Category: Hoaxes against Italy

Monday, February 09, 2009

Trial: Highlights Of The Testimony On 6 February And 7 February

Posted by Peter Quennell


These seem to have been the most significant and dramatic happenings in the courtroom on Friday and Saturday.

This was the first part of the prosecution’s case to be presented, and so the first of the prosecution witnesses were testifying and were being cross-examined by the defense lawyers.

In the defense part of the trial coming up, the defense counsel will present their own witnesses to try to rebut this testimony, and then the prosecutors will cross-examine their witnesses.

So none of this can be considered cast in stone, then. But it looks quite a tough case so far. The defenses seem to have their work cut out for them.

Reports in the Italian media were considerably more detailed than in the UK media, though coverage there was good too. It looked in both countries to be pretty objective.

Americans are as usual the most ill-informed or mis-informed on this tragic case. With one or two fine exceptions, the US media continues to fall short.

Translations here from Italian to English are mostly by our own team. 

  • Judge Massei admitted into evidence the uncoerced written admission of Amanda Knox that she was present at the scene during the murder of Meredith.

  • In a surprise statement to the court, Sollecito claimed that “I barely knew Meredith, I didn’t know Guede at all” and that he began a close relationship with Knox only on 24 October, days before the murder.

  • The communication police testified on the lines of the Micheli report on how Meredith’s two mobile phones were found in Signora Lana’s garden and retained at the police station.

  • Mr Bartolozzi, whose agency oversees internet activity in Italy, said an examination of Sollecito’s computer had indicated that contrary to his claim there had been no activity on it between 9.10pm and 5.32am.

  • The communication police seem to have found Knox and Sollecito embarrassed and surprised when they arrived, and they were apparently encountered with a bucket and a mop.

  • Sollecito’s claim to have already called the Carabinieri to come to the house when the communication police officers arrived seems to have been misleading.

  • The communication police noticed that there was a washing machine in operation and they could hear the noise of the centrifuge. Soon after, the mobile-squad police found that the machine had finished its work a few minutes earlier, and the clothes were still warm.

  • Filomena testified that the washing machine was still warm when she returned to the cottage and that it contained some of Meredith’s clothes.

  • Filomena said of Knox “She told me: ‘It’s very odd. I’ve just come back to the house and the door is open. I had a shower but there’s blood everywhere. I’m going to get Raff. Meredith is nowhere to be seen. Oh God, maybe something’s happened to her, something tragic’.”

  • Filomena said she replied “But Amanda. I don’t understand. Explain to me, because there’s something odd. The door’s open. You take a shower. There’s blood. But where’s Meredith?... The door’s open. I go in. There’s blood. I take a shower? I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think that that’s normal.”

  • To the communication police, the break-in via Filomena’s bedroom window appeared to have been faked, as there was window glass on top of some disarrayed clothes, valuable items had been left in the room, and luminol had revealed Knox-sized and Sollecito-sized footprints on the floor.
  • Filomena testified that her first instinct on returning to the apartment had been to go to her room. Her clothes were on the floor and her cupboard was open, but none of her jewellery was missing, nor were her designer sunglasses and handbags.

  • Filomena said there was glass on top of the pile of clothes. Her laptop was among the clothes.“I remember that in lifting the computer I realised that I was picking up bits of glass because there were bits of glass on top and it was all covered with glass.”

  • Filomena testified that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith started off well and they bonded immediately.  “They were of the same age, they had interests in common, and both spoke English.” Then the relationship seemed to deteriorate.

  • Filomena said that Kercher was involved with a “very kind” young man, Giacomo Silenzi, who lived in an apartment downstairs and who she said “courted her very sweetly…. Meredith never brought men home ““ the only people who came to the house were two of her English girlfriends.”

  • Filomena contradicted Knox on whether Meredith was in the habit of locking herself in her bedroom, according to Filomena, Meredith never did, whether inside or outside.

  • Filomena testified that Knox and Sollecito just cuddled at the scene while everyone else was in tears and she said she was bewildered by Knox’s behavior. Another witness testified that Knox may have cried.

  • Filomena examined the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and said she had never seen that knife in Via della Pergola. She was unaware of any dinner or lunch that Meredith had attended at Sollecito’s apartment which could explain her DNA on that knife.

  • Filomena said she saw Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox exchanging a note at the police station.

  • Luca Altieri said “With the police we decided to break into the room - I don’t know exactly where Amanda and Raffaele were at that time, but I can tell you, they were not in a position to see inside the room.”

  • Inspector Bastianelli described having made everyone exit the house after the door to Meredith’s room had been opened. And of then having stood for about half a minute at the door of the room, facing into the room without entering it, and concluding that Meredith was already dead.

  • But according to Luca Altieri, Inspector Bastianelli seemed to enter into Meredith’s room a little and incline toward Meredith on the floor [this has been modified, as Italian reports say he did not claim the inspector touched the duvet.]

  • Paola Grande confirmed not having seen the inspector entering the room, but hearing him subsequently confirm that the person under the bedcover was dead, that there was a lot of blood, and that the victim had struggled because there were bloodied prints on the wall.

  • The police were curious as to why Knox’s lamp was in Meredith’s room, especially as there was no other light source in Knox’s room.



This next Friday, Meredith’s English friends will be heard in court. And Meredith’s former boyfriend Giacomo Silenzi is expected to tell the court about his relationship with Meredith.

And now rescheduled for next Saturday are Giacomo Silenzi, Stefano Bonassi and Daniele Ceppitelli.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Trial: Friday Afternoon Testimony On The Apparent Staged Breakin

Posted by Peter Quennell


Today’s witnesses include Meredith’s roomie Filomena and Meredith’s new boyfriend who lived downstairs.

Click above for Nick Squires’ report in the Daily Telegraph on the Friday afternoon proceedings. On the apparent staged breakin:

Inspector Michele Battistelli, of Italy’s postal police, was one of the first officers on the scene after two mobile phones belonging to Miss Kercher were found dumped in a nearby garden and neighbours alerted police.

