Heads-up on Amanda Knox "luncheon" next week at Loyola Law School. Organizer Laura Caldwell and Dean David Yellen should be aware of this if they did due diligence. There do seem to be vastly more deserving cases in the US and they dont come with the "baggage" of xenophobia, defamation, money-grubbing, the mafias, bent judges, and stalking of the victim's family. In Supreme Court rulings Knox remains a convicted felon, and at minimum an accessory to murder.

All our posts on V good reporting

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Italians Are Under Zero Illusions That Knox & Sollecito Are Prone To Telling The Truth

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Giuseppe Castellini of Giornale dell Umbria has long exposed the Knox/Sollecito lies]

1. Overview Of Italian Media Takes

The fast-growing satires of Knox and Sollecito in Italy described in our previous post are not just emerging in a vacuum. 

The many tough crime-show comperes and crime reporters in Italy have rarely let Knox or Sollecito get away with any of their lies. One example was when Bruno Vespa, the host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show, forced Francesco Sollecito to admit to Italy that his son lied extensively in Honor Bound. Another example is when Oggi published some of Knox’s lies and they were rapidly exposed. For seemingly endorsing Knox’s lies Oggi will face trial for obstruction of justice. 

There are countless other examples where Sollecito and Knox have been exposed as liars. The super-sharp editor of the Giornale dell Umbria, Giuseppe Castellini, has just published this challenge to Sollecito who had absurdly had claimed that nobody ever wanted to ask him any questions in court.

2. Giuseppe Castellini Questions RS

The translation is by Miriam. 

Murder of Meredith:  a few questions for Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty and condemned to 25 years by the Appeals Court of Florence, for the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher (for the same crime Amanda Knox was also found guilty and Rudy Guede is already serving a definite sentence of 16 years) has stated that he was never questioned in court, because no one ever asked him.

For the record and in order to have a complete picture at, it should be remembered that during the investigation, Sollecito twice took advantage of his right to not respond to the questions of the PM Mignini.

So if it’s true that the prosecutors, in all the trials never asked to question him in court, neither did he ask to be, limiting himself to giving several times making spontaneous statements, without being cross examined.

However, this is not the real point. The fact is that Raffaele could not or did not want to respond to the questions of the investigators.

His version was always brought forth in detail by his lawyers, obviously, but that is not the same thing.

Important questions remain to which Raffaele did not answer directly during cross examination by the Prosecutors.  Let’s try to summarize some crucial unanswered ones. Who knows if Raffaele will ever decide to respond in detail right here on these pages even though – at the moment – it seems improbable. We address him directly, sure that he reads these pages.

1. The first time that you were questioned in Questura you said that the first of November 2007 (Meredith was murdered the night between the first and the second of November) after a walk through downtown Perugia (before that you and Amanda have been in the house in via della Pergola). You came home around 08.00pm while Amanda come back much later around 01.00am, you then changed your version saying that you had always been together.  Your first statement seem like a distancing from Amanda, in those hours nobody knows what she did, while the second one has a complete different flavor.  Why did you radically changed your version?

2. It’s proved by the findings (even if your lawyers contested it) that the computer in your house was activated for about half an hour from 05.32am till little after 06.00am of the second of November.  For the experts of the Police it was certainly a human interaction.  You, instead declare that you and Amanda were sleeping.  So who was it then that was using your PC at that hour? 

3. Your and Amanda’s cell phones were turned off at the same time around 08.40pm of the first of November and they were turned on, practically at the same time, a little after 06.00am of the second of November (at that time you received the “good night” sms sent from your father the night before).  How do you explain all this? 

4. You stated that you were not in the house in via della Pergola.  How it is possible that your DNA is on the bra clasp (17 loci that shows your genetic profile, and for the father of Italian genetics, Prof. Vescovi, that with the current processes are not only enough, but more than enough to match your DNA).  And why did luminol revealed a bare right foot print compatible with yours, in addition to the one on the bathmat in the small bathroom? (the size of the big toe, just to point out one thing, is just like yours, while Rudy’s is a lot smaller).

5. Why, if Rudy was the only assassin, in the corridor would he cancel only the bare foot prints, leaving in plain sight always his, but left with the shoe print of his left foot?  Doesn’t it come to mind that whoever cleaned up the prints thought to cancel theirs (specifically the ones ascribed to you and Amanda) leaving behind those recognizable as Rudy’s?

6. You and Amanda were seen by the homeless Antonio Curatolo late the night of the murder and Amanda was seen by the shopkeeper – that knew you well and already saw you with Amanda – enter in the shop at about 07.45am to buy something and go back toward piazza Grimana.  You and Amanda say that at that hour you were sleeping in your house. Is there something that can demonstrate this, that up to now has slipped away and that would give you the missing alibi?

3. Questions For RS Of Our Own

We have advanced plenty of questions for the evasive Sollecito of our own. Here are seven examples.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

John Kercher’s Excellent Book “Meredith” On Meredith’s Friends Lloyd, Natalie, And Helen

Posted by Hopeful

Mr. Kercher’s biography of his daughter continues to charm and amaze.

It seems Meredith almost got married before she went to Italy. Her suitor was a dance teacher, named Lloyd Thomas. He was nineteen years old and they met at Leeds University on the dance floor. Mr. Thomas was teaching break-dance to the crowd and Meredith and her friends went out on the dance floor and began to dance. (p. 66)

Lloyd said, “I…thought that she looked like a movie star.” They had never spoken, but he had seen her once before, a month previously. Obviously the lovely lady had stayed in his mind. In the winter of 2006, at dance class, he struck up a conversation with her and called her later.

They decided to meet on the steps of Leeds University and began one of their many rich long talks, which later blossomed into going steady. “I was so taken with her amusing conversation,” he said. (p. 66) “After our third date, we saw each other about four evenings every week and we were always together, although she had a lot of university work to do.”

Mr. Kercher relates how Meredith was able to go with Lloyd and his parents to a hotel called Ponden House, “set in Charlotte Bronte country in West Yorkshire, for a weekend…She really loved it.” She rang Mr. Kercher to tell him how beautiful the scenery was.

Lloyd said (p. 67) that Meredith “never really spoke much about what she wanted to do when she graduated, but she had her heart set on going to Italy as part of her studies…”

About seven months into their relationship, Lloyd realized he wanted to marry Meredith. He booked a table at a Japanese restaurant in Leeds and proposed to her “with a ring that I had bought. I think that she was somewhat surprised and didn’t say yes or no. She kept the ring for a couple of days, but didn’t wear it, and then she politely returned it to me.”

(p. 67) Mr. Kercher explains that naturally things changed between Lloyd and Meredith after that decision, but that Meredith was just being practical. “Despite her obvious affection for Lloyd….She still had her current year at university to complete, a year in Italy studying, and then a further year of her degree, before she graduated. She was simply being sensible.

Yet the two of them remained friends and a couple of weeks later in January 2007, Lloyd joined our family and Meredith in an Italian restaurant in Croydon to celebrate her 21st birthday. Stephanie had arranged a special cake with a photograph of Meredith as a one-year-old superimposed on it…”.

“Who would have dared to think that this would be Meredith’s last birthday?” writes Mr. Kercher (p.67).  In retrospect, it seems appropriate that the young man who admired Meredith so much at Leeds University and wanted to marry her, should be at her final life celebration.


We know that Meredith a few months later in August flew to Rome, on wings of hope and dreams. She went from there to the University for Foreigners in Perugia. She settled in to her first home in Italy, the Via della Pergola cottage. Even before that while still at a Perugian hotel she was calling Mr. Kercher “enthusing to us how beautiful the city was.” As was her habit, Meredith called Mr. Kercher every evening and talked about how she was getting on. She also called her mom and sister with frequency.

(P. 69) In one call she elaborated to Mr. Kercher about the Eurochocolate Festival that stretched “from Rocca Paolina to the Carducci Gardens, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza IV Novembre.” Meredith was fascinated by the chocolate statues and sculptures and all the candies sold at the stalls.

At the end of the festival the chocolate statues were happily broken up into pieces and given to the public. Meredith had bought some of Mr. Kercher’s favorite chocolates to give to him when she returned to England a few weeks later for Arline’s November birthday. That trip never happened, as tragedy intervened.


Meredith met Natalie Hayward while in Perugia. Natalie had gone to study in Perugia “because I had heard that it was beautiful and romantically old, in addition to being quite international.” (p. 70) Natalie had been studying history and Italian at the University of Sussex. She had found an apartment in Perugia with a couple of Italian girls, and began studying at the University for Foreigners where she met Meredith and Amy Frost.

Natalie said, “Because the three of us were the only English students in the class, we became known as ‘Little Britain’.”

Natalie said, “I was so encouraged by the fact that Meredith accepted me, because I wasn’t a particularly confident person. But she was always texting me to come out with her and other people and trying to include me in things, which I appreciated.”

Despite a known tendency to be late for lectures, Natalie says that Meredith “was exceptionally good at taking lecture notes. You might not have thought it, but she worked so hard. I was jokingly jealous of her note-taking. The Italian lecturers would speak so quickly and be quite complicated, but Meredith could keep up with them.”

More accolades from Natalie, (p. 71): ‘Socially, Meredith was wonderful to be with. She was always smiling and making us laugh. She was never judgemental. And she and Amy would walk miles for a low-price meal!” Mr. Kercher earlier says that Meredith asked him to check on rental rates to make sure the deposits for the Pergola cottage were a normal rate. Meredith seems to have been quite thrifty and not one to squander her resources.

After Meredith’s murder, Natalie went back to England to finish her studies there. No doubt she was desolate at the loss of this kind and tender friend who had sincerely reached out to her.


Helen Power was another British student who met Meredith September 1, 2007 in Perugia. Helen had finished a language course and had one day to relax in Perugia before flying back to England for a couple of weeks. Amy Frost had invited Helen Power out to dinner and Meredith met them by the fountain in the center of town.

(P.72) Helen said,  “As it was too early for us to eat, we sat outside and enjoyed some aperitivi from the cake shop on the main street. I remember that Meredith said she had forgotten to pack socks and that she hoped her dad would bring some out when he came to visit. Despite being tired from travelling, she was chatty, friendly, always smiling and making witty jokes. You only had to meet Meredith once to be struck by her beauty, quick wit, and infectious smile.”

The three girls ate a huge dinner at Il Bacio restaurant. Later in September, Helen’s mother visited Perugia and was introduced to Meredith at Piazza Italia as they waited for a minibus. She said, “Meredith made a lasting impression on me as we chatted. Not only did she show a genuine interest talking to us but she was so bubbly and full of life…I was so pleased to think that Helen had met such a delightful girl to be friends with during her Erasmus year.” (p. 73)

Meredith even noticed that Helen had gotten her hair cut and mentioned it at the Erasmus welcome meeting. Helen said, “I was surprised that Meredith had noticed. I thought that it was extremely observant of her, as she had only met me once, three weeks earlier. But that was the kind of girl she was; always making time for other people and taking note of even the smallest things.” Later they went out to dinner and dancing. Helen says, “...no one could out-dance Meredith.”  (p. 74)

Halloween night immersed in parties and excitement was the last time Helen saw her. She said (p. 75), “At the age of twenty, it never crossed my mind that it might have been the last chance to see a friend again. Those first two months were such a wonderful and happy time and, although I didn’t know Meredith for very long, I shall never forget her, and I have learnt so much from {her being} such a strong woman…I make certain that I enjoy and appreciate life and those around me and, most importantly, smile.”

Posted on 11/23/13 at 08:50 PM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (6)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Excerpts From John Kercher’s Fine Book “Meredith” #1 Including Her First Happy Ventures To Italy

Posted by Hopeful

This is a series we will continue throughout appeal to keep front and center who the real victim is here.

John Kercher in the foreward to his book, “Meredith”, said it had not been an easy book to write, but…“I hope it is a portrait of which she would have been proud.” Mr. Kercher has painted an excellent portrait, not only of “the enchanting, generous, kind person that Meredith really was”, but of a happy and vibrant family who showed Meredith all the joys of living during her 21 years.

Meredith’s love affair with Italy started at age 1 1/2 years old when Arline and John took her to Rimini which is north-east of Perugia on the Adriatic coast. That was the family’s first visit, and they pushed her and Stephanie through the streets in a double stroller (pushchair).

Then when Meredith was 8 years old, they returned to Rimini for another holiday and “she was much more aware of the place…. She was extremely amused at the way the Italian waiters always offered her and Stephanie the menu before the rest of us and treated them like young ladies rather than children. The waiters would often wink at us as they went about this sophisticated routine.”

Meredith was awed by real Italian pizza, “amazed at how the cooks made them in wood-fired ovens and retrieved them with long poles.”

(Page 17) “All of this must have made a big impression on her, because when she entered senior school at the age of 14, she elected to study Italian, and later went on to study the language at Leeds University.” (She also knew French.)

(Page 32) “what a happy child she had been”. She and Stephanie as children would open Christmas presents by the fireplace “in one of the living rooms in our old house in Coulsdon.” Mr. Kercher said “I would pull some ash into the fireplace and draw small footprints with my finger to show that Father Christmas’s boots had landed there as he climbed down the chimney. Meredith and Stephanie would put out a glass of sherry and a mince pie for him—” and even a carrot for the reindeer.

(Page 33) Meredith was born in London at Guy’s Hospital on a freezing cold day. Mr. Kercher driving to the hospital with the older children (ages 9, 7, and 2 at the time) found his car’s radiator frozen and had to abandon it for a train at Purley to take them to the hospital, where he warned the nurses she would be born within 20 minutes of Arline starting labor. He was right. She weighed only 4 lb. 12 oz and he could almost hold her in one hand.

Meredith loved winter “especially when it snowed and she could get her plastic sledge out and whizz down the slope in the garden, or make a snowman. Nor did she mind occasionally walking the mile uphill to school with her mother, beside three-foot snow drifts when it was impossible to drive her there. Or we would go to a large open area in Old Coulsdon called Happy Valley, a park with 1,500 acres of snow that Meredith loved to play in.”

(Snow fell in ethereal tenderness in the Kristian Leontieux music video “Some Say” as Meredith appears in the video.)

Careful to give Meredith a chance at some warm weather birthdays not possible on December 28th, her mom and dad would arrange an event for her in the summer similar to Stephanie’s birthday, so that Meredith could also invite her friends for games in the garden. They also gave Meredith a bit more birthday attention at the New Year, so as a child she wouldn’t feel overlooked due to the Christmas celebrations. What caring parents!

Meredith loved bedtime stories and Mr. Kercher would oblige. He used to make up stories every night for her and Stephanie. “One was about Meredith going to a forest where she would meet a fairy. The fairy would spin several times, then there would be a flash of light and Meredith would be transported with the fairy into an adventure.” (Page 35) Once as he started the story, Meredith’s quick humor surfaced as he asked her what would happen next. “She was sick because she was dizzy!”

“Stephanie’s own story was about being transported on a bird’s back across forests and fields. There was never any jealousy or animosity between them. They would lie there listening and giggling or adding bits to the stories. They really got on well together, and even as they grew older they would share confidences, along with clothes and cosmetics.” (Page 36)

The stories had stopped when Meredith was about 10 years old, but at age 14 she still asked for them. Mr. Kercher was living separately then and he would go back to his flat and write her a story and read it to her over the phone. He made Meredith the central character and she wanted him to do it every day. “Even when I went to Spain for a week, I would write some of it on the beach and then call her from a payphone in the evening and read it to her. Eventually, it became a 60,000-word novel, which I gave to her. It is called “The Strange Case of Miss Carla”.

Mr. Kercher’s “Miss Carla” was based on a sweet elderly neighbor lady who lived next door. Stephanie and Meredith visited her often. They adored her. Her name was Muriel Babot and she would invite them in to do jigsaw puzzles with her or visit them and bring photographs for the girls to look at. Mrs. Babot’s son-in-law Paul was a steam railway enthusiast. He lived a few miles away and he had “transformed his garden” with miniature railway tracks that ran all around it, “with proper signals and lights.

He had several trains powered by steam, and he would sit on the engine and people could sit on the back.” Several times a year he would open it up to the public and invite other enthusiasts to bring their engines to put on his tracks. Mr. Kercher says, “We were always invited, and Stephanie and Meredith loved riding around the garden.” (Page 37)

“In the novel Miss Carla is quite a mystical character, and she travels through time, becoming younger as Meredith becomes older.” (Page 37)

As a child Meredith went to junior school at Keston in Old Couldsdon and then to the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon. She went on to Leeds University in Yorkshire and became an Erasmus scholar, then brushed up her Italian at Perugia’s University of Foreigners and then enrolled at the University of Perugia.

A two month happy beginning then ended in calamity, but I prefer the chapters in Mr. Kercher’s book that detail all the happy days, such as his taking a 15-year-old Meredith to shop at Selfridge’s on Oxford Street in London and laughing at himself for expecting her shopping spree to take only an hour. She shopped her heart out for four full hours while he finally waited on a chair, and after a respite for lunch, she wanted to return to shop for few more minutes which turned into another hour. It was her day and she loved all the beautiful fashions.

(Page 43) Mr. Kercher recounts another fruitful shopping spree when he took Meredith and Stephanie on the Eurostar to the French town of Lille. Meredith was about 14 and they lunched at a cafe when the girls discovered some clothes shops that sent them into serious retail therapy. They sent dad to the ATM to fund their whirlwind of buying and they all laughed when they had to pile all the coats, skirts, and shopping bags into a supermarket trolley to rush back to catch the Eurostar barely in time to return to England. He says they were all “laughing our heads off”.

Good times, good times! How refreshing to hear of the Kercher family’s good times! John Kercher has done the world a big favor by recounting them for us, and this excerpt is just a tip of the iceberg of Meredith’s many happy moments with a loving family.

The family loved the coast and Meredith did, too. “And as we were only a short drive from Brighton it was a place we visited regularly. Sometimes we had a picnic on the beach but at other times we would go to a restaurant that specialised in fish ‘n’ chips. Then there were the Lanes, a maze of narrow streets like a kasbah, filled with cafes, bistros and antiques shops. She was always fascinated by this place, and I often picture her there.”


To help the hard-pressed family there is a link to the Meredith Fund in our left column

Posted on 09/14/13 at 11:17 PM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyHer EnglandReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (24)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Good Reporters Start To Surface Amanda Knox’s False Claims In Droves

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[American Ambassador to Italy David Thorne whose reports contradict Knox’s prison claims]

Did ANYBODY think to check Knox’s book for criminal defamations and false claims? Take this glaring “mistake” from page 248.

During the rebuttals, on December 3, each lawyer was given a half hour to counter the closing arguments made over the past two weeks. Speaking for me, Maria criticized Mignini for portraying Meredith as a saint and me as a devil

Really? Prosecutor Mignini said that? So why did the entire media corps report that it was said by Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli? As the BBC reported:

[Mr Pacelli] added: “Who is the real Amanda Knox? Is it the one we see before us here, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti?”

“Or is she really a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline - is this the Amanda Knox of 1 November 2007?”

So even Mr Pacelli didnt compare Knox to Meredith, or simply call Knox a she-devil to her face. He asked rhetorically if she was a she-devil or a saint. Not exactly unheard of in American courts.

And remember he was addressing someone who would have been quite happy to see Patrick put away for life, cost him two weeks in a cell, entangled her own mother in a cover-up, destroyed Patrick’s business and reputation world-wide, still hasnt paid him money owed, and for lying about him served three years.

Prosecutor Mignini in fact never called Knox anything at all. We can find no record that he did. Again and again he has denied it. And he had no personal need to prosecute Knox, and certainly no need to frame her, despite many pages Knox devotes to trying to prove the reckless claim that he did.

Another false claim: Knox’s claim that Prosecutor Mignini invented the notion of a satanic cult to explain the Monster of Florence murders, also made by Sollecito, is totally untrue. 

Dozens of others had suspected and talked about a satanic cult for YEARS before he investigated one loose end in the case. And both that theory and that investigation are back on track - at the recent order of the Supreme Court.

Another false claim: Knox devotes pages to trying to make herself look good on the witness stand at the trial. But Italians who could follow in Italian in real-time ended up suspecting and despising her performance up there.  Read what they saw here and here.

Inspired by such conspicuous false claims as these, various reporters have begun to dig. We posted on Knox’s false claims about her prison time and the many disproofs. Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt uncovers some more.

Knox’s memoir is a vivid personal account of the difficulties of prison life in Italy, complete with claims about inappropriate behaviour by staff. But Knox herself once painted a different picture.

Other documents - including writings Knox penned in her own hand while incarcerated, case files and state department records - conjure up quite another impression of a very different Knox, one who was more sanguine about her experience.

On the attitudes of the prison staff

“The prison staff are really nice,” wrote Knox in her personal prison diary, which was eventually published in Italy under the title Amanda and the Others.

“They check in to make sure I’m okay very often and are very gentle with me. I don’t like the police as much, though they were nice to me in the end, but only because I had named someone for them, when I was very scared and confused.”

She described Italian prisons as “pretty swell”, with a library, a television in her room, a bathroom and a reading lamp. No-one had beaten her up, she wrote, and one guard gave her a pep talk when she was crying in her cell.

Unlike the heavily-edited memoir, these are phrases she handwrote herself, complete with strike-outs, flowery doodles, peace signs and Beatles lyrics.

On the positive HIV result she was given

Both accounts also refer to the devastating but erroneous news from the prison doctor that she had tested positive for HIV, although her diary presents a more relaxed person at this point. “First of all, the guy told me not to worry, it could be a mistake, they’re going to take a second test next week.”

We also know that it was Knox’s own lawyers who leaked the HIV report and list of sex partners. Not the doctor or anyone else. No malice was intended, that is clear, despite her claims.

On her framing of her kindly employer Lumumba

[Knox] writes that she had a flashback to the interrogation, when she felt coerced into a false accusation. “I was weak and terrified that the police would carry out their threats to put me in prison for 30 years, so I broke down and spoke the words they convinced me to say. I said: ‘Patrick - it was Patrick.’”

In her memoir, she describes in detail the morning that she put that accusation in writing, and says the prison guard told her to write it down fast.

Yet in a letter to her lawyers she gives no hint of being rushed or pressured. “I tried writing what I could remember for the police, because I’ve always been better at thinking when I was writing. They gave me time to do this. In this message I wrote about my doubts, my questions and what I knew to be true.”

On her medical examination after arrest

“After my arrest, I was taken downstairs to a room where, in front of a male doctor, female nurse, and a few female police officers, I was told to strip naked and spread my legs. I was embarrassed because of my nudity, my period - I felt frustrated and helpless.”

The doctor inspected, measured and photographed her private parts, she writes - “the most dehumanising, degrading experience I had ever been through”.

But in the 9 November letter to her lawyers, she described a far more routine experience.

“During this time I was checked out by medics. I had my picture taken as well as more copies of my fingerprints. They took my shoes and my phone. I wanted to go home but they told me to wait. And that eventually I was to be arrested. Then I was taken here, to the prison, in the last car of three that carried Patrick, then Raffaele, then me to prison.”

On her persona and mood swings in prison

She says she was often suicidal, but recollections of prison staff and other inmates differ. Flores Innocenzia de Jesus, a woman incarcerated with Amanda in 2010 described Knox as sunny and popular among the children who were in Capanne with their mothers, and recalled her avid participation in music and theatrical events. She also held a sought-after job taking orders and delivering goods to inmates from the prison dispensary.

“Most of the time when we spoke during our exercise break, the kids would call her and she would go and play with them,” de Jesus told me.

And on what US officlals and her own lawyers perceived

State department cables, released through the Freedom of Information Act, show that between 2007 and 2009, three different high-level diplomats from Rome (Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne) were among those reviewing Knox’s case.

Embassy officials visited regularly. Records show one consular official visited Knox on 12 November, soon after her arrest.  A few weeks later she wrote in her diary how the visits of embassy officials improved her experience….

In 2008 and 2009, she was visited by two embassy officials at a time, six times. Ambassador David Thorne, whose name appears at the bottom of cables in August, November and December of 2009, is the brother- in-law of US Secretary of State John Kerry (at that time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee).

If the diplomats knew anything of the “harrowing prison hell” Knox was going through (as one paper put it), they are keeping those reports under wraps. Neither Kerry nor any other prominent US politician has made any public complaints. Even today, her Italian lawyers maintain she was not mistreated.

Half a dozen obvious false claims and defamations here. We estimate we will uncover well over one hundred more.

Posted on 05/02/13 at 07:59 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Meredith-case hoaxesKnox interrog hoaxFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamLies in Knox bookReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (24)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Questions For Knox: Diane Sawyer, How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

Posted by Media Watcher

Dear Diane Sawyer:

Much of Italy and the UK and US will be curious to see how this interview works out on the ABC network on 30 April.

The extreme overkill of spin and false claims have not worked well for Knox lately. Now twin developments (the blunt and categoric ruling of the Supreme Court two weeks ago, and the ominous legal moves against Sollecito for his own rash public statements) have left Amanda Knox perched on a thin icy ledge.

We have dozens of lawyers and even judges read here. We do not know even one astute lawyer who really understands the case and the Italian system who, in light of those twin developments, considers this interview or Knox’s book as any longer a good idea.

The yanking of the book in Britain shows a creeping realization of this among those with their own necks on the line here.

The twin developments have changed this from the launch of a “promotional” book tour to a very serious inquiry into an ongoing murder trial, with very serious implications for U.S./Italian diplomatic relations.

We’re appreciative that you are the journalist who will be doing the first in-depth interview here. You have a solid reputation for balance and objectivity, and we’re looking forward to seeing your broadcast. 

