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

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rare Case Where Extradition To Italy Was Refused Has Been Reversed By Brazil

Posted by Peter Quennell

The World Court in the Hague in the Netherlands which Italy used as a threat

This case shows how a remorseless Italy perseveres, and how it may involve the World Court.

This is the Cesare Battisti case (see his image below) which goes back to the early Berlusconi governments and beyond. It is not clear whether the Renzi government has been pressing Brazil hard but Battisti is very likely one day to be back in the land of his birth. And meanwhile he will remain locked up.

This is from a CNN report describing the status as of mid June 2009.

Battisti was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, or PAC, guerrilla group in Italy.

He is alleged to have participated in a number of crimes, which led to his incarceration. He escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 and was granted asylum in France during the presidency of Francois Mitterrand…

In 1998, Battisti was tried and convicted in absentia of the four killings. For several years, France and Italy were embroiled in diplomatic spats over extradition requests.

Battisti later fled to Mexico, where he continued his work as a writer of thriller novels, and subsequently to Brazil. In Brazil, his fate was oftentimes unclear.

In January 2009, the Brazilian Supreme Tribunal granted refugee status to Battisti. But later it reversed course and supported extradition, giving then-President Lula the final say.

“Italy may not like it, but will have to respect it,” Lula said at the time. “This person is being accused of a crime which took place in 1978, and his accuser no longer exists to prove the veracity of the facts.”

Lula sided with the Italian’s claims that the conviction against him was politically motivated, and in the last days of his administration rejected the extradition. Italy protested.

Brazil gave Battisti a status just one step short of citizenship. The Berlusconi government then threatened to take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (the World Court). Quite a threat.

That is something the Italian government could theoretically also do if there is a protracted wrangle over Knox. It may or may not have been one factor in what Brazil did next.

The Associated Press reports. This is from last week.

Brazil’s federal police on Thursday arrested former Italian communist militant Cesare Battisti on a judge’s deportation order.

The arrest comes despite former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2010 rejecting Italy’s extradition request for Battisti, who is a fugitive from Italian murder convictions. Silva granted him asylum and had the Supreme Court approve that decision three years later.

However, also in 2013, the top federal appeals court rejected Battisti’s request to overturn a Brazilian conviction for using fake immigration stamps in his passport when he entered Brazil in 2004.

Federal prosecutors used that decision to seek Battisti’s deportation, arguing he had violated Brazil’s Foreigner’s Law, which prohibits foreigners convicted of a felony in another country from receiving residency.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s motion, which led to his arrest Thursday. He was being held in Sao Paulo….

There are several layers of appeals that Battisti can make, and it’s expected to take years before his case again reaches the Supreme Court for a new ruling….

We’ve noted before that if countries want dangerous perps back, there are certain ways to apply pressure direct. For example, Interpol Red, notices and also this.

Posted on 03/19/15 at 12:58 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Knox extraditionOther legal processesOthers elsewhereMeredith-case hoaxesNo-extradition hoax
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paul Ciolino Hit With A $40 Million Suit For Real Railroad Job From Hell

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case

Investigator Paul Ciolino provides expertise for the CBS Network’s 48 Hours crime unit.

The staffing of that unit are all obsessively supportive of Amanda Knox and all unquestioningly channel the PR. Despite claims such as “16 months of investigation” they seem to have never settled down to do reality checks or due diligence of their own.

They include the talking head Peter Van Sant (from Seattle), producers Doug Longhini, Sara Ely Hulse, and Joe Halderman (fired for attempted blackmail) and the serial fabricator Doug Preston who with major CBS help has perpetrated various damaging hoaxes

In late 2008 Paul Ciolino helped to get the Perugia reporting by CBS off to a very unpromising start.

As Kermit showed Ciolino made a huge mistake in a gotcha attempt upon witness Nara Capezzali.

She had reported to the police that she heard footsteps on gravel by the house and directly below her window on the top deck of the parking facility and then clanging footsteps on the steel stairs a few yards to her right. She also reported seeing several figures on the run.

She would not talk with Ciolino, who got the locations very wrong and also ignored altogether what Madame Nara saw. His replication of the footsteps was by runners down on the bitumin street, which is about three times as far away as Madame Nara heard some steps, with a surface nothing like the gravel drive by the house. Then Ciolino reported that he couldnt hear anything. Hardly a surprise.

In 2009 Ciolino was the main speaker at the infamous Knox fundraiser at Salty’s in West Seattle. His presentation was shrill even by their standards. He was apparently the first ever to describe the case as a “railroad job from hell”.

That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.

Included in Ciolino’s presentation at Salty’s was an angry demonizing rant about Dr Mignini’s sanity. This rant was widely reported, not least in Italy.

In Perugia Knox’s own legal team protested the PR thrust. The BBC interviewed Dr Mignini and in a report on their website concluded the precise opposite to Ciolino’s claim.

In April 2009 CBS 48 Hours with biased takes by Ciolino and Preston aired American Girl, Italian Nightmare, the most misleading major US TV report as of that point, and Peter Van Sant aired his own misleading take.

Later still in 2009 CBS 48 Hours Producer Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail. Halderman had to resign after pleading guilty and is long gone.

In 2011 CBS 48 Hours aired the so-called untold story of Knox. CBS 48 Hours also aired numerous other short segments (you can find them on YouTube) simply regurgitating the tales by Knox and her PR gang whole, absent any checking of facts.

CBS attempt no balance, nobody with a deep knowledge of the case ever appears. No Italians are ever interviewed. PR shills repetitively appear without being introduced as such. Almost all hard facts are simply left out; the lies by omission are huge.

CBS has done zero translation of major documents, or even reported on them in summary when released. Peter Van Sant and Doug Longhini have posted several dozen of the nastiest and least truthful analyses of the case on the CBS website. A really huge effort, simply channeling the PR.

Although quieter now, Paul Ciolino didnt quite dry up on the case. After the Nencini appeal in Florence he was quoted as saying:

Amanda is a political football, and not so much a murder suspect….They know she didn’t do it. Anyone with half a brain knows she and Raffaele weren’t involved in this thing. This is about national pride, about showing who’s boss in Italy. They are sending the message that, ‘You cannot bigfoot us. You can’t outspend us. We’re going to show you who runs this country and it’s not some little American twit from Seattle.

Italy really awoke to the Knox PR and the biased reporting of CBS etc only late in 2011 in conjunction with the highly evident hijacking of the Hellmann appeal and moreso in 2012 with the defamatory Sollecito book.

2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess

The news video above and this Chicago Sun-Times report explain the main thrust of the $40 million lawsuit which Ciolino along with Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former professor now faces.

Prosecutors in 2014 in releasing an innocent man after 15 years in prison blamed that group for false evidence and a false confession and for letting the real murderer walk free. Here thanks to our main poster Jools is the lawsuit document itself, an amazing read if you need more proof of how sleazy Amanda Knox’s help can be.

Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.

1. In 1999, Plaintiff Alstory Simon was wrongfully incarcerated for a double-murder he did not commit. Arrested at the age of 48, Simon spent more than 15 years in prison before he was ultimately exonerated on October 30, 2014.

2. The horrific injustice that befell Simon occurred when Defendants, Northwestern University Professor David Protess, Northwestern University private investigator Paul Ciolino, and attorney Jack Rimland, conspired to frame Simon for the murders in order to secure the release of the real killer, Anthony Porter.

3. As part of a Northwestern University Investigative Journalism class he taught in 1998, Protess instructed his students to investigate Porter’s case and develop evidence of Porter’s innocence, rather than to search for the truth. During that investigation, Northwestern, through its employees and/or agents Protess and Ciolino, intentionally manufactured false witness statements against Simon and then used the fabricated evidence, along with terrifying threats and other illegal and deceitful tactics, to coerce a knowingly false confession from Simon.

CBS is mentioned half a dozen times. It helped in the framing with nationally broadcast segments. In paragraph 85 we are told CBS got an exclusive. What a real surprise THAT is…  The lawsuit document paints Ciolino’s behavior as dishonest and ruthless and possibly criminal as well.

Protess, Ciolino and Northwestern Medill students repeatedly attempted to get the eyewitness to change his testimony, with Protess offering him $250,000 and 20% in “upfront” money for his rights in a book and movie deal;

Protess also told the eyewitness that he could have sex with either of two Northwestern Medill students if he would change his testimony.

Quoted in the lawsuit is this about Ciolino. It is actually written by Protess.

On March 15, Charles McCraney’s appearance was anxiously awaited at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kankakee, Illinois. Paul Ciolino’s hair was slicked back. The private investigator wore a sharkskin suit and white-on-white shirt with gold cuff links, his tie secured by an ornate pin. Sitting opposite him were David Protess and Rene Brown, dressed down for the occasion…  Protess introduced himself [to McCraney] and then Brown. ‘And this is Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood producer I was telling you about,’ said Protess as Ciolino extended his hand….

In paragraph 94 Ciolino’s alleged threatening of Simon into a confession is described as follows. .

Ciolino and a fellow private investigator “bull rushed” (in the words of Ciolino) Simon in his home with their guns drawn; 

Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;

Ciolino showed Simon a videotape of a man, who is now known to be an actor, falsely claiming that he saw Simon commit the murders;

Ciolino threatened Simon that they could do things the “easy way or the hard way” and mentioned that he would hate to see Simon have an accident;

Ciolino showed Simon what Ciolino described as a “devastating” five minute CBS-TV broadcast of Protess and Inez claiming Simon committed the murders;

Ciolino falsely told Simon that he was facing the death penalty and that the Chicago police were on their way to Simon’s house to arrest him;

Ciolino told Simon he could avoid the death penalty by providing a statement that he shot the victims in self defense but that Simon had to act quickly because Ciolino could no longer help him once the police arrived;

Ciolino promised Simon that he would be provided a free lawyer if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon that Protess would ensure he received a short prison sentence if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon would receive large sums of money from book and movie deals about the case if he agreed to give a statement.

Believing he had no other viable option, and acting under extreme duress and the influence of narcotics, Simon was knowingly and intentionally coerced into providing a false statement implicating himself in the murders.

It is this supposedly forced confession that above all cost Simon 15 years.

There is so much more. This may be a very tough lawsuit for Ciolino to beat as well as a career-killer. Northwestern University is no friend of Ciolino and may choose to go hard against him.

They do have a favorable track record.  The students of the journalism school had for years been questionably used by Protess’s arm of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project to gather defense evidence slanted to getting supposed innocent prisoners released.

Protess was fired for this by the university several years ago as hangers-on tried to defend him.

The Innocence Project again… This is all too reminiscent of Greg Hampikian in Boise, Idaho, who corrupted Hellmann’s DNA consultants to try to frame people, and misrepresented hard evidence to try to allow guilty people to walk free.

And all broadcast by your local CBS station. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Dangers Of Not Extraditing Convicted Felons Labeled An Explosive Threat To Other People

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Sydney moslems leaving wreaths- for the non-moslems killed

1. Lessons From Australia

It looks like several Australian judges may have wrecked their careers for allowing Man Haron Monis to be at large even though police said he should be denied bail.

Man Haron Monis was the former Iranian who took 17 hostages in downtown Sydney and caused the death of two others and himself. Coming to light is how many times previously the Australian justice system had treated him with kid gloves for major crimes.

Reporting from NBC:

Iran tried to extradite the gunman behind Sydney’s deadly hostage crisis years ago, Tehran’s top cop said, amid questions over how the self-styled cleric had found his way to Australia but not onto a watch list…

Monis grew up in Iran as Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. In 1996, he established a travel agency, but took his clients’ money and fled, Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, told the country’s official IRNA news agency Tuesday.

Australia accepted him as a refugee around that time. The police chief said Iran tried to have Monis extradited from Australia in 2000, but that it didn’t happen because Iran and Australia don’t have an extradition agreement.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted to know how Monis had been granted permanent residency and why he had been receiving welfare benefits for years, despite being able-bodied “if not necessarily of sound mind.”

Monis had a gun licence, a rarity in Australia - and he walked free after being charged for writing letters of hate to families of dead Australian soldiers, and for having a hand in the killing of his wife.

2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

Regardless of extradition treaty situations, countries almost universally extradite convicted murderers. They dont want dangerous people to have another chance to cause deadly havoc in their own midst.

Knox is already a felon for life. If Knox is confirmed guilty of murder next March she will be a DANGEROUS felon for life.

The Italian-US extradition treaty gives a US judge no wiggle room other than to check if the paperwork is in order and then send her on her way.

But another bent judge could again throw a spanner in the works.

How dangerous is Knox?  Our psychologists generally think that, untreated,  she is not good news. Not a latent serial killer, or one who sits around and plots, but one who could again explosively hit back when she imagines or exaggerates slights.

More than anyone in Perugia, Meredith tried to get along with Knox. But Knox showed no sign of a learning curve. The very heavy drug use went on, the sleeping with a drug dealer went on, the dirtiness and laziness around the house went on, and the noisy sex episodes with strangers through paper-thin walls went on.

She really was the housemate from hell.

For a month or two after Meredith died, Knox was highly erratic about her role in that death, and showed an extreme eagerness to talk with the prosecution which resulted in the long session with Dr Mignini on 17 Dec.

In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

In her book, Knox describes how the family and lawyers worked hard on Knox to destroy all elements of trust. By the summer of 2008 she was in a mood of full-blown paranoid mistrust, and all chances of a lesser charge were gone.

At trial in 2009 Knox was daffy and uncomprehending, making irrelevant interventions and really shooting herself in the foot when she took the stand. Raffaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba, almost the last two in Perugia to still give her the time of day, both said she was very odd.

Knox was mentally tested in Capanne Prison and apparently scored high on the psychopathic chart. The four courts hardest on Knox all knew this - the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court, Cassation, and the Nencini court - which was a major reason why Cassation did not allow bail in April 2008.

Assuming she killed once, in what was an exceptionally barbaric attack, Knox may or may not kill again. She is certainly inciting or condoning a massive amount of dangerous hate toward Meredith’s family and toward the Italian officials of the court.

One unhinged attack has already occured - that of the disturbed Michele Moore against Dr Mignini in the Perugia court - and the British resident David Anderson has screamed at meetings and runs an incessant campaign to stir up hate. Court officials have received messages of hate, and there is a small mountain of false and dangerous accusations against them on the web.

Left untreated and unpunished, a convicted but not extradited Knox would be a killer walking loose on American streets and could continue to condone or incite violence for the rest of her life.

If Knox killed and remains loose, could she kill again or cause others to kill? Any extradition judge needs to ask as the Australian judges did not:

Do we REALLY want to find out?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Boiling Frustration Leads Many To Kill: The Possible Parallels Of The Lord Lucan Case

Posted by Odysseus

1. Introduction

End of one’s tether: thoughts on humiliation, crises and the wounded ego.

Out-of-control anger and violence may be an offloading of the violence experienced in traumatic births and violent and abusive pregnancies. Whatever we may think of this, people’s anger has deep roots and a current conflict is usually a trigger for a reservoir of buried emotion to surface.

It’s a perpetual battle for the ego to stay in control in the face of unconscious emotions that threaten its precarious existence. When the emotions are threateningly close to the surface it can seem that one’s very identity is at stake, and social humiliation close at hand.

Above: Lord Lucan when he was young (and first diagnosed) and getting married

2. Case Of Lord Lucan

John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, is generally believed to have bludgeoned the family nanny to death in Belgravia, London, 1974, probably mistaking her for his wife in the dark.

Those with deeply suppressed emotions are more-or-less unwittingly engaged in a life-long battle to keep the feelings from arising into consciousness. Thus for example they can be driven to activities that require intense mental concentration e.g.,  in Lucan’s case,  bobsleigh and powerboat racing, and high stakes gambling on games that require skill (as distinct from those of pure chance) which helps keep emotions suppressed, or to drug taking which can perform a similar function.

Lucan’s life in the period leading up to the murder was beginning to unravel and he undoubtedly feared humiliation - a sure sign that the false self is under siege. His financial problems were coming to a head (his gambling losses were said to exceed $10 million) and when a friend suggested filing for bankruptcy he demurred, saying he didn’t want the humiliation.

His wife had also just been awarded custody of the three children following their break up - also humiliating since it was now clear and made public that the court took the view his occupation (professional gambler) made him unsuitable to raise children.

In fact his desire to have custody of the children seems less motivated by his love and concern for them than by the need to keep up the display of the sober, responsible adult when all the evidence and his lifestyle was pointing in the opposite direction -  towards social humiliation.

Lord Lucan with wife and three children and lower floors of his townhouse now

This kind of crisis is more than can be borne by the ego mind. Psychotherapy usually resolves such issues but unfortunately it’s the case that only those who have exhausted ways of denial seek such a route.

Gambler “Lucky Lucan” still thought he had a good hand to play. Murdering his wife would at a stroke (or blow) enable him to sell the family home thus resolving his financial problems and also enabling him to gain custody of the children, restoring his status as a responsible parent.

The parameters of a false self in Lucan’s case were already evident when he was diagnosed as having an attachment disorder on his return to England after wartime evacuation to the U.S in 1939, at four years of age,  though its origins may well lie in a primal, birth or pre-natal experience. From his surviving wife’s website:

“Upon his return from the USA in 1945, the future 7th Earl suffered from emotional problems which caused his parents to seek professional help from a leading psychiatrist of the day — a Dr. Winnicott.

As a result of the consultations the eleven year old boy was given a dog called Deirdre [can we infer from this that his mother chose/named the dog?] in the hope that it might help him overcome these problems. The 7th Earl of Lucan’s emotional problems were never fully resolved and he continued to suffer frequent headaches, nightmares and insomnia throughout our life together…”

After the bludgeoning Lord Lucan disappeared, leaving a borrowed Ford Corsair with bloodstains and what appeared a duplicate weapon (a length of pipe with the same kind of tape around one end to hold it firm) at a port on England’s south coast, and has never for sure been seen again.

The murdered nanny Sandra Rivett and a car similar to that found on the south coast

Ripple effects in this case have gone on and on. Havoc was wrought on so many lives.

The wife and three small children struggled terribly with poverty and the psychological impact. They have all fallen apart and apparently don’t talk, all with theories of their own.

The nanny Sandra Rivett (image above) appears to have been the mother to two babies she gave away who grew up to be quite startled to find who they were.

Books and artilces continue to be written and a TV movie was made. And a reporter who pursued the notion that Lord Lucan’s rich and powerful gambling friends helped in his escape was hounded in court. 

3. Case Of Amanda Knox

It seems likely that humiliation was a major factor in the events leading up to the murder of Meredith. TJMK has carried various posts summarising why so many suspect this.

It would have been undoubtedly humiliating for Knox to find that her housemate Meredith was more popular with, and attractive to, both men and women in their social circle, as well as being more mature, intelligent and just more present than her (i.e. less driven to desperately act out unconscious emotions).

Then to cap it all off, on Halloween Knox found herself left out of the group that partied till the early hours. Plus of course there was the looming humiliation of Meredith taking over her job at the Le Chic. Was her money also running out? If so the loss of a job, however small, would be threatening, and she might well have anticipated the humiliation of asking her parents for a loan or of returning home before the end of her course.

So it seems that the stage was set for the night of the “prank” when the plan (if that’s the right word. Jokey impulse, more likely) was for Meredith to find out just what it’s like to feel humiliated. And the prank got out of control, as pranks often can when drugs and/or alcohol are involved.

Again the origin of Knox’s suppressed emotion and false self construction might lie in her parent’s explosive separation or earlier in primal events. In either case she was probably destined to become a suitable (but unfortunately not an actual) case for treatment.

Knox’s narcissism has of course been much discussed. At bottom narcissism is an inability to just be, in the present. An inability to stay with one’s core self (Jung’s “The Self”). The narcissist’s attention is constantly directed to how they look to the world, from the outside, not on how the world appears to them from the inside looking out. They are really not fully born, literally and metaphorically.

Above Italian master Caravaggio’s version of Narcissus staring at his image in a pond

Knox was apparently given to loudly strumming a single chord on a guitar when she was in a group and insufficient attention was directed her way i.e. when suppressed negative emotions surrounding being wanted and needed were threatening to come into awareness.

With the group of friends gathered at the police station in Perugia it seems on the one hand she wanted to impress the others with her inside knowledge of the victim’s wounds but on the other hand she had to keep a lid on it in case it became obvious she knew too much.

This dilemma (a perennial one probably for those criminals who are unconsciously driven to seek attention) no doubt led to the weird acrobatics and gymnastics (the police had to tell her it wasn’t appropriate) as a way of acting out and relieving the tension.

Her relatives of course are quick to dismiss all this as “Amanda being Amanda” (i.e. “quirky”), to which the proper reply could be “so she always acts like this whenever she’s in a dilemma and trying to cover something up,  does she?”

Below Knox thrilled with herself at her 2009 trial in the notorious “all you need is love” teeshirt

Posted on 12/05/14 at 11:08 PM by Odysseus. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Friday, November 14, 2014

In A New Italy Case Involving A Foreign Student The UK Media Is Not Reporting The Full Facts

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Serena Bowes seen taking a selfie

Overview Of The Case

Rape is a devastating crime and if someone DID rape Serena Bowes in Florence he must be put away.

Apart from this the UK media seems to be reporting her claims cautiously and unemotionally. But if they had checked with the Italian police, or even checked out Italian media reports, they would have found that Serena Bowes is leaving out key facts.

The Claims By Serena Bowes

The Daily Telegraph reported what Serena Bowes claims.

The incident unfolded when Miss Bowes, who is in the second year of her fashion course, joined other students on a trip to Florence.

She explained how she and a group of friends had been in a local nightclub when she began chatting to a man.

She alleged that they had been heading to the VIP area when she was guided towards the unisex bathroom where the attack happened.

Miss Bowes alerted staff from Newcastle College who accompanied her to the police station and to the local hospital.

After returning to the UK she attempted to put the incident behind her as no one was charged in relation with the alleged offence.

When she received a letter in Italian from the Florence Police she assumed it was an update on the case, but when she got it translated, was stunned to discover that she herself was facing charges.

She said: “I thought it was done with and I could get on with my life. I didn’t think he was going to get prosecuted so I just wanted to get on with my life but this has brought everything back.

“It doesn’t feel what actually happened is the problem anymore – it feels like that has actually been forgotten about.”

The Daily Mail report additionally added this.

‘I will never go back to Florence because of what happened, never mind going to prison there.  ‘If I receive a prison sentence somewhere between four and 12 years my life will be over.’

Real Facts In Italian Media

The Italian media seems much further down the road and more fully informed.

They have reported the details of the case the police have put before the supervising magistrate, and they have done some poking around of their own.

The police are said to have investigated the allegations very diligently, but so far it is only his story that is holding up and not at all hers. CCTV cameras throughout the club (even apparently in the restroom) show no sign of her fighting off an attack.

He is seen inside and exiting a restroom, but she does not appear to be in that room or at that same door with him. Many staff and customers in the club were interviewed, but none of them seem to have backed up her report.

Medical examinations apparently showed no physical evidence on either of them of an attack.  And DNA swabs apparently showed none of his DNA on her or her DNA on him.

Serene Bowes’s reasons for not going to a mere hearing to explain the question marks above do seem pretty lame. She has placed a big cloud over the guy who she fingered who has been in suspect status ever since.

But now she shrugs off further help to the Italian police to nail him or clear him as being inconvenient or risky merely to her?

“I just wanted to get on with my life.” Where have we heard that before?

Update By Popper On The Rules

Popper in a comment now explains this, which even more suggests that Serene Bowes would be advised to head back to Florence, that the letter she received (still not released) said nothing about 4-12 years, and that foreign press are too gullible or worse.

On the case of Serena, we certainly need more details.  Simulation [of a crime] and calumny [accusing someone you know innocent of having committed a crime] are serious matters.

If she is investigated magistrates have elements that obligated them to inform her of their suspects, it is an act for her protection. If video material exists I fear it must be explicitly against her version, but we do not know enough to be able to give an informed opinion.

Version presented by some UK papers is uninformed and biased, as we have seen often in MK’s case.  Worst of all, it is exaggerated. An investigation is not a conviction, and if I were Serena [and a victim] I would certainly go there with a lawyer and explain the facts to exculpate myself and get the guilty convicted.

In any case, the risk she ends up in jail is quite low.  It is fairly likely that, even if convicted for the above crimes [after a trial and 2 appeals], her sentence will be suspended, if statute of limitations does not kick in first.  It follows that her justification for not going back to explain herself to a judge is ridiculous.

If she is lying and is guilty of simulation and calumny, it will be one of many cases, certainly not a surprise or uncommon.  Unfortunately many crimes are simulated every day, which makes more difficult and expensive the prosecution of real crimes.

Posted on 11/14/14 at 02:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Legal Nightmare For Knox: How Tough American Laws Could Wind Back Blood-Money Profits & Spendings

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The 40-Plus State Son-of-Sam Laws

David Berkowitz or Son-of-Sam as he called himself during his killing spree is a convicted American serial killer. Watch a documentary at bottom here.

In New York State (where Knox’s publisher is) and Washington State (where Knox herself is) and about 40 other American states Son-of-Sam has a much-exercised and now rarely-challenged law named after him.

After early challenges and some revisions, many of those State Son-of-Sam laws continue to be strengthened and almost all are enforced regularly. From Wikipedia:

A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers… Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims…

In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.

Son-of-Sam Laws In The News

The Son-of-Sam laws are in the American news almost daily. See these for example:

  • Here is an article about the admitted killer Jodi Arias who could have otherwise been in line to profit from a movie showing her killing of her former lover Travis Alexander from her point-of-view.

  • Here is an article about the former university football coach and male rapist Jerry Sandusky who may be writing a book to benefit himself and his family.

  • Here is an article about OJ Simpson, the former footballer and convicted killer of his wife and one other, who is essentially in prison now for trying to circumvent a Son-of-Sam law mandating payments to the families of his victims.

How Son-of-Sam Laws Work

Here from the Criminal Lawyers website is a generic description of how such State laws work.

Each state’s law is different, but here some of the things you may see in any particular Son of Sam law:

What’s covered?  Practically just about anything a criminal defendant might gain or profit from his crime. Some state laws generally define “profit from crime.” For example, a law may state it’s “any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime.” Other states are very specific and may, for example, state “profit of crime” is money or other property with value a defendant may receive for a book, movie, television show, play or newspaper article about the defendant and his crimes.

