meredith Kercher murder suspect Amanda Knox “turned cartwheels” in the police station after the killing, a police witness told a court in Perugia, Italy.

Former flying squad chief Domenico Profazio said he had to tell Ms Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito their behaviour was “not appropriate”.

From Seattle’s own Post-Intelligencer

They were always together, Napoleoni said, and did not want to be separated. While police questioned Sollecito, Knox waited in a side room where policewoman Lorena Zugarini, also present at Knox’s questioning, said she saw Knox doing a cartwheel and the splits. Zugarini said she told Knox it was “not the right place” for such activities.

From the UK’s Sky News:

Ms Napoleone also described Knox’s unusual behaviour at the police station where she had been taken for questioning. She said: “She had complained that she was feeling tired and at that stage I told her that she could go if she wanted.” “She said she wanted to stay, Sollecito was also at the station at the time and she said she wanted to wait for him.

“A few minutes later I walked past a room at the police station where she was waiting and I saw Amanda doing the splits and a cartwheel. It was around 11am on November 5th.

From the UK’s Daily Express:

The exchange came as Inspector Ficarra, of the city’s Flying Squad, described 21-year-old Knox’s bizarre behaviour after her arrest following the killing in 2007.

“I was in the elevator and when I got to the floor where the Flying Squad department is the door opened and I saw Amanda doing floor exercises,” he said.

She was doing the splits, cartwheels and arching herself backwards, pressing her hands on the floor. I said to her, “˜What on earth are you doing? Is this the right way to behave?’

From the UK’s Independent:

Chief Inspector Monica Napoleoni told the court where the pair are on trial for murder how, at the police station as they waited to be first questioned, Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox “appeared completely indifferent to everything, lying down, kissing, pulling faces and writing each other notes. They were talking to each in low voices the whole time ““ it was impossible that they were behaving like this when there was a dead body in their house. It seemed strange to everybody”. Ms Knox had also “turned cartwheels and done the splits,” she said.

From the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Ms Napoleoni recalled thinking that Miss Knox and her boyfriend seemed “indifferent to everything” when they were called to a police station in Perugia for questioning on Nov 5, 2007. It was there that the American turned cartwheels and did the splits.

And the last word, as always, from the London Times:

Ms Napoleoni said she and other officers had seen Ms Knox “doing cartwheels and the splits” while Mr Sollecito was being questioned and she was waiting her turn. Ms Napoleoni said she found this “very strange”. She said Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito “had a bizarre attitude throughout - they were laughing, kissing and pulling faces at each other.

Pehaps Chris Mellas and Steve Shay and Ken Robinson of the West Seattle Herald should discover the tubes of the internet.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trial: Wrap-Up On The Testimony For This Week From Officers Who Questioned Knox

Posted by Nicki




1.Monica Napoleoni

Today’s hearing resumed with the deposition of Ms Monica Napoleoni, the head of Perugia’s homicide squad, which had been halted yesterday.

Some of her statements were extremely touching and sad. For example, she reported on the text messages that were found on Meredith’s phone from her parents who, having heard on the news broadcasts that a British student had been murdered in Perugia, wanted to make sure that their daughter was fine. [A heartfelt comment on this by reader TT on the post below this one]

Ms Napoleoni also described what she saw when she entered the murder room and leaned over Meredith’s lifeless body. She reported that Meredith body had been cut about so ferociously that it was very hard for her to even look at the wounds.

Ms Napoleoni also talked about a female shoe print that was found next to the pillow near Meredith’s body, a footprint of a size compatible with Knox’s.

During cross-examination, Sollecito’s defense showed Ms Napoleoni pictures of the cottage rooms taken while the search by the Flying Squad and Scientific Police was taking place. She pointed out that shoe covers and gloves were always being worn by everybody present.

In one instance on December18th when the bra clasp was found and sequestered “whole overalls were used by everyone, since the scientific police were at work”.

Ms Monica Napoleoni confirmed the impartial handling of Knox on the night of 5-6 November which she briefly witnessed, and also confirmed that she witnessed “Knox”˜s gymnast show” and improper behaviour of the couple during the course of investigating such a tragic event.

2. Rita Ficarra

Ms Rita Ficarra, the officer in charge of the Perugia Flying Squad, reported about the night between November 5 and 6, when the two defendants were interrogated and later arrested in the wee hours of November 6th.

Knox turned up at the police station, although she hadn’t been asked to, “because Sollecito had been requested to be interviewed and she was accompanying him” Ms Ficarra said.

She was not required to stay, and could have gone home any time.

“I encountered her in the waiting room doing splits, cartwheels and bridges. She was showing off her gymnastic capabilities”. Ms Ficarra added that she reproached Amanda, and asked her to quit her inapt behaviour, as in addition to her gymnast show, Knox kept French-kissing, stroking and hugging Sollecito.

Ms Ficarra felt that was very inappropriate behaviour to be going on in a police station while waiting to be heard concerning a gruesome murder.  “Everybody else was terrified” Ms Ficarra said “except for Amanda and Raffaele, who seemed indifferent, were smirking, and kept on French kissing.”

Ms Ficarra then described Knox’s interrogation and the false accusations against Patrick Lumumba.