He found that a window in a room belonging to one of Miss Kercher’s Italian flat mates, Filomena Romanelli, had been broken but the shattered glass lay on top of the clothes scattered on the floor.

“Straightaway I thought it was an attempt to make it look like a burglary,” Insp Battistelli told the centuries-old vaulted courtroom in Perugia.

His suspicions increased when he discovered that a laptop, a video-camera and other valuables had not been stolen from the house. “They were all items that would have been taken in a break-in,” he said.


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.


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.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knox “Friends” Paul Ciolino & Co Smear Prosecutor Mignini As “An Out Of Control Maniac”

Posted by Peter Quennell





At the Salty’s hatefest in West Seattle, Paul Ciolino whipped up the crowd with a rant about Dr Mignini being “an out-of-control maniac”.

We see no proof. We check this whole point of view almost daily but we never, ever, ever get independent confirmation.  The BBC also checked it out and found zero proof of ANY of Ciolino’s wild-eyed claims.

We are repeatedly told that Mr Mignini is tough, fair, and effective, in an Italian system of justice where things are not particularly loaded on the side of the prosecution.

And that he has the reputation of being very, very caring of the victims and their families. The Kerchers have expressed their full confidence in him.

Also that Mr Mignini’s stepping-aside would probably make just about zero difference to the momentum of the case at this point.

There seems to be just too much suggestive evidence waiting to be explained, and a dozen careful judges have endorsed it as suggestive, and the strongly dominant mood in Italy seems to be one of: let us proceed.

Amanda Knox is of course very well represented by counsel. They have already shown irritation over attacks on the prosecutor.

Calling the prosecutor a maniac sure won’t be music to their ears. Is this whole PR campaign quite loopy, or what?!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trial: The UK Sunday Times Reports The Prosecutions’ Possible Scenario of The Crime

Posted by Peter Quennell

Excerpts from the report by John Follain in Perugia.

Meredith was “Softened up for Fatal Sex Game”

Prosecutors allege that Amanda Knox instigated an ‘erotic game’ with her housemate and became violent when she resisted. Amanda Knox says she is glad ‘the hour of truth’ has arrived. She denies killing Meredith Kercher

New details about a sex game that allegedly led to the murder of Meredith Kercher, the British exchange student, have been revealed by an Italian prosecutor.

Giuliano Mignini, the official leading the case, alleges that Amanda Knox, Kercher’s American housemate, instigated the “erotic game” and probably persuaded an accomplice into “softening up” the 21-year-old Briton.

Reconstructing the student’s final moments, Mignini alleges that Kercher’s killers became “incensed and violent” after she resisted their advances….

Mignini gave his account of the murder at committal hearings which were closed to the public. However, details of his reconstruction will appear in a book called Meredith: Lights and Shadows in Perugia.

It is written by Vincenzo Maria Mastronardi, a forensic psychiatrist, and Giuseppe Castellini, editor of the Giornale dell Umbria newspaper, and will be published this week.

Mignini said Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was likely to have been irritated with Knox for allegedly bringing Sollecito and Guede to the cottage the young women shared late on the night of the murder in November 2007.

Knox, whom Guede was always trying to please, probably pushed him into “softening up” the English girl and preparing her for the erotic “game” . . . while Knox “dedicated” herself to Sollecito, said Mignini.

And when Guede failed because of energetic resistance by the victim, the three became incensed and violent.

They grabbed Kercher by the neck and tried to strangle her. Sollecito grabbed her violently in the back and on a breast, deforming her bra clasp and then they finished her off with the violent knife stab to the left part of the neck. Kercher gave a last desperate scream, which was heard by [a neighbour].

The prosecutor said that just before the final blow, Kercher suffered a cut to the right hand as she tried to free herself and pushed away the knife which Knox allegedly held.

A minute after the last stab wound, the three allegedly fled the cottage, with Knox and Sollecito returning later to stage a fake robbery by breaking a window, said Mignini.

The prosecutor singled out the placing of a duvet over Kercher’s body as “extremely important from a psychological point of view”. He argued it indicated pity and respect for the victim: “Amanda, especially as a woman, couldnt bear that naked, torn female cadaver.”

Both Knox and Sollecito insist they were at his home on the night of the murder. Their defence teams dispute DNA evidence linking Knox to a knife, which investigators say may be the murder weapon, and Sollecito to Kercher’s bra clasp.

Last week Knox told her lawyer Luciano Ghirga: “At last the hour of truth has arrived. I’m not afraid. I hope that the whole truth will come out because I’ve always been a friend of Meredith’s and I didn’t kill her.”

However, Mignini alleges that on the morning after the murder Knox tried to delay the body’s discovery by telling other housemates that it was normal for Kercher’s bedroom to be locked.

When the door was kicked down, Knox and Sollecito were too far away to see into the room, where Kercher’s half-naked body lay on the floor under a beige duvet, according to witnesses quoted by Mignini at the committal hearings last October.

“When those present go outside after the body is found, Knox and Sollecito are also outside, intent on kissing and caressing each other, as they did subsequently during police searches.”

“A very strange way of behaving which started the very moment the victim’s body was found . . . and at a time when all the other young people were literally overwhelmed by that discovery” said Mignini.


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.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Powerpoints #10: The DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack

Posted by Nicki





We now show in this second Powerpoint presentation what a tough mole to whack that one might be.

We have already covered here the basics of DNA evidence.

That presentation covers the definitions of valid and invalid DNA samples, how contamination might occur, who collected and analyzed the Perugia samples, and how the samples will have been stored.

DNA analysis has been done on the various luminol-enhanced footprints in the house that Kermit analyzed for us.

Also on the knife found hidden in Sollecito’s apartment, and on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house.

And quite possibly on other items, too.

