Monday, January 12, 2009

So If The Trial Is Declared Closed To The Press This Friday…

Posted by Peter Quennell


Bars around Perugia will really be working overtime. Tom Kington reports:

Court officials in the university town said that 130 newspapers and TV stations from around the world had applied for press passes to the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

More than 250 witnesses are expected to be called and the jury will hear the testimony of 20 investigators and dozens of forensic, genetic and computer experts.

The general expectation though seems to be that all the credentialed press will be seated in a separate room, facing TV monitors, and that when there is raw testimony, Judge Massei will order that the cameras be switched off.

To be fair to them, many of the reporters that we read regularly have a history of filing superb stories on other matters they alone investigated. They can feel a real discomfort at being part of a pack.

A public relations campaign designed to drive these huge numbers may not prove to have been such a smart move in the long run.

Posted on 01/12/09 at 01:26 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009News media & movies
Permalink for this postTell-a-Friend • Click for Trackbacks (0) • Comments here (0)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mr Mignini, This Person Looks Like Bad News For The Kerchers

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

And apparently for you too.

This person at the back there appears to be the same as in the shots below. They were taken last September.

Other shots reaching us also appear to show this same person. Lurking right behind the Kerchers, in areas that are meant to be secure.

We’re told this person might perhaps be running an obscure American website. One apparently obsessively in favor of a defendant.

That website has apparently ridiculed the Italian police (as “Keystone cops”), the Italian evidence service, several of the witnesses, and on several occasions YOU.

And the website has apparently carried inflammatory, hate-filled remarks against the Kerchers,

Obviously if this person is that person, you might want to haul her in and check out what was going on here. We would hope that any threats to the welfare and safety of the Kerchers would be kept very far away from them.

Perhaps even kept safely in a cell for the duration of the trial.

Posted on 01/10/09 at 10:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involved
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (12)

Friday, January 09, 2009

To Our Readers In Perugia: Please Help Us Identify The Person At Back?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please email to us if the shadowy person in the rear here is known to you?

The shots were taken in Perugia during the hearings in September. We want to know who that is in the background. The Kerchers are in the foreground, seemingly completely unaware of her.

The hotel staff or the police or Mr Mignini might be able to help place her. She may of course be hotel staff, or a fellow guest in the hotel who is unrelated to the case.

But when we checked the shots with professional acquaintances in New York, they were certainly interested to know more.

They noted that the security detail of the Kerchers doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. In fact, nobody else seems to be anywhere in sight. They also noted she seems to be staring at the Kerchers’ backs with a very peculiar expression.

We are sure this is all above board and that there’s no cause for alarm. But we would like to confirm. Thanks in advance for a tip.


Posted on 01/09/09 at 12:29 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2008Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (3)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Looks Like Seattle Post Intelligencer Could Be On The Rocks

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the breaking story.

The Seattle PI offered the best Meredith-case reporting, Andrea Vogt’s, from Rome. And the worst Meredith-case blogging, Candace Dempsey’s, from Seattle.

Weird editorial judgment. To say the least. More of the former and an absence of the latter could have really boosted this newspaper’s prospects.

Here are our past takes on the paper’s general decline and one bright spot.

Posted on 01/08/09 at 08:10 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (7)

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.


And Newsweek’s Most-Read Stories Over The Long Weekend Were…

Posted by Peter Quennell

Three on Meredith’s case in the top six.

Click above for a more readable version. The thriller headlines used here don’t quite reflect the cool, precise Newsweek stories which the online readers were reading.

Good news for those wanting objective coverage, everything to come out, and the chips to fall where they may in the case.

And bad news for those not wanting these three particular outcomes…

Posted on 01/05/09 at 09:28 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-Friend • Click for Trackbacks (0) • Comments here (0)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Excellent New Report From Italy In The Latest Newsweek

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story by Rome-based Barbie Nadeau.

The best so far on the Meredith v Knox focus that we are here to re-balance. Newsweek has now set us up with a real challenge, it seems.

By the way, Newsweek has emerged as a real powerhouse of a news magazine in the past four or five years, with a really terrific group of writers.

On the news-magazine front, it is now about as influential as the New York Times on the newspaper front, and the BBC on the broadcast-news front.

Thanks for reading, muffle up well if you are in cold climes, and see you on Monday.