Ms Ficarra testified that when Knox was asked about Mr Lumumba”˜s text message to her on the night from his bar, “she started crying and wrapping her hands around her head, she started shaking it, and then she said: it was him”¦Patrick killed her”.

At this point, Ms Ficarra said “I stopped the interrogation and informed the judicial authorities”. Ms Ficarra stressed that “Amanda was never mistreated” and that “she had a chance to rest, go the bathroom, and eat”.  She insisted on writing out and signing statements both then and after being warned of her rights. She declined to have a lawyer present. 

Ms Ficarra’s deposition continued: “After Knox was notified of her arrest ““ in English - she asked for a pen and paper, saying: I’ll give you a present”. Ms Ficarra added “Knox asked me to read what she was going to write before she was taken to jail, because she wanted me to have a clear idea about what had happened”.

Ms Ficarra maintained that “Knox was never subjected to threats or violence…. she was treated firmly, but with cordiality”.

3. Knox and Sollecito

As Andrea Vogt reported, Knox and Sollecito both made impromptu declarations during today’s trial session.

Knox made a very brief statement in Italian, claiming “They did offer me drinks and food, but they started treating me as a person only after I made those declarations”. She did not elaborate any further.

Sollecito’s declaration took more time. He claimed that during his interrogation on the evening of November 5, he asked to make a phone call to his father but was denied it. He then asked for permission to call a lawyer, but he was not allowed to do so. He did not report any mistreatment or any physical or psychological abuse from the police.

4. A comment on this.

It should be noted that when Sollecito asked for a lawyer’s assistance, he had not yet even become a suspect. His status was still that of a “person knowledgeable about the facts” who is not legally entitled to insist on a lawyer being present. 

Not an actual suspect. Simply a person who could possibly yield useful information to the investigators. So why would someone who is being heard as a “helper” be so concerned about getting a lawyer? If he really had nothing to hide?

The next trial dates are March 13 and 14, 20 and 21, and 27 and 28.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?

Posted by Brian S




1. Where We Stand

Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January he made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining key areas of the report so that we too may decide on the rationales.

2. The Final Position Of The Body

Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.

This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.

Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.

Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.

Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.

Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.

Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.

He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.

Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.

Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.

Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.

Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?

It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.

The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.

Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.

In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.

But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?

Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Daily Mail’s Jan Moir Wants Due Process Respected By Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for influential Jan Moir’s full column.

It is mainly about UK cases of parents not respecting the process, but the Knox campaign also gets a mention.

When Amanda Knox was arrested in Italy in connection with the murder of Meredith Kercher, her family began an incantation of her innocence and a blaring defence of her character that continues to this day

The defense PR campaign here seems to be unique in recent United States legal history. Also TV networks paying out very big bucks for exclusives with defendants’ relatives, as was just reported about ABC, seems something of a first here.

Typically the situation is that it is the victim and their relatives who get all the attention. Often on steroids. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Jan Moir is surprised.

The name of the victim here is Meredith, of course.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Trial: Prosecution Resumes: The Court Agenda For Friday And Saturday

Posted by Nicki

The two”“day session will re-enact the early phase of the investigation, and a number of witnesses are expected to be heard. The session will proceed in chronological order, and the Prosecution will go first.

Throughout trial, the Prosecution have the largest number of witnesses along with Sollecito’s defense (each estimated at about ninety witnesses), followed by Knox’s defense (sixty-five) and the civil plaintiffs represented by Mr F. Maresca. (sixty).

All these witnesses will be called to testify over a period of some weeks. For the moment, trial hearings have been scheduled only until the end of April. The next hearings will take place on February 13, 14, 27, and 28, also March 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28, and also April 3, 4, 18, 23 and 24.

It is presumed that the first one on the stand for the Prosecution will be Mr F. Bartolozzi, the Chief of the Perugia Postal Police, who will detail the sequence of events leading to the departure of two policemen to the house in Via della Pergola, in order to inform Filomena Romanelli that her mobile phone had been found in someone else”˜s yard. Mr Bartolozzi will also give an account of when and how the second mobile phone (Meredith’s) was found and reported to the police.

Next to be heard will be the Inspector and Assistant that first arrived at the apartment, met Sollecito and Knox, and found Meredith’s body approximately 45 minutes later. They will give an account of the series of events leading to the discovery of the crime scene. Also the carabiniere who took Sollecito phone call

More witnesses later on Friday or on Saturday will include: the lady who found the phones in her yard (Ms Lana) and her two children. Also the four friends who arrived at the cottage right before Meredith’s body was discovered: Marco Zaroli, who had received a phone call from his girlfriend Filomena (alerted by Knox) asking him to go by the house and check what was going on; and Luca Altieri (a friend of Zaroli)), and Paola Grande (Altieri’s girlfriend), and Filomena herself. Also Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s boyfriend, and the other boys who lived downstairs.

These testimonies are all very important, but some may prove to be crucial. The Postal Police, in order to establish once and for all if Sollecito called 112 before or after their arrival. And Filomena who, among other things, should testify as to whether Meredith locked her bedroom door every time she wasn’t inside as Knox had claimed.