Here’s defense lawyer Theodore Simon in the recent NBC Dateline documentary:

Theodore Simon thinks the prosecutors evidence made public so far is daunting. The defense could argue a faked robbery, and a moved body, and contamination, but eventually it could become like whack-a-mole and all of their arguments could lose force.

Theodore ain’t the only one. New York lawyers following the case reckon the odds of defense arguments losing traction because there are just too many evidentiary moles to be whacked down are already high.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial that all of the many DNA samples might be too small, or too contaminated, or less than 100 percent of a match.

Nothing seems to stand out in the Perugia DNA process to suggest a major failing at any point. And if there was one, only scientific evidence in proof of this will influence the court, and innuendo will really go nowhere.

Further presentations will build on this one when the precise DNA samples being challenged become known.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Another Dog-And-Pony Show Friday: A Second Defense Attempt At Filomena’s Window

Posted by Peter Quennell





Kermit has already analysed the first, failed attempt for us.

It’s just been reported in the Italian media that a second defense test has been scheduled for 12:30 this Friday. If they fail that test for a second time, it will be pretty obvious to the known universe that:

  • There never was a burglar who covered up a burglary with a sex crime, a bizarre move almost unknown in the annals of crime as the penalties are so very much harsher.

  • There really was a rearrangement of the crime scene in an attempt to point the finger of blame at a single perpetrator who had just taken to his heels up some local steps.

A lot is riding on this one. We guess the burglar the defense hired for the job will be in real fighting trim.

Update: Did the defense blink?! Today’s show simply involved engineers, Giovanni Lombardi and Pasquale di Francesco, apparently retired police technicians.

They took measurements to see if that 4-kilo rock could have been thrown from wherever to land where it did in Filomena’s room.

Why not just, you know, bite the bullet, and actually try throwing the rock?!

No prizes are offered for the answer to that one. There was no Spiderman act, no lawyers were present, and no glass was broken.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Slanted Associated Press Paroting Of Knox PR Campaign Release Achieves Over 800 Google Hits

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Marta Falconi’s rather slanted AP report.

At time of posting it appears on at least 800 news websites. It opens with these paragraphs sympathetic to Knox’s Christmas plight:

The family of an American student accused of killing her British roommate says she is heading into her second Christmas in jail disappointed at a trial delay but “holding up pretty well under the circumstances”.

Knox is planning to attend an in-jail Christmas Day Mass, the family said in a recent statement emailed to The Associated Press.

Visitors are not allowed to bring in wrapped presents, but Knox’s parents are trying to get her “warm sheets, slippers, cold weather underwear, wool socks and a sweater.”

Trial delay? Of course the trial might have happened very much faster if (1) the defendants had not told several differing stories, (2) the crime scene had not been extensively rearranged to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime, and (3) more and more witnesses had not kept coming forward.

But the AP story does not mention any of this.

It instead implies that the Italian slowness is unfair. But luckily, our plucky heroine “is holding up pretty well under the circumstances.”

Then we get this single sentence - one suggesting cold indifference - on the Christmas plight of Meredith Kercher’s sad, bereft family.

For their part, Kercher’s family will be spending their second Christmas without Meredith.

Finally, to their slight credit, the Associated Press conclude with the prosecutor’s scenario of the crime.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher, and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Prosecutors say Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade.

For that slight attempt at corrective balance, we reckon Falconi’s story rates an E grade rather than an F.

The AP is notorious for parroting press releases rather than for doing any real digging. American newspapers are relying on it more and more as they cut back on their own reporting operations..

It is the main source for news and analysis of Meredith’s case for most American newspapers. The case reporting has been spasmodic and indifferent at best. To its credit, the New York Times has not usually published the AP releases.

The Associated Press would welcome your feedback on the story here. So would the 800-plus newspaper sites that carried the story.

They do pay for AP’s reporting, of course.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Honest, Accurate TV Coverage Has Been HIGHLY Overdue

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Anne Bremner blows smoke]

NBC have shown the other American television networks how to make an objective documentary about the case.

I know that a lot of work went into making the NBC Dateline programmes with over 40 hours of tape shot for both stories. I hope the the likes of CBS News and ABC News now follow suit.

And that they always - always - remember this: Meredith Kercher’s murder was exceptionally brutal and sadistic. Specifically:

  • She was sexually assaulted and viciously teased with a knife for many minutes before the final stab.
  • And after the torture, she died a slow and intensely painful death, clutching her neck with both hands.
  • She might still have been saved - but a conscious decision was made that she wouldn’t be.
  • And this was then followed by two days of apparent glee on the part of the two defendants.

The news channels have to get their coverage right from now on. The case is precedent-setting in several ways, and far too important for the media to play fast and loose with the facts.

Hints of anti-Italy xenophobia have abounded in the American commentary. Such abysmal coverage would never have happened if this was an all-American case - the real victim would be there front and center, not a defendant with a notably odd history.

The parents of the prime suspect should not be allowed to dictate the content of the documentaries and news reports. The media have a duty to report objectively and not be used as vehicles for the Amanda Knox PR campaign. Some of the documentaries on the case have been essentially free advertisements for Amanda’s PR company.

I hope any future documentaries don’t include an interview with Curt Knox talking with great authority about Amanda’s interrogation despite the fact he wasn’t actually present. Amanda’s lawyer has already stated for the record that Amanda wasn’t hit by the police, so Curt can’t repeat that false allegation.

Juju Chang of ABC won’t be able to repeat the wild claim that the double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out after Patrizia Stefanoni confirmed that Meredith’s DNA is on the blade of the knife and Judge Paolo Micheli accepted it as evidence.

Rudy Guede was convicted of the sexual assault of Meredith, which means that the deeply offensive and untrue claim that there was no evidence of sexual assault can’t be repeated.

Instead of Anne Bremner analysing the wrong crime scene and ranting about Italian incompetence in a desperate attempt to discredit the investigation, the documentary makers should interview somebody who is actually an expert in forensic investigations.

