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

Series Defendants in court

Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: Richard Owen Reports First Knox Testimony With Nick Pisa Video

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in the Times, and once there click on the video.

When questioned in court today, the American said that when under “police pressure” she had “imagined many things”.

She said she had made her accusation against Mr Lumumba “against my will”. Asked if the police had suggested to her that the murder had taken place during a party at which Ms Kercher had had sex she replied: “Yes”.

Asked if she had been struck by police, she again replied “Yes”. Police have testified that Ms Knox was treated well during her questioning and have denied that she was hit

She said: “They called me a stupid liar and said I was trying to protect someone”.

By the way, no lawyer following the trial that we know thinks the evidence is “flimsy"as the TV anchor seems to think.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 07:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxTrials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Monday, June 08, 2009

Powerpoints #12: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

Previously in the Powerpoint series we presented visually some of the evidence that helped Judge Micheli to conclude that there was more than one perpetrator.

During most of the court sessions in May 2009, Lorenzo Rinaldi and Patrizia Stefanoni and their formidable evidence-processing teams from Rome added a lot to what we know about the forensic evidence found in the house.

Many of the images and diagrams they used appeared in the media, particularly the Italian media. It is now possible to examine even more closely what the evidence suggests about the perpetrators.

Sollecito has tough evidence against him in a number of dimensions. Added now to the woes of his defense team is the analysis of a bloody footprint that was found on a bathmat in the bathroom of Meredith and Amanda Knox.

The Powerpoint title refers to a barren tree. This reference is explained in the conclusion of the presentation. In essence, it refers to a marked tendency of perpetrators to NOT add enough incidental detail to their stories to be really convincing.

Sollecito has so far come up with many barren trees - minimalist stories in which none of them have enough incidental detail to convincingly explain evidence like this.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Trial: More On The Violent Crimes Unit’s Reconstruction Of The Violent, Prolonged Attack

Posted by Peter Quennell



Grim-faced expert witnesses from the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome enter court

1. Reconstruction Of The Attack On Meredith

Judge Massei closed the court for much of the time. No English-language reporters were there.

Nevertheless, reports in La Nazione and other Italian media described the reconstruction of the final attack on Meredith in the court with the aid of many photographs and graphics.

Giuseppe Codispoti, Director of the Analysis of Violent Crime Unit, said in his deposition that the evidence pointed to three subjects in addition to the victim being present in the room at the time.

The evidence included the many wounds on Meredith, the state of her clothing, and the locations and shapes of the bloodstains on the walls, the wardrobe, and the floor.

Wounds to Meredith’s right hand pointed to a desperate attempt to ward off one or several attackers with knives while she was being held by her other arm.

The director of the Violent Crime department, Edgardo Giobbi, told the court that when, on the day after the murder, he handed Knox (not yet a suspect) a pair of shoe covers before entering the apartment below hers, she swiveled her hips and said “oopla.” This attitude made him turn his “investigative attention” on her, he said.

This was dramatic and telling testimony, and for some in the courtroom apparently quite hard to take.

Below: One of the images used in their detailed reconstruction of the final frenzied act in Meredith’s bedroom that suggested three people had to be involved.




2. Prior Testimony That Relates

Judge Micheli summarized the same forensic evidence and concluded for purposes of convicting Rudy Guede and of sending Knox and Sollecito to trial that it did point to three people being involved.

Judge Micheli also concluded that, as part of a cover-up, Meredith was later moved from the location below (by the wardrobe and the window) to where she was found, several feet to the left (by the bed).

3. Defensive PR Reaction To This Tough Talk

In their attempt to ridicule and undermine this compelling evidence, CBS News (48 Hours) in their recent very slanted report repeatedly showed bizarre caricatures of this scene by an Italian cartoonist.

None were remotely correct. That was not, we think, CBS News’s finest hour. They have been very silent on it since.

The paid Candace Dempsey defense blog on the Seattle PI website took a shot at ridiculing the reconstruction image above.

Something rather incoherent to do with not being specific enough about the figures. But the image above was one of a number that the witnesses used.

As real crime experts in the field would all know, it was deliberately not more specific because it incorporated only the known hard evidence.

Contacts of ours in NYC associated with law enforcement are giving the reconstruction an A. It was a careful and clever bit of work.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Damage That Is Now Flowing From A Needlessly Hard-Line PR Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Andrea Vogt’s extraordinary report in today’s online Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Added: Also, in case it scrolls away, this valuable take is copied here.

Police are investigating complaints from a Seattle woman who says she was intimidated and threatened online because of comments she made about the Amanda Knox case.

The unredacted Seattle Police Department report, obtained by seattlepi.com, names a primary suspect and quotes the woman as saying that that the suspect “is engaging in tactics meant to intimidate,” along with “the tacit consent” of Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas. The report names Mellas, but he is not a suspect.

According to the report, the tactics include “veiled threats” and attempts to disable a Web site dedicated to the criminal case in Perugia, Italy.

The development marks an escalation in a ferocious “blog war” that has been brewing for more than a year as Knox faced a murder charge, then went on trial. The blog war has recently become particularly vicious and personal in Knox’s hometown of Seattle.

The battle in the blogosphere has divided the online community into two factions: those who question Knox’s innocence, and those who do not. In Italy, the media have dubbed them “innocentisti and colpevolisti,” or “the innocents and the guilties.”

Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are currently standing trial in Perugia for the slaying of Meredith Kercher. Kercher, a college student from England, was studying in Italy, as was Knox, a University of Washington student. The two shared an apartment.

Seattle police Sgt. Mark Worstman has confirmed that an investigation into cyber-harassment is still open and cautioned those who are concerned for their security to consider avoiding online debates and community forums where aggressive behavior is being allowed.

When seattlepi.com interviewed him, Mellas denied any involvement and said he is not connected to and does not know the person named in the complaint. In fact, he said he and his family also have been harassed online.

“I have not approved or disapproved because I don’t have any part to play in it,” said Mellas, who is a computer-network manager at Bellevue-based real estate development company.

“There’s a bunch of idiots on both sides of this whole silly blogworld. It has degenerated beyond belief, and frankly an article that is going to highlight this is only going to make it worse. But I don’t really care, because I don’t pay attention to it,” Mellas said.

Seattlepi.com is not naming the suspect because he has not been charged with any crime. He did not respond to seattlepi.com efforts to reach him by phone or by the e-mail addresses listed in the police report.

West Seattle resident and professional translator Peggy Ganong, who moderates the discussion site Perugia Murder File under the online name “Skeptical Bystander,” complained to police two months ago, saying she was being harassed for her involvement and for comments she has posted on sites that question Knox’s innocence.

“I am supposed to somehow get behind the home team. It is as simple as that,” said Ganong, who lives just a few blocks from the Mellas and Knox families. “But I had ongoing doubts, I continued to express that opinion, and that’s when I became a target. But the fact that it has spilled over into real life, well there’s something scary and terribly wrong about it.” The sites that question Knox’s innocence and defend court proceedings in Perugia are Perugia Murder File, a discussion board co-moderated by Ganong, and True Justice for Meredith Kercher, founded last September by New Jersey financier Peter Quennell.

