Friday, November 14, 2008

La Nazione Is Reporting There Will Be Nearly 100 Witnesses

Posted by Peter Quennell

Including a possible three new eye-witnesses in the vicinity of the house on the night in question.

And that the lawyer for the Kercher family, Mr Maresca, says they would prefer no TV cameras in the courtroom.

English translation here if and when we get one. But that is the main news in the piece.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/14 at 03:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (3)

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?

It was a defense attempt to show that a killer may have entered by Filomena’s window.

That is QUITE IMPOSSIBLE for a reason that too few understand. The problem is not in the climb. It is in what MUST happen next.

Please click here for the Powerpoint presentation which will explain.


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.


Now Our Website Is The Subject Of A Russian Wire Service Story

Posted by Peter Quennell

This story has just been posted on the NewsRu-dot-com website. Meaning it will be picked up by other media in Russia.

Welcome to new readers from that great country. True Justice for Meredith is already read in about 20 countries. These are today’s readers to noon NYC time.

The Russian piece seems essentially a fair take on what we are about. If we read it right, though, it does seem to suggest we have questions about the investigation by the Italian authorities.

Actually, no. That is not us.

Readers of our site here can see that we continue to think that the Italian investigative and judicial processes have been fair and exemplary. Our evidence posts below essentially only go to show that they seem to have it right.

It has been the contempt heaped upon those processes over the past year in some arms of the media that has been our special inspiration here.

That and Meredith. The one and the only victim in this case.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/12 at 08:04 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingMedia newsComments here (2)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Kerchers’ Hometown Paper Profiles Our Site

Posted by The Editor

This story has just been posted on the Croydon Guardian website.

Thank you, Croydon Guardian of south London. We are honored that this first media mention was right there where Meredith’s family lives.

And where the great sadness and loss and sense of wrong we also feel lingers on.

The one amendment we might offer to the story is this. We don’t see a conspiracy of the media to misreport as such.

But we do think there was something of a herd-mentality media rush-to-judgment here that was pretty light on the facts.

And that some misreporting continues, right up to today. Just scroll down below and you will see it.

The tide seems to be turning, though, and a rebalancing of the coverage is perhaps now in progress.

Meredith was the real victim here. And her much-suffering family in south London. The last media holdouts should take note.

Posted by The Editor on 11/11 at 08:39 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (9)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Powerpoints #5: A Graphical Tour Of The Crime Scene Itself

Posted by Kermit





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

Now this is a walk-through of the inside of the fateful house.  This tour of the scene of the crime includes shots of each room of the house, and the police investigators’ evidence markers, with some explanations of what they refer to.

Items seen here and the autopsy and luminol evidence left Judge Paolo Micheli very convinced that this crime involved several perpetrators, and not just the one.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Powerpoints #4: A Very Odd House, In A Very Odd Location

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 presentation on the house and its neighborhood, and why they evolved in the strange way they did.

As a point of departure, take a look at this shot below of the English girls’ house. This is where Meredith spent her last evening.

There must be a dozen apartments in that place.  Hard to imagine any prolonged violence ever taking place in there. Sounds of torture and depravity would travel very easily. Neighbors would be banging on the door in five seconds flat.


In contrast, Meredith’s house was really quite isolated. Arrive from any of three directions - east, west, and down from the walled city - and you chance upon it suddenly and quite counter-intuitively.

Its location below the street and the parking facility, and its almost fort-like, semi-soundproof construction, seem like facilitating factors of the crime - even though we do believe Madame Nara heard something.

Posted by Kermit on 11/09 at 04:41 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Overview PowerpointsCrime hypothesesEvidence & WitnessesOther physicalComments here (1)

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.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Powerpoints #2: A Comprehensive Guide To The Relevant Locations

Posted by Kermit





Perhaps nothing will ever beat walking Perugia to understand where and how this utterly incongruous crime took place. But here is a great second best.

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


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.


Monday, November 03, 2008

“Meredith Never Stopped Smiling”

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[click for larger images]

The radiance of Meredith’s lovely smile and the infectiousness of her laugh have been remarked upon, again and again, by family and friends…

Cold rainy weather now in Perugia, it appears, and the reporters there for the Rudy Guede trial are long gone. Like last year, most of the students are out of town.

But kindly and commendably, a number of Italian news outlets have noted the mass held yesterday for Meredith, and the leaving of flowers at the house.

That smile. It sure got to people.

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 11/03 at 09:42 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryComments here (3)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Meredith’s Leeds #2: The Large, Popular, Very Respected University,

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Meredith studied at this hard-to-get-into university with the excellent reputation for two years. She would have returned for a third for sure.

These aerial shots show just the central campus area. Factoring in the many halls of residence, and the outlying schools, the total campus area must occupy several square miles.

Meredith would probably have spent most of her time in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (the white building at left-center above facing left, and at center below), the main library (the round building behind it) and the Students Union (the large cluster of buildings at far-left center above, and at just below left-center below).

Please look for a much fuller description soon, in a new post coming up.

Below: Two outdoor and two indoor shots of the Michael Sadler building housing the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Below: Two shots of the Parkinson building, through which Meredith might haver walked if she came by bus

Below: A shot and a diagram of the Brotherton Library; the Italian Section is two floors below the main reading room here

Below: Outdoor and indoor shots of the Students Union which houses cafeterias, book stores, health facilities, and recreation

Below: Some of the buildings in the modern style - some new, some from the 1960s, many connected by overhead passage-ways

Below: Night falls on the university; with 30,000 students studying there, you would never normally see it an un-peopled as this!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/02 at 12:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer EnglandComments here (6)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Meredith’s Perugia #1: Faces Of The City She Loved Getting to Know

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/01 at 08:40 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer PerugiaComments here (0)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Meredith’s Leeds #1: The SPECTACULAR Downtown

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Meredith lived two years in Leeds. She walked these places?