Renato Biondo would be the best person to interview. He provided independent confirmation that the forensic investigation was carried out correctly, following international protocol. The only person guilty of incompetence was Anne Bremner.

It is always highlighted in documentaries that Amanda’s confession was thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, they never mention that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage when Meredith was murdered was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

Her note to the police on 6 November is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence.

And Amanda Knox was not given the nickname Foxy Knoxy by the European press. It was a nickname she used herself on her MySpace page.

It’s wrong that inconvenient and incriminating facts are airbrushed out of these programmes. There has been a deliberate attempt to mislead and manipulate the general public.

The media should always have an ethical commitment to the truth, and they should never forget that it was Meredith who was the real victim of this terrible crime.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. Well done, NBC, for breaking the mould.

Now CBS News, ABC News, and other television networks owe it to Meredith and her poor family to get it right, the next time they cover the case.


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?”


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

“They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!” How Italian Justice REALLY Works

Posted by Nicki



[Above: Cassazione, the Italian Supreme Court Of Appeals}

A misleading mantra

This frequently quoted claim above is maybe the most mindless and misinformed of all the mantras on the case.

Much of the US media and some of the UK media - sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes with reserve - has parroted the claim that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were “held without charges” for nearly a year.

Perhaps bringing to mind the notion of two innocent bystanders to the crime being arbitrarily arrested? Locked up in cockroach-infested jails by abusive police? Led on by an evil prosecutor with endless powers up his sleeve, and nothing at all to slow him down? Lost and forgotten by any judges in the case?

Well, good luck with that one, if it’s designed to sway the process.

It irritates just about everybody here in Italy, the judiciary and the media included. And it is doing the defendants no good at all.

Negative stereotypes like these really should not be applied to a country that is one of the founding members of the EU, of NATO, and of the European Council, and of the G-7, G-8, OECD, and United Nations (the non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2007-2008).

So for media reporters and commentators, please let us get the facts straight. Once and for all?!

Origin of Italian jurisprudence

Italian jurisprudence developed from Roman Law. It was shaped in the course of history to become a modern and very fair system. Judicial powers are subjected to a very complex and extremely pervasive set of checks and balances, which really assure maximum protection of every citizen’s rights.

Comparing the US and UK common law system - a model founded on non-written laws and developed through judicial proceedings - with this system which arose from the Roman Law model - based on a written civil code - is really like comparing apples to oranges.

They were both conceived to protect individual’s rights at a maximum level, while seeking justice for the victims. But with entirely different processes.

One is not necessarily better or worse. But there are legal experts who think the Italian system is distinctly fairer - much more weighted toward the defendants. In the US and the UK the prosecutor usually has to make it through only one pre-trial hoop. In Italy the prosecutor has to make it through a whole row of pre-trial hoops.

Legal status of a witness and a suspect

Let’s see what happens in Italy to the legal status of a person who, while considered a “persona informata dei fatti” which means “a person who could yield useful information” in relation to a brutal murder, suddenly becomes a suspect in the eyes of the police.

If while interviewing the “person who could yield useful information” the suspicion arises that such person could have played an active role in the crime, their status then turns into that of a suspect. The police can then detain that suspect up to 48 hours.

Those 48 hours are the period within which a prosecutor - if he believes that the evidence of guilt is meaningful - can request a validation of the arrest by the Judge of Preliminary Investigation (the GIP).

If the judge agrees with the prosecutor that a serious indication of guilt exists, a warrant for the arrest is issued by the judge, and the person’s detention is thus validated.

Immediately, as soon as the status of “person who could yield useful information” status changes into the status of a suspect, the suspect person has a right to legal counsel. This legal counsel normally immediately appeals for the release of the suspect.

Subsequent hearings by different judges

Thus setting in motion what can be a LONG sequel of hearings - for which in US and UK common law there is no such equivalent. Each hearing is headed by a different judge. This judge examines prosecution and defence arguments, and decides if the suspect may be released on any of these bases:

  • Seriousness of the clues presented by prosecution

  • Likelihood of repeating a similar crime

  • Likelihood of fleeing the country during the ongoing investigation

  • Danger of tampering with, or fabricating evidence

If every one of the defence appeals fails, in front of a number of different judges, in a number of different hearings, and the investigation is officially closed, the suspect then goes on to a pre-trial hearing.

Once again here, yet another judge rules either to clear and release the suspect by rejecting the submitted evidence, or to send the suspect to trial on the basis of that evidence, thus making the charges official.

Judicial decisions on bail, house arrest, or jail

Now that the charges are official, the judge can decide if the defendant must await trial under house arrest, or in freedom, of if the defendant must remain in jail.

If the judge, based on their knowledge of the crime and the defendants, estimates that the chances of re-offending or fleeing the country are high, the suspect must remain in jail.

So nobody in Italy can be detained without a reasonable suspicion, a long series of judicial hearings (any one of which could set them free) or eventual official charges.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have not in fact been incarcerated for over one year due to zealous police or a bizarre prosecutor or the complicity of a number of judges throughout the process.

They have been incarcerated because an articulate and balanced process of law has officially and very fairly established there are strong indications that they willingly participated in the vicious murder of Meredith Kercher.

Failure of defenses to persuade judges

Their own lawyers have put up a tough fight for Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox throughout the judicial process.  But they have simply failed to convince the judges throughout that process.

One that actually seems strongly weighted in their favor.


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…



Sunday, November 16, 2008

The HUGE Problem With The “There Is No Evidence” Hoax

Posted by Peter Quennell

Startling new evidence…

Today reports are surfacing in Italy that a witness (one of the hidden 100) seems to have seen Amanda Knox in this Conad supermarket (lower right and below) at 7:45 on the morning after the crime.

Knox apparently claimed she was asleep in Sollecito’s apartment to around 10:00 am.