“The True Justice site was created because Kercher had become so intensely forgotten, as the huge and well-funded effort gathered speed to paint Knox as the ‘real’ victim,” Quennell said. Quennell said more than 20,000 people have visited his site.

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo” (a stage name, real name Sforza).

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “You sound like you were abused as a child.”

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,” Huff said.

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.”

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “You sound like you were abused as a child.”

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,” Huff said.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Puzzle Of The Cell Phones: Was Rudy Doomed From The Start?

Posted by Arnold_Layne


Current thinking is that about a year after the three were arrested, Rudy Guede’s team decided to request a fast-track trial because his team thought Knox and Sollecito might craft a defense that made Guede appear more guilty. 

After he was convicted, defense supporters of course seized upon his conviction as the basis for the “lone wolf theory”.  It is possible, however, that Guede’s defense team was more correct all along than they might have realized - that he really was being set up.

What did Knox and Sollecito actually have planned?  Admittedly Sollecito had his knife fetish, and Knox’s sexuality was, well, you know.  But since none had committed any violent crimes in the past, it is unlikely that they planned to commit one quite so significant as a murder at this point. 

Contrary to what I had previously thought, Mignini may also be correct in his game theory.  Their plan might have been to coerce Meredith into having sex with someone.  If they couldn’t “talk her into it” they planned on intimidating her with the very large knife they brought along.

There is an inconsistency in the various scenarios that have been put forth.  In one scenario, all three came to the cottage intending to physically harm Meredith, and that is why they brought the knife and turned their cell phones off.  This doesn’t really make much sense because, for a murder, or even an assault with a knife, it was incredibly poorly planned. 

Additionally, and more importantly, none of these people had a criminal past and so it is unlikely they would plan on committing quite such a horrible crime.

Another scenario, which is along Mignini’s lines, is that the three planned to use the knife only to intimidate Meredith into doing what they wanted – which was to get involved in a sex act with Guede by coercing and threatening her.  This activity could be considered a sex game. 

If the terrifying trio had planned on going to see Meredith merely to play a game, then why did Sollecito and Knox turn their cell phones off?

They must have realized that there was a possibility that what they were setting out to do could end poorly.  If Meredith went along with what they planned, all would be okay.  Hopefully, she’d be a good sport when it was over.  If this is how it played out, there would have been no need to turn their cell phones off. 

But on the other hand, if she wasn’t a good sport, and called the police, they would be able to move to Plan B: blame Rudy, and deny that they were even there.  Turning their cell phones off fits with this outcome.

What this all suggests is that Rudy Guede really might have been set up. 

He clearly would have left evidence of a sexual attack; but the two others, not so much.  In fact, they may have planned to set Rudy up before they even asked him to participate.  Their plan right from the start might have been to bring in a third person to take the fall if things didn’t go well.

So Sollecito and Knox might have planned a plausible sequence of events as an alibi in which Guede would be the only perp and they could be at Sollecito’s smoking hash and watching Internet movies. 

So they needed someone who the police could easily accuse of the crime, and Rudy Guede filled the bill.

Why did they turn their cell phones off if they were only going to play a game?  I think they had already planned to get a bit more serious, and to implicate Guede as the perp.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Explaining The Italian Theory Of The Attack That Is Being Lost In Translation

Posted by Arnold_Layne





At the trial, Gioia Brocci from the forensic department in Rome just told the court that Knox had reacted visibly when taken into the house’s kitchen after the murder.

She said: ‘’A drawer with cutlery in it was opened, and I remember that Knox started to tremble, she closed her eyes and put her hands over her ears…. She reacted in such a way that she had to be escorted out of the room and taken into the corridor by the officers from the Perugia Flying Squad who were with her.’’

Here is one explanation that extends from that testimony. It is in sharp contrast to “A Drug-Fuelled Extreme-Sex Game Gone Awry” which definitely is not what Italians are hearing. 

This scenario leads to the inference that it starts as something of a pre-intended taunting and hazing led by an angry Knox intent on payback. It does not start as a preconceived murder because there seems no preparation for a premeditated murder.

When Knox and Sollecito arrive at the cottage, they bring a jackknife and a kitchen knife.  The kitchen knife may be wrapped in paper and carried in Knox’s handbag.  When they arrive, Sollecito perhaps puts the large knife someplace inconspicuous but handy. 

That place could of course be the knife drawer in the kitchen that Knox later reacted to.

They have collected Guede in the park, Knox lets him in, and the Treacherous Trio is complete. They gather with Meredith in the place where most people welcoming their guests congregate, the kitchen.  They may even munch on some mushrooms.

At some point, whatever has been worked out with Guede ahead of time is initiated.  What some might regard as BDSM, others, like me, consider more along the lines of aggregated sexual assault and battery with a deadly weapon. 

Knox retrieves the kitchen knife from the drawer.  She uses it as an extremely threatening weapon, to intimidate Meredith.  Sollecito and Guede physically restrain her while Guede sexually assaults her.  Possibly Knox directs Sollecito to physically assault her with the small knife to make her be more compliant.

Meredith is anything but compliant, fights back, and pleads with them. 

This leads to the jackknife wounds to her neck and eventually to her being strangled.  Meredith Kercher does not go gently into that good night.  She fights her way back up to her feet, and she screams. 

This perhaps is when Knox delivers the fatal blow to her neck with the kitchen knife, to stop her screaming and getting away to seek help.

They then drag her to her room and lock the door.  At this point, Guede grabs some toilet paper to clean the blood off himself, and they flee.  Rudy goes dancing, and the Deadly Duo go to the park till the way is clear for a clean-up.

Knox and Sollecito return after the broken-down car is removed, arrange the bedroom leaving the bra clasp, stage the break-in, and clean the rooms where they had been.  They have not been in the bedroom very much so this is left pretty much alone. 

They cleanse the kitchen of all DNA and fingerprints and perhaps bring more bleach when the Conad store opens in the morning.

Until Amanda Knox pulls the kitchen knife from the drawer, each of them, Guede, Sollecito, and Knox are acting as individuals with their consciences and moral upbringing intact.

When the knife comes out, they become something else, and the group becomes responsible for what happens, not each themselves.

Is it possible that the reason they are being so tight-lipped is that if any one of them identifies the other’s actions, then that person would have to accept responsibility for what he or she also actually did do? 

Does it stay a group action only if the group remains intact?


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trial: Another Objective Report From ABC News

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Images above and below: the lay judges and lawyers tour the crime scene]

Rome-based Ann Wise reports.

1) More on the issue of the second knife.

With journalists unable to attend the hearing, information on what Dr. Bacci said in court today came from lawyers as they emerged from the courthouse and, as always, interpretations differed.

Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, is a firm believer in the prosecution’s theory that the murder was the result of a sex game gone wrong between all three defendants—Knox, Sollecito and Guede. He told journalists outside the courthouse that Dr. Bacci told the court that whoever attacked Kercher first tried to strangle her, and then stabbed her in the throat, possibly with two different knives.

Bacci said that the knife the prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is compatible with the largest and deepest cut in Kercher’s throat but is not compatible with another, smaller wound. This is the first time a witness for the prosecution has mentioned the possibility that more than one knife might have been used…

Maresca also told reporters that according to Dr. Bacci “injuries suggest” that Kercher had probably participated in a nonconsensual sexual act before she died.

Luca Maori, one of Sollecito’s lawyers, told journalists that based on Dr. Bacci’s conclusions, the knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is “only abstractly compatible” with the wounds found.

2) And more on the visit by the judges, jury and lawyers to the house - sadly, extremely disarrayed, it seems..

The afternoon was the occasion for the court in its entirety—minus the two defendants, who chose not to attend—to visit the scene of the crime. A small crowd, comprised of the two judges, six jurors and their substitutes, the prosecutors and a bevy of lawyers, gathered outside the charming cottage-with-a-view on the edge of old-town Perugia. On the road just above, another crowd of journalists and photographers and some hangers-on watched as policemen activated a generator (the electricity in the house has been cut off) and opened the door to the house.

“The court looked closely at the inside and the outside of the house,” [Prosecutor] Comodi said. The court spent a good amount of time in the room where the murder took place and discussed the position of the corpse. Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer for Amanda Knox, told reporters the house “was a mess, and it was important that the jurors see this. Amanda’s clothes were thrown all over the place.”

There have been many press reports of bad forensic work and bad handling of the scene of the crime on the part of investigators, and this is expected to be an important part of the case the defense will make. The house where the crime took place has also been subjected to two break-ins in recent months, adding to the sorry state of the premises. The house is in “terrible condition,” Bongiorno said. “The mess made by the searches was compounded by the two beak-ins.”

 


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena – cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again – even for just three seconds – she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back – at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message – certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 – but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police – but Amanda makes no mention of this advice in describing their decision to call the police.

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) – neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 – as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom – but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele – since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time – just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up – she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning – Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible – and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first – knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room – panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants – such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports On Patrick Lumumba’s Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt is still providing her usual fine reports on the trial on the Seattle PI website.

Click above for her report late today on what Patrick Lumumba told the court of his experiences. He was the one fingered by Knox as the perp, and it took two weeks to get that charge refuted.

Knox is being prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, on a calunnia charge. 

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone‟s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

 

 


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Criminal Charges Almost Certain For Serious Disrespecting Of Meredith

Posted by Jools



[above: the Telenorba reporter who may soon be among those facing charges]

Raffaele Sollecito comes from Bari. Precisely one year ago, the local Bari TV station Telenorba did the almost unthinkable.

It broadcast some crime-scene video of Meredith. They showed her lying half-naked on her back on the floor, with the wounds to her throat clearly visible.

The footage was then picked up by the Italian state broadcaster, RAI, and it was rebroadcast a number of times.  Still shots ended up in a number of newspapers. And a video of the broadcast ended up on YouTube where (as of this morning) it still remains.

All of which now appears almost certain to attract a number of criminal charges.

Here is Richard Owen of the London Times describing the broadcast one year ago.

Relatives of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia in November, were said to be shocked and distressed last night after images of her bloodied corpse were broadcast on Italian television…

Telenorba, which showed the footage late at night, warned viewers that it was disturbing and suitable only for adults. It showed police scientists in white protective clothing pulling back the duvet to reveal Ms Kercher’s body and slashed throat, and turning the corpse over to examine her bloodied back.

Her eyes were covered by a mask. RAI did not include this part of the footage in its news broadcasts.

And here is the report in the Daily Mail also one year ago.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: “This is an example of gross journalistic misconduct, which evidently violates all the rules of how to report a story….

Anna Maria Ferretti, the director of the leading Italian TV programme Antenna Sud, said: “For five minutes of television, the ultimate taboo has been broken without any shame.”

Italy’s Order of Journalists has asked for the video to be confiscated so that it is not shown again and a repeat of the programme that had been due to air on Tuesday night was cancelled…

Enzo Magistra, the editor of the programme, defended the show and insisted it had not meant to cause offence.

He said: “When I decided to transmit the images of Meredith’s corpse, I did not have the least intention of violating anyone’s dignity, but merely to do my job with respect to an important event.”

Sparked by a complaint from Mr Maresca for the Kerchers, the Perugia prosecutor initiated a one-year investigation.

And yesterday the outcome was announced. This is a translation of the report in La Nazione.

The prosecutor of Perugia has served notice of the completion of four investigations into Raffaele Sollecito’s family members and two journalists of the TV station Telenorba on the transmission of a forensic video in which the body of Meredith Kercher wa shown…

The report on the investigations (usually a prelude to a request for trial) indicates crimes were committed of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of arbitrary acts of investigation and publication of gruesome acts.

According to the reconstruction by the Perugia prosecutor, the father and sister of Raphael Sollecito had legitimately obtained the scientific survey of the police, and had then illegally provided it to Telemundo.

The report also cites a journalist and the editor of Panorama for the publication of an article in which they reported that blood samples from Meredith had revealed an alcohol concentration above the legal norm - implying she was drunk when she was killed. This claim was proved a lie in the course of the forensic tests.

And this is a translation from the AGI news-service website.

Eight “notices of termination of the investigations” have been reported by the public prosecutor of Perugia…  Four Sollecito family members, the TV journalist on Telenorba and the director of the station, are accused of the crimes of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of documents during the investigation, and publication of gruesome acts….

According to the reconstruction, the Sollecito family members delivered to Telenorba the video and photos of the crime scene survey carried out by the forensic team on November 2 of 2007 in Meredith’s house. Telenorba then put the material on the air.

Other investigations are on-going.

The YouTube video of the Telenoirba broadcast as of this morning had had over 9,000 looks. It is in an area for adults only, and it requires registration to get in.

Notwithstanding, these are typical of the angry comments in Italian that appear right under the video.

This video is a disgrace to every individual. There’s a girl who is no more, a family suffering for this, and now has to suffer public humiliation ... Let us never forget that the right to dignity and decency of the victims, especially if already dead.

*********

The video should be removed. The right to record is in conflict with the respect and devotion of the deceased. The publication of such images add nothing to the journalistic chronicle

Mr Maresca, who is in legal practice in Florence, appears to us to have fought hard for the rights of Meredith and the Kerchers.

He put the case for a closed trial (which the Knox and Sollecito forces bitterly fought) and he won the court’s agreement that the most disturbing segments at least would be closed to the journalists and the public. 

Here is the Times report on his battle then with the defendants’ families.

