Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series The wider contexts

Sunday, January 25, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Looks Like Seattle Post Intelligencer Could Be On The Rocks

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the breaking story.

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

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

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

Posted on 01/08/09 at 08:10 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog Bites Newspaper In Tail

Posted by Peter Quennell




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/30/08 at 11:16 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perhaps Associated Press Should Try Reporting The Odds?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/24/08 at 02:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers: media groupsAssoc PressNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsN America context
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected outcome?

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

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

Time to get serious, guys…


Posted on 12/17/08 at 11:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Why Prominent Knox Supporter Judge Heavey Faces An Uphill Task

Posted by Peter Quennell

Judge Michael Heavey is a Superior Court judge in King County, Washington State, whose daughter was at school with Amanda Knox.

He is said to be popular and fair and someone you might want to have on your side in a fight. We wonder, however, if he is receiving the best possible advice on the case.

Last week Judge Heavey was quoted by the Seattle PI’s Levi Pulkkinen as saying:

“It borders on the diabolical… To me, it just shows [prosecutors] don’t care whether she’s guilty or innocent. They just believe Amanda needs to be convicted…”

Heavey [contends] Guede killed Kercher while Knox was staying the night at Sollecito’s home. [He views] Knox’s contradictory statements to police—claims that she “heard Meredith screaming” as she was killed—as the products of a rough overnight interrogation by Italian police…”

“When you have a heinous crime and a demonized defendant, with very little evidence, you can get a bad conviction. I haven’t been sure of too much in my life, but I’m totally convinced that she’s innocent.”

Here are just some of the problems that are now undercutting an adversarial stance against the Italian investigators, prosecutors and judges.

  • Most of the 10,000 pages of evidence (now being added-to by new witnesses) have not yet been publicly revealed. They will finally emerge during the trial which will start in Perugia on 16 January. Much of the forensic and other evidence has been independently verified by experts unconnected to the investigation
  • .
  • No single piece of the evidence already in the public domain has ever conclusively been found to be falsified. Several US experts have a rather hapless record in their attempts to demonstrate that the police and prosecutors got it all wrong. None seem to have made any recent statements on cable news or in the newspapers that they still stand by their original claims.

  • The defense lawyers who have actually been through the evidence seem to have become a lot more taciturn, and none of them - not one - has subsequently claimed that this is a railroading, or a frame-up, or the fabrication of a prosecutor desperate for a conviction.  (As a precaution against precisely this, there are actually two prosecutors)

  • Only a small part of the evidence - the autopsy, the bedroom evidence, and the neighbor who heard a scream in the night and then people running - was sufficient to result in a 30-year sentence for Rudy Guede. The judge in his case, in explaining the judgment, remarked that it was impossible for Guede to have acted alone in the murder of Meredith, in part due to the huge number of wounds on the body.

  • The additional evidence that did not even need to be taken into account in Guede’s case apparently includes computer and mobile phone activities, statements of a large number of other witness, a knife that may be the murder weapon found in Sollecito’s kitchen, post-crime defendant statements and behaviors, and the statements of those close to the defendants at the time.

  • And there might have been even more evidence. It appears that the crime scene may have been manipulated after the murder to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime. Finger-prints, footprints, other marks, and blood evidence seem to have been removed - although much still shows up under luminol. It seems to indicate three perpetrators at the crime scene.

  • Amanda Knox actually placed herself under suspicion in her very first encounter with the police. She changed her alibi several times subsequently, apparently attempting to coincide it with Sollecito’s. The notion that she was forced into a confession after hours and hours of questioning is now generally discredited, and her own lawyers have not claimed this or lodged any complaint.

  • Amanda Knox indicated not only in an interview statement, later disqualified, but also in a written statement, still in evidence, that Patrick Lumumba was the murderer. Lumumba, her kindly employer, was in fact at the bar he owned that night, and in view of the harm done by this apparent frame-up attempt, the prosecution has charged Amanda Knox with slander.