This supermarket (right above) is maybe 50 meters from the School for Foreigners (ahead above). About 600 meters from Raffaele Solecito’s apartment (behind above). And about 300 meters from Meredith’s house (left above).

It sells, among other things, laundry detergent (laundry of Meredith’s clothes may have been happening when the cops arrived) and bleach (the place might have been bleached to hide evidence). 

Amanda Knox may have been seen in that detergent and bleach area, by someone who knows her, and then seen exiting in the direction of her house - Meredith’s house.

New evidence should really not come as much of a surprise.

Despite claims to the contrary - that it has all been leaked, and found wanting - the evidence in this case is actually more like an iceberg.

Eighty-plus percent of it is still out of sight. Little of what is in those 10,000 pages of sealed evidence, added to daily by new witnesses, is known to outsiders.

Much of what we HAVE seen of it hangs true.

And those few who are insiders seem to get noticeably more quiet and cautious when they do see it. Rudy Guede’s lawyers were bullish about his prospects - until they saw it.

And then Rudy Guede got handed 30 years.

The defendants really deserve a GOOD defense. By their lawyers. And hopefully, at long last, by their friends.

Sliming Italy and the players in the case looks like a slow-motion train-wreck to us.  Available evidence deserves to be gone over without reflexive shoot-from-the-hip dismissal.

So. No evidence? Perhaps that mantra should now be laid to rest. It’s increasingly looking to be flat-out wrong.

And a quick shortcut to a life behind bars.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Powerpoints #8: Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test

Posted by Kermit





One of the more bizarre defense dog-and-pony shows of the past few months was a defense attempt to show that a burglar may have entered by the window.

Please click here for the Powerpoint presentation.

Also click on the images below for larger versions. The first is of the window of Filomena’s room. Broken on the night with a huge rock, found lying inside. (The prosecutors think it was all staged from the inside.)

If you ever see that window for yourself, you might find yourself giggling in disbelief. First, even a gymnast from the Cirque du Soleil would find it tough to climb up via the (normally closed) window far below.

And then reach up, open the window through a small opening in the broken glass (without cutting themselves) and so pull themselves up and inside. Leaving zero scuff marks and zero DNA and zero broken glass below.

And second, there is a total of FIVE much easier points from which to break in. 

You can see two of them in the second image below: a bathroom window and a bedroom window. Both would have been in the dark. A third - a very dark balcony easy to climb up onto at night - is behind those olive trees to the right.

And there are two more ways in out the front: the front door, and the laundry-room window. A break-in via Filomena’s window is BY FAR the most difficult. Nobody - nobody - has come close to showing how it is done that way.

In this Powerpoint we examine the window from the inside. From that angle this is an especially hard sell. To open it requires a major contortion, made very dangerous by the glass still in the window.

(if you don’t have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded, here is the Viewer download.)








Thursday, November 13, 2008

Powerpoints #7: DNA Evidence - A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject Here

Posted by Nicki




If you can’t see the Powerpoints as intended, please install the latest version of the Powerpoint Viewer which is downloadable here

This is a short sharp presentation of how criminal DNA analysis works.

It is widely known that DNA analysis has been done on the luminol-enhanced footprints that Kermit analyzed for us yesterday.

Also on the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment, on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house. And possibly on other items too.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial in December that the DNA samples might be too small, or might be too contaminated, or might be less than 100 percent of a match.

In two respects, this may not change matters very much.

  • First, there will be many other areas of evidence to be considered at the trial. Alibis, eye-witness accounts, the autopsy, defendant behavior and psychology, computers, and cell-phones, all will factor in.
  • And second, DNA analysis is hard to challenge on the grounds the defenses seem to be suggesting. DNA analysis is a pretty precise science. It does not result in percentages of match of the samples - either they match or they don’t match.

And the provisional perception is this: many DO match.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene

Posted by Kermit





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

This is Judge Paolo Micheli explaining his sentencing of Rudy Guede on 28 October:

[Judge] Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker….  adding that while footprints there [in the house] might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

Will the judges and jury in the Knox and Sollecito trial early next year reach the same conclusion? It does look probable.

This Powerpoint is a hypothesis about six of those footprints. There seems to have been some sort of clean-up to try to hide them.

But they were revealed by luminol on the floor of the house. An analysis of evidence already in the public domain (there may be more) does point to the presence of three pairs of feet.

A sole-perpetrator theory of the crime might just be viable with two pairs of feet. But it is hard to see how a lone-perpetrator theory can hold up if there were three pairs of feet.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Powerpoints #3: A Minute By Minute Visual Guide To The Events On The Night

Posted by Kermit





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

This is a visual hypothesis of the events in Perugia that culminated in Meredith’s violent death.

Every media outfit covering the case might benefit enormously if they were to use such a recreation as their point of departure. Some have long been out of the starter box, of course, and some, especially in the US, have taken off in misleading directions.

But our take on the media now is that they are becoming notably more cautious in face of 10,000 pages of still-sealed evidence and Rudy Guede’s conviction.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wow! The Serial Italy-Smearer Strikes Once Again!

Posted by Peter Quennell




Peter Popham of the UK Independent. Yes that Peter Popham.  And (wow!) that Peter Popham.

Ridicule of Italy has been a huge and hugely mistaken main arm of the Friends of Amanda strategy.

In the early days of the case, Peter Popham wrote quite rationally and dispassionately about it. He came across as an okay reporter, and he managed to maintain a detached point of view.

He actually noticed the victim and her much-suffering family.

And then he sat with Knox’s parents for an interview and seems to have been never quite the same since. Seemingly that Kool-Aid started its work on him right about then.

On Saturday (slow day, Saturday - you think maybe his editors were trying to bury him?) Peter Popham devoted 20 heated paragraphs to a blogger with a masonic conspiracy theory of the case. The “masonic theory that put Knox in the dock”.

The kicker?