Posted on 01/01/09 at 10:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-Friend • Click for Trackbacks (0) • Comments here (7)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eight Weeks Now And Counting! Our Year-End Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

Here’s where we seem to stand now, two months (yes just two months!) after TJMK first launched. 

1) In the United States here in recent months, Meredith Kercher had become almost invisible in the press reports on the case. The Associated Press report we criticized a week ago is a case in point: half a dozen paras on Amanda Knox’s Christmas plight, and one cold sentence on the Kerchers’ Christmas plight.

2) TJMK has been the one site (try to find another)  to actually draw some of the attention back to Meredith Kercher, to show that she was a really bright and attractive person, to illustrate the London and Leeds environments that she came from, to explain how very much her intended year in Perugia meant to her and how hard she had worked for it, and to show that as the one and only true victim in the case, Meredith REALLY matters,

3) In the United States here, coverage of the emerging public evidence of the case has been between thin and non-existent, and there have been some actively misleading reports. Even the excellent NBC Dateline report that we praised a week ago left out some key evidence points.

4) TJMK has been a solitary voice (try to find another) in setting out the full sweep of the publicly available evidence in a cool and methodical way for everybody’s consideration, the American media’s included, without any exaggeration or misinterpretation, and with the repeated caution that, kinda like an iceberg, most of the evidence is still out of sight.. 

5) In the United States here, there has been a considerable attempt to stir up sentiment against the Italian legal system and the prosecutor. Legal experts here in New York tell us they cannot think of another case where a legal system has been so mischaracterized and a police force, evidentiary service and prosecutor so ridiculed. For example check this out..

6) TJMK has been a solitary voice (try to find another) in explaining how the Italian legal system actually works, in noting that it is actually extremely fair toward defendants, and in showing respect for the efforts of the police, the evidence service, the judiciary, and especially the prosecutor for the case.

7) In other media and other areas of the blogosphere you can find a number of sensationalized reports about Amanda Knox and a lesser number about Raffaele Sollecito.

8) We have generally not commented very much on Sollecito, who remains quite an enigma to us. We have not dwelled on any of those lurid reports about Knox, and we have actually shown a certain sympathy for the plight of Knox who we suspect may have serious unaddressed psychological issues, and who we think has been served very badly by the well-funded, bare-knuckles public relations campaign.

9) We have unmoderated comments here, with no registration required, and we have welcomed all comments in the general tone of the site regardless of point of view. We fund the site ourselves, we dont request contributions, we carry no advertising, and we have no secret book deals in the wings. The agenda simply remains justice for Meredith and some eventual signs of contrition to provide the Kercher family with some sort of closure. And that is it.

10) Two post-length comments appeared here yesterday that showed very little sign that any of the many posts on the evidence on this site had ever been read or understood. If they had been taken into account, such claims about Guede as sole perp would in our view have been impossible. It was not what the commenter said that led to the rebuttals (though he or she mistated some hard facts) so much as the volume of contradicting facts here that he or she ignored and went past. Rebuttals do not seem to have taken a harder line against Knox and Sollecito than comments on any previous posts. 

11) We think we have provided many people with a better appreciation of the really remarkable person Meredith was, and the truly sadistic nature of the crime committed against her. We have run an uphill truth-focussed campaign for her justice which seems to be gaining real traction now against some very well-funded, money-making, smoke-blowing interests. And we have gained respect from the media.

12) We would like to see Guede come out with an ACCURATE description of the events on the night (which he hasn’t yet) and let the chips fall where they may for the remaining two defendants. And we’d really like to see a strong show of contrition from the perp or the perps to the Kerchers to hopefully provide them with some closure.

Very many thanks to all of our sharing, caring, and extremely insightful contributors.  Happy new year, everyone.

And rest in peace, Meredith. You had a very, very good life ahead of you…

Posted on 12/31/08 at 10:31 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (2)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog Bites Newspaper In Tail

Posted by Peter Quennell




Click above to read what appeared on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog before it was yanked.

Biff! Bam! Pow! Take that, rival Seattle Times! So. Are the monkeys now driving the train at Hearst’s Seattle PI ?!

Seattle’s excellent TechFlash website had this to say about the yanked post.

Ah, the wonders of newspaper rivalries in the age of online media.

Regina Hackett, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s art critic, cast a critical eye on her departing counterpart, Sheila Farr of The Seattle Times, in a blistering blog post Monday afternoon on the P-I’s site. By this morning, the post had disappeared.