Mr Maresca said Italian law provided for trials in cases of sexual violence to be closed to the public, at the discretion of the judge. He said that showing graphic photographs and video footage of Ms Kercher’s body and the murder scene in open court could do injury to her memory.

Mr Maresca said that 280 journalists had been accredited for the pre-trial hearings, which were held in camera. This led to reporters and photographers trying to snatch pictures of the accused as they arrived and left the court, with defence lawyers and prosecutors besieged by the media outside the courtroom.

And to counteract the massive and pervasive spin being put on every development in the trial, Mr Maresca has been sharp and outspoken on what the growing body of evidence implies.

Other apparent attempts by the Sollecito family to interfere with the course of justice, as suggested in telephone intercepts, are still being investigated by the Perugia prosecutor. Mr Mignini is famous in Italy for fighting for victims’ rights to the maximum.

Mr Maresca is clearly doing a fine job in protecting Meredith’s dignity and the peace of mind of her poor family.

And this throws a MAJOR shot across the bows of the families of the defendants, if they incline to further disparaging of Meredith.

[below: the Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca; his office is in Florence]




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Steel Stairs That Suspiciously Clanged On The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for the series]

Neighbor and witness Nara Capezzali has testified that she heard feet running across the top deck of the parking facility and up some steel stairs.

Despite some truly absurd claims to the contrary we believe every word of this testimony.

Click here for a series of images of the route Ak and RS appear to have followed.

The top of the parking facility at night is well, deathly quiet. You can hear anything that moves. And those steel stairs are so noisy, you would think they had been designed as a giant musical instrument.

Because of something the witness in the park said, we think it was TWO sets of feet: Knox’s and Sollecito’s. What the witness in the park said was that Knox and Sollecito approached the park from the street ABOVE the park.

And also, two witnesses have confirmed that it was Rudy Guede who ran up the stone steps alone, and bumped into one of them.

Across the deck, up the steel stairs, through the arch, up the street, past the gelateria, and down a few of the stone steps to the park.

About a half of a kilometer or a quarter of a mile in total.

By the way, from the point by the arch up the street and down the stone steps, this is the route that MEREDITH also followed that evening, not long before, on her final way home from the English girls’ place.

Posted on 04/01/09 at 01:57 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoEvidence & witnessesOther physicalOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Outcome Of Back-Seat Driving: Defense Lawyers Pulling Their Hair Out? Again?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1) Stepfather Chris Mellas

Mr Mellas as reported on Saturday:

He had spoken to Ms Knox on the eve of the hearing. “I told her she’s innocent and she needs to speak up for herself.”

2) Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini

Dr Mignini as reported on Sunday.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

3) Stepfather Chris Mellas as reported on Monday:

Ooops. Did I just cost her 6 more years? Maybe her lawyers really can advise Amanda better than an amateur who doesn’t speak the language. 

I’m on the next plane outta here. Sorry, kid, and all that. Still friends, though, right?

Okay, we made that last one up. But maybe even Amanda Knox is now thinking this way?

4) Times Report - Full Quote

The [UK] Times

Richard Owen, Rome

March 15, 2009

Amanda Knox, the American student charged with the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher, faces an additional charge of slander for claiming that police struck her while she was being questioned.

At the latest hearings in her trial in Perugia, Ms Knox claimed that police had put her under psychological and physical pressure to admit that she was present at the murder.

Ms Knox, who has the right to address the court at any time during her trial, was reacting to evidence from Anna Donnino, a police interpreter who claimed that Ms Knox had behaved “as if a weight had been lifted from her” when she admitted that she had been at the scene of the crime and accused Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked part-time, of the killing. Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher’s screams.

Ms Donnino said that when questioned after Ms Kercher’s body was found, Ms Knox walked up and down nervously at the police station, “hitting her head with her hands”. She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.

“She showed extreme emotional involvement – she was crying and visibly shocked, saying ‘It was him, it was him. He’s bad’,” Ms Donnino added.

Ms Knox, speaking in fluent Italian, said police had called her a “stupid liar” during “hours and hours” of questioning during which she had stuck to her story that she spent the night of the murder at the flat of Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend and co-accused.

She said that Ms Donnino had suggested to her “that probably I didn’t remember well because I was traumatised, so I should try to remember something else”. There had been an “aggressive insistence” on the text message she had received from Mr Lumumba, Ms Knox said. She insisted she had been slapped on the head by police, adding “I’m sorry, but it’s true”.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

Ms Kercher’s semi-naked body was found under a duvet on the floor of her bedroom in November 2007, at the hillside cottage in Perugia she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. She had been stabbed in the throat.

The prosecution accuses Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of murdering and sexually assaulting Ms Kercher with Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant who was given a 30-year sentence last October for the crime under fast-track procedures. He began his appeal last week, claiming Ms Knox had killed Ms Kercher in a row over stolen cash.

The all-night interrogation in which Ms Knox accused Mr Lumumba and described blocking her ears was ruled inadmissible by Italy’s Supreme Court because no lawyer was present. However a voluntary statement written by Ms Knox in English repeating this scenario has been accepted as court evidence despite defence protests. The defence claims Ms Knox was not at the cottage during the murder but at Mr Sollecito’s flat.

Mr Lumumba, who was arrested but later released without charge, is suing Ms Knox for defamation. He is also seeking damages for wrongful imprisonment.

Aida Colontane, another police interpreter, told the court that she had noticed a red mark on Ms Knox’s neck which “leapt out” from her “extraordinary pallor”. Laura Mezzetti, one of the Italian flatmates of Ms Knox and Ms Kercher, has also testified that Ms Knox had a red mark on her neck. Curt Knox, Ms Knox’s father, has suggested the mark was a love bite.

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer who helped to question Ms Knox, told the court that she and Mr Sollecito had behaved strangely, kissing and cuddling and talking together in low voices. A number of other witnesses have given the same testimony.

Mr D’Astolto said he had ensured that Ms Knox understood procedures and questions at all times. Daniele Moscatelli, another police officer, said officers had confiscated a long knife from Mr Sollecito, who had explained to them that he collected knives as a hobby. Mr Sollecito appeared confused and nervous during questioning, he said.

At the last hearings two weeks ago the court was told that Ms Knox had done cartwheels and the splits while waiting to be questioned by police. However Chris Mellas, her stepfather, who is attending the trial, said that his stepdaughter was doing yoga exercises and a police officer had asked her to do gymnastics, remarking “You look rather flexible”.

Oreste Volturno, the police officer who led a search of Mr Sollecito’s flat, said he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. The prosecution says the kitchen knife found at the flat which is presumed to be the murder weapon had been scrubbed with bleach in an attempt to erase blood and DNA traces.

The court was told that police investigating Ms Knox had tapped her phone calls and intercepted her correspondence before and after her arrest, including an email to friends in Seattle in which she claimed that she had found Ms Kercher’s body. She had written and received around 600 letters over a six-month period, all of which were intercepted and then translated by a team of four police interpreters. Her conversations with prison visitors were also recorded.

Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the Kercher family, said that the suspects’ alibi that they had spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat had collapsed after Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, said that tests on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed that nobody had used it on the night that Ms Kercher was stabbed to death. Mr Sollecito claims he was at his flat working on his computer at the time of the murder.

Mr Trotta said tests his team had carried out on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed “no human interaction” between 9.10pm on November 1 and 5.32am on November 2, 2007. Ms Kercher’s body was found in the late morning of November 2 but she is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm the night before.

Mr Sollecito says that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30pm. Ms Kercher returned to the cottage she shared with Ms Knox at about 9pm.

Ms Knox’s Italian language teacher in Perugia, Antonella Negri, told the court that as a class exercise Ms Knox had written a letter to her mother, after the discovery of her flatmate’s body but before her arrest. “In it she said she worried and confused and she wanted her mother to travel to Perugia so she could distract herself and they could go shopping together,” Ms Negri told the court. She said Ms Knox had referred to the murder at the start of the class. “She leaned forward on to the desk and lay her head in her arms.”

The trial resumes next Friday, when the six jurors are expected to tour the murder scene in an inspection requested by lawyers acting for Mr Sollecito. The prosecution claims Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito broke a window at the cottage to simulate a burglary, but the defence contests this.

The court was shown grainy CCTV images said to be of Ms Kercher returning to the house shortly before her death. The images were taken by a surveillance camera at the car park above the cottage. Defence lawyers said that the footage was of such poor quality that it should not be admitted as evidence.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Trial: More Testimony On Knox Acting Weird After Meredith Was Murdered

Posted by Peter Quennell




Overview

Click above for the full ABC website report.

Perhaps ABC News is attempting to turn over a new leaf here. Long conspicuous for banging the PR-inspired drum about a frame-up of Knox by those meanie Italians, ABC now seems the one American network attempting its own reporting.

This story was written by Ann Wise, apparently in Rome on 13 and 14 March,  with Zach Nowak, an American resident of Perugia, in the courtroom.

Witnesses on these two days included investigators D’Astolto and Volturno and interpreters Colantone and Donnino.


1) Testimony about Knox hitting herself on the head

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer in Perugia, told the court today that he was asked to come to the police station on Nov. 2, 2007, the day Kercher’s body was found, to help question Knox.

“She seemed calm, as if nothing had happened, while everyone else was crying,” said D’Astolto. However, when D’Astolto accompanied Knox to have her fingerprints taken, he said Knox “paced up and down the hallway pretty nervously, and brought her hands to her head, hitting herself on the temples.”

D’Astolto said her behavior worried him, and he offered to get her something to drink, but Knox said she was fine.

At bottom here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


2) Testimony about Knox shaking uncontrollably back at the house

Another interpreter, Ada Colantone, described Knox’s behavior two days later when she and the two Italian women who also shared the Perugia apartment were taken back to confirm that the knives found in the kitchen belonged there. Knox “started shaking,” recounted Colantone.

“She was shaking so hard that the coroner went over to her. She was visibly upset, and made to lie down on the couch.” She said Knox also began crying.


3) Testimony about Knox’s “emotional shock” at seeing Patrick’s text message

Anna Donnino, an interpreter for the Perugia police, said she was summoned to the police station to translate just after midnight. Knox was calm as police talked to her again about what she had been doing the evening of Nov. 1, the night Kercher was slain, Donnino said.

But Knox had an “emotional shock” when she was shown a text message she had sent to Patrick Lumumba, her boss at the pub where she worked occasionally. “She brought her hands to her head, and shook it,” Donnino told the court. And also: “It’s him, he did it, I can feel it,” referring to Lumumba.

The questioning stopped, and when Knox was asked if she wanted a lawyer, she said no, according to Donnino. Donnino repeatedly confirmed that Knox was never mistreated, and made her statements voluntarily.

Included in this post is a transcript of Anna Donnino translated by Catnip.


4) Testimony about Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno’s investigations

He testified that he took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased, and investigated the 20 euro withdrawal from Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records; and also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

On the next post here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


5) Finally, Knox rose in the court today to attempt some damage control:

In Italian courtrooms, defendants are allowed to make statements during their trial, and Knox stood today to refute the police depiction that they treated her well and that her statements were made voluntarily.

In a respectful but insistent tone, Knox said in clear Italian, “The witnesses are denying things about the interrogation. There were hours and hours that they don’t talk about, during which I confirmed my story and there was an aggressive insistence on the text message to Patrick,” she said.


6) Translation Of Testimony Of Assistant Fabio D’Astolto

Fabio Astolfo helped translate during interviews, helped with food and drink from the vending machines, and observed Amanda hitting herself while on the way to get her fingerprints taken.

Transcript translated is of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 68-84

[68]
Depositions of the witness Fabio D’Astolto

The witness, admonished pursuant to Article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

Particulars: Assistant Fabio D’Astolto, with the Perugia Police – Flying Section; born 22 July 1972 in Sydney (Australia).

President: Mr Public Prosecutor.

Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You on the date of 2 November 2007 were in service at the Perugia Police Station, in which office in particular?
ANSWER: I was at the Flying Section of the Station.

Q: You were born in Australia?
A: Yes.

Q: Your mother tongue is English?
A: Yes, yes, I lived in Australia until 14 years of age, I studied several…

Q: I wanted to know this, you remember the murder of Meredith Kercher, you took part in investigation activity or anyway had been called in relation [69] to the investigations that were being carried out?
A: I had been simply called as someone knowing English the afternoon of the 2nd.

Q: Do you remember the exact time?
A: It was afternoon but the exact time, exactly I don’t remember.

Q: Were you there in the Police Station?
A: I was at home and then they had called me from the Station saying that they needed a person who obviously knew the English language, I did nothing else but take the car and go to the Station.

Q: You knew that Meredith Kercher was dead and how she died?
A: No.

Q: What did you know?
A: I knew that there was a decease, but how…

Q: Knew from whom?
A: Yes, then when I had arrived at the Station that I went to the office they had mentioned that there was an English girl but I absolutely didn’t know how this girl had died.

Q: So it could even have been a natural death?
A: For me it could have been a natural death, suicide, I don’t know, anything.

Q: So no one had informed you?
A: No.

Q: So you arrive at the Station and then what happens?
A: I arrive at the Station, I go into the Inspector’s office, I go in, I sit down beside the Inspector and I begin, in quotes, to translate what they were asking me and then I was referring, that is I was re-translating the words of the signorina.

Q: You’d spent…
A: This was my job. Miss Amanda.

[70] Q: You’d spent how many hours at the Station?
A: A lot, up until around seven in the morning, more or less.

Q: You had in practice carried out the functions of an interpreter?
A: Yes, simply translating what was asked and then the reply.