[Prosecutor] Mignini does… have the benefit of a cracking story. And in Italy that counts for a lot.

They are all sheep, you see? Silly people. And the blogger? A catholic.

Well! Has Mr Mignini really sold this cracking story? And have the judge and the Italian population really bought into it? 

Let’s see here.

There has been just about zero serious reporting of this masonic theory in Italy itself. Many (we included) knew it was out there. It was fundamentally just not very interesting or convincing.

And the Italian population seem to be coolly and compassionately aware of how Meredith probably did die and why. They did not seem to need lurid conspiracy theories to bring them to this point.

No clear influence of the blogger over Prosecutor Mignini on this case has been shown. Mignini apparently did make a few remarks about Halloween. But Halloween is Halloween, and masons are masons, and there is a difference if you actually look.

And there is no influence over the jury, because (American commentators, please get this right) in place of a jury, there is just a very well-informed judge.

And seemingly there was ZERO influence over this judge, and his judgment on Rudy Guede, and his overall take on the case.  The judge has already explained that he went on the physical evidence and ONLY the physical evidence.

And from just that evidence these conclusions derive:

[Judge] Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker.

He upheld the testimony of a neighbour who heard more than one person fleeing Kercher’s house, adding that while footprints there might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

He stood by forensic evidence indicating Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s house [hidden in a shoe box] which investigators suspect is the murder weapon, and ruled Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra strap as reliable evidence.

He dismissed as “fantasy”, the claim that Knox, Sollecito and Guede planned to involve Kercher in an orgy inspired by “Halloween parties” instead describing the fatal encounter as unplanned.

What really is the truth about the state of the evidence?

Well, much of it even now is not yet in the public domain. But what we already do know is pretty exhaustive. It hangs together nicely. It has been independently vetted. And it is very convincing.

And if there had not been a huge clean-up in the wee hours of the morning (the evidence for that is quite overwhelming) there would have been a great deal more.

And what really is the truth about the motives for the crime?

Probably that they were really very simple. What looks like a toxic blend of drugs, jealousies and guilt-free pathologies.

But more importantly, do they even matter? Does the prosecution have to PROVE a motive, lurid or otherwise?

Actually, no.

Here is an excellent take on this vital point by Michael, one of the very knowledgeable moderators of the Perugia Murder File forum.

The fact that in this case, we still do not have a ‘proven’ motive, nor do we have a proven and logged episode of the three suspects being together before the murder, is irrelevant.

It is the fact that the crime itself was carried out clearly by more then one individual, that all three can be shown to have been there either during, or very shortly after the crime, finished off by the fact that there was a clean-up/staging of the murder afterwards by someone who was ‘not’ Rudy Guede, that provides the necessary proof to convict Guede and refer the other two to trial.

One ‘starts’ at the crime scene itself, because that is where the ‘evidence’ proves them to have been. Not only what ‘is’ there, but also what is not..

To simply say ‘Well…we cannot prove a single time and reason before the event that all three met, therefore we must ignore and throw out all the evidence at the crime scene that indicates more then one person’ is simply ridiculous….

I’ll draw an analogy… If the ground violently shakes, causing the buildings to collapse around us, we have to say that this was an earthquake. It’s no good saying there was no earthquake because we are not anywhere even close to a faultline, or there’s no volcano nearby.

The proof of an earthquake is there. It simply means we then have to consider other possible reasons as being a cause of the quake, even if we cannot technically prove those new theories, because the quake as a ‘fact’ has happened. We then must simply take whichever of those theories is possible and the most likely and apply it as the explanation.

This indeed is what Micheli did in this case, when he said the protagonists may have met at some earlier point in the pubs and clubs. Despite the fact there are no witnesses who have come forward to relate this event, it is not an ‘unlikely’ event to have occurred, considering the close proximity of everyone to everyone else, especially as Knox already knew Guede…

Indeed, it is one of Micheli’s reasons for referring the case to trial. As he has said, a full trial may be able to answer those questions better. But still, that is not what is important, what is important is the defendants prove [now if they can that] they were not at the crime scene during the murder and involved in the staging afterwards.

Cracking story, Peter Popham. But it’s close to game over. Smarter people than you are folding their tents.

Perhaps it’s now time that you did the same.


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..


Monday, October 27, 2008

Peter Popham Of The UK “Independent” Sure Has Drunk The Knox PR Kool-Aid

Posted by Peter Quennell




Popham’s Bias Against Italy

Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

Popham Again Channels Knox PR

Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

See our corrections below.

Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved ““ but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

Our corrections of Popham

1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…


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 | #


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Frank Sforza’s Perugia-Shock Blog: Approach With Caution

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


Frank Sforza called himself Frank Sfarzo for several years online.

Editor’s note: Both Frank Sforza and Perugia Shock are long gone, both forced of the scene for legal reasons. Sforza had losing court caes in Perugia and Seattle. But for years after this post Sforza caused considerable havoc, not least to his own family and to the populations of north-west United States, southwest Canada, and Hawaii. He conned the naive Doug Preston - not exactly a difficult feat - and was mindlessly assisted by Bruce Fischer and Chris Mellas. There are about three dozen posts in his series.

1. Meredith Case Websites

As you probably know, the complex and controversial case of Meredith Kercher is widely posted about on numerous websites in Italy, the UK and the US.

They vary a lot in their objectivity and the quality and timeliness of their information. Some appear to be little more than shills for the defendants and spend a lot of time blowing smoke and trying to brush inconvenient facts under the carpet.

Others are much more objective and really do want to see justice done and, just as importantly,  seen to be done..

The busiest forum on the Meredith Kercher case remains the True Crime Meredith Kercher board hosted as one of his sites (though he usually does not post there) by Steve Huff, a much-admired American crusader for justice.

That board has been busy since last November, in several technical iterations, and it is supported by a large community which has posted some thousands of remarks on it since early in November. (I’m a moderator and poster on that board.)