It was the kind of commentary that probably wouldn’t have made it into a traditional print edition. But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.

Hmmm. “But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.” 

So. You think that the editor of the Seattle PI, David McCumber, might finally have noticed that he could use a few more editorial layers?!

Hearst must be wondering about the monkeys layer. They could use less of that.

Posted on 12/30/08 at 11:16 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (9)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meredith Would Have Been 23 Today

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[click for larger image]




Happy, trusting, caring, extremely smart, very hard-working, nice to absolutely everyone in her attitude and her behavior… and smiling.

Always smiling.

She didn’t have an enemy in the world and, perhaps because of her rather Mediterranean looks, is very widely loved and missed in Italy.

A number of wreaths and flowers were dropped off at the gate of her house on the first anniversary of her death.

She planned to be a teacher. In a forty-year career, her grace and intelligence and kindness would have brushed the lives of many thousands.

Every day now we are getting emails - mainly from women, but not always - missing her terribly and mourning the tragedy of her death.

You mattered, Meredith. And you matter. You are brushing the lives of many thousands.

Posted on 12/28/08 at 01:36 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (0)

New Pressure Now On Rudy Guede To Start Talking?

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click above for Guede profile]

There’s a new report in the Italian press that Guede is apparently now transferred to the sex offenders wing of the prison mentioned below.

It seems that sex offenders are not great favorites among the other prisoners, so the point of such a move might be to protect him rather than to give him an additionally hard time.

Or could this be more pressure on him to start talking? Guede seems to have made remarks to his lawyer in the last several days intended to convey to the Kerchers that he is sad for them at what happened.

Prosecutor Mignini has a reputation among people who actually know him and regard him with respect for above all wanting justice and closure for the families of victims.

And for wanting to know precisely what happened. He is not really known for being among the most vengeful of prosecutors, or for seeking particularly harsh sentences.

If Mr Mignini is not having periodic chats about what is best for Meredith’s family with the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, it would be uncharacteristic of him.

Closure for some victims’ families can be above all a matter of knowing what happened and why, and of hearing some real contrition from the perp or the perps.

Mr Mignini seems to us just right for this kind of outcome, and the Kerchers have several times seemed to suggest that they think so, too.

May the whipsawing, if that is what it is, please continue…

Posted on 12/28/08 at 09:20 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe prosecutors
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (44)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where The Convicted Perp And The Defendants Are Now

Posted by Peter Quennell

About one hour’s drive apart.

Not that they are doing too much driving these days, of course. Due to present circumstances.

Italy’s prison system is among the more innovative in terms of the rehabilitation of prisoners. If they need one, prisoners get taught a trade skill before they bounce back into society.

So Rudy Guede, along with (if convicted) Amanda Knox and (if convicted) Raffaele Sollecito, could re-enter society as champion pizza makers.

That’ll be the very good European pizzas, of course. The wonderful Four Seasons for example. With artichokes.

That could go over very well in mid-century Seattle.

And this structure below is? Answer is below the shot.

The solar heating on Terni prison. This was the first solar heating on prisons in Italy. It would seem that Sollecito is the most snug of the three.

At least in the summer, when the sun shines the most. 

Posted on 12/27/08 at 09:57 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

She Really Was Special… Our Thoughts Are With The Kerchers

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Posted on 12/25/08 at 01:30 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (12)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perhaps Associated Press Should Try Reporting The Odds?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click for larger images. Online polls on whether Amanda Knox will be found guilty. 

Gulp! The odds now [above] have become even more ominous than the odds one year ago [below]. 

Polling is by avid news followers. Probably only a small minority follow Meredith’s case specifically and seek to distort those polls

Obviously the PR campaign is doing a terrific job (!) Obviously the Associated Press is right to take it so seriously (!)

Posted on 12/24/08 at 02:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers: media groupsAssoc PressNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsN America context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (1)

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.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Okay The Whole World Gets To Hear Who’s On The Jury

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

The need for security must be minimal.

And Judge Massei’s desire for transparency perhaps maximal - he has already taken pains to emphasize that the conclusions of the six Peoples’ Judges get equal wight with the conclusions of the two Court of Assizes judges when they all huddle together to decide guilt or innocence. 