The biggest problem of all for those claiming a frame-up or an over-zealous rush to prosecution is the extreme caution of the Italian system. The Italian judicial review process prior to trial seems to be at least three or four times more elaborate, careful, cautious, and fair to a suspect than, for example, normal U.S. processes.

The evidence in the case has already made it through a number of hoops. And repeatedly the various judges in what is a very extensive process, after days of reading and careful consideration, have verified that the evidence against the defendants is, in fact, very strong.

It is still possible that everybody has got it terribly wrong. But so far, nobody seems to be coming anywhere close to that scenario.

Posted on 12/01/08 at 08:40 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedNews media & moviesGreat reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamHeavey, Bremner
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Does The Defense Campaign Really Have ANY Plan B?

Posted by Deathfish2000





[Added: This was posted in November 2008 after which the demonizers really got carried away; five years later, see how they are all in the soup]

The only ones to claim on the airwaves and in the papers lately that the defendants are being framed seem to be those who seem very out of touch with the facts as they look now.

As previously pointed out here, those very few in Perugia who actually have had access to the full tidal wave of evidence, in the still-sealed 10,000 pages, seem to go notably more quiet.

And not one of them has emerged yet to resume the cries of frame-up.

There have been three possible defenses. A mental or psychological defense, which might have flown, but which no-one has touched. A cool and dispassionate contending of known facts, and a shot at mitigating circumstances such as, it wasn’t planned, and, we were doped. And this peculiar and seemingly now failing “frame-up-of-true-innocents” defense.

The prime suspects in the case, Amanda Knox and her then flick-knife carrying boyfriend of the time, Raffaele Sollecito, now await the trial that starts in about 10 days. With prospects, frankly,  that do not now seem to be looking good at all. Plan A seems to be failing - and there seems to be no other plan.

They are jointly charged with murder, sexual violence, simulation of a crime, and theft - with Amanda Knox facing an additional charge of slander against the former employer she hurt. This was after an astonishingly cautious pre-trial phase, with the evidence being run past judge after judge and found credible again and again.

Rudy Guede was dispatched to serve his 30 year prison term for his part in the crime after opting for his separate fast track trial. His lawyer stated they had chosen that route as they believed Knox and Sollecito were conspiring to frame Guede. It seemed like it might turn out to be a smart strategy - perhaps the first in this case.

But he got no break from the judge. Why did he not - why did he get a stiff 30 year sentence?

Three possible reasons. One, the evidence is tough and very extensive,  it hangs together, and points to a truly depraved scene in the house. Two, Guede and his lawyer chose to contend some of it, but that “some” was quite marginal at best. And three, Guede chose not to come clean over what happened, even in the slightest, or to show any remorse.

Although they were not immediately taken into custody after the murder was discovered, Knox and Sollecito managed to make themselves into almost instant suspects. They themselves really knocked the pins out from under any good “they were framed” defense. Nearly a year ago now.

On initial questioning by the police as witnesses, Knox and Sollecito told conflicting stories, with Knox stating she was with Sollecito at his apartment all night.

Then Sollecito stated that Knox left around 9PM and returned at around 1AM (the period of the murder window).

In light of the failure of Alibi #1, Knox then claimed to have been in the house when Meredith was killed, and covered her ears to mask Meredith’s screams, as the kindly employer who she fingered, Patrick Lumumba, raped and then murdered Meredith.

This disarray in the alibis led to the arrest of all three as suspects - Lumumba of course was soon released though, as he really DID seem to have been framed. By Knox.

And since their arrests, Knox and Sollecito have both changed their stories several times. Knox has stated she is “confused” and suffered memory loss during the time when the murder happened. She finally reverted back to the statement she made early on, that she was at Sollecito’s all night, as the “best truth I can think of” story.

Her story would have changed again, if not for the intervention and advice of her then lawyer - fired by the Knox family for stating to reporters that Knox indeed intended to change her story again, and that Knox really must now start telling the truth.