Q: By Amanda Knox?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you say what behaviour Amanda had?
A: Her behaviour was, in my opinion, enough…

Intervention: No, not your opinion, let’s avoid evaluations!

President: Like a photograph.
A: Yes. Her behaviour was one thing only, in the sense that it seemed to me to be something calm enough, as if absolutely nothing had happened, this was her behaviour.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Mignini: Were there also other girls?
A: Yes, there were other friends, I think acquaintances, anyway there were other girls inside the Station, at the Flying [Squad] and they were all obviously tried.

Q: What were they doing?
A: They were seated quietly, they were really… some were crying, some were a bit distressed obviously by the event.

Q: Amanda, you had seen her also waiting to be heard or else you’d seen her only in the…
A: I had seen Amanda for the entire span of time that I was inside the Police Station because obviously then we were there also with the other persons, every now and then I was accompanying some girl down to get something to drink, something to eat, we have a little [71] automatic machine, a vending machine downstairs, so if they needed anything we were always obviously at their disposal.

Q: You saw her with Sollecito in the Station?
A: Yes, yes.

Q: This when, before being heard or after?
A: After.

Q: And after what was she doing?
A: There’s a small waiting room there by the Flying Squad offices where there was obviously everyone, the ones who were waiting to be heard etc etc, their behaviour they were kissing each other, they were hugging, every now and then they were laughing.

Q: Were they talking to each other?
A: Yes, they were talking also between themselves.

Q: Were they talking in a loud voice?
A: A lowered voice, I in fact had heard absolutely nothing of what they were saying. They were talking amongst themselves.

Q: But they had said something at that moment or one of the two…
A: Every now and then, I remember that Sollecito asked me once: “But what time are we finishing?” and I had simply told him: “a bit of patience, we’ll try and finish as quickly as we can”, to stay calm for a sec, it takes what it takes.

Q: You’ heard her first at the beginning, that is you’d translated the questions and the answers.
A: I had simply translated the questions that the Inspector had asked and then I’d referred obviously to Amanda, always asking her: “you’ve understood?” and then as Amanda was going me the reply I simply retranslated for the Inspector.

Q: She was demonstrating an ability to in part understand Italian?
[72] A: Yes, yes, she was understanding also because I more than once had asked her “Have you understood? Do I need to repeat the question?”, so.

Q: Then you had also seen her subsequently? Had there been things ascertained?
A: Yes, then I think that it was around four, now I don’t remember well, in the morning obviously, I had accompanied her down where there’s the Scientific Police to take her prints, for the mugshots basically. We had gone down, no problems, then at a certain point along the corridor, right in front of the Scientifica there’s a corridor, she was walking up and down in a quite nervous manner and every now and then she was taking her hands and she was putting them like this on her head, she was hitting herself a bit like this. I at a certain point I started to get a bit worried, if she was feeling ill, I don’t know. Then I asked: “Do you need some water? Do you want a coffee? Do you want to sit down for a bit? Don’t worry yourself, stay calm” and I remember that she had turned round as if to say… in fact she’d said to me: “no, no, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything”. I’d left it at that, I’d said: “OK, it’s no trouble at all’, if you don’t need anything”.

Q: These blows she was giving herself…
A: Basically she was making this gesture here.

Q: Were they strong?
President: A gesture where she was lifting both her hands simultaneously to the height of her temples?
A: Yes, of her head.

President: Repeatedly?
A: Yes.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Mignini: She was hitting herself on the head with her hands or just lifting her hands to her head and that’s it?
A: No, no, she was hitting herself.

[73] Q: You have said in the statement of 21 December 2007 “strong enough”, you were saying that she was hitting herself rather hard, at page 10.
A: Yes I confirm that.

Q: You then tried, you insisted?
A: Seeing this scene I became worried and asked her: “Do you need some water? Do you need a coffee? Do you need something? Do we want to go a bit to the machines and get something?”

President: This, when is it that… what time are we at, what day are we at, can you make it precise?
A: It was around four in the morning of the 3rd, so at night basically, around four in the morning if I’m not mistaken. Nothing, I asked her if she needed anything, she turned round and said, “no, I don’t need anything!”, “sorry, OK”.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Mignini: Did you by chance hear what they were saying to each other, what she was saying?
A: No.

Q: What she was saying not only to Sollecito, but in the event to the other girls present, to the young English people for example?
A: No, I don’t remember having heard anything, also because she was whispering quietly.

Q: And after having taken her to the Scientifica she left there?
A: Yes, then I accompanied her back up.

Q: How was she after the mugshots actually?
A: She was calm enough and settled herself back down in the waiting room.

Q: So these blows to the head, she was giving them to herself before going to the Scientifica?
A: While we were downstairs, when we had gone down to the [74] Scientifica…

Defence – Bongiorno: Mr President excuse me because while I’ve been talking to Sollecito, and asking him questions, we have documents on the computer, it’s an electronic instrument…
Intervention: It’s linked to the Internet, Mr President!
Defence – Bongiorno: {incomprehensible – overlap of voices}
President: Everybody! Please, I point out that the order of proceeding in this hearing at this moment is… given the defenders may speak with each other, there are no particular security reasons for which the accused need a different location, they can remain where they are, they can talk and also consult the documents they’re consulting. Please continue…
A: Then actually while we were down at the Scientifica, I repeat around four in the morning, more or less that was the time, we had gone down, at the moment in which we had entered the corridor where there was the door to the Scientifica, she started to walk up and down the corridor making this gesture of lifting her hands.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Mignini: Multiple times, this?
A: Multiple times, yes.

Q: But you had asked her questions? Had there been something, had you encountered someone?
A: Nobody, we hadn’t encountered anybody, I had taken her and accompanied her downstairs.

Q: And as soon as you had arrived downstairs…
[75] A: As soon as we had arrived downstairs we entered into the corridor where the Scientific is she had started to make this gesture and to walk obviously nervously up and down the corridor.

Q: You didn’t occupy yourself with asking any more questions?
A: No, absolutely.

Q: Then you accompanied her back and that was it?
A: I’d accompanied her back up and then I did other things.

Q: I have no further questions.

Defence – Ghirga:

Counsellor Ghirga, Amanda Knox defence. It was the 2nd of November when they called you, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Now 15:30 or 16:30 we’re in the Police Station. You were at home, you said?
A: Yes.

Q: Was your morning shift finished, or else were you on holidays? You were at home?
A: Yes, I was at home in any case.

Q: And they were calling you for?
A: They were calling me saying…

Q: You were at home, but I asked you: had you finished your shift, were you on holidays?
A: Honestly I don’t remember. I was simply at my home where a call arrived from the Station saying that they needed a person who knew English. No problem, I did nothing else but take the car and go into the Station.

Q: So you take the car and go to the Station?
A: Yes.

Q: Why are you still today saying: “for me, it could have been an accidental death?” If they were calling you that [76] first afternoon, you go to the Station…
A: For only a bit.

Q: You’ve used this expression.
A: Then, for a bit only…

Q: Mr President he cannot contest what I’m saying!
A: No, I’m not contesting anybody, if you make me respond I will explain.

President: He’s not contesting, he’s waiting to be able to respond.
A: If I’m made to respond I will explain everything.

President: The defence is asking how come they were calling you at home…
A: They called me at home.

President: You knew if there was…
A: No, absolutely, I went up to the Station, I entered the Inspector’s office, I sat myself down and I began to translate, that’s it.

Defence – Ghirga: I’m a step before that, you have said: “for me it could have been an accidental death”, yet you say: “once I arrived at the Station I was informed about something”, is that so? Relating to the death of the girl.
A: Now then after ten minutes or so, twenty minutes, I don’t remember perfectly now, obviously I tried to understand what might have happened, but I was aware that there had been a decease, but I was unaware for what reason.

Q: A couple of questions on the modality of exercising the interpretative activity.
A: Yes.

Q: So you get to be called because you know English, you’ve said, and it couldn’t have been anyone else but, who was translating Inspector Ficcara’s questions.
A: Yes.

[77] Q: Therefore questions in Italian translated into English for Amanda Knox, Amanda was replying and you were translating into Italian the replies given in English?
A: Yes.

Q: Is that so?
A; Yes.

Q: You were translating the questions and you were translating the answers?
A: Exactly.

Q: In the first three pages of the statement of the 2nd, which is in the case file, I don’t see one question, can you explain why?
A: By question is meant, obviously in the moment in which we were taking the summaries [the SIs] it needed a second to say: “What do you call…”

Q: No, no, no, excuse me for interrupting, you’re going ahead. I don’t see one question asked by Inspector Ficcara and translated by you, how come?
President: Counsel is asking, in the statement you had said…
Defence – Ghirga: Not the personal details or the address.
President: You’ve said that you were translating the questions that were being put to Amanda Knox, but Counsel is saying: “I can’t find the questions in the statement”.
A: In the moment in which I was being asked to translate what it was called, where it was obviously needed to formalise the summaries.

President: Yes, but at the moment of the exposition of the facts, who was transcribing it into the record?
A: The Inspector.

President: You were translating into Italian and into English?
A: Yes.

Defence – Ghirga: Then he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t know why the questions were not translated.
[78] Public Prosecutor – Dr Comodi: But translated or transcribed?
Defence – Ghirga: Listen, in the first three pages there isn’t…
President: Counsel it’s clear.
Defence – Ghirga: It was only to understand the modality and that’s it.
President: Do you know how come the questions weren’t also put into the record?
Defence – Ghirga: When he says: “I was translating the questions”, he’s not saying something true because the questions aren’t there.
President: Excuse me, Counsel, please! Why aren’t the questions you say you were translating also reported in the record, if you know.
A: I don’t know.

Defence – Ghirga: And the last three are: “RTQ – replies to question”, here as well do you know why?
A: I don’t know.

Q: Do you know at what time the bar at the Station opens in the morning?
A: The Station bar varies, the times vary every now and then, in the sense that if there’s a service or anything else, a special service, I don’t know, usually they also open earlier, usually around a quarter past seven, 7:20, I don’t know the opening times exactly because I hardly ever go there.

President: Who manages the bar? Internal Station personnel?
A: No, no, if I’m not wrong they’re external, they have a contract [79] if I’m not mistaken.

President: So they are called in for a particular need?
A: It happens, it’s happened often.

Defence – Ghirga: No, I haven’t understood then.
A: The opening hours…

Q: You’ve answered about the opening hours, there’s no bar inside the Station?
A: Yes, it is, of course! Sure there is!

Q: You’ve said no now.
A: It’s on the first floor.

Q: Who manages it? Someone private?
A: I think that it might be someone private.

Q: You don’t know the opening hours?
A: Exactly, no, because I hardly ever go there, I’ve been only a very few times.

Defence – Dalla Vedova: Just one clarification: do you remember the exact time that you arrived at the Station?
A: Frankly I don’t remember because I wasn’t standing there with a watch, usually I don’t even wear a watch.

Q: Was it in the afternoon or in the evening?
A: No, no, in the afternoon.

Q: Could we say around five or around six?
A: No, it was earlier, at five or six I was already in the Station, it was earlier, much earlier.

President: It was still daytime?
A: Yes, yes.

President: Daytime still?
A: Yes, yes.

President: It’s November, it was still daytime, afternoon.
[80] A: Yes, although I repeat I don’t remember the precise time because I don’t wear a watch, out of habit, and I wasn’t there either to look at the clock honestly, they had called me, they needed someone, I take the car and go, inasmuch as I had no particular need at home and I went.

President: He doesn’t recall. Please, Counsel.
Defence – Dalla Vedova: You carried out the function of interpreter also with the other non-Italian girls who were present at the Station, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Exactly what did you do? Were you translating questions also for them?
A: I have to repeat, my job was to translate…

Q: I’ve understood that, I asked you if you also interpreted for the other girls, for example Ms Jade Bidwell?
A: Yes.

Q: And also other girls as well?
A: Yes, I remember having also done translation for the other girls.

Q: It was always an interview with an Italian functionary who was asking questions in Italian and you were translating into English and then the English person was answering in English and you were translating into Italian or was there…
A: There were summary informations [SIs].

Q: Was it only an enquiry if they needed something, like you referred to earlier, because you were also concerned with offering them a coffee, some water, taking them downstairs.
A: Certainly. Now the point is this: we are human beings to start with, so if a person needs something we have to… if they need a coffee, a glass of water, something else, there are [81] machines downstairs, they’re accompanied downstairs and they’re given it, that’s it. We aren’t…

President: Yes, but Counsel was asking, in addition to this activity, which before you had described in relation to Amanda Knox, you have also carried out the function of interpreter and in the examination of Amanda Knox and also in the examination of the other English girls.
A: Sure.

President: How many other English girls if you’re able to recall? All of them or …
A: No, now I don’t recall, I think it might have been three, now I don’t remember exactly.

Defence – Dalla Vedova: Do you remember having taken part in the statementing of the SIs of Jade Bidwell, mentioned earlier, on the 2nd at 21:30?
A: Possibly yes, although I repeat I frankly don’t remember the names. I don’t remember the names of these girls.

Q: Another clarification in relation to your activity at the Police Station, when you took Ms Knox to the Scientifica to do the prints and photos had you informed her what thing you were going to do?
A: Yes.

Q: And what did you say to her?
A: I said to her that we were going downstairs, that we had to take these prints and that’s it, like what was done with all of the others.

Q: And you also accompanied the other English girls in this activity?
A: I don’t remember, I think no.

Q: You don’t remember?
A: I don’t remember, I honestly don’t remember.

Q: But the other girls also had had the same [82] necessity to do the ID-ing with their fingerprints?
A: I think so, I say I think.