La Nazione has published the names - so far, the only Italian paper to do so - and a couple of biographical details.

  • Anna Maria Artegiani (51): her profession is listed as secretary of a primary school and she lives in Marsciano. There is a prominent Perugian artist. with the same name.
  • Angelico Evangelisti (38): no details of him as yet
  • Maria Ludovica Morelli (37): no details of her as yet
  • Angela Irene Ceccarini (43): she now lives in Perugia and is originally from Todi
  • Andrea Valentini Valentini (35): he is a criminal lawyer in Perugia, and is originally from Umbertide
  • Paolo Rapetti (57): no details of him as yet; there is a Perugian footballer of that name.


Several of them have apparently not been following the case, and were uneasy at the wall of reporters’ notebooks confronting them and the coming publicity.

Judge Massei remarked that the role of Peoples’ Judge in this case is a civic duty, and with a dry smile urged enthusiasm for something that does not happen often in most peoples’ lifetimes. 

Too much publicity? Perhaps. The Italian papers have new stories several times a week. Periodically some of them do seem to go ape over what look like defendants’ stunts aimed at sympathy.

Yesterday Nicki kindly posted negative comments from Corriere della Sera on Rudy Guede’s shot at fame as a poet. The backlash could lead to more secluded digs for the perps if found guilty.

But frequent commenter DS was left wondering if the perps - one perp, anyway - could still come out way ahead of the game. 

Discussing the case on a dedicated blog is one thing, but the tabloid press have gone to town on this story… Even I’m getting sick of seeing Amanda in the press and I’m following this story like a bloodhound!!

If Amanda is found innocent, she’ll be in Italian Hello magazine showing off her fab new kitchen & her amazing figure by the end of her first week of freedom. If she is found guilty, she will be notorious and have TV movies made of her life. 

Considering that she will be out of prison even with a guilty verdict by the time she is 50, she will have a nice media-paid-for nest egg to come out to and slip into obscurity.

[Australian prisoner in Indonesia] Schapelle Corby (according to the Sydney Morning Herald libel fans!) is making piles of money by handing all her biography copyrights to her sister’s Balinese husband but then people are more assured of her innocence and she hasn’t changed her story. 

Regardless, Amanda will no doubt find a way to profit from this media interest whatever happens.  In a sick hideous way, this case is possibly the best thing that has even happened to Amanda thanks to the papers. 

They need to starve her of the publicity oxygen that her and her parents so clearly crave by their continuing to feed the media beast.

Posted on 12/23/08 at 07:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (3)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Perugia: Jury Selection May Be Completed Today

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Update: three men and three women ranging from 35 to 57 years old, including a young lawyer, have been selected. Three women and one man have been selected as alternates.

Italian media are reporting that a jury of six, with four alternates, should be announced by the close of court business today. We remain curious as to whether their names will become public.

Judge Beatrice Cristiani is now mentioned to be the second judge alongside Judge Giancarlo Massei, the President of the Court of Assize. The name we have been seeing previously was Judge Carla Giangamoni.

Also being reported is this attempt at poetry by Rudy Guede, six weeks into his 30-year sentence.

My tears are born from the darkness of solitude, full of pain. My tears, my tears. Transparent as water are my tears, but full of truth and love.

Doesn’t read to us like a confession or a reaching-out to the Kerchers for forgiveness. Reader comments under the story on the Corriere della Sera website are universally negative.

He has twenty-nine years and 46 weeks to rework it.

Posted on 12/22/08 at 11:15 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (8)

Sunday, December 21, 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.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Meredith Dateline Documentary: New Standard For All Others?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

We think so. We think other TV networks would be foolhardy to now step back from NBC’s very high standard.

This is the Dateline documentary reviewed here by Skeptical Bystander on Monday. Now we have been through it almost frame by frame, and we continue to be impressed.

NBC clearly gave this one a big budget. It filled the entire hour. Meredith was very much respected in the script and the images of her. NBC flew camera teams to Seattle and Perugia, along with the precise, well-informed reporter, Dennis Murphy. The photography and the production values were excellent. There were a number of new images, and new tape-recordings of Amanda Knox. And the three consultants - Richard Owen, Clint van Zandt, and Theodore Simon - were all really on top of the case.

Now for our take on what it all means.