None of this above is exactly a strong foundation on which to base a “they were framed” defense.

Knox’s mother has frequently appeared on TV in tears claiming no evidence, a position that really should have been moved away from months ago. And her father, notably in a British TV interview for Channel 4 TV, described the knife-obsessed and flick-knife carrying Sollecito a “nice kid” although he had never met him. He dismissed his flick knife and dagger collection as simply “art pieces”. Art pieces?

Equally indicative of a wrong strategy is the absence of any message of condolence to the Kercher family over the loss of their daughter and sister. Truly extraordinary. A great way to go - if you want to look callous, and by extension make your own daughter look callous. Did they get no good advice on this point, from any of their many advisers?

Since Meredith’s death, a veritable cottage industry based on the framed-innocent concept has sprung up in Knox’s home town of Seattle, with the “Free Amanda” campaign, the “Friends of Amanda Knox” and the “Amanda Defence Fund” to name but a few.

Are the Knoxes getting the financial help they say they need? It is hard to tell. The website asks for your donations of money and air-miles, and it displays images of Amanda Knox as a child, the implication being that an innocent child is not capable of such a crime as this.

Someone does seem to be doing very well. Online, you can buy tee-shirts, sweatshirts, ball caps, trucker caps, handbags, coffee mugs and teddybears all stamped “Made in the USA”. Emblazoned with an infamous image from the crime scene - the seemingly drug-addled Knox looking nervously at the camera. Tee shirts are available in any colour you like, and have “Free Amanda” printed underneath.

Who on earth invented this somewhat surreal and increasingly losing defense campaign? Whoever really though it would fly? Whoever thought it would keep Knox from a lifetime in jail - or knock even one year off her sentence if found guilty?

The strategy looks all the more incongruous when you look at the enormous contrast of the family of Meredith. The ones who really are victims in this horrific affair. 

Since the news of the senseless and tragic murder of Meredith hit the news just over one year ago, one could be forgiven for thinking that her family - the Kerchers, are nothing short of remarkable.

The inner strength and dignity they have displayed in their conduct this past year has moved so many people so much that websites like this have come to exist. To honor Meredith and the family, and to help to push back against those who would dismiss or dishonor them or make a profit from their grief.

Not once, not ever, have they lost their composure in what must be the worst situation for them to endure as a family that they have ever experienced in their lives. The loss due to a brutal moment of madness of their beloved daughter and sister, Meredith.

Quite a contrast with those who have not suffered equally, and whose campaign seems to increasingly comes across as illogical, unbelievable, and losing.

RIP to dear Meredith Kercher…



Friday, November 21, 2008

Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Now On The Defensive?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Seattle tip: The newsroom seems to despise the blog “reporting” described below and to think it is hurting the paper. If incorrect, newsroom, and you really do love it, please feel free to correct it.


[click for larger images]

Above at the right is Seattle PI editor David McCumber. Seems like a nice guy, with a distinguished career.

Yesterday we received a rather tart email from a staff-member. The tone made us curious. It seemed a little defensive. So we have taken a closer look.

We’ve already posted here on the paper and the case. We noted then that the paper is part of New York’s privately-owned Hearst empire. Our header box on the post noted this:

Normally, the Hearst papers are famous for CHAMPIONING victims’ rights and memories. Not for abusing them, in a defense blog they host.

We gave the paper an F grade for that performance. And an A grade for the excellent post-Guede-trial reporting indicated here.

The Seattle PI’s circulation has taken quite a dive this year. The paper has seen a drop of 7.8 percent in papers sold, to just 117,572 in October.

Its one competitor, the Seattle Times, also privately owned, saw a similar percentage drop, to 198,741 in October.

However, the Times sells a lot more newspapers, and it seems fundamentally stronger. 

Since 1983, the P-I and The Seattle Times have been run under a “Joint Operating Agreement” (JOA) whereby advertising, production, marketing, and circulation are run for both papers by the Seattle Times Co. They maintain separate news and editorial departments. The papers publish a combined Sunday edition, although the Times handles the majority of the editorial content while the P-I only provides a small editorial/opinions section.