2. Sforza’s Perugia Shock

One of the several blogs of widely varying quality is Perugia-Shock, which is run by an Italian resident of Perugia named Frank Sforza.

It started out being objective, on-the-ball, amusing, caring for the victim, and widely admired.  But seemingly no longer. Recently it has wandered and the comments below the posts have become more heated.

As many Perugia-Shock readers have noticed, Frank has become quite annoyed with the True Crime board in the last couple of months, and what this suggests about Perugia-Shock is interesting and revealing.

  • Those who post on True Crime board tend to examine, analyze and discuss every piece of information pertaining to this case, and then they decide individually what it is worth. In contrast, Frank brings “scoops” to his public, which he gets from his “sources,” and to which he adds a dash of irony to make his interpretation go down easier. In his comments, he doesn’t seem to appreciate people questioning his authority, his sources or his judgement. And some posters on the True Crime board have been quite vocal and, in most cases, quite astute in their criticism of Frank’s evolving position on the case.

  • One of the criticisms of Frank’s blog on the True Crime board was the temporal (if not causal) relationship between the appearance of the Paypal button for contributions, his proximity to some of the Knox/Mellas family members, and a noticeable change in his focus. I am sure this criticism was noted, although Frank says he doesn’t read any other boards or blogs and gets all the information he needs from his own sources. The Paypal button has now disappeared - although the shift in focus has remained and even intensified.


3. Sforza’s Tilt Toward Knox

Frank’s blog now seems to have become all about Amanda Knox. I would say that two things have pushed him in this direction: Frank’s audience, and Frank’s sources.

  • The seeming role of Amanda Knox in the crime is undoubtedly what has attracted the attention to the case of much of the English-speaking world and of course a focus on Knox results in more website traffic.

  • Frank’s sources don’t seem to be what they used to be. Perhaps he has broken some important trusts. It is clear that at the beginning he was getting his information from the police and perhaps from the prosecution.

And since? Well, first there was Frank’s Biscotti phase - Mr Biscotti is the lead lawyer for Rudy Guede, one of the defendants, who seems to be under siege by the other two defendants. At this time, Frank was quite vocal about Raffaele and Amanda as suspects.

Then at some point, Frank stopped talking about Raffaele. I think it may have been after the Sollecito clan’s “trafic d’influence” activity was disclosed.

Frank’s comments about Biscotti have since turned quite negative. He recently compared Biscotti to Alan Dershowitz, a flamboyant American trial lawyer, and scoffed at Biscotti’s team of young acolytes in Perugia. What I suspect, my personal opinion, is that maybe these people are now spurning his advances - trust is gone, so no scoops from them.

4. Sforza’s Questionable Sources

The strangest turn for me came when Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno made her famous visit to the Kercher/Knox cottage several weeks ago, in which a demonstration was attempted that someone could have come in through flat-mate Filomena’s window.

Just prior to that visit, Frank unveiled a “scoop” about Rudy having a laptop and a cellphone in his possession when he was found in the Milan kindergarten, both stolen from a Perugia law firm by someone who had climbed through a window - just about as high off the ground as Filomena’s.

Given the timing of the Bongiorno visit, the findings that emerged from it, and the content of Frank’s scoop, one has to wonder if the source for Frank’s “scoop” was not the “smiling team” of Sollecito and Knox. (Incidentally the team is not referred to in this way any more—ever since Raffaele stopped being referred to as Daddy’s Boy.)

We can wonder too who gave Frank the Amanda Knox prison diary, and why it was published with the story of an HIV possibility included.

This certainly struck me as odd, since it was just after I myself had been offered a peek at the diary, and had been privately given the HIV story. (Incidentally, when this story was told to me, there was not a hint of anger about the diary being leaked to the press. Only the spin it got seemed cause for concern.) I declined the offer and, considering the source, did not publish the story.

Lo and behold, a photo from the diary and the HIV story were then prominently featured on Frank’s blog a couple days later!

Frank has been referring negatively to the Umbria press. He apparently feels that these papers are not reliable - because they are getting their information from the prosecutor. Or so I gathered from a comment he made on his blog. The book published by four Perugia journalists is worthless, according to Frank, and he is not happy with the True Crime board for translating and dissecting much of it.

The moral of this story? I think you are more than smart enough to work it out for yourselves. If I could offer any advice, it would be to take very lightly Frank’s put-downs of the TC Board. What does he really know about it anyway? According to him, he doesn’t actually read it!

In reality, the posters there seem to have pissed him off by seeking out multiple sources of information and making their own interpretations of it. Keep up the good work!!

5. My Own Relationship With Sforza

I formerly edited many of Frank’s blog posts for him. For those who may have missed it, I am no longer doing this editing. I think my editing was a big help to him, and I didn’t mind doing it, even though I often disagreed with him.

I especially disagreed when he posted about the falsely-accused Patrick Lumumba. Specifically Frank’s post about a money angle; I rarely advised Frank not to post something, but I thought that post reflected a personal vendetta and jealousy, and was unworthy of him.

Frank claimed this post had no bearing to the case whatsoever. So I was surprised when he posted negatively yet again about Patrick Lumumba, and yet again about money. The transcript from the December audience with Prosecutor Mignini was used to harm Patrick, not to help Amanda.

Which shows it’s sometimes possible to harm two birds with one stone…

6. And Now, Breaking News

As if on cue, Frank himself has provided support for my arguments above.

Exhibit one: His entry from yesterday is entitled Short Trial for Rudy, but the photo shows Amanda Knox and the caption reads “no, no handcuffs.”

Exhibit two: In the comments section, the Italian Woman at the table asserts that Frank is the first and only source we have for the verbatim deposition of the Albanian witness who claims to have seen the three suspects together on the night of the murder. In fact, Frank’s own source may have been TGCOM, which published the verbatim.