 

 


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory

Posted by Brian S


And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.

First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.

Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.

Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.

Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:

Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)

Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi

The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.

The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.

Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.

They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.

Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.

On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.

The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.

Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.

Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.

Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.

This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.

Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.

It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.

Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.

So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.

He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.

He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.

Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:

[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]

1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.

2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.

He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?

She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.

3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.

But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.

This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.

4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.

This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.

Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction

Posted by Brian S


Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

A week ago, just within the three-month deadline, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.

Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.

He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.

His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:

Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.

Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.

He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.

He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.

By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:

On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith “¦talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (”¦), we met in the evening around half eight, like that.

While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.

With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.

In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.

Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.

Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:

Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.

He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.

Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.

Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.

Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.

Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:

...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute:

Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her?

“¦Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help
“¦There was a progression of violence
“¦The victim sought to fight back

If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl ““ it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.

Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.

The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.

Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.

Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own

Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.

Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.

Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.

However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.

He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.


Amanda Knox Defence Team Strongly Objects To Seattle Sliming Strategy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Luciano Ghirga (left) and Carlo Della Vedova.

Click for a larger image. They are apparently thoroughly ticked off. Here’s our previous post on exactly what made them so ticked.

Once again, the demand from the Amanda Knox legal team goes out: Pipe down, Seattle. And give Amanda Knox a break.

Translation below by poster Kermit is of the story in today’s La Nazione

“Those American personalities are not helping Amanda”

Lawyer Ghirga: “I have spoken with Prosecutor Mignini”

by Enzo Beretta - Perugia

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova.

These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

Luciano Ghirga, lawyer for the American accused by the prosecutor of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, once again distances himself from the Stars-and-Stripes “know-it-alls” who repeatedly have tried to throw mud on the work of investigators and have even personally attacked Giuliano Mignini, head of the murder investigation.

There is strong evidence which supports the prosecution, unlike the “macaroni” pleading endlessly and one after the other on American television broadcasts, who pay lawyers, show-men and private investigators not much inclined to read the documentation.

That documentation was studied a lot by the Review and Court of Appeal judges, who confirmed preventive prison for the suspects, and the GUP Paolo Micheli, who has sentenced Rudy to thirty years in prison (with the abbreviated trial) and sent the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend to trial. This is a validation of the good work done by the investigators.

Lawyer Ghirga has not acted on a video in which the correctness of the findings of the forensic investigators is called into question, thereby attacking the protagonists of the case. But he will play his cards at the appropriate time in the trial, which resumes Friday.

“On a personal level I expressed my impressions to Dr. Mignini,” Ghirga said.

The lobbying work by Amanda’s side fits into a framework of traditional adversity by Americans when their fellow citizens are left in the hands of another country’s justice.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…






Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Judge’s Report On Guede Sentence Suggests Roles Of Knox And Sollecito

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Seems rather a bombshell for the remaining two defendants. A shapeshifter, even.

Last October, Judge Micheli [bottom here] released a summary rationale of his verdict and sentencing of Guede. And last night, the judge released his full report on the rationale.

Richard Owen of the London Times [above] seems the only reporter so far to have read all 106 pages - how we wish American coverage could achieve this superb level. Some excerpts:

Judge Paolo Micheli, releasing a report on his reasons for sentencing Rudy Guede, 22, to 30 years in prison in October for his part in the murder, said the killing was “a group crime”. Guede had not himself cut Ms Kercher’s throat. But there was “cast iron proof” that he had taken part in the murder, even if he did not strike the “mortal blow”.

Under Italian law a judge has to outline the “motivation” behind his verdict. Unlike Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, Guede… opted for a “fast track” trial in the hope of a reduced sentence.

Judge Micheli was also the pre-trial judge who in October said there was enough evidence against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito for them to be sent for trial. The prosecution alleges that Guede tried to sexually assault Ms Kercher while Mr Sollecito held her down and Ms Knox toyed with a knife against her throat, which she then used to stab her. Judge Micheli said he accepted that there was “complicity” between the assailants, but said some aspects of the prosecution reconstruction were “fantasy”.

Reconstructing the crime in his 106-page report, Judge Micheli said the first blow was struck at Ms Kercher while she was standing up. He said she was killed because she refused to take part in a sexual game which “escalated into violence and got out of control”.

Judge Micheli said Guede was “a liar” and there were “no extenuating circumstances”. “Even someone who wanted to believe him would find it impossible,” the judge wrote. He added: “It is credible that Guede entered the house because he was let into it by someone else, and that someone could only be Amanda Knox.”

He said there had been an “agreed plan” to satisfy “sexual instincts” which ended in “murderous intent”. Guede had continued to try to assault Ms Kercher sexually even when a knife was produced and even when the knife “sank deeper into her neck” the judge said. Guede had not completed the sexual act only because of Ms Kercher’s “screams of pain and fear”.

The prosecution in the trial of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito alleges that Ms Knox arranged for Guede, who had made clear that he was attracted to Ms Kercher and wanted to have sex with her, to come to the cottage when she knew her flatmate was there.

Judge Micheli said the statements Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, had made following his arrest and extradition to Italy were “nothing more than a colossal accumulation of contradictions and attempts to throw investigators off the track”.