If only one Seattle newspaper is left standing in the long run, which one might that be?

And might the Seattle PI be vulnerable, by way of that blog? It seems possible that its own legal people now think that it might be.

The so-called “reader’s blog” to which we have recently drawn attention is actually copyrighted. It has just bred a book deal, without consultation with the Kerchers. And it runs with some very high-impact paid advertising, flashing right alongside.

The paper seems to shrug the blog off as none of their business. Lawyers in New York here seem to doubt this attempted separation would carry far.

The blog was much criticized by readers in its early days, for seemingly being unable to mention the victim’s name. It’s attempting a lot of catch-up now, which seems to be fooling no-one.

It also has a bizarre history of ridiculing the prosecutor. Not something we’d have thought helpful to the ill-served Amanda Knox, now sitting in jail, awaiting his case against her.

And the blog has seen repeated waves of purges of comments in the past. HTML captures of the blog prior to these purges (there are many such captures) suggest the point of them is to eliminate any dissenting opinion or correction of wrong facts.

And perhaps to give a wrong impression of the blog’s viewpoint to any first-time readers. Or of the increasingly convincing state of the evidence.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer seems to host THE ONE NEWSPAPER SITE IN THE WORLD to carry comments deeply hostile toward the Kerchers themselves.

Not by the blogger, true. But they were long allowed to stand, and their right to stand was defended.

In the past several days, however, they have suddenly disappeared. And the google search below now no longer produces results.

Hmmm. Is yet another of the website’s many comment purges going on here? And this time, a legally-inspired purge?

Covering your tails, finally, are you Seattle PI? Legally, it makes very good sense. But another F grade for now.

One day we might upgrade you. But it’s the reporting we want to see change. And the blog toast.

Posted on 11/21/08 at 08:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Yet Another Smear Campaign By Candace Dempsey On Hearst’s For-Profit Defense Blog

Posted by Peter Quennell




This infamous area of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a long history of trashing the prosecutor and witnesses.

And seemingly intent on trashing anyone seeking justice in the Meredith Kercher case. Even trashing the victim herself.

Now it comes up with another sneering story about the Kercher-case prosecutor, Mr Mignini, in a minor scrape on a totally unrelated case.

Paid advertisements run conspicuously alongside the piece.

Giuliano Mignini is the kind of hard-driving, results-getting, really-caring prosecutor most victims would die for. That is, if they were actually still alive.

Meredith’s interests could not be served better. He just put Guede away, for a stiff 30 years.

Only a tiny minority of readers seem to go along with that callous blog writer. Most who seek fairness seem to simply get deleted.

And it seems to be doing the defendants no good at all. These were the first two comments to appear under the piece.

I honestly have no idea of what this blog article is about as regards the Kercher case.

Mignini authorised a wire-tap in that other case. The correctness of that authorisation has been called into question.

What does that have to do with the Perugia case?

I agree with [the comment above] on this one. I tend to think that the whole Monster of Florence story has been very unhelpful to the defense of Amanda Knox, because it has sidetracked many of her supporters into following a completely irrelevant story.

What would have been more useful, from Amanda’s point of view, would have been if those same supporters had spent the same time and energy looking at the evidence in the Meredith Kercher case, and in building a credible defense for Amanda Knox.

Posted on 11/14/08 at 07:36 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007More hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle context
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: A Good Profile Of Guede, Now Starting His 10,950 Days

Posted by Peter Quennell



By Nick Squires in Perugia

9:09AM GMT 29 Oct 2008

Within days of Meredith Kercher’s half-naked body being found in Perugia last November, key suspect Rudy Hermann Guede, 21, fled the Umbrian hill town and jumped on a train to Germany.

His flight across the Alps sparked an international manhunt. Italian police wanted him in connection with Miss Kercher’s brutal killing, having found his bloody hand print on a pillow at the scene of the crime.