Who’s covered? In some states, only the criminal defendant is covered. In other states, members of his family are covered, too. They may be related by blood or by “affinity” or kinship, such as a spouse or father-in-law. The idea is to make sure a family member doesn’t get the money and hold it for the defendant.

Payment. Most states require the person paying the defendant - the book publisher, movie producer, etc. - to pay the money directly to a court or special state agency, like the state’s Crime Victims Assistance agency. The money is held in a special account for the crime’s victims.

Getting the money to the victims. In most states, once money is deposited, the court or the state agency in charge of the money notifies victims the money is available. In other states, the person or company paying the defendant must notify victims. Either way, victims are usually notified by ads or “legal notices” in local newspapers where the crime was committed. It’s also possible the names of specific victims may be found in the court records connected to the case, and those victims may get personal notification, such as by mail.

Ten Grave Weaknesses In Knox’s Position

Under these 40-plus Son-of-Sam state laws Amanda Knox and her agents appear to be in an extremely weak legal position. Here are 10 reasons.

    1) Knox was confirmed convicted without further recourse by the Italian Supreme Court of calunnia (against Patrick Lumumba) in March 2013 and she was also provisionally confirmed guilty of murder and other crimes when her appeal before the Florence Appeal Court failed six months ago.

    2) That final false-accusation conviction occurred prior to Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard being released. The British and Italian arms of the publishers, HarperCollins, refused to release the book in the UK and Italy, citing major legal liabilities. The New York based HarperCollins publishers and therefore Knox herself knew that there were very serious legal questions.

    3) Amanda Knox was represented by Washington DC lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett who touted the book to various publishers for a claimed $4 million. If Robert Barnett was misled as to the truth of the book, Knox may find herself kicked under the bus by him.  If he was not misled, he too is entangled.

    4) Knox’s book (available globally via Amazon Kindle) includes many serious misstatements on (among other things) the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony conviction and sentence.

    5) Knox also misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony defamation conviction in (a) an arrogant email to Judge Nencini at the Florence appeal and (b) an arrogant press release after the judge’s sentencing report was released.

    6) Knox appears to have misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her conviction in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. She also uses those false claims for her continued refusal to pay damages to Patrick.

    7) Large numbers of opportunists appear to have directly profited. While we don’t know for sure, it seems Knox blood-money may have been used (a) to pay off her parents’ legal debts; (b) to pay her Italian and American lawyers; (b) to pay David Marriott’s public relations outfit; (d) to pay travel to Seattle and other expenses for some of her wackiest supporters, Sforza and Fischer included. Fees for abusive work by many in online support of Knox are rumored

    8) We have repeatedly been told that any media request for access to Sollecito or Knox results in a greedy hand being stretched out. Any media who paid anything to Knox or her family (CNN? ABC? CBS? The Guardian? Oggi?) for access since 2007 could be seriously vulnerable.

    9) Knox will face a new trial in Italy in due course for numerous new felony accusations in the book, including a very serious false charge against Dr Mignini. Also she and her followers are widely on record as disrespecting and harrassing the real victim and her ailing family.

    10) And a mandatory Son-of-Sam Law investigation by State Attorney Generals can be triggered in over 40 American states via a simple report from a citizen. The Italian Government could also trigger such a criminal investigation.

And Amanda Knox still has her greedy paw out for contributions. See her highly misleading website. Tread warily, folks. Up to 40-plus investigators could come calling at your door…

Early Death To Any Political Support

American politicians almost all favor the Son-of-Sam Laws. The thought of a convicted killer profiting is something almost 100% of American voters wont tolerate. Anything that encourages crimes and the flouting of laws is a really big American no-no.

And if Knox is trying to assemble any bought-and-paid-for political support to resist extradition, such political support will dissipate in a heartbeat when Son-of-Sam again rears his head.

Not a very nice slippery slope for Knox. On multiple counts she looks like a sure-fire loser.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Multiple Provably False Claims About “Forced Confession” Really Big Problem For Dalla Vedova & Knox

Posted by FinnMacCool

The Breaking News

This post goes live just as the news breaks that it was Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova who filed these patently false claims against the justice system of Italy with the European Court.

1. “There would be no need for these theatrics.”

Amanda Knox has not been present for any part her latest appeal against her own murder conviction. Nevertheless, she has made two meretricious contributions to the proceedings.

First, on the day that the prosecution opened its presentation of the case against her, she announced that her lawyers had filed an appeal against her slander conviction to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ECHR hears only allegations of human rights abuses, which must be reported within six months of the alleged incident (or within six months after all local avenues have been exhausted; in this case none has even been explored).

This out-of-date application to an inappropriate body in pursuit of a groundless allegation is therefore bound to fail.

Knox’s second publicity stunt came on the day that her own defense lawyers began their own presentation. She sent a five-page email in English and Italian, with grammatical mistakes in each language, protesting her innocence and affirming that the reason she is not present in the court is because she is afraid of it.

There are many comments that could be made about the email, but perhaps its most grievous legal error comes in the aside where she claims that the “subsequent memoriali (sic), for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander, did not further accuse but rather recanted that false ‘confession’.”

That singular document does not recant her previous statements (“I stand by what I said last night…”), but does contain further accusations against Patrick Lumumba (“I see Patrik (sic) as the murderer”), as well as seeking to cast suspicion on Sollecito (“I noticed there was blood on Raffaele’s hand”) and an unnamed “other person”.

However, by claiming that she has been “wrongfully found guilty” on that charge of calunnia, she is refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Italian Supreme Court, which has definitively found against her on that count, and also of the Hellmann appeal court (the only court to date that has not found her guilty of the main charge of murdering Meredith Kercher).

Dr Alessandro Crini presented the prosecution’s case on November 25th/26th. It was not a particularly theatrical performance, but rather a very long summary of the many items of evidence against Sollecito and Knox.

The most theatrical element of the case so far has been when one of the defendants insisted that the judge should read out five vacuous pages of her email immediately before her own lawyers presented their case on her behalf.

This gives a certain dramatic irony to Knox’s claim, “If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics”.

Such ironies appear to be lost on Knox, however, since she seems incapable of reading back over her own work for solecisms or contradictions. (In the email itself, for example, in consecutive sentences she writes: “I had no contact with Rudy Guede. Like many youth in Perugia I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guede.”)

One of the many errors she makes in the email is to put in writing some of the wild claims that she and/or her supporters have previously made regarding the witness interview she gave on the night of November 5th/6th 2007.

The purpose of the current post is to consider that interview in greater detail, using as source material primarily Knox’s memoir “Waiting to be heard” (2013) and Raffaele Sollecito’s memoir, “Honor Bound” (2013), abbreviated here to WTBH and HB respectively.

2. “When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside.”

Amanda Knox was not even supposed to be at the police station on the evening of November 5th, 2007. She should have been attending a candlelit vigil, in which Meredith Kercher’s friends, classmates and supportive well-wishers met at eight o’clock at Corso Vannucci to process through to the Duomo, carrying candles and photographs of the victim.

A friend of Meredith’s – a young Polish student – texted Amanda Knox to invite her to this vigil, but Knox had better things to do. (WTBH: 82) She accompanied Sollecito to his friend Riccardo’s house for a bite to eat (HB: 29) where she absent-mindedly strummed a ukulele. (WTBH:82)

Knox writes of the vigil: “I wanted to be there but… the decision was made for me” because “Raffaele had somewhere else to be”. (WTBH: 82)

One consistent feature of her narrative is her refusal to accept responsibility for anything, including her failure to turn up for her murdered roommate’s vigil, but we should note also that the vigil (eight o’clock) and the dinner (nine o’clock) both take place within the timeframe of her supposed series of interrogations, which according to her email involved “over 50 hours in four days”.

By her own account, when she ignored the police’s request not to accompany Sollecito to the Questura and just came anyway, it was the first contact she had had with the police in well over 24 hours.

Let us consider what was happening in the early part of the evening of November 5th, 2007.

The police are at the station studying the evidence; Meredith’s friends are proceeding downtown with candles and photographs of the victim; and Knox is playing the ukulele at Riccardo’s house.

Far from taking part in a lengthy coercive interview, Amanda Knox had gone to her University classes as normal, had bumped into Patrick Lumumba, whom she would later accuse of Meredith’s murder, and had later skipped the vigil to have dinner with Sollecito. (WTBH:83)

Meanwhile, back at the Questura, the police could see that Raffaele Sollecito’s stories simply did not add up.

They therefore called Sollecito and asked him to come into the station for further questioning. They told him that the matter was urgent; that they wanted to talk to him alone; and that Amanda Knox should not accompany him. (HB: 29) 

Sollecito responded that he would prefer to finish eating first. (The same meal is used as an excuse for not attending the vigil at eight o’clock, and for delaying their response to the police request at around ten.) By his own account, Sollecito resented being ordered what to do by the police (HB: 29), and so he finished eating, they cleared the table together, and Amanda Knox then accompanied him to the station. (HB:30; WTBH: 83)

Naturally the police were both surprised and disappointed to see her. Their civilian interpreter, who had worked flat out through the weekend accompanying not only Amanda Knox but also the rest of Meredith’s English-speaking friends, had gone home. The only person they were planning to speak to that night was Sollecito, and even he was late. According to Knox, the police were not expecting their interview with Sollecito to take very long:

When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside, that I’d have to wait for Raffaele in the car. I begged them to change their minds. (WTBH: 83)

The police were not prepared for an interview with Amanda Knox. They had asked her not to come, and they tried to send her away when she got there. It was late on a Monday evening and there were no lawyers or interpreters hanging around on the off-chance that someone might walk into the police station and confess.

However, that’s what happened. And it is on that basis that Amanda Knox is now claiming that the interview which she herself instigated was improperly presented by the police:

I was interrogated as a suspect, but told I was a witness. (Knox email, December 15, 2013)

But she wasn’t a suspect. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to be there.

3. “Who’s Patrick?”

We will now examine Knox’s claim that “the police were the ones who first brought forth Patrick’s name” (Knox blog, November 25th, 2013).

She has already admitted in court that this is not true. In fact, it is clear from her own book that the police did not even know who Patrick Lumumba was, at that point.

If they had suspected him or anybody else, they would have brought them in for questioning, just as they had already questioned everyone else they thought might be able to throw some light on the case.

The police plan that evening was to question Sollecito in order to establish once and for all what his story was. They would perhaps have brought Knox back the following day (together with the interpreter) to see how far Knox’s story matched Sollecito’s. In the event, their plan was disrupted first because Sollecito delayed coming in, and second because when he finally arrived, he had brought Knox with him.

“Did the police know I’d show up,” Knox asks rhetorically, “or were they purposefully separating Raffaele and me?” (WTBH: 83) She does not offer a solution to this conundrum, but the answer is (b), as the patient reader will have noticed.

She thus turned up to the police station despite being expressly asked not to come. The police asked her to wait in the car and she refused, complaining that she was afraid of the dark. They allowed her inside.

Today, she might complain that she “was denied legal counsel” (Knox email, December 15th 2013) as she entered the Questura, but there was absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be present, since by her own account, all the police were asking her to do is go home.

Knox did not go home. According to WTBH, while Sollecito is in the interview room, she sits by the elevator, doing grammar exercises, phones her roommates about where to live next, talks to “a silver-haired police officer” about any men who may have visited the house (she claims to have first mentioned Rudy Guede at this point, identifying him by description rather than name) and does some yoga-style exercises including cartwheels, touching her toes and the splits.

It is at this point – somewhere between 1130 and midnight – that Officer Rita Ficarra invites Knox to come into the office so that they can put on record Knox’s list of all the men she could think of who might have visited the house.

Knox takes several pages (WTBH 83-90) to explain how she went from doing the splits to making her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba. Like much of her writing, these pages are confused and self-contradictory.

One reason for the confusion is that Knox is making two false accusations against the police, but these accusations cannot co-exist. First, she attempts to demonstrate that the police made her give the name of Patrick Lumumba. Second, she wants us to believe that Officer Ficarra struck her on the head twice.

This is denied by all the other witnesses in the room, and Knox did not mention it in her latest story about applying to ECHR. In her memoriale (WTBH: 97), she claims she was hit because she could not remember a fact correctly.

But in her account of the interview (WTBH: 88), Knox explains that Ficarra hit her because, the fourth time she was asked, “Who’s Patrick?”, she was slow in replying, “He’s my boss.” This is the exact opposite of not remembering a fact correctly. Knox is so keen to make both false charges against the police stick that she fails to notice that one contradicts the other.

Knox at least provides us with two fixed times that allow us to verify the start and finish times of the formal interview. It began at 1230, when Anna Donnino arrived to interpret, and ended at 0145 when Knox signed her witness statement.

Bearing in mind that this statement would have needed to be typed up and printed before she signed it, the interview thus took little over an hour, and was not the “prolonged period in the middle of the night” that her recent blog post pretends. (We might also remember that Knox’s regular shift at Le Chic was from 9 pm to 1 am, meaning that the interview began during her normal working hours.) (WTBH:31)

WTBH also flatly contradicts Knox’s own claim that her accusation of Lumumba was coerced by the police.

According to her own account, she first mentions her boss (although not by name) in the less formal conversation, before the interpreter’s arrival, telling the police : “I got a text message from my boss telling me I didn’t have to work that night.” (WTBH: 84)

The police appear to pay no attention to the remark (which undermines Knox’s argument that the police were pressing her to name Lumumba) but instead keep questioning her on the timings and details of what she did on the night of the murder. And Knox finds those details difficult either to recall or to invent.

Donnino arrives at half past midnight, and the formal interview begins.

Again, the focus is on the timings of Amanda Knox’s movements on the night of the murder, and again she is having difficulty remembering or inventing them. Ficarra picks up Knox’s cell phones and observes: “You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?” and Knox answers, “My boss at Le Chic.” (WTBH: 86)

There is a short discussion about this text message, and then a second police officer asks her: “Who’s Patrick? What’s he like?” This time Knox answers: “He’s about this tall… with braids.” They then continue to discuss the text message, and then the police ask her a third time, “Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?” Knox again replies: “Patrick is my boss.” (WTBH: 87)

Donnino then makes the intervention about how traumatic events can sometimes affect memory. Such events certainly seem to have an effect on the memory of the police, because one of them asks Knox a fourth time: “Who’s Patrick?” At this point, Knox claims in her memoir that Ficarra struck her on the head. (WTBH: 87)

This is nothing to do with failing to remember a fact correctly, because the fact is correct: Patrick Lumumba is indeed her boss.

The police continue to believe that she is hiding something, and they ask her who she is protecting. After a few minutes of questioning along those lines, Knox has an epiphany in which she claims that the face of Patrick Lumumba appeared before her and she gasps: “Patrick – it’s Patrick.”

If we believe one of Knox’s other stories, that the police were cunningly trying to get her to name Patrick Lumumba, we might expect them to be quite pleased to have succeeded at this point. But according to Knox, their response is to ask her a fifth time, “Who’s Patrick?” The whole room must have wanted to chorus at this point, “He’s her boss!”, but according to Knox, it is she herself who simply repeats: “He’s my boss.”

4. “I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly…”

Shortly after lunch on Tuesday November 6th, Knox wrote a piece of paper (known as her “memoriale”) in which she makes her first accusation that the police hit her. She hands this memoriale to Rita Ficarra, the very person she would later name as doing the hitting. We have noted above that in her account of the interview, the context Knox provides for this alleged blow is as follows:

This singularly repetitive catechism is supposed to have taken place at around one o’clock in the morning.

However, writing the following afternoon, Knox describes the event like this:

Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received. (WTBH: 97)

This makes no sense as a reflection on the interview as she has earlier described it. In her version of the interview, she claims that the police kept asking her the same simple question, to which she keeps replying with the same factual answer, and the blows to the head take place in the middle of all that. Yet in her “memoriale”, she claims that the blow was because she could not remember a fact correctly.

In case two mutually contradictory accounts of that false allegation are not enough, Knox also provides a couple more explanations for why she was hit. Her third bogus claim is that the police said they hit her to get her attention, which makes for a dramatic opening to Chapter 10 of WTBH:

Police officer Rita Ficarra slapped her palm against the back of my head, but the shock of the blow, even more than the force, left me dazed. I hadn’t expected to be slapped.

I was turning around to yell, “Stop!”—my mouth halfway open—but before I even realized what had happened, I felt another whack, this one above my ear. She was right next to me, leaning over me, her voice as hard as her hand had been. “Stop lying, stop lying,” she insisted.

Stunned, I cried out, “Why are you hitting me?”  “To get your attention,” she said. (WTBH: 80)

This is a direct allegation against a named police officer, and not surprisingly it has resulted in another libel charge against Amanda Knox. It is a strong piece of writing, too: on its own, isolated from context, it reads like a trailer for the movie version. The trouble is, that when Knox later tries to set it in context, it makes no more sense than “because I didn’t remember a fact correctly” as an explanation as for why the blow came.

They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,

“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.

“Why are you hitting me?” I cried.

“To get your attention,” she said.

“I’m trying to help,” I said. “I’m trying to help, I’m desperately trying to help.” (WTBH: 88)

This makes no sense. They already have Knox’s attention, and she is having no difficulty giving them a factual response to their repeated question, “Who’s Patrick?”

It is difficult to explain any logical motivation for that slap in terms of any of the three suggestions Knox has made so far: (1) because she couldn’t remember a fact correctly; (2) because she failed to answer the repeated question “Who’s Patrick?” quickly enough; or (3) to get her attention. She’d got the fact right, she’d answered the question, and they already had her attention.

Knox then provides us with a fourth version of possible reasons for the alleged slap. She describes the following encounter between herself and Rita Ficarra on their way to lunch at around two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon:

With my sneakers confiscated, I trailed [Ficarra] down the stairs wearing only my socks. She turned and said, “Sorry I hit you. I was just trying to help you remember the truth.” (WTBH: 94)

Once again, this makes no sense in the context of a blow to the head while waiting for a reply to the question, “Who’s Patrick?” It is perfectly true that Patrick Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s boss, and she had already correctly answered the same question twice, by her own account.

These are the four main WTBH versions of how Amanda Knox was struck on the head by Rita Ficarra. Perhaps she hopes that readers will choose the one they like best and will ignore its discrepancies with the others.

When testifying in court, however, Knox provided three further versions of the same alleged incident.

First, when asked to explain why she had stated in her witness account that Meredith Kercher had had sex before she died, Knox answered that the police had suggested this to her and that they hit her to make her says so in her statement (Knox testimony, June 12 2009).

Second, a few minutes later during the same testimony, she claimed that the police hit her twice before she gave the name of Patrick, to make her give a name she could not give. (WTBH: 227-8; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)

Third, later still, she tells her own lawyer that the police were screaming at her “You don’t remember”, she was struck from behind, and when she turned around she was struck again. (WTBH:227; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)

These are seven different stories Knox has told about how she was hit during her interview. Even her most generous supporters would have to admit that at least six of them must be false. Everyone else in the room at the time has testified that it did not happen.

When Knox published her fantasy claim about appealing to ECHR last month, she neglected to mention that she was hit. This essentially confirms what has been obvious for some time: Rita Ficarra did not hit Amanda Knox during the interview.

Nobody did. All seven stories are false. 

5. “She was screaming in Italian, ‘Aiuto! Aiuto!’”

However, Sollecito provides an ear-witness account of Knox’s traumatic interview, claiming that he could hear her shouting from where he was being interviewed in a nearby room. Here’s his version:

Then came a sound that chilled my bones: Amanda’s voice, yowling for help in the next room. She was screaming in Italian, “Aiuto! Aiuto!” I asked what was going on, and Moscatelli told me there was nothing to worry about. But that was absurd. I could hear police officers yelling, and Amanda sobbing and crying out another three or four times. (HB:33)

If Sollecito’s aim here is to invent a story even more ridiculous than Knox’s, he has succeeded.

For one thing, it does not match any of Knox’s seven stories about how her interview went. But even on its own terms, Sollecito’s story makes no sense. If we imagine for a moment an Italian witness or suspect being interrogated in Italian by Italian officers in an Italian police station, what possible motivation could such a woman have for shouting “Aiuto!”? Who could she be hoping might conceivably respond to her call?

How much more absurd, then, to suppose that an American woman accompanied by an interpreter would shout “Aiuto!” when by her own account she was trying to help the police with their inquiries at that point.

Perhaps Sollecito wants us to believe that Knox was offering to help the police with their inquiries, and Donnino was loudly translating it to “Aiuto!” at this point. Or perhaps, as is often the case with Sollecito, he has given so little thought to his lies that he has not made the slightest effort to make them believable.

There are other occasions when Sollecito is cavalier with the credibility of his explanations for the evidence against him. For example, when confronted with evidence that the victim’s DNA is on his kitchen knife, he suddenly remembers an occasion when he accidentally pricked her while cooking.

(Astonishingly, he repeats this absurd fiction on page 49 of Honor Bound, although he shifts the pricking to Via della Pergola and makes it a knife local to there, since it is obvious that the victim had never visited his own apartment.)

Or again, on being confronted with the (incorrect) evidence that his shoeprints have been found at the scene of the crime, he speculates to Judge Matteini that someone might have stolen his shoes and committed the murder in them. (HB:42)

Even today, Sollecito is currently making a public appeal for funds for his defense, pleading financial hardship, while taking lengthy vacations in the Caribbean, with photographs of his tropical lifestyle appearing in Oggi.

In his book, Sollecito also decides to make a claim of his own that the police struck him:

One of my interrogators opened the door noisily at one point, walked over, and slapped me. “Your father is a fine upstanding person,” he said. “He doesn’t even deserve a son like you, someone who would stand by a whore like Amanda.” (HB:36)

This is actually one of his more plausible stories. He has not named the officer, and he has created an incident to which there are no witnesses; he gives the impression that he was alone in the interview room when this officer came in.

Of course, he has made no formal complaint about this, nor has he mentioned it before publishing it in his book, nor has he named the officer or given any clue as to his identity. Nevertheless, these details simply stand in contrast to Knox’s libelous allegation, in which she named the officer, gives several contradictory accounts of how the blow occurred, and there are several witnesses all of whom deny that any such blow took place.

6. “Maybe a cappuccino would help.”

Finally, it seems only fair to speak up for Anna Donnino, the much-maligned interpreter who was given the task of accompanying Knox as she made her slanderous accusation of Patrick Lumumba.

Knox describes her arrival at the station like this:

The interpreter sat down behind me. She was irritated and impatient, as if I were the one who had rousted her from bed in the middle of the night. (WTBH:86)

While someone else must have done the rousting, by Knox’s own account it is indeed her fault that Donnino was called into the police station that night. Knox was the only English-speaker present, and she had ignored the police’s request that she stay home while they interviewed Sollecito.

Although Donnino must have had every right to feel irritable and impatient, Knox gives little evidence of it in her transcript of the interview. On the contrary, Donnino patiently volunteers an explanation that might attribute Knox’s self-contradictory stories to trauma and stress rather than deliberate lying.

Amanda Knox has often repeated her assertion that police called her a liar during that interview. For example, in the movie-trailer-type excerpt at the beginning of Chapter Ten, she writes:

They loomed over me, each yelling the same thing: “You need to remember. You’re lying. Stop lying!” (WTBH:80)

However, in the more detailed version that she gives on pages 83-90, she does not mention a single police officer calling her a liar. Only once do the police even ask her “Why are you lying?” (WTBH:88) The only person to call Knox a liar, in her account, is Anna Donnino, in the following passage:

“In English, ‘see you later’ means good-bye. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see each other now. It means see you eventually.”

In my beginner’s Italian, I had had no idea that I’d used the wrong phrase in my text to Patrick—the one that means you’re going to see someone. I’d merely translated it literally from the English.

The interpreter balked: “You’re a liar.” (WTBH:87)

The verb “balked” makes no sense here, and so let us charitably call it a printer’s error for “barked”. However, that is the only instance of Knox being called a liar her entire remembered account of the interview.

It seems that she is so reluctant to admit to having said anything that her readers might think sounds like a lie that she forgets this gives the police no context for calling her a liar. This in turn means that the only “lie” she can be accused of is her demotic interpretation of the English phrase “see you later”, in which she presents herself as correct and Anna Donnino getting it wrong.

Ironically, Anna Donnino’s next intervention, for which there are several witnesses including Amanda Knox herself, is clearly intended to suggest that failing to remember the details of a traumatic event properly may NOT be an indication of lying, but instead may be the result of the stress of the trauma:

The interpreter offered a solution, “Once, when I had an accident, I didn’t remember it. I had a broken leg and it was traumatizing and I woke up afterward and didn’t remember it. Maybe you just don’t remember. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember times really well.”

For a moment, she sounded almost kind. (WTBH:88)

“Kind” is a key word for Amanda Knox, and she continually judges people by whether they are kind to her. On this occasion, she is quite right: Anna Donnino does sound kind and helpful in volunteering this intervention. It is not a kindness that Knox would repay, however. On the contrary, in her later account of the trial, she is scathing of prosecutor Mignini’s description of Donnino as “very sweet”:

As for my interrogation at the questura, Mignini described the interpreter— the woman who had called me “a stupid liar” and had told me to “stop lying”—as “very sweet.” “I remember that evening how she behaved toward Amanda,” he said. (WTBH:244)

Knox has evidently forgotten that she has failed to mention anybody at all calling her a “stupid liar” during the interview, or that anybody told her to “stop lying”. Even her claim that Donnino called a liar over a translation error is illogical and is out of keeping with Donnino’s subsequent intervention.

Knox has also forgotten that the only other mention she makes of Donnino at the questura is in the following passage, from the day before the interview. While Knox is going over the events of the night of the murder in her mind, she reports: 

“…the interpreter walked by, looked at me, and said, ‘Oh my God, are you okay?... You’re pale… Maybe a cappuccino would help. Come with me.” (WTBH: 76-77)

Once again, Knox unwittingly provides evidence that supports Mignini’s description of Anna Donnino, and undermines her own. Once again, she unwittingly provides evidence that her human rights were perfectly safe at Perugia police station.

7. “What does this say about my memory?”

The accounts of all three defendants in this case are so obviously fictitious that the subject should no longer be open for discussion. Any level of reasonable doubt that might have been acceptable to the Hellman appeal court has been removed not only by the Italian Supreme Court but even more so by the self-penned accounts published by Knox and Sollecito themselves.

Their bizarre and delusional writings will appear incredible to any objective reader who troubles to read them. The physical evidence against them - the DNA, the footprints, the knife, the faked burglary, and so on - only serves to confirm the most likely explanation for their wildly unbelievable stories - namely that they are lying to cover up their involvement in a brutal murder.

Given that his own account was patently fictitious, Guede has been fairly well advised to opt for a fast track trial which offers a reduced sentence and an abbreviated process. (Better advice might have been to plead guilty, but that is for him to choose.)

As a result, he will be eligible for parole relatively soon, even as the longwinded trials of Knox and Sollecito grind toward their conclusions. Whether or not it is right and fair for Guede to be given that parole is a separate question that will be considered in due course - even his expressions of remorse sound false and are undermined by his continuing refusal to give a plausible and honest account of what happened that night.

However justice systems all over the world are obliged to balance the rights of victims against the rights of defendants, with resultant compromises that are often uneasy and unsatisfying. Victims’ families may want the truth, but the perpetrators don’t always want to tell it.

The situation for Knox and Sollecito is different because their preposterous stories have been shored up by a coterie of supporters who in the long run have done the two defendants no favors whatsoever.

The pair have chosen the full trial process which may have postponed the final decision for several years, but which is also likely to result in much lengthier prison sentences.

It is too late now for Knox and Sollecito to opt for a fast track process, and everyone, no matter how ill-informed, can surely agree at least that the path they have chosen has been painfully slow and longwinded.

But there were many other options that, although previously open to them, have now been closed down by their supporters’ stubborn insistence that the case against them was first concocted by a vindictive prosecutor who took an early dislike to them and was subsequently supported by a vast conspiratorial network of police, judges, journalists, shopkeepers, students, friends and relatives of the victim, and so on.

This conspiracy theory is not only daft, but it provides no help at all for the two people at its core whose words and actions remain delusional and psychotic.

Amanda Knox wrote in her memoriale,  “Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”(WTBH 98-9). These words are a clear cry for help.

Whether or not this cry was genuine, or was simply a cunning attempt to diminish punishment, is a matter that could and should have been determined at the time by a qualified psychiatrist. Instead, Knox was provided with a set of lawyers and a PR firm both of whom were set the task of claiming and proving their client’s innocence.

Her false allegation against an innocent man was then explained as resulting from a coercive police process - another ludicrous claim, contradicted by all the available evidence, including the self contradictory accounts published by the defendants themselves.

Knox and Sollecito are damaged individuals whose grip on reality is loose and whose delusional ramblings suggest that they need urgent psychiatric help. Instead, their fantasies have been cocooned by highly vocal supporters who have enabled the fantasists to maintain a series of fictions that, in the final analysis, will almost certainly fail to stand up to legal scrutiny.

Posted on 12/20/13 at 04:42 PM by FinnMacCool. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe defensesOther legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda Knox
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Friday, November 22, 2013

US Judge Startles Legal Watchers By Overturning A Unanimous Verdict: Is This Hellmann Part Deux?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Martha Moxley’s murder 1975

Martha Moxley’s is a case with quite a few similarities to Meredith’s case - and after 38 years it has once again flashed back into the US news.

Greenwich, where 15-year-old Martha lived, is a few minutes drive up the Long Island Sound shoreline from New York City. Great wealth resides there. It is the US zip code with the highest family income and net wealth, and there are many mansions set in large estates.

The brutal murder of Martha happened on Halloween Night of 1975. She was beaten to death with a golf club by someone around 10:00 pm soon after leaving a Halloween party at the Skakel house across the street. No physical evidence ever tied anyone to the crime.

The main suspects in the case

Michael Skakel was a close neighbor (with his large family, he lived in a mansion diagonally across Walsh Lane from Martha’s smaller one-storey house) and a school classmate of the same age as Martha. He had a troubled record of misbehavior and substance abuse (he was later sent to a special school) who Martha’s diary later revealed had a history of pestering her. The golf-club came from the Skakel house.

He was not the only suspect. A new tutor at the house was long considered. And Greenwich police first interviewed and polygraphed his brother Tommy, who was very friendly with Martha, and with whom she was seen flirting at the party at the Skakel’s house the same night. Between the two brothers, there was bad blood.

Read here the final entries in Martha’s diary which seem to show her attraction to Tommy but none at all to a jealous Michael.

Michael Skakel’s conviction in 2002

Michael Skakel over the years (seemingly proud of himself, and sounding quite like Sollecito) came to hint and even openly claim more and more that he was the one that killed Martha. Skakel also claimed to have been up in a tree or a treehouse peeping through windows on the same night. An alibi that he was across town during the party at his house fell through.

In 2002, after these pointers to himself reached critical mass in police investigations and various books and reports, he was put on trial and unanimously found guilty by a jury, and then (controversially) sentenced as an adult to 20 years to life. As with Sollecito and Knox in Italy, the vast majority of the population thought it was a fair cop.

There are of course some differences between the two cases.

In Perugia the police and prosecutors really did do a good job and didnt blink under the considerable pressure of TWO families and TWO defense teams playing all manner of dirty tricks. They never backed off, whereas the Greenwich police (who never called for outside help) seem to have become timid and indecisive and simply wanting the case to go away. And in Martha’s case DNA has not yet reared its intrusive head.

But the two cases also have a lot in common.

Commonalities of Martha and Meredith cases

1) Martha was younger than Meredith but given time would have emerged to be a very similar girl. She also was ambitious, talented, hard-working, eye-catching, witty, and the apple of their eye of various boys which might have sparked jealousies in some.

2) The attack involved a number of ferocious blows over several or some minutes with a golf-club, suggesting not a burglar or prowler who did not know Martha but someone who did know her who was in a considerable rage. The golf-club broke, and the shaft was thrust through her neck. She was then dragged alternatively face up and face down quite a few feet to a place under a tree. There was a lot of blood, and as some of her clothes were down there may have been a simulation of a sex crime.

3) The rich and connected Skakel family (among which Michael did not stand out as the major achiever) was not especially helpful in the investigation, and they blocked certain important moves by the Greenwich police. They have spent huge sums of money (possibly up in the millions) on lawyers and detectives and still do. Theirs was a fairly sharp-elbowed media campaign and it looks as if it was driven more by family reputation (the Skakels are related to the Robert Kennedys by marriage) than by deep conviction that Michael was a good boy.

4) The evidence presented was a mosaic that had been accumulated over time. Alibi and behavior mattered a lot. It required very close attention to absorb it all and to assemble it into an incriminating pattern. At trial prosecutors did a good job. In this case no incriminating DNA was found at all, although it is possible that for the new trial new tests will be done on Martha’s clothes.  The conviction by 12 jurors was unanimous. They did a very careful job, and their deliberations lasted four days. Those who seek to argue that they have it wrong usually pick on isolated points. 

5) Various books have been published to explain the case. The most-read book is by ex-police-detective Mark Fuhrman titled Murder in Greenwich published by HarperCollins (Amanda Knox’s publisher) in 1999. He claimed he broke the case though police said they needed no help.

6) There are several websites like PMF and TJMK with no vested interest at all which seek to keep the victim’s presence alive, and to seek justice for her in face of many attacks and dirty tricks.  See the forum Campy Skakel here and the website MarthaMoxley dot com which is or was being run by Tom Alessi who was a classmate of Martha at school.

And the sudden new situation

Now Connecticut’s Judge Bishop has decided that Skakel didnt get the best of defenses by the high-profile legal talking head Mickey Sherman (who back then seemed to be hired for his high public profile) and noted several things Sherman could have done. Also the evidence seemed to Judge Bishop to be slim (what, no DNA?!). So he has ordered that Skakel can face a new trial.

A second judge has just released Michael Skakel on $1.2 million bail and he must wear an electronic bracelet in case he decides to skip. He will apparently head for a secret location to wait for the new trial to begin.

Although Judge Bishop is well qualified (unlike Hellmann) and seems impartial and detached, he has startled the legal community and crime followers by going against both a well-informed trial jury which really saw a lot of evidence and against a whole row of previous judges who had considered and declined Skakel’s requests for appeal.

Judge-shopping till the “right one” appears is often how big money wins out, and the general US reaction to the annulled verdict seems to be “What?! Not again?!”

Michael Skakel may perhaps win at a new trial with new lawyers and a new strategy - there is still a theory that his brother Tommy really did the crime, though the Skakel lawyers may not be allowed to play that card.

However, as in Meredith’s case, legal and public opinion is against him, and Martha’s mother and the victim websites still fight on bravely. 

[Below: Michael Skakel(right) with defense lawyer Mickey Sherman in 2002 who he now says let him down]

[Below: Directly ahead is where the crime took place; a new mansion has replaced the Moxley home ]

[Below: The Skakel mansion, which is diagonally across Walsh Lane from the old Moxley home]

[Below: Mark Furman’s diagram of his scenario of the murder in “Murder in Greenwich”]

[Below: Judge Bishop of the Connecticut courts who has ordered a new trial for Skakel]

Posted on 11/22/13 at 11:50 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealHellmann outcomeOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Interpol HQ is now in Central France, a new HQ is planned for outside Paris soon.

Extradition: a hardball game.

This is the latest of many posts which include this legal take explaining the gloomy prospects for Sollecito and Knox if their final conviction comes down. 

Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.

If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.

These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.

But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition—one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration—set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.

Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.

If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told. 

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.

Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.

Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.

Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.

Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.

Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.

A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.

He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.

Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.

The US/Russia gangsters case

The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world  and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.

U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….

In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.

In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.

Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.

When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.

The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.

Posted on 11/20/13 at 11:14 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Knox extraditionOther legal processesOthers ItalianOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsAmerican context
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Like Amanda Knox, Jodi Arias Forgets, Sings, Jokes, And Does Headstands In Interrogation Context

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 03/18/13 at 09:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereAmanda Knox
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Psychiatrist Dale Archer Suggests Jodi Arias Fits Sociopath Profile Except For No History Of Quirks

Posted by Peter Quennell

[The $200,000 home of the victim Travis Alexander at the eastern edge of Phoenix, Arizona]

Dale Archer assesses the admitted Arizona killer Jodi Arias against the checklist of sociopathic symptoms.

In his opinion (he has not had direct access to Jody Arias) she appears to accord to 6 of the 9 the symptoms below. He thinks she doesnt fit the key last one, no past history of anti-social or odd behavior going back prior to her affair with Travis Alexander, which he considers to rule out sociopathy.

We noted in the previous post that Jodi Arias had a turbulent family history and job history, and she made a good case on the stand that her boyfriend was debasing her. But absent actual signs of prior symptoms, Dr Archer doesn’t find that enough.

Failure to conform to societal norms: Jodi has no respect for the law or the rules of society. She not only viciously killed another person, she openly and unabashedly sneers at the prosecuting attorney and the courtroom proceedings.

Pathological lying: Ms. Arias has no problem lying. We’ve all seen it and know she’s good at it. Sociopaths lie easily and keep their cool because a lie is not considered wrong or immoral. It’s merely a way to get what they want. In the early stages of the investigation, Arias came up with three different lies for the police which explained what happened, changing her story as they disproved each.

Manipulation, deception, and cunning: Arias hacked into Alexander’s email and Facebook accounts. He found her hiding in his closet when he returned home from a date. She introduced him to sex, playing the submissive partner though she was actually dominant in order to control him. It is the prosecution’s speculation Arias eventually filmed and recorded Alexander in compromising situations to blackmail him if he tried to leave her.

Impulsiveness: A co-worker claimed Arias continuously called Alexander from work. If there was no answer, she would drop everything and leave to track down Alexander. She didn’t care if she lost her job, as long as she didn’t lose Alexander. Another point: while in the act of murdering him, Arias dropped a camera, and incredibly it snapped a picture of the murder taking place. Instead of taking the camera with her, along with the rope, the gun, her bloody clothes….. she impulsively threw it in the washing machine and ran it through a cycle. Miraculously, the images remained on the film.

Irritability and aggressiveness: Arias was becoming increasingly irritable and when Alexander started seeing another woman she turned up the heat. She stalked, vandalized, plotted and then murdered. Twice she slashed the tires on his car. She sent a threatening email to Alexander’s new love interest.

Reckless disregard for safety of self or others: We do not have record of Arias disregarding anyone else’s safety at this point other than Alexander- she killed him or herself; threatening suicide when Alexander would try to cut the ties. Ultimately the person she killed wasn’t herself, but Travis Alexander, the one person who consumed her thoughts, her life.

Persistent irresponsibility: In her 20s, Arias worked at several dead-end jobs and was in and out of relationships, but nothing stands out. No convictions, jail time or other legal issues.

Lack of remorse or guilt. In Arias’ mind, Alexander was not a person but her possession. He took her to interesting places, and she introduced him to sex. When he tried to pull away, she would reel him back with ever more outrageous sex practices. Eventually she killed him so no one else could have her possession. At the funeral, she did not shed one tear. Since the murder, the investigation, the arrest and the trial, not once has she said “I’m sorry.”

Before age 15 and continuing, a history of antisocial behavior. Here is the real problem with labeling Arias as a sociopath. This condition starts in the young teen years, if not before. It is a persistent and consistent behavior over the first three to four decades of the individual- some say for a lifetime. No one has come forward with any prior behavioral issues, legal issues, problems with work, family or friends. She was reportedly a very “good girl” in high school and very “normal.” At this time there are no known problems with previous boyfriends.

Jodi Arias has one or two more days on the witness stand, and then defense experts will try to account for her behavior and blackout at the time Travis died in a non-incriminating way. This trial is being shown live on American TV (the HLN channel).

Arias somewhat withered under very tough questions from the jury. Would Knox? Plenty of still-unanswered questions for Knox here.

Posted on 03/13/13 at 12:14 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychology
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Friday, March 08, 2013

FBI Reporting Close Co-operation With Italy In Arresting And Soon Extraditing A Fugitive Swindler

Posted by Peter Quennell

A new FBI report in the news.

It is still more confirmation in line with many previous posts here that US and Italian crime-fighters respect one another and work closely together - and don’t turn a hair at requests for extradition.

The fugitive fund manager Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm could face 25 years in prison. The FBI explains what he is accused of: 

Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm, a German hedge fund manager who was on the run for more than five years, has been arrested in Italy on federal fraud charges that accuse him of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme designed to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that led to at least $200 million in losses to investors around the world….

Homm was the founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands-based investment advisor that managed nine hedge funds from 2004 until September 2007. The criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Homm directed the hedge funds to buy billions of shares of thinly traded, United States-based “penny stocks.” Homm caused many of the purchases of penny stocks to be made through Hunter World Markets Inc., a broker-dealer in Los Angeles that Homm co-owned. Homm also allegedly obtained shares of the penny stock companies through various businesses he controlled.

And the FBI credits the role in arresting Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm of the Italian authorities.

Homm, 53, was arrested at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday (local time). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday, March 6, after filing a criminal complaint that charges Homm with four felony charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud. Homm was arrested by Italian authorities after the United States submitted a request for a provisional arrest with officials in Rome.

Posted on 03/08/13 at 10:52 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersAppeals 2009-2015Knox extraditionOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Family Of Reeva Steenkamp Find A Big-Bucks PR Campaign Seeking To Drown Them Out

Posted by The Machine

On Valentine’s Day, Reeva Steenkamp, a law graduate and model, was shot three times by boyfriend Oscar Pistorius while she was in the en-suite toilet. She died shortly after the emergency services arrived at the scene.

There are a number of parallels between the Reeva Steenkamp case and the Meredith Kercher case.

Both cases have generated an intense media frenzy. The following headline was published on The Guardian website: “South Africa prepares for its own OJ-style trial of the century”

Similarly, Barbie Nadeau writing in the Daily Beast referred the trial of Knox and Sollecito as the “media trial of the century”.

Both Oscar Pistorius and Amanda Knox have received widespread support from around the world.

Peet van Zyl, Oscar Pistorius’ agent quoted in the Guardian said that “international fans from literally all over the world” have sent their good wishes to Pistorius.

Amanda Knox also had widespread from people around the world. A number of books have been written claiming she is innocent and a couple of mainstream media organisations such ABC News and CNN have consistentyly reported only from the defense point of view. .

One of the saddest aspects of both cases is how increasingly both the real victims have come to be overlooked.

Gina Myers, a friend of Reeva Steenkamp, stated in an interview with the BBC that she feared Reeva Steinkamp was being overlooked.

Stephanie Kercher stated in an interview with the BBC in September 2011 that Meredith had been completely forgotten:

“Meredith Kercher has been “completely forgotten” in the four years since she was murdered on a study year abroad in Italy, her grieving sister has said.”

The most significant parallel is that both defendants are represented by PR consultants.

Oscar Pistorius has hired Stuart Higgins a London-based PR expert who worked in the newsroom of The Sun and then worked as the editor of the newspaper. Curt Knox hired David Marriott a PR consultant with over 30 years’ experience to represent his daughter.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Marriott “spoon-fed the Knox-approved message to American outlets who couldn’t afford to send correspondents to Italy”

If you read the countless articles in the media by journalists who push the notion that Amanda Knox is innocent, it’s quite clear they have been given the exact same false information from Knox’s family or their PR strong-armer David Marriott or their hatchet men such as Bruce Fischer, without any fact-checking at all.

There are some slight variations, but the basic account of the case is as follows.

Amanda Knox had never been trouble with the police. In days following Meredith’s murder, she voluntarily stayed behind to help the police in Perugia, but all Meredith’s friends left immediately. She was called to the police station on 5 November 2007 where she was subjected to an all-night interrogation. She wasn’t provided with an interpreter or given anything to eat or drink. She was beaten by the police and asked to imagine what might have happened.

During her questioning, Knox made a statement that said she had a “vision” she was at the cottage when Meredith was murdered. There were only two tiny pieces of DNA evidence that implicated her, but they were probably contaminated. The knife from Sollecito’s kitchen doesn’t match any of the wounds on Meredith’s body. Prosecutor Mignini claimed Meredith was killed as part of a satanic ritual and he called Amanda Knox a “she-devil”.

Rudy Guede was a drifter and drug dealer with a criminal record. He left his DNA all over Meredith and all over the crime scene. Amanda Knox didn’t know Rudy Guede.

The problem with the FOA fantasy version of events is that NOT ONE of these statements is true. And yet it was unquestioningly accepted as the gospel by numerous journalists in the mainstream media and it generated sympathetic media coverage.

Adam Boulton, the Political Editor of Sky News observed in an article that Amanda Knox’s family were treated with cloying sympathy when they appeared on Good Morning America:

Amanda ‘Foxy’ Knoxy, is the young American woman now on trial in Italy for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

I was astonished to see her whole family, parents and children, invited on Good Morning America and treated with cloying sympathy for all the world as if they were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

It was noted by Joan Smith in an article for The Independent that the initial coverage of the case was initially sympathetic towards Pistorius:

“I didn’t hear this context mentioned on Thursday when it was reported that a woman had been shot dead at the home of the South African Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius. Radio 4’s Today programme suggested that Pistorius had killed his girlfriend after mistaking her for an intruder, a theme that was taken up elsewhere.

I listened with astonishment as broadcasters advanced what is almost certain to be Pistorius’s defence, citing the fear of crime which leads the wealthy in South Africa to live on estates with armed guards. The initial coverage was so sympathetic that it seemed to come as a shock when Pistorius was charged with murder later in the morning, prompting a screeching U-turn and the discovery of a “darker” side to his character.

There is a real problem in prosecuting famous people. It was pointed out to me by an experienced barrister that it’s almost impossible to convict someone who is famous.

OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dog, R Kelly, Ken Dodd, Steven Gerrard and John Terry were all very surprisingly acquitted of the various charges that they faced.  You could argue that Casey Anthony should be included in that list.

I hope that justice is finally served for both Meredith Kercher and Reeva Steenkamp and those responsible for their deaths receive lengthy custodial sentences for their brutal and cruel crimes.

I also hope that journalists covering the case don’t act as witless cheerleaders for the murder defendants, but make sure they meet the most basic of journalistic standards to ensure that their coverage of the cases is objective, balanced and factually accurate.

And that the real victims should not ever be forgotten.

Posted on 03/06/13 at 08:26 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito team
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Admitted Killer On The Witness Stand In Arizona Is Resonating And Polarizing In Familar Ways

Posted by Sailor

Something apparently unique in American legal history is now taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, complete wth realtime TV feed from the courtroom

It is the weeks-long examination and cross-examination on the stand of Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend and continuing sex partner Travis Alexander with at least 29 stab wounds and a slashed throat. In a few days she could be stuck with a death sentence, or conceivably even walk free.

We have often wondered how Knox would perform unfettered on the stand, as she may feel compelled to do if Cassation requires a reworking of the appeal verdict and sentence arrived at at the end of 2011.

There are some similarities and some differences.


The similarities involve her lying and her seeming callousness and attempted cover-up which suggest her mental acuity and balance are okay. The quotes below come from the ABC News account of Arias’ trial:

Arias “eventually confessed to killing her ex-boyfriend, but insisted it was self defense.”

And “the main reason (for lying) is because I was very ashamed of what happened. It’s not something I ever imagined doing. It’s not the kind of person I was. It was just shameful,” she said. “I was also very scared of what might happen. I didn’t want my family to know that I had done that, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say that I did that.”

The other parallel to Amanda Knox is Arias’ behavior after the murder.  To avoid calling attention to herself, Arias carried on as if nothing had happened.

“Arias drove on to Utah where she was supposed to meet up with friends and a new romantic interest, Ryan Burns, for the rest of her roadtrip, she testified. There, the pair kissed and cuddled on Burns’ bed just 24 hours after Arias had stabbed and shot Alexander.”


The differences involve her family and the nature of Travis’s connection with the fervent local arm of the Mormon Church, which is especially fervent about no sex before marriage. .

Unlike Knox, whose father shut her up when she seemed to be getting close to confessing in Capanne Prison soon after her arrest, Arias credits her loving family with giving her the support that allowed her to finally admit what she had done.

“My family remained very supportive, and told me ‘it doesn’t matter what happens, we love you anyway.’ I realized even if I told the truth they would still be there and wouldn’t walk away,” she testified.

“By the time spring, 2010, rolled around, I confessed. I basically told everyone what I could remember of the day and that the intruder story was all BS pretty much.”

Travis Alexander was not only a fervent mormon - he was an elder in his local church where any pre-marital sex would taint both partners for life.

Having secretly slept with Jodi Arias for a long time, he discarded her as a “tainted” girlfriend (who he himself tainted) in favor of a virgin Mormon girlfriend - but continued to chase Arias down for sex anyway. 

This is a take by an insightful reader calling herself Janine on the website Wild About Trial which seems to resonate with many, especially women.

Since Travis’s emails were read in court and the phone sex tape was heard in open court, it shows Travis’s personality in a dating situation. He had a Madonna Whore complex… the Mormon girls he would not touch because they were pure, then putting Jodi into the Whore category in which no form of sex or degradation was denied. IMO Travis should have paid for sex and not manipulating and degrading women who had fallen in love with him.

He treated her horribly. Her self esteem was obviously very low or she would not have permitted nor enjoyed being treated in this manner. He was chasing her as well, if only for a booty call. He was playing mind games when surely he must have known the person whose mind he was messing with was unstable. He didn’t care, as long as he could get the kind of sex he wanted when he wanted it and with no strings attached.

She slashed his tires, watched him, read his emails and he is still reeling her in and playing mind games a week before the murder. He messed with the wrong girl. She is guilty but not of murder one or two. I believe crime of passion or manslaughter. He had some culpability here even though I believe he did not deserve what happened. After a year of Travis’s form of abuse, she just snapped. He pushed her over the edge. And, yes, you would have to be unstable to be pushed over the edge but I believe he knew that she was.

She certainly gave him plenty of evidence that she was.

Even though Arias is now fighting to avoid the death penalty, she exudes a sense of peace that seems to have eluded Amanda Knox. The truth shall set you free!

First image below: this shot was taken by Jodi just minutes before Travis’s death

Posted on 02/22/13 at 12:42 AM by Sailor. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Funny Talented Very Smart Woman, 21, Killed By Another Woman With No Record Of Crime Or Violence

Posted by devorah

Sound familiar? Sadly, probably too much so.

The stabbing death of Susan Sarkis is believed to have happened in a spiral of anger and violence on Saturday night, in Brighton Le Sands, a southern suburb of Sydney Australia,

The woman arrested is the apartment’s 31-year-old owner who is now being held in custody. A video and the story so far are included in this report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Details about Ms Sarkis are still emerging but she was clearly talented, warm, and admired. Messages posted online by her cousins are quoted as follows.

“RIP little cousin. When I received that phone call on New Year’s Day and u were wishing me a happy birthday I was almost in tears seeing as you always remembered my birthday,” he wrote.

“Well now I’m in tears remembering you. We miss you. Your life was cut too short, but your in a better place. Love you cuz and we will definitely see you later.”

Another cousin wrote: “RIP Suzie.. A life cut short but the memory of a beautiful young girl will live in our heart forever. May God give your parents, Chrissy & Anthony the strength to get through this very difficult time. Love you cuz xx”...

“Sweetie, habibi susie my little sister. I’m shattered you’re a beautiful sweet angel sweetness,” another wrote.

Below: Brighton Le Sands is south of Sydney downtown, by the airport, on its “other harbor” Botany Bay

Posted on 02/11/13 at 11:07 AM by devorah. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewherePondering motive
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?

Posted by Kermit

If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.

As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.

“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday – New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.

Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.

One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.

This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.

Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.

We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?

No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.

On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried – do give her credit – to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.

In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.

It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.

Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.

As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.

Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.

However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.

[“Frank” could be in NYC if his Facebook page shows his true location.]

A number of questions remain to be answered.

One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.

As the above image indicates, it appears that typically Assault IV–DV suspects are held in prison, especially if there is a likelihood of flight.

Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” – a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world – allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?

Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country – exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?

A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.

Entering the US if you have an arrest record – as is definitely the case of “Frank” – is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges …


    ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.

    or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.

The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?

He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.

His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.

Maybe he’s already disappeared into some far-off hills for a few years. Cross-section of his new lodgings below?

Posted on 01/01/13 at 01:46 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaMore of the same
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below Municipal Judge Ed McKenna and some images of Seattle Justice Center]

Our main poster Fly By Night reports from the Seattle court.

Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance.  The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.

In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session.  The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.

The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”

The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action.  The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…

Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.

If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows. 

Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox? 

Not such a good idea to fight justice all these years. Kermit will post again next on the full implications of Frank’s meteoric career - downward.