In his haste to flee, Guede had bumped into a couple near the cottage who had testified to police, the judge said. Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito meanwhile had been seen at a square above the cottage by a homeless man, and apparently waited there “to see if police arrived”, the judge said.

He said that because of “complicity” between the three, Guede had “never once mentioned the name Amanda” until late into the inquiry, when he said he had heard Ms Knox’s voice at the door and seen a man “resembling” Mr Sollecito….

Judge Micheli said Guede had had “no intention of saving” Ms Kercher’s life as she lay bleeding to death. He noted that neighbours had testified that they clearly heard a woman screaming in agony inside the cottage late at night.

In his defence Guede had claimed that he was in the bathroom with stomach pains when Ms Kercher was murdered. The judge said this was untrue.

So it seems Meredith was set-up. Tortured. Stabbed, many times. And abandoned. Walked out on, when she still could have been saved. Savagery incarnate.

Poor Meredith. Poor poor Meredith. How very much sadness you evoke.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Trial: The Proceedings Commence: The Times’s Lunchbreak Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story. The Kercher family is not present. Nor are the biological parents of Amanda Knox. It is not yet reported if Raffaele Sollecito’s father is present; his mother passed on.

And note this breaking news on yet another possible eye-witness, near the bottom of David Owen’s piece - the significance here being that Rudy Guede may have known both defendants prior to the night in question.

Il Giornale dell’ Umbria reported that a new witness, a researcher named only as Fabio G, had told police he had seen Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and Mr Guede together near the cottage Ms Kercher shared with Ms Knox on 30 October 2007, two days before the murder and sexual assault.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Does Her Leaked Prison Diary Talk To Knox’s Mental Condition And Bullying By Those “Near And Dear”?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Corriere magazine has excerpted a new book by Fiorenza Sarzanini on the state of AK’s and RS’s psychology. Italian origiinal here. Click the image above for a Google translation.

A prison diary by Amanda Knox which Knox herself may have handed to the prosecutors is quoted in the article, and much more extensively in the book. It might be manipulative if she didn’t leak it, but it also seems a window into the state of her mental condition.

Amanda Knox seems to be describing Mellas family trauma, and she seems to points the finger at one person in particular: Chris Mellas.  His apparent nickname for her was “obtuse retard”.  This seems to us to ring true, as he is known on the internet for his abusive posts..

From The Sunday Times for November 30, 2008 (the link is now broken) our main poster Jools kindly translated this:

Diary reveals Foxy Knoxy’s sex secrets
A book explores the desires of the student accused of killing her UK housemate
John Follain

On the eve of a fateful summer journey to Italy, the American student Amanda Knox drew up a list of things to do before she left home in Seattle. Top of the list, according to her diary, was visiting a sex shop.

A book published in Italy last week quotes leaked extracts from Knox’s diary and portrays her as a young woman for whom sex is a key part of life. Knox, 21, will go on trial in January along with her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, accused of sexually abusing and murdering the Leeds exchange student Meredith Kercher in November 2007.

Kercher, 21, stabbed in the throat, was found half-naked in her bedroom in the Perugia cottage she shared with Knox. Rudy Guede, 21, an Ivory Coast drifter, has already been jailed for 30 years for the crime. All three pleaded not guilty.

The book, Amanda and the Others by Fiorenza Sarzanini, a journalist on Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, quotes previously unpublished extracts from diaries Knox kept from August 2007 until a few weeks after the murder. They have been seized by investigators.

Knox’s family protested at the publication of “Amanda’s personal and private property” and said they had no means to judge their authenticity.

“This seems to be yet another example of the continued leaks designed to harm Amanda’s character as there is no evidence to tie her to the brutal and senseless murder of Meredith Kercher. She is innocent,” they said in a statement.

Sarzanini said yesterday: “Knox isn’t obsessed with sex but she sees it as one of the predominant aspects of her life. This has influenced her life in the sense that it influences her relationships with both men and women.”

Before leaving Seattle, Knox, who is fond of making lists and called herself Foxy Knoxy, wrote that buying condoms was one of her priorities. On October 18, 2007, she lists four men with brief descriptions, including an American boyfriend.

Sarzanini comments: “It’s as if you [Knox] were always hunting men. You list your conquests as if you were displaying them like trophies.”

Knox writes to one boyfriend: “I’m waiting for you, I want to see something porno with you and put it into practice with you.” In another list, Knox names four men in Seattle and New York, and three in Florence and Perugia with whom she has had sex.

Knox writes: “Interesting isn’t it? I think it means that my sex life doesn’t correspond to my romantic emotional life. An obvious statement because the only one I’m in love with (even if in truth he isn’t the only one I want to have sex with) is incredibly far away . . . Sex is useless, well not useless but always disappointing unless I manage to establish emotional contact with someone.”

The book quotes testimony to police from Amy Frost, a British student friend of Kercher. She describes an episode on the day of Knox’s arrival at the cottage: “Meredith told us that Amanda put down in the bath-room a beauty-case in which there were condoms and a vibrator. They were visible and it seemed a bit strange to Meredith.” Kercher later told Frost: “Isn’t it odd that a girl arrives and the first thing she shows is a vibrator?”