From Seattle, it often seems as though Americans simply cannot comprehend that a young co-ed could be caught up in a case so violent.  Because the court proceedings were conducted in Italian, most Americans heard the story of what happened through a media filter, which in turn got much of its information from people who had a bias in support of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

Repeatedly, we have heard reporters parrot the defense attorney’s claim that there is no evidence.”  However, the evidence presented was strong enough to convince Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz that the conviction will likely be affirmed on appeal. 

Other legal experts who have said the evidence supports a guilty verdict include New England Law Professor Wendy Murphy, who was herself a former prosecutor, and Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor who now hosts a show on trials and legal issues for CNN.

Contributors to this site, who all work pro bono, have also concluded the evidence supports a guilty verdict. We have studied the evidence presented at trial (in many cases ourselves translating key court documents) and have monitored with growing alarm the huge disconnect here in the U.S. between what happened in court and what has been reported.

What motivates us now is seeing that the reporting of the trial here in the United States is objective and corresponds with the reality of what is happening in Italy and what Italians are seeing and reading. 

Ultimately, if the conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is upheld by the Appeals Court and then Italy’s Supreme Court, we expect that the United States will honor the extradition treaty that’s been in place for decades, because it shouldn’t matter whether a perpetrator is perceived as attractive or sympathetic. While everyone is entitled to a fair hearing and a fair judicial process, we also believe the victim’s family is entitled to justice.

Having said all of that, we’re looking forward to seeing your report and here are some of the themes we hope you’ll explore in the report that surrounds the interview:

    1) We believe it’s important to confront the “no evidence” claim head on by citing the actual evidence that is summarized in the Massei Report.  We believe it’s compelling and we hope you can lay it out– including the DNA, cell phone, witness statements, bloody footprint, the evidence of a coverup/cleanup, and the conflicting and shifting statements made by the defendants; all so that viewers can understand the full scope of what that jury heard and evaluated in making the original decision to convict.

    2) Many Americans seem to not understand the automatic three-stage trial process that is typical of the Italian judicial system - actually put in place to benefit defendants.  We hope you can provide an overview of Italy’s judicial process, and help viewers to understand the very limited scope of the contested evidence that was subject to review by the Appeals Court.  We also hope you’ll remind viewers of all of the evidence that was not subject to review during the appeal—again, the cell phone evidence, the conflicting statements from the defendants, the evidence that showed Amanda and Meredith’s DNA mixed together in the bathroom and hallway and Filomena’s room, the bloody (Sollecito) footprint, the evidence of a staged break-in and cleanup, and the witness statements about Amanda and Raffaele’s conduct at the time the murder was discovered and over the following days.

    3) Defenders of Amanda and Raffaele often claim that Rudy Guede acted alone.  Many viewers seem not to understand that the Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Rudy Guede was one of multiple attackers.  We believe it would be useful if you could review this for your viewers and cite some of the evidence that convinced the Supreme Court that Guede could not have acted alone.  Perhaps reminding viewers that Rudy Guede’s footprints lead directly from the murder scene to the outside door would be helpful, given that there was clearly mixed DNA evidence in the bathroom and a bloody footprint in the hallway, which had been cleaned up and later revealed through the use of Luminol (a chemical agent used by forensics specialists to detect trace amounts of blood left at crime scenes).

    4) We hope you’ll help viewers to understand a key point made in a recent NYTimes op-ed about the mathematical value of doing a second DNA test on the knife that was found in Sollecito’s apartment.  As you know, the Appeals Court Judge refused to allow a second test on the knife, even though a confirmation of the original result or a different result would likely have provided additional clarity.

    5) We hope you’ll address the issue of contamination – especially as the key issue on the bra clasp is not whether Sollecito’s DNA was on it, but whether Sollecito’s DNA could have gotten on the clasp through contamination.  Given that there was only one other piece of Sollecito’s DNA found in the apartment, and given that at the time it was analyzed, it had been more than a week since any evidence from the crime scene was reviewed in the lab, it might be useful to have someone address the chances of there having been contamination resulting in Sollecito’s DNA ending up on the clasp.

With respect to the interview itself, here are some of the questions many would like to see Amanda answer:

    • Why did you call your mother in the middle of the night Seattle time prior to the murder having been discovered?  What was it you wanted to tell her?

    • You tried calling Meredith the day after the murder took place and yet phone records show that two of the calls you made to her cell numbers lasted only three and four seconds and you left no messages.  How diligent were you in trying to reach her?

    • Why do you think you falsely accused your boss Patrick Lumumba? 

    • Why didn’t you withdraw your accusation against Patrick Lumumba in the light of day, once you’d had time to rest and reflect? 

    • You have said - though never under oath - that you were treated terribly – can you summarize for us what happened the night you voluntarily gave your written statement and very specifically, any circumstances in which you were treated poorly?

    • Were you given food and drink on the night you were questioned?

    • Were you bleeding on the night or morning of the murder in any way that could have left DNA in the bathroom or in Filomena’s room?  If so, why were you bleeding?

    • You’ve said that went back to your apartment to take a shower and to retrieve a mop to clean up some water at Raffaele’s apartment from the night before.  Why didn’t you simply use towels at Raffaele’s apartment to clean up the water - why wait until the next day?

    • Reports indicate that Rudy Guede was a frequent visitor to the flat below yours.  How well did you know Rudy Guede prior to the night of the murder? 

    • Do you stand by the statement you made on the day the murder was discovered that Meredith always locked her door? 

    • You emailed to friends and family that you were panicked about what might have happened to Meredith given the locked door.  Did the two of you try to break the door down?  If not, why not?  And if Meredith always locked her door, why did the fact that it was locked worry you?

    • Have you read the Massei report? 

    • Raffaele Sollecito said during his book tour that no one asked him to testify during the original trial.  Do you believe this is true? 

    • If your conviction is affirmed by the Supreme Court, do you think you should be extradited to Italy.  If not, why not?

Thank you for reading this letter, Diane.  Because of the PR fog around the case, we believe far more attention needs to be paid to the actual evidence that was presented at trial. 

We are confident that you’ll bring all of your considerable skill and experience to bear on this interview in ways that will leave viewers much better informed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

UK Cosmpolitan Magazine Rightly Names Stephanie Kercher As A Woman Of The Year

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

We posted Stephanie’s Open Letter about herself and Meredith back in November 2011.

This much deserved award is widely reported in the UK. Good interview by Rosie Mullender in Cosmopolitan and she indicates that another longer one is to come.

When we met near our offices, I was nervous – Meredith’s death would obviously be a devastating subject to talk about, and I wasn’t sure how Stephanie would deal with being asked about what happened.

But as soon as I met her, I relaxed. Stephanie is warm, open and friendly, and her face lights up every time she talks about her sister. As she told me all the wonderful things she remembered about Meredith – her smile, her laugh, the way she’d help anyone with anything – she couldn’t help laughing herself.

And good photos and another report in the Daily Mail.

Celebrating the ‘resilience and strength’ she has shown in supporting her family, the 29-year-old will receive the Ultimate Editor’s Choice accolade at the event, which celebrates the year’s most inspirational figures.

Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court said: ‘Since the death of her sister, Meredith, five years ago, Stephanie remains an inspiring figure of strength and support…

‘Most impressive of all is her single-minded desire to ensure her sister isn’t forgotten and to make sure her personality shines through any projects she undertakes…

‘A devoted daughter and sister who has shown extraordinary courage and love in the most difficult circumstances, Stephanie is fully deserving of her award and we are delighted to celebrate with her tonight.’

Stephanie will receive her award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday evening, with the likes of Jessica Ennis, Kimberley Walsh and Alesha Dixon also set to be in attendance.

[Below: Stephanie Kercher leaves Perugia Dec 2009 after trial when family was relieved to think it was all over]

[Below;Stephanie at the press conference before the disputed Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict]

Posted on 10/30/12 at 10:17 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryOfficially involvedVictims familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (18)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Strong Trend: Increasingly The Good Lawyers Are On One Planet And The PR Shills Are On Another

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Prominent lawyer Wendy Murphy reflects many in saying the evidence is very strong] 

In the post below Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN can be watched staking her legal reputation on Sollecito.

This may surprise you. Jane Velez Mitchell is not herself a lawyer. In fact, she has only a possible journalism degree awarded by New York University.

She claims she was hooked after she “read his book until 2:30” and encountered him in some elevator - we have been puzzling over which elevator and when, for if it was an elevator in the Time Warner building in New York why was he not right there in the studio?

Of the three lawyers she had on the show, the two who did know the case (Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page) came down very decisively against Sollecito. The third (Joey Jackson) knew nothing about the case, though even he thought the book was terribly timed.

In effect, Jane Velez Mitchell was carrying on like another PR shill. She really wasn’t any less amateurishly invested than Saul Kassin. Another non-lawyer - Saul Kassin is actually a psychologist.

Where ARE the lawyers for Knox-Sollecito?

All of them seem to have gone awol. Our main poster James Raper, himself a lawyer, sent out this invitation to speak up. In the five months since he posted that, not ONE lawyer has come forward.

Well, except for one strange burble from Anne Bremner, about RS and AK watching Amelie and that being their alibi - though the watching of Amelie took place three to four hours earlier. Even RS and AK didnt claim that.

Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon sounds rattled every time he talks, which he hasnt done since late in 2011. And poor lost Michael Heavey still can’t get to grips with the facts.

In contrast, we now have two of the foremost legal talking heads in the US - Wendy Murphy (a former prosecutor) and Nancy Grace (a former prosecutor) - saying the evidence is overwhelming.

In Italy the Sollecito lawyer Giulia Borngiorno, in face of the Galati appeal and possible legal trouble of her own over Aviello and judge-shopping, has become seriously silent. And Sollecito lawyer Luca Maori just had to distance himself from Sollecito, in conceding that Sollecito in his book had been lying.

Where are the PR shills for Knox-Sollecito?

Though they seem to have shadow-written much of the Sollecito book ostensibly shadow written by the real shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, Curt Knox’s hatchet men have become so nasty and so distanced from the real facts that they now repel classy media company.

To her great credit, a week ago Katie Couric was repelled - and she showed it. 

However there are still a few out there shilling for Knox and Sollecito. We would include in the active shill group Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin, and maybe the publisher’s own promoters (if any).

Also Jane Velez Mitchel of course now. Saul Kassin (a flagship shill who may have gone silent). And the shrillest of all the shills, David Anderson, Bruce Fischer, Frank Sforza, Nina Burleigh, and Candace Dempsey.

They all seem to have big chips on their shoulders, and of course financial stakes. Maybe that is what it takes to be a shill here? Sort of the opposite of a degree in law?

[Below Two Sollecito shills: ghost writer Andrew Gumbel and literary agent Sharlene Martin]

Posted on 09/24/12 at 10:43 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamReporting on the caseV good reportingV bad reportingFrancesco SforzaMore of the same
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (10)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Questions For Sollecito: Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #2

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[The vastly more talented person, Meredith, who the smug and odious Sollecito still stands accused of killing]

Kermit has suggested some very tough questions in the Powerpoints post directly below.

Here are ten more of the possible dozens of unanswered questions that Katie Couric and other media interviewers of Sollecito should ask him, and we invite readers to suggest more questions in Comments below. 

II should be recalled that all three suspects were brought to trial on the same body of evidence. Judges at Guede’s trial court, his first appeal court, and the Supreme Court of Cassation have all ruled that the evidence showed that it was impossible for him to have attacked Meredith alone.

Despite contradictory efforts by the defenses in the Sollecito and Knox appeal to make credible two possible sets of alternative killers, both attempts descended into courtroom farce. Right now, all of the considerable body of evidence still points ONLY at the three originally charged.

Several context points from the previous post below with this same title should be reiterated here.

1) Sollecito was NOT finally acquitted at the end of 2011; as all the media have been wrongly parroting. He still stands accused until the appeal process fully plays out - and in some similar cases, that has taken years. As he is still accused of a murder and other felonies he might be in the United States illegally.

2) The investigation and crime-scene analysis resulted in a very powerful case at trial, the trial judges’ reasoning was brilliant and precise, and they showed NO media influence, NO satanic theory, NO desperate prosecutor, NO rush to judgment, and NO hint that it had all been inspired by Knox’s and Sollecito’s quirky behavior, or by a misinterpretation of the effect of drugs.

3) Knox and Sollecito were convicted at trial based on clashing alibis, autopsy evidence, blood evidence, footprint evidence, cellphone evidence, computer-use evidence, eye-witness evidence, and so on and on. In the UK and US any ONE item might have been enough. They both refused to be fully cross examined at trial. Knox was only partly examined, about her false charge of murder against Patrick Lumumba, but even so she did herself harm.

4) A bizarre and suspect last-minute change of appeal judges resulted in a bizarre and suspect court management, a bizarre and suspect DNA consultancy, a bizarre and suspect appeal verdict, and a bizarre and suspect appeal sentencing report - which in enormous detail has been dissected by the Chief Prosecutor of Umbria, Dr Galati, in an appeal to the Supreme Court and shown to have broken Italian law in a large number of respects.

5)  The entire officialdom of Perugia holds a pro-guilt view. Dr Galati holds this view. Relevant officials in Rome all hold this view. Probably 95 percent of the interested Italian population hold this view. The vast majority of Italian journalists hold this view. The Rome-based foreign reporters all hold this view.  A large if unknown fraction in the UK and US populations hold this view. Behind the scenes in the NYC media, a majority seem to hold this view. Hillary Clinton and the ambassador in Rome hold this view. Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers at trial in 2009 seemed less than firm believers in their innocence. Both families have acted as if they KNEW there was guilty involvement all along.

While Sollecito did not take the stand during the trial or the appeal, he did make a number of voluntary written statements entitled “Notes on a Prison Journey” which were edited and given to the media by his lawyers. These notes have been meticulously translated into English by the PMF translators and are available here.  They don’t show him in an innocent light.

With so many questions unanswered, it would be unconscionable for any good reporter or network to allow Sollecito to promote his book and case one-sidedly on their nationally-syndicated talk shows without answering some tough questions. Keeping in mind that a talk show is not the best place to debate forensic evidence and other intricacies of the case, we offer these ten example questions in other areas, which with Kermits questions below should start to get to the core of what Sollecito did and didn’t do on the night.

1. The Kercher family has asked that people involved in the case keep a low profile out of respect for their daughter Meredith. What effect do you think your loud promotion of this tendentious book deal will have on the Kerchers?

2. Did your publisher, Simon & Schuster, express any concern that you might yet be convicted of this murder, if the Supreme Court rules in March that you were improperly acquitted? And that if Italian officialdom is smeared, they may risk charges of calunnia?

3. You were the person closest to Amanda Knox in the days before the murder. Why did you write that Amanda was “detached from reality?” What in your view is her psychology? Is she loyal to you? And do you always see eye to eye?

4. You and Amanda were among the last people to see Meredith alive. Did you hear Meredith’s conversation with Amanda, if any, before she left to have dinner with friends? If so, what was said, and in what tone?

5. That afternoon you claim the two of you merely smoked a little marijuana but both suffered mental black-outs. Amazing. Medically very unusual. At what time precisely did you both stop remembering, and at what time did you both start remembering again?

6. If neither of you can remember what happened that night, how can you be so sure you and Amanda had nothing to do with the murder? How in that light do you account for highly incriminating forensic and computer and cellphone and eyewitness evidence? 

7. Inconsistencies between Amanda’s account of what she found at her cottage the next morning, and what you said you saw when you got there, make the story seem made up. For example, you wrote that the first thing you noticed - you said that you remembered this particularly well - was one of the bedroom doors was wide open, the window was broken and the room was a mess. But Amanda wrote that the door was closed and the break-in wasn’t discovered until you conducted a search of the house. Why don’t your stories match?

8. Both of you have described how, after Meredith didn’t answer, you tried to kick down her bedroom door. It was easily pushed in later. Were you surprised that you were unable to break it down, despite having taken eight years of kickboxing lessons?

9. Were the police wrong to arrest you after you specifically and quite readily told them that Amanda had persuaded you to lie to them, and to say that she’d been home with you all night when you had consistently maintained that she wasn’t?

10. Rudy Guede, the man confirmed convicted by the Supreme Court of Cassation of murder and a sex crime, in complicity (“in concorso”) with two other people, says that you were the other two people there. Guede is eligible for parole later this decade. Do you think that his parole should be denied? Did the Supreme Court get it wrong? Is Guede the sole killer, and if so how?

Posted on 09/18/12 at 02:01 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Questions for AK & RSThe former defendantsRaff SollecitoFamily/defense hoaxersSollecito teamLies Sollecito bookReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (41)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Giuseppe Castellini Speaks Up For A “Kind Homeless Man Of Many Aspects”

Posted by Jools

Giuseppe Castellini (above) is the editor of the Journal of Umbria in Perugia. Throughout the case he and his various reporters have done amazing, fearless work.

Today he writes movingly about the sad passing in prison of the honest and brave free spirit Antonio Curatolo, who had been charged during the appeal on a minor eight-year-old charge, apparently at someone’s insistence.

Our lives crossed on the path of the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher. And, somehow, we were no longer separated. Even though, rather than crossing paths, in time they’ve run parallel courses. Up to Friday, when death took him away, at the age of 56. And in his passing we (I speak in the plural because the same sentiment is felt by Francesca Bene, Luca Fiorucci and Antioco Fois, the colleagues who have been following the Meredith case and who met him), we feel deeply saddened.

Antonio Curatolo was no saint. But he had his candour, his naturalness, his humanity and his inner rectitude. Sometimes, I felt he was perhaps dissociated. The homeless romantic and anarchic that reads a lot and has a self-taught culture, living on the edge of society by choice, but who “struggles along” not always in a limpid way. A stray cat, clever and naïve at the same time. Tough and kind, profoundly honest, and at the same time illicit.

I remember when we were informed that a homeless man told someone (who then informed us) that he had seen on the night of the murder Amanda and Sollecito in the Piazza Grimana in Perugia, when as usual he was reading while sitting on a bench in the piazza. The story is well known: Amanda and Sollecito are at the edge of the basketball court, and Raffaele sometimes gets up and leans over the guard rail.

An important testimony, because they had said they were asleep at that time. I remember the contact, the meeting, making him repeat continuously until he was exhausted, what he had seen. Trying to make him contradict himself, to see if what he was saying was true.

A good relationship was born in those days. We spoke about other things apart from the Meredith case, things in general. We got to know each other, we talked about our lives, so many things. And, eventually, it was not very difficult to convince him to tell the investigators what he had told us.

Even though we had to insist (with him, but also with the other witnesses that we found) on surpassing that anti-State Italian mentality in which everyone goes about his business, and that if you rather trust the State you’ll end up in trouble. He testified, and since his testimony was very important (he was defined by the media, with a bit of exaggeration, the “super-witness”), he was “grilled” very thoroughly. 

But he essentially repeated the same story. So much so that the defence teams of Amanda and Raffaele, in the end they stirred in the direction of Curatolo maybe having seen the two youngsters, but not on the night of the murder. His version fully convinced the GUP Judge Micheli (who pointed out that no one could dare question his story because of the mere fact that Antonio had chosen an unusual way of life) and also convinced the judges of the First Instance trial.

Not those judges of the appeal, though, according to whom all the witnesses - especially if found by journalists – were either mythomaniacs, or were prompted to exaggerate by the suppose desire at all costs for a journalistic scoop by reporters (showing, if I may say so myself, a strong cultural retardation of the judges and a very provincial point of view - far from the reality – toward the print press and, more generally, media).

Antonio, as mentioned, was not a saint. His relationship with drugs not only bears witness to his admission that he was a heroin addict, but also the legal troubles related to possession of drugs with intent to sell. An accumulation of small penalties that brought him under house arrest and in prison. Although he proclaimed his innocence. The last time I saw him, some months ago, was when I met him in the street and I accompanied him to the small flat he had rented in Corso Cavour. To complete the house arrest penalty, he told me.

But seeing him enter into that small apartment, after seeing him in the cardboard houses that he was building here and there, gave me the sad impression of a little bird entering a birdcage.

In short, I loved him, despite some aspects of his life. When I saw him we smiled. And they were smiles of men sincere with each other. I had affection for him. His sins, I’m sure, have been forgiven.

May the earth of the grave rest lightly on you, Antonio.

Posted on 08/14/12 at 01:27 PM by Jools. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe witnessesReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsPerugia context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (11)

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Review Of John Kercher’s Great Book “Meredith”

Posted by Jeffski1

Having just recently finished reading the excellent book by John Kercher “Meredith” i felt compelled to write a review.

From the start as John describer’s the first phone call he received while in a bank, that a young English woman in Perugia had been found murdered, to the desperate hours waiting for information regarding the identity of the victim, to the realisation that it was in fact Meredith, you can feel the pain and the despair in his words.

This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride, from laughter at some of the antics Meredith got up to as a child, to the chilling account of her brutal murder, then again on to the many personnel messages that John prints at the end of the book.

Messages from complete strangers to the family, a heart warming message the family received from a American woman, that will leave you in tears. And the many accounts of the lasting impression Meredith has left on all who had the pleasure to meet her.

You read for yourself how very close Meredith was to her whole family, that she worried constantly about her mother Arline’s health, that she kept in daily contact with her mother, how very close she was to her sister Stephanie, and that smile, that beautiful smile that we have all come to recognise and be ever so familiar with.

The bubbly out going personality, the witty intelligent young woman that John so proudly describes. It is so very very hard to understand, as John puts it, how anyone could do harm to such a person.

One of the things i found quite heart-warming and funny was that Meredith was always running late. As John puts it it was her trademark, when reading this you can imagine her running around in a mad rush.

The book covers quite extensively the trial, the verdict and also the appeal. You get a true feeling of all the pain, the agony, and the difficulties the family had, not only with there unbearable loss, but also their failing health, the long painful trips to Italy for the court hearings, John lays it all out.

It is a testament to the family’s steely determination for justice for Meredith, what they have had to endure over the last 4+ years. It is at times heart breaking to read, but also you will be so pleased to read thing’s about Meredith that have never been printed before.

Thank you, Mr Kercher.

Posted on 05/21/12 at 03:20 AM by Jeffski1. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Touched Me In John Kercher’s Excellent And Very Moving Book “Meredith”

Posted by Cardiol MD


Our daughter’s murder and the heartbreaking quest for the truth

[Kindle Edition] John Kercher (Author)

Meredith Kercher was tragically murdered in November 2007, in Perugia, Italy. Since then, her murder and the subsequent trial have been a source of constant intrigue and media speculation all around the world, with the spotlight famously focusing on the accused, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Now, Meredith’s father John speaks out for the first time and tells the world about the beautiful daughter he and his family so tragically lost.

This book is a celebration of Meredith’s life. It is also a father’s story of losing a beloved daughter, and the first account of the torment the family have suffered and their ongoing quest for justice.

About the Author:  John Kercher has been a full time professional writer and journalist for more than thirty years, during which time he has published several thousand articles and interviews for the British and overseas newspaper and magazine markets. He is the author of The Film Biography of Warren Beatty and has written 24 children’s annuals and edited several magazines. He holds a BSc degree in Sociology from London University and lives in Surrey.

Look at that subtitle!  John Kercher is a wordsmith paterfamilias thrust into marshaling words to convey feelings – emotions – thoughts – experiences for which there are no adequate words.

A subtext, which Mr.Kercher addresses only briefly, is the opposing army recruited to marshal words of obfuscation, using bias, distortion, innuendo, deceit, imagined reasons-to-doubt, sheer-blind-ignorance, and outright lies to protect the obviously guilty from the foreseeable consequences of their criminal recklessness.

Key points that Mr. Kercher does address in detail are quoted below, using his balanced, descriptive, objective, fact-based, evidence-based, non-argumentative words.  To me his book is the very model of what such a family should convey in its heartbreaking quest for the truth. 

I have selected to highlight below the parts which to me were most moving. Others may choose differently and I hope they will, in the comments and their own reviews.

I have referenced the quotes by their Kindle-Location-Numbers, but the Chapter-Sources should be the same as those of a Print-Version:

1.    Learning that “It was the DNA found on and in Meredith’s body that convinced Italian police of Guede’s complicity in her killing. However, Guede’s lawyer at the time, Vittorio Lombardo, was quoted as saying: ‘We know about the DNA, … But it does not mean that he is the killer.’  (Chapter 4 The Investigation: Kindle Location 1468-1469)

The author is establishing his tone of objectivity.

2.    Learning at Guede’s fast-track trial under Judge Micheli’ (which included a “pre-trial” of Knox & Sollecito), what a crucial part Meredith’s, Amanda Knox’s, Sollecito’s, and Guede’s DNA, and Footprints, played in the evidence surrounding Meredith’s murder. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1816-1834)

The author shows that his thinking is fact-based, in spite of the emotional-price.

3.    Learning the evidence presented to Judge Micheli of the staged break-in of Filomena Romanelli’s room, where Meredith’s blood was found to have been cleaned-up. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1834-1846)

Evidence-based, too.

4.    Being told of Judge Micheli’s receipt during Guede’s fast-track trial, of 10,000 pages of evidence, including the finding of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1959-1982)

The author reminds the reader of the enormous amount of information-in-evidence available to the Court, but apparently not available outside the Court.

5.    Hearing Judge Micheli’s announcement in Italian (which the family had to have painfully translated for them) ruling that Guede was “guilty of complicity in Meredith’s murder,” and that Knox and Sollecito would stand trial on charges of Meredith’s murder and sexual violation. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 2009-2015)

The author reminds the reader of the foreign-language dimension of the family’s ordeal; note the carefully-quoted phrase “guilty of complicity”.