Richard Owen is the Rome correspondent for the London Times, with many Perugia stories to his name. Clint van Zandt is a much-in-demand crime analyst, formerly with the FBI. And Theodore Simon is a Philadelphia defense lawyer, who has defended Americans in foreign trouble and commented before on the case.

These are what they regard as the strengths of the prosecution’s case.  Meredith was known to have not liked Knox bringing strange men to the house, and to have had other differences. The several defendant alibis do not coincide. The Knox murder accusation against Lumumba not only did not help, it hurt. The break-in theory is very dubious. Knox and Sollecito kissing outside, the underwear purchase, and other post-crime behavior, all look very fishy.

The DNA on the hidden knife is very compelling. As Clint Van Zandt put it, the knife, the DNA, and its hiding make a nice prosecution package. The bleaching of the house and the footprints showing up under luminol, if linked to anyone, could almost be conclusive by themselves. As could the blood drops on the bathroom drain. The witchcraft angle as a motive, van Zandt remarked, was almost a bridge too far, but the prosecutor does have to attempt to offer a theory of how these otherwise normal kids could commit the murder.  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.

Only old and very familiar arguments were advanced for the defense case. Dennis Murphy noted that for a year now, Europeans have been sold a sexy heartless icon. Knox’s father said her first alibi/confession was “all but water-boarded out of a terrified young woman” and the prosecutors had been heartless, feeding one juicy morsel after another to a voracious tabloid press. He claimed the knife was found in the knives draw in Sollecito’s kitchen (not our understanding) and the DNA on the blade could be that of half the people in Italy (nor is that). And all the evidence at the crime scene had been contaminated by careless police work. The hostility of the Knox-Mellas couple for the prosecutor shone through. And an old clip showed Anne Bremner remarking (of the wrong apartment) “thou shalt not destroy evidence at a crime scene, and this appears to be the case here”.

Recordings are heard, some in Amanda Knox’s voice, and some in others, of her claims about her arrest and interrogation. Also of her dreams and denials as recorded in her diary in her first weeks in jail, when she was clearly feeling betrayed by Sollecito - this is the diary she later handed to prosecutors.

Criticisms? We have some. An image of the duvet with Meredith’s foot showing is used repeatedly. The NBC take on the case was not up-to-the-minute, and some of the clips and claims seemed old. No psychological angles were explored. The documentary did not mention the independent expert verification of the forensic evidence, or the caution of the Italian legal system, or the dozen judges who have verified the impact of the evidence. And it did not mention that most of the 10,000 pages of evidence have still only been seen by a very few.

But it finished well. Dennis Murphy remarked that we should remember the prosecutor has already convicted Guede with his sex-game argument. And that the Guede judge said the other two are implicated, which does not bode well for them at trial. And that courthouse observers, including Theodore Simon, are predicting an uphill fight for the defense.

If you click on them, all of these screen-captures open up larger in Acrobat.

Below: Dateline’s reporter Dennis Murphy in Perugia

Below: The two nice images of Meredith used repeatedly


Below: Reporter Dennis Murphy in the early-on Seattle segment

Below: Two shots of World Cup, now out of business, where Knox last worked


Below: One of the entrance gates of the University of Washington

Below: Seemingly resigned friends of Knox, giving personal testimonials

Below: Reporter Dennis Murphy at the gate of Meredith’s house

Below: Two fresh images of Perugia, representative of the many used


Below: Richard Owen, the London Times Rome correspondent

Below: Clint van Zandt, the former FBI profiler and evidence analyst

Below: Theodore Simon, the defence lawyer for Americans in foreign trouble

Below: Patrick Lumumba, looking happy and relaxed, with Dennis Murphy

Below: Zack Nowack, an American, who felt Amanda Knox was too impulsive

Below: Three new shots of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox



Below: The biological parents of Knox trudging along, seemingly resignedly

Below: A computer image of the bedroom - even here, Meredith’s foot shows

Below: Filomena’s broken window; not considered a feasible break-in route

Below: Murphy and Van Zandt discussing the possible murder weapon

Below: The Perugia police chief demonstrates the fatal stab with a knife

Below: Meredith’s and Knox’s unexplained blood on the bidet drain

Below: Murphy and van Zandt discuss the seemingly damning footprints

Below: The Knox rape short story, perhaps indicative of an attraction to violence

Below: Knox and Sollecito happily buying lingerie together in Bubbles

Below: One claimed inflammatory European headline (it seems true)