SURE she did. Everybody does. The Leeds downtown has to be one of the most successful in Europe. Built originally with the enormous wealth that resided in the town, and lovingly rebuilt again in parts after World War II.

You are looking here at four scenes. First, the myriad of covered passages that criss-cross the older shopping streets. Second, the huge covered market just nearby. Third, the more modern shopping, again very close. And finally, the public area in front of the town hall, where even more shopping - art-and-craft stalls - is periodically established. 

One incredible walkable area. Even if she didn’t shop it - and that would surprise us! - Meredith surely loved to walk it.

She would of course have been back. At least for one more year. And maybe for grad school.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/31 at 06:11 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer EnglandComments here (6)

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..


“Gee Thanks, Friends Of Amanda! Where’d I Be Without You?!”

Posted by Peter Quennell



(Reuters) - A 21-year-old American exchange student indicted in Italy for the murder of her British flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was denied house arrest on Wednesday by a judge who ruled she was too great a flight risk to release from jail.

Amanda Knox’s Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, was also denied house arrest as the couple await trial, set to begin on December 4.

Sollecito’s lawyer said Judge Paolo Micheli feared the two suspects could flee the country or commit another murder.

Knox and Sollecito have been held in jail since shortly after the killing last November of 21-year-old student Kercher, whose semi-naked body was found in her apartment in the university city of Perugia in central Italy.

Prosecutors say Kercher was stabbed in the neck when Knox, Sollecito and a third suspect tried to involve her in an orgy. The case has riveted Italians and received wide cover in the media.

The third suspect, 21-year-old Rudy Guede, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday for rape and murder.

Guede, born in the Ivory Coast, had chosen a fast-track procedure with no jury, which under Italian law allows suspects to receive a lesser sentence if they are convicted. Prosecutors had requested life in prison.

All three suspects deny wrongdoing.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: Newsweek Seems To Think “Friends Of Amanda” Is Radioactive

Posted by Peter Quennell




Above: Seattle’s media-lawyer Anne Bremner. Referred to in Newsweek’s excellent piece on the Italian reactions she seems to have stirred.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the overzealous freelance defense team in the United States, which has taken up Knox’s cause with fervor, have not helped the defendant””and might even have hurt her standing in the Italian courts.

The Friends of Amanda campaign, led by Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner, has infuriated prosecuting and defense attorneys alike by helping focus extensive coverage by major American news networks on the alleged ineptitude of the Italian investigators and antiquated Italian legal system.

Bremner infuriated Perugian prosecutor Mignini by taking swipes at the work of Italian police on NBC, enumerating ways in which prosecutors may have inadvertently contaminated DNA evidence.

Lawyers for both sides of the case quickly pointed out, however, that Bremner was basing her comments on video footage of an apartment below the crime scene, not the actual crime scene itself.

Further alienating the Italians, Seattle judge Michael Heavey wrote a damning letter to Italy’s justice minister about the potential for injustice against Knox, prompting one lawyer to warn that the Americans would have to send the military to get Amanda out of Italy.

“We are being condemned by a group over nine-thousand kilometers away, without knowing the intricacies of the case or the complexities of Italian judicial terminology,” prosecutor Mignini told reporters outside the Perugian courthouse last week. “I am shocked and scandalized by this attitude. It is the first time I have come across such presumption and superficiality.”

Bremner’s comments, like those made earlier in the investigation by New York attorney Joseph Tacopina, have tended to contradict the strategy of Knox’s lawyers and have even put Knox’s lead attorney Luciano Ghirga on the defensive.

“American lawyers do not represent anyone here,” said Ghirga outside the courthouse in Perugia, “and have never represented anyone here.”

The interference has also angered Knox’s family, who have publicly distanced themselves from those in Seattle. “I have faith in my Italian lawyers,” says Curt Knox. “And I dissociate myself from other initiatives on behalf of my daughter.”

Ooops! With friends like this, seriously, who needs enemies?


Next-Day Press: A Good Take By Andrea Vogt For Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Posted by Peter Quennell



PERUGIA, Italy—A little more than a month from now, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will stand trial for murder in an Italian courtroom. For Americans following the case, it’ll seem a little strange.

The trial is expected to be open to the public—in stark contrast with the series of closed-door hearings held over the past year just to get to this point.

Under Italian law, Knox and Sollecito could be held in prison for several years during the trial and appeals, if any, but this case is likely to take only months to play out because there’s already been an unusual amount of trial preparation, according to legal observers.

Unlike a typical criminal trial in the United States, the Italian version is longer—often taking months to get to a verdict.

Until two decades ago, the trial process here was similar to that of France, but recent reforms have brought the system closer to what might be expected in an American trial.

There are usually six civilian jurors and two judges, one of whom serves as the “president” of the jury and helps manage the procedural elements of the trial. All of the jurors, including the judges, are chosen randomly.

Although it’s a sensational case, Knox and Sollecito will probably be tried in Perugia, a central Italian city with a population of about 340,000. A change of venue to another city jurisdiction is seldom granted.

The capital of the region of Umbria, Perugia is known for its high-profile jazz festival each summer, its chocolate fair in the fall and as a magnet for international students. But the influx of foreign students and tourists belies how the real Perugia operates, many say.

“It is a paradoxical city,” said veteran Italian journalist Meo Ponte, who is covering the case for the Italian daily La Republica and lived several years in Perugia before transferring to Turin.

“It has the dimension of a small town,” he said, “but because of its large student population, it also has the openness of a large, cosmopolitan city.”


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