6.    Not attending the Perugia Trial of Knox & Sollecito, before a jury including Judge Massei, beginning in early 2009, because of its projected length, in the Italian language, which they would not completely understand, and would be too distressed-by if they could completely understand.  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2137-2148)

A reeinforcing reminder to the reader of the foreign-language, distant country dimensions of the familys’ plights.

7.    Learning indirectly of the overwhelming evidence against Knox & Sollecito introduced at their trial, including only, but also both, Meredith’s and Knox’s DNA on the alleged murder-knife. This cumulative evidence rested ‘not only on the DNA evidence and the alleged break-in, but also on the conflicting alibis of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, which had changed on several occasions.’ (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2149-2647)

Note the persistent use of “alleged”, “conflicting”, and “changed”. If both Amanda’s blood, and Meredith’s blood were found on the knife, but only their blood, the Author leaves it to the imagination of the reader the shock to come when Hellmann announces his imagined-reasons-to-doubt.

8.    Testifying at the trial: Asked whether Meredith would have fought-back against her attackers Stephanie said: ‘Absolutely. One hundred and ten per cent. Mez had a strong personality and, physically, she was very strong…She fought for her place here and she would have fought to the end.’  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2525-2550)

John Kercher wrote that, in response to a question he was asked about Meredith:  ‘I also mentioned that when she was seventeen years old she had trained in karate for a year, obtaining her third belt and that if attacked she would definitely have fought back’, and,

‘They asked me about whether she and Amanda had got on well, and I told the court that Meredith had often complained about Amanda Knox’s hygiene habits. At this point I looked towards Amanda, but once more there was no eye contact between us.’

The author quotes Stephanie’s testimony literally, but paraphrases his own with neutral words such as “mentioned”, and “told”. “often” is an understandable stretch, staircase-wit would substitute “repeatedly”, and “there was no eye contact” is powerfully descriptive.

9.    Not understanding the Verdict and Sentence when Judge Massei delivered his pronouncement “in an Italian I could not understand” but seeing the reactions of Sollecito, Knox, and her parents’ look of disbelief. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2801-2805)

Still descriptive, and very powerful!

10.  Understanding from the interpreter sent by the British Embassy in Rome that the Massei Court had found Knox & Sollecito guilty of murdering their beloved Meredith and sentenced them to prison. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2805-2810)

The author reminds reader how constantly the familys’ awarenesses are at second-hand.

11.  Reaching times for relief (KL 1731), exhaustion (KL 2831), for closure (KL 3728), and even for satisfaction, but not for elation (KL 2815), triumph or celebration(KL 2853).

Such balance!

12.  Reactions to the FOAK campaign from Seattle, the MSM one-sidedness, distortions and blind ignorance; the minor-celebrity status accorded-to Knox; internal family matters.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 2946-3166)

Eminently-reasonable human-reactions.

13. Positive reaction-to, and understanding-of, Massei Report.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 3167-3300)


14.  Following from England the Appeal Proceedings before Judges Hellmann, Zanetti, and a 6-person jury. (Chapters 9&10: Kindle Locations 2946-3563)

Reminder of Family’s arms-length status.

15.  Reacting to Hellmann’s pronouncement that Knox & Sollecito were innocent, acquitted of Meredith’s murder, and walked free. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Locations 3567-3573):

“I found the assertion that there had not been a simulated break-in astounding…”

16. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3632)

Human reaction.

17. “ Ever since the terrible day we learned of her death, my family and I have been convinced that more than one person had to have been present to overpower her.”  (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3646)

Reminds the reader the family were convinced of this from the very beginning.

“For Judge Hellmann to refer to Knox and Sollecito as ‘two good youngsters’ sounds more like a defence summing-up, I thought ‘two youngsters’ would have been sufficient. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3656)

Judge Hellman completely forgot about the real victim.

Posted on 05/16/12 at 11:01 AM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

HarperCollins: A Commendably Balanced Report By The UK Daily Telegraph’s Iain Hollingshead

Posted by Peter Quennell

Iain Hollingshead has written a fair and balanced piece in the Daily Telegraph. It contains quite a few notes of caution for HarperCollins:

1) Iain Hollingshead has this restrained Anne Bremner comment from her side though it fails to mention the million-dollar-plus PR campaign that has so many people addled on the real evidence; a pity Iain Hollingshead didnt press her.

“No one here has lost sight of the enormity of the fact that Meredith was killed,” says Anne Bremner, a Seattle-based lawyer and a spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda Support Group. “But there’s widespread belief in Amanda’s innocence. And when something horrible happens, people all over the world are interested in how you get through it.”

Something horrible happened to Meredith too, of course - and she didn’t get through it. Anne Bremner might press Amanda Knox to make sure to answer in her book the several hundred open questions.

2) Then Iain Hollingshead quotes a London agent who is saying, like other agents and publishers, that HarperCollins sure seems to have taken on a risky publishing venture:

A positive balance sheet is far from guaranteed, however. “I think it’s very risky money,” says Ed Victor, the London-based literary agent whose clients range from Keith Richards to Alastair Campbell and Frederick Forsyth. “But all advances at that level are risky. A lot will depend on whom they hire as the collaborator. It has to be written well.”

3) Also Iain Hollingshead points out what many others have previously pointed out which is that that Knox is not really known for good prose or interesting writing:

HarperCollins hasn’t released the name of the ghostwriter, but one imagines they will have their work cut out. Not only is the book scheduled for publication early next year, they will also have to tread the fine line of polishing Knox’s prose without losing her voice. Although Knox is said to have harboured long-standing dreams of becoming a writer, extracts from her prison diaries – some of which were given to investigators in an attempt to clear her name and were later leaked to newspapers – suggest that she has a little way to go. One poem read: “Do you know me? Open your eyes and see that when it is said I am an angel, or I am a devil, or I am a lost girl, recognise that what is really lost is: the truth!”

By the way, Mr Burnham of HarperCollinws is widely quoted as saying that Amanda Knox’s side of it is the only one still to come out.  He seems to think that her side of it is still a mystery, and that the world is holding its breath.


She seems to be one of the most widest quoted perps or suspected perps or non-perps in all history. In fact, she talked so much in the early days that her own lawyers had to publicly caution her to stop piling wrong explanations on wrong explanations.

There are her letters and her emails and her diaries and her notes to police and prosecutors. Plus long quotes from her in books by for example Rocco Girlanda. Plus her two full days on the witness stand. Plus half a dozen major statements to the trial court and appeal court. Plus a few hundred quotes from her family on her behalf. Plus her whole raft of alibis.

Often (when her parents and lawyers are not shushing her) she seems to be digging herself in deeper. Which elements of her story does Mr Burnham think we are all waiting for?

4) Also (although Iain Hollingshead fails to mention John Kercher’s book due in April and may not know about it) he points out that Meredith is the real victim in this case and a very sympathetic one especially in the UK.:

In the British market, Knox’s book will face far greater challenges than the quality of her ghosted prose. “I don’t think the book will be huge here because a lot of British sympathies are with the British victim,” says Victor.

5) Also Iain Hollingshead points out that when there is a sympathetic real victim there is little evidence that the perp or framed perp (dont they all claim they are framed?!) sells a lot of books:

The interest in the O J Simpson case, for example, did not lead to good sales for his book, If I Did It. And while many pundits are comparing Knox’s book to Jaycee Dugard’s A Stolen Life, the memoir of the Californian girl held against her will for 18 years which has sold more than a million copies since last July, Victor thinks the comparison unhelpful. “She was the victim of a crime, not the putative perpetrator of a crime,” he says. “And that’s a big difference. You could say she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice – but so are a lot of people.”

6) And Iain Hollingshead shows us that Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito’s ghost writer, is pretty uninformed on the case.

We will now be able to watch him having a tough time writing on the hard evidence and the fair Italian system and the real character of the druggie loner Sollecito. Assuming that Mr Gumbel hasn’t made up his mind:

“The book will be a lot of things: a love story, a harrowing description of an innocent young man in prison, a full-blooded Italian family drama, and a legal thriller,” says Gumbel. “But these are not the only reasons I got involved: what happened to Raffaele and Amanda was inexcusable and unconscionable and my intention is to get to the bottom of exactly why they were targeted.”

Gumbel denies he’s cashing in on a brutal murder. “I know that, in Raffaele’s case, no day has gone by without him thinking of Meredith and the hell her family has gone through,” he says. “We are not ‘cashing in’ on her death, but rather illuminating the way the Italian police and judiciary compounded the tragedy by throwing two young people into prison for no good reason. Their stories – both their stories – deserve to be heard and I believe it is important that they are.”

Cashing in on Meredith’s death? No, the thought never even occurred to us. Image of the accusatory and under-researched Mr Gumbel below. Keep on his tail Mr Hollingshead.

7) We would have liked Iain Hollingshead to touch on the risks of calunnia for HarperCollins, but to be fair to him it is doubtful he knows what in the very fair Italian system that defense for those unfairly attacked means.

Mr Burnham and Mr Gumbel seem to be setting themselves up nicely to find out.

[Below: Sollecito ghost writer Andrew Gumbel; and Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin]

Posted on 02/19/12 at 10:07 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedReporting on the caseV good reportingMedia newsAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (18)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TJMK’s Review Of John Follain’s Very Meticulous Book On Meredith And Her Case “Death In Perugia”

Posted by James Raper

[Platform behind the train at the main railway station is where Meredith first set foot in Perugia]

“Death in Perugia”  by John Follain is 433 pages long, about the same length as “Darkness Descending” There is a lengthy list of acknowledgements. The blurb on the cover reads “Uniquely based on four years of reporting and access to the case files, Death in Perugia takes readers on a riveting journey behind the scenes of the investigation, as John Follain shares the drama of the trials and appeal hearings he lived through.”

The final section (from Nov 2010) is devoted to Knox and Sollecito’s appeal (with mention of Guede’s final appeal) and is relatively short – just fifty pages, but it does succeed in redressing much of the misreporting of the evidence heard during the appeal, leaving the reader as bewildered as ever about the acquittal verdict.

Indeed the book ends quite suddenly, but appropriately, with the words of Judge Hellmann – “Maybe Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito also know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence.”

This book amply contradicts the notion that there isn’t the evidence.

I have to say, though, that given that the court hearings contained many days, if not weeks, of testimony by, and cross-examination of, experts, particularly in relation to the DNA evidence, and that this was also covered at great length in the Massei Report, I was initially surprised that this was covered so little in the book.

It is not that he ignored it but there is no layman’s introduction to the subject of DNA, no explanation nor mention of PCRs, electropherograms, FRUs, polymerase chain reactions, peaks, drop ins and drop outs, stutters etc. The author steers clear of delving into a science which perhaps he, and no doubt most of us, do not really understand and are glad to be spared.

He concentrates more on character, events and outcomes, on what was said, written and reported. These include his own author interviews, including with Amanda’s parents and stepfather, prison officials and guards, the prison chaplain and prison inmates, and the Kercher family. He had access to the 10,000-page files of the prosecutor’s investigation, Amanda Knox’s taped meetings with her family in prison, her diaries, and a complete set of the verbatim transcripts of the first 11 month trial, much of which he attended including the appeal trial.

In particular Follain had a 6 hour interview with Sophie Purton and corresponded by e-mail with Amy Frost.

Follain states that his aim was to write an objective account, and in that he has succeeded.

Content is delivered in chronological order without editorial analysis. Topics - my own favourites being the staged burglary, the manipulation of the crime scene, and Amanda’s blood on the faucet in the small bathroom - are not given special treatment or explanation. To have done so could in any event give rise to a charge of advocacy. The reader is left to form his own judgement

Some people might argue as to whether it is a balanced account. Of course he has had to be selective with the material available and that is obviously a matter of choice in which some bias may arise. 

For instance he gives some prominence to the relationship between Meredith and Amanda and to Amanda’s’s behaviour at the police station as seen through the eyes of Meredith’s English girlfriends, discussion between them afterwards as to Amanda’s’s behaviour including her behaviour during the trials, and their reactions to the acquittals.

None of the English girlfriends has any doubt as to Amanda’s involvement in the murder even if they cannot figure out motive and exactly what happened. Sophie Purton obviously found everything very stressful, including giving evidence when, she says, she almost fell to pieces. If the prominence given to these girls’ accounts and observations is a bias it should be remembered that they are witnesses in their own right and -  given that Curt, Edda and Chris were constantly in front of TV cameras and giving interviews to the press asserting Amanda’s innocence, whilst the Kerchers were not – giving the girls a say is both illuminating and provides some balance retrospectively.

There are many interesting nuggets of information in the book. Just referring to a few of them hardly does justice. The following struck me.

Amanda appears to have admired Laura for her strong personality as well as her guitar playing, and days after arriving back at the cottage in late September after her short trip to Germany she copied Laura by having eight piercings done in one ear and three in the other, all in one go. The speed with which Amanda had copied Laura’s piercings surprised Meredith. “Amanda’s a bit obsessed with Laura. She got herself the same piercings Laura had, and they’ve only just met!” Meredith told her friend Sophie.

Meredith, who was already in residence when Amanda arrived, was quick to include Amanda in social activities with her English girlfriends, but despite this act of inclusion it appears that Amanda started to become resentful at not being the centre of attention and to accentuate her own difference would often insist on speaking in Italian to them or singing loudly and unexpectedly. Indeed a feeling gradually developed amongst the English girls, and with Filomena and Laura, that Amanda was, well, a bit weird. [Did Amanda end up blaming Meredith for this?]

As in prison, Knox kept a diary on arrival in Perugia. The pages for October had however been ripped out.

At the police station –  ““Oh Amanda, I’m so sorry!” Sophie exclaimed as she instinctively put her arms around her and gave her a bear hug.  Amanda didn’t hug Sophie back. Instead she stiffened, holding her arms down by her sides. Amanda said nothing.  Surprised Sophie let go of her after a couple of seconds and stepped back. There was no trace of emotion on Amanda’s face. Raffaele walked up to Amanda, and took hold of her hand: the couple just stood there, ignoring Sophie, and gazing at each other.”

“Robyn was also shocked to see the way Amanda translated the word “minaccia” (threat) for Raffaele when Meredith’s friends talked about an English media report of a threat made before the murder [the bomb threat to Mrs Lana].  Robyn saw Amanda repeat the Italian word minaccia to Raffaele several times, her face up close to his. She would say the word, then kiss him, then repeat it, then kiss him again and then they both laughed.”

“Amanda was the first to have her fingerprints taken and came back complaining that her hands were dirty……….Amanda suddenly raised her eyes to the ceiling and shouted vehemently: “Those fucking bastards!” Sophie and Samantha stared at each other bewildered.”

It emerges that Amanda was being bugged by the police almost from the start. When she and Raffaele arrived together at the police station on the 5th November they were deliberately placed together in a room with a microphone in a cardboard box on top of a cupboard. However the microphone picked up only part of their conversation – they often dropped their voices and the noise from a nearby playground made it difficult to hear what was being said.

As to the taped prison conversations there is, disappointingly, no further context to the “I was there” business. Indeed it seems that Amanda and her parents were aware from early on that their conversations were being bugged. On several occasions Amanda raises her voice to repeat “ I am innocent, I am innocent” for the benefit of the hidden microphone, and Edda, on one occasion, is recorded as mockingly saying “Testing, testing, anyone there?”

Four pages are given to Comodi’s cross-examination of Conti and Vecchiotti, to surprisingly good effect I thought, although Comodi became exasperated with them on more than one occasion.  For instance (C & V having agreed that Meredith’s profile was on the knife blade but, since the test could not be repeated, this was unreliable in their opinion) –

“Vecchiotti said she had no idea that Stefanoni had carried out the so-called negative tests intended to exclude the possibility of contamination. The tests had been filed with an earlier judge, and Judge Pratillo Hellmann later admitted them as evidence at the trial.

Nor did Vecchiotti know that Stefanoni had analysed the traces on the knife in her laboratory six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA.

“Are six days enough to guarantee that a test tube doesn’t come into contact with another test tube?” Comodi asked.

“They’re sufficient if that’s the way things went,” Vecchiotti replied stubbornly.

“You can’t cast doubt on everything the forensic police write!” Comodi fired back.”

And a final, rather depressing quote –

Mignini “felt the DNA review had very probably persuaded the court – assuming it needed persuading in the first place – to cast doubt over his entire case. [He] had looked into the chances of America ever extraditing Amanda to Italy if she was acquitted and then found guilty when the case went to the Supreme Court for a second appeal. Officials told him that yes, there was an extradition treaty between the two countries, but no, America would never send Amanda back.”

“Death in Perugia” is a significant addition to anyone’s overall knowledge of the case, and for this reason I urge anyone interested to buy and read it. But with the appeal court’s Motivation Report and the second appeal still pending, it is premature for it to lay claim to being the definitive account.

What it does do is leave the reader disturbed with aspects of the verdict.

Posted on 10/26/11 at 11:37 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (51)

Friday, October 14, 2011

John Kercher’s Book “Meredith” To Be Published By The Second Largest Publishing Group In The World

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Giant publisher Hachette Livre’s headquarters is in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris to the right]

London-based publishers Hodder and Stoughton (image below) are an arm of the French publishing giant Hachette Livre.

Hodder and Stoughton have purchased the rights to “Meredith” from John Kercher’s hustling literary agent Ben Mason in very competitive bidding at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  From the Bookseller website:

Editorial director Fenella Bates bought world English rights from Ben Mason at Fox Mason. The book will be published in hardback in April 2012.

Billed as a “celebration of Meredith’s life”, the title is also a father’s story of losing his daughter, and will be the first account of the lives of the Kercher family since her murder four years ago.

Bates said: “Here at Hodder we feel this is an important story that needs to be told. We are privileged that John Kercher has entrusted us with his book, in which he’ll talk for the first time about the case and Meredith’s life.”

John Kercher has had a number of other books published. He completed two books about two two years ago as his literary tributes to Meredith, and his way of conveying her to the world.

We mentioned the other book early this year: The Strange Case of Miss Carla.  That book is a collection of children’s tales John created which Meredith loved to hear in her teens.

Her family prefer that proceeds from “Meredith” go toward an Italian remembrance of Meredith which they have not yet defined. They chose this as their goal as Meredith really loved Italy and because Italy is still obviously fascinated with her.

Her case in Italy is always referred to as the Meredith case, not the Amanda Knox case, and her Mediterranean looks, her wide range of talents and accomplishments, her strong sense of purpose, her empathy for other people, and her sense of humor are much admired.

Below: images of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and of the London headquarters of Hodder and Stoughton in Euston Street.

Posted on 10/14/11 at 11:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (40)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Prominent US Legal Commentator On The Evidence Points That Simply Won’t Go Away

Posted by Peter Quennell

Now a second prominent TV analyst joins CNN’s Nancy Grace.

Wendy Murphy is controversial, but then, aren’t they all? Like Nancy Grace she is a former prosecutor. This syndicated report is already being carried on 150 media websites.

The evidence still points to Amanda Knox

What’s more galling: Amanda Knox making out with her co-defendant boyfriend hours after Meredith Kercher was stabbed to death, or Amanda Knox crying tears of self-pleasure after being acquitted of murder despite overwhelming evidence of her guilt?

The most horrifying part of this story is the way it proves our collective stupidity. If a guilty criminal spends enough money on public relations, we can be convinced that up is down and a murderer is a national hero….

Here’s a small sample of what Amanda’s obKNOXious cheerleaders don’t want you to know:

Wendy Murphy then summarises four of the evidence points that wont go away. Pesky stuff. Mr Sollecito? Ms Knox?

It seems that lawyers are increasingly not taking kindly to the usurping of the law by P-R.


Added Wednesday afternoon. Wendy Murphy’s article was the subject of a concerted attacked with the usual faux facts on many websites. She came back fighting with this long comment.

Please refrain from posting false information. There is ABUNDANT evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Guede’s involvement in the murder cannot be questioned. Nor is it in doubt that there were multiple offenders. Guede’s race is irrelevant. That Amanda Knox falsely accused an innocent black man is highly relevant and speaks to her consciounsness of guilt, and her character, as much as her racism. One news report revealed that she once photographed herself in a white supremecist context (claiming it was a joke).

She claimed to make the initial false accusation against an innocent black man (Patrick Lumumba) under stress from police questioning, but when given a chance to clarify her accusation at a later date, she reaffirmed her false claim against him. The man sat in prison for two weeks because of Amanda’s false accusation. She was convicted of lying about police treating her unfairly. One of her lawyers at the first trial told the New York Times her trial was fair.


The defense argued that the DNA on a metal bra clasp, which had been severed from the victim’s bra, could have been contaminated when it was moved on the floor, six weeks after the murder, or in the forensic laboratory in Rome. The judge at the trial of Rudy Guede acknowledged that the DNA sample on the clasp was considered small, but described the claim of contamination at the laboratory as making ‘no sense’, since there was no material from which such contamination could have come, and so ‘the risk would have been the LOSS of traces found there, not the risk of somehow discovering new traces’.


The defense has said the knife found at Sollecito’s apartment doesn’t match Kercher’s wounds or an imprint of a knife left on a bedsheet at Kercher’s apartment. They have also said the DNA sample is too small to be conclusive. They also raised speculation that the DNA found on the bra clasp could have been contaminated.


‘Why do you need to review the forensic evidence when this conviction is based on much more than the knife and the bra clasp?’ Prosecutor Manuela Comodi argued before the court began deliberating.
She then reminded the court that Knox and Sollecito don’t have an alibi for the night of the killing, adding that there was ‘ample’ evidence of a staged break-in.

Kercher’s body was found with her throat cut on November 2, 2007, in the house she shared with Knox in the central Italian city. A knife with a 6-inch blade was later found at Sollecito’s house, bearing traces of Kercher’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s on the handle. The defence teams of both Knox and Sollecito, who pleaded innocent at the weekend, have cast doubt on the DNA findings, saying the samples were too small to prove their provenance. THEY DID NOT CLAIM THE SAMPLES ON THE KNIVES WERE CONTAMINATED. THE DEFENSE ONLY CLAIMED THAT KERCHER’S DNA ON THE BLADE WAS TOO SMALL TO BE A MATCH - BUT EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THAT - IT IS SIGNIFICANT THAT KERCHER OULD NOT BE RULED OUT!

Guede says he was in the bathroom of the house when he heard Knox and Kercher argue about money [Meredith had several hundred dollars in her room - that went missing - which was likely the motive that sparked the fight] before Kercher screamed and he found her in a pool of blood


Forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni, who testified as a prosecution witness last spring, wrote too low in English on initial results, assumed to mean that the samples of Kerchers DNA on the alleged murder weapon were only partial strands that needed amplification. [THERE WAS NO DISPUTE THAT AMANDA KNOX’S DNA ON THE HANDLE WAS A LARGE ENOUGH SAMPLE SIZE TO BE MATCHED TO AMANDA KNOX. NOR WAS THERE A DISPUTE THAT THE BLADE HAD BEEN SCRUBBED CLEAN WITH BLEACH AND AN ABRASIVE SUBSTANCE]. Writing too low suggests the expert was copying a reading directly from the machine, while she was continuing to test the sample. The implication, according to the defense, is that Stefanoni then had to amplify the tiny sample found on the blade beyond the protocol to find a match to Kerchers DNA. AMPLIFICATION IS NOT FORENSICALLY INAPPROPRIATE AND IS DONE ALL THE TIME.


Knox and Sollecito were interviewed several times by the police on the day the murder was discovered and the following two days. On 5 November 2007, Knox voluntarily accompanied Sollecito to the police station where he gave a statement, in the course of which he said that he DID NOT KNOW FOR SURE that Knox was with him on the night of the murder. The police then decided to question Knox and began the interview at 23.00 that evening. Knox was interviewed twice during the night of 56 November, firstly by the judicial police and then, later, in the presence of a prosecutor. During these interviews, Knox made statements implicating Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar-restaurant named Le Chic, at which she occasionally worked. She said that she had accompanied Lumumba to Kercher’s house and had been in the kitchen and heard screams while Lumumba committed the murder.

Knox was formally arrested later on the morning of 6 November. Some time afterwards she made a written note to the police, explaining that she was confused when she made the earlier statements [IMPLICATING HERSELF], saying ‘I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion’. However, she still seemed to incriminate Lumumba, saying: ‘I stand by my statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick [Lumumba], but I want to make very clear that these events seem more unreal to me that what I said before, that I stayed at Raffaele’s house.’ She went on to say ‘I see Patrick as the murderer, but the way the truth feels in my mind, there is no way for me to have known because I don’t remember FOR SURE if I was at my house that night.’

Lumumba was arrested on 6 November 2007 as a result of Knox’s statements. He was detained for two weeks until the arrest of Guede. Initially doubts about his alibi were reported in the press, but ultimately he was completely exonerated.

Knox’s DNA was found on two of the knives kept in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer for cooking, and a small amount of Kercher’s DNA was found on one of the two. At trial, the defence countered that Knox’s DNA would normally be on the knife because she used knives for cooking at Sollecito’s apartment. The defence also challenged the Kercher DNA sample as being too small to be reliable. Knox and Sollecito’s defence teams also asserted that this knife was not the lethal weapon because it did not match two of the three wounds and tested negative for blood. However, a forensic evidence expert for the prosecution testified that it was compatible with one of the wounds on Kercher’s neck, but that two other wounds might have been inflicted by a different weapon;

Mixed samples of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood were found in the apartment, including in the bathroom sink and in Filomena Romanelli’s room. The defence argued that Knox’s DNA should be expected to be present there in the ordinary course of her use of the apartment and bathroom as a resident of the cottage - BUT KNOX HERSELF MADE STATEMENTS TO POLICE CONCEDING THERE WAS NO REASON FOR HER DNA TO BE MIXED WITH THE VICTIM’S BLOOD IN SO MANY LOCATIONS IN THE APARTMENT. KNOX HAD LIVED THERE FOR ONLY A FEW SHORT WEEKS BEFORE THE MURDER.