In a sign of tension between Knox and the victim, Frost also relates that a few weeks before the murder Kercher had learnt from her housemates that one of them, Giacomo Silenzi, fancied her. When Kercher told Knox, she replied: “I like Giacomo too, but you can have him!” The remark upset Kercher, who later started a relationship with Silenzi.

Several witnesses quoted in the book depict Knox and Sollecito as not only failing to show any grief immediately after Kercher’s death, but also constantly cuddling and kissing as they sat waiting to be questioned at police headquarters, a few days before they were accused of the crime. “[Amanda] was in front of Raffaele. I remember that she stuck her tongue out at him, she made faces and then they’d laugh and kiss each other. In that moment I thought she was going crazy, that she was really crazy,” Frost testified.

Robyn Butterworth, a British friend of Kercher who saw Knox at police headquarters, gave evidence that Knox “seemed to me to be completely lacking any emotion”. Butterworth added that Knox and Sollecito “sent each other kisses by smacking their lips. At a certain point she stretched out on a few chairs and he caressed her feet. It was strange, it wasn’t a nice thing to watch”.

Prosecutors have argued that Knox’s alleged coldness after the murder, as well as her DNA on the handle of a knife that may be the murder weapon, points to her guilt. Knox’s parents have said Knox was in shock and was simply seeking comfort from her boyfriend.

In another diary that Knox started in prison on November 8, 2007, shortly after her arrest, there is a rare passage about Kercher in which she imagines her raped and killed.

She wrote: “I can only imagine what she felt in those moments frightened, injured, raped. But I imagine more what she went through when the blood went out of her. What did she feel? And the mother? Desperation? Did she have the time to find peace or in the end did she have only terror?”


Monday, November 24, 2008

Does The Defense Campaign Really Have ANY Plan B?

Posted by Deathfish2000





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP to dear Meredith Kercher…



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wow! Ground Really Disappearing From Under Knox-Sollecito Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

Three attackers were present

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

DNA on the bra clasp was RS’s

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

No contamination of the knife DNA

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

Guede was not unknown to other two

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

There was definitely sexual assault

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

Why there was no rape

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

Meredith was restrained while taunted

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

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

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

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

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

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


Judge Micheli’s First Statement - The 10,000 Pages Start To Talk

Posted by Peter Quennell




Judge Micheli’s dossier. This below is from London’s Daily Telegraph. Click above for the full story.

In a dossier on the high-profile case, Judge Paolo Micheli said the 21 year-old’s murder was more likely spontaneous rather than pre-planned.

The judge, however, appeared to agree with prosecution claims the Leeds University student was murdered by more than one person.

He said that footprints in the flat showed there was more than one attacker in Miss Kercher’s flat on the night she was killed.

The revelations came after the Italian judge rejected one of her accused killer’s applications for bail…

Judge Micheli said he feared the two suspects could flee the country or commit another murder.

[Meredith’s] semi-naked body was found in the whitewashed cottage she shared with Miss Knox and two other students on November 2 last year.

She had been stabbed in the neck three times, and sustained more than 40 other injuries.

The judge attached weight to a kitchen knife found in Mr Sollecito’s flat which allegedly carried traces of Miss Knox’s DNA on the handle and Miss Kercher’s DNA on the blade.

He also said there were inconsistencies in Mr Sollecito’s accounts of where he was that night.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told the court last week that Miss Kercher was killed when all three suspects tried to force her to participate in “a perverse group sex game”.

Judge Paolo Micheli has a terrific reputation as a judge, He did not of course devote only last Tuesday to reviewing the case.  That has been a full-time job for him for several months now. In particular, he will have read the 10,000 pages of evidence the police and prosecutor have submitted. Almost certainly again and again.

The partial evidence already out here is pretty telling to those who have worked so hard to put it all together.  And the 30-year sentence Judge Micheli handed down to Rudy Guede on Tuesday suggests just how overwhelming the full body of evidence must be. How it must really hang together.

And how it must evoke the intense agony of the final moments of Meredith Kercher, as she was seemingly tortured to death amid laughter and taunts. What is actually in those 10,000 pages will soon be common knowledge, by way of both the Knox/Sollecito trial in December and the Guede appeal thereafter.

Tick tick tick..


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: Newsweek Seems To Think “Friends Of Amanda” Is Radioactive

Posted by Peter Quennell




Above: Seattle’s media-lawyer Anne Bremner. Referred to in Newsweek’s excellent piece on the Italian reactions she seems to have stirred.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the overzealous freelance defense team in the United States, which has taken up Knox’s cause with fervor, have not helped the defendant””and might even have hurt her standing in the Italian courts.

The Friends of Amanda campaign, led by Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner, has infuriated prosecuting and defense attorneys alike by helping focus extensive coverage by major American news networks on the alleged ineptitude of the Italian investigators and antiquated Italian legal system.

Bremner infuriated Perugian prosecutor Mignini by taking swipes at the work of Italian police on NBC, enumerating ways in which prosecutors may have inadvertently contaminated DNA evidence.

Lawyers for both sides of the case quickly pointed out, however, that Bremner was basing her comments on video footage of an apartment below the crime scene, not the actual crime scene itself.