Posted on 12/31/12 at 07:30 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaMore of the same
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Will Frank Sforza Show In Seattle Court? If Not Arrest Warrant And Freedom Revocation Probably Next

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[Above center: Frank Sforza with close acquaintances Curt Knox and Michael Heavey]

1. Skeptical Bystander reports:

Live from the Seattle Municipal Court: Sforza a no show this morning.

Attorney requests one week delay, says Frank is having customs problems and interpreter is not available this afternoon.

Judge asks if Frank’s English is good enough to function without interpreter and then resets for 1:30 today.

Will he show? KING 5 cameraman was there.

2. Fly By Night reports

Frank Sforza is a no show this afternoon as well. This time, there’s no KING camera to record the non-event. Waiting for Judge McKenna to make an appearance.

If there were supporters in attendance, they were being very discreet.

Posted on 12/31/12 at 04:00 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco Sforza
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Of The Serial Defamers of Italian Justice Must Face Some Hard Truths Of American Justice

Posted by Kermit

This has not been a good year at all for the increasingly beleaguered Knox and Sollecito campaigns.

As interest in Amanda Knox and her case dwindles precipitately in the United States, her image handlers seem to realize that a major final push effort must be made for their final challenge to be successful: a profitable sales kickoff for Knox’s “tell-it-all” book now promised for April 2013.

At this point, the tough prosecution appeal in the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher seemingly hardly interests the PR campaign, apart from any market “churn” that it can help to develop for the book..

Raffaele’s own US book promotion tour three months ago was little short of a complete disaster. On the one hand, his heated text has provided massive new defamatory material against innocent persons, and on the other he has introduced new affirmations that totally contradict his defence team’s posture throughout the murder trials.

Now, the Perugian Blogger known variously as “Frank Sfarzo”, “Francesco Sforza” and “Francesco Sforca” (real name Sforza) has been arrested and has spent time confined in Hawaii and Seattle jails, in addition to being questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. In Seattle he may face more time.

These arrests and questionings are in addition to his arrest and charging in Perugia for attacking police officers coming to investigate a complaint for alleged domestic violence phoned-in by a female member of his own family. That trial is now pending.

[“Frank Sfarzo” with his fellow serial belittlers of Italian justice, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore]

Frank’s Canadian Caper and his Hawaiian Punch adventure were of thematic note. In one case, it was an elderly Canadian gentlemen who was acting as Frank’s host who made the phone call in the wee hours to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because he feared that the often scantily clad and more-and-more argumentative “Frank” was a real physical threat to him. In the other case, a woman had Hawaiian police alerted and had claimed that she was pushed around by “Frank” in the hotel where she had put him.

What is really surprising is that in both cases the victims of alleged aggressions were fervent supporters of Amanda Knox! And in both cases, the victims had given “Frank” substantial monetary gifts: $5,000 by the Canadian man, and air tickets to Hawaii by the American woman.

In both cases, the victims were followers of the absurdly named “Injustice in Perugia” blog run by the beleaguered pro-Knox Chicago-suburbs blogger Bruce Fisher/Fischer. Fischer is actually a mall store assistant and wannabe sleuth who like “Frank” makes use of more than one name in grandly presenting a faux front to the world.

Back when he claimed online to be the upscale “Bruce Fisher of New York”, Bruce carried out many nasty and in-effect anonymous attacks on individuals, mostly women, who did not share his point of view. The “Fischer of Chicago”, now exposed, continues more cautiously in public, but in his little private forum he continues to rant against anyone who doesn’t share his untethered take on Amanda Knox’s total innocence and a vast Italy-wide conspiracy. This authentic Fischer has a fairly unexotic lobbying base and Internet connection for promoting his pro-Knox cause: the suburban-mall fur-shop where he works.

Fisher/Fischer is now maintaining that the plea on his blog for the “Frank Sfarzo Fund Drive” is to help the Perugia Shock blog and not “Frank” the blogger who runs it – however, that’s not what the Fund Drive description says:

[Above: Amanda Knox advocate Bruce Fisher/Fischer has been a key enforcer of donations to the Perugian Blogger]

As is often the case of persons who suffer domestic physical and psychological abuse at the hands and mouth of someone they implicitly respected, it must have taken a major act of self-questioning and doubt before the Hawaiian and Canadian victims were able to make themselves step forward and decry the abuse they allegedly suffered and were humiliated by.

Both of those cases were talked about a lot on several web discussion boards. Not surprisingly, Fisher/Fischer, who has invested heavily in the particular versions of the crimes against Meredith that he promotes to “save” Knox (and, as a necessary side-effect, Raffaele Sollecito) could only try and explain/justify the Perugian Blogger’s behavior, while at the same time directly accusing the two real victims of provoking the Blogger’s “quirky” personality. Fisher/Fischer’s take on Knox and his related income stream would otherwise be at stake.

Perhaps Fischer should be more worried about the potential liability for wrong claims he makes about third parties in this case, especially those in Rome and Perugia, and about the potential for the Perugian Blogger to cause further cases and more victims of domestic violence, given the blogger’s alleged record.

In spite of the statement of “Probable Cause” by the arresting police officer in Hawaii (see image above), in the end, under a great deal of heat, charges were not pressed by the victims against “Frank” in Canada or in Hawaii.

However, what Fisher/Fischer and other pro-Knox PR assets did not reveal in what I consider to be their hypocritical justification of “Frank’s” known violence in his North American travels is that he actually had one further legal case, still going forward in Seattle at this date.

It started to receive public scrutiny only when it was unearthed by Internet commenters on the pro-victim side.

Following his problems in Canada and Hawaii, on November 27 “Frank” was arrested yet again, in Seattle, after allegedly having a physically violent encounter with the persons with whom he had arranged a room when he returned to Washington State after his disastrous emergency exit from Hawaii. He spent over 24 hours in a Seattle jail before being bailed out thanks to donated funds.

The Seattle police report concerning this most recent incident and the arrest of “Frank” states thus:

“(VI – Victim1) said that he was sitting on the couch talking to the District Attorney’s Office when S/Sforza became agitated and slapped the phone out of his hand. S/Sforza then jumped on top of him and punched him in the face approximately four times. V I was able to push S/Sforza off of him and stand up but S/Sforza pushed him back on the couch causing pain to his right shoulder. S/Sforza then jumped on top of V II (Victim 2) and began slapping in the face and scratched him on the temple. While V II struggled to get away he scraped his left knuckle but was able to get to his room. While in his room he grabbed his phone to call 9-1-1. As he was walking out of his room S/Sforza tried to push him back in the room and grabbed him by the throat using both of his hands. S/Sforza then left the house and 9-1-1 was called. V II had a visible red scrape to his right temple, a visible scrape to his left knuckle and redness around his neck. Both victims declined medical attention at the scene.

[ed note. Sforza called 911, informing police that he would meet them] ... at 36th Ave W and W Mcgraw where he said he would be waiting. S/Sforza said that both V I and V II had been giving him a hard time since he returned from his trip. He said they told him that he wasn’t able to leave his room. He stated that V II had tried to force him to leave the house and choked him. S/Sforza did not have any visible signs of assault and did not have any redness around his neck. S/Sforza said the police were called to the house yesterday for a disturbance. A report was written on that incident (12-403658).

S/Sforza was placed under arrest and transported to the West Precinct… Persons took pictures of the injuries to V II and sent them for processing to the SPD Photo Lab via the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). 2 Domestic violence Supplemental forms were completed by Officer… S/Sforza has a passport from Italy and requested Consular notification.”

“Frank” has hinted in online conversations that he may be coming to Seattle for the purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve. He has even gently jibed Amanda’s co-murder suspect (pending final appeal) Raffaele Sollecito for not being sure if it’s worth it to go to Seattle for just a few days at year’s end:

However, if The Perugian Blogger, a man of at least three aliases and now a number of arrests relating to domestic violence, is going to be in Seattle on December 31, it will actually be because he has a court hearing on New Year’s Eve for two counts of Assault 4 – Domestic Violence. 

This time, it seems that the alleged victims won’t hold back or be humiliated into letting the crime go unchallenged and have the charges withdrawn.

“Frank” has been a central figure to the pro-Knox forces ever since a few months after the murder of Meredith he decided instead to advocate for Knox in conjunction with other elements of the Knox PR campaign. This was a shocking and sudden 180 degree U-turn for someone who had up until then been strongly pro-Meredith and favorable to the prosecutor. Mr Mignini, on the case.

What incentive did he have to make such a rapid, stunning, radical change? Leaving many former followers behind?

I don’t know, but do note that nobody can account for how he paid his bills these past 4 years since he claims that no Italian media buys his articles. With “Frank” seemingly living off of the kindness of others and/or the PR campaign, and seemingly not having a particular long-term address of his own… Does the term “drifter” come to mind?

In time, the integration of “Frank’s” Perugia Shock blog with the Knox PR campaign was openly evidenced – before its current aesthetic makeover after it briefly was forced down – by the incorporation of key Knox lobbyist Jim Lovering into the blog credits thus:

[Above: Will “Frank’s” campaigner colleague and local resident Jim Lovering appear in court next Monday to support him?]

The Perugian Blogger has been useful to the pro-Knox campaign. In spite of American thriller novelist Douglas Preston’s strange affirmations that Italy has been coming over to Amanda’s side in her legal battle, the truth is that few non-American and specifically no Italian faces have come out strongly in favour of Knox, except for her own lawyers of course.

“Frank” quickly became a local enabler for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, helping out with the most mundane activities, from revealing secret insider “knowledge” or “facts” on his blog, to babysitting the younger Knox-Mellas girls, or involving the girls in paid-for photo shoots.

In return, he was often referred to in pro-Knox circles as a “journalist”. This faux title was certainly a step up from “Frank’s” prior life of maintaining a website dedicated to selling truffles or capitalizing on the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

[Image above: “Frank” before Meredith’s murder: a mundane life of waiting for his 10 minutes of fame]

Following Meredith’s murder, and with the Knox-Mellas clan desperately in need of a facilitator for their everyday logistics in Perugia, “Frank” became their handyman and, in time, almost part of the Knox-Mellas clan.

[Image: Perugian Blogger “Frank” and Chris Mellas, Amanda Knox’s stepfather.]

“Frank”, however, was not merely a passive enabler. He asserted himself, and he pushed his envelope of fame and ownership of knowledge, even though he was mostly a receiver of the tidbits of information the Knox-Mellas clan would throw him when convenient.

His particular claim to “ownership” of information given to him got to the ridiculous point of claiming copyright to court documents that he received and posted on his blog. Court officials might find that pretty cheeky!

The official image of the knife later resurfaced in a great video by ViaDellaPergola here.

It seems that befriending “Frank” became the “in” thing to do, for a brief moment anyway, with many FOA-types and Knox Entourage hangers-on. He must have seemed quite exotic, and also, surprisingly, on their side. After all, the rest of Italy was clearly not.

Bruce Fisher/Fischer the blogger and Knox lobbyist has increasingly isolated himself in supporting “Frank”, and has been working around the clock to justify “Frank’s” string of domestic violence arrests and police questionings, after having published and vouched for “Frank’s” need for financial assistance.

Will Fisher/Fischer and Steve Moore continue to befriend and support “Frank” the blogger? Moore once stated that he would trust Amanda Knox as a roommate to his own daughter. Would he trust “Frank” to spend time alone overnight with his own daughter, now that Moore is aware of Frank’s arrest record for domestic violence? Does he approve of “Frank’s” way of living … is it simply “‘Frank’ being ‘Frank’”, or something that a father might be worried about?

Another of “Frank’s” close confidantes in the US has been Candace Dempsey, a person with a personal food blog on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website who hastily erased most of her culinary blogging past in order to get on with her new found life as a pro-Knox writer.

[Food blogger Candace Dempsey has attempted to recycle her professional focus in parallel with “Frank”]

Dempsey continues to dedicate herself – for the moment at least – to writing about Amanda Knox’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder case from a pro-Knox point of view.  Will Candace be at Frank’s hearing in the Municipal Court of Seattle on December 31? It would be a fine way of supporting someone she has shared so much fellowship with.

Followers of Meredith’s murder case all remember how Dempsey’s man-in-Perugia “Frank” stalwartly supported her affirmation that it would have been impossible for Amanda and Raffaele to stake out any movements of persons entering or leaving the cottage following Meredith’s murder, due to the entrance to the cottage grounds supposedly not being visible from the Piazza Grimana … in spite of every eye-witness observation and evidenciary photo to the contrary.

Another pro-Knox asset who has been supportive of “Frank” in many ways is Seattle’s King County Judge Michael Heavey. Heavey once received a stern official reprimand for sending, on State of Washington stationary, private accusations of judicial negligence to Italian authorities, where he accused Prosecutor Mignini of grave mismanagement of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, without providing any evidence to support his wild and defamatory claims. Heavey continues his pro-Knox support in a vocal manner, with appearances at university forums that are prepackaged to support Knox, or speaking at local Rotary Club meetings (luckily we saved the video).

[“Frank” the Perugian Blogger and host Judge Michael Heavey pose together.]

Will Judge Heavey be present at “Frank’s” hearing for charges of domestic violence on December 31? Will he use his good offices to help Frank bear the state of Washington’s justice in the lightest manner possible?

Anti-Mignini novelist Douglas Preston, a patron funder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), appeared (how coincidental) in a strange CPJ open letter to the world by Joel Simon to Italian authorities, complaining that a mysterious police squad that supposedly reports to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had beaten up “Frank” and had him arrested on trumped up charges.

]Novelist Douglas Preston – now a self-described “point-of-view journalist”]

Preston was a central source in a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) open letter which transformed the domestic violence complaint of a female member of the Perugian Blogger’s family into a case of harassment by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. It’s hard to make up crazier tales, yet the CPJ stands by the unsubstantiated claims fed to it.  In most jurisdictions that’s called defamation.

Now is a good time for the CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon to show his face and admit his embarrassing error by recognizing that “Frank’s” arrest for violence against police officers in Perugia while resisting arrest was under the responsibility of Prosecutor Paolo Abbritti and his team.

Mr Mignini who “Frank” and Preston and Simoin smeared globally had no role at all and may well have not even have known about it. “Frank’s” domestic and anti-authority violence in Italy is consistent with his domestic violence related arrests in North America.

No one, not even CPJ’s Joel Simon could ever have seriously considered that the provincial civil servant Mr Mignini has a private goon squad of rogue policemen who report to him and beat up persons on his request.

By recognizing his error, Joel Simon would be making a positive gesture to classic journalistic standards (not gonzo point-of-view journalism standards) of correcting errors, and he would also be doing a great service to victims of domestic violence around the world. Joel, I ask you please to finally do what is right, and not what a financial benefactor of your organization wants you to do.

It is also important to hear what Preston’s response if any is to “Frank’s” current legal woes in the US. So far, no word from him. Will Preston continue to see the long arm of Mignini in all these arrests? Or will he distance himself from a person Preston considers a fellow “point-of-view journalist” in the Meredith Kercher case?

Preston recently contacted this writer, saying he was writing an Afterword to a book by Mario Spezi about what he calls the “Amanda Knox case”. He said this chapter would be dedicated to the key online players on both sides of the case. (Preston was first invited, see here and here and here, to correct some of his previous error-laden work.)

There is probably no other online personality more prominently associated with the Amanda Knox PR campaign than the blogger who goes by the nickname of “Frank Sfarzo”.

If Preston can’t make it to Seattle to support “Frank”, I guess we will have to wait for his new Afterword in Spezi’s book or his magazine article to catch his angle on “Frank’s” travails with the law, or at least what he thinks about “Frank” after they appeared together in the CPJ open letter - after which, Preston wrote some vigorous followup emails about the CPJ’s open letter concerning “Frank”.

If it had not been for Preston the fictionalist and “Frank” the recycled truffle blogger, there would have been no inaccurate and highly unfair demonizing of Prosecutor Mignini, and that would have taken the air out of Bruce Fisher/Fischer’s own very nasty campaign.

In addition, the pro-Knox books written by would-be opinion benders Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey would have been very different or impossible to develop as they are.

It goes on and on. The list of pro-Knox PR assets who have used “Frank” in their own particular contributions to Amanda’s cause is extensive.  Will any of them be in Seattle Municpal Court [image below] with the Perugian Blogger this Monday at 10:00 am?

A pro-Knox commenter who goes by the penname of “KayPea” is trying to rally the pro-Knox troops who are now starting to back off in a very natural manner from “Frank” and the string of domestic violence incidents that “Frank” seems to have been involved in. On the “IIP” blog, she exhorts them to remain in the fold. If we believe her, she is speaking for herself - and remarkably, also the Knox and Mellas families:

“several of you good people [she’s referring to pro-Knox readers] seem to be trying to make up your mind about Frank’s credibility as the author of Perugia Shock as it is juxtaposed on his personal life and this crazy mess with Bettina, Peter and the nutters at the boarding house [ed note: these are respectively the pro-Knox Hawaiian, Canadian, and Seattlietes who are now non-grata … it seems that if you want to make sure that you are allowed to be a groupie, don’t let yourself to get into a situation where “Frank” the Perugian Blogger can abuse you].

Please know that the people who know him the best, Amanda’s family and friends, have been at his side throughout the past few months. COME. WHAT. MAY. They, and I, accept all of Frank’s personality quirks ...” (IIP, 27/12/2012)

However, the owner of the blog, Bruce Fisher/Fischer, seems to be trying frantically to isolate the impact of “Frank’s” “personality quirks” on the IIP emporium. Fischer has stated thus:

“lets lay this out in simple terms. Amanda and Raffaele are free. Nothing that happens in Frank’s life at this point has anything at all to do with anything that took place in the past with regard to the case. Nothing happening in Frank’s life has anything at all to do with Meredith Kercher.”

(Bruce Fisher/Fischer – IIP blog – 27/12/2012)

It’s as if Fischer in his surreal bubble is claiming that “Frank” never really ever existed. Never fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Meredith and her family their justice.

If I were “Frank”, I would be thinking that maybe not very many of my once long list of FOA friends will be showing support during the New Year’s Eve court appearance.

Will they be joining him for drinks later after the court hearing is done? Or maybe further contact would put them at risk of being pushed into being the next “Bettina” or “Peter” in Canada, more victims of domestic violence.

Does anyone reading believe any longer the wild, uninvestigated claim of Douglas Preston’s friends at the CPJ? That the Italian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was behind the complaint placed by female members of “Frank’s” family in Italy? Which eventually led to his arrest there after attacking police officers?

Or is that simply another falsehood from the pro-Knox PR myth factory?

Domestic violence is a terrible, terrible issue in our society. We should never try to explain it away, or blame the victim or any third parties who had nothing to do with the violence.  To do so only degrades the victim, and distances yet further the perpetrator from correcting his criminal behavior.

Let’s hope that if someone shows up at the Perugian Blogger’s court hearing this Monday December 31, even if all of his erstwhile FOA friends have disappeared, that victims of domestic violence are there with true supporters, demonstrating that they have no fear of decrying this degrading, despicable criminal behavior.

Final question. Will the Knox-Mellas families really continue to support Frank? Will they let him stay at their homes? Would Amanda let him sleep at her apartment or even visit without her boyfriend or anyone else present?

In fact will any of the Knox-Mellas clan members be at “Frank’s” court hearing at the Seattle Municipal Court at 10:00 am this Monday December 31?  In particular, will Amanda be there? Or does Frank, as is rumored, have her freaked?

Posted on 12/29/12 at 02:19 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaNina BurleighMichael Heavey
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Casey Anthony Might Have Escaped Guilty Verdict Because An Incriminating Web Search Was Missed

Posted by Peter Quennell

This has been sensationalized news in the United States for two weeks and many people are still grinding their teeth.

As the video explains it seems pretty certain that it was Casey Anthony on her Firefox browser that googled “‘Foolproof Suffocation’” on the day her daughter Caylee disappeared and/or died.

The defense lawyer Jose Baez knew of the hit throughout the trial but, apparently under no legal compulsion to assemble the prosecutor’s case, he simply held his breath on the evidence until the “not guilty” verdict came in. He now suggests to universal disbelief that Casey was thinking of suicide.

Several of our lawyers are inclined to doubt that an American judge would have allowed an appeal in the Knox and Sollecito case given the very weak grounds - and had he or she done so, the appeal court would have had no second-guessing jury, and its brief would have been very circumscribed. With or without appeal granted, in the US the pair would probably still be serving their time.

So the uber-cautious Italian system favored them so far. But two of the prosecution appeal grounds at Supreme Court level seem at least as damning as searching “foolproof suffocation”. One is that the Conti-Vecchiotti consultancy was illegal, and the other is that the failure to test a remaining sample on the knife was also illegal.

So if they eventually do go down, Casey Anthony may still end up laughing at Sollecito and Knox. It has been announced that Casey Anthony is getting her own Lifetime movie (airing early next year) and can pretty well say and write anything and take any money offered that she wants.

But Casey Anthony is still appealing convictions for lying to police, a long shot at best, and after that the nanny whose name she gave to police as “the kidnapper” will get her day in court.

So Casey Anthony, who sounds psychologically untethered, might not end up laughing too much after all.

Posted on 12/05/12 at 02:08 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DNA Proof 40 Years After A Cowardly Murder Shuts Down A Fact-Fogging Campaign For The Murderer

Posted by The Machine

[Above: the murder victim Michael Gregsten and Valerie Storie who survived]

Relevance to Meredith’s case

You maybe thought journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities campaigning on behalf of someone who evidence strongly suggested was guilty was peculiar to Meredith’s case?

Think again. Exactly the same thing has happened more than a few times. This is one. The UK’s notorious A6 murder of 1961.

On the evening of 22 August 1961, Michael Gregsten, a government scientist, and his girlfriend Valerie Storrie, a laboratory assistant, were sitting in his car next to a cornfield in Berkshire, just west of London, when a masked gunman tapped on the car window. He demanded Gregsten’s wallet and Storie’s handbag.

He then forced Gregsten to drive 60 miles to Deadman’s Hill at Clophill in Bedfordshire where he shot the scientist twice in the head, killing him instantly. Next, he raped and shot Ms Storie five times. She survived the attack, but was left paralysed from the waist down.

[Above: Convicted murderer James Hanratty and his campaigning father]

Trial and evidence

James Hanratty, a petty thief, was arrested after cartridge cases from the murder weapon were found in a London hotel where he stayed the night before the murder. Valerie Storie picked out Hanratty at an identity parade from her hospital bed and she also made a voice identification of him. 

At the trial at Bedford Assizes, James Henratty changed his original alibi that he was staying with friends in Liverpool on the day of the murder and said that he had gone to Rhyl, in north Wales, and stayed two nights in a boarding house. The jury didn’t believe him and James Hanratty was found guilty of murdering Michael Gregsten.

The families of the victims (one dead, one crippled for life) expressed relief that a unanimous verdict was reached.

Hanratty was hanged at Bedford Prison on 4 April 1962. The day before he was hanged, he told his family: “I’m dying tomorrow but I’m innocent. Clear my name.” 

The pressure for an appeal

After James Hanratty was hanged, his father launched a campaign to clear his name. A number of high-profile public figures lent their support to the campaign, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and prominent politicians David Steel and Norman Fowler.

In 1971, a hundred MPs signed a petition demanding a public inquiry. The Conservative government refused to open such an inquiry.

Three years later the Labour Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, commissioned a report from Lewis Hawser QC who sat in secret and came to the conclusion Hanratty was guilty.

In 1999, the case was sent back to the Court of Appeal. In March 2001, Hanratty’s body was exhumed and DNA tests were carried on it to see whether his DNA matched DNA traces found on Valerie Short’s knickers and her handkerchief that was found wrapped around the gun.

DNA tests confirm a right verdict

Forensic scientists from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) found that there was a perfect match and concluded that the DNA found on these exhibits was 2.5 million times more likely to belong to Hanratty than anyone else.

A report from the Daily Mail.

James Hanratty was guilty of the notorious A6 murder for which he was hanged, sensational scientific evidence has revealed. A DNA sample taken from his exhumed body has been matched by forensic experts to two samples from the crime scene.

They now believe that there is only a 1-in-2.5million chance Hanratty was innocent.  The results of the tests, released to Hanratty’s defence team, are a crushing blow to campaigners who have insisted he was not guilty.

In 2002, James Hanratty’s conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeal and a bid to take the case to the House of Lords was rejected. Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, who with two colleagues - Lord Justice Mantell and Mr Justice Leveson - considered the posthumous appeal, said the DNA evidence established Hanratty’s guilt “beyond doubt”.

Lord Woolf for the Supreme Court on 10 May 2002:

We have already stressed the importance of looking at a case such as this in the round. The grounds of appeal are of differing significance and although we have dealt with them individually it is also necessary to consider them collectively in asking ourselves the critical question is the conviction of James Hanratty of murder unsafe either on procedural or evidential grounds?

As to the evidential issues they all ultimately relate to the single issue which dominated the trial and this appeal, the identity of the killer. In our judgment for reasons we have explained the DNA evidence establishes beyond doubt that James Hanratty was the murderer.

The DNA evidence made what was a strong case even stronger. Equally the strength of the evidence overall pointing to the guilt of the appellant supports our conclusion as to the DNA.

[Above: journalist campaigners Paul Foot and Bob Woffinden]

The 40-year media campaign

Forty years of excruciating hell for the families and friends of the victims, one dead, one crippled for life .

Investigative journalists such as Bob Woffinden and Paul Foot wrote articles and books about the case, stubbornly certain that James Hanratty was innocent and that the case was a miscarriage of justice.

Paul Foot was a highly-respected campaigning journalist who worked for Private Eye, the Daily Mirror and The Guardian. However, his reasons for believing that James Hanratty was innocent were flimsy to the say the least.

From the BBC obituary for Paul Foot:

Beyond his obvious triumphs, Foot sometimes got it terribly wrong.

The Hanratty affair is a case in point. Twenty-five-year-old James Hanratty was hanged in 1962, after being found guilty of killing scientist Michael Gregsten and raping and shooting his mistress Valerie Storie.

Foot’s interest began in 1966 and, for the next 34 years, he consistently and eloquently demanded justice for Hanratty.

The case was finally reopened in 2000 and, after Hanratty’s body was exhumed, so DNA samples could be scraped from his bones, his guilt was proved beyond doubt.

The main crux of his argument for innocence was that James Hanratty was in Liverpool and Rhyl on the day of the murder. There were no positive identifications of Hanratty, just a couple of people who claimed that they had seen a man who looked like him.

[Above: John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Hanratty’s parents]

A report of John Lennon’s involvement.

On Side One of John & Yoko’s “Live Jam” album (recorded on 15th December 1969) Yoko can be heard to shout “Britain, you killed Hanratty you murderer!”, she then chants Hanratty’s name throughout the opening bars of Don’t Worry Kyoko.

As the [1960s] progressed, the view that Hanratty had in fact been the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice began to gather momentum, another man was even seen to confess to the murder on British Television in 1967. Together with Hanratty’s parents, John and Yoko discussed the idea of making a film to back the campaign for an enquiry and this was announced at an Apple press conference on December 10th 1969.

The one and only public screening of the 40-minute colour result was eventually shown in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London on 17th February 1972.

29 years later DNA evidence from the exhumed body of Hanratty was said to prove that he DID commit the murder, although it has been argued that the retained evidence may have been cross contaminated in storage.

Supporters of James Hanratty have come out with the predictable excuse that the DNA evidence must have been contaminated. However, the forensic scientists who worked in the case said this highly unlikely and pointed out that they had found no other DNA profiles on the two exhibits.

Implications for PR campaigns

The DNA tests carried out by the FFS that finally provided definitive proof that James Hanratty killed Michael Gregsten and raped and shot Valerie Storie more or less stopped the bandwagon dead in its tracks.

But there had been for decades almost fanatical and very vociferous support for someone who’d been unanimously convicted of murder, many of whom stood to gain, though it didnt have too much effect except to have the case looked at and found solid twice.

James Hanratty’s supporters claimed that he had no motive, that the police framed him, and that the DNA evidence was contaminated by the government’s experts. NONE of this was proved. Unless there is actual proof of dastardly plots and contamination, these claims against the authorities are unfruitful and unfair.

The most important lesson to be learnt from the A6 murder case is that a bandwagon of journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities being absolutely convinced of someone’s innocence does not make him or her innocent in fact.

Even intelligent and well-intentioned people like Paul Foot and David Steel can mistakenly believe a killer is innocent and shrug off the pain the victims’ families must feel.

Implications for Curt Knox’s campaign

There are a number of parallels to the campaign against justice for Meredith. The families of the victims for one were put through years of hell, the real evidence was wildly distorted, and many good justice professionals and reporters were impugned. .

Hopefully the judges at the Italian Supreme Court will order a new appeal trial early next year, and the new tests the prosecution requested at the appeal on the remaining sample from the large knife can now be carried out.

Professor Novelli testified that it is possible to extract, amplify and attribute DNA with just 10-15 picograms of DNA using cutting-edge technology.  Conti and Vecchiotti extracted approximately 100 picograms of DNA from the blade of the knife.

Sollecito seemed to know there could be incriminating DNA evidence on that knife, and Knox had an extreme reaction not yet accounted for in an innocent way when she was shown a drawer full of knives.

There is enough DNA for more than one test. If Meredith’s DNA is indeed identified once again, the already strong case against Knox and Sollecito can be closed once and for all. And Curt Knox’s PR will be gone.

[Below: the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf]

Posted on 08/22/12 at 10:39 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedSupreme CourtPublic evidenceDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate

Posted by Peter Quennell

Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.

That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.

Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.

In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.

In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.

In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception. 

Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.

His prison term is set at ten years.

One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.

In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.

Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.

The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here.  And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.

Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.

Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.


Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.

Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas?  It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.

What will he do if they charge him?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Very Ominous Development For Sollecito And Knox: A DNA Conviction Based On A Tiny Sample Of DNA

Posted by The Machine

[Burgess, image below, murdered Yolande Waddington and, above, Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams]

There is a HUGE dagger hanging over Sollecito and Knox. A UK case resolved this week indicates why.

New tests on the DNA sample on the large knife found in Sollecito’s house which the independent DNA experts refused to do, and the judges failed to re-order despite a strong prosecution request, could result in Knox and Sollecito being ultimately convicted and secure Knox’s extradition to serve out her term.

Lawyers consider it a dead certainty that the Supreme Court will order those tests -  that is if they dont throw out the entire Hellman/Zanetti judgment for illegal scope, or throw out the DNA report for illegally having been ordered in the first place.

(1) Summary of the UK case

David Burgess this week was convicted in Reading of murdering Yolande Waddington, 17, some 46 years after the crime was committed, thanks to all the advances in DNA technology. Back then, he was already convicted of killing Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams.

Burgess is the latest person in Britain to have been finally found guilty of murder years after his crime was committed. Nat Fraser, Gary Dobson and David Norris had been convicted of murder this year after evading justice for a number of years.

In September 2010, Thames Valley Police reviewed the case and with advances in DNA techniques finally gathered the evidence which resulted in Burgess being convicted of Yolande Waddington’s murder.

Forensic experts obtained a partial DNA profile from the blood samples using a new technique called MiniFiler. It differs from previous methods as it can obtain information from smaller pieces of DNA. This is ideal for older cases where samples have degraded over time.

According to the manufacturer’s website

[The MiniFiler kit] increases your ability to obtain DNA results from compromised samples that previously would have yielded limited or no genetic data. This means cold cases can come off the shelf for re-analysis and new, challenging samples have a better chance of delivering interpretable results.

When David Burgess attacked Yolande, he left blood on a number of Yolande’s items, including her hair band and comb. Tests showed the chances of the DNA found on the comb and hair band not being Burgess’s were not more than one in a billion.

[Below: David Burgess then and now who had taunted the police a year ago to “prove it”]

(2) Here are the implications for RS and AK

It puts the 46-day delay (caused by the defenses) in retrieving the bra clasp into perspective.

It’s not the first case of somebody being convicted of murder decades after the crime took place on the strength of DNA evidence. Ronald Castree was convicted of murdering Lesley Molseed 32 years later.

It also highlights the arrogant negligence of the DNA consultants Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti who had refused to carry out ordered test on the knife for flimsy reasons (“the technology is experimental” when it wasn’t) that no US or UK court would have accepted. They had been specifically instructed to do the tests if possible by Judge Hellmann.

At trial in 2009 it was accepted that Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen. There still is no argument about that.

And a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano - had all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade.

Even Greg Hampikian, a forensic expert who argues Knox is innocent, concedes that Meredith’s DNA was definitely found on the blade.

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife a long six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. Contamination couldn’t possibly have occurred in the laboratory after so long a gap.

At the appeal, Professor Guiseppe Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories that now have the latest accepted technology to carry out a new test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The fact that Judge Hellmann denied the prosecution the opportunity to present evidence to the contrary was a violation of the procedure code. Italian law states the following:

If new evidence about a point is admitted, evidence a contrario proposed by the opposing party must always be admitted too.

Dr Giovanni Galati has now argued in his appeal to the Supreme Court that Judge Hellmann should have allowed a new test to be performed because the technology is NOT experimental but cutting edge. Summary here:

The second [point concerns] the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

As remarked at the top, if the entire judgment or the DNA report are not thrown out for illegal scope, Judge Hellman’s refusal to allow the prosecution’s request to allow a new test on the knife will be the main reason why his verdict will be revoked.

Under Italian law RS and AK still stand accused until the Supreme Court signs off. Anyone who is concerned with the truth and justice and what Meredith stood for and the good name of Italy will want to know whether the remaining DNA on the knife is Meredith’s.

If Meredith’s DNA is identified on the knife it should make conviction and extradition a slam dunk..

[Below: ViaDellaPergola’s video first posted 18 months ago and still relevant]

Posted on 07/21/12 at 10:51 AM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

In Trial For Killing Of 77 Norway Very Complexed About Whether Admitted Perpetrator Is Barking Mad

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below: this is the courthouse in central Oslo where Anders Breivik is currently been tried]

In Norway a judge and jury and those tens of thousands personally affected by the bombing and shooting deaths of 77 people, mostly in their teens, are trying to calibrate the personality of Anders Breivik.

The self-confessed killer has under Norwegian court procedures been allowed to say a lot about himself during his trial. And to mount a defense which in effect implies that he is the one who is normal, and that everybody else in Norway is either stupid or blind.

There is a sort of Catch 22 situation here.

If the judge and jury and those affected accept that Breivik really IS normal and merely a common or garden Nazi-type fanatic, he can only be sentenced to 21 years x 77 with the sentences to run concurrently. He could be out of prison at only 54.

Even Breivik has said that is pathetic and he would be joyously executed rather than be diminished like that.

But if they accept that he is insane, then he can be sent away to a prison for the criminally insane, and unless he in effect grows a totally new brain, he could be kept locked up for the rest of his natural life.

So if prosecution psychologists can prove him to be what the British like to call barking mad, he could get in effect the maximum time behind bars: life. But blame for a deed which most see as pure evil would in effect be dilute.

Breivik of course is trying very hard to prove that he is NOT mad. But he is not being helped by the testimony of either his mother or his father (who separated in great anger in London a few months after he was born) who have each thoroughly rejected his defense. His mother says he simply lies all the time, and his father says he should have committed suicide.

Nor is he helped by the 1517 page manifesto that he wrote (in English) and emailed to everybody in his address book a few hours before he set out on his attack. 

Dr Avner Falk lives in Jerusalem, Israel, and he is perhaps the most published in the world in the fields of long-distance psychohistory and political psychology. 

On his personal website Dr Falk has just posted this long and deeply researched essay exploring Breivik’s psychology.

Although of course the analysis was done 1/4 of the way around the world, it is difficult to read this essay without concluding that these really are the main facts about what is in Breivik’s head - and that he really is barking mad.

More scientifically, his psychology seems situated somewhere between borderline personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenic.

Dr Falk shows how Breivik may have got that way, and what was driving him to kill (don’t laugh, read the essay first: he became psychotically angered over repeated shows of lack of love by his father, who when Breivek was 16 cut him right off, and too much love by his mom, which Breivek thinks sissyfied him).

And why it would seem to be the safest thing to do to put Breivek away for life.   

So. Is any of this relevant to Meredith’s case? More below.

In Meredith’s case there also seems to be a sort of Catch 22.

First off, it seems that nobody holding any point of view about Knox or Sollecito can see the makings of a credible insanity defense.

One reason many dont want to go down that road is that Italian prosecutions are always facing long odds, and they fear that it could too easily at the end of the legal process leave the accused-perps off the hook and free to go, and to publish whatever they will.

Some fear the same could happen with a defense based on too much alcohol or psychosis-causing drugs.

But at the same time, many also believe that AK and RS were not the social and psychological paragons that many in the obfuscatory PR campaign have tried for a long time to make out.

Even those eager henchmen in Curt Knox’s campaign have had to turn cartwheels to explain why Knox did cartwheels and so quickly put so many people in Perugia right off her, or to explain why Sollecito was so friendless and so obsessed with violent comics and porn and always carried a concealed knife.

And yet despite that, a sort of stealth psychological defense DOES seem to have been mounted, and with Judge Hellman’s interim appeal verdict it does seem to have helped them to be provisionally sprung.

In a process a little reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day where the “villain” has to keep repeating the same day over and over until he gets certain things just right, the public audience and the judges and juries were presented with several different Amanda Knoxes and Raffaele Sollecitos and the 2011 versions seem to have worked.

  • In 2008 the images that dominated were of two cold-hearted or hot-headed jealous abusers who had gone way too far in the remorseless 15-minute struggle with Meredith. Magistrate Matteini and Judge Micheli both firmly took this view, which was confirmed by psychological tests on RS and AK in Capanne Prison that concluded that Perugia would be safer if they stayed behind bars pending their trial.
  • The images that dominated the trial in 2009 was of a mild and slightly daffy Sollecito and a mostly milder and decidedly daffier Amanda Knox, strongly supported by their large and loving families spread out all around the court. That seems to some extent to have worked on Judge Massei, and RS and AK were rewarded with some years off their sentence for a supposed kindness to Meredith’s dead body. In the sentencing report, Rudy Guede became the somewhat villainous initiating attacker of Meredith on the night.
  • The image that dominated the appeal in 2011 was of two serious studious very normal bambinos falsely being tied together with an extremely villainous Rudy Guede, now a notorious drifter and drug dealer who carried knives. The accused in effect dressed in shades of grey, and there were never any smiles or jokes in court. Italian judges and juries and watching audiences have a reputation for leniency toward bambinos, and Judge Hellman’s report suggests that attitude did intrude.

The Italian Supreme Court doesnt usually get to set eyes on those who are appealing or (as in this case) appealed against. More often than not they calibrate a legal and psychological position about as hard-line as the investigating magistrate (Matteini) or the judges at the first level (Micheli and Massei).

Now Knox and Sollecito might not return to the court for any re-run of the appeal trial. But if they don’t, the original images of themselves, those advanced in 2008 which a clear majority of Italians still hold to, could be the version of their personalities that a second appeal judge and jury get to “see”.

Tough call for Knox and Sollecito and their tribes. Their Catch 22.

But either way, assuming a level playing field, a fair outcome seems reasonably assured.


Below: a crowd of 40,000 gathered in central Oslo to sing a song “Children of the Rainbow”.

That is the song by Norwegian folk singer Lillebjoern Nilsen (based on Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Race”) which Breivek claimed in his manifesto shows the decadence of Norwegian youth. 

Posted on 06/15/12 at 08:47 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 08, 2012

A Case In Which The Accused’s Team Used A Psychological Condition Maybe Similar To AK’s Or RS’s

Posted by Grahame Rhodes

The wealthy Durst family develops tall buildings in Manhattan including the Bank of America tower in midtown and the new One Wold Trade Center in downtown which will soon reach 1776 feet high.

Robert Durst is one of the heirs of the founder of the Durst Organization who died in 1995 and his brother Douglas now runs the company with a cousin. Here is a brief summary of Robert’s early life from Wikipedia.

Durst grew up, one of four children, in Scarsdale, New York and attended Scarsdale High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University and attended graduate school at UCLA.

Durst reportedly witnessed his mother’s apparent suicide at age seven; she either fell or jumped off the roof of the Scarsdale family mansion.

According to Reader’s Digest, Durst underwent extensive counseling because of his mother’s death, and doctors found that his “deep anger” could lead to psychological problems, including schizophrenia.

Durst went on to become a real estate developer in his father’s business; however, it was his brother Douglas who was later appointed to run the family business. The appointment in the 1990s caused a rift between Robert and his family, and he became estranged. His earlier schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect.

In 1982 a seeming dark side to Robert Durst began to appear. Also from Wikipedia:

In 1973, Durst married Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared in 1982. Her case remained unsolved for eighteen years when New York State Police reopened the criminal investigation.

On December 24, 2000, Durst’s long-time friend, Susan Berman, who was believed to have knowledge of McCormack’s disappearance, was found murdered execution-style in her Benedict Canyon California house. Durst was questioned in both cases but not charged.

According to prosecutors, he moved to Texas in 2000 and began cross-dressing to divert attention from the disappearance of McCormack.

Both the Kathleen Durst and Susan Berman cases remain open, and New York and Los Angeles police still work on them.

From the Galveston Texas Daily News here is a timeline for the movements of Robert Durst for late 2001 and early 2002.

Sept. 30 — A 13-year-old boy spots a man’s torso floating near the shoreline of 81st Street and Channelview Drive. Nearby, police find garbage bags containing human limbs, along with a number of items investigators later trace to an apartment house in the 2200 block of Avenue K.

Oct. 5 — Officials identify the body parts as the remains of Morris Black, a 71-year-old South Carolina native who lived at the apartment house.

Oct. 9 — Police arrest Robert Durst, 58, who lived in an apartment across the hall from Black. Durst is charged with murder and possession of marijuana, but leaves jail that night after posting $300,000 bond.

Oct. 16 — Durst becomes a fugitive when he fails to appear at a court hearing in his case. A grand jury indicts him on charges of murder and jumping bail.

Oct. 17 — A man in Mobile, Ala., rents a red Chevrolet Corsica, using the name Morris Black.

Nov. 30 — Police in Pennsylvania arrest Durst and charge him with the shoplifting theft of a small bandage, a sandwich and a newspaper.

Dec. 5 — Galveston detectives leave for Philadelphia, armed with a search warrant for the red Chevrolet Corsica police seized from the parking lot of the Pennsylvania grocery store where Durst was arrested.

Dec. 7 — A search of the car reveals numerous pieces of identification in the name of Morris Black, an undisclosed amount of marijuana, two handguns and about 80 bullets.

Dec. 17 — State District Court Judge Susan Criss issues a gag order in the murder case, barring officials, attorneys and potential witnesses from talking about the case.

Jan. 25 — Durst waives his right to an extradition hearing, agreeing to return to Galveston to face charges.

Jan. 27 — Durst arrives at the county jail.

New York Magazine adds this bit of color.

At the time of Black’s death, Durst was living as a deaf-mute woman known as “Dorothy Ciner” who communicated with the landlord via handwritten notes. During the trial he startled jurors by growling loudly like a dog and snorting like a pig.

Later, in prison, he became known for doing nude calisthenics in his cell.

In 2003 he was found not guilty of the murder of Morris Black. From Wikipedia:

During cross-examination, Durst admitted to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember Black’s body before dumping his remains in Galveston Bay. The jury acquitted him of murder.

Specifically he was found not guilty because the jury bought into the idea of a mental condition. CBS News describes how the jury saw it.

Is Durst a cold-blooded killer with a string of victims over more than 20 years? Or is he somehow a victim himself?

Last spring, Correspondent Erin Moriarty talked to Durst’s closest friends and the defense psychiatrist who examined him. The Durst fortune, valued at more than $2 billion, is in the same league as Donald Trump’s fortune. And it’s certainly more than enough for the best legal defense that money can buy.

His high-powered defense team - Dick DeGuerin, Mike Ramsey and Chip Lewis – say that early on, they had difficulty communicating with Durst. So they hired Dr. Altschuler, a well-known Houston psychiatrist, to find out why.

Altschuler says he met with Durst almost on a weekly basis, and spent more than 70 hours examining him. His conclusion: Durst suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. It’s a fairly uncommon disorder that leaves a victim’s intellect intact, but limits his ability to interact socially.

“Emotion is very difficult to him. He doesn’t know what happy is,” says Altschuler. “He can feel it, but almost as if he were feeling it as we would feel fingers through a glove. It’s very dulled, at best, to him … His whole life’s history is so compatible with a diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder.”

The jury apparently bought it. They were convinced that Durst, in a panic, dismembered Black’s body.

Many people with Asperger’s self-diagnose themselves and learn to adjust and most have good lives and careers, many in computers and math-based professions. (Probably a coincidence but Knox’s parents are both in math-based professions, as is Chris Mella.) But some apparently do have flash rages when they yet again encounter in themselves an inability to connect or to win people over. So there are some murders that have been ascribed to this condition.

Both Knox and Sollecito may have had childhood trauma which their families, naturally, seem not too keen to have exposed. Or one or other might have been born wrong-headed.

Note how both of them in Perugia had isolated themselves from just about everybody else when Meredith died - Sollecito with his dark sullenless and Knox with her sharp elbows and brash, grubby, offputting ways.

Note Sollecito’s sordid history of beasty porn, and his knife fetishes, and violent manga comics and films, and lack of close friends, and endless drugs, and slow school progress, and attempted close supervision by a struggling father, and a loyal sister who he has left decimated and jobless without even a shrug.

Note how Amanda Knox seems to have tried all her life to be liked and has never understood why she is so often successful for just a short time. Note the reported riotous behavior off campus in Seattle, the shortage of school and college friends who speak up for her, the strange tale of her walking off the intern job in the German parliament, and the searching for love in all the wrong places

Note her willingness to let Patrick Lumumba rot in jail for weeks. Note how she bought hot underwear while giggling, and how she chose to miss the remembrance service for Meredith in favor of a pizza. Note how the prison tests in 2008 seem to have found both her and Sollecito to be continuing dangers. Note her flippant narcissistic demeanor at the trial, and her various bizarre statements.  Note her reported self-imposed isolation and odd deportment and hygiene while in prison.

Note how her sense of right and wrong seems to be completely at odds, comparatively speaking, with the rest of the human race. Note how she seems unable to exhibit any emotion, or take any responsibility for her actions, even when challenged directly and her veracity called into question.

Finally, note her seeming never-ending lack of empathy for Meredith and her family, observed and remarked on both when Meredith was found and at trial and in the months and years afterwards. Meredith came from a hard working loving family who encouraged her to work hard and gave her every break and certainly never brutalised her. She was talented and made friends easily because of her wonderful sense of humor and her positive view of life.

Meredith was the complete antithesis of Knox. Well adjusted, liked, highly intelligent, very diligent and disciplined,  and driven to succeed. A remarkable success story in process, whicht Knox seemingly could not even begin to relate to.

So are Robert Durst and either of the still-presumed-guilty perps in any way similar? Were either of them born wrong in the head or made that way by childhood trauma?

Or was a mental defense simply an easy way for the entitled but awkward Robert Durst to have got off the hook for a cruel murder, and one that the Hellman jury (and those in the FOA) subliminally bought into for Knox and Sollecito as well?

I leave it to you to decide.

[Below: Robert Durst’s missing wife, and a murdered Los Angeles friend]

[Below: Some new Durst organization buildings in New York including at center 1 WTC]

Posted on 06/08/12 at 10:09 AM by Grahame Rhodes. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Smug Killer Who Thought Perhaps He’d Escaped Justice Was Brought Down In The UK Today

Posted by The Machine

[Above and below: Arlene Fraser and husband Nat who today was again convicted for her murder]

Today at the High Court in Edinburgh Nat Fraser has been been found guilty for the second time of murdering his estranged wife Arlene in 1998.

He was originally was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison. However, after a long appeal process, his conviction was quashed last year by five judges at the Supreme Court in London.

They sent the case back to the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal, where the jurors have just taken approximately five hours to reach a majority verdict after a six-week trial.

It’s not the first time this year that someone in Britain has been finally found guilty of murder after initially escaping justice.

In January, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a jury at the Old Bailey. Dobson had been acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1996 but the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal. (The case against David Norris collapsed before it reached court.)

David Harvie the director of serious casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal, said:

The Crown is absolutely determined to ensuring that criminals are brought to justice for crimes they have committed, no matter the passage of time nor the legal complexities involved.

I have no doubts that Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola are just as determined to ensuring that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are brought to justice.

The cases above are a reality check for anyone who assumes that Knox and Sollecito are innocent simply because they were provisionally acquitted. It’s a fact of life that killers are sometimes acquitted. It’s also a fact of life that for them things often come full circle.

And if anyone thinks that cases of people being convicted of murder after escaping justice don’t happen in Italy, they are seriously mistaken. Barbie Nadeau outlined the case of Angela Birikova, who was convicted of murder after being acquitted at her first trial, in a November 2010 article for the Daily Beast:

In the meantime, the Seattle native’s lawyers say she is anxious to get back to court. She has reportedly been getting to know a new cellmate, Moldovian native Angela Biriukova, herself a celebrity criminal in Italy. Dubbed the Black Widow by the Italian press, Biriukova was tried for murdering her wealthy older husband by stabbing him 16 times.

Her DNA was found on a cigarette butt near the corpse, but nowhere else at the murder scene. Unlike Knox, however, Biriukova was acquitted during her first trial. Knox might take comfort in what happened next: The prosecutors appealed and Biriukova’s acquittal was reversed—after being set free, she was convicted during the appellate process. Should Knox’s appellate trial yield the same dramatic reversal, it will be a stunning conclusion to a trial whose narrative has often sharply turned on twists of fate.

It should noted that there is considerably more undisputed evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito than there is against the various convicted killers that are mentioned above.

Apologist journalists like Nick Pisa and Nick Squires, and especially Michael Day, would do well to remember this, before glibly dismissing the case against the still-accused pair.

[Below: convicted killer Angela Biriukova who Knox reportedly made a friend of in Capanne]

Posted on 05/30/12 at 08:32 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

After Five Years, Heavy Police Resources Still Assigned To The Case Of The Missing Madeleine McCann

Posted by Peter Quennell

The case of Madeleine McCann.

In one respect, there’s this parallel to Meredith’s case. After five years police are still assigning major resources to close to their own complete satisfaction a vexatious and divisive case.

Unfortunately, the parallels end there.

In this case, it is the British police still assigning the resources (now close to four million pounds), in parallel to the relentless Italian effort for Meredith, because they fear that in light of cases like Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard the Portuguese police may have dropped the ball far too soon.

The Portuguese, in face of a confusing situation on the night when Madeleine disappeared, where the parents say they had left her home with younger twins while they had dinner 100 yards away, and a nervous Portuguese vacation industry, declared the parents as under suspicion in Madeline’s death and (see video above) aggressively furthered that meme.  They may have closed off kidnapping possibilities which in this day and age are far too real.

It may be that one day the British police eventually do conclude that her parents had a role in Madeleine’s disappearance and possible death, or simply declare that they have hit a brick wall.  But as Time and other UK and US news services are today reporting, they are concerned that the little girl is still out there, alive, and a kidnapper may be getting a free pass - and the opportunity to do it again.

The British police have released the two images below, showing how Madeleine looked back then and could now look at age nine. These are the latest developments according to the NY Times.

Scotland Yard released a statement saying its investigators had uncovered what they believed to be “genuinely new material,” as well as nearly 200 new opportunities for further inspection. Investigators said that they “now believe that there is a possibility Madeleine is still alive,” and have called for the investigation by Portuguese police to be reopened after an almost four-year hiatus….

While the initial investigation by the Portuguese authorities was roundly criticized, the British inquiry has been aided by the fact that, for the first time since Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom in the family’s rented apartment in the Algarve region of Portugal, investigators have been able to review material generated by three independent investigations, all in one location.

The detective leading the review said that having access to the Portuguese investigation, inquiries by British law enforcement agencies and the work of private investigators hired by the McCann family presents the team with “best opportunity” of finally solving the mystery of what happened in the seaside resort of Praia da Luz.

Rewards totaling millions of dollars were offered by wealthy Britons, including J. K. Rowling, the billionaire author of the Harry Potter series, and Richard Branson, the airline tycoon. But the Portuguese police identified only one suspect, a 33-year-old Britain living with his mother in a nearby apartment….

Detectives have been painstakingly sifting through “every single piece of paper” — approximately 100,000 pages — generated by the original investigation, on the basis that sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see what was always there….

Mr. Redwood rejected the conspiracy theories that have circulated about Madeleine’s parents’ involvement. He said that the girl’s disappearance was the result of “a criminal act by a stranger.”

It will come as renewed encouragement to the McCann family, whose ceaseless energy and reluctance to call off the search have been fundamental in keeping the case in the international spotlight. Since their daughter’s disappearance they have traveled to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, who blessed a photograph of Madeleine, published a book and even appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Posted on 04/25/12 at 11:06 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Italian Tanker Is Still Held In South India Pending… Not Clear Precisely What

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our previous post described an Italian tanker held and two Italian soldiers in custody for shooting two Indian fishermen they thought were pirates.

Several times since. it seemed that whatever evidence can be assembled would be unveiled preparatory to a trial, the Italian crew would explain fully what happened, the soldiers might be charged, and the ship released to go on its way once the Italian owners paid a large bond - which, a while back, they did.

But lawyers acting for the family of one of the fishermen at the last moment sued to stop the ship on the point of leaving because they claimed they did not trust the owners to pay up - even despite the bond having been lodged in the amount (30 million rupees) that the family itself had demanded.

Now tempers seem to be rising in all directions, and as Sreedhar Pillai observes it is not simply Italy v India.

What has been most surprising is the appalling way both countries have handled the sensitive issue, each one not without its own hidden compulsions, and the public stance each country was obliged to take.

For the new Italian Prime minister Mario Monti , there were more compelling matters to attend… However the way the Italians have come out without a convincing and straightforward explanation of what happened has not helped the matter or enabled the Indians to react helpfully to solve the issue.

Besides, the Italian authorities have also failed to grasp the political compulsions under which the Indian government had to act in this matter.

For a start, Kerala, which is the last place people still believe in communism, has a party which lost the recent election with slim margin and has an interest to politicize every issue in order to win a crucial local election held in March. The ruling congress party with slim majority and allegations of corruption with the central government which they lead couldn’t afford to let the legal path take its own course.

That Kerala has a sizable Catholic population didn’t help, with Kerala Bishops facing accusation of taking up for a Catholic foreign country.

Although never mentioned publicly, the most sensitive reason for the stiff Indian stance is nothing but the Italian origin of Sonia Gandhi, presiding over the Congress Party, currently ruling India and several states including Kerala as the major coalition partner.

Hmmm. So in the Italian media one can now find hard comments like “the ship was trying to avoid piracy, but seems to have wandered into it anyway” and in the Indian media one can find comments ranging from “hang the murderers” to “the lawyers for the family are being opportunist”.

Today it is announced that the soldiers are remanded without charges for yet another 14 days. Meanwhile the owners of the Enrica Lexie have sued at the Indian Supreme Court level to get their ship back.

We may hear whether this is agreed to tomorrow. Sadly, the real pirates at the root of all this must be laughing.

Posted on 04/16/12 at 11:07 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

French National Florence Cassez Appeal Fails Before The Mexican Supreme Court

Posted by Peter Quennell

Florence Cassez heads back to prison to continue her 60-year sentence.

If your first exposure to Florence Cassez is to her sweet face (image below) your reaction might be “sweet girls like Florence simply don’t do crimes” and to mobilize to press for her release.

But as in the case of Amanda Knox the devil really is in the details. Time and again, new readers have come here, many lawyers included, and encountered all of the mountain of details, and in effect responded once they were on top of them “those involved in Rome and Perugia really did know what they are doing”.

Not to mention those vital details lost in translation.

The French national Florence was living on a ranch outside Mexico City owned by her boyfriend when he kidnapped and held a family for ransom. (He is not yet convicted.) The kidnapped family, largely blindfolded, didnt see her, but several say they heard her voice and they suffered from her mistreatment.

Why would they make that up? Florence never really has explained how she could be living right there on the ranch and not have the slightest idea of what was going on. Or explain who “the other woman” was that the kidnapped family kept encountering.

Sentences for kidnapping are very harsh in Mexico as it has had far too many in recent years. The sweet face and 60 year sentence and the family of Florence and President Sarkozy and the notion of a process run wild made for a compelling mix of tragedy on French TV.

Not to mention those vital details lost in translation.

So far, though, to no avail. The Supreme Court have just ruled that the sentence must stand. This may not be the end of it as several irregularities have been conceded but if she is to see freedom in her lifetime Florence still has explaining to do.

Various public opinion polls say 65 to 74 percent of Mexicans think Cassez is guilty and many express resentment at French pressure to win her freedom….  [And] many believe any violation of due process was not serious enough to let Cassez go free.

How rarely do countries appreciate other countries leaning on their legal system. It’s not likely to happen again, soon toward Mexico as much as toward Italy.


Posted on 04/13/12 at 05:18 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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In Close Parallel To Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony Faces Court Action For Falsely Fingering Another

Posted by Peter Quennell

Both recent images. Above the plaintiff Zenaida Gonzalez; below the defendant Casey Anthony

Amanda Knox provisionally got off on the main count (the murder of Meredith) but anyway was sentenced to three years (which she served) for fingering Patrick Lumumba.

Casey Anthony definitively got off on the main count (murdering her infant daughter Caylee, see previous posts) but anyway was sentenced to some time in prison for time-wasting and expensive misleading of the police officers.

She received no sentence for falsely fingering a nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, for making off with Caylee, and as she had never even met Zenaida Gonzalez it is unclear how she came up with Zenaida’s name.

The Orlando Sentinel reports an issue is whether or not Anthony identified Gonzalez specifically enough when she talked to her parents when they visited her in jail.

Anthony’s attorney said details offered by Anthony did not match Fernandez-Gonzalez and clearly showed Anthony wasn’t talking about her. Gonzalez’s attorneys say she still was damaged as the only person with that name interviewed by investigators.

Fernandez-Gonzalez had never met Anthony. Investigators believe Anthony may have seen the name on an apartment rental application.

During Anthony’s trial last year, her attorney Jose Baez said Anthony made up the story about the babysitter and that Caylee truly drowned in the family pool. Anthony was acquitted of murder and other serious charges.

Nevertheless, yesterday a judge in Orlando, Florida, ruled that Zenaida Gonzalez may sue Casey Anthony for defamation of character, and the case is scheduled for January 2013.

In Amanda Knox’s case she absolutely did know Patrick Lumumba, her kindly employer who gave her a job without a work permit, and she and her mother let him languish in prison for several weeks.

Pretty hard to look worse than Casey Anthony, but in her cruel act of framing Patrick, Amanda Knox certainly does.

Posted on 04/13/12 at 01:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two Victims Ride High - With No Thanks To The Conspiracy Theorists

Posted by Peter Quennell

Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart with the sustained help of their appealing families are right now two of the most admired women in America.

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped from California’s beautiful South Tahoe area (image below) in 1991 and kept captive east of San Francisco through late 2009. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her north-east Salt Lake City home (image below) in 2002 and sprung from her captors in March 2003.

Both girls seem to have been affected by the Stockholm Syndrome, Jaycee Dugard by way of the physical abuse of her captors, and Elizabeth Smart perhaps by way of the religious claims of her male captor, though she claims it was only the physical abuse.

Both women put on a very determined and self-confident performance on the witness stand, and both saw their captors put away for good. It may have been tougher for Elizabeth Smart because she had to endure years of argument over whether her male captor was mentally competent. The jury agreed with prosecution witnesses that he was simply putting on a skillful act and they returned a very quick guilty verdict.

Jaycee Dugard wrote a fearless and unflinching best-seller about her experience. Similar books have been written about Elizabeth Smart, who was married to a Scotsman a few days ago (bottom image) amid reports that said they looked like royalty.

Both have been interviewed frequently on American TV, with Elizabeth Smart pushing back strongly against CNN’s Nancy Grace. Both want to raise awareness of female kidnappings.

Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapping happened when the internet was in its infancy and the conspiracy theories targeting her family were mild and did not slow her mother’s determination. Elizabeth Smart’s parents however were really targeted by the conspiracy theorists, and rants against both her father and herself became absolutely endemic.

Any comparison between these two and Amanda Knox here? We dont see it. Most of the internet abuse has flowed from Knox’s own “supporters”. They have too often made demented personal attacks which absolutely cannot help her with Perugia’s top prosecutor, or the Supreme Court which she soon faces.

And many months since she returned home after the first appeal court released her, she still has not had the courage to face the TV cameras, or to do other than announce a book which sounds like a work of fiction.

Learn something from these two, Amanda Knox. Get classy. Or understand why you and yours will never be widely admired.

Posted on 02/29/12 at 04:15 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Watch Out David Marriott! Your Feeble Efforts To Market AK May Land You One In The Eye…

Posted by Peter Quennell

It seems Casey Anthony may have seized control of her own PR and dumped her lead lawyer for not landing her a megabucks deal.

Her lead lawyer was Jose Baez (image above) who may not yet have been fully paid for getting her off minus the convictions for lying to the cops. Early on, Jose Baez compared her to Amanda Knox who now also appears to be struggling for a megabucks deal. Clearly not much synergy there.

Casey Anthony’s need for money to pay her bills and set herself up after her probation period ends (she is now confined to a hideway in Florida) are said to be considerable. For example she owes the State of Florida about $100,000 toward their investigation costs for so often leading them astray.

Last month it was reported that her latest pitch was for $500,000 to $750,000 for a first interview - and that most TV networks had already passed.

Casey Anthony seemed to have had a short shelf life. A few days ago it was conjectured that Jodi Arias may now be edging out Casey Anthony in the notoriety stakes. Jodi Arias has just been accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend and also stabbing him 27 times.

But in this context - perhaps coincidence, perhaps not - two video diaries by Casey Anthony suddenly surface and promptly they go viral. The first one is below. This is Diane Dimond’s report about this in the Daily Beast.

It only took six months—to the day—for Casey Anthony to catapult herself back into the nation’s consciousness. Six months after the verdict in her notorious murder trial, Anthony’s visage flooded computer screens worldwide.

Viewers were fascinated by her suddenly short blonde hair, her oversize reading glasses, and her self-absorbed four-minute soliloquy during which she mentioned herself more than 40 times and uttered not one word about her dead baby girl, Caylee, or her family….

It’s confirmed that it is Casey Anthony on the video. One of Anthony’s criminal-defense lawyers says she kept notes and a video blog as part of her “continuing therapy.” But Cheney Mason steadfastly maintains it wasn’t Anthony who let it loose on the Internet… 

Mason was part of the team that successfully defended the young mother during her murder trial and, according to two sources, has now displaced Jose Baez as the media spokesperson for Anthony—apparently at her request.

People close to both men report a recent major falling out among all the parties—between Baez and Anthony, between Baez and Mason—sparked by Anthony’s displeasure at Baez’s inability to win her a TV, book, or movie deal.

Anthony apparently gave Baez until the end of the year to come up with a deal, and absent that anointed Mason as her official liaison. Just how involved Baez will be in Anthony’s future affairs isn’t known, but his unhappiness with the situation has supposedly caused strain around his law office. As one person close to this story who did not want to be identified put it, “Jose is on the outs now. Cheney is in.”

There are many unknowns about the videos. While Anthony gives the date of the v-blog as October 2011, there is no way of knowing exactly when she spoke into her webcam, immortalizing herself.

She could have done it after the first of the year as part of a new self-directed publicity plan—a way to test the waters about a possible rebranding of her image.

Whoever leaked the two videos, whether it was Casey Anthony intent on rebranding herself or another who pirated the videos (Diane Dimond reports the various theories), it may have worked to Casey Anthony’s advantage. Radar Online has just reported this:

Casey Anthony’s web videos have caused a renewed interest in the notorious ‘Tot Mom’ and RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that a website has offered her an enormous sum for her first post jail sit down interview.

Nik Lamas-Richie, founder of the website The Dirty, has offered Casey Anthony a whopping $350,000 for an interview, according to a source close to the situation.

This is the website referred to. Better take a look, Mr Marriott.  But not too close.

Posted on 01/10/12 at 10:26 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda Knox
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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

UK High Court Convicts Two After 18 Years When Defense DNA Contamination Claims Lose Traction

Posted by The Machine

Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a jury at the Old Bailey.

There are some parallels between this case and the Meredith Kercher case: the police were accused of making a catalogue of errors and the defence lawyers claim forensic evidence was contaminated.

Gary Dobson was acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1996. However, the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal. The case against David Norris collapsed before it reached court.

It’s heartening that Dobson and Norris have been finally brought to justice. Forensic scientists used advanced techniques which were not available to the original investigators to recover bloodstains, clothing fibres and a single hair belonging to Stephen Lawrence from the clothes of the suspects.

Rosalyn Hammond from LGC Forensics explaining in today’s Telegraph:

Their convictions come after a five-week trial during which forensic evidence linking the two to the murder was shown to the jury.

The discovery of the fibres, blood and hair on the clothing was the evidence upon which the trial was based. A spot of Stephen’s blood was found on the collar of Dobson’s jacket, while hairs belonging to Stephen were found on Norris’ trousers.  As well as the blood spot, fibres from Stephen’s clothing were found on clothing taken from the homes of Dobson and Norris.

At one point in the 1990s Dobson contacted the Metropolitan Police to ask for the return of his clothes. But, after considering his request, Scotland Yard declined. Even today the force retains the clothing of all of the suspects so that they can be tested as forensic techniques develop.

A further criticism could be laid at the door of the scientists who failed to discover the blood spot in the 1990s.  But experts pointed out that even if it had been discovered then, it would have been useless as DNA testing had not yet developed enough to be able to clarify that such a small stain was blood belonging to Stephen Lawrence.

The tiny stain found on Dobson’s jacket is believed, by forensic experts, to be the smallest piece of forensic evidence upon which a trial has ever been mounted.

The decision to base the prosecution against Dobson on such a small piece of evidence was a risk, however. After his conviction was quashed, the current law allows only one further attempt at prosecution. It meant that if he was found not guilty, Dobson could never have been charged again.

The Italian Supreme Court should order another appeal trial on the grounds that the court consultants Vecchiotti and Conti failed to carry out a newly available test on the knife. That was despite the fact they were specifically instructed in their initial instructions to do so.

Also that Judge Hellman late in the appeal arbitrarily denied the prosecution request for precisely that test of the DNA without any good reason.

The prosecution grounds for their appeal to the Italian Supreme Court due this month are expected to repeat this request and we can see no grounds that could allow the Supreme Court to deny it. There are a number of laboratories that have the technology to carry out a test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The requested test on the knife should go ahead.

Posted on 01/03/12 at 03:53 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceDNA and luminolOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Casey Anthony And Sollecito/Knox Outcomes Spark A New Discussion Of The CSI Effect

Posted by Peter Quennell

That seems a good explanation of the so-called CSI effect in the Fox Kansas City video above.

Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

The graph at bottom (which we’d like to see updated) showed how the US Feds are still winning juries over and maintaining amazingly high conviction rates.  And at state level and lower, judges and lawyers are also taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

The jury is still out on what really swayed the Perugia appeal jury. Their sentencing report is due out in the New Year. They sure didnt look at very much except for a small fraction of the DNA.

Which leaves us with a big question. How did Judge Hellman brief his jury? Did he warn against the CSI Effect? We’re told this might be his first DNA case, so Cassation will surely look closely at that.

Posted on 10/24/11 at 01:09 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPolice and CSIPublic evidenceDNA and luminolOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norwegian Public Safety Forces Ill-Equipped To Stop Possible Worst Shooting Spree in History

Posted by Peter Quennell

The latest death toll estimate at Lake Utoya and Oslo is 98 dead. The gunman was firing for one and a half hours.

Apparently there was no security presence on the island. And the Associated Press has the first report on why such a delayed response from an under-equipped police force to stop Anders Behring Breivik from more killing.

Police arrived at an island massacre about 1.5 hours after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn’t have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn’t find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore.

There is a minute by minute description of the growing horror on the island here and a Norwegian politician has posted a first-hand account of how so many others died and she survived here.

Intensely sad and disturbing - and in the land of the Nobel Peace Prize. We don’t support public institutions at our real peril.

Posted on 07/23/11 at 06:40 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

French Divided Over French Woman In Mexico Jail: Take A Hard Noisy Line Or One Quiet And Subtle?

Posted by Peter Quennell

You’d be surprised - or maybe not - at how very rare it is that publicly impugning another country’s legitimacy and competence really pays off.

Good governments and good international lawyers and good public relations experts all very rapidly move to take negotiations quietly behind the scenes. Though that may not guarantee the outcome they want, it usually results in some wiggle room and softening.

But the opportunity for this passes very fast.

We have only ever seen a hard line out of the unblinking Italian courts in Meredith’s case, up to and including the Supreme Court of Cassation in their rejection of Guede’s final appeal. The hardline PR seems to have hit a wall. And Amanda Knox (in the calunnia trial) and her biological parents (in theirs) and the family of Raffaele Sollecito (in their perversion of justice trial) all seem to have hit their own individual walls.

It is hard to see what the hardline PR campaign for Amanda Knox has achieved other than that equal and opposite Italian hard line.  After a very silly start the Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon seems to have tried to get away from all that, and to move things behind closed doors.

Florence Cassez’s case is very well described in the Wikipedia entry.

Now 36, she moved to Mexico from France in 2003, ended up with a Mexican boyfriend who was decidedly bad news, and in December 2005 was arrested for her part in kidnapping three people for ransom.

Kidnapping is huge in Mexico, and along with the wars over the supplying of Americans with drugs, it comes top of most people’s most-feared list. 

In line with the Mexican government’s efforts to try to stamp out all the kidnapping, Florence Cassez was given a very harsh sentence. It is now set at 60 years. There are dozens of French and Spanish-language reports and YouTubes on the case.

She has had one appeal which failed and right now she serves out her 60 years.

Almost without exception, Mexicans feel it was a well-proven case and that Florence Cassez’s claims that she did not not know what was going on right under her nose when three captives were being held by her boyfriend on the same ranch rang hollow at her trial.

France has been more divided.

There are some who think she did it and must pay the piper for her crime. There are some who think a softer line might have helped. And there are some, like President Sarkozy, who have taken a very hard line. They seem to have upset Mexico’s president and senior officials and not influenced the judges at all.

France has no sentence longer than 20 years for kidnapping-related crimes so the Mexican government has closed the door to her returning to France and serving out her sentence in prison there.

After more time passes and presidential elections happen in Mexico and France, the deadlock might be broken, and the case could be reviewed and Florence Cassez’s fate become something different.

But for now she has only her “friends” to thank. 

Below: two of the few videos with English commentary or subtitles, both pro-Florence Cassez, the first some years old, and the second early this year.

Posted on 07/21/11 at 11:28 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contexts
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Friday, July 08, 2011

Jennifer Ford Is The First Juror To Speak Out On The Casey Anthony Acquittal

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 07/08/11 at 10:30 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersTrials 2008 & 2009Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contexts
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict Not Guilty Despite Three Years Of Rabid Media Presuming Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell

One thing that LA Times headline above means is that media bias against the defendant made not one whit of difference.

The seriously ailing CNN network’s Headline News channel (legal anchors Nancy Grace and Jane Velez Mitchell) have very stridently promoted the notion that Casey Anthony probably killed her toddler Caylee almost nightly for three years, to drive up their viewership ratings.

It had zero effect on the Florida jury. Now Headline News looks like a toothless tiger, and one prone to dangerous mistakes.

The jury studied the evidence and made up its own mind (in 11 hours) and so that is that. Mainstream media is outraged but looking puny. Here is a scathing comment from the defense lawyers saying they got it seriously wrong.

Anthony’s defense attorney, Jose Baez, said this verdict proves, “You cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court.”

A second defense attorney for Anthony, Cheney Mason, blasted the media in a statement, saying, “I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be.”

The few early media reports about “Foxy Knox” are like a candle to the blowtorch of this seeming never-ending pro-guilt commentary.

The usual couple of examples waved around are from the UK. In fact Italy saw next to no anti-Knox commentary, and one of the ways Italy looks rather fine in the Knox case is their media have been so restrained.

Read the Massei Report 10 times and you will be lucky to find one sentence that suggests “The media made us declare her guilty”.  It just didn’t happen. The jury studied the evidence and made up its own mind (in a few hours) and so that is that.

In contrast to the Casey Anthony trial, the full spectrum of evidence in the Knox-Sollecito trial is very strong and even redundant, violence obviously was done (no signs of violence were found on Caylee Anthony) and there are no other likely scenarios or perps.

Okay, media guys. For starters, report the facts from Perugia correctly. And do some translation - or read ours. Surely that cannot hurt more than this.

Posted on 07/05/11 at 07:54 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 10, 2011

US Kidnapping Victim Gets Justice After 8 Years Despite Defense + Perp Groupies Gaming The System

Posted by Peter Quennell

A 14-year old Mormon girl, Elizabeth Smart, was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City on June 5 2002.

On March 12 2003 she was found alive with her abductors on the streets of a town about 18 miles from her home. Her abductors were Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Ileen Barzee.

A couple of weeks ago,  Mitchell was finally handed two life terms at trial.

It sure was a strenuous process getting there.

The defense had great success over the years in lining up a number of mental health specialists to say he was not well in the head, and should of course be committed to their institutions rather than prison where, presumably, they would cure him.

Elizabeth Smart and her family and the cops and prosecutors and many or most of the American public never ever bought Mitchell’s insanity act for a moment. There grew to be a small mountain of evidence that he was faking it. He was observed to turn on and off bizarre behavior whenever it served him..

But many others, some naive do-gooders and some very nasty  did buy Mitchell’s act. And in the video at bottom you can see how the defense tried to argue that Elizabeth Smart herself was not REALLY affected by her ordeal and so Mitchell should get a break on the length of his sentence.

In this case Wikipedia has an excellent and impartial account of the psychological testimony. The defense portion of the trial, which ultimately failed to convince the jury:

Many stipulations were presented and many lay witnesses where called covering Mitchell’s alleged sanity and his alleged insanity. The defense relied most of all on the testimony of two mental health professionals, Dr. Paul Whitehead and Dr. Richard DeMier. Dr. Whitehead is the clinical director of the forensic unit at the Utah State Hospital and studied Mitchell extensively since his arrest in 2003 and concluded that Mitchell suffered from a delusional disorder which made him both incompetent to stand trial and not responsible for his crimes. Dr. DeMier testified that Mitchell suffers from both grandiose and paranoid delusions which he characterized as bizarre however he offered no opinion as to what Mitchell’s mental health was at the time of the crimes between 2002 to 2003 because he only analysed his mental state as of 2008.

And the prosecution portion of the trial which won the jury over.

A total of seven lay witnesses were called to testify on December 3, 2010 regarding Mitchell’s cruelty and religious beliefs including his two former step daughters who testified that Mitchell abused them long before he claimed to be “Immanuel” or a prophet…  A US Marshall who escorted Mitchell into the courtroom each day testified that Mitchell only sings inside the court room. The officer also said that Mitchell spent his time in the nearby holding cell following proceedings, napping or exercising. Mitchell’s behavior outside the courtroom changed only when his wife Wanda Barzee testified with Mitchell standing as close as possible to the monitor, not moving during the duration of her time on the stand….

The prosecution’s last witness was Dr Welner, a forensic psychiatrist from New York City, who spent more than 1,600 hours working on a report on Mitchell…. Dr Welner testified that Mitchell does not suffer from a mental illness, but rather pedophilia, anti-social personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder adding that to know Brian Mitchell is to be fooled by Brian Mitchell. Amongst other things he testified that Mitchell would abandon his revelations when it suited him which showed they weren’t sincere and that Mitchell used blessings to control his wife and used threats and force as a way to control Elizabeth Smart.

A life sentence eight years in the making. Nice to see a prosecution stick to its guns and achieve justice, despite such strenuous attempts to derail it.

Posted on 06/10/11 at 10:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Another US-Italian Case Shows The Utter Futility Of Trying To Strongarm The Italian Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Father Michael McCarty and baby Liam McCarty. Below: Mother Manuela Antonelli.]

Italy and the US get along exceptionally well on the political, economic, military and cultural fronts.

They get along on the justice front too, if neither side tries to pull the rug out from under the other. This case and this case are festering instances of where the Italians did not think the Americans played quite fair.

Typically therefore the US State Department likes to take any mutual justice matter below the radar. Way, way below the radar.

Despite what Knox conspiracists like Steve Moore and Candace Dempsey and “Bruce Fisher” may think, their rabid campaign is only making any effective intervention by the State Department that much more unlikely.

Knox family advisor Ted Simon and US Senator for Washington State Maria Cantwell seem to have been told that or figured it out. The Knox-Mellas family seems to have cooled it on the surface in recent month, even if Chris Mellas appears to sustain support for his hardline internet faction just below that surface.

Michael McCarty is a New York photographer who publishes fine art prints, and Manuela Antonelli was a producer and reporter for Italian TV. They were married in New York’s Central Park in 1992, eight year later their son Liam was born, and some time after that they divorced.

In 2007 in the midst of a nasty custody battle in New York between Manuela and Michael over Liam, Manuela suddenly took off with Liam, then aged six, and headed back to her home country of Italy. Once the custody of Liam was awarded by a New York judge to the father, a governmental legal campaign began to try to get Liam and his mother back.

From the Examiner.

Antonelli had made numerous allegations of abuse against McCarty but investigations by the NYPD, New York District Attorney’s Office, Children’s Services, and numerous court-appointed mental health professionals all found the accusations to be “unfounded,” “baseless,” and “false.”

Antonelli was diagnosed with severe personality disorders and was determined to be an unfit parent. Sole legal and physical custody was awarded to McCarty, an order was issued that Liam not be taken out of the United States, and a judicial finding of parental alienation was made against the mother….

In Italy, Manuela Antonelli was also diagnosed with psychiatric problems, and Liam was placed in an orphanage, and later in the custody of an Italian uncle in Rome, where he is now. At one point early on, Manuela briefly snatched Liam back.

Italy usually takes the position of the mother getting automatic custody, or at minimum having easy access to her children. If Liam is returned to New York, his mother Manuela would get neither, so the Italian judicial approach has been very cautious on this one. More-so because she is clearly unwell.

In 2009 the American campaign to get him back suddenly became very public and quite nasty, with several US TV networks jumping on the bandwagon and contributing to an emotional campaign. Video examples of this can be seen here and here and here.

Rather suddenly, that public campaign went quiet again, and the State Department very gently got back into the act of trying to get Liam back to New York and Manuela extradited back to the US to face charges.

The latest news is that both the Italian judicial position and the mood of the Italian public have moved over to conceding that Liam really should be sent back to New York to his father. The question of the extradition of the mother remains open.

The case remains much in the Italian news and many online comments remark scathingly how very unhelpful in all this the rabid Knox campaign has been. 

Posted on 04/15/11 at 08:53 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Civil Case Of Knox v Lifetime - Umbria 24 TV Video Of Arrivals Today At The Courthouse

Posted by Peter Quennell

Amanda Knox is the supplicant here but you’d be hard-pressed to know it.

Unfortunately there’s no video or images of the team for Lifetime the alleged wrongdoers in this case, who seem to be keeping well out of sight.

There are reports in English here and here and here. Ann Wise of ABC notes that YouTube has removed the video of the movie’s trailer.

Posted on 03/24/11 at 07:40 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesTrials 2008 & 2009Other legal processesOthers ItalianOthers elsewhereReporting on the caseMovies on case
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The Civil Case Of Knox v Lifetime Will Be Considered By The Perugia Courts On July 4

Posted by Peter Quennell

On July 4? Big day in America. Seems today’s judge has a sense of humor.

The closed hearing in civil court in Perugia was brief, and there are just a couple of media images of Knox looking rather dispirited.  The Italian media have not yet identified who are Lifetime’s legal representation or whether they were in court.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said his client wants the Lifetime TV movie withdrawn. He claimed that the movie had already been viewed 687,000 times on Lifetime’s website from all over the world, and that there is a version with Italian subtitles.

He said the movie could do irreparable harm to the prospects of his client. Amanda Knox in her statement said: “I am shocked at this invasion of my life and the speculations made about myself… I was very disturbed at the images in the trailer I saw on TV.”

The Knox and Sollecito suits were all actually filed before the movie itself had ever aired. No specific scenes were complained about today in court, and as the movie for the most part adheres to Massei, with some artistic license, it will be interesting to find out precisely which scenes are the bad ones.

The movie appeared to give Knox at least one big break in public eyes by making the provisional finding of an HIV test seem highly malicious though the facts don’t support this.

Sollecito appears in the movie much more briefly than Knox, and his most dramatic scene is where he throws one of Knox’s various alibis under the bus. Otherwise he comes across like a pussy.

His legal team has also said they were filing suit against Lifetime both in Perugia and in New York. No sign yet of those filings.

Posted on 03/24/11 at 12:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amanda Knox To Be In Court In Perugia Tomorrow In Hearing About Stopping The Lifetime TV Film

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

Past posts on this mixed bag of a TV movie can be found here.

Late February Amanda Knox’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia to stop the airing of the movie (so far aired maybe half a dozen times in the US) and Raffaele’s Sollecito’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia and (or so they say - we can find no court record) also in New York.

The Perugia judge at the first hearing took a pretty relaxed view of the urgency of the matter and so it is only now that legal teams for Lifetime and Amanda Knox will face one another in court. The suit claims that the movie “violates the reputation” of Amanda Knox.

Very substantial payment for damages has been requested. If the New York suit also proceeds (unlikely as US law is not exactly favorable) the total asked appears to amount, converted from Euros, to over two hundred million dollars to compensate for sullied reputations.

Today’s Italian media reports in ANSA and AGI dont say very much more than that, except that Amanda Knox would like to be present in court.

As this is not Sollecito’s team’s suit, this is about the first time that one appellant will appear in court without the other. No word at all yet on the constitution of Lifetime’s legal team.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Don’t Perpetrators Say They’re Sorry? A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Posted by Carol Poole

[Image: In downtown Leeds, a city in which Meredith was extremely happy]

A disclaimer: I do not intend these remarks as commentary on any specific individual(s). I’m offering them as food for thought, for anyone who (like me) struggles to understand both the human capacities for destruction and for healing

Why don’t abusers apologize when they’re caught? Even when it would be in their own best interest to show remorse?

Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes people own their crimes and take responsibility. The less shameful the crime, the more likely this is. As Johnny Cash sang, “I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die.” When he sang at Folsom Prison, no doubt his audience nodded along, sharing a general sense that shooting or getting shot in a bar is the kind of thing that any man might find himself doing on a bad day.

But no one sings about molesting a child. Or rape. Even the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, was offended when officers suggested he had raped the women he murdered—women, most of them young, all of them working the hardest of jobs and deserving much better.

So there are some crimes that no one brags about—or apologizes for, either, which is a shame, since the survivors and loved ones are left to try to understand what has happened. In my work as a psychotherapist for trauma and abuse survivors, I seek answers for this difficult question: how can people do such terrible things to others, and show no remorse?

This is especially hard when the perpetrator seems like a nice, “normal” person, a respected member of society. We can more easily understand when an act of violence is committed by someone in the grip of a psychotic delusion. It’s just a terrible accident then, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Likewise, we don’t lose sleep trying to understand a coldly sociopathic attack: we don’t have to wonder why a mugger steals a purse.

But it baffles and hurts us deeply when someone we should have been able to trust commits violence against one of us. Especially when the crime is covered up by denial, adding injury to injury by robbing the injured parties of something they need in order to heal: acknowledgment of the truth of what’s happened.

Dori Laub, a psychoanalyst who survived a childhood in concentration camps in the Holocaust, observed that when our faith in goodness is shattered, we feel abandoned by the world of goodness, and lost in a kind of desert of the soul, a deathly state that feels empty of all life except for the malign presence of the perpetrator.

And he pointed out something he must have learned by experience: there is something about trauma that messes with our ability to recognize it when it’s happening. Our minds sometimes cannot see it, refuse to put together the picture that is right in front of our eyes, perhaps because we fear that if we see the truth, it will destroy our hope that the world is the good place we need it to be.

This, I believe, is why good people sometimes collude with abuse by refusing to see it. The refusal is happening at such a deep instinctive level that it’s rarely an entirely conscious choice.

And in a sense, it’s also why perpetrators of the worst crimes so rarely own what they’ve done. Research has shown that abusers have a curious relationship with remorse: they may have formidable defenses against feeling guilt, which is feeling bad about what you’ve done. But they are highly prone to shame, which is feeling bad about who or what you are.

The kind of people who are most likely to abuse others are those who are absorbed by a damaged sense of self. They lash out in a crude effort to fend of feelings of being bad, in a kind of magical thinking: If I put the badness in you, it won’t be in me anymore. If I make you hurt, then I won’t have to hurt. To a very childish state of mind, to hurt is to be bad. We all make that equation when we’re very small, but most of us grow a mature sense of self that integrates our many different feelings into a whole picture.

Having a mature sense of self means being able to say, “I sometimes do things that aren’t good. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. At least I can try to repair the harm I’ve done, and learn not to do it again.” The same sense of integration is what prevents us from acting out our worst impulses. We can safely want to strangle people from time to time, knowing we will never do it.

When someone’s sense of self is so badly damaged that they can be violently abusive, they aren’t able to hold together a whole story about themselves, or about what they’ve done. It’s only after years of therapy (or other means of growth) that such a person might become able to really put together the picture of their own violence, and take responsibility for their actions.

Which means that people who have been harmed by violence have to find ways to take care of themselves and heal, even though the perpetrator has an infuriating, baffling way of seeming not to have been there at all. It’s as though nothing happened.

It’s natural to wish that the perpetrator would be sorry. It would help so much to hear their apology. But there’s a trap, too, in waiting for help from that quarter. It’s no good trying to get such a person to hear you or understand that gravity of what they’ve done. It’s like trying to get a clear reflection out of the fragments of a shattered mirror.

Instead, what helps survivors and loved ones heal is to tend their souls, and work their way back toward everything that makes life full: love, trust, gratitude, hope. Which means finding a way to grieve the losses.

We don’t grieve in the cold shadows of the death zone; we grieve when we remember our love and our hope for the future.

It helps to have a sense of community acknowledging our loss. It helps if we can find a way to bring something good out of the devastation—if we can at least bring some meaning to the loss by letting the tragedy inspire us to do good.

It’s only at the end of the movie, when the mother and child embrace, that we can let down and weep for everything they had to go through to find each other again, and weep too for the ones we miss.

Posted on 01/28/11 at 09:55 AM by Carol Poole. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers ItalianOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Claims Amanda Knox’s Confessions Resemble “False Confessions” Not Backed Up By Any Standard Texts

Posted by Fuji

[Above: Perugia’s central police station where Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all interviewed]

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.

Posted on 01/12/11 at 10:16 PM by Fuji. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceKnox's alibisOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Scientific Statement Analysis: Example Of Someone Telling A Truth Albeit A Very Bizarre One

Posted by Peter Hyatt

[Above: an early video report before Elizabeth Johnson made the statement about killing her baby son]

These posts which are cross-posted here from Statement Analysis at the invitation of TJMK are examples of the application of statement analysis.

This is a powerful investigative technique with a very long history of success. It surfaces some very telling patterns in the statements of those convicted and undergoing appeal here, and also in the statements of those opportunists seeking to gain from the death of Meredith Kercher. 

For starters, let us examine a statement that was later proved by other evidence to be true.

When this story first broke, we at Statement Analysis viewed Elizabeth Johnson’s words and oncluded that Baby Gabriel was dead; even though shortly after law enforcement announced that they have credible evidence that he was still alive.

Yet, Elizabeth Johnson’s statement was to the contrary; though the sample we had to work from was small..

At that time, we only had a portion of what Elizabeth had to say but recognized that her words were not chosen from a vaccum, but for a reason. The latest release has more of the original statement made by the mother to Baby Gabriel’s father.

PHOENIX—For nearly a year, there has been no sign of baby Gabriel. Elizabeth Johnson, the boy’s mother, maintains that she doesn’t know where he is.

But in a phone conversation obtained by CBS 5 News, Johnson said what had only been seen in a text message: That she killed her son.

The source of the recording requested to remain anonymous.

Johnson was on the run in December 2009 in Texas. And in spiteful detail, she explains to the boy’s father, Logan McQueary, what she did to her boy.

“Where are you and where is Gabriel?” asks McQueary.

“Gabriel is in a Dumpster,” Johnson responds.

We first notice the straight language spoken by Johnson; no qualifiers, no threats, no additional words. In fact, the economy of language suggests veracity.

“No, he’s not,” said McQueary.

“You want to talk to girls, that’s the price you pay,” said Johnson.

Note the word “girls” in Johnson’s language as she speaks of her peers and rivals: they are “girls” not “women” and certainly not a “mother”.

At the time of the call, McQueary and Johnson had recently broken up. They shared joint custody of their son, Gabriel.

“I killed him this morning,” claimed Johnson.

First Person singular; past tense. We should believe what Elizabeth Johnson told us, including the time of death. Note the absence of deceptive indicators for those readers who now understand Statement Analysis.

“No, you didn’t,” said McQueary.

McQueary cannot accept this statement. This is typical denial from innocent family members. This is why verb tenses are so important when dealing with a missing child: an innocent parent will not use past tense; but a parent who knows the child is dead (while reported missing) will slip into past tense language:

Susan Smith: “my children needed me”

Casey Anthony: “Caylee loved the park”

Misty Croslin: “I loved her like my own”

McQueary is not involved, in any way, in the disappearance of his son. Like all innocent parents, he cannot accept the death. For some innocent parents, it can be years, if ever, that they can bring themselves to use past tense language.

Note that McQueary’s language is straight forward without qualifiers or sensitivity. He is hit with truth, and he cannot accept it.

Johnson responded with, “I couldn’t do it anymore, I couldn’t do it alone. You made it impossible for me to have my own life. You made it impossible for me to have Gabriel. You were going to take the only thing I had left. You wanted to take from me. You wanted to make me miserable. So find some new girl to make your new baby.”

Here, we see continued ownership with first person singular which is not overdone with sensitivity. This is what a truthful statement looks like. When sensitive repetition does enter, note what it is associated with: not what she did but why she did it. The “why” of what she did is sensitive.

Note also that she blames the baby’s father; typical of guilty killers unable and unwilling to take responsibility. This is motive that is common: if I can’t have him, no one can.

What is sensitive, regarding the killing of the baby is “impossible” and “I couldn’t do it”; note that these are things that could even prove deceptive: she didn’t have to kill the baby; she “could” go on; this is the sensitivity found within the statement: the casting of blame after acknowledging the murder: she killed the baby (truthful/lack of sensitivity) but won’t accept responsibility (deceptive/sensitivity noted).

These words are truthfully spoken. There is no deceptive indicators within the statement regarding the actions she took. We do not come upon sensitivity until it comes to Elizabeth blaming the baby’s father. This means that the actions described are true (first person singular, past tense, no qualifiers, no additional words.

Note again: The economy of words is frighteningly stark.

In the call, McQueary tried to learn exactly where Johnson was so he could lead investigators to her.

She told him she destroyed all of her identification and even called herself a ghost.

McQueary wanted to know his son was OK, but he didn’t want to agitate Johnson anymore than she already was.

“Don’t you care about me? All you care about is Gabriel. And he’s gone now. You know what I’m capable of and you pushed me anyway. You destroyed my life,” said Johnson.

In the statement is found “I’m capable of” after “he’s gone”. There are no indicators of deception to analyze. She also said “all you care about is Gabriel, using his name while he is associated with McQueary. Note “care” is present tense; which, to the father, it is a present tense emotion. There is no imbalance within her words that we note in deceptive statements.

“You know what I am capable of” is her attempt to assert that what she said is true. Note that she does not have to use exaggeration nor hyperbole nor even qualifiers to make her point: She has a quiet confidence that is found in truthful statements. As groteque as it is under the circumstances, truthful statements do, in deed, contain a “quiet confidence” about them. Even as she is attempting to persuade him that she killed Baby Gabriel, she eludes confidence.

There are no indicators of deception.

I wish there were. I wish she was lying and I could highlight the deceptive indicators.

“I haven’t destroyed anything,” said McQueary.

“Yes, you have, Logan. You made me kill my baby boy,” said Johnson.

first person singular, pronoun ownership of the action of the verb. Note that even as she blames him (sensitivity noted above) here there is only slight increase in sensitivity as she calls him her “baby boy”. It is slight.

After she was arrested in Florida, Johnson told investigators she did not kill Gabriel, but rather arranged for him to be adopted by an anonymous family.

McQueary told CBS 5 News that he hopes his son is alive, but the call showed how determined she was to hurt the father of her baby.

“You made me do this,” Johnson tells McQueary.

“this” shows Johnson’s closeness to the murder. It is a single and small word that places Johnson, linguisticly, close to the murder itself. She could have said, “you made me do that” which would have showed some distance, and perhaps, had given readers hope that Gabriel is alive. She did not. .

“You did not hurt Gabriel,” said McQueary.

the father is denying, and uses his son’s name. Note also the minimizing “hurt” rather than killed. Does this mean that McQueary is being deceptive?

In a sense, yes.

If “denial” is untrue, it is, technically, deceptive. By minimizing “kill” to “hurt”, it is likely that Logan McQueary is supressing the growing fear that his son is dead.

It is not “guilty deception” but rather the natural minimization and denial of the innocents, who are unable to accept the death of a child. For the innocent, there is an inability to understand or comprehend how a human could do such a thing. We saw this same reaction, early on, by Jesse Grund, when he realized that Caylee wasn’t missing, but was dead. Since he could not murder a child, he struggled to accept that anyone else, including Casey, could. “That’s not the Casey I knew” he said.

It is a natural, self preserving denial that comes from the projection of an innocent heart and mind.

“Yes, I did. I suffocated him. I suffocated him and he turned blue. I put him in a diaper bag and put him in a trash can,” said Johnson.

This is also true. Notice:

1. first person singular, “I” is used appropriately; one per sentence. Additional use of “I” within a sentence can show anxiety. Here, it is a sign of confidence.

2. past tense verb appropriately used. Present tense language can creep in to those who are fabricating the case.

3. sensory language (she said he “turned blue”). Sensory language can be an indicator of veracity, especially when interviewing children. The recall can be sight, smell, touch, taste, or audible, and it accompanies the memory. This one indication is a strong and powerful point that Baby Gabriel died of suffocation and was likely wrapped in a diaper bag, and thrown into trash.

Note also:

4. no fake placement of emotions in the “perfect” place as deceptive people do, and only one repetition (“suffocated”) indicating sensitivity. When someone is fabricating, they will often include emotions in the “perfect” place: “and as I was putting him in the trash, I thought…”. This is something deceptive people do in order to persuade (see analysis of Tiffany Hartley’s liberal use of emotions/thoughts placed in the part of the statement where emotions would have been voided due to adrenaline)

There is little to analyze because she is telling the truth. The indicators are that she killed the baby in the manner described.  Elizabeth Johnson isn’t expected back in court until Jan. 24 2011. Johnson is accused of kidnapping and custodial interference.

Posted on 12/24/10 at 01:13 PM by Peter Hyatt. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

More On Motive: Some Of The Cases Of “Nice” Girls Who Killed With Little Or No Motive At All

Posted by The Machine

[Above: One of the Manson girls’ murder victims, Hollywood film star Sharon Tate]

The conspiracy theorists trying so hard to spring Amanda Knox now have about zero credibility - because they can’t field even one good expert that any other expert respects. 

The various claims of their various faux experts about this or that aspect of the evidence having been mishandled or misread or contaminated lack the one really crucial element. ANY real evidence.

And NOT ONE Italian interrogator or investigator or prosecutor has been proved to have done even one thing wrong with intent.  Which seems these days to be making the conspiracy theorists more and more shrill in their claims.

An ex campus security guard Steve Moore is now one of the shrillest faux experts - but the conspiracy theorists still seem to think he is their great ace in the hole.

Steve Moore is not exactly what we might call competent as a real-crime-scene investigator. He seemingly can’t get even one core fact right and his knowledge of the Micheli and Massei reports are absolutely abysmal.

Few of this faux expert’s claims arouse more ridicule and sardonic contempt than one sweeping claim made to any lazy and gullible reporter who will listen - Ann Curry, Linda Byron and Steve Shay, for example.

The claim that there is some standard profile for women who kill. And that well-bred educated middle-class girls like Amanda Knox do not fit “it”. That profile.

So it is impossible that they would ever kill.

In an interview with Anne Curry on NBC the faux expert actually claimed: ““This was an honor student; she is not a violent person….  What they are alleging is that she not only helped assault the roommate, but stabbed her in the throat. That kind of deviant, violent behavior doesn’t go unnoticed for 18, 19, 20 years. Some things leak out; you see some episodes, some indication that this person has issues.”

Actually she DID have issues.

Their faux expert clearly does not know the history of Amanda Knox very well. She seems to have started putting out warning calls for help from around the age of four, and there are a number of stories about her quirks and her drugs up to when she left for Perugia.

In this piece, we will look at some some high-profile murder cases in America, Italy and New Zealand involving seemingly normal young women with profiles not unlike Amanda Knox who suddenly committed horrific and senseless murders.

[Above: Laurie Ann Swank’s victim, hotel night clerk Janet Chandler]

USA: Laurie Ann Swank

If anyone thinks the idea that a woman would arrange for men to sexually assault and murder her friend and roommate is totally far-fetched and beyonds the realms of possibility, they should read about the Janet Chandler case.

In January 1979, Laurie Ann Swank held a position of responsibility, working as the manager of the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, Michigan. She was also the roommate and friend of Janet Chandler, a 23-year-old student who worked as a desk clerk at the hotel. 

Laurie Ann Swank lured Janet Chandler to a “party” where she was tied to a chair and raped and tortured for hours by five security guards who were staying at the Blue Mill Inn. After Janet Chandler had been gang raped, she was strangled and her body was dumped on the side of Interstate 196.

The officers involved in the case concluded that Laurie Swank orchestrated the attack on Janet Chandler out of envy and jealousy “to teach her a lesson.” The motive behind this vicious murder was actually admitted by Swank to have been petty jealousy, especially over a boy. She actually watched while Janet was raped and then strangled with a belt.

[Above: Two more of the Manson girls victims Leno and Rose Labianca ]

USA: Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel

Steve Moore seems to think that honor students are incapable of committing murder. His apparent refusal to believe that someone who is from a respectable background and well-educateed could be involved in murder is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Vincent Bugliosi was the chief prosecutor in the Manson trial. He has pointed out that the backgrounds of the Manson killers terrified America precisely because they were from fairly good backgrounds and that many people refused to believe they could be involved. Vincent Bugliosi, chief prosecutor in the Charlie Manson case:

The other thing that terrified the nation so much is when the identity of the killers became known. And who were they? Young kids from average American homes with fairly good backgrounds. There was a feeling that this could be our own children.

Tex Watson, Manson’s “chief lieutenant” at the murder scene, was from Farmersville, Texas, hometown of World War II hero Audie Murphy. Watson was a football, basketball, and track star. He had almost an A average in high school. And when the people in Farmersville learned he was being charged with these murders, the general consensus was this is absolutely impossible, it must be a case of mistaken identity.

Patricia Krenwinkel—another one of the main killers—her father was an insurance executive; she sang in the church choir; got good grades in school; at one time she even wanted to attend a Jesuit college in Alabama. Leslie Van Houten—another killer—she was a homecoming princess at Monrovia High School here in L.A.

[Above: Manson girl Squeaky Fromm attempted to murder President Gerald Ford]

Leslie Van Houten was an honor student and a homecoming queen. She came from a middle class background; her father was an auctioneer and her mother was a school teacher.

In 1968, she joined Charlie Manson’s family. She was not involved in the vicious killings at Roman Polanski’s home - which upset her - but she took part in the savage murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.  She along with Patricia Krenwinkel attacked and stabbed Rosemary LaBianca. Van Houten tied the electrical cord from a lamp around La Bianca’s neck and put a pillow case over her head before stabbing her 16 times in the lower back.

Patricia Krenwinkel came from a fairly normal background. Her father was an insurance salesman. She graduated from high school and then attended a Catholic college for a semester before moving in with her sister. In 1967, she met Charles Manson when he was visiting her sister.

Krenwinkel participated in the Tate and LaBianca murders. She stabbed Abigail Folger more than 70 times. When the police found Folger’s body, they thought she was wearing a red dress.

Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are currently serving life sentences for the Tate and Labianca murders. They are still being denied parole 40-plus years later.

USA: Amy Bishop

Dr. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated neurobiologist, inventor and mother of four, went on a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama. 

Amy Bishop had already shot and killed her 18-year old brother, with a shotgun, during an argument in 1986. Bishop claimed it was an accident and no charges were filed then - but 24 years later, charges were indeed filed.

According to witnesses, Amy Bishop later killed three professors and wounded three others during a meeting at the University of Alabama. They said that she sat through the first 30 minutes of the meeting and then pulled out a 9mm handgun and opened fire until the weapon jammed or ran out of bullets.

[Above: Karla Homolka murdered her own sister Tammy and and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French]

Canada: Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo

Karla Homolka was the oldest child of three. She was regarded as well-adjusted and intelligent. She was a popular child who received plenty of love and attention from her family and friends. She loved animals and after high school she went to work at a veterinary clinic.

When she was 17, Karla Homolka attended a pet convention and met 23-year-old Paul Bernado. They soon discovered they shared the same sado-masochistic tendencies.

On 23 December 1990, Homolka and Bernado gave alcoholic drinks spiked with halcyon to Homolka’s 15-year-old sister, Tammy, at a Christmas party. They took her to the basement and Homolka held a cloth soaked with Halothane to Tammy’s mouth until she became unconscious. Bernado and Homolka then raped her. Tammy choked on her own vomit as she was being raped.

On 15 June 1991, Bernado kidnapped Lesle Mahaffy and took her to the couple’s home, where they repeatedly raped over a number of days. The couple videotaped many of the assaults. They then killed Mahaffy and cut her body into pieces and encased the pieces in cement.

On 16 April 1992, they kidnapped 15-year-old Kristen French and took her to their home and videotaped themselves torturing and sexually assaulting her. The couple killed French before they left for Easyer Sunday dinner with Homolka’s family.

Karla Homolda was convicted for her role in the raping, torturing and killing her own sister, Tammy and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. She was released from prison after serving 12 years in prison. Paul Bernado is still in prison.

There are videos on the seeming normality of very dangerous people like these two here and here.

[Above: Julet Hume who with Pauline Parker battered Pauline’s mother to death]

New Zealand: Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker

Juliet Hulme was the daughter of Dr. Henry Hulme, an eminent physicist and a rector at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 1954, Juliet Hulme and her friend, Pauline Parker, battered Parker’s mother, Honora Rieper, to death with half a brick in a lisle stocking. At the trial, it was revealed that Honora Rieper had been subjected to a sustained and brutal attack. Hulme and Parker had planned to murder Parker’s murder because they didn’t want to be separated.

After the murder, Parker and Hulme ran to a nearby tea shop, upset and covered in blood, claiming that Pauline’s mother had slipped and fallen.

Honora Rieper had 45 separate wounds on her head. The torn blood-soaked stocking with the brick in it was found nearby.

Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker were found guilty of murder.

[Above: Kelly Ellard was convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk]

Canada: Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski

Kelly Ellard came from a middle class family and lived in a well-to-do neighborhood.

In 1997, she and Warren Glowatski murdered convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk, who was the 14-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants. Ellard and six other teenage girls beat up Reena under a bridge. Ellard and Glowatski then dragged Reena to the other side of the bridge and beat her for a second time. It is believed that Ellard forced Reena’s head under the water and held it there until she stopped struggling.

Kelly Ellard was sentenced to life imprisonment for the second-degree murder of Reena Virk on 20 April 2000. . A second trial in 2004 ended in a hung jury. The Supreme Court of Canada reinstated the second degree murder conviction against Ellard in 2009. Warren Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999. Six girls aged between 14 and 16 were sentenced in 1998 for their roles in the initial attack.

Next year Kelly Ellard will apply for parole. Reena’s parents are still waiting for any sign of remorse or sorrow for their loss.

[Above: Nadia Roccia was murdered by her friends Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica]

Italy: Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica

Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica lured their school friend Nadia Roccia to Botticelli’s home with the excuse of doing homework together and then they killed her. It was their second attempt as The Independent reports.

They turned off the lights and Sica began strangling her with a scarf. Botticelli urged her to pull it tighter and kicked Roccia in the stomach. Once satisfied she was dead, they looped a rope around her neck to simulate hanging…

The mother of Nadia Roccia yelled “Bravi ... finally justice for Nadia” as the sentences were read out. In imposing the toughest sentence, the court accepted the prosecution argument that the crime had been “premeditated, ferocious and for futile motives”.

Investigators are still at a loss to uncover a motive for the murder - with theories ranging from Satanic sects to prostitution rings. The pair appeared in court only once, but refused to answer questions and never showed any repentance.

It was discovered that the pair had tried to murder Roccia several months earlier. They offered her a cola drink laced with rat poison, but she refused to drink it. They made her sign a blank sheet on which they later typed a fake suicide note. “I am lesbian and in love with my best friend, that is you, my sweetest Anna Maria ... unfortunately you like men but soon you won’t have to worry about my jealousy any more,” read the note found by Roccia’s body.

Anna Maria Botticelli and Sica, both now 20, heard the sentence on television from their cell in Foggia, 90 miles from Naples. In jail they have completed their high-school leaving exam and are now studying law and economics.

Before Wednesday’s verdict Botticelli’s father pleaded: “I beg you on my knees to give these two girls a chance.”

There was widespread disbelief that Botticelli and Mariena Sica could be guilty of such a horrific murder because they were normal girls from respectable backgrounds. It was only after they were recorded admitting that they were involved, that many people acknowledged their guilt.

[Above: Erika de Nardo at letf with dark hair murdered her mother and brother]

Italy: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro

Erika de Nardo came from a wealthy middle class family - her father was a factory manager and her mother was an accountant - and she grew up in an affluent part of Novi Ligure in Italy. From Wikipedia:

The crime scene, indeed, didn’t suggest a robbery: doors and windows weren’t forced and nothing precious had been stolen. Neighbours noticed nothing unusual and De Nardo’s dogs didn’t bark all evening long. Moreover, Susy and Gianluca had been over-killed (medical examiner counted almost 100 brutal wounds on their corpses), while young Erika was safe and didn’t exactly seem shocked.

She immediately described the presumed aggression she faced, but her version of the facts was full of contradictions. Policemen showed her several mugshots and she “recognized” without any doubt an Albanian teenager named Cezar: the boy was immediately interrogated but proved he had an alibi. Erika stated that she ran away from the garage’s door, but police easily observed that her footprints didn’t mark a run: in fact, she had walked quietly.

Some close friends described the 16-year-old girl as a neglectful, pampered girl, recalled she often squabbled with her parents because of her bad school marks and because her new boyfriend, a bully named Omar Favaro, was someone her mother disliked.

Investigators found Erika’s diary in her bedroom. It was full of terrible sentences such as “That damn child (her brother) made me angry today and I beat him… ” or “This is the end, Mommy, I hate you” or “However we know that everything will be finished by death” and so on. Two days later, Erika and Omar Favaro (a 17-year-old) were left alone in a room at the police station where some hidden microphones and a camera recorded their shocking confession.

It is reported that Erika even performed the very scene of the stabbing and whispered: “I hit her (referring to her mother) right here…” and recalled: “My brother was so strong, he didn’t want to die… he fought so much… was as strong as a bull… oh my God, he was my little brother! He was just eleven years old!” and later ironically asked Omar: “You enjoyed yourself by killing them, didn’t you?”.

But Omar was upset: “You don’t understand, Erika, this is not a game… two people have died… we do risk a life sentence for this!” whispered “Come here, you, murderer!” the boy screamed while shaking her. The girl stated: “I hate my mom, I hate my brother and if you keep on saying this I’ll hate you too! They (policemen and judge) can’t do anything, there are no evidences, they are to believe me!”

De Nardo’s false claim about Albanians (shades of Amanda Knox) caused immense collateral damage. There was an anti-immigrant outcry with Italian newspapers articles demanding a crackdown on illegal immigrants, and anti-immigration demonstrations.

Erika de Nardo drew only a short sentence as a minor and is due to be released in 2012. Omar Fasaro was released a few months ago.

[Above: Erika de Nardo murdered her mother and brother, above]


There are some clear parallels between the Meredith Kercher case and the cases above. There was widespread disbelief that some of the highlighted killers were capable of committing brutal murders.

Like Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, many of these killers attempted to derail the police investigation. And nearly all these murderers came from respectable, middle class backgrounds, were well-educated and had no previous history of violence.

Real experts know that it is indisputable that murderers come from all walks of life. The motives behind the horrific murders described above are beyond the comprehension of any normal person, and in some of these cases a motive was never uncovered.

The claims of faux experts like Steve Moore that Amanda Knox is innocent because she doesn’t fit the profile of a someone who would kill in a violent rage are in fact the complete opposite of true.

[Above: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro after their arrest in Italy]

Posted on 11/26/10 at 12:10 AM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, September 06, 2010

Van Der Sloot’s Attention Seeking Antics In A Peruvian Prison Are Continuing

Posted by Peter Quennell

We have periodically focussed on Joran Van Der Sloot now awaiting trial for murder in Peru because it was noted in the media that he and Amanda Knox both seem to be reveling in their prominence.

In Knox’s case, it tends to drive a new wave of media stories every few weeks (the stories now are about a new book which talks about baby adoption, and a movie) which re-energize a hard-line white knights movement that demonizes Italian officials for framing her to save face or because they don’t like Americans.

There is a present crescendo of such claims as an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the very impressive Massei Report (link at top here) the distribution of which from all sources is now pressing toward 10,000 and which seems to be convincing almost all readers that this really was a fair trial and outcome.

In Van Der Sloot’s case, the new wave of media stories every few weeks also seem aimed at attracting white knights to raising questions over his guilt and how the authorities are handling his cases in terms of competence and fairness.

1) Van Der Sloot has now gone so far as to confess now on Dutch TV that he did try to extort money from the family of disappeared Natalie Holloway - because they had been making his life hell.

“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family — her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not’?”

He has previously repeatedly hinted that he knows where Natalee’s body was disposed of and that he had some role in her killing. An extradition move by US law enforcement is expected.

2) Van Der Sloot seems to have posed willingly  in prison with several other inmates for a photograph that then appeared in the Peruvian media.

3) Van Der Sloot is receiving visits in prison from an apparent white knight who he is referring to as his girlfriend. 

4) There also appears to be a movie in the works by another white knight who has a history of taking the side of those who attempt to exonerate Van Der Sloot, in part by demonizing Natalee Holloway and her family.

On one side….defenders of Joran van der Sloot and the Aruban authorities who consider him a prime suspect in Natalee’s disappearance but have never charged him. That defense consists mainly of character attacks on Natalee and her mother Beth Holloway Twitty.

Prominent among those pressing that case is Renee Gielen, a film maker from Curacao who produced a 2008 documentary entitled “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lines"….a title that morphs on screen to “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lies.”  The film was widely attacked on line as a cover up and vicious attack on Natalee and her family. Others saw it as a defense of both the van der Sloot family and Aruban authorities.

And so we get to read about them periodically, at least until they grow somewhat older. The customary trend then is for such stories to drop dead.

Posted on 09/06/10 at 09:39 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Similarities Between Amanda Knox And A Teenage American Drug Addict Just Murdered In Mexico

Posted by Peter Quennell

Pretty, popular 18-year old Elizabeth Mandala (half Mexican, half Italian) was from Sugar Land, a rich outer suburb west of Houston in Texas.

That Fox report above of her very violent death was broadcast three months ago, when Elizabeth Mandala was found beaten to death with two unnamed Mexicans in a very dangerous part of north Mexico.

It appears she was already very deeply into addictive drugs. To support her addiction, she had secretly worked as a stripper, and she was secretly seeking to become a “mule” or “coyote” to move drugs or illegal immigrants across the Mexico border into Texas.

Although very under-reported by an American media that wants to give her every possible break, Amanda Knox was a KNOWN drug user back in Seattle.

And around Perugia, the perception of people who encountered Knox and Sollecito is that she was close to becoming or was already a cocaine addict. The same with Sollecito. They are still both referred to as coke-heads.

Possessing and using drugs both in the US and in Italy is of course a crime. It often results in stiff sentences. Prior to Meredith’s death, Knox seems to have already broken the drug laws of two countries, and quite possibly of a third (Germany). 

And this possible drug addict was already down to her last $5,000 or so, and she may have already lost the waitress job which she desperately needed.

This could have been making her desperate and dangerous. Prosecutor Mignini and Judge Micheli both seemed to think it was she that stole Meredith’s rent money which went missing on the night of the murder.

Here now is a long and well-investigated report in last Wednesday’s Houston Press on the circumstances of Elizabeth Mandala’s death. It is well worth reading in full.

You can bet your bottom dollar this story was read in full by a million anxious Houston-area parents, who in turn leaned a little harder on their own little darlings to keep them as far as possible away from drugs.

Paul Knight’s report makes it very clear that EVEN IF THEY WANT TO and it seems they very rarely do, the US State Department and the US Embassies and the FBI will NOT get involved in foreign crimes involving Americans when drugs are one of the factors.

Along with the mountain of evidence, this would help explain the cool attitude toward Knox’s case of the American Embassy in Rome, of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in Washington, and increasingly of that muddled Senator, Maria Cantwell.

Edda Mellas, if you or Curt Knox knew Amanda was on drugs, common knowledge in her circle in Seattle, you REALLY should have stepped in and stopped her. Stopped her drug-use, stopped her going to Perugia and in effect stopped her from killing Merediith.

So. Why didn’t you?

Posted on 07/27/10 at 05:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsAmerican contextThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Master Manipulators, Masks, and Murder: Parallels Of The Amanda Knox And Scott Peterson Cases

Posted by giustizia

Laci Peterson was soon to give birth in California in December of 2002.

On Christmas Eve, her husband Scott reported her missing. In April of the following year, her body and the body of her unborn son Connor were discovered in the San Francisco Bay.

Five years later, in Italy, on 2 November 2007, foreign study student Amanda Knox was at her rental home with her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, when the postal police arrived early one morning to return some cell phones traced to her flatmates; the phones had been found dumped in a nearby garden.

Shortly after, the shocking discovery was made that her flat mate Meredith Kercher had been murdered.

Parallels Between The Perpetrators And Their Crimes And Court Cases

There are some striking parallels between Amanda Knox and Scott Peterson and their crimes and convictions.

The horrific murders of two beautiful young women (one almost at the end of the full-term pregnancy of her first child) unleashed in each case a maelstrom of publicity rarely seen in search of the murderer.

When arrests were made, there also came the stunning revelation in each case that the accused was well-known to the victim – in Laci’s case, it was her husband, Scott Peterson; in Meredith’s case, it was her roommate, Amanda Knox.

Ultimately, three people were arrested for the murder of Meredith (a fourth person arrested, Patrick Lumumba, who was falsely accused by Knox as Meredith’s murderer, was released when his solid alibi was proven). Of the three people arrested for the murder of Meredith Kercher, it appeared to the prosecutors that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime.

In each trial, the defendant presented a seemingly normal and middle-class appearance. Neither defendant had a significant history of violence or widely-obvious mental illness. Their families insist on their innocence. Yet both were convicted of brutal murders.

Knox and Peterson were each described by casual acquaintances, neighbors and friends as nice, regular people.

Ann Bird, Peterson’s half-sister, described him as being “charismatic, charming, courteous, polite.”  On Dateline NBC television, a friend of Amanda Knox described her as being “generous, kind, genuine, optimistic, bubbly. Pretty much all the good words that you can find in a dictionary, she was.” 

But they proved superficial assessments that in fact really only scratched the surface.

Parallels: Amanda Knox’s Reckless, Odd Behavior, And Her Lies

Amanda Knox had been cited and she had received a fine (a sentence which could have been much more severe) for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks at a party in Seattle shortly before her departure to Italy.

Knox abruptly and without clear reason dropped a much-sought-after internship in Berlin, Germany, before arriving in Italy.

She posted a vignette on Facebook about a sexual liaison she had with a stranger, a middle-aged man, while on a train in Italy.

Her roommate Meredith had quickly become disenchanted with the American flatmate who brought home different men without warning. “So she’s [Meredith] waking up in the morning and there’s someone making tea. And it’s, who are you again?” commented Meredith’s friend Brittany Murphy on the subject of Meredith’s unease at the strangers Knox brought to their rented Italian home.

Richard Owen, the Italy correspondent of the London Times in Italy, who has written multiple stories on the case, stated that Knox brought home “people who Meredith Kercher distrusted. Didn’t like the look of. It got to the point where she actually confronted Amanda about this.”

And Amanda Knox’s behavior after the Meredith’s murdered body was found in their rental home was more than atypical for someone who had their flatmate killed in such a horrific fashion in such close proximity.

  • “As she put them on she swiveled her hips, pulled a face and said ‘hop la’ - I thought it was very unusual behavior and my suspicions against her were raised.” (Edgardo Giobbi, a police forensic scientist, testifying in court, describing Knox’s behavior just hours after the murder, after he handed Knox a pair of shoe-covers to prevent contaminating the evidence during a search of the house. Sky News, UK, May 30, 2009.)
  • “While I was [at the police station] I found Amanda’s behavior very strange. She had no emotion while everyone else was upset. I remember one thing that really upset me. [Meredith’s friend] Natalie said, ‘I hope she wasn’t in too much pain.’ Amanda said, ‘What do you think? She fucking bled to death.’ At that point no one had told us how Meredith died.”  (Robyn Butterworth, a friend of Kercher’s, testifying in court. London Evening Standard, Feb. 13, 2009.)
  • “Their behavior at the police station seemed to me really inappropriate ... They sat opposite each other, Amanda put her feet up on Raffaele’s legs and made faces at him. Everyone cried except Amanda and Raffaele. I never saw them crying. They were kissing each other.” (Amy Frost, a friend of Meredith’s and a student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia at the time, testifying in court. The Independent, London, Feb. 14, 2009.)
  • “My daughter was a Leeds student with Meredith in Perugia. They went out together on Halloween. When Amanda Knox was asked how she felt on 2 November, she said: “Shit happens”, which contrasts rather sharply with the contrived way she addressed the Italian court about “my friend Meredith”.  (Marc Rivalland, in a letter to the editor of the Observer commenting on the Knox case. The Guardian, UK, 12/13/2009.)
  • “They came into the shop at about 7 p.m. and were there for about 20 minutes. She bought a camisole and G-string. I heard her tell him that ‘Afterwards I’m going to take you home and put this on so we can have wild sex together.” (Store owner Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi’s testimony in court about Knox and Sollecito’s behavior in his store, taped on closed-circuit TV.)
  • “Knox and Sollecito were seen laughing as they hold up various G-strings. In one still shot taken from the footage, Raffaele is standing behind Amanda with his hands on her hips and his groin pressed into her. It was the same day as the candle light vigil memorial for Meredith, a few days after her murder.” (Excerpt from the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau.)

Perhaps the most controversial claim in the Knox trial was Knox’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba was placed under arrest and jailed for two weeks, until his solid alibi set him free.

Knox, who said nothing to help him during the two weeks Lumumba was incarcerated, changed her story after he was freed. She then claimed she was coerced by the police into making confusing statements. Knox’s parents made charges of human rights violations and anti-Americanism against the Italian justice system, though to date the U.S. government has refused to become involved.

  • “He’s bad. He did it. He killed her…It was him, it was him, he was crazy, he killed her.” (Amanda Knox’s statements, according to police at the police station, accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher. The Daily Telegraph, UK, March 6, March 21, 2009)
  • “She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge. By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty, dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.” (Patrick Lumumba, bar owner in Perugia and Knox’s boss. Daily Mail, UK, November 25, 2007)

Parallels: Scott Peterson’s Reckless, Odd Behavior And His Lies

Scott Peterson had all the appearances of an upwardly mobile middle-class white-collar worker. He was a salesman with a pretty wife and a baby on the way, and they owned a nice home in Modesto, California.

His friends and family described him as charismatic and friendly. But under the surface was a lifestyle filled with lies and mistresses.

Scott Peterson had hooked up with a mistress, Amber Frey, in November of 2002, leaving his pregnant wife home alone during the holiday season to see Amber Frey, with excuses of business meetings.

Peterson told Amber Frey that he was a widow, and also that he was traveling in France when he was actually in California - two of many false claims Peterson made to her.

  • “I’m near the Eiffel Tower. The New Year’s celebration is unreal. The crowd is huge.”  (Scott Peterson, from a taped telephone conversation to his mistress Amber Frey, telling her he is in Paris, when he is really in Modesto, California, about to attend a candle-light vigil for his missing wife. Dateline, NBC, 1/4/2005)

Shortly after Laci Peterson was reported missing, that candle light vigil was held for Laci. It was on New Year’s Eve.

  • ‘Three witnesses testified that Peterson’s behavior at the candle-light vigil seemed inappropriate for a worried husband. One woman said that he showed no emotion during the service and was grinning as he “socialized” with friends afterwards.’  (From The Murder of Laci Peterson, TrueTV.com)

The jurors were shown a photo of the grinning Peterson at the vigil at the trial as evidence. He called his mistress before and after the vigil ceremony, while Laci’s distraught family members tried to cope with the situation of their missing relative.

  • “Scott came in with a great big smile on his face, laughing, it was just another day in paradise for Scott, another day that he had to go through the motions,” said one juror, Mike Belmessieri. “Scott had no emotion on his face. Scott was being Scott.” (Juror of the Scott Peterson Trial, commenting on his unusually cool demeanor in court. New York Times, March 17. 2005)

Shades of Amanda…

  • “The cartwheels? This is Amanda just being Amanda. As her friends would say, it’s an Amanda thing.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Knox turning cartwheels at the police station. The Guardian, UK, June 27. 2009)
  • “I couldn’t help but think how cool and calm Amanda was. Meredith’s other friends were devastated and I was upset, but Amanda was as cool as anything and completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t seem to show any sadness, and I remember wondering if she could have been involved.” (Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s Italian boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs from the murder. Metro.co.uk, November 18, 2007)

Parallels In Forensic Evidence

In both cases, there were no eye witnesses or “smoking gun.”

In Scott Peterson’s case, the ONLY piece of hard evidence was a single strand of Laci’s hair, found on pliers in Scott’s boat, which the defense charged as being contaminated evidence. The rest of the evidence at his trial was circumstantial.

Both the circumstantial and forensic evidence in the Knox trial were more considerable. Key items of hard evidence included a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment that had Meredith’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA on the handle, and it was presumed to be one of the murder weapons.

A bloody footprint, the size of Knox’s foot, was found on a pillow underneath Meredith’s body. Mixed DNA material of both Knox and Meredith were found in several spots in the house where the murder occurred.

Parallels In Strange Coincidences

Laci and Connor’s bodies were found in the water in the bay area of San Francisco. Scott Peterson happened to own a boat and liked to fish – in fact, he said he went fishing on Christmas Eve, the day Laci disappeared, at a location where later the bodies turned up only about 3 miles away.

Meredith was sexually molested and killed by knife wounds. Raffaele Sollecito has a fascination with knives and he owns a large collection. Amanda Knox created and posted a fictitious story about rape on the Internet.

Sollecito posted a photo of himself on the Internet swathed in bandages and holding a large meat cleaver and a jug of a chemical-looking liquid. Knox and Sollecito were the only ones at the house on the day when the police showed up and later discovered Meredith’s body.

The juries in both trials concluded that these factors were more than mere coincidences, and represented incriminating evidence of guilt of the crime.

Parallels In How The Families Supported Their Children

Not all convicted murderers have a history of mental disturbance or violence. If there were any red flags regarding Knox’s and Peterson’s behavior, one would not know it from the descriptions provided by their families:

  • ‘Lee Peterson said his son never posed a discipline problem, did not rebel as a teenager and was a perfect baby. He was said even to lose golf games because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his opponents. ‘‘He woke up smiling and went to bed smiling.’’  (Scott Peterson’s father of his son, testifying to the jury after Scott’s guilty verdict but before sentencing.  New York Times, December 2, 2004)
  • “She was an incredible easy-going kid even from a baby. She was so mellow…She loved being read-to, she loved books. As she got a little older she always wanted to be outside - building camps, playing soccer. She never watched a lot of TV - she still doesn’t. She was an excellent student.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Amanda Knox’s character the week of her guilty verdict. The Sun, UK, December 5, 2009)

Parallels In Family And Groupie Websites

Peterson and Knox’s families insist on their innocence. There are family and groupie websites for each convicted murderer. They each proclaim innocence for the guilty, make charges of police incompetence, and make requests for money for the defense cause and legal expenses:

  • “Scott Peterson Family Mission Statement: ‘This web-site is a combined effort of our family and our support system. We know Scott is innocent and that he has been unjustly convicted. Our pursuit of justice for Laci, Conner and Scott remains steadfast. We want to keep you informed as to the specifics of the case, the appeal, and related topics. We also want you to know how grateful we are for your prayers and support.’ (From: http://scottpetersonappeal.org/)
  • “Amanda Knox - A heartfelt thanks for your support. On behalf of Amanda and her family, we want to thank everyone who has contacted FOA to express their concern and to offer help in the wake of an unjust and unsupportable guilty verdict. We are developing a strategy to raise public awareness of this case and help bring about a reversal of the verdicts against both Amanda and Raffaele. Once it is in place, we will welcome all the help we can get, and we will be in touch with you.” (From http://www.friendsofamanda.org/home_eng.htmleartfelt)

Parallels In The Verdicts Jurors Delivered: Guilty As Charged

The jurors in each trial fitted together all the pieces of the puzzle: timelines, witness testimony, cell-phone records, forensic evidence, lack of solid alibis, incriminating lies, and odd behavior of the defendants.

They each concluded after lengthy deliberation that the defendants were guilty of murder.

Non-Parallels In How The US Media Has Reported Both Cases

Of these two cases, not many people have questioned the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson trial. He has been sentenced to death via lethal injection, and he is currently incarcerated in San Quentin prison in California.

There are no repeated media interviews of Peterson’s mother in tears, insisting on his innocence and his release from prison. There are no angry declarations from Peterson family that the police, prosecution and legal system abused, railroaded and framed Scott Peterson.

If such media coverage were to exist, it would be widely considered in the US to be extremely upsetting and insulting to Laci’s parents and family and to the memory of the victims Laci and Connor.

Peterson’s media coverage, thankfully, has dissipated. He still pursues an appeals process, possibly to be heard next year by the California Supreme Court.

Amanda Knox’s story plays out very differently. After her arrest, her family hired a public relations team that puts forth a determined effort to change Knox’s image of wild child and murderer and to keep her in the news.

They obviously do not consider their repeated loud public outcries for release of their daughter distressing to Meredith’s parents and family, and they don’t perceive their actions as being disrespectful to the victim, Meredith.

Or of course, as many people suspect, perhaps Knox’s relatives do realize it but they simply don’t care.

Non Parallels In Future Legal Prospects

Imprisoned in Italy, Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. Italian prosecutors are now appealing that decision, and asking for life in prison. But regardless of this and the PR campaign, Knox’s prospects are considerably brighter than Peterson’s: she gets two automatic appeals and the worst case scenario is she serves life in prison.

Scott Peterson sits on death row in San Quentin Prison in California, waiting for the legal process to move his appeals case along.

It is curious that the fervent supporters of Amanda Knox do not crusade for the release of Scott Peterson as well. After all, he was convicted on LESS direct evidence, and also in the midst of a maelstrom of publicity. CNN.com had called the Peterson prosecution case so weak and “unimpressive” that they speculated that he could end up with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

But with the exception of his own family, no one has picked up beating the drum to overturn the jury’s conviction of Peterson. Perhaps it is because Peterson doesn’t fit well the damsel in distress role? More likely, it is because the American public trusted the jury’s assessment of the evidence and trial, as they and the American media usually do, and they feel that the jury delivered a just verdict, and justice to Laci and Connor Peterson.

Epilogue – Master Manipulators

How is it possible that two “regular” people like Knox and Peterson ended up in jail for horrendous murders? Below is a condensed version from an AP article about the type of personality attributed to Scott Peterson:

It is interesting to note that life transitions are tremendous stresses to a psychopath. Psychopaths also wear “false faces” and are master manipulators. They are the ultimate con artists and they are able to fool even those closest to them.

Peterson’s closest friends “never suspected there was a monster inside Scott’s psyche.
Motive still a question in Peterson case
By the Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP)—Of all the questions surrounding the Laci Peterson murder case, the one that seemed to be running through practically everyone’s mind was this: If Scott Peterson was so unhappy in his marriage, why didn’t he just get a divorce?

Experts on the criminal mind say the answer may lie in what lurked beneath Scott Peterson’s charming veneer —a psychopathic personality.

“When you say you’re going to get a divorce, everyone knows that it’s a long, tedious process. The psychopath wants the short-term solution,” said San Diego forensic psychologist Reid Meloy.

Peterson, 32, was convicted earlier this month of murdering his eight-months-pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, and the jury decided he deserves the death penalty.

Criminal psychologists say Peterson appeared to be a master manipulator who lacked the capacity to feel remorse or consider consequences —some of the same psychopathic characteristics exhibited by serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

Psychopaths “tend to con people very well and they wear false faces,” said former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. “They tend to be able to fool everyone from their families to their friends to society, schools, their community.”

At Peterson’s trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous liar who continued to carry on an extramarital affair even as police searched for his wife. They said he killed her to escape marriage and impending fatherhood for the freewheeling single life.

Whether Laci’s pregnancy was the catalyst for Peterson’s plan may never be known. But experts said pregnancy can lead to seismic changes within a relationship.

Pregnancy “represents commitment, fatherhood, another dependent, a lifelong bond ... and all of those things are strongly despised by the psychopath,” Meloy said… pregnancy represents a life transition, and there are stresses around that transition.”

Peterson’s case was made all the more perplexing by the lack of signs that the couple’s marriage was in trouble. Although Peterson had cheated on Laci at least three times, according to defense attorney Mark Geragos, he appeared to family and friends to be a doting husband and father-to-be after Laci became pregnant.

Those closest to the couple said they never suspected there was a monster inside.

Heather Richardson, the maid of honor at the Petersons’ wedding, is still hoping for a plausible explanation to emerge. Perhaps, she said, Peterson suffers from a disorder that has yet to be revealed.

“It would be at least comforting. Then I would realize that the person I knew and loved dearly was there. He was that person and the other person, too,” Richardson said. “So at least part of him was not a lie.”

And A Last Word On Masks

Here is Amanda Knox in her own words about masks — while taking the stand for the final time at her trial in Italy (CNN, Dec. 3, 2009): “They say that I am calm. I am not calm ... I fear to lose myself, to have the mask of the assassin forced upon me.”


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Posted on 07/24/10 at 09:59 AM by giustizia. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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