Posted on 10/12/11 at 11:44 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (21)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]

It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.

Now the drama moves to Rome.

Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.

At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.

    1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues

    2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.

    3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.

    4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.

    5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.

Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court. 

With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.

Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.

KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?

By John Follain in Perugia.

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 — the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.

As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.

“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.

The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.

Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.

Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed — the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.

Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat — and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.

Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.

The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.

She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.

He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.

Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.

When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.

A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and — at that time of year — strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”

I was told she had been reading — in Italian — the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.

This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him — she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway — but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried — collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed — a neighbour heard her — and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.

Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.

The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”

The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.

The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence — the kitchen knife and the bra clasp — proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.

The two experts — Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome — said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.

Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.

Knox’s family — her mother, father, stepfather and friends — had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.

With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there — so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.

Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.

The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome — Italy’s highest court — which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia — and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.

Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.

Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”

A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.

But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.

Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”

But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”

The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.

The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.

“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards — the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.

For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.

“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police — it’s their job.”

“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”

“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.

“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.

It is not over for the Kerchers.

Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal — on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.

Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.

Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.

This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial — a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.

In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.

Posted on 10/11/11 at 07:01 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe two knivesCrime hypothesesReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (83)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

“Wrong To Capitalise On Any Murder. Not Just For Us, But For Anyone”

Posted by Peter Quennell

Helen Weathers reports on a face-to-face interview with Meredith’s father John in the Daily Mail.

On John’s memories of Meredith which haunt him daily: 

‘Meredith was extremely intelligent and humorous as a child. She had an almost adult sense of humour, and was always very thoughtful and considerate — sensitive to other people,’ says John, who was divorced from Meredith’s mother in 1997 after 20 years of marriage.

‘Meredith was very witty. She had quite an original line in humour, what you might call a barbed wit, I suppose, but not hurtful; never hurtful.

‘I remember once coming back from a holiday in Egypt and showing Meredith a photograph of myself wearing a floppy sunhat I’d bought. She took one look and said: “Dad, just tell me you didn’t pay any money for that hat.”’
Amanda Knox cries following the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court in Italy

Like her father, Meredith loved the relaxed Mediterranean way of life. Indeed, her love of Italy started on family holidays to Rimini and continued on school trips and exchanges. John was not surprised when she chose to study Italian and European studies at Leeds University.

‘The irony was that after two years at Leeds she found they’d accidentally put her on a three-year course which would have excluded the year in Italy, so she fought to get put back on the four-year course and get out there,’ says John.

‘She had the choice of going to Rome, Milan or Perugia. While she loved Rome and would have liked Milan, she felt she’d have a better chance of making friends more easily in Perugia than in a large city.

‘Meredith was very excited about going. For the first three days she stayed in a small family-run hotel until she found the cottage. She told me her room was a bit small, but the views were beautiful.’

John last saw his daughter a month before she was murdered. She’d returned to Britain on a flying visit to buy some clothes for the Italian winter and arranged to meet her father for coffee at an Italian restaurant in Croydon.

‘Meredith had bought a new pair of boots which she wanted to show me. I think they were leather with a small heel. And that’s the image of Meredith I want to remember: my daughter smiling, laughing and showing me her new boots.’

On the media speculation about the megabucks that Amanda Knox and her clan could make.

‘I think it would be more sensitive to Meredith’s memory if Amanda Knox maintained a low profile,’ says John, a freelance journalist, in his first in-depth interview.

The Amanda Knox cult insults my Meredith’s memory: Victim’s father says it’s wrong to capitalise on murder in his first interview since the verdict

‘I don’t want to say anything confrontational, but I believe it is wrong to capitalise on any murder. Not just for us, but for anyone.

‘This cult of celebrity is demeaning to Meredith’s memory, disrespectful. I don’t think Amanda Knox has actively sought out celebrity status; I think that has been created for her. But then again, she hasn’t actively rejected it.

‘It is distressing that all this will go on for a long time and that all the focus is going to be on the defendants for some time yet.

And at the shock of the U-turn first appeal verdict

‘I thought the judge might uphold the conviction but possibly reduce their sentences to be more in line with Guede’s — but not this,’ he says.

‘We thought the original evidence would be upheld, so it is a huge shock. You hope the appeal jury is going to recognise what was established in the first trial. In this case, it wasn’t.’

Posted on 10/09/11 at 02:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyFamily/defense hoaxersReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (40)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Andrea Vogt’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The First Post

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They miss the most ordinary things - the way she used to come dancing into the living room or rugby tackle her brother… her quick-witted sense of humour.

“It’s so sad. At the age she was killed, there was still so much ahead. We had so many laughs and good times ahead that we will never have.”

Posted on 10/05/11 at 03:20 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

Barbie Nadeau’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They say they haven’t had time to digest the news that Knox and Sollecito weren’t part of the scenario they’ve played over in their minds so many times. They say they will wait the 90 days until the appellate judge’s motivation for acquittal is released before deciding whether to alter what they really think happened that night. In the meantime, they remain in an unimaginable state of limbo, caught somewhere between the hyped celebrations of Knox’s release and their own bottomless void.

Posted on 10/05/11 at 03:11 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealHellmann outcomeReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

One Good Take On Italian Justice: Interesting Thought Not Neccessarily Entirely Ours

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for Tobias Jones’s take in the Guardian which seems to be trying to report evenly on the case..

Here are our most-read posts on first trials by Italian poster Nikki and the two appeals by Italian poster Commissario Montalbano and often-overlooked victims’ rights about Italian campaigner Barbara Benedettelli.

All explain better than Tobias Jones does the many hoops that prosecutors have to jump through for victims’ interests to come out ahead..

We can agree with Tobias Jones on this below - the elaborate, expensive and slow automatic first appeals complete with lay judges who don’t see the first pass of the evidence at first trial and often act as a wildcard in the process.

It’s one of the many failings of Italian justice that it never delivers conclusive, door-slamming certainty. What usually happens is that the door is left wide open to take the case to the next level, first to appeal and then to the cassazione, the supreme court. The score in the public imagination, at the moment, is simply one-all.

It’s always been that way. There’s barely one iconic crime from the post-war years that has persuaded the country that, yes, justice has been done: the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Ustica crash, the Bologna railway station bombing, the Piazza Fontana atrocity, the Monster of Florence murders, the murder of Luigi Calabresi, the “caso Cogne” … none has ever been satisfactorily, convincingly resolved. Instead the country seems to split into innocentisti and colpevolisti (those who believe in the innocence or guilt of the accused) and the heated debates continue for decades.

But we’d agree less-so, at least from an American perspective, with the Italian uniqueness of this below.

Dietrologia – literally “behindery” or conspiracy-theorising – is a national pastime precisely because the courts don’t offer convincing verdicts. It allows every journalist, magistrate and barfly to try their hand. The result is that everyone with an active imagination has a go at explaining the truth behind the mystery, and inevitably the truth only gets further buried beneath so many excited explanations. The media plays an active role in keeping the circus going: in no other country are cronache nere – “black chronicles” – so much the mainstay of the evening news. There’s always a case on the go.

Tobias Jones should watch the urbane elegance of the Porta a Porta shows, which are reminiscent of human games of chess, and then visit the US and watch all the cable news channels devoting many hours a day to legal talking heads debating one another over high-profile crime cases. CNN and MSNBC could probably not survive without them (Casey Anthony was a godsend) and they go back to the OJ Simpson trial when it seemed half the country joined in.

He probably has a good point about subjudice (blackouts on court news in the UK) but there’d seem more chance of a wrong outcome driven by public opinion in the US with its elected judges and police chiefs and prosecutors angling for news exposure than in Italy. (Judge Michael Heavey is an elected judge.)

Local public opinion in the US is very much behind the high execution rate in several American states and the difficulties non-whites often have in getting off.

Posted on 10/04/11 at 04:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsItalian contextMore of the same
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Good Reports By Seattle PI And Daily Beast On Mignini Summarising The Evidence Presented At Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: The indomitable victim’s proponent Giuliano Mignini preparing for court today with Giancarlo Costagliola]

Click the image above for Andrea Vogt’s report on Mr Mignini’s afternoon in court. Tough points Mr Mignini made:

“They know the truth because they were at Via della Pergola along with Rudy,” said Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said emphatically, pointing to Knox and Sollecito in his last remarks to the court. “Not only the young man of color should pay.”...

[Mr Mignini] sometimes seemed to obsess on small and bizarre details, but at other times showed an incredibly effective use of courtroom oratory. Just before showing the jurors gruesome autopsy photos of Kercher’s wounds, for example, he told them softly how he would never forget “the wide open eyes of the victim and the composed, immense pain of her parents.”

He reminded the appeals jurors that it was not a U.S. court, but rather one in the Italian republic and urged them to ignore “improvised detectives who give their superficial opinion from 10,000 kilometers away.”...

[Mr Mignini] went over all the witness testimony, described how a break-in in the apartment Kercher and Knox shared had been staged and frequently cited Knox’s own statements on the stand during her first trial, especially on the topic of a large drop of Knox’s blood on the bathroom faucet and mixed traces of blood and DNA of Kercher and Knox in the bathroom.

Highly worth reading the entire thing. Barbie Nadeau covers the same ground equally well in the Daily Beast and notes that today could be the final scene changer. The embattled Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was reduced to making this preposterous claim:

Sollecito’s attorney Giulia Bongiorno told reporters that Mignini was desperately clinging to old arguments because the independent experts’ report had demolished two key pieces of evidence : a knife and a bra clasp.

Demolished?! The independent experts didn’t retest the DNA material with modern techniques when they could and should have and they even admitted that was Meredith’s DNA profile the scientific police had produced the first time around.

They ended up looking weak and evasive. Hardly the silver bullet Bongiorno wants.

By the way, no sign of Mr Mignini being fazed by the presence (surely unhelpful to Knox and her lawyers) of the muddled “ex FBI agent” Steve Moore whose bizarre and often defamatory takes on the case and Italian justice officials we have again and again shown to be wrong.

Perhaps Mr Mignini should ask Steve Moore to publish his own detailed resume. So far, all requests for it have been stonewalled.

Posted on 09/23/11 at 10:22 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe prosecutorsPublic evidenceDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflecting On Andrea Vogt’s Fine Report “Knox: Innocent Abroad Or ‘Getting Away With Murder’?”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

Cross posted from my personal blog. Please click the image above for Ms Vogt’s new piece.

In this intelligent and well-written piece, Andrea Vogt wonders aloud how Italians would react to an acquittal of the Seattle woman who was convicted in December 2009 of taking part in the killing of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. She notes that an acquittal would be cause for celebration in Seattle.

It would certainly be cause for celebration among those who have taken up the cause and believe in Knox’s innocence despite the compelling evidence of her involvement in this horrific crime. But the fact is, most people in Seattle are simply not that interested. And among those who are, the consensus is certainly not that an innocent abroad got railroaded.

If it seems so, it’s because the local media has dutifully followed the lead of the national media and adopted the “innocent abroad” narrative concocted by David Marriott, whose PR firm was hired to manage Knox’s image shortly after she was arrested. In Seattle, Meredith’s murder has been played as a human interest story in which only the local protagonists matter. Meredith was British; it is assumed that Seattleites could not possibly give a toss about her.

Hence, local coverage has favored news of fundraisers for the accused local woman and then for the convicted local woman. Questions from local journalists to her supporters (family) have ranged from “How is she holding up in prison?” to “How is she holding up in prison?” And since there is no guilter movement, local or otherwise, except in the minds of a few shrill locals, there has been no local coverage of the movement’s “activities”. How can a non-existent movement have activities?

I have met many people in West Seattle who quietly shake their heads in disbelief at Steve Shay’s coverage for the West Seattle Herald. Yesterday, someone who works at a local business said “you’re skeptical bystander” when she handed me back my credit card. She told me she was a long-time lurker who reads perugiamurderfile.org and TJMK every day for information about the case. There are many people like her in Seattle.

I found it amusing, though sad, to read the comments that follow Andrea Vogt’s thoughtful piece for the First Post. Naturally, loud vocal supporter “Mary H” (this is her online pseudonym, and hiding behind it may be one reason she is so loud on the internet) was quick to condemn Vogt for merely pointing out the obvious. Mary H (fake name) asked Andrea Vogt (real name) how she could sleep at night!

It ain’t that hard, Mary, when you have the courage of your convictions and when you stand by the facts rather than getting sidetracked by the cause.

The fact at hand is that many people—in Seattle, in Italy, and elsewhere—would come away from an eventual acquittal with the feeling that justice had not been done for Meredith Kercher and her family and that at least two of those responsible for her death had gotten away with it. Mary H and others may not like to hear this, but it is a fact. And no amount of shaming on the part of Mary H or anyone else is going to make a bit of difference.

Yesterday, a lawyer friend and I were musing about what would have happened had this case been tried in the US. Many Knox supporters have said, repeatedly, that it would never have gone to trial here. My lawyer friend agreed, but for a different reason than the one implicit in this view (i.e. that there is supposedly no evidence).  He said

I don’t think the case would have gone to trial in the US. First, they would not have had to stop questioning her when they did. They would have artfully gotten her to waive her Miranda rights. They would have told her they can’t help her unless tells her side of the story, been very sympathetic initially and built up her confidence that she could talk her way out of it. They would eventually hone in on the inconsistencies, and when she finally cracked there wouldn’t be a lawyer there to stop her. The death penalty would have been on the table, and her only sure way to avoid that would be to plead guilty in exchange for life.

He also thinks that this would not have been such a high-profile case had it happened in Seattle.

Let’s wait and see how this court weighs the two contested items in the overall scheme of things. As a poster on PMF (another lawyer) wrote last night, it all boils down to this: How many pieces of evidence… ‘consistent with, but not conclusive of’ guilt can stack up against someone before, as a matter of common sense, it is no longer reasonable to believe they are innocent?

Posted on 09/22/11 at 12:44 AM by Skeptical Bystander. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Current Court Reporting: Seattle Post Intelligencer Still Posts The Best, Least Bias, Most Detail

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Seattle waterfront just north of downtown - Seattle PI building is at front center with globe]

Witness Andrea Vogt’s excellent report on the proceedings today in Appeal Court.

1). On the assorted criminals testifying today. 

The dramatic day of testimony, requested by the defense, brought together a gang of criminals of whom Hollywood scriptwriters could only dream, including a convicted rapist and childkiller, a mafia snitch and other hardened long-timers with little to lose.

Their riveting testimony (complete rubbish or explosive and key new revelations, depending on your point of view) led jurors down some of Italy’s darkest alleys, from the desperate gangster neighborhoods of Naples to the powerful masonic lodges of Umbria and tough Italian prison wards with their own code of honor….

Only one of the five had no connection to Sicily or Naples and that was a Romanian who claimed on the stand that his signature had been forged on a document presented by the defense and that he knew nothing about anything….

2) On the testimony of Mario Alessi

Alessi took the stand around noon, after a sharp drop in his blood pressure required a nurse’s attentions (the stress of testifying had caused him to lose 15 pounds over he last 10 days, his lawyer told seattlepi.com). Alessi said he earned Guede’s trust while they were incarcerated together.

One day, Guede took him by the arm and led him to a corner of the prison yard where they would be out of view of closed-circuit cameras, he said. Then, Guede told him that the real truth was that a drunkard who had gone to Kercher’s flat with Guede from the disco had sexually assaulted her and then killed her to avoid “rotting in prison” for the rape….

Toward the end of Alessi’s story, the lawyer for Meredith Kercher’s family, Francesco Maresca, branded him a repeat liar. Maresca held up a photo of “Tommy,” whose high-profile disappearance and slaying in 2006 shocked Italy….  In response to the photo of Tommy, Alessi said no, he didn’t recognize the boy, to which Maresca said, “That’s OK, we do.”

3) On the testimony of Luciano Aviello:

But on the night of Kercher’s murder, Nov. 1, 2007, Aviello testified, his brother came home with a ripped, bloodied jacket and was covered in scratches on his arms. He eventually said he had stabbed a young woman after surprising her during a break-in to steal a painting, Aviello said…

The brothers had then hidden the murder weapon and keys to the house in a nearby wall and covered the hole with mortar. “Go and see for yourselves. Verify it! You’ll find I am telling the truth,” said Aviello. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.”  Police and prosecutors have never publicly confirmed that such a search was done. Aviello’s brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

When prosecutors asked him about his connection to Alessi and the other cons, Aviello took offense, saying he had nothing to do with those “pedophiles and rapists,” but was rather just an “honest” gangster from Naples doing time for routine organized crime.

Toward the end, Aviello’s testimony grew increasingly aggressive toward prosecutors and police with whom he had collaborated. At one point guards held his shoulders as he yelled accusations through the gap where two front teeth should be. “You are a klan, not the judiciary!” he yelled.

4) And on the prosecution’s many new rebuttal witnesses.

... the court agreed to call a number of counter-witnesses requested by the prosecution, including two more prisoners and two police officials. The court also agreed to hear Giacomo Benedetti, the friend of Rudy’s whose Skype conversation with Guede while Guede was on the lam in Germany led to his arrest, as well as Guede himself.

Posted on 06/18/11 at 07:17 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Excellent Websites Commenting On The Case That We Have No Connection With

Posted by Peter Quennell

TJMK has cross-posting relations with Miss Represented, and Peter Hyatt, and several other objective websites on Meredith’s case.

These below are three careful, objective websites we’ve had no connection with, but admire. Click on the images to get to them.




Posted on 04/18/11 at 12:42 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reportingMedia news
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Precise And Accurate Italian Wikipedia Article On Meredith’s Case, Now Translated Into English

Posted by Tom M and Skeptical Bystander

A recent post on TJMK by Gwaendar refers to Wikipedia and the current effort by the Fictitious Friends of Amanda to make her the focus of an article that has so far been devoted to the Murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Eclectic Chapbook blog often comments on the case. It has called this effort “tragically misguided and possibly somewhat demented,” describing it as an instance of “the Enchanted Glen Phenomenon, which is a psychological space wherein normal laws do not apply and all rules are magically suspended. “

We have now examined and translated the Italian Wikipedia article which was written in a space where the normal laws certainly are applied and no rules have been suspended. 

The main reporting and the voluminous records of the trial and the appeal are of course all in Italian, and Italians on the whole have a far better grasp of events and the legal context than do most observers in the US and the UK. Because there is so much source material, and so little misleading reporting, it would seem that If any Wikipedia in any language in the world is going to describe the case correctly, it will be the Italian one.

This translation below of most of the Italian Wikipedia article is not word-for-word, but it is intended to convey the substance of the Italian article as it would have been if originally written in English. 

The index, the sections on books and movie, and the citations were omitted.

The murder of Meredith Kercher, an English student in Italy enrolled in the Erasmus program at the University of Perugia, occurred during the night of November 1, 2007.  Meredith was found lifeless, with her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with other students in Perugia.  The cause of death was hemorrhage due to bleeding from a wound to the neck caused by a sharp object used as a weapon.

Two men and a woman were convicted as a result, of murder, sexual violence and theft.


Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was born December 28, 1985 in Southwark, London, lived in Coulsdon, and was a student at the University of Leeds, where she was pursuing a degree in European Studies. She enrolled in the Erasmus program, and had arrived in Italy in September 2007 to complete her degree in European Studies.

Details and circumstances of the murder

Kercher was murdered at night between 1 and 2 November 2007, in the apartment she shared with three other young women, two Italian and an American, who were away that night. Based on the first examination of the autopsy, the pathologist who handled the case ruled that the death occurred between 22:00 and midnight on that day.

The following morning an elderly woman living near Via della Pergola where Meredith’s body was found, alarmed by the discovery of two abandoned mobile phones, called the police. From information obtained from one of two mobile phones the Postal Police of Perugia sent agents to the house of Meredith Kercher.  On their arrival the police found Amanda Knox (Seattle, USA, July 9, 1987), Meredith Kercher’s flatmate, and her Italian friend, Raffaele Sollecito (Giovinazzo, March 26, 1984), with whom she had recently started a relationship, outside the house.

The two young people said they were awaiting the arrival of the police; when asked why, they said they had found a window broken, the door open, and suspected a theft. Later, these claims were questioned by investigators, given that the Police Post arrived at the house on Via della Pergola at 12:35 and telephone calls to the Police were not made not until 12:51 and 12:54.  Entering, the Police found the bedroom of Meredith Kercher locked and decided to break down the door. Upon entering, they found a number of bloodstains, the room in disarray, and a foot sticking out from under the duvet which had covered the bed.

The Convicted:

The three convicted at the first stage are:

  • Raffaele Sollecito, who was born in Giovinazzo (BA), a university student of 23 years at the time of the murder;
  • Amanda Knox, a student originally from Seattle, U.S., 20, who had a relationship with Sollecito at the time of the crime;
  • Rudy Hermann Guede, born December 26, 1986 in the Ivory Coast, was arrested in Germany on November 20 and extradited to Italy on December 6, 2007.  At his lawyers’ request, Guede received from the court at a preliminary hearing an order granting expedited trial.

Knox and Guede were detained in Capanne prison, a 20-minute drive from Perugia. Sollecito, after also being held in Capanne, was transferred in early 2008 to the Vocabolo Sabbione prison in Terni.

The case also, initially, erroneously involved Patrick Lumumba, owner of the restaurant where Amanda Knox worked; her statement placed him at the crime scene on the night of the crime. The charges were later proved unfounded and demonstrated the unreliability of Knox as a witness. Implicating the Congolese man was also an incorrect translation of a text message sent to him in English by Knox (‘see you later’, which rather than a generic “Ci vidiamo,” was translated literally as “we will see each other later”[“ci vidiamo dopo”].

Thus, police thought that the two had an appointment for the evening of the crime). Patrick Lumumba was ultimately released and all charges against him were dropped.  Following the unjust detention lasting 14 days, Lumumba was awarded € 8000 as compensation, but this was deemed inadequate by his lawyer, who threatened to sue.

The Sentences

Knox, Sollecito and Guede were sentenced respectively to 26, 25 and 16 years in prison. Rudi Hermann Guede opted for an abbreviated trial and his conviction for complicity in murder and sexual violence was made final by the Court of Cassation, First Criminal Division, on December 16, 2010. For the other two participants, the case is on appeal. The decisions reconstruct in detail the manner and circumstances of the murder, a motive defined “violent, sexual, erotic.”

The conviction in the first trial of Sollecito and Knox, issued by the Court of Assizes of Perugia, is based on numerous expert opinions, objective evidence and testimony.

According to the reconstruction regarding Knox and Sollecito, on the evening of November 1, 2007, they met in piazza Grimana, where they had occasionally met Guede, an acquaintance of Knox, who decided to join them for the evening. They decided to go to Knox’s house, to which her roommate Meredith Kercher, after an evening with her English friends, had just returned. Kercher’s bedroom door was presumably ajar, and upon entering the house the three defendants immediately noticed her presence.

Going directly to another part of the house, Knox and Sollecito made love.  Guede, shortly after, went to the bathroom, where he left organic residues in the water of the toilet, as found in the investigation. According to the reconstruction, Guede left the bathroom, probably excited by the sounds of Sollecito and Knox making love, noted again the door ajar at Kercher’s room, and decided to approach. Then he entered Kercher’s room; but after her refusal, he became violent, attempting to rape her.

Kercher’s cries led Knox and Sollecito to go to her room, where they joined Guede’s criminal action, finding it an “exciting situation.” While the Guede violated Kercher, Knox and Sollecito tried to immobilize her: to do this Sollecito and Knox wielded knives to threaten the victim. The analysis shows that the knife wounds by Sollecito were probably quite small, while Knox wielded a kitchen knife, later found, and on which were found genetic traces of her mixed with those of Kercher.

The situation then deteriorated, partly because of the screams and resistance of Kercher: Knox then, with the kitchen knife, struck the victim in the neck, causing fatal injuries. The three defendants, shortly after the murder, fled with Kercher’s phones, fearing that if someone called her and got no response, they would be suspicious and the crime would be discovered: the cell phone was ultimately found in an embankment a few hundred meters from Kercher’s house.

Then they headed in different directions: Guede to a nightclub, Knox and Sollecito to the latter’s flat. The next morning Knox and Sollecito tried to clean up the crime scene and clean up their tracks; then they broke a window in the house to stage a mock burglary, hoping to throw the investigation off course.

Guede’s Supposed Confession

In March 2010 rumors spread of an alleged confession by Rudy Guede. The facts are as follows: it seems that Guede had revealed his complicity, with a friend, in killing Kercher, to Mario Alessi, an inmate housed in the same prison, a character already known to police and media for the murder of little Tommaso Onofri, Guede had invited Kercher to go to a party, she refused, and subsequently the friend of Guede tried to rape her. According to Alessi, Guede tried to come to Kercher’s aid, and Guede’s friend rebuked him, saying that he should just strike the final blow to end the girl’s misery, which is what Guede did.

Then Guede and his friend met again by chance in a nightclub, and Guede’s friend gave him money to flee to Germany, where he was at the time of the extradition and return to Italy for arrest. This reconstruction, which would completely exonerate Knox and Sollecito, was found by investigators to be totally unfounded.