Further alienating the Italians, Seattle judge Michael Heavey wrote a damning letter to Italy’s justice minister about the potential for injustice against Knox, prompting one lawyer to warn that the Americans would have to send the military to get Amanda out of Italy.

“We are being condemned by a group over nine-thousand kilometers away, without knowing the intricacies of the case or the complexities of Italian judicial terminology,” prosecutor Mignini told reporters outside the Perugian courthouse last week. “I am shocked and scandalized by this attitude. It is the first time I have come across such presumption and superficiality.”

Bremner’s comments, like those made earlier in the investigation by New York attorney Joseph Tacopina, have tended to contradict the strategy of Knox’s lawyers and have even put Knox’s lead attorney Luciano Ghirga on the defensive.

“American lawyers do not represent anyone here,” said Ghirga outside the courthouse in Perugia, “and have never represented anyone here.”

The interference has also angered Knox’s family, who have publicly distanced themselves from those in Seattle. “I have faith in my Italian lawyers,” says Curt Knox. “And I dissociate myself from other initiatives on behalf of my daughter.”

Ooops! With friends like this, seriously, who needs enemies?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sollecito Turns On Knox? This Is Extraordinary…

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amanda Knox… Trapped, In Her Own Words

Posted by The Machine




Post Overview

Newcomers to the case and casual readers may not realize this.

But it is an indisputable fact that Amanda Knox has spun the truth. Tells lies. Deliberately, repeatedly, and very incriminatingly. I think it’s worth revisiting a few of her many lies for any new visitors to this board, so that they can get a clearer picture of the real strength of the case.

Some of Amanda’s vociferous supporters have claimed that Amanda only lied once - and that was because she was “smacked around” by the police, or put under pressure.

And that her confessions, in which she admitted to being at the cottage on the night of the murder, were thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

It doesn’t take a careful examination of the known facts to conclude that both these claims really are nonsense. Amanda’s first known lie wasn’t to the police, but to her flatmate, Filomena, on 2 November, the day after Meredith’s murder.

False claim one.

Amanda phoned Filomena at 12.08 pm, and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom.

Amanda said she was going to call Raffaele, but according to Raffaele, Amanda had already returned to his apartment at 11.30 am, and then they had gone back to the cottage.

At 12.34 pm Amanda and Filomena spoke again. Filomena said, “We spoke to each other for the third time and she told me that the window in my room was broken and that my room was in a mess. At this point I asked her to call the police and she told me that she already had.”

False claim two.

Amanda and Raffaele didn’t actually call the police until 12.51 pm.

The postal postal police unexpectedly turned up at the cottage at 12. 35 pm.

False claim three.

Amanda and Raffael told the police that they had called the police and were waiting for them.

No they had not.

False claim four.

Amanda told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked.

Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

Amanda and Raffaele were then taken in for questioning.

False claim five.

They said they couldn’t remember most of what happened on the night of the murder, because they had smoked cannabis.

It is medically impossible for cannabis to cause such dramatic amnesia and there are no studies that have ever demonstrated that this is possible.

Long term use of cannabis may affect short term memory, which means that users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But it won’t wipe out whole chunks of an evening from their memory banks.

False claim six.

Amanda accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith at the cottage.

It’s true that two of Amanda’s such statements were not allowed out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, Amanda repeated the accusation, in a note that she wrote to the police on 6 November.

This note was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court, and it was admitted as evidence.

False claims seven & eight.

In her 6 November note Amanda claimed to have seen Diya Lumumba (1) at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana; and (2) outside her front door.

He was actually at his bar.

False claim nine.

Amanda’s supporters claim that she confessed to a lesser role in Meredith’s murder, and blamed Diya Lumumba, because she had been “smacked around” or put under pressure by the police.

But the real reason she had to say she was at the cottage was because she was informed that Raffaele Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi.

Raffaele had been confronted with phone records, and was now claiming that she was not with him the whole evening, and that she had only returned at 1.00 am. Amanda did not attempt to refute Raffaele’s claim, but now admitted that she had been at the cottage.

The significance of this about-turn cannot be stressed enough.

(Incidentally, Raffaele was also claiming that he had lied, because he had believed Amanda’s version of what happened and not thought about the inconsistencies. He is acknowledging that Amanda’s version had inconsistencies.)

If it had been true that Amanda had been “smacked around” by the police during questioning, why haven’t her lawyers ever filed a complaint? It was very telling that Amanda dropped her allegation of being hit by the police at her recent court hearing, and instead just claimed she had been put under pressure.

There’s a world of difference between police brutality and being put under pressure. It wasn’t the first time that Amanda has made a false and malicious accusation, as Diya Lumumba knows only too well.

False claim ten.

Amanda claimed to have slept in at Raffaele’s until the next morning.

However, her mobile records show that this was not so.  Amanda turned on her mobile at approximately at 5.32 am.

The only plausible explanation for Amanda’s deliberate and repeated lies? That she was involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

It should be no surprise to anyone following the case that the same three witnesses who have repeatedly lied, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, have all been placed at the crime scene.