During a desperate few days on the run, he slept rough in empty train carriages and on a barge on the Rhine.

At one point he was contacted on Facebook by journalists, including the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent, and engaged in an online chat in which he protested his innocence.

On November 20, nearly three weeks after the murder, he was stopped on a Frankfurt-bound train near Mainz after a conductor found him without a ticket.

He was arrested, held for two weeks in a German prison and extradited back to Italy to face charges of murder and aggravated sexual assault.

It was all so different from the life of opportunity his immigrant father had envisaged when he left his native Ivory Coast in the early 1990s with five-year-old Rudy in tow.

Leaving his wife behind, Pacome Roger Guede settled in Perugia, Umbria’s provincial capital, and found work as a building site labourer.

He put down roots in the university town but after a decade decided to return to West Africa, leaving the teenage Rudy in the care of an Italian family, who looked after him as their own son.

For all their good intentions, he developed into a troubled youth, skipping school, dabbling in drugs and dropping out of courses in accountancy and hotel management.

He lived for a time in Milan and proudly posted on his Facebook site a photograph taken of him with Giorgio Armani in the fashion guru’s bar.

His adoptive father, wealthy local entrepreneur Paolo Caporali, 63, told the Italian national newspaper La Repubblica: “It is pointless to hide the fact that for me, Rudy was a disappointment. I hoped to help him build a future. I thought I had given him an opportunity. But as the months passed I understood I was mistaken, that my hopes were all met with delusion.

“He said he was at school, but he skipped class. He preferred to spend the day in front of the television or with video games. He had little wish to study, and even less to work.”

Rudy was thrown out – cut loose from those who cared for him for the second time in his life - and drifted into a rootless existence of part-time work, petty crime and drug dealing.

In the evenings and at weekends he mingled with the thousands of students who are drawn to Perugia each year to learn Italian at the town’s University for Foreigners.

He played basketball on the concrete court just up the hill from the house which Miss Kercher shared with Miss Knox and two other students, becoming friendly with the people living in a basement flat.

Through them he met Miss Kercher in a bar at a Halloween party, the night before the murder.

Four days before the party, he was in Milan and broke into a nursery school so that he could spend the night there.

He was armed with an 11-inch kitchen knife, telling police he had to “protect” himself against thieves.

In a 25-page handwritten note he gave to police after his arrest, Guede said he regretted leaving Miss Kercher to die from her injuries. “Had I been a man, I would have saved Meredith”. Instead, he fled the scene and did not call the emergency services.

He described the scene he came across in chilling terms. “When I closed my eyes, I could only see red. I have never seen so much blood. All of that blood on her beautiful face.”

And the inevitable bluster about appealing. Good luck on that one, Rudy.

Posted on 10/29/08 at 09:53 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Guede appealsThe wider contextsPerugia contextItalian contextRudy Guede
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Candace Dempsey’s Hearst-Hosted Defense Blog Abuses The Real Victim Here

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


[Shots here are of Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s owner Hearst Media’s building in Manhattan[


When an article about a controversial subject manages to tick everyone off, this might mean the author has achieved a certain level of neutrality!

Rachel Donadio’s brief article in the NY Times recapping the main developments in the Meredith Kercher murder case, is neutral, using this yardstick.

  • For people who have already decided Amanda Knox is guilty, Donadio left out important details needed to expose the case against Knox.

  • And for people who have already decided on Knox’s innocence, Donadio committed the unpardonable sin of allowing Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family’s increasingly vocal legal counsel, to voice this opinion: “The important thing is they were all there,” he said. “All three are responsible.”

In at least one critical respect, the Italian criminal justice system may be better than its US counterpart. In Italy, the family of the VICTIM has the right to legal representation. This seems to perplexe many in the Knox defense camp.

But anyone who has survived the murder of a loved one will understand why it is so important. They will also understand why comments of the kind being posted on Candace Dempsey’s defense blog hosted by Heart’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer are so reprehensible, and why they must be called out as such.

Kelly13, the first poster to weigh in, notes that Maresca has been increasingly vocal about Knox’s involvement and that he recently expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out Knox’s oral confession. So far, at least, Kelly13 is factual and limits his remarks to Maresca.

But then he goes to work on the Kerchers:

Despite their carefully crafted direct statements expressing a desire for justice, clearly the Kerchers have made up their minds and they don’t strike me as nice or objective people. I wonder if they have created legal liability for themselves, certainly Mr. Maresca can be sued for this unproven claim made against Amanda.

It is hard to pass judgment on “people” who have only spoken to the press twice (that I know of) and who have read brief prepared statements each time. But what struck me as really strange about this comment was how inaccurate and mean it sounded.

Then I remembered where I had read similar sentiments… on the same Dempsey defense blog, about six months ago, by the same poster too. He is a self-proclaimed faith-based activist who says he lobbies for US citizens jailed abroad. Earlier, he noted blithely that the Kerchers needed to “set aside” their grief and jump on the free AK bandwagon.

A few of the few posters on Dempsey’s site tried to explain why his most recent comments were unacceptable, but with Dempsey they were wasting their time.

In reply to those who disagreed, Kelly13 said he knew

...folks who have been through even worse and they had the backbone to stand up against obvious injustice. The least the Kerchers could do is just stay silent and keep their lawyer under control. To fail to do so undermines Amanda’s right to fairness, contributes to her unjust confinement, and shifts focus away from the tragedy that is Meredith. It’s very hard, but in the interest of justice and fairness their lawyer needs to shut up, and only they can affect that.

End of subject for him. He begins his next paragraph: “Moving on…”

These comments were still standing today. I note this only because Candace Dempsey has gained huge notoriety mainly for her heavy thumb on the delete button for posts that go against her bias.

Maresca’s current view of the case will ultimately be proven right or wrong. The family has filed a civil suit for damages against whomever is found guilty, which means that it and its counsel now have access to the 10,000 pages of material submitted by the prosecutor. Maresca’s opinion just might reflect his deep conviction, based on an examination of the evidence.

Furthermore, the Kerchers silence might also be due to their belief that justice is taking its course. They owe nothing, not one thing, to Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

Conversely, those with a vested interest in the outcome of this case for any of the three suspects owe it to the Kerchers to keep these thoughts to themselves. It is appalling to read on Dempsey’s blog that Kelly13 hopes the Kerchers will ultimately find themselves at the other end of a lawsuit.

It is so appalling under the circumstances that it is physically revolting. Especially considering how utterly restrained the Kerchers have been with respect to the media and how relatively restrained their lawyer has been. In fact, it is incredible to even have to say this. Kelly13, where were you when brains and hearts were being passed out?

In any case, Maresca’s words in the NY Times will have no impact on Judge Micheli, who is presiding over the pre-trial hearing. Micheli, who already knows what Maresca thinks, is also doing his job — which is to examine the evidence, hear the challenges, and decide whether or not to press charges.

Maresca may be a thorn in the side of those who have already decided that at least two of the suspects are innocent, but he plays a vital role for the Kercher family. For just about any surviving victim of a murdered person who has been through the criminal justice process, this is a no-brainer.

The comments about the Kercher family on Hearst’s defense blog make me incredibly sad for this family which has shown remarkable restraint and dignity for almost one year.

Back in January, speaking to Meredith’s hometown paper the Croydon Guardian, Maresca noted: “Meredith’s parents continue to suffer enormously and they faithfully await news of every hearing as they are doing so today. Their objective is to reach the truth of their daughter’s murder out of respect for her memory.”

The surviving Kerchers also deserve a little respect, even in the blogosphere, where anyone can say anything. It doesn’t matter what you think about who did what and why.

Shame on you, Candace Dempsey, for this scurrilous anti-victim blog, and shame on Hearst for hosting it too.


Posted on 10/02/08 at 09:35 AM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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