Posted on 04/04/11 at 09:49 PM by Tom M and Skeptical Bystander. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe two knivesReporting on the caseV good reportingMedia newsThe wider contexts
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Friday, April 01, 2011

First Excerpt From Will Savive’s “Study Abroad Murder” The Best Book Yet On The Hard Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell

Will Savive is a New York area criminologist, concerning whom a reviewer on the book’s Amazon page said “Savive is quickly becoming a juggernaut of the true crime industry.”

This looks to be the best book yet on the hard evidence in the case, and on what people actually said both before trial and throughout trial. Will writes just like a criminologist (“just the facts ma’am”) and he has little interest in the absurd notions that Italian professionals fell down on the job or pulled off an enormous cover-up. 

This first excerpt, a proof copy from “The Study Abroad Murder”, is about the arrest of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at Perugia’s central police station on the night of 5-6 November 2007. 

While police questioned Sollecito, Knox waited in a side room. Policewoman Lorena Zugarini walked into the room to check on Knox and caught her doing cartwheels and the splits. Zugarini told Knox that it was “not the right place for such activities.”

At around 11:30p.m., Inspector Chief of Perugia police’s narcotics unit, Rita Ficarra, came out of the lift into the waiting room of the city’s Flying Squad on the third floor of the police station and witnessed Knox “showing off her gymnastic ability,” turning cartwheels and doing back bends. This angered the inspector, and she scolded Knox, telling her “This is the police station, not a dance theater!”

Knox and Ficarra began talking about the night of the murder, and Ficarra told Knox that the answers she and Raffaele had given don’t add up and are filled with several contradictions. Ficarra tried to explain to Knox, “If you tell me a lie one time, that is comprehensible, but if you lie again—even if it is a small lie—it makes you less credible.” One reason for the officer’s warning was that Knox had originally told police that she had not smoked cannabis, but then said that she had, according to Rita.

Ficarra then decided that since Knox was already present, she would like her to detail a list of people that had visited the house in the two months since she’s been there. Knox agrees, takes out her cell phone, and begins to go through the list of names. ‘He’s been there; he hasn’t been there, etc.’

Rita begins taking notes, but soon realizes that she needs an interpreter. When the interpreter arrived shortly after, Knox again began giving Ficarra names of people who had visited the flat, including “a South African man” she had met at a party in the flat underneath hers. Knox said that she didn’t know his name or phone number, and had never seen him again after that night (Rudy Guede).

At this point, Knox willingly hands over her phone to Ficarra, who begins scrolling through Knox’s text messages and asking her who these people were and when she had met them—she wanted to know everything: “Peter, Juve, Spiros, Shaggy…” Ficarra continued, rattling-off names and quizzing Knox. Inspector Lorena Zugarini enters the room and begins observing silently.

Suddenly, the head of the Perugia homicide unit, Monica Napoleoni, enters the room and says, “He [Sollecito] doesn’t cover her anymore, so you’d better ask Amanda again her whereabouts on the evening of the murder.”

It turns out that Raffaele Sollecito had changed his story, claiming that he was with Knox only until 9:00p.m., on the night of the murder. Sollecito claims that he and Knox left the cottage at 6:00p.m., at which time they went into the centre. “At 9:00p.m., I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends,” Sollecito told police.

“We said goodbye and I went home, I rolled myself a spliff [Marijuana cigarette] and made some dinner.” Sollecito goes on to say that Knox returned to his flat at around 1:00a.m., at which time the couple went to bed.

Amanda Knox’s alibi had abruptly evaporated! As Ficarra continued through Knox’s messages, she came to a text that Knox had sent to her boss, Patrick Lumumba. Ficarra shows her the message and asks, “Who is this person?” Ficarra believed that the message read like a date—to meet up later that night. “Did you go out with him that night?” Ficarra asked.

Unexpectedly and without warning, Knox put her head in her hands, started shaking her head, as tears streamed down from her eyes. “He’s bad, he’s bad…”—Amanda says as if she is in a trance—“He’s the murderer…I can hear him in Meredith’s room…I can hear him killing Meredith!”

Knox was a waitress at the bar Le Chic, which was owned by a Congolese man by the name of Diya Patrick Lumumba [37]. Lumumba was also a musician who was married to a Polish woman named Ola, with whom he had a baby boy named David.

On the night of the murder Knox said that she had originally sent him a text message asking him if he wanted her to come into work that night. Patrick sent a reply back at 8:19p.m., saying that she was not needed. Knox then replied back to Lumumba at 8.35p.m., “Certo. Ci vediamo piu` tardi. Buona serata!”

There has been many discrepancies as to what this statement actually means in Italian, or what Knox meant by the statement; particularly the “più tardi” in the sentence. A rough translation of this phrase in English is “Certainly. See you later. Good evening!” However, “più tardi” in Italian actually indicates a schedule or an appointment.

This expression in Italian assumes that after a lapse of time, with many actions in between, we will meet up later. If you use the words “più tardi” it is assumed that you are going to meet-up with someone on the same day or evening, not tomorrow or at another time. It is possible to suppose that Knox did not understand the language well enough and this is just a simple misunderstanding, but police did not give her the benefit of the doubt; axiomatically because she had already stated that Lumumba was the murderer.

Once Knox had made this accusation, police immediately notified the Pubblico Ministero (Public Prosecutor) of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, who gives the order to “Stop.”

Questioning for the evening was then suspended at 1:45a.m., as is prescribed by Italian law—in articles 386 & 566 of the Italian Codice di Procedura Penale [Code of Criminal Procedure] (CPP).  Knox signs a one-page statement that recounts her new story, and she is then informed that her status has officially changed from witness to suspect.

Italian law differs from the law here in the United States in several respects (civil law system vs. common law system), but many aspects are strikingly similar. Italian criminal law, which is codified in the CPP, states that Defense counsel’s presence is mandatory during the interrogation of the accused. One way around this, however, is to not officially change the status from witness to a suspect until after getting a sufficient amount of information out of her/him during questioning or to get a confession before changing the status. This is a common police ‘trick,’ per say, in Italy as well as in America.

Italian law does, however, have several differences. According to a provision introduced in 1978, it is not compulsory for the defense counsel to be present when the continuation of an investigation requires the immediate and urgent interrogation of a suspect. The statements made by the suspect, however, may not be minuted for use in judicial proceedings.

Basically, this can be seen as a loop-hole that gives Italian police more leeway to do as they see fit in order to extract what information they need from a suspect. In Knox’s case, she obviously did not have a lawyer as she was not even called into the police station, let alone was she under the impression that she would be arrested at some point during that evening.

In any event, it was Knox that allegedly waived her right to an attorney at that time, according to police. Nevertheless, the absence of a defense attorney during interrogation does not guarantee that the information provided by the suspect will be admissible in court. This decision will later be up to the two judges and six jury members upon trial in Italy, or the Italian Supreme Court.

The officers were completely astonished and dumbfounded by Knox’s admittance. Here was a girl who hadn’t even been asked to come in for questioning, and has not only declared to have been at the house during the time of the murder, but identified the killer!

Mignini headed over to the questura (police headquarters) to witness and question Knox further. Once he arrived—at 3:30a.m.— Knox repeats her story for Mignini, but this time she goes into great detail… The session is halted at 5:45a.m., at which time Knox signs a five-page statement detailing the events of the interrogation.

In the report, regarding the text message that Knox sent to Lumumba, police changed the text to read:  “Ci vediamo.”(“See you later”). Mignini later used this statement to persuade the judge that Knox and Lumumba met up just before the murder. This information was then fed to the press, who reported the half-text “See you later” (by no fault of their own). An example of this is the story in the London Times on 13 November 2007, entitled, “Meredith Kercher murder: why the timings are critical.” It wasn’t until Lumumba’s subsequent release that the full message was correctly reported to the public.

In any case, police theorized from the text message, and Knox’s statement, that the two met-up shortly there afterwards at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana before heading to the cottage. Shortly after signing the report, Knox is formally arrested then taken for breakfast. Sollecito had also been formally arrested and retained.

Meanwhile, a police task force had already been assembled and sent to arrest the dangerous murderer, Patrick Lumumba. At 6:30a.m., Patrick Lumumba sat in his fourth-floor apartment when he heard his doorbell ringing. Before he could even respond he heard a woman’s voice outside demanding that he open the door…

With Lumumba in custody, the procession headed to Perugia’s police station with sirens blaring. The worst was yet to come for Patrick, who then had to sit through a ten-hour interrogation…

“You did it, you did it!” Patrick was confused and scared, and police would not even tell him what he had just been arrested for. It was only after several hours that police showed Patrick a picture of Meredith’s lifeless body. It was only after seeing the picture that Patrick had made the connection between his arrest and Meredith’s death. “You think I killed Meredith?” Patrick uttered. Lumumba had been handing out flyers publicizing Meredith Kercher’s candlelit vigil just one day earlier…

After Lumumba’s arrest, Knox calls over Ficarra and asks her for a pen and paper. Knox says to her, “I want to give you a gift.” Knox then proceeds to write a two page statement, confirming what she said earlier; but this time she posed her accusations against Lumumba and her presence during the murder as a “vision.”

Her statement is legally known as a voluntary, spontaneous statement, referred to as ‘The Memoir’ (Memorial or Two Page Note). When she is done she hands the memoir to Ficarra and says that it will help them in case they have some doubts. Little did Knox know at the time, but it would be the most damaging ink she would ever inscribe!

Key points in Knox’s statement (‘The Memoir’):

“This is very strange, I know, but really what happened is as confusing to me as it is to everyone else.”

Knox starts off claiming that she was at Sollecito’s flat “smoking marijuana, having sex,” and “might even have fallen asleep.”

“The next thing I remember was waking up the morning of Friday November 2nd around 10am and I took a plastic bag to take back my dirty cloths to go back to my house.”

As she goes on, she begins to tell a different story of what might have happened, in which she claims her boss, Patrick Lumumba, was probably the murder. According to this version of events Knox met Patrick Lumumba at around 9:00p.m., on the night of the murder at the basketball court in Piazza Grimana then went to her house. This is significant, because a homeless man later testified that he saw Knox on that very basketball court at around that time.

“In my mind I saw Patrik in flashes of blurred images. I saw him near the basketball court. I saw him at my front door. I saw myself cowering in the kitchen with my hands over my ears because in my head I could hear Meredith screaming…these things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or are just dreams my head has made to try to answer the questions in my head and the questions I am being asked.”

The following statement is telling because Knox does not rule out the possibility that there may be evidence against her at the crime scene. Here she contradicts and back-tracks as she tries to talk her way out of trouble.

“The police have told me that they have hard evidence that places me at the house, my house, at the time of Meredith’s murder. I don’t know what proof they are talking about, but if this is true, it means I am very confused and my dreams must be real.”

In his account to police that night, Sollecito tried to distance himself from the murder, telling police that Knox asked him to lie for her and say that she was with him the whole night.

“In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies,” Sollecito told police

Knox responds to this by writing, “I also NEVER asked him to lie for me. This is absolutely a lie…What does he [Sollecito] have to hide? I don’t think he killed Meredith.”

Knox then acknowledges that her story seems far fetched, yet she stands by both of her stories, each contradicting the other.

“I also know that the fact that I can’t fully recall the events that I claim took place at Raffaele’s home during the time that Meredith was murdered is incriminating. And I stand by my statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrik, but I want to make very clear that these events seem more unreal to me that what I said before, that I stayed at Raffaele’s house.”

Knox reaffirms that she is not sure what she was doing the night before the murder.

“I’m very confused at this time. My head is full of contrasting ideas and I know I can be frustrating to work with for this reason. But I also want to tell the truth as best I can. Everything I have said in regards to my involvement in Meredith’s death, even though it is contrasting, are the best truth that I have been able to think.”

Knox reaffirms that she is not sure what she was doing the night before the murder, and that Patrick may have been the killer.

“In these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrik as the murderer, but the way the truth feels in my mind, there is no way for me to have known because I don’t remember FOR SURE if I was at my house that night.”

Knox then asks herself a very puzzling question, which is basically like saying that she was not there unless they have proof that she was, and if so then she doesn’t remember.

“Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”

It wasn’t until 5:30p.m., that day—still handcuffed and bruised—that Patrick was informed of the evidence against him.

Police showed Patrick the hand written statement of Amanda Knox accusing him of being Meredith’s killer. It was only then that Patrick had realized just how mad Knox was with him for considering firing her. Patrick filled-up with rage and contempt toward Knox, but continued to keep himself calm and composed in front of police. After Patrick was fingerprinted and his blood was taken, he sat in a holding cell awaiting his first hearing.

Police then turned their investigation to Raffaele Sollecito’s flat on Corso Garibaldi. Police entered the premises looking for a pair of shoes that matched any of the bloody prints left at the crime scene, and a possible murder weapon.

Armondo Finzi, an assistant in Perugia PD’s organized crime unit, entered the home and immediately noticed a “strong smell of bleach.” As police beagn the inspection of the flat, Mr. Finzi opened a drawer in the kitchen and noticed a shiny knife lying on top of the silverware tray. The Marietti knife with a 6 ½ inch stainless steel blade, was the first knife that he saw and his investigative intuition led him to believe that it might be the murder weapon.

Officer Finzi grabbed the knife, with gloved hands, and placed it into an envelope and taped it shut, and then placed it into a folder. No other knife was taken into evidence. Back at police headquarters, homicide unit captain, Stefano Gubbiotto, removed the knife from the envelope—with gloved hands—and placed it into a cardboard box, and it was scheduled to be sent to Rome for further analysis.

During the search, police also found a pair of Sollecito’s sneakers (Nike size 42½) that they announced was a perfect match with the footprint left at the crime scene. Police also discovered a receipt in Sollecito’s flat for cleaning products from a local supermarket, which they claimed included bleach. This bleach, police then believed, was used to clean the knife found in his apartment.

Police also examined Sollecito’s car (an Audi) for any traces of blood on the pedals, but found nothing. They confiscated Sollecito’s collection of violent Japanese comic books as well. Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba all spent the next two days and nights in isolation—behind bars in Capanne prison, about a ten-minute drive from Perugia.


From The Study Abroad Murder by Will Savive


Posted on 04/01/11 at 01:00 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (40)

Friday, March 18, 2011

John Follain Foreign Correspondent UK Sunday Times Chats Online About Case And Italian Politics

Posted by Peter Quennell

Transcript of a live online Sunday Times discussion with foreign correspondent John Follain on Monday 7 March 2011.

Sunday Times Foreign Editor:

Welcome to John Follain, foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times who has covered Italy since 1998. He has written a book about the murder of Meredith Kercher which is out in August. So let’s begin, John is waiting for your questions

John Follain:

Hello, all set and looking forward to your questions - about the Kercher case, Berlusconi or anything you see fit to throw at me

[Comment From James Ellington]

Hi John, How do you think Amanda Knox managed to gain celebrity status given the gruesome nature of the crime she has been convicted of?

John Follain:

Hi James,

Should we blame the media or the readers? Seriously, I think one big reason why this case has interested people is that they identify themselves with the parents of Meredith Kercher, or of Amanda Knox.

As for Amanda Knox being a celebrity, I’d say the twists and turns of the investigation and the trial have a lot to do with it - as well as her looks and the fact that it has to be a rarity to have an American exchange student with such a background being convicted (the appeal trial is now on, of coruse) of such a crime.

[Comment From Freddy: ]

What do you make of the film? It doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with anyone involved

John Follain:

Hi Freddy,

Having covered so many of the events, it was very moving to see some of them on screen - the actors do look very much like the real protagonists. But I did find it peppered with inaccuracies and callous in its depiction of events just before Meredith’s death - including a completely unbelievable scene showing Rudy Guede embracing Meredith.

[Comment From Rebecca Ward]

So let’s cut to the chase, do you think Amanda Knox to be guilty or has she been wrongly convicted? And what do you base your opinion on?

John Follain:

Hi Rebecca,

Ah, thought that one would come up. Under Italian law, Knox’s conviction doesn’t become definitive until she has exhausted her chances of appeal - meaning the current appeal trial and a possible Supreme Court trial.

Having said that, I do think she played a role in the murder, along with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. That’s an opinion based on the evidence against her including the staged burglary, the DNA samples involving all three, and her behaviour at the police station

[Comment From Suzanna, Gloucs]

I have read that Guede was able to elect to go down the ‘fast track’ route for trial. What is that? Sounds like a McDonalds version of the law?

John Follain:

Hi Suzanna,

Not McDonalds but the Italian equivalent of plea-bargaining in a way. The fast track route involves a defendant agreeing to a faster trial, with fewer witnesses and no jury among other conditions, in exchange for a lower sentence if convicted.

But there’s no doubt many in Perugia and elsewhere have been shocked by his final prison sentence of 16 years, which will be greatly reduced for good behaviour among other factors.

[Comment From JJ ]

Can Knox be thought of as credible when saying she had been assaulted and asked questions under duress when being interviewed in light of the Facebook comments and images of swords and rituals?

John Follain:

Hi JJ,

I think it’s hard to accept that she accused an innocent man - Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where she worked - simply because the police supposedly “pressured” her into doing so.

When she appeared in court and was questioned at length by the prosecutor over this, she didn’t come up with a convincing explanation. Plus there’s the fact that the day after the police interrogation, she repeated the scenario of Lumumba killing Meredith at the cottage.

[Comment From Charles and Jane]

I’ve seen interviews with Knox’s parents – difficult not to make assumptions here – but they seem rather unhinged (especially the mother). I realise it is not the everyday situation you find yourself in re your children but I think they do AK rather more harm than good?

John Follain:

Hi Charles and Jane,

To be honest, no, I don’t think they’re unhinged. I spent more than three hours interviewing them and AK’s sister Deanna in Seattle, and they came across as determined to bring Ak back from Perugia.

As for them doing AK more harm than good, the massive PR campaign they launched didn’t go down well with at least one of her Perugia lawyers, and it has backfired with the courts in the sense that judges in Perugia think the attacks - especially against prosecutor Giuliano Mignini are unjustified.

[Comment From james forrest]

What was the greatest challenge you faced in writing your book and did you meet any of the people connected with the case during the course of your research? Would you be interested to interview Knox if you had the chance? What question would you most like to ask her if you had the chance?

John Follain:

Hi James,

I set out to re-construct events from the moment Meredith and AK arrived in Perugia, through the murder and the subsequent investigation, right up to the current appeal trial - as much as possible describing not only what the main characters did but also what they thought at the time.

So the challenge was obtaining numerous, repeat interviews - one was six hours long - with as many of the characters including the prosecutors, detectives, lawyers, experts, relatives and friends among many others.

Yes of course, which journalist who has followed the case wouldn’t like to interview AK? But she is banned from giving interviews as long as her conviction, or acquittal, hasn’t become definitive. I don’t have a top question for her, what I would like is to ask her to go through events in as detailed a way as possible.

[Comment From Peter Polites]

What do you expect to be the outcome of the Amanda Knox appeal which has been delayed so forensics can carry out a review of the evidence used to convict her? When do you think we will hear the result? And do you think there is the possibility that the forensic evidence was contaminated?

John Follain:

Hi Peter,

Given that more than 20 judges have so far ruled that AK is guilty, I think the appeal court will head the same way - although it could reducer both the sentences for both her and Sollecito.

But no thinks the outcome is certain - the key hearing will be in late May when the court-appointed experts report back on their review of the DNA evidence found on the kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and on Meredith’s bra clasp in her bedroom.

Yes contamination is in theory always possible but I see nothing to indicate that happened here.

[Comment From Ivor Gibson]

There have been heaps of books published about the case of Amanda Knox – what does yours do that the others don’t?

John Follain:

Hi Ivor,

I hope that my book offers the fullest-possible account of the case - I hope the reader will feel he or she are with Meredith and her friends in her last weeks in Perugia, behind the shoulder of the prosecutor or the detective as they make their discoveries, with AK and her mother as they talk in prison, and present in the courtroom at the key moments of the trial.

[Comment From Sammy]

what is the reaction of the average Italian to the bunga bunga scandal? disgust or secret envy?

John Follain:

Hi Sammy,

If you believe Berlusconi, 51% are for him, and 49% are against him. The truth is the average Italian does think the scandal is pretty awful but that doesn’t stop a big minority - a majority if you include his coalition partners - thinking Berlusconi is the best man for the job right now.

Basically the Left has yet to persuade anyone apart from diehard followers that it does have a programme for government and can rule the country efficiently.

[Comment From Elise Crothers]

I read that Berlusconi thinks he can prove in court that Karima El Mahroug was not underage when he allegedly paid her for sex – what do you think will be the outcome of his trial in Milan next month?

John Follain:

Hi Elise,

The prosecutors are confident that Berlusconi’s claim that she wasn’t underage will be thrown out by the court - her date of birth is on her Moroccan passport and as her father points out, they wouldn’t have spent such a long time trying to get her into community centres for minors if she was an adult.

The outcome is a very tough one to predict, but one near-certainty is that Berlusconi won’t try to stop the trial going ahead. He wants to fight his corner in court by attending all the hearings.

If he is convicted, he would most likely get a suspended sentence because he is over 70 and because he has a clean record.

And if he is convicted, he has said he will stay on as prime minister.

[Comment From jude]

what does Bunga Bunga mean? I think I know but do I?

John Follain:

Hi Jude,

I think I know too, but only on the basis of what Ruby told prosecutors before the whole scandal became public.

And that’s second-hand, in that she said that Berlusconi told her that it was something copied from Gadaffi’s harem - ie. an orgy.

But then again, Berlusconi’s people have claimed it’s no such thing but just a joke about two ministers on an island who come to an obscene end with natives (don’t ask).

And the newcaster Emilio Fede, who is accused of aiding and abetting prostitution for bringing showgirls to Berlusconi’s home, said it was the name of the sofa

[Comment From Mary]

How can you stay on as Prime Minister if you are convicted?

John Follain:

Hi Mary,

A prison sentence of three years or more would automatically include Berlusconi being barred from holding public office for a year or more. But that wouldn’t become definitive until the case was ruled on by the Supreme Court, which could be in a couple of years or more.

[Comment From Simon Kennedy, Edinburgh]

Last year Berlusconi fawned over Gadaffi, treating him like royalty on his visit to Italy and has also described him as “my great friend”. Now they seem to have changed direction due to the threat to their energy supplies. Should Italy take a stand against Gadaffi and what would this mean for the Italian economy?

John Follain:

Hi Simon,

Despite Berlusconi’s previous “friendship”, and embarrassing scenes including Gadaffi being allowed to lecture young women - all from a PR agency - bussed in to attend his lecture on “Islam”, Italy says it will stick to whatever the EU and the UN decide on sanctions.

But it’s been noticeable that Libya’s interests in Italy - there’s even a stake in the Juventus soccer club - have gone untouched officially because they’re not held by Gadaffi himself or his clan.

The trouble for Italy is that taking too strong a stand against Gadaffi could threaten vital energy supplies.

And the Italians are quick to point out that they were not alone in giving Gadaffi red-carpet treatment.

[Comment From Gemima9]

how will Italy cope with the thousands of North African migrants arriving in the country after the unrest in the middle east?

John Follain:

Hi Gemima,

The government hopes it won’t be alone in coping and that other EU countries will step in, because it simply doesn’t have the facilites to cope with the possible arrivals - some estimates are around 250,000 to Italy alone.

The emergency plans drawn up by the government including using converted barracks to house them but this would all be temporary. And the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has regularly criticised the way Italy has been dealing with previous cases, saying it doesn’t give them a proper chance to claim and obtain refugee status.

Sunday Times Foreign Editor

Well, that’s all we have time for folks. Thank you for all the questions. Thanks to John for giving us his time. Do tune in next week at the same time for another heavy-weight topic. Have a good week. Bye.

John Follain:

Thanks to you all for your interest, and hope we get another chance to talk soon.

According to a BBC report Bunga Bunga is the nickname of Greman actress Sabina Began who organizes Mr Berlusconi’s controversial parties. Therefore “bunga bunga parties”.

Not everybody is buying that explanation it seems. Other versions keep surfacing.

Posted on 03/18/11 at 11:31 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseV good reportingMedia news
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (17)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Andrea Vogt In New York Post Finds Lifetime Movie Fairish Though Hurtful To Kerchers And Ill-Timed

Posted by Peter Quennell

Andrea Vogt reminds us that the legal process is very exhaustive, very balanced and far from complete.

Also that Mr. Mignini is a reasonable person, that an extraordinary number of careful judges have been a party to the process, and that US State Department have monitored the case and not seen any reason to try to intervene - though it is doubtful they could have any influence over the judiciary.

During filming in Rome last fall, the Knox chattering classes speculated whether it would favor “innocentisti or colpevolisti” (the innocents or guilty). As the first clips emerged, everyone was upset. Producers clearly took factual liberties (in real life, Amanda and Raffaele didn’t attend the memorial vigil for Meredith, but in the film they do, for example).

But the communal outrage is nothing new. All the parties agree: it is inappropriate to air this film before completion of appeal. Knox was convicted of murder and sentenced in an Italian court based on the scenario of all three being involved, as described in the judge’s ruling. Lifetime attempted to re-enact this in their own way…

That said, the US State Department has been monitoring the case as more than two dozen judges have considered the evidence and determined (to varying degrees) that Knox was involved…

Unfortunately this case exists in a cultural time warp where fiction races ahead of fact. In the US, everything happens too fast; a film is thrown together in months. In Italy, everything happens too slow: a case can take seven years to get to the Supreme Court. The final judicial decision about who murdered Ms. Kercher and how is still years away.

Posted on 02/21/11 at 09:29 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesV good reportingMovies on case
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (2)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Daily Beast’s Barbie Nadeau Weighs The Pros And Cons Of The Lifetime Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Lifetime TV has an office suite in this giant hitech building which Google is presently purchasing]

We doubt if we are going to rate this film very highly. Already there are critical reviews.