Q: But they were foreigners, was there someone helping the girls in explaining what was happening? If you were with Amanda how was it done? Was there someone else?
A: The point is also this, that some of these girls were also understanding Italian a bit, therefore definitely my colleagues had explained it to them definitely, then I must reiterate I am only one person.

Q: There was some other interpreter that evening?
A: I don’t think so.

Q: So you, from the afternoon of the 2nd until four in the morning of the 3rd, were the sole official interpreter who was working inside the Police Station for all the foreigners, for all the foreign girls?
A: Yes, I think so.

President: You were however the only one, that’s what he’s asking, that you knew about?
A: That I know of I think it was only me.

Defence – Dalla Vedova:

In this whole period of time you had always stayed near Amanda?
A: During the summaries and then when I took her for the prints and mugshots, then I was present while she and the other friends and with the other friends were in the Squad office, in the waiting room, so I was there next to the wall, standing there, watching.

Q: And listening to the conversations?
A: No.

Q: But if you were standing there…
A: Obviously when they were talking aloud I was hearing something, but it wasn’t that I was…

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox’s phone rang, [83] did she receive calls?
A: This I don’t remember.

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox had made calls?
A: I don’t remember this either frankly.

Q: Do you remember whether in translating the questions the subject of sexual activity had been put to Ms Knox? If anyone had asked her questions on this subject?
A: I don’t remember.

Q: You don’t remember this subject?
A: No.

Q: And do you instead remember the subject of the vaseline? Whether this question in relation to a presumed usage or in any case the presence of this material had been put?
A: This I absolutely don’t remember. This is news to me, I don’t remember.

Q: You remember in any case whether Amanda Knox had a phone?
A: If I’m not mistaken yes, I think yes.

Q: And the other young people had a phone?
A: I think so, some had used it, I think so.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Mignini: But this is cross-examination, they’re not questions…
President: Let’s limit it to what was the examination.
Defence – Dalla Vedova: Although seeing that he was changing his stance and that he had acknowledged the fact that…
President: In fact these questions are being put.
Defence – Dalla Vedova: Since it appears from the documents that almost everyone was making phone calls, it would have helped me [84] to understand how come he can claim that the young people were quiet, therefore I wanted to know if anyone had made calls for example to their parents or in any case at that moment.
President: So he remembers that they had them, from their behaviour, under this aspect.
Defence – Dalla Vedova: Exactly, under the aspect of their behaviour, when he had claimed that the other girls were quiet, I wanted to better understand what led him to that conclusion, that’s all. Thank you, I have finished the examination.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Comodi: Only one question: when the bar in the Police Station is closed, if you want to have a coffee, a tea, a brioche, a bottle of water, do you have to go outside?
A: No, actually on floor zero, on the ground floor…

Q: Which is the same floor where there is the bar also?
A: No, the bar is on the first floor. So on the ground floor there are three small machines, one for drinks, the other obviously for snacks etc etc, then there’s the other one for coffee, like those outside.

Q: Which work 24 hours a day?
A: Yes, yes, 24 hours a day.

Q: Is the electricity switched off?
A: No, 24-hour, they’re always on.

Q: Thank you.

President: Very well, you may go.

- - -
Note: “fotosegnalazione” – “the taking by police authorities of a person’s fingerprints and face-on and profile photos for identification purposes” ([Italian Neologism Observatory]) – has been translated here as ‘(fingerprinting and) mug shots’, according to context. Usage of the term carries no imputed meaning as to legal status.



On the next post here is a full translation of the testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno by Catnip.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Patrick Lumumba Seeks Damages For His Time In The Big House

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the story.

Knox is being tried on a charge of calunnia for her false implication of Patrick (see an explanation of calunnia at bottom). Patrick was of course the owner of the Le Chic bar, now closed because of the heap of trouble that his former waitress Amanda Knox dropped on his head.

He was held in Capanne Prison for about two weeks as a suspect, after she alleged (voluntarily, in writing) that she had seen him in the house on the night of the crime. And heard Meredith’s screams as he committed the murder.

Might he perhaps not have been so ticked if she had recanted the accusation any time in the next two weeks? Maybe. Maybe not. But Knox might easily have done. Nobody was pressuring her to do otherwise.

This seems an open-and-shut case. The evidence is all there. So Knox lives and learns. We hope.

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone‟s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Powerpoints #11: Countering The Spin By The Defenses On The Recent Cottage Break-in

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

TJMK is getting a reputation for cool, precise, painstaking, and illuminating examination of the evidence made available.  We have frequently wanned others not to jump the gun or to mischaracterize known evidence when so very much of it is not yet in the open.

Just over two weeks ago, on 18 February, the Italian police discovered that in recent days intruders had broken their way into the girls’ apartment in the house on Via della Pergola.  The intruders had entered through the kitchen window to the north, opening onto the balcony.

This strange happening sparked many concerned questions, especially in Italy. For example, was the break-in perhaps related to the crime of 1 November 2007 and the trial now underway?

Nobody knows as yet. Police investigations continue. But it is just possible that it WAS related to the case. And if it was, there seem to be several possibilities as to why:

1) Proof of easy access for burglars?

The break-in could have been a demonstration of how a thief could very easily make his way into the cottage, similar to the notional “lone wolf” attacker that Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Bongiorno has been promoting as the real perpetrator of the crime.

2) Proof of contamination of DNA evidence?

If an undetected thief could have entered the cottage between 2 November 2007 and the date when the bra clasp with Raffaele’s DNA was collected in mid-December, that could be an explanation for the unlikely DNA contamination which the defence teams claim might have occurred.

3) Modification or removal of remaining evidence?

The break-in could have taken place with the object of modifying or removing some remaining evidence which the police have not yet collected, evidence which may soon become significant for example in the course of a confession by one of the defendants or Rudy Guede..

4) A threat or message to the police?

The fact that during the break-in some knives in the cottage were arranged in a suggestive manner, and one was placed on a police envelope (apparently brought in by the intruders and unrelated to the previous evidence gathering) might point towards the intruders making some threat to the police, or trying to send some message to them.  This possibility becomes a bit more significant when one considers that the break-in occurred just before the resumption of the trial, when the 12 police investigators who were involved in the crime-scene investigation were all just about to give their testimonies before the court.

5) Unrelated possibilities to explain the break-in?

Perhaps it really was some sort of satanic rite. Or a prank or a hoax. Or it might simply have been some itinerants getting in to spend a night out of the extreme cold.

Defense spin has been attempted along most of these lines, to suggest that the prosecutors and crime scene investigators really did botch the investigation.

The most outlandish of all claims was in the blog section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. That, because the perpetrators of this break-in quite easily got in through the KITCHEN window it proves they easily could have got in through a BEDROOM window. And this despite the facts that:

These Powerpoints here set out to demonstrate that there is no possible parallel between this THEORETICAL break-in through Filomena’s bedroom and the ACTUAL break-in through the kitchen window.


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