Below: Transcript of a Knox recording complaining about interrogation

Below: Murphy describing the Knox-Mellas hostility toward the prosecutor

Below: Murphy and van Zandt look at disputed police break-in downstairs

Below: The Japanese manga comic that might have influenced Sollecito

Below: A woman’s voice reading from Knox’s early 2008 prison diary

Below: Fresh image of Capanne jail, with the Perugia heights in background

Posted on 12/19/08 at 01:02 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryNews media & moviesGreat reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (22)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Defendants’ High-Stakes Blame Game: Key Moves By Rudy Guede Explained

Posted by Michael




The blame game

For many months now, the defendants and their lawyers, and for that matter the prosecutors, have been playing a fascinating game of three-dimensional chess.

None of the three have fully broken from the other two - so far.  But each has been making chess-like moves that seem to be attempts to make sure they aren’t the ones - or the only ones - hung out to dry.

It is even possible that Rudy Guede’s stiff thirty-year sentence was such a move, to squeeze him to come clean at the Knox/Sollecito trial - though he may not have much to bargain with any more, if the physical and witness evidence is as encompassing as it seems. 

Guede’s first story

In November 2007, shortly before his arrest, Rudy Guede had a Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti over the Internet.

He told his friend that he knew Meredith and Amanda and he had been to the cottage on a couple of previous occasions, visiting the boys who lived downstairs. But that he wasn’t at the cottage on the day of Meredith’s murder.

Guede’s second story

This story later changed, after his arrest in Germany. It was whilst awaiting extradition back to Italy in late November 2007, that he wrote his so-called German Prison Diary (Acrobat document - may take a few seconds to load).

In this diary Guede related a second version of events.

He admitted to being at the cottage the night of the murder, supposedly on a date with Meredith. But on emerging from the bathroom to the sound of screams, he was confronted by an unknown Italian male, standing over a dying Meredith, knife in hand.

After a brief struggle, the man fled, with an unseen accomplice Guede said he heard but could not see, lurking outside the cottage.

Guede’s third story

Later, in April 2008, Guede requested an audience with the prosecutor, where he gave a third account. It was essentially the same account as the second - but with key differences.

He now stated that it was Raffaele Sollecito that he saw wielding the knife in the cottage that night. And it was Amanda Knox who was the unseen accomplice outside the house, as he had recognized her voice.

A false interpretation

According to one or two Amanda Knox defense sites, this apparently damning testimony by Guede is in reality evidence for the innocence of Knox and Sollecito.

Their argument is that because Guede did not mention the other suspects in his Skype conversation, his diary, or his initial interrogation by the Italians, instead waiting until April, this serves as evidence of the duplicity of a lone-wolf criminal taking advantage of an opportunity to pass the blame onto two innocents.

However, the logic of this blame-passing argument does not stand up to close scrutiny. There was actually more going on.

RS and AK alibi problems

Amanda Knox had been arrested on 6th November, after claiming to have been in the kitchen of the cottage whilst Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where Amanda worked, entered Meredith’s bedroom, and raped and then killed her.

But meanwhile, in his own interrogation, Sollecito had admitted to police that his first account (that they were together at his place all evening) had been a lie, and that Amanda had left his apartment mid-evening, not returning until the early hours of the next morning.

A court hearing then confirmed the status of Knox and Sollecito as official suspects, and denied them release or house arrest whilst the investigation unfolded. The reasons given being that there may be a flight risk, and a high potential that they may interfere with evidence and witnesses.

Case against RS and AK strengthens

From that point onwards, the case against the suspects only grew stronger, with more evidence against them emerging almost by the day. The police claimed they could place them both at the scene of the murder, and that they had what could be the murder weapon.

A large knife, found seemingly hidden in Sollecito’s apartment. Sollecito had a liking for knives, owning a collection, and admitting to having always carried one on his person since he was fourteen.

Despite Knox’s later retraction of the statement in which she had falsely accused Lumumba, their situation was steadily looking bleaker.

Rudy Guede’s new advantage

With Guede’s arrest in Germany, about three weeks after the crime, he must have known his own game could be up. Forensic evidence could link him directly to the crime scene.

At that point, he had an advantage that few suspected murderers ever have; two patsie, Knox and Sollecito, already sitting in jail and ripe for taking the fall for him.