By a total of 23 separate pieces of forensic evidence.

Renato Biondo has just recently provided independent confirmation that the scientifc police’s investigation was carried out correctly. And that the forensic findings are accurate.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The New York Times Finally Visits The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell


[Above: the New York Times reporter Rachel Donadio]

Finally, after nearly a year, the Times comes out with a piece on the Meredith case that is more than two paragraphs long - and there have only been two of those.

The New York Times has an enormous influence on the preoccupations of the rest of the American media. The standard of Its reporting is usually pretty fine. If the Times picks up a story and runs with it, the thundering hordes in the TV and print media are usually not far behind.

Not that the Times always gets it right, however. It made a huge mess of the Clinton Whitewater affair, where after years of innuendo an independent counsel found that there was no crime.

However that opened the way to the Ken Starr investigation of the Monica Lewinsky affair where again… there was no crime.

And it bet seriously wrong on the recent Duke University spurious-rape-claim case, in which it sided with an out-of-control prosecutor, now fired, disbarred, and having his tail sued off.

Parts of Rachel Donadio’s story echo the familiar complaint from the Knox PR that the investigation was compromised and somehow Amanda Knox is not getting a fair deal.

As in the unresolved case of Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old British girl who disappeared in Portugal during a family vacation last year, the investigation has drawn accusations of incompetence. “I’m not impressed,” said Joseph Tacopina, an American lawyer who was paid by ABC News to examine the case. He said Italian authorities had violated the crime scene. “They trampled all over that place,” he said. “That makes forensic evidence unreliable”...

“They’re brutalizing her in the press,” Curt Knox, Amanda’s father, said in an emotional interview here last week. He said his daughter had cooperated with the police and never expected to be implicated. “She is 100 percent innocent,” he said. Mr. Knox, an executive at Macy’s, and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas, a Seattle schoolteacher, have taken turns living in Italy to visit their daughter in prison.

Wow. Knox cooperated? The Times is already channeling the PR?  There is much more to the case than this.

Comments below transferred from our former Truthwatch page

Actually, I thought Rachel did a pretty good job all things considered.

There is one fact worth checking””did Knox or did she not have an interpreter during questioning? The family has said yes and no and yes and no and for part of the time and maybe”¦ It’s pretty hard to keep track when they don’t.

The police have said yes, she did, and this affirmation was picked up by both CNN and the BBC.

Also, Rachel describes the Knox interview from which she took her sound bite as “emotional.” I think this has been the case (perhaps understandably) for all of the family’s public appearances and throughout its media campaign, and I think this constant emotional charge is part of the problem.

I’m not saying their emotion is not genuine, but it stands in stark contrast to the Kercher family’s disciplined silence. It must be so hard for them to remain silent, and yet they have managed to do so.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 09/30/08 at 11:58 AM | #

This report is actually old news from the New York Times reporter. It’s the initial attack strategy of the Knox team from day one of this case.

“They’re brutalizing her in the press” are they Curt?

Perhaps “they” have seen what Knox HERSELF has published on the internet for all to see.

The SELF NAMED “Foxy Knoxy”, the stories of abuse and drugging and rape of a young woman she wrote by her own hand,the image of Knox laughing crazily as she wields a machine gun at the camera titled “the nazi inside”.

Casual chit chat on her myspace page about her housemate complaining that she “can’t get laid”.

Caught on CCTV as happy as Larry just hours (so soon after, that they are both still wearing the same clothes they were photographed wearing at the murder scene) after the murder buying sexy underwear and proclaiming loudly for all the store to hear that she’s going to give Sollecito wild sex when they get home.

I could go on for ever, do some research Rachel and produce a balanced and true report.

Posted by Deathfish2000 on 09/30/08 at 01:08 PM | #

A couple of points about Joe Tacopina:

Firstly, does he have an expertise in forensic science that gives him the authority to speak so knowledgeably about the crime scene being “violated” and “trampled on”?

Secondly, I think it’s worth pointing out that Joe Tacopina is a consultant for the Knox family and therefore not quite the objective investigator with no vested in the case who was hired to carry out an impartial examination of the case by ABC News.

Thirdly, despite being a self-confessed expert in forensic science, he doesn’t actually explain how the crime scene was violated or trampled on. He should give specific examples to support his point of view, otherwise he just sounds like a layman (which exactly what he is) making uninformed comments. The crime scene covered quite a large area: Meredith’s bedroom, the corridor outside, two bathrooms, Filomena’s bedroom etc. Is Joe Tacopina suggesting all these rooms were “violated”?

Finally, Joe Tacopina uses very emotive words like “violated” and “trampled on” to rather glibly dismiss the police investigation. He relies on rhetoric and not on actual facts to make his claims, which along with his professional relationship with the Knox family, raises serious questions about his credibility.

Posted by The Machine on 09/30/08 at 03:41 PM | #

I agree that citing Joe Tacopina was a mistake. It surprises me that a reporter from the NY Times would bother to interview and then quote such an incorrigible showboater. After all, he’s a semi-regular fixture in the NY Post, a tabloid!