And the Massei report shows overwhelming guilt, the grounds for appeal are slim indeed, and the Supreme Court of Cassation has ALREADY accepted that all three were part of the attack.

Barbie Nadeau’s report upon seeing a preview seems to confirm that the film will at least in part blow smoke and mislead the viewing audience by failing to convey those hard facts.

The movie does a commendable job slaloming between guilt and innocence as it stitches together known details of a very complicated case. It doesn’t shy away from controversial facts like how Knox accused Patrick Lumumba of the murder, or just how tough the Perugian police were on the 20-year-old American during her interrogations…. Lifetime lands squarely on the side of reasonable doubt when it comes to Knox’s conviction, but the network also does a fair job showing just why the jury in Perugia found her guilty.

Reasonable doubt? In fact that is a term that applies only to juries who were present in the courtroom the whole time, and in this case the guilty verdict was already unanimous. They had no reasonable doubt.

Sadly, John and Arline Kercher’s worst fears about the movie dwelling upon the graphic violence done to Meredith seem fully justified.

Indeed, the movie features globs of often-gratuitous violence around their daughter’s tragic death. Sure, it is a TV dramatization bent on ratings about a now-legendary murder, but the CSI-style black-and-white autopsy shots and a disturbing scene where Guede watches Meredith choking on her own blood are unsettling, even for those of us who have covered this case from day one. It’s one thing to see the crime scene video and hear testimony about how it might have happened, but it’s quite another to watch someone act it out in gruesome detail.

There seems to be little mention of the million-dollar public relations campaign that has so misled the public, and none at all of the inflammatory anti-prosecution anti-Italy bias of much of the UK and US media. 

Not all is bad. Mr Mignini and his team are shown as “smart, capable investigators caught up in a terribly complicated crime….”. The Knox family are portrayed as “even-tempered and wholly genuine in support of their daughter”. Hayden Pantierre does “an admirable job playing the quirky Seattle native.”

But Amanda Knox herself apparently comes across as vague and someone who “could have simply been in the wrong place doing the wrong things at the wrong time.” We have already remarked in a previous post “We will be curious to see if Lifetime somehow depicts what a sad drug-driven slide into dependency and desperation the seemingly not-quite-right Amanda Knox appeared to be embarked on.”

However Meredith is said to be infectiously played, by Cambridge University graduate Amanda Fernando Stevens (image below), who we believe really did give the classy depiction of Meredith all she could.

Fortunately, Lifetime also focuses a fair amount of attention on Meredith, painting a portrait of a bright and beautiful young woman who was far more serious than her American roommate, but who had an infectious sense of humor and enviable charm. That careful attention to her charisma makes her murder all the more tragic.

Posted on 02/16/11 at 08:16 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesV good reportingMovies on case
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

More Excellent Examiner Reporting: This Time Profiling Curt Knox And Edda Mellas

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Capanne Prison, where Amanda Knox was taped undercutting the claims her parents made]

The Examiner network has posted many reports on the case from at least half a dozen reporters.

They have been consistently well-researched, unbiased, and accurate. Today their website carries a comment on Amanda Knox’s parents’ indictment, and how they put themselves into this absurd mess.

So the question remains: will Amanda Knox be called to testify at the trial by her indicted parents - or by the police pursuing the suit? She herself has never publicly made the claims Curt and Edda did, with the minimalist exception of someone she can’t identify clipping her over the head.

That sole claim the interpreter present has made quite clear did NOT happen. And Amanda Knox was CAUGHT ON TAPE telling her mother Patrick Lumumba did not do it - that her charge was false, and accordingly she made NO mention of her accusation against him having been beaten out of her by the cops.

Leaving zero reason to accuse the cops of anything - let alone serially accuse them of criminal behavior again and again, globally. And also, Edda Mellas failed to report what Amanda actually told her. She too left Patrick to languish.

Posted on 02/16/11 at 10:05 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (8)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Letter From Italy: Explaining Why My Pro-Women-Victims Focus In My Forthcoming Movie Samhain

Posted by Stefano Torrese

[Above: Stefano Torrese (right) and his co-author and co-producer Diego Antolini discuss Samhain]

While reading Mr. Kercher’s open letters [here and here] we found so many resonances with our ideas and feelings about the sad drama that occurred to Meredith, feelings which had led us to initiate the film project “Samhain - A Halloween Tale”.

Our starting point was to write a story which could deliver a strong message on behalf of all women whose life had ended because of the violence and ignorance of others; to provide our contribution to making people think and re-think about the society we live in, where nobody is safe, children or students or workers.

Then, as we deepened the research into the subject, and more material came out about the judicial case and the trials, we witnessed, as John sadly remarked, a singular yet logical - for our society - phenomenon, that of the rising of a celebrity, who is in fact charged for murder and sentenced to many years in prison.

Last spring we started to see the first buzz in the US about our movie project and those of others. A few months later we heard the inevitable: an American TV production decided to shoot a documentary about AMANDA KNOX’S trial paths.

As fall approached, we trimmed and refined our story into a thriller with a moral, and a big, positive twist in the end, which developed furthermore a strong message. This message we made clear during our first press conference on last October 28, in the Palazzo della Regione of Perugia, the most important institutional house of local government.

We said that our movie is not - and will never be - a movie about Amanda Knox; as a matter of fact it is not even a movie about Meredith in the sense of the exploitation of her image for economic purposes.

“Samhain - A Halloween tale” is a tale with a moral in the classical form, inspired by a true fact (obviously Meredith’s murder) but then touching many other topics like the very ancient celtic name of Halloween “Samhain”, the possibility to mold the timeframe, and other esoteric elements.

The story turns around former FBI agent Bryan Nolan, who left the US following the personal drama of the disappearance of his little sister Susan.

Once in Perugia, he hears about the murder of a young student and after a series of signs and signals, he realizes the spirit of the young girl is trying to establish contact with him; the spirit seeks for peace and justice, and it is also the key to understand what really happened to Bryan’s sister.

As you can tell from this brief synopsis, our story doesn’t contain the Hollywood-like sparkling and kitsch elements prone to making the protagonist a star or a celebrity. Our movie is difficult, and will be difficult to make because it talks about life, death, and the afterlife.

During the last few months we have received pressure from local and international press about what we really want to make, and so we wanted to be clear: if our movie has ever to be linked to Meredith, it would be in her honor, dedicated to her memory, and it would not use her image.

We said this after noticing the hideous growth in terms of popularity of people who are in jail for murder, and yet became a money machine, and also the attitude of the general audience who are being misled and manipulated into the belief that these people in jail shouldn’t be there.

This shocked us and prompted our more immediate action: we can write and we can make movies, so we will make our contribution to the truth by the means of telling a story and deliver a message to the audience:


We cannot accept that, what happened to Meredith happened - and is happening - to many other girls in the world. We need to remember this. We need to remember Meredith and through her memory, keep this feeling of hope alive, that what happened to her will eventually cease to happen.

We need to disseminate the message as strongly as we can, and perhaps things could change so that Meredith’s drama would not have occurred in vain.

Our hope here is to respectfully share with Meredith’s family and friends an explanation of what’s behind our project, let them know what we are doing before they read it possibly wrongly put in the papers; and encourage their feelings if they wish to guide us.

A good project about a person without deep caring and respect for that person - be she alive or not - would be a failure to begin with. Meredith evokes our deep caring and respect.

[Below, Stefano Torrese and his co-producer Diego Antolini discuss the Italian film industry]

[Below, the interim trailer for Stefano Torrese’s movie Samhain: A Halloween Tale]

[Below, the poster for Stefano Torrese’s movie Samhain: A Halloween Tale]

Posted on 01/26/11 at 10:08 AM by Stefano Torrese. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesV good reportingMovies on case
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell

With the Pepperdine University and Washington University student newspapers consistently mis-reporting Meredith’s case, it is nice to see a Harvard publication getting it seriously right.

Alex Koenig writes a column for the Harvard Political Review. He is not commenting on the evidence of Meredith’s case as reflected for example on TJMK and in Massei. But he takes several deadly cracks at the arguments of the conspiracy theorists, which he doesn’t see reflecting the real world.

In 2008, 16,277 people were murdered in the United States. 1,176 of these murders were committed by women, of which about a third were confirmed to be white.

That means that in one year there were around 400 white female murderers on US soil— the majority of whom were convicted to no public outcry. What America needs to ask itself is: does the fact that Amanda Knox is a white sorority sister exonerate her from the murder she is alleged to have committed on foreign soil?

Knox is currently serving a 26-year sentence in Italian prison, in Perugia, for the murder of her then-roommate Meredith Kercher. Seemingly lost among the outrage towards the Italian justice system, the demands of US government intervention in her defense, and the constant assertions of Knox’s innocence is the possibility that, maybe this once, the trained professionals who investigated, tried, and convicted the 23 year old Knox got it right.

Without getting into the facts of the case, and conceding that people are wrongly convicted on a regular basis both in the United States and abroad, we must consider just how America’s treatment of this case reflects upon our society.

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism. 

1) It is assumed that, as an American – an American woman no less – Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington. Cantwell, whom I generally agree with ideologically, released a statement saying that she “had serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted the trial.” She went on to say that she would seek assistance from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the first problem, I take Knox’s assumed innocence in the public eye to be a representation of national pride. I am as proud to be American as the next guy; I understand all the benefits being American has afforded me and appreciate the sacrifices men and women make each day to ensure that these benefits remain for me and my countrymen.

But assume the superiority of the same countrymen when compared to other citizens of the world I do not. It is as if Knox’s co-citizenship has absolved all her sins in the American court of public opinion. This, by itself, is difficult to grasp but can be forgiven.

What’s harder to forgive is the assumption that Knox has been wronged by a corrupt system because she is American.

Having lived in Italy for a year, I would never accuse the Italian justice system of being exceedingly efficient or flawless. However, I wouldn’t accuse the US justice system of this either.

Anti-Americanism does exist in parts of the world, but the chances of it being present in this trial are low. Are the judges supposed to see the conviction of an innocent American college student as a way to deter American tourists from coming to Italy?

“Putting this girl away for 26 years seems to be an easy way to get rid of those annoying tourists with their stupid hotel rooms, airplane tickets and restaurant bills. Good riddance!”

It’s not as if Knox is accused of murdering an Italian either. Kercher was a Brit. Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, Knox’s alleged accomplices who are both serving similar sentences for the same charges, are both Italian, although Guede emigrated from the Ivory Coast when he was five.

No, I doubt that anti-Americanism was involved in this conviction. It seems, instead, to be nationalism on the side of Knox’s supporters. Amanda couldn’t have possibly been the one at fault, she’s one of us.

And maybe they’re right. I really don’t know. What I do know is that the anger and offense that the American public has taken in response to this trial obscures the real tragedy at hand, the violent death of a young woman.

It’s possible that Knox has wrongly had her future taken from her. It’s a fact that Kercher has. As the appeal process continues and the story gradually slips out of the consciousness of the average American, with the protest left to the truly passionate among us,

I want to remind us all of one thing: Italy’s murder rate is 1/3 that of America. Perhaps, without the actions of one American there’d be one less death in Italy’s tally. I’ll leave that judgment up to the only court that really matters in such a case, the court of law.

One small correction to what Alex Koenig wrote. Italy’s murder rate is actually 1/6th that of the United States. It is a very law-abiding country with a very low crime rate and a very small prison population - less than 1/20th that of the United States.

But Alex is certainly right in his conclusions.Neither the Micheli not Massei Sentencing Reports show ANY sign of extreme nationalism. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Newsweek Report From Italy On Damage Shrill Campaign Is Doing To Knox’s Interests & America’s Image

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for Newsweek’s new report.

Only Newsweek, the ABC News website, the Daily Beast, and Seattle PI among the American media have reporters in Italy telling us how it really is.

A pity. Perhaps the five main American TV networks and the press services and main newspapers like the New York Times should charter an aircraft, and go check out the major distaste that is now being expressed across all the Italian media, and among the Italian public generally to the nasty misinformed Knox campaign.

This campaign is now being waged by EIGHT conspiracy-theory websites and in a gullible mainstream media by sock-puppets like the increasingly hapless Steve Moore and Michael Scadron, whose Facebook friends seem to be all Knox family and other sock-puppets (he forgets to mention that). 

We have already reported one reaction to the ill-informed claims of Steve Moore, and our own posters and other contacts in Italy and our own daily reading of the Italian media suggest that Newsweek here is if anything downplaying the distaste being evoked.

Amanda Knox must surely cringe every time she hears that another vocal supporter in the United States has taken up her cause.

Knox does not ask for this kind of attention. Instead, prison guards and inmates say she bides her time behind bars studying and reading, careful not to say anything that would be held against her during her appeal, scheduled to begin later this fall. It will be heard by a new judge and jury who have not been protected from the firestorm around her case, so anything she says publicly could be construed as criticism against the system she is hoping will free her.

She has a job in the prison commissary, taking orders and delivering goods to prisoners in her wing. She is a “model prisoner,” according to Bernardina di Mario, director of Capanne. “She does nothing to stir things up. She just keeps to herself.”

The same can not be said for her supporters. Even the most banal headlines in the United States claiming miscarriages of justice and maltreatment of Knox are inevitably translated, along with snide comments defending the Italian system that impute to the American press a sense of American supremacy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

“Amanda has become an affair of the state,” wrote La Repubblica months before the verdict. “Italy blames the American conspiracy.”

Newsweek tried checking out what investigations if any were done by Steve Moore (who, as the post below shows, still seems blissfully unaware of the minefield that is the Massei Report) and they came up with this. 

And most recently, retired FBI agent Steve Moore accused the Italians of “manipulating evidence to make Knox look guilty” based on an “independent investigation” he conducted using what he calls “raw materials.” When asked by NEWSWEEK, neither the Italian state forensic department, the coroner who conducted the autopsies on Kercher, nor the homicide squad in Perugia had been contacted by Moore for original reports and documents, calling into question just where Moore’s “raw materials” came from.

And Amanda Knox herself and her lawyers repeatedly undercut, contradict and distance themselves from the campaign.

Various times throughout her yearlong trial in 2009, the prosecutor and members of the jury told NEWSWEEK they were “offended” by American criticism of the case. At the time of her verdict last December, when many Americans were shouting about what they saw as an unfair conviction, Knox herself felt compelled to tell a member of Italian Parliament that she was actually treated fairly, in part to appease the Italians and, according to her lawyers who defended her comments, to protect herself. “I still have faith in the Italian justice system,” she told Walter Verini, a member of Italy’s center-left government. “My rights were respected.”

Despite the heavy criticism from abroad, Knox’s own Italian lawyers have never been part of the frenzy and have repeatedly had to distance themselves from most of the most vocal voices. “There has been a lot of criticism of this case in America, but it is important to remember that no one speaks for Amanda except her lawyers here in Italy,” says her Perugian lawyer, Luciano Ghirga. “The Americans do not represent her here in Perugia, nor does the constant criticism represent her own views.”

So. Over to you, Ted Simon and David Marriott, to try to apply the brakes on this runaway train.

And please insist that EVERYONE including Steve Moore (if we are to actually hear from him again) knows the Massei Report back-to-front before attempting any new spin.

Posted on 09/16/10 at 08:42 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamReporting on the caseV good reportingMichael HeaveySteve MooreBruce Fischer
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini - Herewith A Full English Translation

Posted by ziaK

This is a translation of the YouTube video posted by my fellow poster True North two weeks ago.

Many readers asked for a translation of what Mr Mignini said in that interview, and True North, who has pretty good Italian but is not a professional translator, requested some help from the translation team. The sound of the video is not always crystal clear but this appears to accurately reflect what was said. 

Male interviewer: In the biological evidence, is there any one item which is the one which you consider, especially in terms of the trial, to have had the most value?

Giuliano Mignini: I think that, in terms of the trial, the most important were the knife, the bra hook and also the biological traces in the bathroom. From the point of view of the trial, the knife certainly links the two defendants and the victim. Therefore it was (interrupted).

Andrea Vogt: There was low copy number, and that’s not normal, is it, to use DNA when there’s low copy number?

Giuliano Mignini: However, I hold that those traces were nonetheless indisputable traces. That is, there was not an absolute huge amount, in terms that are perhaps more understandable [ndt: to an Italian speaker, “low copy number” is not necessaryily understandable, because it is an English term]. The trace might be really high, with a high quantity, or it may be very low, but however the trace may be, it was never reasonably explained in any other way. That knife was never touched by the victim. She was never (inaudible: possibly “at Raffaele’s”] during the period that the two young folk, the two defendants, knew each other. It was a very short period: we think the relationship was (inaudible) or a week.

Male interviewer: Certainly. However, (inaudible) limited, either a contamination in the place of the crime or a contamination in the laboratory? This is not meant as a criticism of the work, however it is a danger that we technicians have which we must confront.

Giuliano Mignini: Yes. Well, that point about the knife comes from the specific questions of Professor Finsi himself, and of the Superintendant (Parebiochi?), and it was clearly shown that that knife was collected with absolute… that is, there was no possibility of exposure to contact [with the victim?]. Because it was found in Raffaele’s house and it was take with all precautions. This was shown in (inaudible). I was keen to show that (inaudible) that knife.

Andrea Vogt: Also the hook was very controversial because you found it 46 days after.

Giuliano Mignini: Yes, yes. I know. I understand. This, alas, can happen when there are places that are so full of objects, full of… When one is doing an analysis of this type, it can happen that (inaudible) is moved. However, it remained within that room. And (Andrea Vogt interrupts). And then, if there is contamination, that means that Sollecito’s DNA was somewhere within that room. We’re still there (i.e. at the same conclusion). I think that all the evidence was limited [ndt: to the one place?], and the first findings were of an investigative nature. In particular, that includes the numerous contradictions made by Knox. Which were then repeated during the investigation, during the interrogation in jail, and in my opinion also during the questioning and counter-questioning in court.

Andrea Vogt: I want to talk a bit about the motive.

Giuliano Mignini: As a first impression of the [inaudible: crime?] it was clearly, it appeared clearly to be a crime of a sexual nature. It was extremely clear. A young woman, killed in that way, and almost completely stripped/naked.

Male interviewer: Excuse me, but on the contrary, at times I have heard attributed (inaudible) a different reason, a fight which ended badly, and then instead a transformation of the crime to put forward the idea that it was a sexual murder. Also because, in fact, the position of Rudy, who was however found guilty, also from the beginning changed a bit. There’s his responsibility.

Giuliano Mignini: Also Rudy gave indications which then changed a bit. Rudi too, for example, said that there was an appointment with Meredith. Then in later interrogations he said that Meredith had asked for him to be there, and (Male interviewer interrupts: The reconstruction [by Nabil?]: what could have happened?). Yes, according to me, there was a situation, a progressive situation of disagreement between the two girls. That seems undeniable to me.

Posted on 07/20/10 at 10:56 AM by ziaK. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe prosecutorsCrime hypothesesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionMeredith-case hoaxesThe Dr Mignini hoaxReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (11)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Third Of Three Excerpts In Italian from LA7 Program On Meredith’s Case

Posted by True North

Again, thanks to TJMK poster Cesare Beccaria for the video links. We posted some background last Friday.

This is the interview with Rudy Guede’s defense lawyer Walter Biscotti, and the continuation of the re-enactment of the crime - warning: it is very jarring, with graphical shots of Meredith’s room after the crime, and then three figures running and two later kissing.

Walter Biscotti claims to the LA7 reporter Andrea Vogt that Rudy Guede entered the house with Meredith, they talked for a while, and then they had consensual sex. Rudy later goes to the bathroom.

He hears Amanda’s voice enter the house. He hears an argument over money between Meredith and Amanda. While listening to his iPod Rudy hears a loud scream.

When he enters Meredith’s room, he sees her bleeding and tries to stench the flow of her blood with a towel. Rudy hears two people outside the house running away, and he also runs away.

Mr Biscotti cannot explain the damning evidence of Rudy found on the pillow under Meredith’s body.


Inserted by Peter: We have been told that Biscotti was trying to claim sexual intimacy not sex. Apparently there is some difference. Please read the following paras by True North in that context. Judge Micheli didnt believe ANY claim of intimacy at Guede’s trial, so Biscotti is contradicting the Micheli sentencing report without making that clear. There is ZERO proof of intimacy, and the claim is ugly and highly disrespectful to Meredith and her family. Biscotti should withdraw it.


The sex claim is old, totally improbable, not born out by any facts in evidence, or by the timeline, Meredith’s moral disposition, or her known plans for the second half of that evening. These were to complete an assignment, and then, since she had been up late the night before (Halloween) to get plenty of sleep.

Meredith never - NEVER - had casual sex and she already had a boyfriend (then traveling) who lived in the apartment down below. Even Walter Biscotti may conceivably be repulsed by this line of defense, but he seems to have no other way of placing Guede legitimately in the house, or explaining the signs of Guede having been involved in a sexual attack on Meredith.

Many have pointed out that it seems a severe weakness of the rather soft-line Italian system that Rudy Guede’s defense can continue to make such offensive claims about a victim, make no confession, offer no full apology, and still emerge with a sentence of only 16 years. Meredith’s family and friends are very ill-served by this, and it fuels a dishonest line by Knox’s supporters. 

Mr Biscotti does strongly finger Amanda Knox by name and one other person who everyone watching would take to be Raffaele Sollecito. The lone-wolf theory, also totally improbable, is not even mentioned here. Nor are the claims by convicted baby-killer Mario Alessi that Guede said he had two other accomplices.

There is of course no huge outcry among Italians over the “wrongful imprisonment” of their fellow Italian Raffaele Sollecito. People in Italy followed the trial in far more depth than they could in the UK or US, and they are not susceptible to any blown smoke, almost certainly including the nasty claims Biscotti makes.

Posted on 07/09/10 at 08:50 AM by True North. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe defensesReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contexts
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Second Of Three Excerpts In Italian from LA7 Program On Meredith’s Case

Posted by True North

Thanks to TJMK poster Cesare Beccaria for the video links. We posted some background last Friday.

This is the interview with Knox defense lawyer Luciano Ghirga at his law offices in Perugia, plus a fleeting but telling reenactment.

When the LA7 reporter Andrea Vogt asks Mr Ghirga to explain Amanda’s version of events, he emphatically responds that throughout the trial Amanda has been painted as a liar.

He says that Amanda stayed and never left Sollecito’s house between 5:00 pm and 10:00 am the next morning. He disputes the eye witnesses who claimed to have seen Amanda at the convenience store, and at the piazza above the house with Sollecito around 11:00 pm.

When Ms Vogt asks Mr Ghirga what he thinks about the quality of the evidence, he raises the fact that the bra clasp wasn’t retrieved until 46 days later. He believes the bra clasp evidence was contaminated because it had moved from its original location.

Andrea Vogt says to Mr Ghirga: “You always argued that there was only one perpetrator”. He responds that the trial forensics experts never ruled out the possibility that all of the body wounds, including those on Meredith’s neck, mouth and knees, could have been committed by one person.


Note that in this interview Mr Ghirga never states that Sollecito never left his house that night. He only mentions that Amanda never left that house. In line with the observations of our poster Cesare Beccaria that the defenses rarely give the other defenses any breaks, and often make things more difficult for them.

Both the Micheli sentencing report for RG and the Massei sentencing report for AK and RS conclude that the wounds on Meredith with two knives and the sexual assault HAD to have been done by more than one person, and that dozens of evidence points confirm this.

And Mr Ghirga’s arguments at trial that Knox never left Sollecito’s house were very weak - and undermined by Knox herself and by Sollecito. Even the few straws he grasps at seem to be floating out of reach.

Posted on 07/08/10 at 10:15 AM by True North. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe defensesReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contexts
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

First Of Three Excerpts In Italian from LA7 Program On Meredith’s Case

Posted by True North

Thanks to TJMK poster Cesare Beccaria for the video links. We posted some background last Friday.

The male reporter asks Prosecutor Mignini what was the most damning evidence in this case? Mignini replies: the knife, the bra clasp, and the mixed blood traces in the bathroom.

Mignini stands firm when answering Andrea Vogt’s repeated question of what about “the low copy numbers?” He asserts that it was indisputably Meredith’s DNA on the knife. There was never any transfer or contamination of DNA on the knife because Meredith never touched it nor had she ever been to Sollecito’s house.

While admitting that the bra clasp had not been retrieved until 46 days later, there was never any transfer or contamination of DNA on the clasp. He stresses that the bra clasp never left Meredith’s room and yet still had plenty of Sollecito’s DNA on it.


Added: As suggested in Comments below, there seems very good reason to translate all of Mr Mignini’s remarks, and we will be posting a full transcript of this video one day this week.

Posted on 07/06/10 at 09:31 AM by True North. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contexts
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (15)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Commentary by The Most Widely-Read English-Language Website In Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell

The Knox campaign seems to have divided out into three pieces, none of them seemingly at all effective.

The ludicrously shrill David Marriott campaign, the ludicrously shrill Anne Bremner/FOA campaign, and the adolescent internet rantings of the Knox groupies. All three seem to be painting themselves into a corner.

Meanwhile, Amanda Knox’s two lawyers in Italy seem to be going their own sweet way, quite impervious to the above, and it is clear that the Massei sentencing report has given them very much food for thought.

Italian-language reports as they have mostly done for two-plus years vary between strict neutrality and the occasional caustic comment on Knox or Sollecito.

Italy’s biggest English-language internet outlet, read by tens of thousands of residents and visitors who don’t speak very much Italian. has also adopted the same cool objective tone.