It was brought to the TC board immediately by Jools, and then was quickly translated and discussed by the TC board””well before Frank posted. In the comments section to Frank’s blog entry, Jools set the record straight and reproduced her original, time-stamped post from the TC board. Kermit followed up with a link to TGCOM. Both of their comments were deleted by a blog administrator.

After numerous deletions in what seemed like one angry gesture, the blog entry was disabled for comments, although someone (Frank?) noted that perhaps some of the comments had been deleted in error. Thinking that hers had been, Jools reposted her clarification under the prior entry. That too was deleted and the entry was then disabled. I can understand why Frank might want to close his blog when he isn’t there to monitor, but I don’t understand why these simple clarifications were deleted.

Is it because both Jools and Kermit indicated Frank’s source (or at least a source that had the information at the same time as or even before he did), or is it because they demonstrated that his “scoop” was not really one at all? Strange doings over there.

This may seem unimportant, but in a case where the press has been maligned for providing inaccurate information, and where certain individuals like Frank claim to be beacons of truth, they need to set the example by, well, being truthful. Or at least correcting their errors. It may be that IW did not know that TGCOM had already published, but once that clarification was provided there was no reason to delete THE TRUTH.

In fact, the posters should have been thanked for setting the record straight. But they weren’t. It is hard to trust a source that is more interested in self-promotion than accuracy. If I am wrong about any of this, I hope someone will correct me.

Exhibit three: Not directly related, but interesting nonetheless. IW claimed that all reporters had kept a respectful distance from the Kercher family at all times and had not asked questions. The entry under which she posted this claim is the same one in which Frank tells us that he asked Stephanie how Amanda Knox and her late sister got along. Before she could answer, according to Frank, her lawyer “shouted her mouth.”

This was later changed to “shut her mouth,” which is not much clearer. I still don’t understand if this means he placed a hand over her mouth, took his fingers and physically closed her lips, told her to zip it or what. In any case, at least one reporter did not keep a respectful distance and even asked Stephanie a question about Amanda Knox and her late sister.




Transposed comments


Skep,

Thanks for clearing up what has happened over at the Perugia Shock Blog.  I was a long time reader over there, and the shift to supporting Amanda Knox is SO transparent, as well as the editing change since you stopped helping him.  Take today’s entry for example.  It’s title is “Rudy Gets the Short Trial”, yet who’s picture appears with the caption “no, no handcuffs”? Amanda Knox!

To me, when you see a comment section on a blog with an inordinate amount of “comment deleted” entries, it’s time to move on, and conclude something is very wrong. That is exactly what I have done.

Tara

Posted by Tara on 09/17/08 at 02:47 PM | #

Signs of a real growth-industry here. Fame and fortune via the “Amanda Knox Was Rairoaded” route.

Slime the defendent. Slime the police. Slime the prosecutors. Slime Guede. Slime Italy.

Resulting in books galore. TV crime-chat programs nightly. A standard figure of outrage on CNN’s Nancy Grace outrage program (a wonder they have not already made it on there). Google ads on their websites by the hundred.

If this cannot be spun into a $250,000 a year income, they are not really trying.

We are The Wall here! It will go no further. A very fine piece up there for starters, Skep.

Posted by Fast Pete on 09/18/08 at 11:28 AM | #


See also the comment below added later by Bettina who had a nasty encounter.


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.’


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Key Media Reports: 3 November 2007 Kate Mansey Interview

Posted by Administrator

Published in the Sunday Mirror 4/11/2007

MURDERED IN ITALY. MEREDITH, 21
Friend tells how he broke down door
Kate Mansey In Perugia, Italy 4/11/2007

A friend of murdered British student Meredith Kercher told last night how he discovered her body in her blood-spattered bedroom.

Raffaele Sollecito, 23, relived the horror of finding the body of the pretty brunette who died when her killer broke into her home and cut her throat as she lay in her bed.

“It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.

“My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

Meredith, 21, who had been studying in Perugia, Italy since August, was murdered the day after a Halloween fancy dress party at the city’s British-themed Merlin Pub on Wednesday.

On Thursday she posted happy snaps of herself in fancy dress on the internet and in the evening had returned home alone after watching a film at a friend’s house.

But her flatmates - two Italian girls and one American - had all stayed out for the night, so the gruesome discovery wasn’t made until the next day.

Raffaele had spent the night at his own house on the other side of the city with his girlfriend, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 22.

He said: “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.

“The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

As Amanda, from Washington DC, stepped into house [sic B] she could tell there was something terribly wrong.

Raffaele said: “When she arrived the front door was wide open. She thought it was weird, but thought maybe someone was in the house and had left it ajar.

“But when she went into the bathroom she saw spots of blood all over the bath and sink. That’s when she started getting really afraid and ran back to my place because she didn’t want to go into the house alone. So I agreed to go back with her. When we walked in together, I knew straight away it was wrong. It was really eerily silent and the bathroom was speckled with blood like someone had flicked it around, just little spots.

“We went into the bedroom of Philomena (another flatmate who was away) and it had been ransacked, like someone had been looking for something. But when we tried Meredith’s room, the door was locked. She never normally locked her bedroom door and that really made us frightened.”

Their panic grew as they desperately banged on her door.

Raffaele said: “I tried to knock it down. I thought maybe she was ill… I made a dent, but I wasn’t strong enough on my own so I called the police.”

When police arrived they knocked the door down straightaway and Raffaele followed them into the room.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “It was hard to tell it was Meredith at first but Amanda started crying and screaming. I dragged her away because I didn’t want her to see it, it was so horrible.

“It seems her killer came through the window because it was smashed and there was glass all over the place. It was so sinister because other parts of the house were just as normal.”

Raffaele, a computer science student, said Meredith had recently started seeing an Italian neighbour called Giacamo [sic B] who lived in the apartment beneath the girls.

He said: “Meredith was always smiling and happy. She was really popular and it’s horrible that someone would want to hurt her.”


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