In fact, Tacopina has made statements at various times to the effect that he is acting as an informal advisor to the Knox family, or has allowed such statements to be made about him by Barbie Nadau of Newsweek. In fact, members of the Knox/Mellas family have stated that he is not advising the family in any capacity. If he is not, then the credibility of the article suffers.

Tacopina at one point claimed to have attended a hearing on behalf of Knox (the April 19 hearing), but this was a closed hearing and sources on the ground in Perugia have noted for the record that Tacopina was nowhere near the courthouse on that day. In fact, he had flown to Italy in a failed bid to put together a consortium of buyers for an Italian football club.

Moreover, although Tacopina has an office in Rome he is not a member of the Italian bar and thus is not licensed to practice law there. Nor is he an expert on the Italian legal system or this case. He is just a guy who is always looking for the limelight, always ready with a sound bite. Surely the NY Times””my favorite newspaper in the world along with Le Monde””can do better.

Finally, I agree with TM above about Tacopina’s use of inflammatory rhetoric to describe the work of the Italian police. He also makes unsubstantiated claims about this investigation. I hope that either the national police guild or the national association of magistrates sues his ass for repeatedly making such irresponsible statements. He stands among those people who think that, because justice is supposedly blind, they can pull the wool over our eyes.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 09/30/08 at 04:54 PM | #

Quote by Amanda Knox: Most chicks don’t know what they want”

Posted by Deathfish2000 on 10/01/08 at 05:05 AM | #

“They’re brutalizing her in the press,” Curt Knox, Amanda’s father, said in an emotional interview here last week.

Amanda hasn’t been brutalized in the press or anywhere else for that matter. I think it’s quite telling that Curt Knox and Joe Tacopina resort to hyperbole when proclaiming Amanda’s innocence. They are seeking to appeal to people emotions by attempting to whip up hysteria rather than logically arguing their point of view and using facts to support their opinions. Curt Knox’s use of the word “brutalized” is particularly inappropriate when you consider that Meredith was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Curt Knox does not know that Amanda is 100% innocent. If Amanda is innocent, why did she lie repeatedly to the police?

Posted by The Machine on 10/01/08 at 03:29 PM | #

  Most chicks don’t know what they want

Can anyone give us the precise quotation? Deathfish made me very curious about the context but Google doesn’t return anything under that wording.

Posted by Fast Pete on 10/01/08 at 05:33 PM | #

Here is the precise quotations:

“A thing you have to know about chicks is that they don’t know what they want,”

I tried to find Amanda’s short story, Baby Brother, from which the quotation is taken on the Internet, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Amanda’s mirrored MySpace page and blog also seem to have vanished into thin air.

Posted by The Machine on 10/01/08 at 05:47 PM | #

Thanks Machine. I am pretty sure I have the Baby Brother short story. I’ll check tonight.

Posted by Fast Pete on 10/01/08 at 05:51 PM | #

Here you go. Baby Brother by Amanda Knox Scroll down - it is about half-way down, and there is another literary piece right after it.

How does it shape up as literature, by the way? I have not yet read a literary critique. I think a Knox or a Mellas said it was a class assignment? What grade did it attract?

We have a save of that web page for future reference, by the way, if the link mysteriously goes dead. You know, for possible future reviews in our respected Literary area….

Rachel, when you come by again, this would seem to be a significant exhibit in any in-depth discussion of brutalization.

Posted by Fast Pete on 10/01/08 at 06:00 PM | #


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More On The Evil That Was Rained Down On Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell



The Tom Kington Interview

Tom Kington of the UK Observer interviews Patrick Lumumba.

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

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

Click here for the rest


Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Amanda Knox Maintained Her Composure…

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

The Daily Telegraph has this report:

Amanda Knox, the young woman accused of murdering the British student Meredith Kercher, sighed and sang during breaks in her court appearance, it has been reported.

Miss Knox… is known to sing in jail to pass the time. During breaks in a pre-trial hearing, she sang hits by the band Feist [shot above] the Sun newspaper claimed.

A source at the court in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was found murdered, told the Sun: “During the hearing she never said a word. But outside when there were breaks for water and coffee she was smiling and singing. She was also huffing and puffing a lot - I think it was because it was a long day. It was a song by Feist and she said she sings to relax and deal with her stress.

Another shot of Feist that she may now regret.

And here’s Ester Walker of the Independent on the outfit Knox wore - smart move, apparently. (Tell THAT to the judge.)

What could possibly be more innocent than this outfit? Knox, the Seattle-born woman suspected of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, is only 21 and has dressed for her court appearance in Perugia, Italy, like the student that she is.

She wears a waist-length, white cotton smock top, which has red and blue flowers printed along the neckline, over a pair of blue denim jeans. Her hair is tied up in the schoolgirl-ish style, with the top half tied back off her bare face and secured with a purple plastic butterfly clip, and the rest loose.

Her entire outfit makes her look completely out of place in the Italian courtroom or flanked by policemen.

We’re still waiting for a take on Knox’s tan. Sprayed on? Or by the prison pool?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

Rosa Silverman of The Independent reports:

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

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

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

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

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

The next hearing is scheduled for 26 September.

Nick Squires of The Daily Telegraph reports:

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

And Tom Kington of the Guardian reports.

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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