This is today’s thoughtful, well written commentary by Rome Journal contributor Rebecca. 

We had closely followed the first trial, in which Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of murdering her British flat mate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia.

This was one of the most dramatic and internationally observed Italian trials of this decade, and Italy as the scene of crime and trial had come under close scrutiny, and had been at the centre of a bizarre media frenzy covering the case.

Now, Amanda Knox is back in court. She faces slander charges against the police, who she claims hit her during the questioning a few days after the killing in November 2007. Italian police strongly denied that Knox was subjected to any physical abuse, which is supported by an external inquiry.

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

Knox’s defense lawyers filed a motion to prevent the presiding judge, Claudia Matteini, from hearing Knox’s slander case because of her involvement in the preliminary hearings into the murder. A hearing today will take the final decision about whether Matteini is the appropriate judge to hear this case. The trial is likely to start on October 1….

What is particularly unnerving about this case is the sense that much of the testimony is contradictory: All three convicted of the murder deny their involvement, but cannot explain their inconsistent testimonies, and keep changing their account of what happened on the night of the murder.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, a journalist who has followed the case from the start and has always provided excellent coverage and analysis, asks ten questions that Amanda Knox has never answered, even though they could set her free. That she never addressed them, indicates that her involvement in the murder may have been substantial.

Whether the lies aim to conceal that the convicted did partake in the murder – which frankly didn’t work – or whether they intend to cover up something else, remains a mystery. Any hints regarding the truth in this matter, even if they come from a separate trial, will be of high interest.

What are your thoughts on the trial? Why do you think Amanda Knox keeps lying? If she is truly innocent, why not tell the truth?

Posted on 06/17/10 at 03:35 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersV good reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Questions For Knox And Sollecito: Ten From Daily Beast As Knox Calunnia #2 Trial Starts

Posted by Peter Quennell

This Daily Beast report indicates that the cancelled jailhouse TV interview with Amanda Knox was a lot more firmed-up than Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, seems to have claimed.

And it outlines the first phase of Knox’s Calunnia #2 trial which is based on charges brought by the interrogating police, all of whom testified at her trial that she was treated well during her interrogations as a witness and suspect. .

Click the image or link above above for the fine reporter Barbie Nadeau’s full article on some issues Knox has never been able to account for, including Knox’s callous skipping of Meredith’s memorial service.

The ten questions are all very tough, and each would also have been asked by the jury. Here they are:

It’s back to court for Amanda Knox, the 22-year-old Seattle native currently serving 26 years in prison in Italy for sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

This week, Knox is expected to attend a preliminary hearing on slander charges lodged against her for accusing Perugia police of abuse. During her testimony at her murder trial last June, she accused the cops of slapping her on the back of the head during an interrogation just days after Kercher’s body was discovered in November 2007.

The police deny hitting her, and Knox’s own lawyers have never filed charges for the alleged abuse. If she is convicted of slander, a judge could add six years to her sentence….

Knox’s resurgence in the headlines was to coincide with a joint jailhouse interview she had granted to ABC News and the Italian broadcaster Mediaset’s Matrix program. But the bureau of prisons denied the interview in the final hour, effectively silencing Knox indefinitely.

A high-profile jailhouse interview with Knox is considered the Holy Grail by journalists covering the case, and the American and Italian networks have been vying for a chance to ask Knox a few questions on camera. Now it is unlikely anyone will get an interview before Knox’s appeal hearings this fall.

But if we did, there are a few questions we’d want her to put to rest.

1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of November 1, 2007 and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of November 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be?

2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it?

3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?

4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on November 5? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?

5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace?

6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was miniscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?

7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to November 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?

8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstances?

9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. What is your real view?

10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your trial? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on December 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher?” Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you?

Our posting soon of the judges’ sentencing report will open up dozens of new questions for Knox. Such as: “How did you track Meredith’s blood into your own room and leave three traces revealed by luminol?”

Posted on 05/30/10 at 05:55 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Questions for AK & RSThe former defendantsAmanda KnoxFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamLies in Knox bookReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (11)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

From The Book Darkness Descending: The Insights On Rudy Guede

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above and just below: Abidjan, the very attractive West African city where Rudy Guede was born and where he lived until he was five.

Darkness Descending includes this well-researched and revealing portrait below of Rudy Guede and the two traumatic experiences that really threw him: his moving in with the Caporali family, and the collapse of the restaurant in northern Italy which briefly employed him.

No claims here about Rudy Guede being a drifter or drug-dealer or dangerous knife-wielder or petty criminal.

None of those things are confirmed by the record or the Micheli report, and few or none in Perugia or Italy generally seem to believe Rudy Guede was the sole perpetrator or even the main perpetrator of Meredith’s death. 

(Above: the downtown of Abidjan, the economic and former political capital of the Ivory Coast)

From Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson (Pocket Books) pages 292 to 296

Unlike Amanda and Raffaele, the background of Rudy Hermann Guede seemed to inspire a degree of sympathy in readers and viewers.

At least once the undercurrents of reactionary racism had run its course and readers were able to identify with Guede the individual.

Guede had been dragged up a virtual orphan. He seemed to be luckless, directionless, prone to following others into trouble, his carers said. He’d never had a paternal figure to look up to or guide him.

That, and the fact that once he’d been caught he seemed to be at least trying to tell the truth about his involvement with Meredith, gave him a certain credibility.

He was often given a fair hearing in the papers for not trying to evade guilt by changing his story. Editors and readers seemed to appreciate that he had not relied on high-powered family connections to duck out of one of the most tragic cases that had ever come before them.

(From Piazza Italia at the south end of the walled city - Rudy Guede first lived off there to the south-east)

Guede came to Italy in 1992, when he was five years old. His father Roger had emigrated from the Ivory Coast a few years before at a time when the Italian economy needed new manpower to fuel the country’s post-industrial boom…

Roger Guede had trained as a teacher in the former capital city of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, where his wife still lived with little Rudy, but in Italy he found work as a bricklayer.

Life was hard because of exploitation, denial of workers’ basic rights and rampant illegal labour.

After five years he was granted a regular resident’s permit and returned to Abidjan to his wife, to see if he could take the young Rudy back to Italy with him. She agreed that in Italy he would have a chance of a better life.

Roger and Rudy found a flat in the shabby low-lying suburb of Perugia called Ponte San Giovanni. The neighbourhood was not at the top of the hill, with its wide vistas, ancient buildings and air of academia.

Roger’s life had no room for aspiration or fanciful gap-year adventures. He settled for a seedy new-build on the valley floor near the railway station. An unhealthy stream meandered through the projects like a sewer.

Still, it was better than the shanty town where Rudy’s mother was eking out a bare existence.

[Shots here and just below of Ponte San Giovanni, the town just to the east where Guede first lived]

New to immigration, Italy’s attitude to race relations has often been schizophrenic. Far-right extremists have been known to whip up dissension. But in Perugia, a small community like many that made up the backbone of Italian society, Roger and his son were welcomed.

His presence stimulated the lively cutiosity of Italians, not their hostility. The kindness of his neighbours and the willingness of social services to offer him childcare were proof of that, and he was free to hit the road to find building-site work.

During these absences Rudy was fostered by local families. One of his first full-time carers was a Mrs Mancini, who had been his maths teacher at school. She never lost interest in him and was to be like a second mother.

Rudy also struck up a lifelong friendship with her son Gabriele and another schoolmate, Giacomo Benedetti. The fabric of a closeknit Italian working-class community felt like a protective cloak and Rudy thrived.

His teachers and foster families all say that he was a quiet child, well behaved and responsible. He had moments of daydreaming stupidity, but no more than other kids.

He was good at basketball - tall, athletic and serious. The local professional basketball team was sponsored by one of Italy’s most successful companies, Liomatic, who manufactured coffee dispensers - a link that would later change the course of his life.

One day, Rudy’s dad went home to Abidjan to renew his passport, but civil war broke out when he was in the country and instead of spending two weeks away from his son he was trapped for six months, as strife raged in the Ivory Coast.

Back in Italy, the social services stepped in with a view to formalizing Rudy’s foster status and finding a long-term home for him.

Rudy was unhappy but he coped with the loneliness and uncertainty with admirable courage. He didn’t complain. And he was soon rewarded. Astonishingly, he was catapulted into the heart of one of Italy’s richest families.

[Another shot of Ponte San Giovanni, where Guede in his early days apparently lived happily]

His change of fortune was like something out of the plot of the musical Annie. Rudy had met one of the Caporali sons at basketball. Now the family wanted to officially take him in as one of their own. He never lived with Roger again.

The change wasn’t smooth. Rudy found it difficult to adapt. When he moved out of Ponte San Giovanni, he lost touch with many of his old friends, which he found particularly hard.

They had been the bedrock in what had so far been a rather unstable family life. He soon missed the informality, the lack of pressure to succeed and the maternal bonds that Italian families are famous for.

It wasn’t long before his new father figure, Paolo Caporali, was calling Rudy ‘an inveterate liar’. He skipped school and spent his time in front of the television or on PlayStation. Caporali’s wife and kids were much kinder in their view:

Rudy was introverted and shy. He lied to protect himself, but not maliciously to hurt others or gain personal advantage.

The move from a poor area to the home of the super-rich Caporali family had confused Rudy and, to some degree, had embarrassed him.

His basketball trainer Roberto Segolini said Rudy was friends with everyone and never missed a training session. Where he could prove his worth and show success to his new high-status family, Rudy thrived.

With such a chequered school career, Rudy would find it hard to find a job that suited him once he left school. But at the age of nineteen he went to stay with an aunt in Lecco and landed a job as a waiter in Pavia.

[Shot of Lecco north of Milan where at age 19 Rudy Guede moved to live with an aunt]

Finally, he had found his way. He was ecstatic. He was now going to prove that he could knuckle down and stand on his own two feet. He thought about learning the trade and one day opening a restaurant.

But as soon as he settled in, the rug was pulled from under him - his employer was arrested and the business folded.

To someone with a fragile view of himself, this chance setback took on a great and doom-laden significance. Rudy blamed himself and worried about how he would explain his bad luck to the Caporalis.

[Shot of Pavia south of Milan where Rudy Guede worked as a waiter till the restaurant collapsed]

Confidence shattered, he fled back to Perugia in shame. It was July 2007 and the beginning of the long summer that would end in tragedy.

The Caporalis were desperate to bolster his self-esteem. In August they found him a gardener’s job at a restaurant they owned out of town.

He stayed with the Mancinis, where the father and mother made sure he got up early to catch the bus. But the rot had set in; he wanted to live where the excitement was.

He was distracted by the scallywag antics of the lads in Perugia, who never seemed to work but always had money, and by the beautiful students from allover the world who were descending on the University to find digs and party.

Amanda and Meredith would be among them. Once he failed to go to work for a whole week, claiming he had flu and snivelling unconvincingly over the phone. He was sacked.

He lived off his savings until 2 November, when the murder and his doomed getaway would end any hopes he had of turning his life around.

[Shot of Mainz on the Rhine between Frankfurt and Bonn where Rudy Guede was captured]

Posted on 05/04/10 at 02:13 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (17)

Monday, May 03, 2010

From The Book Darkness Descending: The Insights On Knox And Sollecito

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is Hamburg above. And that is Berlin and its parliament (the Bundestag) below. 

Amanda Knox speaks German and she spent several months in these two cities, staying for some weeks in in Hamburg with her relatives, and several days in Berlin, before moving to Perugia to start her study period there.

Darkness Descending is the book on Meredith’s case by two British writers from which we excerpted on Meredith a few days ago.

As far as we know the writers did not visit Seattle, and their focus is more generally on Italy and to some extent the UK. But they did offer this brief take on Amanda Knox, and also one on Raffaele Sollecito.


From Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson (Pocket Books) pages 291 and 292

Meredith had enjoyed making the pop video with her University of Leeds friends, but Amanda’s summer job, before travelling around Europe and going to Perugia, had not been so successful.

A politically well-connected uncle in Hamburg had got her an internship to die for - a job working for a German MP at the Bundestag. Kindly Uncle Uwe also set Amanda up with a flat on the .outskirts of Berlin.

Astonishingly, two days later, his seemingly ungrateful niece walked out on the job without telling anyone, moaning that she had nothing to do and she wasn’t sure if she was getting paid. Again, money was a big feature in her thoughts.

She’d spent most of the time reading Harry Potter and showed no curiosity about how the parliament or the high-powered people in there worked. She ignored conversations about its history and architecture.

After walking out, she spent her time drinking wine in the local bars and reading more Harry Potter.

Two days later she left Berlin for Hamburg, where her uncle was waiting for her. He was furious - she had let him down.

It seems Amanda craved excitement on her terms, usually based on getting drunk and goofing around.

Her friends said she simply feared boredom like any young girl. She showed a healthy streak of youthful carelessness, they said, no worse or better than anyone else. A video posted on YouTube showed her drunkenly giggling in a friend’s kitchen after downing shots.

On campus, back in the US, Amanda had been fined for being drunk and disorderly at a party held in a fellow student’s house. During the incident she had also insulted the police.

However, her defenders gave another version, portraying a magnanimous Amanda. They said that in fact she was courageously fronting up for her underage friends, who were in no state to talk to the police; she was the only one sober enough to handle the situation.

A big plus in her character assessment, they said, possibly displaying a sense of chivalry that would later get her into deeper trouble in Perugia.

Despite her college party lifestyle, there was no denying that Amanda was clever and that she could compartmentalize her life.

She made the Dean’s List, an elite commendation of the University of Washington reserved for the institution’s brightest students, and an honour that would ultimately qualify her for a prestigious and sought-after place on the study-abroad exchange programme.

If Amanda wanted something, she would go all out to get it, no messing around.

Raffaele Sollecito’s later years were quite different: he seemed to laze around and evade responsibility.

He posted pictures of himself on the internet wrapped in blood-covered bandages, brandishing a meat cleaver, and wrote a weird story to go with the images. In a blog he expressed satisfaction at once being lodged in the same hostel as the infamous ‘Monster of Foligno’, a murderer who slaughtered two youths in the 1990s.

And yet his new-found fascination with gory horror and violent comics would have surprised the friends he left behind at Licea Scientifico Einstein secondary school at Molfetta.

They said Raffaele suffered from excessive softness - his kickboxing instructor recalled that he even hesitated when kicking out, for fear of hurting the hardened expert.


A few interesting insights there, though we could use more on Sollecito.  For most of it, this is a pretty good book, the weak part being the closing analysis of the evidence. Two small corrections.

  • The house where the notorious rock-throwing party took place was where Knox herself was living at the time. See here.

  • Knox was not on an official University of Washington study-abroad program, as the university has rather anxiously tried to make plain. See here.

If Knox had indeed been on a proper study-abroad program - something many caring parents actually insist upon - her behavior might have been more restrained. She may not have moved in with Sollecito for one thing.

She may not have hit the drugs so hard. And she would not have run so desperately short of money, just when Patrick was apparently about to hire Meredith to replace her. No monthly checks were arriving from Seattle. 

Maybe the second correction is not such a small one.

In fact, it is a pity that no writers have really explored all of this - there is, if anything, a surfeit of motives in this case, and the writers might be able to narrow them down.

Although he went to highschool in Molfetta (bottom shot here) and the book is correct on that, Raffaele Sollecito actually comes from Giovinazzo which is ten minutes drive south along the coast.

Both are north of Bari, where his father practices medicine.   

Posted on 05/03/10 at 05:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPublic evidenceThe timelinesCrime hypothesesThe psychologyReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Italian Media Reporting Impartially On Prosecution Appeal Filed For Increased Sentences

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Prosecutor Manuela Comodi.]

In light of the judges’ sentencing report (due soon here and on PMF in English) the prosecution have filed an appeal that Knox’s and Sollecito’s sentences be revised upward to life.

Life sentences were their original request to the court last November, and the Italian media in November and early December largely anticipated at least 30 years. The 26 years for Knox and 25 for Sollecito came to many as a surprise.

First legal advice from the Italian lawyers on our team is that at minimum this could firm up the existing sentences, and at maximum Knox and Sollecito actually could be looking at life behind bars - such upward revisions do happen. 

Remember that the Italian public are way better informed on the cruel depravity of the crime than the British or American publics.

And that Knox’s cold smug antics on the stand, during which she spoke flippantly and callously of Meredith’s passing, seemed to leave few in Italy feeling any real sympathy.

Grounds for the appeal are twofold: (1) That the judges’ arguments for the granting of extenuating circumstances was a stretch (such as the conclusion that the duvet placed over Meredith was a sign of remorse), and (2) That the judges’ dismissing of aggravating circumstances was in effect a shortfall (such as the possibility that Meredith could have been saved if they had not removed her phones, locked the door, and walked off).

The posters here and on PMF may be the largest group in the English-speaking world so far to have actually read the judges’ sentencing report.

Typically we are finding the description of the evidence to be extremely detailed and quite remorseless. There is very, very little room for argument about it, and the defense teams in the appeals will have an even tougher time laying a paw on it than they did in the course of the trial.  We are highly impressed by this - this case NEEDED this to put an end to the endless myth-mongering, and to give Meredith’s family and friends hope of some respite.

But the motives assumed in the sentencing report, the judges’ timeline (which differs from both Micheli’s and Mignini’s), and the instigating role given to Rudy Guede, were interpretations the sentencing judges made which the appeals judges may not buy into.

The defense teams will not be resting any easier in light of this. The pressures may be mounting for the lawyers and defendants to finally split three ways - we will have a major post next week on their three-way herding of one another over the past two-plus years.

And perhaps enough pressure on each of the defendants to show real remorse and finally tell their version of all. 

Posted on 04/16/10 at 02:57 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009V good reportingHellmann appeal
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (30)

Friday, April 02, 2010

More From The Daily Beast Book Angel Face: Why Most Of The Media Got It So Wrong

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the full excerpt from Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

This is surely one of the worst cases of misreporting and malicious bias in all of media history. It’d be very nice (though don’t hold your breath!) if journalism schools and media owners examined the firestorm to stop it ever happening again.

Consider just the US hall of shame.

And please remember: this is the SAME media that turned a blind eye to the Micheli sentencing report on Guede, and appears to be trying hard to do the same (not one of them is translating it) to the Massei sentencing report on Knox and Sollecito.

Here below are a few sample passages - ommited are must-read tales about Amanda Knox’s writings, about money-grubbing by Knox supporters, about a Knox PR effort that really couldn’t shoot straight, and about lawyer and media star Joe Tacopino’s hapless exit from the case.

In an excerpt from her new Daily Beast e-book about Amanda Knox, Angel Face, Barbie Latza Nadeau shows how American reporters fell head over heels for the convicted murderer.

From the moment they were arrested, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were a circulation bonanza for the Italian media and a front-page staple of the British tabloids. The Italian press funneled leaks from the lawyers and prosecutors to embellish the crime story and quickly dubbed Knox “Angel Face,” fostering a cult of morbid fascination with this most unlikely killer. The tabloids in the United Kingdom, eager to defend the honor of a British victim, mined the saucy details Amanda had inadvertently provided on the Internet, beginning with her MySpace screen name: “Foxy Knoxy.”

A picture was forming of Amanda as a vixen with dark impulses, and her family struggled to control the firestorm. They insisted that “Foxy Knoxy” was a nickname Amanda earned for her junior soccer moves, not her sexual magnetism. Time and again, they denied that she ever used the moniker as an adult, despite the fact that it was her MySpace ID. (Among the thirty-nine social networking friends on her stepfather Chris Mellas’s MySpace page was “Foxy Knoxy,” which linked to Amanda’s page.) The image wars proceeded with thrusts and parries:..

Coverage of the crime began to diverge on the two sides of the Atlantic. From the vantage point of Perugia, it seemed as though the Knox family’s American supporters were simply choosing to ignore the facts that were coming to light in Italy….

The American press hung back, at first, objective and somewhat disbelieving that such a wholesome-seeming girl could have any connection to such a sordid foreign crime, and then, as the family stepped up its defense, increasingly divided between two camps that would become simply the innocentisti—those who believed she was blameless—and the colpevolisti, those who did not. In Perugia, these labels governed access…

Of the handful of American journalists in Perugia in late 2007 and early 2008, none got access to the Knox family without certain guarantees about positive coverage. Within months, the family decided to speak on the record primarily to the American TV networks, often in exchange for airfare and hotel bills. Most of the print press was shut out. And the TV producers learned to be very cautious about being seen with people like me, lest the Knox family should cut them off.

But as interest in the case grew, an odd assortment of American talking heads attached their reputations to Amanda’s innocence. An aggressive support group called Friends of Amanda formed in Seattle, headed by Anne Bremner, a media-savvy criminal lawyer who had cut her teeth as a tough prosecutor in Seattle’s King County Court…

Very quickly, [PR manager David] Marriott lost control of the situation. As he spoon-fed the Knox-approved message to American outlets that couldn’t afford to send correspondents to Italy, those of us on the ground in Perugia began passing his contradictory e-mails around as entertainment during the long days in the court.

[We reporters in Rome] began what would be a two-year battle against the Seattle message machine, incurring personal attacks and outright threats.


We rather like the Daily Beast book, for its splash of cold water on the media, and for its highly accurate accounting of the court proceedings and of the voluminous evidence the judges also describe in their report.

We also believe that although Meredith’s family did not participate, Barbie Nadeau has strong compassion for them, and a sense of real loss over Meredith.   

Posted on 04/02/10 at 03:16 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesFamily/defense hoaxersReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (13)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Three Communities Of Perugia And Why Some Students Tend To Run Wild

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Perugia’s population these days is just short of 200,000 and of those about 20,000 are either visiting foreigners or foreign-born long-term residents.

Perugia’s population is growing at twice the Italian national average, and higher education and research is by far its largest industry. The University of Perugia is very old and it is the largest of a number of universities, colleges and institutes.

The numbers of people in town on any given day, week or month fluctuate far more than in most Italian cities. During the public holidays and university vacations, the old city can be extremely quiet - most of our Perugia shots here were taken in the quiet phases when almost nobody was around.

But when the colleges are all in session, and when there is a football match (Perugia has a very popular team), and when there is one of the frequent annual festivals (chocolate, jazz, and so on)  Perugia can be very hard to drive, park, or even walk in the main piazzas.

The three communities referred to here are (1) the long-term residents who, although far from outnumbered, seem to feel increasingly hard-pressed; (2) the large body of serious students, who work hard at their education to the excellent standards the Perugia institutions maintain, and (3) a smaller but less restrained element which tends to get into drugs and party loudly, and on football and festival days make the town seem to some threatening and out of control.

Incidents in Italy involving American students surface periodically in the news. The most notorious cases in the past couple of years were not in Perugia but in Florence, a couple of hours drive directly north. We don’t believe there is any blanket anti-Americanism in Italy but cases like this and also this do tend to get people ticked.

We posted nearly a year ago on a police clamp-down on the sale of drugs in Perugia. This drive seemed to have much accelerated after Meredith’s murder. A clear majority of those involved with illegal drugs - both in the selling and the using of the drugs - are said to be non-Italian.

This is an excerpt from Barbie Nadeau’s new book which shares her insights on this sometimes turbulent town.

It is 2 a.m. on a sticky September night, and Perugia is a cauldron of illicit activity. A thick fog of marijuana hangs over the Piazza IV Novembre. Empty bottles and plastic cups litter the cobbled square. The periphery is lined with North African drug dealers, selling their wares like the fruit vendors who occupy this spot in daytime hours. A group of pretty young British students giggle, easy prey to the Italian guys pouring their drinks. The American girls are more aggressive, eager to nab an Italian lover. Down an alley, a young man has lifted the skirt of his conquest and is having clumsy sex with her under a streetlamp while her drink spills out of the plastic cup in her hand. Dozens of students are passed out on the steps of the church. There is not a cop in sight.

This is the scene that greets the study-abroad crowd when they enroll at Perugia’s universities for foreigners. It comes as a shock to some and an irresistible circus to others, and it was the backdrop for tragedy in the case of two young women, Amanda Marie Knox, then 20, and Meredith Susana Cara Kercher, 22, who arrived in the fall of 2007 and enthusiastically joined the party. Less than two months later, Meredith was dead, and Amanda was in prison, accused of her murder.

These young women were not exactly innocents abroad. They had both done their share of college partying before they arrived in Italy. But that was hardly preparation for the nonstop bacchanalia that has made Perugia infamous on the international student circuit. Tina Rocchio is the Italy coordinator of Pennsylvania’s Arcadia University, which facilitates many study-abroad trips. “When they want to go to Perugia, my first question is always, ‘How much self-discipline do they have?’ before I can recommend it,” she says. “Perugia is not for the weak. The students who go there are of two veins—either they party or they study, and Perugia usually means a party.”

In the 1920s, Benito Mussolini established universities for foreigners in Perugia and nearby Siena, aiming to spread Italy’s “superior culture” around the world by recruiting foreigners to study cheaply in these lovely, walled cities. The Siena school remains relatively small. But the school in Perugia, in tandem with the city’s Università degli Studi, which also caters to foreigners but has a larger contingent of Italians, spawned dozens of smaller satellite campuses. There are so many that the town’s student population is now roughly 40,000, around a quarter of the city’s total population of 163,000. Perugia is popular among foreign students looking for something cheaper and cozier than Paris, Barcelona, or Florence, these last three cities being the top choices for well-heeled Americans. The academic offerings are wide-ranging, and the professors have a reputation for being forgiving. Sometimes, the college credits transfer back home as a simple pass-fail mark, when they should actually be given a grade-point score. All this attracts an eclectic mix of young people from around the globe. Most of the Italian kids come from wealthy families; in Italy, university students usually live at home, and it is a rare privilege to go away to school. The foreign students—the universities are accredited in Asia, Europe, and North America—are more likely to be scraping by on scholarships and second jobs. With very few dorm rooms available, the students usually live in the historic center in flophouses and apartments that have been partitioned into tiny rooms to accommodate multiple renters. The town is full of discos, clubs, and cheap restaurants that cater to a student clientele.