But despite the fact that there was a case against them, and that they could not account for their whereabouts, Guede went out of his way not to actually name them.

Instead, he wove that yarn above, one that had little credibility and was widely ridiculed on the internet. Even the judge at his hearing told him his story was just not credible.

Guede still holds back

But still he avoided naming Knox and Sollecito - who if really innocent could hardly have said anything in response that would have made his situation worse. They would not have been present at the murder, and therefore, would have no counter-evidence to offer.

At that point, Guede would have had nothing at all to lose by naming them, and possibly a very great deal to gain.  So why didn’t he?

It only makes any kind of logical sense that he didn’t name names if in fact Knox and Sollecito actually were at the scene of the crime.

They would then have been able to respond to Guede’s accusations with allegations of their own, which could have jeopardised any hope he may have had of being acquitted of Meredith’s murder.

Guede suddenly reverses

So why did he suddenly change his statement, and name names, and why did he wait so many months before doing so?

The answer, it would appear, lies in a change of the tactics in this chess game being pursued by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence team.

Anxious to show that a Nike footprint found in Meredith’s room was not that of their client’s, Sollecito’s team began arguing that it was in fact Guede’s.

Other noises from Sollecito’s lawyers suggested that they were readying to point the finger at Rudy Guede as a sole perpetrator, as part of their defence strategy.

Why Guede names names

For Guede, it would not have been lost on him which way the wind was blowing. Fearing that he was going to be railroaded into taking all of the blame, he responded by naming names.

Even then, though, he did not go as far as he might have. He did not claim that he actually saw Amanda, for example, only that he heard her.

However, the move did serve as a warning shot across the bows of the other suspects.

And it was an important move in the game of chess still being played out among them.

Posted on 12/18/08 at 08:59 AM by MichaelClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedEvidence & witnessesThe two knives
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (12)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above and below, the attractive Seattle PI building, on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront.


And here are two shots (scroll down for the second) of owner Hearst’s attractive Manhattan headquarters.

We remain pretty intrigued by the Seattle PI. We can’t seem to see that it’s serving either Seattle’s or Hearst’s best interests right now.

The PI runs some of the very best stories on the Perugia case in the United States, filed by its cool, dispassionate reporter in Rome.

It also runs on its website what one reader called “the most dishonest blog in America” which is notorious for its fact-challenged one-sidedness and for fronting a secret book deal on the case.

And it has run no in-depth reporting at all on the Seattle angles of the case. 

Back here we mentioned the seemingly shaky economics of the paper, and the recent quite extraordinary drop in its readership.

Papers sold dropped by about 8 percent, in a period where the national drop was less than four (mostly related to the economic cycle), and where some media companies even saw real readership gains.

Our contacts in Manhattan’s great journalism schools seem to think the media industry’s best way forward for survival and growth is class journalism. Dig deeper, and avoid the vicarious thrills of, for example, blogs with an agenda

Our contacts regard the international Perugia case as a truly huge story. An absolute heaven-sent opportunity for the Seattle-based papers.

And they reckon that serious and imaginative handling of that story and its many intriguing Seattle angles could have dug the Seattle PI right out of its hole. And attracted a whole row of Pulitzer prizes.

Ball dropped. In a very serious and possibly life-threatening way.

So what is happening at Hearst’s HQ in Manhattan that relates to this?

Well, Hearst is privately owned, by a Hearst-family foundation, and they control most of the director seats on the board. They are said to be VERY unhappy with group performance.

Six months ago the CEO was forced out. And now there is a report that the interim CEO doesn’t meet with the family’s approval either. 

Expected outcome?

A new Hearst CEO who is expected to be be very hungry for more circulation and more Pulitzer prizes at Hearst’s seriously under-performing papers.

Such as, of course, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Time to get serious, guys…


Posted on 12/17/08 at 11:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (2)

Perugia: The Jury Selection Has Now Begun

Posted by Peter Quennell


The evidence in the Knox/Sollecito trial starting 16 January will be heard by two judges, six jury members, and six jury alternates.

The Italian media are reporting that Judge Giancarlo Massei has now narrowed the jury pool down to 50 names.

From these 50 he will select the final twelve next week. For what promises to be a 2-to-3 day task, each month, over a number of months.

Will their names become known around Perugia? We’ll see. But preferably not.

Posted on 12/17/08 at 10:15 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (0)

Monday, December 15, 2008

US NBC TV’s Fair And Factual “Mystery of Meredith’s Murder”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





The consensus here is that the NBC Dateline presentation a few days ago was the most balanced US media treatment of the case to date.

One of the first US network presentation, by CBS on its 48 Hours program, was particularly bad and the word is out now that CBS is wrapping up its second attempt. Maybe the CBS producer will take a page from the Dateline book - or at least lose Paul the plaintive PI this time around.

Dateline did an especially good job of cutting through the fog created by the media storm over this case since the first arrests were made on November 6, 2007.

Dateline also did a good job of laying out the basics in an objective and comprehensive manner for people with no prior knowledge. There just were a couple of factual errors—for example, that DNA was found on a tampon. In fact, the swab used to obtain such samples is called a “tampone” in Italian.

The Dateline program drew on some collaborative work by the posters on the PMF forum and predecessors. Here is the pleased observation of Kermit, a major contributor there and here.

A word of congratulations to all of us, the descendants of Steve Huff’s boards. What a surprise I had as I watched the Dateline show and saw, on the projected screen behind the presenters, our measurement analysis of the Double DNA knife.

It was obviously ours, as it came out of a discussion on the original board… concerning the length of the knife. At the time of that discussion in the spring, I dug up a Matrix screen shot of the knife (easily identifiable by the red “Matrix” tag in the upper lift. Since the ILE ruler didn’t go the whole length of the knife, I doubled it, then marked 17.5 cm length that I estimated the knife blade to be.

And now NBC has used that item. Such material, along with translations and analysis you just won’t find [other than on these forums]

The crack former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt, very widely respected here in the U.S., was the anchor crime analyst on the piece. Mr Van Zandt still thoughtfully interacts with people who post comments on his own excellent blog and he had this to say there of his role:

This case has been challenged by the family, friends and supporters of Knox, some who have spoken to me to provide their version of what happened and why Amanda is innocent.  As seen on the Dateline special, Knox’s family states what they believe as truth, although, of course, they were not there. 

I have received a ton of e-mail this past year with criticism for either supporting Knox or trying to convict her.  Neither, of course, is true.  Like many of you, I only want to see justice done for Meredith and want those responsible for her death held responsible the part they played in her death.

Another excellent blog, the Eclectic Chapbook, has been offering commentary on this case within its usual eclectic mix of posts on crime and literature from the outset.  No comments - or comment deletions, unlike the notorious Seattle PI reader’s blog which was a front for a secret book till we blew its cover. Just an excellent, straightforward presentation of the facts and the plot twists.

In reviewing the Dateline program, Eclectic Chapbook caustically remarks that NBC did not escape the PR-driven parent trap, and it played into the fiction that Amanda’s parents are what the PMF commenter DLW has referred to as a modern-day Ozzie and Harriet, the American TV icons of married bliss.

I have only one criticism of the show. One segment included an appearance by Amanda Knox’s biological parents together. I was very offended by it. I felt it was a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive the public, because their joint appearance misrepresents the household and home environment from which Amanda Knox emerged before she traveled to Perugia.

From what I understand, Knox came out of a blended family. Each of her parents has remarried to other spouses. Amanda Knox’s home environment consisted of her biological mother and sister, plus her mother’s new spouse. This new spouse never appeared on the show at all, which I found very weird. I presume Knox may have some step-siblings, too, in addition to her natural sister.

The joint appearance by Amanda Knox’s biological parents came off as a sham, a charade and a fraud. It was an insult to the intelligence of the American Public. Blended families are not so unusual these days. I’m sure the American Public can cope with the issue

Early on, it was apparently decided that Knox’s biological parents made a better team in the role of parents on television and in press interviews, even though Curt Knox and Edda Mellas got divorced nearly twenty years ago (Amanda Knox is 21) and both have since married again.

They do sometimes look like strangers thrown together by fate. Which, come to think of it, is pretty close to reality..

Posted on 12/15/08 at 05:01 PM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (19)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Meredith’s Perugia #4: The Cute, Handy Monorail Meredith Might Soon Have Ridden

Posted by Peter Quennell


Posted on 12/13/08 at 06:23 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (1)

Page 65 of 68 pages « First  <  63 64 65 66 67 >  Last »