Series Italian related

Friday, July 02, 2010

Italy’s LA7 Is Running A Series On The Rare Phenomenon For Italy Of Female Criminality

Posted by Peter Quennell


Italy’s LA7 network is running a five-part series on notorious crimes in Italy involving women.

Compared to the US and most of Europe, Italy has only a small fraction of its population in prison at any one time. And an even smaller percentage of its female population. The involvement of women in serious crimes is rare in Italy - and the subject of considerable public interest. 

The first segment (which is not yet on YouTube, although we have hopes that it will be) two weeks ago focussed on Amanda Knox’s involvement in the murder of Meredith. It was very highly rated.

The excellent American reporter Andrea Vogt was a main presenter, as she is throughout the LA7 series, and the Knox segment included interviews with Prosecutor Mignini and the lawyers for Knox and the other two perps.

The third segment, which aired this week, involved Antonella Conserva. You can see her in the image above and briefly in the LA7 report in Italian below.

She is married to Mario Alessi, who claimed earlier this year, to wide ridicule, that he had encountered Rudy Guede in prison, and that Guede had thoughtfully shared with him that Knox and Sollecito were not at the scene of Meredith’s murder.   

Antonella Conserva and her husband, Mario Alessi were convicted four years ago of the kidnapping and murder of a baby (“Tommy”) and, although she was not even present when her husband murdered Tommy, she was sentenced to 30 years.

That is generally accepted in Italy as a reasonable sentence. This could be the new sentence for Amanda Knox, revised upward from 26 years, that the prosecution might win on appeal.

Absent any confession and show of contrition, which seems to us the smart way for Amanda Knox to go, reaction in Italy would probably be neutral or positive.

Like the name “Tommy” everyone in Italy knows the name “Meredith” and no last name is required. Speak up, Amanda.

Posted on 07/02/10 at 02:18 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

CNN Report On The Money Transfers That Bankrolled Van Der Sloot’s Trip To Lima

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/10/10 at 04:32 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #9: Extreme Caution Over Non-Repetitive Testing In Sonia’s Case Too

Posted by Peter Quennell


It will be interesting to see if the defense observer ducks out of this examination in this case too.

La Nazione/Umbria describes a hearing last Monday in Perugia on the jacket the chief suspect was perhaps wearing on the night Sonia disappeared.

Together in the same courtroom without a word spoken between them.

On the one hand, Anna, the sister of Sonia Marra, the student from Puglia who disappeared from Perugia in November 2006. On the other hand, Umberto Bindella, who is accused of killing the girl and concealing her body.

At this preliminary hearing, Judge Carla Giangamboni fixed the date on which the police investigations will start on the jacket seized from the suspect.

Professor Giuseppe Novelli is the expert appointed by the court, the task of checking whether there are biological traces of organic material possibly due to Sonia Marra.

Prosecutor Joseph Petrazzini agreed to carry out investigations into the black jacket Bindella was wearing when first arrested, three years earlier, after the death of Sonia, in response to defense attorney Daniela Paccoi, who request the forensic examination.

They will be carried out in the laboratories of the faculty of medicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. The garment examination will begin on June 7.

Following the tests for the defense will Dr. James D’Agostaro, an expert in genetics…

Bindella had been in prison but he was released by the magistrate [judge Micheli] who concluded the investigators had not proved ‘serious indications of guilt’.

The jacket is now an object of tug of war between the prosecution and defense. It was confiscated by agents of the police post from the closet of Bindella before his arrest.

It was ‘“similar to that worn by the unknown assailany,” said a girl, a neighbor of Specchia student, who claims to have seen a man enter the apartment in via Purgotti where Sonia lived.

In that house biological traces of Bindella [Sonia’s former boyfriend] and the vicrim were found.

Posted on 05/20/10 at 10:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #8: Bindella Hearing Tomorrow - Prosecutor Won’t Ask For Incarceration

Posted by Peter Quennell


Our previous posts are here. There is a surprise move in the case.

The prosecutor leading the Sonia Marra investigation, Joseph Petrazzini, has withdrawn his appeal to the court of review against the decision of the investigating judge, Paolo Micheli, to release Sonia’s boyfriend, Umberto Bindella, pending further investigations.

The scheduled hearing on this appeal will still be held tomorrow in Perugia, but it is expected that all that will happen is that the withdrawal of the prosecutor’s appeal will be noted. So Bindella will continue living at home.

Two reasons for this are being hypothesized. One, that Bindella won some sympathy when he recently disappeared and drove his car down a steep slope. He did not really seem to have the makings of a great getaway artist.

And two, that there may be problems with such evidence as there is against him, or possibly a new line of investigation is opening up in this difficult, frustrating case.

Sonia’s sister Anna (right above) is part of a nationwide missing persons support group. Someone she may have known - the mother of a girl, Paola, who disappeared 17 years ago in Turin - has now taken her own life.

Anna remarked in sympathy: “No, I do not think it was hopeless for her I think that she just had not found anyone who listens. That’s what happens all too often to the families of missing persons.”

Posted on 05/06/10 at 12:04 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, April 02, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #7: New Evidence Check And Decision Soon On Umberto Back In Custody

Posted by Tiziano



[click for larger image]

Sonya’s is the other recent case of a woman student in Perugia who ended up in harm’s way.

In Italy this case gets as much attention as Meredith’s case, in part because Sonya is also very appealing, and in part because here to there seems to have been such callous cruelty.

You can read our previous posts here concluding with her boyfriend’s strange disappearance - the image above is when Umberto Bindella reappeared, out of his vehicle which had plunged down a slope, perhaps with suicidal intentions. 

Tam Tam is now reporting new developments. This is translated from the Italian:

Developments in the Sonia Marra - Umberto Brindella case.

A jacket belonging to the young man from Marsciano will be subjected to precise scientific analyses in the next few days; on the other hand, a decision on the appeal against his release from prison is expected on May 7th.

On April 7th the scientific analyses on a jacket of Umberto Bindella, the young man from Marsciano under investigation for the disappearance of the student Sonia Marra, will be carried out.

The investigators therefore are continuing to sound out the relations between the two.

On the other hand, the hearing of the Tribunal to examine the Proscutor’s appeal on the merits of the provision to release Bindella from prison is set down for May 7th.

The regional TV news in its afternoon edition also referred to talk about a failure to find telephone records between Bindella and Ms Marra.

This fact is said not to have repercussions on the investigation, but would add another “mystery” to the whole business.

Posted on 04/02/10 at 10:44 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #6: The Sole Suspect Goes Missing For Several Days

Posted by Tiziano


We have posted several times previously on the case of Sonia Marra, a missing and possibly murdered Perugia student.

Her boyfriend Umberto Bindella (above after being found) is the sole suspect. On March 12th the Review Court will decide on the appeal by Prosecuting Magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini against Umberto Bindella’s recent release from Capanne Prison, where he was being held while police investigations were advancing.

Terni In Rete reported a couple of days ago that Umberto Bindella had gone missing for several days and there was a fear that he might have caused himself harm .

BINDELLA FOUND. “THEY HAVE RUINED MY LIFE AND CONTINUE TO DO SO”

FEBRUARY 28TH 2010 18.08 HOURS

By Adriano Lorenzoni

Bindella has been seen in the woods near Deruta in the vicinity of the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths.

UPDATE: The Carabinieri from Deruta have found Umberto Bindella in the woods around Deruta, near the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths. According to the first reports it has been learnt that Bindella was found in a confused state.  His vehicle was bogged down in a pool of mud. His parents and his lawyer, Daniela Paccoi rushed to the spot.  Bindella himself exchanged a few words with journalists to whom he insisted that he had absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance of Sonia Marra.

“They have ruined my life and continue to do so.  In reply to the reporters who asked him why he had run away from home, he replied, “I needed a break to think”.  His mother as well repeated that her son was “a victim”.

Lawyer Daniela Paccoi asked for “respect on behalf of the media” for her client.  “Umberto is confused, it’s been two days since he ate, he needs peace.  Perhaps we will give a press conference, for now let’s leave him in peace.”

Umberto Bindella was found safe and sound.  He was seen in the early afternoon by a group of trippers who were on a horse ride through the woods around Deruta.  The Carabinieri who were alerted straight away went to the spot.  First they found Bindella’s car, then they came upon Bindella himself, who was found in good physical conditions.  According to first reports, Bindella is supposed to have told the officers that he had no intention of going home.

During the 48 hours when Bindella left no trace of himself, his parents feared that he could have done himself extreme harm.  He had left papers on his desk in which he expressed his disappointment about justice, holding himself to be its victim….



And La Nazione has the story on what he claimed happened, and Bindella is now back in Perugia. 

Perugia, the finding of Umberto Bindella

Luca Vagnetti

“I didn’t run away, I just needed to be alone and think a bit, away from everyone.” The mystery around the disappearance of Umberto Bindella finished in a little stretch of woods, between Deruta and Casalina.

Deruta, March 1st, 2010 – On Friday evening the traces of the 31year-old young man accused of the murder of the student Sonia Marra (missing since November 2006 when she was 25) were lost. 

Yesterday the Carabinieri of the Deruta Branch found him not far from the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths, from where it seems that he had not budged in the period of time between his leaving home and his discovery.  Upset and nervous to the point of attacking a photographer, but alive, hidden in a little wood on the edges of the highway in his Honda Jazz, which had ended up accidentally in a ditch.

Therefore the possibility of a tragic final gesture has been averted.  “My family knows that I could never do such a thing,” Bindella said referring to the theory of a suicide which had actually circulated straight after he went away. The arrival of the forces of law and order, of his parents, of his sister and brother-in-law served to calm down the young man, who then vented his feelings into the microphones of the press.

“The system is disgusting” he said “and this event is ruining my life.  I’m not afraid of the trial, I’m afraid of the system; in spite of everything I still trust in justice, I’m ready to defend my honour and to show my innocence.”

Wearing a dark red jumper, blue jeans and black shoes, Bindella let himself go and intensely showed his state of mind.

“They are depriving me of liberty, of dignity, of work and everything.  This whole business is stopping me from living the years between 30 and 40; and once all the accusations against me collapse, nobody will be able to give me back what has been taken away from me.  I am innocent, I reaffirm this, but the system thinks differently: I have clarified my position; I have given all the explanations, everything that I have been asked.”

“I don’t feel like a scapegoat, at the most a victim: the investigations are all going in one direction; they are trying every way to find me guilty, without examining other possibilities.”

Bindella speaks openly of the “obtuseness” of the magistrates, while his mother holds her hand on his shoulder and seems to almost hold up this big man who is almost a foot taller than she is.

“I believe him – the woman declares, her eyes dense with emotion and understandable concern – because he is a good lad.  He needed to think and probably he could have done so differently; he’s done something foolish, but this going away doesn’t mean anything in itself.”

The tow truck arrives to pull out Bindella’s car, a small crowd gathers on the edge of the road: the young man who wanted to reflect all alone thus finds himself once again with so many eyes directed at him.

Below: Deruta is about 20 minutes drive south of Perugia at the west edge of a forrested area.


Posted on 03/01/10 at 01:54 PM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #5: Prosecuter Indicates Case Against Sonia’s Lover Is Strong

Posted by Tiziano


Sonia Marra and Meredith Kercher may be the only two women students to meet a brutal and senseless end over a very long period in Perugia.

This case - one of a search for true justice for Sonia - remains a demonstration of the same carefulness of the Perugia judiciary, cool persistence of the police and prosecuting magistrate, and restraint of the Italian press that we have seen in Meredith’s case. 

Last week Umberto Bindella was released from Capanne Prison as a murder suspect and he headed back to his apartment in Perugia. We presumed that Friday’s would be our final post on the case, at least for a while, and that it might never be solved.

Not so fast, it seems.

The prosecuting magistrate has now argued that the judge who released Bindella (Judge Micheli, yes, our Judge Micheli) had not considered new evidence against Bindella seriously enough, and seeks to put Bindella back behind bars to ward off the possibility of his disappearing.

This report on this stand of the prosecutor, which may or may not win out, appeared in today’s La Nazione - Umbria Edition.

THE PM: BINDELLA MUST GO BACK BEHIND BARS

By Erika Pontini

It was on the cards and it has happened: the magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini wants Umberto Bindella behind bars and has lodged an appeal against the decision of judge Paolo Micheli who decided to free the only person under investigation for the murder of Sonia Marra because, in his opinion, the serious indications of guilt which permit the application of custody on remand were lacking.

“A leap in quality in the consistency and seriousness of the clues had been demonstrated, as evidenced above, precisely in the realisation that he [Bindello - Ed] had allowed himself to make incriminating admissions [to his police officer friend when he was supposed to have said ‘I’ve made a real mess.’-Ed] when he should not have yet known anything about the disappearance of Sonia Marra…. Up until today the clues were lacking that last but essential element.”

It will now be the Perugia Review Tribunal - presided over by Dottoressa Nicla Flavia Restivo - which will decide whether the thirty-one year old from Marsciano must go back to a cell, or whether the prosecution will continue investigations with Bindella out on bail. 

The tribunal should decide within twenty days.

Doubts remain about many of the statements of the person under investigation - this is even the opinion of investigating magistrate Micheli - who probably lied about some of the profiles noted above, both about relations with the girl and about [his friend the financier who provided an alibi - Ed] Galluccio, with whose contribution, whether as a witness or as a co-accused, it is fair to imagine it would be possible to reach concrete results. And the statement of the witness remains valid [the little girl’s - Ed] and has an important circumstantial value.

But in itself it is not sufficient to maintain the restriction on Bindella’s personal liberty.It is reasonable to hold that, on the basis of what has been gathered, he should be tried: but the law requires that he should take part as a free man;  also, the theory that the differences can be resolved between the possible reconstructions of the phone call with [the police officer friend -Ed] through a confrontation between the latter and the person under investigation himself, does not legitimise the continuation of remand in custody, there exists nonetheless a situation of doubt where the general principles of the law bind this judge to resolve in the sense favourable to the accused, who must be permitted to take part in that and other trial activities as a free man.”

Umberto Bindella had been investigated in recent weeks after three years of uninterrupted investigations into the disappearance of the student from Specchia.  On January 18th judge Paolo Micheli, accepting the request of the prosecution, had ordered the measure of remand in custody against the ex forestry worker accused of murder, concealment of a body and the theft of Sonia’s two mobile phones.

After 19 days in a cell and following the application of the defence - Daniela Paccoi and Silvia Egidi - judge Micheli changed his mind and decided on the release of the man under investigation.  The Prosecuting Magistrate, however,  is not convinced by that reasoning and in five pages explains to the Review Court why the thirty (sic) year-old from Marsciano must go back behind bars.


Posted on 02/17/10 at 12:25 AM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meredith’s Perugia #22: Salento In South-Eastern Italy - Where Sonia Came From

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Posted on 02/14/10 at 08:37 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer PerugiaOther legal processesItalian relatedThe wider contexts
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Friday, February 12, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #4: And Finally The Story Of Sonia’s Still-Unresolved Case In Pictures

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our final post on the Sonia Marra case for now. Click on all for larger images.


Above: Sonia lived in the relatively new and modern Montemorcino area of Perugia at the bottom of the hill below the old town about two kilometers from the town center.

Five minutes walk to the south of her area are the railway station and central police station. Ten minutes to the north is the computer-science department Sollecito attended.


Above: Sonia lived at center-left of this map. Sollecito and Guede lived near top-center. Meredith and Knox lived at center-right, north of the parking facility shown in light blue.

The main University of Perugia campus is at top-center and top-left here, in that steep hillside area in between where Sonia lived and where Sollecito lived.


Above: Looking up at the north of the old city from Sonia’s area down on the flat. Most of the buildings at the top of the shot are part of the University of Perugia.


Above: Again, looking up at north old Perugia. We dont know where Sonia studied - the medical faculty is a long way off, to the north-east of the old town.


Above: These are steps leading down from the university area which, if Sonia walked to and from that area, she would almost certainly have used.


Above: The quiet and elegant neighborhood at the bottom of those stairs, which is about five minutes walk from where Sonia lived.


Above: This is one or two blocks away in the same area. The rents for apartments here are lower than in the old town of Perugia.


Above: Another street in the same area; although there are plenty of cars, most people would enter and exit this quiet area from the south.


Above: This is claimed to be the apartment building where Sonia was living, though the two flags (one of them the EU flag) have us puzzled. 


Above: This is the same apartment building, now from the side, showing at top left what is said to be the apartment from which Sonia disappeared.


Above: This and the shot below show what is said to be the one (rather small) window of Sonia’s apartment that actually had a view, of sorts.


Above: This is another view of the window, with the rolling wooden shutters outside the glass windows found on most modern buildings in Italy.


Above:Two of the Carabinieri officers who were active on the case - all disappearances in Italy are handled by Italy’s national police. 


Above: One of the Perugia offices of the national Carabinieri police from which investigations into missing people are conducted.


Above: Another of the Perugia offices of the national Carabinieri police from which investigations into Sonia’s case took place.


Above: The prosecutors’ office in old Perugia which became involved in the case when it first looked like it might be one of murder.


Above: Another shot of the prosecutors’ office - we believe this is where Mr Mignini can be found, though he is not active on Sonia’s case. 


Above: Another shot of Sonia; her sister Anna said she did not like to be photographed though in many shots she looks nice and appealing.


Above: A shot of Sonia and her mother Lucia who has traveled to Perugia from Specchia several times to help focus attention on her missing daughter.


Above: this is another shot of Sonia’s mother Lucia who is seen here at a special meeting on Sonia of the town council of Perugia.


Above: This is a shot of Sonia’s sister Anna Marra who has now lived in Perugia for three years, she is seen here in a Rome TV studio.


Above: this is another shot of Anna, seen here arranging sacramental candles in front of posters of Sonia and another missing person.


Above: This is said to be one of Sonia’s two brothers; Sonia had two older brothers and this is said to be Giacomo, the second.


Above: This is the catholic cathedral in Sonia’s hometown of Specchia at the very south-east of Italy 4-5 hours drive from Perugia.


Above: This is an aerial image of the coastline - Specchia is a couple of kilometers inland from from these beaches and the many holiday homes.


Above: This is another aerial image of the coastline - it is one arrival area for illegal immigrants who make it across by open boat from north Africa.


Above: This is the lawyer in Perugia who handles legal matters for the Marra family - they pay all of their own legal costs as far as we know.


Above: This is Umberto Bindella who was arrested for murder and last week released; Sonia claimed she loved him, he denied they had had an affair.


Above: Another shot of Umberto Bindella, Sonia’s probable lover, released last week but apparently still suspected, seen here together with his mother.


Above: This is the priest Father Stefano Ciacca who lived and worked at the Cante di Montevecchio and apparently was very friendly with Sonia.


Above: More than three years ago Father Ciacca was arrested for mailing a package of cocaine to himself from Colombia in south America. 


Above: Father Ciacca was sentenced to several years in prison, it is theorized that Sonia might have known something about the drug deal.

That is the reason why Sonia’s sister Anna keeps ringing the Cante di Montevecchio doorbell - only to encounter a complete wall of silence.


Above: This is prisoner Michele Mariucci being interviewed in prison by a TV reporter from a Rome TV network about Father Ciacca and Sonia.


Above: Michele Mariucci has admitted traveling with Father Ciacca to Colombia to mail back cocaine worth several hundred thousand dollars.

The cocaine was mailed to a false name in Perugia and Father Ciacca turned up to collect it, very shortly before Sonia Marra disappeared.

The police knew the package contained cocaine because dogs had identified it when the aircraft carrying it was unloaded at Rome airport. 


Above: This is the Rome TV studio from which the weekly missing-persons program “Chi l’ha visto?” (“Who has seen him/her?”) originates.


Above: This is one of the presenters of the widely-watched missing-persons program; she is seen here interviewing Anna Marra about Sonia.


Above: this is one of the posters with Sonia’s image and an appeal for help which Anna has been taping up for three years around Perugia.


Above: Another of the posters of Sonia, now faded so that the image is not recognizable; about 2000 people are presently missing in Italy.


Above: Some of the 2000 missing are seen here on the “Chi l’ha visto?” website; Sonia’s image can be at the bottom center here. 


Above: Click on Sonia’s image on the “Chi l’ha visto?” website page and this page for her case opens up with some details and four TV videos.


Above: The town council of Perugia held a special session on Sonia last year to keep attention on her and other persons missing.


Above: Another shot of the Perugia town council meeting which Sonia’s mother attended; Italy is nothing if not a caring country.


Above: Sonia is seen here in a video walking through a crowd; this video and some others were shown several times nationally.


Above: Sonia in her bedroom with what was said to be her stuffed cuddly creature and a shot of herself when she was younger.

These four posts on TJMK on Sonia’s case are the only English-language reports to have appeared about her anywhere.

Rest in peace, Sonia. We guess you, too, are never coming back. And may the Marra family of Specchia also arrive at some peace.

Posted on 02/12/10 at 06:47 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #3: The High Standard The Italian Media Have Maintained Throughout

Posted by Tiziano


As with the many hundreds of Italian reports we’ve read on Meredith’s case, the reporting on Sonia Marra’s case has been objective, compassionate, and full of detail.

The tendency to demonize suspects and defendants that seems not uncommon in the UK and US tabloids and on the US TV crime talk-shows has never surfaced in the Sonia Mara case - even though in one respect there might have been some reason: the strange alternative theory of the crime (our next post) involving a drug-dealing priest.

This is quite a high-profile case in Italy for at least three reasons. Sonia disappeared right out of her apartment - she was not in a high-risk place. Sonia’s sister Anna has worked tirelessly in Perugia to keep some public attention on Sonia. And a TV network program and website that tracks hundreds of cases of missing people in Italy has done an excellent job.

This is a sampling of the articles up to where Sonia’s boyfriend or fiance Umberto Bindella was arrested; he was subsequently released again when the judge found the evidence inadequately conclusive. 

1. Translated from a permanent fixture on The RAI Website

The Sonia Marra Disappearance

Sonia Marra is a 25 year-old girl from Puglia who lives in Perugia and is a student in the Faculty of Medicine of this city. 

On November 61th, 2006 her mother called Sonia [from the south-east tip of Italy] as she did every evening, but her mobile phones were turned off.  Alarmed, the woman rang her other daughter, Anna, who lives in Rome with her fiancé, Paolo. 

The two began to ring the young woman from Puglia again and again throughout the night, without however succeeding in tracing her. 

On the morning of November 17th,  Paolo went to the apartment in Perugia where Sonia lived alone. He could not get in. However since there was a strong odour of gas coming from the house, he called the fire brigade, and they broke a window and went in.

There was no trace of the girl in the apartment.  According to a witness, the evening of the disappearance, about 8.00 PM, a car stopped below the dwelling of Sonia.  A man got out from a light-coloured car and went towards the girl’s apartment on the first floor of the premises. 

He opened the door with keys without forcing the lock.  Noises were heard from inside the house; then this individual went out, got into the car and went away.  Many investigations have been made, but there is no trace of the girl.

A murder investigation has been opened on the disapearance.

2. Translated from the RAI Internet site:

An Arrest In The Sonia Marra Case

Perugia, 18/01/2010

In the matter of the investigation into the disappearance of Sonia Marra, a warrant for the arrest and detention on remand of Umberto Bindella was issued during the afternoon. This was confirmed by the man’s lawyer, Daniela Paccoi, to the Italian TV programme and website “Chi l’ha visto?” [“Who has seen him/her?”] 

A civil servant, 31 years old, from Marsciano, Bindella is said to have had a brief romance with the girl, who is from Specchia in the province of Lecce.  He had already been interviewed a few days after the disappearance [of the girl] as a person informed about the facts.

His status had then changed at the end of last November, when he was investigated for murder and the concealment of the student’s body. The Carabinieri of the Perugia contingent and the Communication Police had returned to him after examining the phone records of the girl. 

The investigators also accuse him of the theft of the victim’s mobile phone in order to impede the investigations.

“Chi l’ha visto?” has dealt with the disappearance of the student from Puglia, Sonia Marra, which took place in the Umbrian capita in November 2006, on several occasions.

3. Translated from Terni In Rete

Sonia Marra Case: Umberto Bindella Denies all Accusations

19th January, 2010 at 23.51 Hours by Adriano Lorenzon

Sonia’s sister:“finding her alive is just a heartfelt hope”

According to the Public Prosecutor in Perugia, the parameters of the accusations against Umberto Bindella are quite clear.  Bindella was Sonia Marra’s fiancé.  This relationship is one which the civil servant from Marsciano continues to hotly deny, despite the fact that it is confirmed by numerous phone contacts, and above all, SMS between the two, according to the investigators. 

Furthermore, Bindella is said to have confided in a policeman friend the day after the disappearance of Sonia Marra, a disappearance about which he could not yet have known.  According to the evidence of this police officer,  Bindella is said to have referred to a “mess and something much bigger than you or me”. 

In support of the prosecution theory there is also the evidence of a tenant in the building where Sonia Marra was living.  The woman described a man, seen on the stairs, a description which corresponds to that of Bindella, according to the investigators.  According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, an argument between the two fiancés about the possible pregnancy of Ms Marra degenerated into a murder.

Umberto Bindella’s lawyers disagrees completely.  Accorrding to Silvia Egidi “it is an established fact that there was no pregnancy.  The test was negative, as stated by a nun.”  According to Daniela Paccoi, another defense lawyer, there is no mystery about the confidence made to the police officer friend. “Bindella knew that the carabinieri were looking for him because he knew Ms Marra.”  Paccoi concluded, “This is tortuous explanation of recognised facts.”

Sonia Marra disappeared on November 26th, 2006.  From that day, her family has followed the unfolding investigations in the hope that they would end up in Sonia’s being found alive.  Today Sonia’s sister Anna spoke out, referring explicitly to this hope. 

“Finding her alive,” said Anna, “is only a heartfelt hope.  More realistically, I am waiting to find out where her body is, so it can be brought home.  Sonia did not foresee that she would end as she probably has.”

4. Translated from La Nazione Umbria

Sonia Marra’s Disappearance

Perugia, 19/01/2010

There were several telephone calls and SMS texts between Sonia Marra and Umberto Bindella in the days that preceded the probable death of the student from Puglia, in November 2006.

And ‘the findings from an examination of phone records of the two like those conducted by the postal police in any investigation has led to the arrest of the thirty-one year old Marsciano employee on charges of murder and concealment of a corpse (not yet found).

The mobile phone of the twenty-five-year-old of Specchia (Lecce) has never been found. But the findings showed that it was turned off on the afternoon of her disappearance and was never turned on again.

In the investigation conducted by the Postal Police and the Carabinieri, coordinated by the prosecutor of Perugia, it has been suggested that Bindella had a romantic relationship with Marra. In particular, the student - the investigators believe - was particularly infatuated with him.

According to the reconstruction in the charge accusing Bindella, the disappearance and murder of Sonia Marra could be linked to a discussion about a possible pregnancy of the young student. Among the elements of the accusation against Bindella is a statement quoted by a policeman friend of his:’‘I’ve made a big mess.’’

The order is for remand in custody assuming risk of escape. Bindella, already interrogated in the past by investigators, has always denied any responsibility in the disappearance of the young woman. He also claimed that he had a romantic relationship with her but it was simple knowledge.

One of the central points of the reconstruction in the charge made on the basis of investigations conducted by police is a confidence picked up by a policeman friend of Bindella whereby the employee, the day after the disappearance of Marra, made reference to ‘‘something bigger than you and me.’’ And at that moment the young man - argued the prosecution - could not yet know that the student was no more in touch.

Another element is the description given by one of the tenants of a man seen on the stairs of the building where the couple lived for investigators that corresponds to the employee. The assumption is that accusations between the two there was a discussion related to a possible pregnancy of Sonia Marra, based on a test purchased by Bindella and a gynecological examination booked by the young woman but never sustained.

According to the lawyer Silvia Egidi, one of the defenders of the arrested man Bindella ‘It is a fact that there was no pregnancy. The test’‘(which our client has always spontaneously admitted to having purchased for the young woman) was negative and this includes confirmation by a Sister’‘.

Hence, no motive is seen by the defense and also no mystery about the phrase said to his policeman friend. “Bindella knew’’ explained lawyer Paccoi, that the police were searching for him because he knew Marra….

Anna Marra, Sonia’s sister who more than three years ago moved to Perugia to follow the investigation into the disappearance of her sister, says Sonia was in love with Bindella. “In recent times before her disappearing Sonia was strange, she told me that something was not being reciprocated.’’

Sonia, explained her sister,’‘had no reason to leave home that day. She did not expect to meet the end that she probably did.’‘

.
5. Translated from Corriere

The Sonia Marra Case

From our correspondent Francesca Mandese in Specchia

“We hope that Sonia is still alive.” After the arrest of the ex-fiancé expectations have grown in Specchia. Sonia’s brother and sister Giacomo and Anna say “We want to know the truth.”

The marra house is two storeys, a white and pink cottage.  In the early afternoon hours it appears to be empty, with the shutters closed and the doors bolted.  Inside, however, there is deep suffering, such as you would never wish to experience. 

Donato Marra, the father, Lucia Valente Marra, the mother, and brother Giacomo, the only one of the four children still at home; have left the phone off the hook so that they don’t have to talk about Sonia, who disappeared three years ago and who was perhaps killed by a fiancé who now even denies having mixed with her, other than as a simple acquaintance.

There is nobody in the streets of Specchia, a little town in the south of Salento.  There is not even anyone in Via Marconi where at number 23 the Marra family lives. 

At the ringing of the doorphone Giacomo himself responds, looking out from the doorway, but he says that his parents don’t want to talk to anyone.  “They found out yesterday evening [about the arrest], the lawyer Alessandro Vesi from Perugia rang us. He told us to remain calm, not to get alarmed, because, even if they have arrested that man, Sonia’s body has not been found and therefore nothing is certain yet.”
 
There are four children in the Marra family, the oldest, Piero, is 38, married; then there is Giacomo, 36, who still lives with his parents, Anna, 34, who since November 2006, the moment that Sonia disappeared, moved from Rome to Perugia to look for her sister, who today would be 29 and who was studying in the Umbrian city to become a bio-medical laboratory technician. 

The only one to know about the affair between Sonia and Umberto Bindella, the 31 year-old civil servant from Marsciano accused of murder, concealment of a corpse and suppression of evidence (the girl’s mobile phone has never been found) was actually Anna.

“My sister always talked to me about him.  She was in love with Umberto Bindella,” the woman repeated again yesterday.  “In the time just before she disappeared” Anna explains further “I felt that Sonia was out out of sorts.  She told me that something wasn’t going well for her.”  According to Anna, Bindella “was the second boy-friend in Sonia’s life.” 

Anna explains further, “I met him after my sister’s disappearance - she continues -and I spoke to him.  He told me that hers was a friendship like many others.  Sonia had no reasons to leave home.  There was no expectation that she would end up as she did.”

But they don’t want to talk about that end in the Marra household.  “We hope that she is still alive” says Giacomo “that she is being held somewhere against her will.  This is the last hope that we can hold onto.  Certainly, in these three years the thought that she could be dead has also come to us, but we have always relegated it to the back of our minds.”

Giacomo confirms that, as his father declared on a TV programme, the family wants to know the truth and wants justice.  “We are not people who like showing our feelings - he says further - we don’t even have many photos of Sonia because she would run off when she saw a camera.  My parents are really exhausted.” 

And even his reddened eyes betray suffering and pain, even if hope has not yet left this clean and tidy, silent house. Thus, after a brief chat Giacomo says good-bye and goes back inside to his parents Donato and Lucia, in expectation of a phone call which will reduce the anguish and placate the pain.  A phone call which perhaps will never come.

6. Translated from La Nazione Umbria

Anna, Sonia’s sister:“She was in love with him”

Sonia’s sister Anna moved from Puglia to Perugia in November 2006 to follow investigations on the lost student.

A young man from Marsciano, Bindella, has been arrested & accused of murder

“My sister talked about him all the time. She was in love with him…. In the time just before she disappeared I felt Sonia was acting strange. She would tell me that something wasn’t going well for her.”

The Marra family’s lawyer Alessandro Vesi said that “Of course Bindella must be considered innocent and will remain so until there is an eventual finding of definite guilt.”

On behalf of his clients. the Marra family, the lawyer then thanked the Perugia Prosecutor’s office, in particular Giuseppe Petrazzini and Federico Centrone, for their assistance to the the relatives of the missing student.

Vesi said Bindella’s arrest did not automatically imply guilt but adoption of this measure does mean that the prosecuting magistrate and the judge have absolutely important elements. He spoke of the news “hurting the morale of the family because it reduces the hope of finding her [Sonia] alive”

Anna Marra:said Bindella was only the second important man in Sonia’s life. Anna met him after her sister’s disappearance and spoke to him. He told her that it was just a friendship like many of his others. He went places with her and he knew many details about Sonia’s life.

Anna believes that her sister had no reason for leaving her home. Anna concluded by saying that that her sister’s end was not expected.

7. Translated from the Umbria Journal

Marra Case - a Crucial Week Begins for Umberto Bindella

24/01/2010 at 19.14 hours

The week about to begin will be decisive for umberto Bindella, in prison accused of the murder of Sonia Marra, the student from Puglia who disappeared in Perugia on November 16th three years ago. 

His legal representatives have presented a request fro the lifting of remand in custody invoked by GIP Paolo Michele, and an application for his release from custody has been put to the review court. 

Thus these are crucial days for Bindella, arrested a week ago for the murder and the concealment of the corpse of the young woman from Puglia. 

The legal representatives Daniela Pacconi and Silvia Egidi are certain of the innocence of the young man and convinced of the inconsistency of the clues pointing to the involvement of their client

And subsequently Bindella was released by the judge for lack of enough conclusive evidence as Catnip has posted below.

Posted on 02/11/10 at 10:36 PM by TizianoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #2: Summary Of Known Facts To Release Last Week Of Prime Suspect

Posted by catnip


The Sonia Marra case hits another dead-end (blind alley) (n1).

Umberto Bindella, 31,  accused of the murder of student Sonia Marra who vanished in November 2006, was released the afternoon of 6 February 2010. (n2).

He had always maintained his innocence. (n3)

The Perugia GIP granted a defence request for release of their client (n4),  who had been in prison since 18 December 2009 (n5).

According to one of Bindella’s lawyers, Daniela Paccoi, the GIP had decided the evidence was insufficient (n6). “The evidence has been shown to be quite weak. There is no evidence against Umberto Bindella.” (n7).

“In any case, they found confirmation, elements furnished by Bindella himself, suporting his defence case.” (n8).

The GIP’s decision, following the defence’s formal request for a release from custody for their client, “was handed down due to lack of evidence against Umberto Bindella,” she said. (n9)

Bindella’s other lawyer, Egidi, also expressed satisfaction with the decision. (n10)  Waiting for him outside the prison, besides his lawyers, his parents were also present. (n11)

Bindella’s first words were: “I don’t want to appear banale, but Justice has been done.”  (n12)  “I’m satisfied.” (n13)

The same Justice that Sonia Marra’s family is waiting for. (n14)  They have had no news of the Pugliese student since 16 November 2006. (n15)

She left her apartment in order, and all her things behind. (n16)  Her disappearance is still wrapped in mystery. (n17)

FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES BELOW IMAGES OF SONIA



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Posted on 02/09/10 at 09:13 PM by catnipClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, February 08, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #1: Summary Of The Known Facts Up To The Charging Of A Suspect

Posted by catnip



[Above: Sonia Marra is at center here - we have many more photos to be added]


This annotated summary below of the known facts of Sonia’s case up to the charging of a suspect is the first of four posts here on TJMK.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting on on the release of the suspect. Then there will be two posts by my fellow Italian-speaker Tiziano, who has translated many of the media reports.

Sonia’s case is of special interest to us here because violence to women happens rarely in Perugia, and a year prior to Meredith meeting her fate, this case placed a cloud over the town.

And there are two other reasons why it is of interest.

  • It reflects the caring and discretion which is for the most part to be found in the Italian media - nobody here has been demonized.
  •  
  • It reflects the extreme caution of the Italian judiciary, which has released the prime suspect when the evidence did not stand up.

These facts are drawn from a number of Italian sources, and you will find all of them below listed the fold (“MORE”) at the bottom of this post.

The known facts

Sonia Marra disappeared on 16 November 2006 in Perugia (n1). She was 25 years old (n2).

Her body has never been found (n3) and nor has her phone (n4)  which was switched off on the evening of her disappearance and was never switched on again (n5).

Despite really intense investigations, there has never since been any trace of her (n6).

Her ex-boyfriend Umberto Bindella was arrested (n7)  at 6pm on the 18 January 2010 (n8) on suspicion of her murder - he is now released again, see below.

Her family raised the alarm when they were no longer able to make phone contact with her (n9).  Her mother called her that night, as she did every day, but her phones were off (n10).

Alarmed, she called her other daughter Anna, who lives in Rome with her boyfriend Paolo (n11). They both tried all night to call her, but were unsuccessful. (n12).



[Above: Sonia’s amazing sister Anna who moved to Perugia and incessantly fanned interest]

On the morning of the 17th, Paolo went to her apartment in Perugia (n13). He was unable to enter, seeing as there was a strong smell of gas coming out. (n14).

At this point, Sonia’s cousin called the Fire Brigade, who gained entry. (n15). The place was all in order. There was no trace of Sonia at all. (n16).

A (young woman) neighbour in Sonia’s building (n17)  saw someone on the stairs (n18) matching Bindella’s description. (n19).

According to a witness, on the night of the disappearance, at around 8pm, a car parked underneath her apartment. (n20).

A man got out of the light-coloured car and headed towards Sonia’s first-floor apartment. (n21).  He opened the door with keys, without forcing the lock.(n22).

Noises were heard from inside apartment, then the man exited, got into the car and left. (n23).

Sonia was from Specchia (n24) in the Lecce district (n25) of southern Puglia (n26) and she was studying in Perugia (n27)  at the University of Perugia (n28)  at the Faculty of Medicine (n29) training to become a biomedical lab technician (n30).

She was living alone in an apartment in the Elce zone downhill to the west of the historic town centre (n31) not far from the railway station (Meredith would have passed very close by at times) and the central police station.

She was formerly with the Theological School in Montemorcino, where she had got to know Umberto (n32).  She was doing volunteer secretarial work there (n33)  and they both lodged there for a time (n34).

The family’s lawyer is Alessandro Vesi (n35)  who is representing them during the investigations as “persons injured” (n36).

They never gave up the search for Sonia and the hope of finding her alive (n37).  But Vesi says: “The ray of hope of ever seeing Sonia again is diminishing ever smaller.” (n38).

“There is no way that this [arrest of Bindella] can ever be spoken of as a victory.” (n39).

“For the family, it was gut-wrenching to hear the word ‘murder’ tied to Bindella’s interview, and thereby also to Sonia’s disappearance. They were still hoping she would be found alive.” (n40).

“His arrest now has thrown them into deeper despair.” (n41).

According to the family, the young man would be “considered innocent until the last definitive appeal” (n42).  “Certainly, his arrest is a strong link in the investigations, but we have to wait for the conclusion of the proceedings.” (n43).

Umberto Bindella, 31 years old (n44) with no previous record (n45), is from Marsciano (n46). He had been under investigation since November 2009 (n47).

He was charged with: wilful murder (n48) and hiding a body (still not found) (n49) and suppressing evidence (a mobile phone) (n50) and aggravated theft (of a phone) (n51) with a view to misleading the investigation (n52) by making it more complex. (n53).

He denied all the allegations (n54)  and his lawyers were confident of accompanying him home after a review hearing (n55) which was two hours long (n56) before the GIP Claudia Matteini (n57).

The public prosecutor is Giuseppe Petrazzini (n58). The Chief Prosecutor is Federico Centrone (n59).

The precautionary custody arrest order, requested by public prosecutor Giuseppe Petrazzini and signed by the GIP Paolo Micheli, was carried out by the Carabineri of the provincial command and by the Postal Police (n60).

The order mentioned the possibility of evidence tampering and flight risk. (n61). The arrest was confirmed by his lawyer (n62) as well as by the carabinieri (n63) and the TV program “Has anyone seen them?” (“Chi l’ha visto”) (n64) which has featured the case for a while now. (n65).

The TV program is held in high regard by viewers and is presented by Federica Sciarelli, 51 (n66)

Sonia’s family were said to be “surprised” by Umberto’s arrest (n67). The news had thrown them into deep consternation (n68). They had up until then hoped to welcome their daughter back with open arms. (n69)



[Above: Sonia’s hometown at the south-east corner of Italy, south of Sollecito’s hometown]

The Case made against Bindella 

Bindella was the last person to have seen Sonia alive in Perugia (n70). He was interviewed various times previously (n71), in fact 4 times previously (n72). At the last interview, he admitted he was an old partner of hers (n73).

He was interviewed for 3 hours by the Public Prosecutor on 26 November, accompanied by his parents (n74). He was then interviewed as a suspect (n75) and was the only suspect ever (n76).

He had been interviewed in the past as “a person informed of the facts” (n77). His status changed last December (n78).

He has always denied having a relationship with Sonia or being involved in her disappearance (n79). He was only “a passing acquaintance”, “only a friend” (n80). The investigators thought he was lying (n81).

He says they met at the ex-forestiera at the ex-seminary (n82).

His lawyers are Daniela Paccoi (n83)  from the “Foro di Perugia” (n84)  and Silvia Egidi (n85).

The Public Prosectutor thought the picture against Bindella was clear. (n86).  So did the GIP (n87).

Investigators hypothesised there was a (brief) romantic relationship (n88).  Sonia was particularly fond of him, they think. (n89).  They not only knew each other but there was a relationship going beyond mere friendship. (n90).

That in fact he was her boyfriend. (n91) which he denied (n92),

Just before she disappeared, she bought a pregnancy test kit (n93)  (which Bindella says he bought, at her request) (n94) and she had booked a visit to the gynecologist (n95) though she never turned up. (n96).

Triggering the murder prosecutors believed was the news that Sonia might probably be pregnant (n97) and this degenerated into a murder (n98).

It was Bindella who, from the first, informed the investigators that she was having problems because she knew she was pregnant. (n99). He wasn’t ready for the responsibility and so prosecutors believed decided to kill her. (n100)

“I don’t know anything about a possible pregnancy for Sonia,” he told the magistrates at the initial interview. (n101)

But contradicting his assertion were two phone calls with her at the time when she was arranging an appointment with the gynecologist to confirm the pregnancy. (n102)

Phone contact was also made via SMS (n103), just before 8pm, the hour of her effective disappearance. (n104)

The phone records triggered the investigation which led to the arrest (n105)  after their analysis by the Postal Police of Perugia (n106)

The phone records established contact between Bindella and Marra, as well as with other people who, when interviewed, provided details useful to a reconstruction of the facts (n107)

As it turned out, she was not pregnant, but perhaps the news arrived too late. (n108).

In November, the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office ordered searches of the area around Montemorcino, where there are deep ravines where it is suspected Sonia’s remains might be found. (n109).

The day after the disappearance, before Binderlla was told about her disappearance, (n110),  “I’ve made a right mess of it,” he is understood to have told a police officer friend. (n111). “This is bigger than you or me.” (n112).

There are also doubts about his attendance at an Enlglish course on the night Sonia disappeared. (n113).

The prosecutors’ theory is pure fantasy, said his lawyers. (n114). Thjey said that Bindella, “from the first day, on his own initiative told the investigators that Sonia asked him to but a pregnancy test kit and he did so” (n115).

The prosecution was not certain there actually was a murder and, if there was, that Bindella did it, even if the elements of the case hint at an undeniable involvement. (n116).

Bindella was a bit demoralised by his arrest, but clear-headed and determined to assert his innocence. (n117). His lawyers immediately requested his release. (n118).

His lawyer Paccoi, flanked by her colleague Silvia Egidi, said:  “Bindella has answered all the questions put him, furnishing elements which he considered useful for demonstrating his innocence.” (n119).  “My client doesn’t understand why he was arrested.” (n120)

“He supplied further particulars regarding his movements prior to the student’s disappearance.” (n121). “In particular, the first two weeks of November, a period which Sonia had described to various people as ‘idyllic’.” (n122)

“But Bindella was not in Perugia for a week during that period, and we have documented proof.” (n123). “In particular, he was in Bologna for exams, and then in Pisa with his mother.” (n124)

“Other investigative leads were not fully followed, especially the possibility of other visitors.” (n125).  “Bindella is absolutely respectful of the law, even the road rules, to say nothing of criminal law.” (n126)

Paccoi says that there is no mystery about the remark made to the friend. (n127).  Bindella was explaining that the carabinieri were looking for him because he knew Sonia. (n128). He actually said: “What a mess! A friend of mine has disappeared.” (n129)

Even the witness doesn’t remember whether the phrase was “I made a mess” or “It’s a mess” (n130). “Lots of witnesses have modified or rectified their statements as the net drew in” (n131)

“This led in turn to a colpevolista-slanted investigation. (n132). “But I am totally convinced of his innocence, and he is the first innocent that I am defending.” (n133)

“There is no motive” (n134)  “It is a case of getting existing facts mixed up.” (n135).  “If there is no new evidence, it [the arrest] is a profoundly unjust act.” (n136).  “There is no reason at all why my client should remain in prison.” (n137)

Bindella’s lawyer is of completely the opposite opinion (n138).  “It’s a given fact that there was no pregnancy.” (n139).  “The test was negative; a nursing sister made mention of it.” (n140)

“It is obvious there is nothing new here and we therefore hope to establish that in the rights review hearing, which will probably be Thursday morning”, and further, “It is a given fact that there was no pregnancy and it is not even up for discussion.”  (n141)

Sonia’s sister Anna transferred to Perugia three years ago to look for her sister (n142).  She says: “finding her alive is only a slim hope now” (n143). “More realistically, I’m waiting to be told where her body is so we can bring her home” (n144)

“Sonia wasn’t expecting to end up where she probably did.” (n145).  “Sonia was in love with Bindella” (n146). “Just before she disappeared, Sonia was strange, she told me there was something that wasn’t working for her” (n147)

But “she didn’t have any reason to leave home.” (n148)

Commentator Federica Sciarelli:  “There is sadness, yes, but it transforms itself into anger, because in a lot of case, the research into the disappearances were not well done, often leaving dangerous people still on the loose. I’m always astounded by the number of women and girls who have vanished.”

“But call them for what they are: murder with the hiding of bodies. Take the recent case of Sonia Marra, the girl who went to Perugia to study and who called her mother every night: you think it’s possible that she could disappear without leaving even the slightest trace?” (n149)

FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES BELOW



[Above: The beaches near Sonia’s hometown of Spechia]

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Posted on 02/08/10 at 06:05 PM by catnipClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breaking News From Perugia: An Arrest In The Sad Case of Sonia Marra

Posted by Peter Quennell


Sonia Marra was an Italian medical student who disappeared from her apartment on 16 November 2006, just under one year before Meredith met her fate.

Her disappearance was one reason why some women in Perugia became very nervous on the news of Meredith’s death, and it may have helped color the press coverage.

Sonia’s case more or less fell below the radar even in Italy as the years passed and it never was widely reported elsewhere. But the police never forgot her.

Now they have arrested an ex-boyfriend, and the key evidence is said to be some mobile phone records, extensively analyzed once again.

The only reporting is in Italian. We should have more here on Sonia’s case next week - there is a lot of reporting to condense..

Below: Sonia’s sister Anna, who moved to Perugia and tried to sustain public interest in her missing sister.


Posted on 01/19/10 at 03:05 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Could The Italian Authorities Be Starting A Wave Of Libel + Slander Investigations?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s report on Sky News about the charges Amanda Knox’s parents are being investigated for.

The sliming of the prosecution, the police and investigators, and even the many judges in the process, never seemed to our legal contacts like a particularly good idea.

The CIA operatives trial we referred to in this post (over which the United States and the Italian prime minister could exert ZERO influence, please note) shows that Italy has a long arm and tough laws.

And the very independent judges and prosecutors are willing to take a very hard line to enforce them.

A Seattle lawyer who propagates what seems to us a pretty daffy and unfounded view of the case, made statements in the recent report by Italian network LA7 which don’t seem to have gone over very well in Italy. They may have attracted some official attention.

We dont know if the many statements made to an American audience on for example the ABC, CNN and CBS networks (most recently by New-York-based lawyer John Q Kelly) could attract investigations. But we do hear they might have all been taken note of, and it is possible the US networks might be monitoring their coverage of the case from now on.

ABC and KING-5 Seattle, both highly negative about Italy in recent months, may be particularly vulnerable.

And if and when the one administrative charge against Mr Mignini is dropped, an American crime-fiction writer and wannabe real-crime reporter might also perhaps find himself in the Italian legal cross-hairs for some very odd things he has said and written.

it will be interesting to see if any of the US-based media pick up on and report objectively on this development in Italy. Someone taking bets?

*******

Update #1: The Associated Press has just fed the defamation story to its client media outlets in the United States.

Update #2: The AP report has now gone viral. As of right now (2:00 pm New York time) Google is returning over 1500 hits. So the word is out: watch one’s tongue where Italian justice is concerned, or there may be consequences.

Update #3: Here is a safe bet based on some insider buzz. This development will make the US State Department and the American Embassy in Rome very happy. They have long wanted the sliming of Italy to stop.

Update #4: It sounds like it might make several million citizens of Seattle very happy too. They have long wanted the Mellases and Knoxes to simply stick to the truth - and address, you know, the hard evidence.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

How This Cable Car In The Dolomites Hangs Over The Trial In Perugia

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Dolomites (image below) are a spectacular range of mountains east of the Alps in north-east Italy.

In 1998 a squadron of American Prowlers (image at bottom) based in Italy as part of the US NATO presence was roaring up and down those valleys, when one cut the cable of the cable car shown above. Twenty people in a gondola died when it crashed to the ground 350 feet below.

The US military has a huge presence in Italy (scroll down to “Conditions in Italy”) and good US-Italian relations are extremely important as a result. But in this case, the airmen were yanked back to the US, under NATO rules, tried by other military officers - and found not guilty of anything except destroying a videotape.

Outrage in Italy and across Europe and even in the US was intense. There have since been very, very few US interventions in any judicial process in Italy.

Now suddenly there is a new US intervention and Italian emotions are getting stoked.

If the FOA campaign ever thought the US government would spring Amanda using political pressure, they could not have picked a worse country in Europe to ridicule and try to strong-arm.




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