No surprise, Perugia is also a drug dealer’s paradise; the mostly North African merchants do a lively trade in everything from genetically modified hashish to cocaine and acid. It is very easy to get high in Perugia, and the police generally turn a blind eye. Perugia has a very low crime rate compared with the rest of Italy. Despite its reputation, drug arrests are rare, and the police are routinely lenient with the student population. The narrow, cobbled streets, some of which are built in steps, discourage car use, so the students stagger around the city center on foot, and the drunk driving offenses that usually dominate college-town crime dockets are not a problem. Murders are extremely rare—with one notable exception. The year before Meredith was killed, another young woman, Sonia Marra, who was studying medicine at the Università degli Studi, disappeared without a trace. The body has never been found, and it was only recently that her former boyfriend was arrested in connection with her murder—amid suspicions that the investigation into her death was neglected during the two-year circus following Meredith’s murder.

Perugia was home to the famous artist Pietro Vannucci, who went on to teach Renaissance great Raphael. It is also famous for the Perugina chocolate factory, now owned by Nestlé. But without the universities, Perugia would be just another postcard-perfect Umbrian hill town competing for the tourist dollar with Siena, Assisi, and St. Gimagnano. The local community looks askance at the wild student culture, but also knows better than to interfere much with the town’s economic mainstay. As one Perugian prosecutor told a reporter, with long-suffering tolerance, “This kind of intoxicating freedom gets into these kids so far away from home, this total lack of control, this hunger for experience rules these kids.” The universities and administrators of study-abroad programs contribute immensely to Perugia, and they expect the local community to be forgiving. They insist, too, that the party scene it is no worse here than any other college town.

Perhaps if someone had done their due diligence on the Perugia scene, Amanda Knox would not be where she is now. 

And of course Meredith would still be alive.

Posted on 03/25/10 at 01:50 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsPerugia context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (0)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tina Brown Of The Daily Beast Extols Barbie Nadeau’s Book On Knox’s Descent Into Hell

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our previous post on Tina Brown of New York’s Daily Beast who is publishing and championing Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

Tina Brown is certainly sounding more up to speed on the case than a ludicrously misinformed Oprah Winfrey and likely to be a much-needed balancing voice. Excerpts from her new piece, starting with a kind gesture to Meredith’s family.

“It’s such a shock to send your child to school and for them to not come back.”

That was the brokenhearted testimony of the mother of Meredith Kercher, the 22-year-old British student killed in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007, at the trial of her daughter’s alleged killers two years later. “We will never, never get over it.”

As the mother of a 19-year-old myself, I shuddered at her words.

Hers is the nightmare that haunts every parent who sends a son or daughter off to one of the “gap year” or study-abroad programs that have become a rite of passage for educated Western youth. But the rapid growth of such programs can be credited, in part, to parents’ woeful—or is it willful?—ignorance about what can happen when students suddenly find themselves in a foreign land, free from parental or college oversight, and surrounded by a new set of peers, all of them eager to experiment….

Only with Meredith’s horrific death did it become clear that she and her roommate had been mixing with a crowd that was headed not just for trouble, but, in Amanda’s case, a descent into evil….

[Barbie Nadeau’s]  objective dispatches also earned her the enmity of ferocious pro-Knox bloggers, who hurled insults and threats, hoping to discredit her professionally. Instead, her reputation has been enhanced by her diligent pursuit of a story that most of the U.S. media, including The New York Times, badly misread….

Mining diaries, social-networking sites, exclusive interviews, and telling moments in the courtroom, Nadeau paints the first full portrait of a quirky young woman who is neither the “she-devil” presented to an Italian jury nor the blameless ingénue her parents believe her to be. What Nadeau shows is that Amanda Knox is, in fact, a 21st-century all-American girl—a serious student with plans and passions—but is also a thrill-seeking young woman who loves sex and enjoys drugs and who, in the wrong environment with the wrong people, develops a dark side that takes her over and tips her into the abyss.

In short, every parent’s worst fear…

We strongly endorse Tina’s uncomplimentary crack at the New York Times. The Times did nothing to advance the truth here. Instead it hosted the xenophobic blogging of Knox slobberer Timothy Egan.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sentencing Report: Barbie Nadeau Quotes The Motive, Physical Evidence, And Alibis

Posted by Peter Quennell

Please click above for Barbie Nadeau’s full report on the Daily Beast website. Key excerpts.

1) The motive

“One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefying substances.”

But they disagreed on the motive. The prosecution lawyers began their case in January, 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. By closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred. The jury rejected both theories, and the reasoning document declares that “the killing was carried out with no planning, no animosity and no revenge against the victim.

”The two young lovers, interested in each other and in the intellectual and cultural world around them, would not have made a conscious decision to kill Kercher. Instead, the judge wrote, they killed spontaneously under the influence of drugs. “One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefacente—stupefying substances—that Amanda verified in her testimony.”

As the jury saw it, Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast native who was convicted for his role in Kercher’s murder after a fast-track trial in 2008, came to the house the two girls shared in order to get high. Guede used the toilet, then became aroused when he saw Knox and Sollecito making out. He went to Kercher’s room and made sexual advances toward her. The reasoning refers to evidence presented at Knox’s trial that Guede was the type of guy that “bothered women” when he was under the influence.

Then, according to the reasoning, Kercher cried out for help, but instead of helping her, Knox and Sollecito, their judgment impaired, decided instead to help Guede. The killing was based on “sexual-erotic violence” but not with Knox as the mastermind. The jury felt that it was Guede who led that attack, and the other two, too high to know better, joined in.

2) The physical and forensic evidence

The judge’s reasoning also underscores what the jury believed to be the most important elements of the prosecution’s forensic case. They believed that a kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and a trace of Kercher’s on the blade was the weapon that made the large fatal wound in Kercher’s neck. They also referred to Sollecito’s “knife habits,” surmising that, as an admitted collector of blades, he likely used his own knife to make the second wound. The jury agreed that Sollecito and Knox conspired to stage a break-in in another bedroom to cover their tracks.

And they attributed an unidentifiable bloody shoeprint found on the pillow under Kercher’s body to Knox, even though the prosecution only implied that it was compatible with a woman’s shoe size. A spot of Knox and Kercher’s mixed blood in one of the bedrooms, found using Luminol, and four additional spots in the small bathroom the girls shared also swayed the jurors.

“These were left when Amanda was cleaning her hands and feet of Kercher’s blood,” the judge wrote.

3) The Knox and Sollecito alibis

The judge also wrote emphatically about the lack of credible alibi. Although Knox and Sollecito claimed to be at his apartment all night, “Not one phone call, not one meeting, no computer activity or any other element proved that they stayed at that apartment.” And the judge was particularly hard on Knox for accusing Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, of the murder “knowingly and deceivingly.”

Overall, however, it appears that the jury was sympathetic to the two suspects, but ultimately felt that they committed a crime for which they must pay a hefty price.

Posted on 03/04/10 at 06:51 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesPondering motiveTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (12)

Sentencing Report: La Repubblica Has The Most Substantive Report So Far Today

Posted by ziaK

Click above for the Repubblica’s story in the original Italian.

This translation below is of this the longest report so far today in the Italian media, presumably by staff reporters in Perugia, although it is unsigned.

Verdict filed in Meredith crime: Murder arising from Guede’s sexual violence

PERUGIA - Four hundred and twenty-seven: This is how many pages it took for the judges of Perugia’s Court of Assizes to explain the sentence on the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia on 1 November 2007. For this crime carried out, the judges wrote, “without any planning, without any animosity or feeling of rancour”, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years imprisonment, respectively. For the same crime, Ivory Coast national Rudy Guede was sentenced (to 30 years following a “fast-track” trial, subsequently reduced to 16 years in appeal) and is currently waiting to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. The Perugian judges wrote: “The motive, was of an erotic, sexually violent nature, which riginated in the evil choice made by Rudy, and elicited the active collaboration of Amanda and Raffaele.”

From Viterbo prison, where he is held, Rudy wrote a letter with an appeal: “to those who know, talk”. A request which appears to be addressed to the same Amanda and Raffaele (both - particularly the American student whom he has always claimedto know - pointed to by Rudy as having been present at the crime scent, ndr) who have always declared themselves to have no involvement in the affair.

Together, all the elements which emerged during the process “demonstrated a comprehensive and unified picture, without gaps and inconsistencies”, wrote the judges in the file signed by the Court President, Giancarlo Massei and by assessor judge Beatrice Cristiani. According to the College [as in the board of judges], the picture that emerges “has, as its necessary and strictly consequential outcome, the attribution of the hypothesized facts of the crime to both the accused.”

The measure furthermore asserts that Knox “freely accused Patrick Diya Lumumba of having killed Meredith, and so accused him with the full knowledge of the innocence of the same Lumumba”. The judges underlined that there had not been “any confirmation” that Amanda had been urged by the investigators to accuse Lumumba. For Perugia’s Court of Assizes, the objective aimed at by the American (who was also convicted for the crime of calumny with regard to the Congolese [sic] musician, ndr) was to “lead the investigators down the wrong path, far from that which could have led them to establish her own responsibility, and that of her boyfriend”. “Such behaviour is a choice”, wrote the Court, “and thus merely defensive: Amanda had a good relationship with Lumumba, by whom she had always been well treated, and therefore there could have been no motive for rancour, animosity, revenge which could have justified such a serious accusation.”

The murder of Meredith Kercher, it further reads, was carried out “without any planning, without the animosity or feeling of resentment towards the victim which in some ways can be seen as the preparation/predisposition to commiting a crime”. According to the board of judges, “the actions turn out to have been carried out as a result of purely coincidental events”.

In the judges’ report, they talk of “purely coincidental events which, when joined together with each other, created a situation which, in the combination of various factors, made possible these crimes to the detriment of Meredith: Amanda and Raffaele who suddenly found themselves without any commitments, meet Rudy Guede by chance (there is no trace of any appointment having been made), and find themselves together at the house on the via della Pergola on the very evening (between 1 and 2 November, ndr) that Meredith is there alone”. According to the judges, “even the behaviour towards Meredith - once the assault and the murder have been commited - which consisted in covering her lifeless body, shows a feeling of pity for the victim, refusal, and thus a sort of repentance for what has been done: refusal and repentance shown through such an act of pity.”

The judges attributed the material criminal act, that is, the sexual violence, to Rudy Guede, who was aided by Amanda and Raffaele, weakened by the drugs they had consumed. The judges wrote: “Amanda and Raffaele participated actively in the criminal actions carried out by Rudy with the aim of overcoming Meredith’s resistance, subjugating her will, and allowing Rudy to relieve his lustful urges.” The judges also wrote in their report: “The prospective of helping Rudy achieve his aim of subjugating Meredith in order to sexually abuse her may have appeared to be an exciting detail which, although unforeseen, should be tried”.

“The motive”, added the Perugian judges, “was therefore of an erotic, sexually violent nature, which originated in the evil choice made by Rudy, and elicited the active collaboration of Amanda and Raffaele. That such participation, active and violent, had also involved the current defendants as well as Rudy can be deduced from what has been observed in talking about the lesions suffered by Meredith, by the outcome of the genetic investigations, by the prints of bare feet found in various parts of the house.”

According to the judges, in this murder case, one of the tests, carried out by several people, is confirmed by Meredith’s physical strength, by the fact that she was conscious on the evening of the assault, and by her previous experience in the gym. “Meredith, when the violence began, was awake and dressed, and was not laying down on her bed.” Furthermore: “According to the analyses, the young woman had a slender and well-endowed physique, and was physically very strong, as was claimed by Meredith’s mother and sister. She had even done boxing”.

Posted on 03/04/10 at 05:39 PM by ziaK. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsItalian context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (0)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case (2)

Posted by The 411

This below is a translation of this excellent report by La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano which was widely watched on Italian television.

Like the article below it also follows the typical mould of Italian reporting on Seattle - polite but seemingly doubting of the FOA claims about Amanda and the case.

AMANDA KNOX SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT: “In these days, I’ve reflected a lot about what I’ve wanted to say and what came into my mind. I wrote a question that maybe still puzzled a lot of people.”

ITALIAN ANNOUNCER VOICE-OVER: But it was the entire Meredith Kercher murder story that leaves many people puzzled in spite of the triple first-degree conviction of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox.

We went to Seattle to try to see if we could enter into the world of the American 20-something girl - angel for her family, devil according to the judges.”

The obligatory first stop is the office of David Marriott, spin doctor these past two years, who has handled media relations for the family. You can’t enter into the inner circle of the girl without passing by him first.

The first interviews are with the mother and father, separated [i.e., divorced] for 20 years.

CURT: “Amanda is a person who’s always been extremely real. As her parents, it wasn’t always pleasant to hear what was said. But, she wasn’t able to hide the truth. She’s someone who takes care of others, honest, as a study habit she has an intellectual approach to things.”

“With Raff, they met for the first time at a classical music concert. They went out for about a week, before Meredith was found dead. In such a brief period, you don’t transform a beginning relationship in to [the type of] scenario made up by the judges. You don’t go from zero to an orgy. It doesn’t happen in nature…. It’s not started out in an orgy manner.”

EDDA: “Amanda and Meredith were friends. She only said good things about her. They spent their time together, going to bookstores, or hanging out around town, reading and discussing books. Everyone will say that Amanda is a type of person who couldn’t hurt a fly. She couldn’t even do aggressive sports, because she doesn’t like violence. She’s affectionate with the elderly and children. She’s a kind human being.”

“The only direct contact we have now is 10 minutes every Saturday morning, in which we all try to tell her we love her and we all say “hi” quickly because there’s such little time. And then there are the letters. She’s written a lot of them to us, and we try to do the same.”

VOICE OVER: An important turning point for Amanda’s life was high school - attended at Seattle Prep, a Jesuit school attended by all the offspring of the upper middle class, which, later, would mobilize for The Cause.

We met Kris Johnson, her Literature teacher for two years, who let us see in the classroom where she taught, a letter, in very childish handwriting, that she sent from prison.

KRIS JOHNSON: “Amanda was an enthusiastic student who loved to learn..It really affected her. She sent me a lot of emails after class. She was simply excited by learning. She was fascinated by characters and people because she wanted to become a writer….as if she wanted to train for it, continuously.  It is not at all possible that the person I knew in class could even THINK of the things that the media has portrayed.”

VOICE OVER: Before coming to Italy, Amanda studied at Washington University and she lived near campus. There she met and became friends with Madison Paxton, the official friend, the only one Marriot lets journalists come close to.

MADISON: “One of the reasons that we became such good friends is that we had opposite views of life and people. She’s a very trusting person, while I’m not. In the end, we balanced out each other.”

“As for her man-eater reputation, when she came to college, she had less romantic experience than the average student. In high school, she hardly went out with anyone, and in college, she had a total of two boyfriends.”

VOICE OVER: Not all of Seattle, however, is so united in their outraged defense of their famous fellow citizen. Among the despised critics of the family is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the University, who moderates the forum “Perugia Murder File” where information is gathered about leading stories on the case.

PEGGY: “One of the things that aroused my suspicions was that the family issued a press release the day after the arrest. I found it strange- and interesting. And then I discovered that a Public Relations firm was recruited to manage the Amanda image - a firm known to use techniques, I don’t want to say unethical, but let’s say unconventional,  in order to reach their objective.”

“I think that the incredibly one-sided coverage of the case in the American media is the result of this massive PR activity that cost more than a million dollars. What Marriott and the family have done was to say from the moment that the tabloids demonized Amanda, we’ve painted her as an angel. That’s why they’ve constructed an image of a typical American girl, which is probably just as false as the demonized image of her, which the tabloids have perpetuated.”

VOICE OVER: Ms. Ganong is not the only one to think that way, and to say it publicly. Among the skeptics, there’s Charles Mudede who’s in charge of the cultural pages of “The Stranger,’ a popular weekly newspaper…. We meet him at the Quarter Lounge, near his workplace.

CHARLES: “She didn’t grow up as the classic American girl. She played soccer, which isn’t a national sport here. In fact, it’s fairly non-traditional. And then, yoga, which speaks of a Far Eastern influence, rather than of praying.”

“You might expect from a classic American girl that she’d be very focused on the Christian side [of things]  —she on the other hand did a mixture of different things, typical of the liberal cosmopolitan girls of Seattle.”

PEGGY: “The reason why many of our well-known local people have mobilized in her defense, organizing fund-raising dinners, putting together groups of people on her behalf all goes back to Seattle Prep.”

“People who pay $13,000 a year to send their children to high school so they can prepare them to go to the best colleges do not want to see the value of that investment go down, as a result of that type of scandal. Seattle Prep was the school where Judge Mike Heavey’s daughter went, [a girl] who was quite friendly with Amanda. As were the children of Tom Wright.  I believe worrying about saving the good name of the school is a good part of the [motivation behind the] ‘Innocentisti Movement’ in Seattle.

“Although it’s important that these influential people on her side have made a big splash, they don’t really represent the entire city.”

VOICE OVER: Anne Bremner, former prosecutor and current TV legal commentator is the spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda, a site where counter-information regarding trial facts is continually updated.

ANNE: “An injustice in any part of the world is an injustice in all of the world.  I personally felt it was important to lend a hand, to expose the absolute lack of evidence. In other words, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with this horrendous crime. What has happened since the verdict? Nothing, except to increase the passion, that much more. We will never, ever abandon Amanda.”

SUBTITLES OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE - A REPORTER ASKS: “Today Senator Cantwell spoke of contaminated evidence… of unsequestered jurors and a questionable prosecutor… additionally, we’ve seen jurors wearing tri-colored sashes… and there was anger in the Italian press and all this indicates that there hasn’t been a fair trial…and all of you in the State Department claim the opposite…”

VOICE OVER: In the meantime, they continue their tireless lobbying activity, recruiting the most varied of advocates. Senator Maria Cantwell has expressed such serious doubts about the judicial system, that Anti-Americanism contaminated the case, also making Hillary Clinton more aware of the case.

Fortunately, she [Hillary] was too busy dealing with Afghanistan and Iran to offer an opinion on the matter. [There are] even VIPs, like Donald Trump, who proposed a boycott of Italy, until the girl comes home.

SUBTITLE OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE: “Italy has its own justice system, different than our own.”

VOICEOVER: No one remembers one detail—that at least Italy doesn’t have the Death Penalty.

Nor does anyone seem to remember the many cases when America made great efforts to collaborate with Italian judges, including such times as [after] the Disaster of Cermes, and the [after] the killing of Agent Nicola Calferi by [American] soldier Mario Lozano.

Posted on 03/03/10 at 11:19 PM by The 411. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore of the same
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (1)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Formidable Tina Brown Speaks Out On Barbie Nadeau’s Forthcoming Book

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below: New York publisher and editor Tina Brown; click for larger images]

Someone you’d sure want to have in your corner if you have a good book to promote is New York’s colorful, driving Tina Brown.

A former editor first of Vanity Fair and then of the New Yorker, British-born Tina Brown launched the hustling Daily Beast news-site late last year. We get emails daily from the Beast on breaking news and, as a newspaper-blog hybrid, the Beast may have found the sweet spot that promises survival in this media day and age.

We believe that Tina personally sought out the Rome-based American journalist Barbie Nadeau to write a blog on Meredith’s case, and then Tina promoted the idea of a book - the Beast’s second book to be published, and one certain to be very high-profile. 

Here on MediaBistro’s Galleycat are Tina Brown’s first remarks about Barbie Nadeau’s book: Angel Face, The Real Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox

Q: What’s coming up next?

A: It’s called Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau. It’s about the true story of a student killer Amanda Knox. Nadeau was at every one of the sessions of the trial, so she covered it obsessively for the Daily Beast.

She gathered a huge following with us, and so we’ve given her the time and space to do a great 40,000 word narrative. She put the whole trial together into a really compelling narrative.

It’s terrific, I mean I couldn’t put it down; I was reading it this weekend.

Barbie Nadeau’s book on the student-killer Amanda Knox is due out early in April - the third book on Meredith’s case to hit the stores. The next three are expected to be Candace Dempsey’s polemic and then the cool factual studies by John Follain and Nina Burleigh.

Between now and the Knox-Sollecito appeal late this year, we expect to be posting first all of the judges’ sentencing report in English. The report is due out at the latest in a couple of weeks. And then many, many excerpts from the best of the books.

Those that see that, here, finally, true justice for Meredith really was done. 

Posted on 02/18/10 at 01:31 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesReporting on the caseV good reportingMedia newsThe wider contexts
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (2)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Andrea Vogt Has A Long Cool Take In The Seattle PI On Where Things Stand

Posted by Peter Quennell

Please click above for the report. This one is highly worth reading in full.

Apart from the highlights quoted below, the report touches on Amanda Knox, now semi-resigned in her cell, on the very extensive nature of the evidence, and on the pro-defendant stance of the Italian justice system.

Italian reactions to the commentaries of Timothy Egan and others not very immersed in the evidence are also reported on.

According to Andrea Vogt, in many ways, things are not, at least not yet, so very different from before. The campaign goes on, if now sensibly a lot more subdued.

We do however continue to see large numbers coming by TJMK to read here at length (especially now from Seattle) and according to our emails the shock-factor of the actual evidence is often quite considerable.

And the judges’ long and very detailed judgment report out early next March at the latest may prove to be a definitive bottom line, as Judge Micheli’s report was after the Rudy Guede trial.

It is that objective and exhaustive judgment statement that will define what the appeal is about.

1) On Italian reactions to the charges of anti-Americanism

On Monday, another salvo was fired at Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., from Italy as the Italian president of the Italy-USA Foundation, an association that works closely with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, released a statement on the foundation’s website describing his Sunday prison visit with Knox and harshly criticizing Cantwell’s comments about the Italian justice system.

“I believe it is out of place to insert anti-Americanism, as stated by American Sen. Maria Cantwell, into a situation like this that can be easily exploited,” wrote Rocco Girlanda, president of the Italy-USA Foundation, in a news release posted on the foundation’s website. “In my opinion it would have been more correct to avoid creating controversy or alleged affairs of the state that are totally outside the official declarations of the parties and of their respective governments.”...

On Monday, Cantwell’s spokeswoman did not repeat the complaints that the senator has made but said her office will continue to monitor the Knox case….

Cantwell’s questioning the fairness of the Italian justice system has raised the ire of many on this side of the Atlantic….The handful of American journalists inside the courtroom regularly attending the trial did not witness the “anti-Americanism” of which Cantwell spoke.

2) What really mattered to the jury in their deliberations and the length of the sentence

Jurors said they believed the forensic evidence, as reported last spring here and here and not the defense’s attempts to dismiss the evidence at trial and during closing arguments.

The forensic evidence was presented in open court and subject to cross-examination and robust debate. Legal scholars say Knox is lucky she didn’t get a longer sentence….

The jurors, polled and interviewed after the verdict, said they were not split on the question of innocence or guilt but rather on the question of whether she should get life in prison or less.

3) An Italian expert on the justice system notes that this was a fair trial

“This is the simplest and fairest criminal trial one could possibly think of in terms of evidence,” said Stefano Maffei, lecturer in criminal procedure at the University of Parma.

“There were 19 judges who looked at the facts and evidence over the course of two years, faced with decisions on pre-trial detention, review of such detention, committal to trial, judgment on criminal responsibility. They all agreed, at all times, that the evidence was overwhelming.”

The court’s sentence of Knox and Sollecito was mild, Maffei said, with the jury taking into account the facts of the crime along with her clean criminal record.

He noted that a similar reduction in sentence did not happen with co-defendant Rudy Guede, even though he agreed to a fast-track trial, which reduced his sentence from life to 30 years.

4) The very extensive nature of the evidence presented.

Often lost in the debate over Knox’s guilt is the evidence presented at trial. Some of it was strongly disputed, and some likely forgotten by those in America trying to keep up on a trial that took place a couple of days a week over several months with long breaks of no proceeding at all.

Jurors, interviewed after the verdict, said they were convinced by the forensic evidence and were unanimous on the question of guilt or innocence, though they made a point of noting they did not believe Kercher’s murder was premeditated.

[In Andrea Vogt’s full report in the Seattle PI (click through above) there follows an excellent bullet-point list of the evidence.]

5) The many pro-defendant protections built into the Italian justice system

For historical and political reasons unique to Italy, the country has a justice system with an extraordinary number of protections for the accused, more than many other European nations.

“These criticisms we are hearing from the United States are so strange,” said Stefania Carnevale, an assistant professor of criminal procedural law and prisoner’s rights at the University of Ferrara.

“They leave me perplexed because the critique seems to be about the behavior of the police or the prosecutor or small details of this single trial, not the system as a whole. If there are errors in a trial, the Italian system has rigorous checks and balances in place to correct such mistakes, and guarantee an appeal.”

Knox may have a number of salient points on which to base her appeal, most notably several pieces of contested forensic evidence and the fact that she was questioned without an attorney present despite being treated as a suspect by Perugian police.

The presumption of innocence is so strong in Italy that under criminal procedural law, Knox is still not considered a convicted murderer, and won’t be, until she has been found guilty through all phases of the process: Court of Assize, where the jury just made a decision; the Appellate Court of Assize; and the Court of Cassation.

Posted on 12/15/09 at 02:10 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealReporting on the caseV good reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >