Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

Now the drama moves to Rome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Follain in Perugia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is not over for the Kerchers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Comments

Great article. I like his style, factual, non aligned and informative. His book will make an excellent Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I will not be able to wait that long!

Posted by starsdad on 10/11/11 at 07:04 AM | #

Peculiar that Guede uses the media-misreported ‘40 knife wounds’ when he was one of the murderers. Is the quote inaccurate, or is it a deliberate attempt to distance himself from the murder, or what, I wonder.

Posted by KateC on 10/11/11 at 07:43 AM | #

Another good article by the same author:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4113087.ece

@KateC,  As far as I am aware the autopsy states that there were over 40 knife wounds (stabbings and small lesions) none of which were defensive wounds, which was agreed by the defenses expert.

Posted by starsdad on 10/11/11 at 07:51 AM | #

Hi starsdad, I don’t think that’s right, I read the Massei report last week and unless I’ve got it very wrong Meredith suffered over 40 injuries, but only a small number of these injuries are knife wounds.

Posted by KateC on 10/11/11 at 08:17 AM | #

Hi Starsdad. Yes this is the reporting style the case so badly needs. Knox might appeal the calunnia conviction and three-year sentence but ourlawyers don’t see it. That could open up quite a can of worms as to WHY she did it and could come back to bite her on the tail.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/11/11 at 08:59 AM | #

Good morning everyone

Wonderful post I must read John Follain.  I haven’t posted for a while since to be honest I was so pissed off with the verdict. However hope springs eternal so here’s my prediction.

(1) First look for Sollecito to move to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Italy.

(2) Since there is no statute of limitations upon murder I further predict that Knox will be hounded just as Van der Sloot and OJ were since this has more mileage than Casey Anthony given it’s international appeal.

As has been mentioned elsewhere she is now an indentured servant of Gogerty-Stark-Marriot probably for a very long time, so she can’t disappear from the public radar. The general public do not like to be made fools of and that is what she has accomplished of course.

Guede will be forced to tell everything that happened and then watch the fur fly particularly on such shows as Nancy Grace who is also digging for ratings. What better way than to prove once and for all that she is right.

Best of luck everyone and thank you.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/11/11 at 09:19 AM | #

Excellent, thorough reporting, covering all aspects of the case.  If all newspapers and stations adhered to the same principles of journalism as John Follain, the PR campaign wouldn’t have stood a chance because no one would have been willing to accept their falsified version of events.

KateC is correct that Meredith had over 40 injuries, mostly bruises, and a small number of knife cuts.  It’s curious that Guede lifted that bit of misinformation from the media, but to me it seems that he’s exaggerating in order to discredit the lone wolf theory.  He must know that no one stabbed Meredith 40 times.  Or, it could be an imprecise translation from Italian.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/11/11 at 09:38 AM | #

I came across this interview with Curt Knox ...

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7383918n&tag=mncol;lst;2

I was really surprised that he doesn’t look very happy at all, although his daughter has just been released a couple of days before and is back home. Secondly, he says that he hasn’t talked to AK yet about what happened that night in Perugia, which to me seems strange as AK parents have always been 100% convinced she was innocent. But how can they be so sure if she hasn’t told her what happened that night.

Posted by gdeschaetzen on 10/11/11 at 09:51 AM | #

@gdeschaetzen I didn’t listen to the interview but had a look at the caption underneath, they refer to him as Peter Knox….Four years on and god knows how many interviews and they don’t know his name!!

Posted by Melanie on 10/11/11 at 10:29 AM | #

Hi gdeschaetzen. Thanks for the video. He does look less than joyful, and presumably like us realizes it ain’t over yet and AK could so easily drop herself back in the soup.  He is incorrect in stating that AK was exonerated on all charges.

Her sentence for calunnia against Patrick was increased, to three years. She is labeled a felon for life unless Cassation overturns that, and on 15 November we understand she may still face her interrogating officers in court. .

You believe her parents were convinced of innocence? Maybe but if so they did several odd things, one of which Cassation itself noted.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/11/11 at 10:29 AM | #

As far as Curt Knox is concerned given this family dynamic he is now expendable. That being the case Edda will exclude him altogether if she can, much to the on-going anguish of his daughter who psychologically and according to Sollecito lives in a world of her own making. This is the basis, in her case, of how she has been forced to deal with life since she cannot take reality. This is how she has excluded the murder from her own mind. She really believes that she is innocent.

Patrick Lamumba is wrong she is not a great actress at all she is just mentally very sick. Such is the product of this dysfunctional family after all. Edda has dictated that Amanda Knox take sides which, given the choice between Curt and Chris Mellas must be very difficult. After all Chris Mellas is such a “What!” Genetic failure aside the further we get into understanding this family the less I am surprised that once free of her mother Knox became a ticking time bomb.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/11/11 at 10:43 AM | #

“To convict ......you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough not to condemn” said Hellman.

The “smallest doubt” is not the same as “reasonable doubt”. Not even an accumulation of small doubts. The test is whether any such doubts are reasonable and whether the evidence, at the end of the day, has put paid to even those.

On many occasions since the original verdict of guilty I have entertained a twinge of doubt. I do not think that it would be natural not to have done so. However every reality check, even with the developments in the appeal court in mind, has persuaded me that the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” had been met.

Where the appeal court may have fallen down in my opinion is in a failure to analyse, evaluate and interpret the evidence, and the logic in it, overall. It will be interesting to see how Hellman rejects the work down on this by the other judges and jurors in this case, in the detailed acquittal report.

Reasonable doubt is a difficult concept to grasp and apply and appropriate legal guidance and direction is crucial for any jury,

Usually there is some standard text read out for the jury to take on board before they retire, but in this instance the judge is a juror himself and hence was in the unique position of being able to clarify and resolve any uncertainty and confusion in the jurors’ minds during deliberations in chambers.

What concerns me is that it is reported that neither Hellman nor his associate professional judge have really had much experience with criminal law, and hence with doing this.

This seemed apparent latterly when he struggled with the concept and other aspects of the acquittal before assembled press and TV journalists.

It is also strange that not just the C&V report but lack of motive for the murder and the demeanour of the accused in court seems to have played a significant part in the decision to acquit. How did he advise the lay jurors on the significance of motive and demeanour vis-a vis the rest of the evidence?

This should all be explained in the detailed report.

Posted by James Raper on 10/11/11 at 10:59 AM | #

@gdeschaetzen I don’t think they believe she’s innocent, Edda herself has questioned why Amanda called her so early in the morning ‘when nothing had really happened’ and she questioned AK about this in a taped conversation in prison - i.e. she asked her why she can’t remember making the call, that question will haunt Edda forever. I’ve always believed Curt knows she did it - I think he understands her better than Edda.

Posted by Melanie on 10/11/11 at 12:38 PM | #

Thanks a lot James. Great legal points. Judge Hellman sure has created an eager audience.  He is not the first judge to come out and explain why he ruled as he did. Judge Micheli did so too.

This below was the day after Guede’s verdict and AK’s and RS’s indictments. Take a look.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/wow_ground_really_disappearing_from_under_knox_sollecito_defense/

Very tough stuff. Judge Micheli is a very bright judge and he probably came closest to nailing what took place. He didn’t take it from Mignini, he deduced almost entirely from the physical facts in the house.

He must have winced at Judge Hellman, a business judge in new territory for him, trying to explain.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/11/11 at 01:01 PM | #

10/11/11
@James Raper
I agree with you about reasonable doubt. The jurors might have confused it with mild uncertainty.

Has anyone else been channel surfing blissfully over Foxy’s TV tripe since her release? And ignoring her headlines completely? The mute button has spared me so much deceitful blather. Flip, flip, thank goodness for a universal remote. It’s all so predictable and pointless. Amanda will play the hero for a brief while, then her natural instincts will rise up. She will run amok again soon enough, sadly so.

The doors of Capanne had barely shut behind her when she declared she wanted to return to Italy one day. What the heck, was she already re-rejecting her parents’ American world like she did before? Yes.

Amanda is probably so lost and bonkers right now. Anyone fresh out of prison has a huge struggle. She must feel she’s a stranger in her old Seattle haunts, but now she is a stranger on the go, with dozens of media projects laid before her, doing things at home she never did before. Decisions decisions.

Her family has changed. She has grown up without them, they have moved ahead in some ways without her. Roles have changed.

Foxy will never change in her essence, but Age has ripened her.

Now that Amanda the Great is back home it must be chaos with all the media offers and phone calls, not enough room on the calendar. Money offers, the end of normal routines as a trade off for privacy, figuring out how to reward early supporters.

Seems they whisked Amanda away to an island to shield her. She certainly needs more food and sleep and peace. She will soon chase after the action again, adrenaline junkie.

The family must be dealing with a lot of resentment, fear, uncertainty what to do now with Foxy, how not to tick her off, how to help her stay steady and not revert to type. They will quarrel over what deals to sign, which to reject. Who’s running the ship? Amanda will side with her mom and Deanna as always. Edda will no longer be subservient to Chris, much less to Curt, but both men may attempt to dominate less for a share of the spoils.

There may be jealousy or disgust with Amanda’s high profile status as her dual reputation brings both shame and honor to the family.

There are more stressors than ever on her family. Pressure is on them all. They will never look at alcohol in Foxy’s hand in the same way. Will they curb their own drinking for her? Foxy may be tempted by drugs again for escapism, in between walks in the mountains. Nature does heal. Who knows how many drugs were available in Capanne?

She’s used to being crammed in with lots of people, tightly controlled. She may be fearful at night and having trouble sleeping like Sollecito is with ruminating thoughts. She may be dissatisfied with home. She might want a new start that is neither home nor prison nor Perugia, but where can she go? Maybe the media offers will keep her on the travel circuit and defuse that need by providing travel in small doses.

She will have a strong desire for men again. An explosion like the one she had before she first left for Italy will manifest. Parties and rocks and more naked bodies in some form.

The money making ventures are the only thing delaying that explosion, and probably the only thing keeping the Mellox crowd united for even six months. The fat media offers and all the labor that requires will act as a flame retardant for family meltdown for awhile, but in the end these many offers will cause it. The family may be focusing on Christmas, and at best that is an intense time of year. Alcohol, emotions. Amanda’s Christmas Special? Amanda’s Reality TV Show? Where’s Marie Osmond?

Biggest certainty: Curt and Chris and Edda are focusing on lawsuits.


I intend to take a breather from seeing Foxy’s mug on the cameras, to follow the case less constantly but at regular intervals. There will be a next real occurrence. She will break out again in a startling way. Meanwhile, ho hum, the faking the posturing the posing.

Amanda’s offer to give money to the Kerchers did sound good. They could use it to establish memorials to Meredith and pay off debt. If she killed Meredith, she owes them the money and more. If she didn’t kill Meredith, it is good seed Foxy is sowing out of compassion. Everyone wins. 

I don’t mind her earning money in her interim between freedom and perhaps the next Supreme Court of Cassation judgment or further incarceration. After all, she does have a story to tell, and “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just”. She can use her dough to pay honest lawyers and repay the Kerchers and repay her own family and Lumumba and others who have borne the expense of her disaster through no fault of their own. 

Next year’s Rome court ruling seems like the only thing we can mark on a calendar. I do want to buy Follain’s book after its October 2011 release.

Posted by Hopeful on 10/11/11 at 01:48 PM | #

I’m yet another lurker on TJMK for years, but feel compelled to comment after the acquittal. While I thought I developed a decent grasp of the events comprising Meredith’s murder and the legal proceedings against AK, RS and RG, as reported in the media and on the web, it’s clear that the contributors and some of the regular commentors on this site are on a whole other level. Since my opinions on the appeal decision, the conduct of much of the media and some of my fellow US citizens, etc., will not add anything new, maybe an attempt to describe some of the complex swirl of emotions this case has elicited over the last four years is a better use of space.

The pain, bewilderment and grief of the Kercher family has been evident throughout this ordeal, but perhaps never more than now, in the aftermath of the appeal decision. They seem to be the only participants in this tragedy who have remained focused on the most important truth: an innocent person was subjected to what amounts to torture, and then brutally murdered. A human being who, by all accounts was the type of person anyone would be thrilled to have as a daughter, sister or friend. An intelligent, gifted, kind, friendly and beautiful young woman on what was probably the first big adventure of her life coming to such a terrifying and brutal end through no fault of her own is heartbreaking and bitterly ironic. The Kercher family has my deepest sympathy and admiration. The dignity and quiet grace which they have all displayed through this terrible and endless ordeal is amazing. Every time I read about AK’s public relations operation having to “stay on message” like a campaigning politician, I think about the Kerchers and how they seem to effortlessly keep a laser-beam focus on their message: please don’t forget about Meredith, the victim. I will not forget her and will do what I can to make certain that folks in my sphere of contacts and influence won’t either.

I stumbled across a blog posting which mentioned Meredith’s murder perhaps two or three months after she was killed. Still not sure why it caught my interest, but it did, and I started to read media accounts of the case. This path eventually led me to TJMK. The first time I visited this site and saw the series of images of Meredith’s face displayed down the side of the page, I could feel my heart starting to break. This was a totally unexpected, emotional, gut-level response to seeing her face. Up to this point, my interest in the case could best be described as intellectual. Those face shots changed that permanently for me. IMO, there’s no arguing with the fact that Meredith was lovely, physically beautiful. However, I think they somehow convey much, much more. Looking at that series of images I saw warmth, kindness, generosity, playfulness, spirit and happiness; someone in love with life. Some may say that’s a lot to read into a series of photos, but it is how they affected me. Of course, the many TJMK posts subsequently read describing Meredith’s personality only reinforced that initial impression. My heart still breaks every time I bring up this site and see her face. The utter waste and senselessness of removing someone so full of life, enthusiasm and energy from a world in such desperate need of people with such qualities leaves me feeling empty. I sometimes feel a bit guilty for having such a strong emotional reaction to the loss of one person I’ve never met when there are God knows how many more wonderful, gifted, hope-for-the-future young people losing their lives every year via all manner of misadventure and tragedy that do not affect me at anywhere near the level that Meredith’s murder has.
Can’t help how I feel, though. Maybe we all have come to know her a little through this excellent site.

The theories and speculation about the motivation for Meredith’s killing and some of the events of the night she was murdered have been going on for almost four years now. I wonder, however, how much is known about the degree to which the Italian authorities investigated the possibility that the underlying motive for the assault and eventual murder was AK’s jealousy of Meredith? While no behavioral expert, I think it is possible to develop a very plausible theory that may explain at least some of the motivation underlying the November 1, 2007 murder. It’s centered on the interpersonal relationships and interactions which happen in the living quarters and social circles of university / college students. Having been in several such living situations myself, (though, admittedly 30+ years ago, and never outside the US) it’s not difficult to picture the basic situation Meredith and AK entered upon moving into that flat. It’s certain that many people reading this site have also been away to college or grad school and have had similar experiences. Compared with my college days, technology is more complex and the intoxicants are more varied and potent, but the experience of sharing accommodations with strangers or people one barely knows has not changed. It is part of growing up and arguably one of the reasons people leave home to go to school. Things don’t go smoothly in a significant percentage of cases, but almost no situations end with one of the flatmates murdered. It is not uncommon for tensions to develop among the flatmates over an infinite range of issues, from loud music to someone avoiding their cleaning duties to utility bills to alcohol/drug use and sexual activity. Sometimes, particularly in living arrangements in which the flatmates have never met before moving in together, there can be personality issues. Is it possible that AK, an attractive young woman, who, by many accounts, had a big personality, was sexually active and seemed to have the ability to charm and maybe manipulate men, saw Meredith as some type of rival or threat to her imagined “queen bee” status in the flat and/or the social circle/s the students inhabited? Meredith, very attractive herself, and with a great personality, undoubtedly had no shortage of friends and male admirers of her own. But Meredith seems to have been very focused on her studies and modest. She was in Perugia primarily to further her education, improve her language skills and experience the Italian culture in a small city setting. If she enjoyed herself and made friends along the way, I’m sure that was OK, too. While AK professes to have been there for the same reasons, she seems to have placed much more emphasis on her social interactions, especially men and partying. Perhaps a baseline level of tension developed as it became clear that the two attractive, non-Italians in the flat were not seeing eye-to-eye on things like lifestyle, cleanliness and overnight guests?

A possible tension escalator: It has been established that AK was employed part time at the bar owned by Patrick Lamumba, which was a popular gathering place for Perugia students.  I seem to remember reading somewhere (here on TJMK?) that Meredith had been in discussions with Lamumba about a job at the bar as well. Not sure if Meredith’s position would have been in addition to AK’s position or in place of AK. If either of these is true, it’s important. People who have attended school in a relatively small university town, where the nightlife of most of the students revolved around a small number of bars, probably remember the status or prestige that was associated with working in one of those places, particularly among the kids who were more interested in partying/socializing than their studies. It was a job that provided the opportunity for the student employee to be paid to be at the place many of their friends were partying. In most cases, it was not strenuous work; tending bar or serving drinks, and allowed the employee to work without missing much of the social scene. At that age, bartenders and servers are some of the coolest characters in the university town student world. And if the scene in Perugia was similar to many other places in Europe and the US, there may also have been easy access to drugs. A perfect job for a party girl like AK. Having to share this with, or worse, being replaced at such a job by her goody-goody, disapproving and beautiful flatmate would, in AK’s eyes, be a shocking affront, an embarrassment and terribly unfair. It would multiply existing feelings of enmity or jealously enormously. Maybe to the point where Meredith needed to be taught a lesson. The bar may also have been the place where RG initially saw or even made the acquaintance of Meredith, and became attracted to her.

RG’s attraction to Meredith would not take long to get onto AK’s radar screen. There were several possible routes, the simplest via direct observation by AK, but also from the victim herself or through the RG/RS acquaintance and possible dealer-customer relationship. Could it be that AK saw RG’s interest in Meredith and decided to try to incorporate it into a developing plan designed to scare, intimidate and humiliate her? AK may already have had an idea about RS’s violent fantasies as well as his habit of carrying a knife, and in these saw the building blocks for a plan to put Meredith in her place. It wouldn’t have taken much for AK to suggest to RG that her flatmate Meredith had confided that she was attracted to RG, wanted to get to know him, etc. Perhaps AK even hinted that all four could “play” together. What twenty-something guy could resist an encounter with a hot brunette and a hot blonde? Maybe RS thought there was a possibility of a foursome, too. Or maybe he was more interested in terrorizing someone with a blade. Anyway, it seems like a perfect pretext to get RG to accompany AK and RS to the cottage. Select a night when the two Italian flatmates are away, mix in some alcohol, cannabis or other substances to reduce inhibitions, and the precursors of the tragedy are all in place. Obviously, I’ve got no real proof or evidence of anything set forth above, but my understanding of the case facts that are publicly available and my own life experience indicates to me that something close to this scenario is what got them to the night of November 1, 2007. Beyond this point in the sequence of events, my confidence level or gut feeling about being on the right track drops significantly.

While the details of what happened when the three entered the flat and confronted Meredith may never be known for sure, it’s a safe bet that it didn’t take long for RG to see that Meredith had no interest in a sexual encounter. She would have resisted what was being done to her very strenuously. There were reports of a scream or screams being heard that night as well. I suspect (maybe hope is a better word) that the killing of Meredith happened when AK & RF’s little stage play of knife point rape by black man or group rape got out of control. Meredith may have turned out to be physically stronger than they anticipated. RG could have realized that he had been played, or lost his nerve during the attack. All three could have been under the influence of a substance other than cannabis or alcohol (methamphetamines, hallucinogens) which temporarily altered their perceptions in a major way. They mortally wounded her in the heat of the struggle and when they realized what they did, they panicked. RG, understanding that Meredith was dying or dead, perhaps seeing that he had been manipulated into participating by the other two, and fully cognizant of what the legal consequences of his actions would be, began to see the walls closing in around him. Could he have been so panicked that he had to make an emergency visit to the toilet to avoid soiling his trousers? So freaked out and in such a rush to get away that he forgot to flush? 

To think that murdering Meredith was part of the plan all along would mean that that one or more of these young people is exceptionally calculating and cold, perhaps psychopathic. I prefer not to go there, because it may mean that a psychopath was released from prison last week. 

Thanks so much for this excellent site.

Posted by george on 10/11/11 at 02:09 PM | #

@George

I agree with you that jealousy was not sufficiently explored as a motive, and I’ve had trouble understanding why more outlandish scenarios were considered when this one is both credible and supported by statements given by flatmates and Meredith’s friends.

Regarding the “queen bee” part, I think that’s exactly how Amanda envisioned herself, and probably why she may have been experiencing frustration in the period leading to the murder.  I’ve said before that she probably couldn’t feel or act competitive towards her Italian flatmates, for several reasons: they were older, a unit, local, and owned the lease.  That left Meredith as direct competition, and Amanda likely found herself not quite measuring up.  Instead of being alpha girl as she may have thought, she found herself at the bottom of the totem pole, as the other flatmates disapproved of some of her habits.

The parts about Guede, I don’t agree with. It is Amanda he was interested in, not Meredith.  We have no idea under what pretext he was invited to the flat, but I find the scenario of a hook-up very difficult to believe, and especially anything involving group sex.  Knox and Sollecito were very tight at that point, and I cannot see Sollecito agreeing to something like that.  He struck me as both naively romantic and very possessive of Knox. The thought that he would have agreed to share his girlfriend with a strange man seems very far-fetched to me.  I’m not excluding the possibility that Guede might have been lied to and told that Meredith had an interest in him.  However, I’m more inclined to think that he was told there would be a party.

We can’t really speculate about what happened afterwards, since there are some unresolved questions, starting with the missing money.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/11/11 at 02:46 PM | #

gdeschaetzen posted a video link of an interview with Curt Knox:

“Secondly, he says that he hasn’t talked to AK yet about what happened that night in Perugia, which to me seems strange as AK parents have always been 100% convinced she was innocent.”

Gee, after all those interviews over the years, I thought the family KNEW where Amanda was that night.
They’ve been telling us she was with Raffaele in his apartment, all night.
So what’s to talk to AK about?

Oops, have to be more careful than that, Curt!
Keep your stories straight.

Posted by lauowolf on 10/11/11 at 04:00 PM | #

I thought they always believed that Meredith’s body was moved some time after she was killed and her bra cut off at that point but according to the article the final report stated they believed Sollecito cut it during the struggle. Which is right? Did the Massei report state that there was evidence that the body was moved some time after the murder, even if the bra clasp was cut earlier?

It was for me one of the key pieces of evidence as Guede was seen out on the town soon after and the cutting of the bra clasp and moving of the body was all part of staging the scene.

I’d appreciate it if anybody could clarify this.

Posted by mikeyverve on 10/11/11 at 04:17 PM | #

Hi mikeyverve. Judge Micheli and Judge Massei were hard on Guede but in different ways.

You can read our four posts on Micheli on Guede (if you haven’t) by scrolling down here. http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C343/

Micheli believed Guede lied almost throughout but he also believed he was not a lone wolf, he was not the initiator of the attack, and he took off out of the house fast (proven by footprints) and had no part in the re-asrrangement of the crime scene.

Massei also believed Guede was no lone wolf, but he believed Guede may have initiated the attack on Meredith and the cleanup happening very fast.

Yeah, well.

Most of us seem to go more with the Micheli version, and think maybe Massei or several or some of his jurors preferred to took it a bit soft on Sollecito and Knox. Maybe in the court they dont resonate as murderers with intent, more as a very nasty pair who with the help of drugs got in over their head.

Massei introduced the notion of mitigating circumstances to give the pair a break in part based on Meredith being covered with a duvet, a controversial claim here.

Guede is by no means a good dude. He took part in a violent sex attack, took off when Meredith was probably still alive and might have saved her life, and lied forever about why he was there (that Meredith accepted consensual sex) right through to his final stint on the stand.

At the same time, he is not quite the demon knife-wielding burglar that the FOA make him out to be. In some ways he tried hard growing up and he had no police record contrary to RS and AK. And he had only recently returned with financial savings from a great restaurant job up north and then rented his own place. If he became an instant one man crime wave, it is hard to see why.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/from_the_book_darkness_descending_the_insights_on_rudy_guede/

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/11/11 at 04:59 PM | #

Hi guys,

I have 2 questions:

1) I heard Guede is now asking for a retrial. If now he decides to tell the whole true story is it likely that the judges will use this information or will they maintain he’s not a trustworthy source?

2) Maybe this question has already been answered. Why was a business judge in charge of the appeal of such a big case and not a judge specialised in crime?

Thanks for this wonderfull site! Keep on the good work wink

Posted by gdeschaetzen on 10/11/11 at 05:13 PM | #

@gdeschaetzen

1. I think all we know at this point is that Walter Biscotti and the other lawyer might apply for a retrial, but it’s not certain and there’s no guarantee the request will be granted.  If he tells the entire story and accounts for every detail, they might believe him.

However, I see the retrial and the full confession as somewhat incompatible.  If his lawyers are going to use the Hellman report to cast doubt over the DNA evidence, it would be very unwise for him to give a full confession, which would implicate him as much as it would the other two.  All this time, he’s maintained that he didn’t actually participate in the murder, although he said he was in the house at the time. So if he gets a retrial, he’ll probably stick with this story.

If they deny him a retrial, though, he might feel more motivated to talk because he has 12 years of jail to look forward to while the others are out there gallivanting.

2. Good question.  Several judges refused this case.  However, I’d also be curious to know why they didn’t go through more experienced crime judges before asking Hellman.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/11/11 at 06:20 PM | #

I like Peter’s five points (above) but number 3 might involve a difficulty.

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

The possible catch here lies with Mignini’s entanglement with the wiretapping issue. Not that it has an honest bearing on this case, but that it could serve the reluctance of a supreme court which might register a general weariness of the whole business.

I do certainly hope that Mignini pushes his case & prevails, but I know something of the sluggishness of institutions, or even their immobility when a popular clamor arises & is not sustained.

Amanda Knox may yet have an opportunity to appear favorably before the public.  She might even (it is conceivable) become famous for being famous, like Paris Hilton.

The only catch being that she knows down deep what she has done, as her parents know also (I believe.)

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/11/11 at 07:02 PM | #

I wonder if we have some cops or otherwise qualified people here who can tell us about the modus operandi of typical burglars. The break-in was staged as a burglary.Guede was a drug user and may have broke into the property looking for drugs and I will try and research that at another time.

I have tried to find information about burglaries and have come up with this.
1) The burglar would almost certainly have knocked at the door with a pretentious excuse to see if anyone was at the house.
2) They would not go ‘tooled up’ with a knife. Very serious offence, armed robbery
3) You take a large screwdriver. Handy for using as a ‘jemmy’ for locked drawers, wardrobes, boxes etc. It can be used as a weapon if need be.
Once you have accessed a bedroom by a broken window.
4) You block the incoming door.
5) At night you would draw the curtains so that you could turn on the light. (This means that the windows and inner shutters in Filomenas room should be CLOSED and not open as the photographic evidence show.
6) Look for a sportsbag, rucksack or hold-all. Failing that a suitcase, bin bags, boxes, carrier bags.
7) ‘Jemmy’ locked furniture,
8) Bag all immediate valuable items
9) Ransack rest of room
10) Take bag(s) and leave room. Go straight to the front door. Check that you can open it from the inside for your exit. Bolt or latch it. You do not want anyone coming in. Leave the bags at the front door for your exit.
11) Survey the rest of the property.

Posted by starsdad on 10/11/11 at 07:48 PM | #

@mikeyverve
From what I understand the blood from Merediths neck wounds ran down her shoulder and because of position she was in initially, ran over her cup. The blood dried and the impression of the bra was left on Merediths breast when the bra was removed. Whether the bra was cut during the attack or later on when she was moved is unclear. Why someone would want to remove the bra after the event is just one of the many puzzling questions about this case.

Posted by starsdad on 10/11/11 at 08:29 PM | #

I’m guessing the bra was removed after the accidental murder to further the story of sexual assault by a stranger, I.e. The belief that if an assault took place, the bra would have been removed.

Posted by gramjan on 10/11/11 at 08:48 PM | #

Hi Vivianna,

Very interesting insights into the perceived hierarchy among the flatmates. Jealousy really does seem to be the most straightforward motivator for this crime.

Care to speculate on the possibility of Guede deciding to say more about what happened the night of the murder now that AK and RS are free?

Posted by george on 10/11/11 at 09:54 PM | #

Great comments here.

I agree with James that Hellmann’s post-trial comments are highly suggestive that he did not instruct the jury properly, and perhaps didn’t even understand the law himself. There is certainly enough doubt about this to justify a Cassation review, if not a full retrial.

@mikeyverve: Massei thought that the bra was cut by Sollecito during the attack. His reasoning was kind of subjective. What we know for sure is that the bra wasn’t *removed* until after the victim was mortally wounded or dead because both shoulder straps were soaked in blood. Micheli also noted an imprint of the bra strap in the smear showing that the victim lay on her side for a considerable period of time. But what proves most to me that the body was moved was the pillow underneath. Ron Hendry has this horrifically bloody necrophilia theory, where Guede manages to put a pillow under the victim and leave just a single conveniently legible handprint. To most people it’s obvious the pillow was placed there after the fact to make 100% sure the sexual assault and the handprint didn’t go unnoticed.

Posted by brmull on 10/11/11 at 10:24 PM | #

starsdad,
Why would Guede break into poor college students’ apartments looking for drugs, or anything else of value? Only it was so easy and risk-free he couldn’t resist, which it wasn’t. His modus operandi was to break into businesses, unless you believe that Tramantino guy who the prosecution didn’t find credible enough to put on the stand. The idea of theft as a motive is ludicrous. I can’t believe we continue to discuss it.

Posted by brmull on 10/11/11 at 10:42 PM | #

@ brmull

I agree - theft was not Guede’s motive. If it was, he is a poor thief and rather stupid. If we are to assume the innocence of AK and RS, then Guede stole Meredith’s mobile phones (and dumped them almost immediately after leaving the building); he stole her credit cards (and did not use them); it seems he only stole her missing rent money perhaps.

But he didn’t take anything from Filomena’s room (eg. laptop, jewellery) after trashing that room and ignored the rest of the flat completely…..

If he was a desperate thief, he would have turned that place upside down looking for valuables, drugs or money. But he only partially did this in only 1 of the 4 bedrooms ?

Also, as you point out he has chosen to burgle a ramshackle student’s apartment - rather than go to a more affluent area where there would have been rich pickings on offer.

When I was burgled in London, every drawer in my bedroom was rifled - clothes flung everywhere. Even an old suitcase was opened. Only stolen items were my laptop and a document scanner. I had an old school video camera (pre digital) - which they indeed looked at (and placed on my sofa) - but they left it as they deemed it unsellable !

My observation back then was they completely upended every single drawer in the bedroom as they were looking for cash, drugs or jewellery. As these are the kind of places where people keep such things.

As the evidence showed in Filomena’s room - nothing was taken at all and the whole room had not been completely ransacked. Its so clearly a staged break in - that can only point to a resident of the flat wanting to attribute the break in to a random burglar.

Posted by gabster1971 on 10/12/11 at 12:34 AM | #

If anything good has come out of this acquittal, it is that Amanda Knox is no longer the martyr and no longer the attention of the media. Its no secret that the media is a soulless profit making machine but brilliantly ironic that the very device that set Knox free is now going to push to reveal the truth. The world has seen all the supporters of the verdict come out of the wood work - I have been reading and commenting on TJMK for a couple of years now and the influx after the verdict has been amazing! I can hardly keep up with the comments. Sadly it may have been in the interest of justice if this attention came before the verdict.
I am also very happy to see Meredith emerging as the center of attention.

Ive read some story on Knox claiming she was sexually harassed in jail. Is this the new spin to desperately try to keep public interest? Or to avoid possible extradition? I dont think anyone cares about what Knox is doing now - despite the predictions it seems to me that she wont be doing any million dollar interviews. I would advise the same if I were her family since she doesnt have her story straight and people will ask questions. No one pays a million dollars for an interview and is not allowed questions…no one will watch a show that doesnt ask the hard questions.
I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?

G

Posted by Giselle on 10/12/11 at 03:31 AM | #

gabster1971,

To hear the pro-Knox folks tell it, Filomena’s room wasn’t ransacked at all. I’m not joking: IJP says her room was just messy. You’d think she’d know if her own room had been ransacked better than a bunch of armchair detectives!

And regarding the phone calls around 10:00-10:15 pm they have no real explanation at all. They are desperate to put the time of death between 9:00-9:30. In which case Guede hung around for another hour or so trying to dial Meredith’s phone—just one of them. It’s preposterous.

The couple times I or one of my friends has been burgled the thief went straight for the items they wanted, which were visible through a window. So I guess there are different approaches. The one time we surprised a would-be burglar who didn’t know we were home, he turned tail and ran before we could get a good look at him. It’s hard to image the “burglary gone horribly wrong” scenario where the victim and Guede recognized each other before he could flee.

Posted by brmull on 10/12/11 at 03:32 AM | #

Giselle,

That’s an interesting thought about the sexual harassment charge as a means of avoiding extradition. There may be a kernel of truth to it, but mostly it seems like a pretty blatant attempt to garner sympathy. And I’m sure it will figure prominently in her otherwise boring prison memoir.

I would differ with you with respect to no one being willing to pay $1 million+ for a non-interview story. Though it makes me sick to think about it, I’ll bet People magazine paid something in that range for this week’s cover.

Posted by brmull on 10/12/11 at 03:47 AM | #

I researched the ‘burglary’ because Knox and Sollicitos innocence depends on Guede breaking into Filomenas room. If they can prove that Guede broke into the room they will have proven their innocence to me. I want the truth.  Whatever went on in the rest of the house can be seen as conjecture. The staged break in the defining issue in this crime.
The defense and Knox supporters have had years to come up with an explanation of how Guede managed to get into the room. They have concentrated their efforts in raising doubts that they were at the crime scene (lack of DNA). However, the staged break in is stronger evidence of their participation or at the vey least, complicity.

Posted by starsdad on 10/12/11 at 05:37 AM | #

Dear all,

Ok ... for the last few weeks I’ve been reading everything I can find here and elsewhere about this case, and I have to say, at this moment in time, I am not convinced, beyond reasonable doubt, of the case against AK and RS. I will give you my alternative explanation of the forensic evidence, and you can tell me why I have to be wrong.

It seems to me, that to explain the vast bulk of the forensic evidence, one does not need to place AK or RS at the scene of the murder, ie they do not need to have been at Via della Pergola that night. One does not need AK to be a vicious murderer in order to explain the forensic evidence, all one needs is for her to be a snoopy cow, ie the sort of young woman who does not properly respect the boundaries of shared living.

That morning, AK arrives back at the house. She takes a shower. She stands on the bloody bathmat. She proceeds to walk round the house, her feet still slightly damp. From the bloody bathmat, from the bloody footprints on the tiled floor, her feet pick up tiny traces of Meredith’s blood. Still barefooted, she goes into Filomena’s room. Maybe she wants to borrow something of F’s, more likely she just wants to snoop. Perhaps it is not often she has the whole house to herself (no sound from Meredith’s room so she assumes she’s fast asleep), or perhaps she regularly snoops when she has the chance; some people do. As soon as she enters F’s room she sees the mess, pads around, trailing microscopic traces of Meredith’s DNA everywhere she goes. She assumes there has been a burglary. But her room is fine. She has a nice day with RS lined up, she doesn’t want to waste it spending time reporting a burglary, and it isn’t her room that’s been trashed. She’s a selfish young woman who isn’t that bothered as long as her stuff is ok, and it is. She’s handled the bathmat, so she now has microscopic traces of Meredith’s blood on her hands. In getting dressed, pulling on her socks, she also gets traces of Meredith’s blood from her feet onto her hands. DNA does not fly, we know this, but touch blood traces with damp skin? Surely it is likely that tiny amounts are transferred. She then goes back to RS’s flat. They prepare lunch together, and in the process AK touches the knife, transferring Meredith’s DNA to the knife.

But what about Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp? The girls share a washing machine. One day shortly before the murder, AK and RS are sitting in the kitchen area. The machine stops. AK goes to open it, takes out Meredith’s bra, flirtatiously holds it up to herself, asks RS if he likes it,  he fingers the bra. Or, it could be, one day when all the other girls are out, AK snoops in Meredith’s room, ‘borrows’ her bra, dresses up in it for RS…

I’m not saying this line of reasoning convinces me of their innocence. I’m saying I have reasonable doubt. Why can my scenario of a nosey, rude and self-centred young woman not explain the knife, the bra clasp, and the Luminol footprints?

I’ve got more concerns,  wrt other bits of evidence, but shoot me down on the above first.

With greatest respect to all of you, and interested only in the truth,
Kate

Posted by KateC on 10/12/11 at 05:40 AM | #

It is interesting to note that while reseaching burglaries I came across the fact that ‘soiling’ was present in a very small number of burglaries. These ‘soilings’ were usually by inexperienced burglars. The majority of soilings were diarrea or ‘cowpat’ type.
The fact that Guede passed stools in the toilet seems to suggest that he was in a relaxed state at that time.

Posted by starsdad on 10/12/11 at 05:52 AM | #

@KateC
We all want the truth, see my post above yours. I’m afraid there is just so much evidence of their participation for my liking

Posted by starsdad on 10/12/11 at 05:59 AM | #

Brmull
I’m not familiar with the people’s magazine piece. Where I am in the world and searching google the interest in the case seems to have turned onto Meredith and how the verdict was not satisfactory. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I would imagine a tell all of how it was like to be in prison with no hard questions, no opportunity to explain a few things would not be very interesting - at least not 1mil interesting. There have been so many people wrongly imprisoned - i cant remeber any of their post freedom interviews ...
May I ask about the people magazine and whether you are in the us?

G

Posted by Giselle on 10/12/11 at 07:06 AM | #

I agree with Brmull that this doesn’t seem like Guede’s modus operandi.  In addition to only breaking into businesses, I don’t think he ransacked any of the places.  He’d met all the occupants of the cottage and he must have figured out that they didn’t have much, and that his name would have been given to the police post-burglary because he wasn’t anyone’s close friend.  Someone like Sollecito would have been a better target, because he had his own apartment (a sign of either parental affluence or a big scholarship). 

Also, what makes a burglary a burglary is the fact that things get stolen.  Nothing got stolen except Meredith’s personal items, and those were discarded instead of being sold or used.  A burglar’s intention is to make some easy money, not to kill people and throw away their cellphones.  All moral considerations aside, it’s not the practical thing to do because you’re not achieving your primary goal and you’re putting yourself in massive, unnecessary danger.

Considering that window access is impossible, that glass was on top of things, and that nothing was stolen from Filomena’s room, I too find it ludicrous that this is even considered a possibility.  Even if we were to fantastically bend facts to fit the burglary scenario, what happened to Meredith, as evidenced by the autopsy reports, could not have been done by one person.

Assuming multiple unknown assailants also comes with a slew of problems of its own.  First, none of them managed to leave any traces, while Guede left plenty.  Second, they didn’t rape the victim.  Third, they took nothing but a few of Meredith’s things and then tossed them.  If they came in to steal, why throw away those things instead of selling or using them? And if they were too afraid to use them because of the murder, why take them in the first place?

So why on earth would these unknown people go through the trouble of killing Meredith in that manner while deriving absolutely no personal benefit from their break-in?  It’s not like they shot her or knocked her out with a bat and she happened to die from the concussion.  She was killed in a deliberate, vicious manner, which shows that her murder was not accidental or a cover-up for a small crime, but the reason why the attackers came there that night.  And to argue that unknown people broke into the house just to kill Meredith, whom they didn’t know and had no issues with, is absurd when there are people who both left traces and had a motive.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/12/11 at 07:34 AM | #

Kate,

Your scenario doesn’t account for a few things.

1.  It’s been established by autopsy reports and recognized by the Supreme Court that the crime could not have been committed by one person.  I explained my reasoning above as to why I don’t think multiple unknown assailants are likely.  So if AK and RS had no involvement, then who killed Meredith and why did they leave no traces when Guede did?

2.  While I can accept the possibility of AK having no boundaries, why did she not tell that story? When you’re faced with a murder conviction, telling people that you just snooped in your flatmates’ rooms or tried on their underwear doesn’t sound that awful.  Oh no, the world will think you’re a disgusting person, so it’s better to let them think you’re a murderer? I don’t think so.  People confess to all kinds of petty crimes and weird habits, from drugs, to stealing, to affairs, to disturbing fetishes only to clear any suspicion of their involvement.

3.  If all she did was snoop around, why give a false confession implicating herself and an innocent man? I don’t believe for a moment that AK was screamed at or hit by the police, but if she was, you’d think she’d have confessed to trying on Meredith’s bra before she would have “confessed” that Patrick killed her.  Having no boundaries doesn’t get you jail time, while slander and interfering with a police investigation do. 

4.  If you explain away the traces in the hallway and Filomena’s room, how do you explain the mixed blood in the bathroom? AK got so excited after her snooping session that she got a nosebleed and then happened to bleed exactly on top of Meredith’s blood?

5.  How do you get from stepping on the bathmat to handling the bathmat? Do you ever touch the bathmat with your hands, except for when you put it in the washing machine?

6.  The bra in question was a plain white T-shirt bra.  It wasn’t a lacy, ribbony, velvety, push-up, fancy thing that AK could have reasonably coveted.  Obviously, neither of us has a way to prove that we are correct, but I have trouble imagining why someone would choose that particular bra when rummaging through her roommate’s stuff.  I also don’t believe in coincidences much.  Out of all the things she may have touched or tried on, it just so happened that it was that particular bra she chose?  Doubtful.

7.  Why did they turn off their cellphones, and why did they lie about the time they turned them on in the morning?  The cat thing doesn’t fly.  While a cat may step on the ON button, it’s not gonna type in your code to unlock the phone. Anyone who has that kind of cat is touring with it.

Kate, that’s not having reasonable doubt.  That’s trying to pull reasonable doubt out of thin air.  The only reason why no one can say with 100% certainty that they did it is because there’s no recording of the crime.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/12/11 at 07:59 AM | #

Hi KateC.  I’m in work and don’t have much time right now but i’ll do my best to address your theory

1. There was an abundance of mixed BLOOD found in the bathroom, that is, Foxy and Meredith’s blood was found mixed together, a considerable quantity in fact, enough to establish the belief that Amanda was bleeding herself during the attack [possibly a nose bleed].

2. The bra thing doesn’t tally, in fact you really are straw grabbing. You are supposing far too much. Firstly - did Meredith wash her bra in the washing machine? We know from the other girls she lived with that she was a very demure girl who didn’t dry her underwear around the apartment.For another thing it wasn’t a particularly sexy bra [plain white t-shirt type].

3. They didn’t have lunch together in RS flat that day, they were at the villa from at least mid-day until they were all taken to the police station, so the knife pricking scenario doesn’t add up either.

Have to go now

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 08:22 AM | #

Hello once more

I mentioned above somewhere that Sollecito would probably move to a country with no extradition treaty with Italy. Well perhaps I was half right since rumour has it that Sollecito is going to move to the USA. Can’t extradite one without the other you know???

Also upon reflection it has always bothered so many people including myself regarding motive. I thought about this and it struck me that perhaps I, like so many others, have misread Knox. So how about this. Meredith was far cleverer than Knox could ever hope to aspire to. That’s a given. That being the case she would have seen through Knox little game of ‘Poor Defenseless Me.’ The one she had been so successful with in getting away with everything at home. Plus Sollecito who is just a naive little kid believing that she lived in a dream world of her own making. I think she has used this to deflect criticism all her life as a means of surviving.

How threatened she must have been therefore when Meredith saw straight through this little game she has played and continues to play with such effect. This manipulation that has given rise to the ‘Ivanhoe Syndrome’ as exibited by such people as Patrick King and Steve Moore.
This does not discount the jealousy she felt for Meredith of course it just underscores it. Of course this is not over at all because when she said she “Didn’t Want the Mask of Assassin Placed upon me.” she was too late of course. I think given time everything will be revealed because she must be feeling very self congratulatory since she believes in her heart that she has gotten away with it. Therefore her narcissism and sociopathic nature will let her down and she will blow it just as OJ Simpson did with his book ‘How I Did It.’

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/12/11 at 08:25 AM | #

Apologies KateC, Vivianna gave a much better rebuttal, I didn’t see her post before I made my offering - I’d better focus on the day job!!

On what Vivianna says re coincidence, I’m reminded of a saying:  once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is ENEMY ACTION.

Too many coincidences here..

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 08:27 AM | #

A lot of moderate reflections are starting to appear in other media. Here’s a post by Joseph Massimo, a presumed student writer at the University of Wisconsin, on the perils of study abroad.

http://www.fourthestatenewspaper.com/opinion/amanda-knox-case-emphasizes-dangers-of-traveling-abroad-1.2642103

Readers here might be so kind as to drop off over there these links to relevant stories. we also have several posts on murders in Italy by visiting American students, none of which made sense, and which left Italians somewhat shaken. .

http://tinyurl.com/2e9alzp
http://tinyurl.com/3pexqc7
http://tinyurl.com/3zmd9ac

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/12/11 at 08:53 AM | #

Regarding lack of motive: today I was reading about the murder of Joannna Yeates in the UK. Now there’s a crime without an apparent motive! While reading the article I kept asking why? why? why? but a motive was never once addressed.

The killer hardly knew his victim, but they were neighbours.  He just happened to kill her.

Supposedly he did have a motive for himself; this is just to show that for the onlooker, vicious crimes can and do occur without any apparent motive.

Here’s that story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2047800/Vincent-Tabak-trial-Joanna-Yeates-suffered-43-injuries-slow-painful-death.html

Another case is the South Africa honeymoon murder; pursued relentlessly by the South Africa justice system although in the face of it everything points to the very opposite of a murder motive: why would a groom kill his bride on their honeymoon?

To me, evidence alwayse speaks louder than motive.

Posted by lamaha on 10/12/11 at 09:01 AM | #

@lamaha
The pizza was the motive…........‘medic please!

Posted by starsdad on 10/12/11 at 09:11 AM | #

@Lamaha, I watched a docu on the South Afican Honeymoon murder, apparently the groom is gay and he only married as a cover up. Interesting the British have extradited him

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 09:31 AM | #

@ lamaha

Both puzzling and tragic cases you raise above.

In the Dewani case, I felt the groom possibly murdered the bride for a life insurance payout - maybe he had heavy debts and was in trouble with the wrong people….

All of these tragic murders though were unpredictable, with the victim just in the wrong place at the wrong time - often just going about daily life - whether studying in their bedroom; buying a pizza, or on honeymoon.

Posted by gabster1971 on 10/12/11 at 09:33 AM | #

@lamaha
@Melanie
Was the refusal or inability to consumate the relationship and then the marriage a major factor?

Posted by starsdad on 10/12/11 at 09:50 AM | #

Hi Ernest Werner. Let me offer a rebuttal to your concern about Mignini here. .

[Peter] “The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.”

[Ernest]The possible catch here lies with Mignini’s entanglement with the wiretapping issue. Not that it has an honest bearing on this case, but that it could serve the reluctance of a supreme court which might register a general weariness of the whole business.

Mignini discounts his wiretapping charge in the several interviews we have posted and it is a rare prosecutor in Italy that does not encounter some complaint or charge in his life. What Doug Preston “forgets” to mention is that many before Mignini thought there was a satanic sect active in Florence (a majority of Italian writers on the case believe this as do a majority of Italians) and that what was caught on tape was that same prosecutor who prosecuted Mignini pretty well admitting as much.

Mignini sure knows the Perugia case and on the whole puts it across quite well. He is generally effective in the courtroom, although I think he struggles with the scenario (aka motive) and maybe comes on too strong. Motive for a hazing of Meredith seems more easy to arrive at than for a murder which was fantasized ahead of time. Anyway Micheli and Massei both arrived at their own motives/scenarios.

As for the second appeal of AK and RS next year, Cassation only takes brief remarks from the lawyers, as we found out when they acted on Guede’s second appeal. So they would probably not be fatigued with Mignini. They intensively read the evidence documentation, and look for legal flaws. James Raper above points out some serious ones, and on his take alone, Cassation might order a retrial.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/12/11 at 10:10 AM | #

The Machine’s November 2010 overview post of some murders where motive was seemingly awol:

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/more_on_motive_some_of_the_cases_of_nice_girls_who_killed_with_little_/

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/12/11 at 10:27 AM | #

@starsdad, you are correct, she confided in her sister that he refused to have sex before marraige,obviously nobody knows what happened once they left for SA. But once the murder became public knowledge there were reports that he’d had at least one relationship with a man and had been visiting various gay bars for years.

Very sad, she was a stunning young girl and he’s very attractive himself, you just don’t know what’s going on behind the smiles.

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 10:30 AM | #

While we are discussing the topic of motives, it always puzzles me how people who harp on about Amanda and Raffaele’s lack of motive are so quick to accept the lone wolf theory without questioning the motive behind Guede’s actions. As it has been discussed and established, Guede neither stole anything of substantial value nor raped Meredith while he had plenty of chance to do both. What was his motive then? If lack of motive is proof of innocence, it simply implies that nobody killed Meredith!!

@KateC, Vivianna and Melanie have already raised excellent points regarding your doubts. I would like to add my 2 cents to it. First of all, according to Amanda’s own version, that’s not how it happened at all. According to her, she went back to Raffalee’s flat and came back with him to show the things she had observed in her own flat which is when they noticed Filomena’s room ransacked. So, the scenarios on which you are basing your assumptions - she peeping into Filomena’s room, cooking at Raffaele’s flat etc - never happened.

If it indeed happened like that, why wouldn’t she have just mentioned that she peeped into Filomena’s room? After all she was trying to make it look as if she saw weird things and panicked. Opening a flatmate’s room to check if anything is amiss is not a crime especially after you notice other strange things in the house. This would only add to her own credibility.

Secondly, they never cooked lunch that day in Raffaele’s flat as the murder was discovered soon after. Thirdly, you are supposing that when Amanda took out the bra and held it, Raffaele touched it on the clasp and at that very moment, had some spare DNA to transfer it to the bra. Or that he kept rubbing the clasp until some DNA had transferred. Does that really seem possible?

Or even considering your alternate theory, you are supposing that Amanda borrowed a plain old bra of Meredith, dressed up in it, Raffaele rubbed it enough to get his DNA on it, then Amanda brought it back and kept in Meredith’s room, Meredith did not notice it was dirty and wore the very same thing on the day of her murder (All this assuming they were even the same size to begin with).

Again, does this really sound possible to you? We all know Amanda ran to the lingerie shop to buy new underwear in the middle of Meredith’s murder investigation. Why on earth would she borrow a plain old bra of Meredith of all things to do. If she did, she is really a psycho in any case.

We can create any kind of stories or speculate on anything in our minds to explain away things. That does not make it “reasonable doubt”. Do you think any crime on earth would stand if we started speculating about everything?

@gabster1971: Regarding the Dewani murder, life insurance was not a motive because their marriage was not officially registered and he would not receive anything. Also, I am not sure but I believe it has been verified that there was no insurance taken under Anni’s name which would make him the beneficiary.I am sure this was the first thing that the police would check anyway.

But one thing I would like to add here is that the guy’s guilt has not been proven yet. I am saying this because from the discussions, it makes a bystander feel as if he murdered her without any motive. The case is not solved yet and he is maintaining his innocence so we should keep that in mind before making comments which can be considered as slander.

Posted by Sara on 10/12/11 at 11:23 AM | #

@Sara, you are of course correct in your comment about Dewani, nothing has been proven yet.

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 11:43 AM | #

I am saying this because from the discussions, it makes a bystander feel as if he murdered her without any motive. The case is not solved yet and he is maintaining his innocence so we should keep that in mind before making comments which can be considered as slander.

@Sara: this is why I specifically said that South Africa is persuing him relentlessly; he is still not proven guilty, and right from the beginning I have struggled with that idea. Even if he is gay—why get married in the first place, and if you intend to kill your bride, why choose the honeymoon to do so? I have real problems with the “gay” motive. Impotency would make more sense to me; it could be a matter of pride, and a quarrel leading to murder; but even there, I struggle with the idea of premeditation. And it seems really, really difficult to me to plan a murder in a foreign country merely days after you arrive there. How would you know who to approach, to carry out the murder?
What the Dewani case shows is just how problematic motive can be. We just do not know what is lurking in another person’s mind; therefore we can never say “there was no motive”. Which is what the FOA keep repeating. As others have noted, I find even less of a motive for Guede.

Posted by lamaha on 10/12/11 at 12:00 PM | #

@lamaha: You are right and I have struggled in understanding his motive as well. However, being an Indian myself, I am somewhat less confused by the idea of him trying to hide his sexual orientation as compared to you. I can understand how it can look scandalous in his society. Also, I believe even impotence has been raised as an issue supported by the statements of his ex-fiance.

One interesting thing I would like to point out here is that like Amanda Knox, one of the first things Shrein Dewani did was to hire a PR firm and in his case, he hired the very (in?)famous Max Clifford. However, his hiring of a Publicist has been viewed in negative light by most people, probably due to the fact that unlike the Kercher’s, the victim’s family in this case are themselves quite wealthy and are able to counteract it.

The reason I am pointing it out is that I feel hiring publicists seems to be becoming an accepted strategy of wealthy accused people. This is very dangerous as it can not only cause a media trial but also give an unfair advantage to the wealthy. Consider this : people are crying foul over inefficient DNA handling in case of AK and RS. But then, whats to say Guede’s evidence was handled properly? The same inefficient people suddenly became superbly efficient while handing his DNA? AK and RS had no motive. But as has been discussed before, what motive did Guede have considering that he neither raped nor stole successfully?

Noone is raising these points and many people are quick to accept the lone-wolf theory. Why? Because Guede does not have a publicist dishing out stories of his virtues? I really do not know if the jurors were indeed influenced by all this but it does not seem really improbable. With alternate explanations for every bit of evidence popping up on every site, I can see how the jurors might end up thinking nothing is reliable. I think we need to start questioning this practice of PR firms.

Posted by Sara on 10/12/11 at 12:40 PM | #

I’d just like to point out that the theft included cash. From the Wiki

“Guede was tried for murder, sexual assault and the theft of 300 euros, two credit cards and two mobile phones that had been in Kercher’s possession.”

I think it must have started with Guede breaking in and stealing the cards, phones and cash.

He was known for breaking in to places, even for using rocks to do it.

He desperately needed money, and knew where he would be likely to find it, and indeed he did find it.

I cannot see another plausible explanation for the theft.

Posted by geebee2 on 10/12/11 at 12:42 PM | #

@geebee2: If that was indeed the case, then why did he not take anything from Filomena’s room? Considering that’s the room he supposedly broke into? Her jewellery, laptop and other valuables were in her room. All he seems to have done was ransack it aimlessly. If you were a burglar, would you enter a room (after choosing the most difficult way to enter), ransack it to ensure everyone knows the room was burgled but not actually take anything? Also,he did not use any of Meredith’s credit cards and the cell phones were dumped in a garden. If theft was the motive, why would he dump the phones? And if he was scared about getting caught, why would he take them? It has “staged” written all over it.

Posted by Sara on 10/12/11 at 12:49 PM | #

@geebee2: And no, it could not have started with the theft of Meredith’s items because for one, he is supposed to have broken in from Filomena’s room and two, if I am not wrong, his blood was found on Meredith’s purse zip which means he had already injured her by then, which brings back the same questions. What was his motive? Did he go there to specifically kill Meredith? That sounds impossible. If he went there to steal then why did he not take anything from Filomena’s room? Let us say he killed Meredith and then he realized he would have to run so he took her money and cards. Again, this brings back the same question - why did he kill her? So no, there is no question of burglary being the motive.

Posted by Sara on 10/12/11 at 12:56 PM | #

I am saying this because from the discussions, it makes a bystander feel as if he murdered her without any motive. The case is not solved yet and he is maintaining his innocence so we should keep that in mind before making comments which can be considered as slander.

@Sara: this is why I specifically said that South Africa is persuing him relentlessly; he is still not proven guilty, and right from the beginning I have struggled with that idea. Even if he is gay—why get married in the first place, and if you intend to kill your bride, why choose the honeymoon to do so? I have real problems with the “gay” motive. Impotency would make more sense to me; it could be a matter of pride, and a quarrel leading to murder; but even there, I struggle with the idea of premeditation. And it seems really, really difficult to me to plan a murder in a foreign country merely days after you arrive there. How would you know who to approach, to carry out the murder?
What the Dewani case shows is just how problematic motive can be. We just do not know what is lurking in another person’s mind; therefore we can never say “there was no motive”. Which is what the FOA keep repeating. As others have noted, I find even less of a motive for Guede.

Posted by lamaha on 10/12/11 at 01:06 PM | #

Hi geebee2 . You are quoting with a straight face on the case from the Wiki? Hmmmm. Perhaps the least reliable source now on the planet.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/evolution_of_the_wikipedia_article_on_the_murder_of_meredith_kercher/
http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/the_precise_and_accurate_italian_wikipedia_article_on_merediths_case_n/

We were the only people to translate the Micheli report into English (it seems Wikipedia forgot to mention that) and the extended summary on Guede’s charges and sentencing can be found here:

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C343/

Guede was found guilty only of murder with a sex crime. Not for any theft. Micheli did not even consider any theft by Guede to be a possible motive. 

The one witness who came forward to claim Guede broke in and threatened him with a knife was lectured by Micheli for probable false testimony. The FOA claims that he broke in many times elsewhere could use hard documentation if there is any.

Guede was hardly desperate. He had only recently returned from his well-paying restaurant job up north, and had had neither the time not the need for an instant crime wave.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/12/11 at 01:12 PM | #

To add to what Sara said above, it was never proven that Guede took the 300 euro.  A lot of people assume that because he left his bloody prints on Meredith’s bag, but we don’t know if the money was in the bag.  We know that she had already taken it out, since she offered to give it to Filomena a day or two before, so it was more likely to be in her drawer.

Also, Sara, I agree completely with what you said about Guede’s DNA collection - I just can’t see how the scientific police was so precisely and selectively incompetent: Guede’s traces - perfectly collected; Sollecito’s - completely mangled.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/12/11 at 01:15 PM | #

@lamaha: One more thing to add to the Jo Yeates murder case. Initially, when Vincent Tabak was arrested, his friends and family were “sure” he had not done it as he was not the “type” of person to do it. I myself was in UK that time and remember many people discussing it and feeling it’s not possible. He was a phd holder, he was soft spoken with no indication of violence, a decent person from a decent family, what motive could he possibly have? Sounds familiar?? Too bad he confessed before his family could hire a decent publicist for him.

Posted by Sara on 10/12/11 at 02:14 PM | #

Kate,
I agree with most of the comments so far about your theory, as well as the discussion of “reasonable doubt” versus “any doubt”. Consider that Guede’s alibi actually seems more plausible than the scenario you describe. I do have some concern as to whether there was truly “mixed blood” versus “mixed DNA”, but it’s not crucial to understanding the crime. A few more thoughts:

“That morning, AK arrives back at the house. She takes a shower. She stands on the bloody bathmat. She proceeds to walk round the house, her feet still slightly damp.”

-So far so good, although Knox acutally said she scootered on the bathmat using one foot to propel herself (to explain why all her prints were right foot).

“From the bloody bathmat, from the bloody footprints on the tiled floor, her feet pick up tiny traces of Meredith’s blood. Still barefooted, she goes into Filomena’s room.”

-Oops. Knox said she did not go into Filomena’s room until after she returned with Sollecito. Why would she lie?

“She’s handled the bathmat, so she now has microscopic traces of Meredith’s blood on her hands .... She then goes back to RS’s flat. They prepare lunch together, and in the process AK touches the knife, transferring Meredith’s DNA to the knife.”

-Oops. Meredith DNA would have been on the handle, not the blade. In any case Luminol is extremely sensitive (much more sensitive than DNA testing), so personally I do not accept that there was blood on the knife.

“The machine stops. AK goes to open it, takes out Meredith’s bra, flirtatiously holds it up to herself, asks RS if he likes it, he fingers the bra. ... Or, it could be, one day when all the other girls are out, AK snoops in Meredith’s room, ‘borrows’ her bra, dresses up in it for RS…”

-AK said she never used the machine. Why would she lie? Plus, psychologically, I don’t think Knox was the kind of woman who needed to seek approval from Raffaele. The evidence suggests it was the other way around.

Doesn’t add up to “reasonable” doubt to me. I can tell you what I think happened if you want.

Posted by brmull on 10/12/11 at 02:31 PM | #

Correction: The knife was tested with benzidine/TMB, not luminol (which can’t be used on metal). TMB is only half as sensitive as luminol but still more sensitive than DNA testing.

Posted by brmull on 10/12/11 at 02:41 PM | #

Another thing, it’s not possible to look in Filomena’s window, so it wouldn’t be likely to attract a thief. I was broken into a few years ago and got a lecture from the Police for having the blind in the front of the house up at night. Apparently robbers look in and check out an escape route before they break in, the less they can see the better. Apparently, the apartment was broken into several months after the murder, through the kitchen window [open to correction there] which is accessible from the back of the building. Another reason to believe the prosecution assertion that the break in was staged..

Posted by Melanie on 10/12/11 at 02:54 PM | #

Giselle,

Here is the People magazine cover in the US. I have not read it. Maybe I will next time I’m waiting in the checkout line.

It notes poetically that her big wish on returning to the US was to “touch grass” for the first time in four years. The prison yard was supposedly concrete.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20534079,00.html

Well, that’s not what this picture shows, unless they spray the concrete green in Capanne:

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/van_watch_around_800_pm_perugia_time_and_the_vans_are_reported_still_a/

Posted by brmull on 10/12/11 at 02:56 PM | #

Photos of Amanda showing herself in public behind the darkened windows of a car we see in the Seattle Times. Somewhat veiled in obscurity she smiles broadly or, in one shot, presents a sober demeanor. She’s traveling with her step-father & a body-guard who fills the tank.

But as brmull points out above, go to the supermarket (because I just went) & there’s Amanda on the cover of People magazine as you’re standing in line. This is what’s meant by keeping a low profile?

Truth is that she’s become a Celebrity with a capital C by virtue of her prison ordeal & her trials. Not that she exactly discouraged this: she welcomes it.  Only now she cannot hide away behind the dark windows of a special car.

Maybe those photos are to remind us that she’s adapting to her celebrity status. You won’t see her strolling in the park. There’s no escaping the burden of what people will be asking for. We are to hear directly from the Anointed Victim herself instead of only Curt Knox or Edda Mellas. She must open her mouth.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/12/11 at 03:17 PM | #

Peter, first off, kindly excuse a tardy reply.  Between 8:50 am (starsdad)& your reasoned reply at 9:10 I’d signed off.  Came back (after my trip to the grocery) thinking I’d read the previous.  No offense!

Please understand that I personally have great regard for Mignini.  I thought he did masterfully in the first trial & it’s his version (with tweaking) that I’ve so largely accepted.  I agree with him that Amanda initiates, etc.  As for refusal to look for “premeditation,” I’ve already commented somewhere that I thought this was wise of him because so hard to prove & unnecessary.

It is simply my suspicion (& I confess to a suspicious mind—a trait & a decided weakness) that politics is behind this.  I am even ready to crucify Hillary if opportunity offers.

Let’s hope that your zeal prevails. My own interest (for the time being) shifts again to the psychological “predicament” of Amanda—because it is a predicament, unrecognized.  I appreciate & accept your point of view.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/12/11 at 06:24 PM | #

Hi Ernest. Thanks. We always have agreed on to essential goodness of Mignini. Colorful for sure but in fact an excellent track record.

Agreed also on AK now facing quite a predicament. I wonder when it will fully sink in. She may see now the small noisy extreme of her most ardent supporters, but not the huge watchful skeptical center of which we are a part. Curt Knox said she had been pretty sheltered.

The politics is not all one way although it sure is not easy to be precise as to what might have happened if anything. Here is a possibility.

First, both the US and Italy have a vested interest in clearing the decks so that PM Berlusconi (and I think he is the best man for it) can straighten out the economy. His poll numbers were appalling even before he began to put through his emergency program, and must by now be under water.

Second, the Perugia prosecutors have great powers to undermine his party if they choose with the investigations into his party members’ roles in siphoning funds from the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2010 earthquake reconstruction. His party has good reason to undermine them if it can.

Third, the local Perugia economy has been doing well but student enrollments might have dropped a little more than elsewhere, and they may be happy to be done with the case rather than face 20-plus years of suspicions.

Fourth, if national politics was at play, it would be very subtle and hidden and might have been only a phone call between staffers saying something like “make sure Berlusuconi supporters are well represented on the jury” and they would know what to do.

Fifth we have the odd spectacle of Judge Hellman after the verdict seemingly trying to put lipstick on the pig. To me he sounded leaned-on. His report is a huge unknown. Did he make deliberate and obvious errors? Does he signal to be overturned?

Sixth, Cassation judges and judges in general are totally impervious to politics or they wouldn’t be sending Berlusconi off to face four trials in Milan.

Seventh, Cassation wont get the appeal until next year, and the economy could be quite different (probably improved, not all Italian numbers are bad) and Mr Berlusconi might be enjoying his retirement.

On balance I’d weight things against Knox and Sollecito at Cassation which may see some or all of this and be unlikely to approve of it. Cassation fights hardest of all to keep politics out of the court. (very much much more than anyone does in the US).

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/12/11 at 07:02 PM | #

Thanks Brmull… I don’t know what to say… I’m just glad I’m not in the US at the moment and don’t see her face at my checkout counter.

Posted by Giselle on 10/13/11 at 05:04 AM | #

More photos of Amanda (see the Daily Mail.)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2048758/Amanda-Knox-takes-stroll-friend-enjoys-days-freedom.html

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/13/11 at 07:34 PM | #

What has emerged so far is a noticeable variety, that is, a deliberate variation in Amanda’s presented appearances.

(a)gdeschaetzen reports a flood of hate mail with Amanda in hiding: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/276002/Amanda-Knox-now-in-hiding-over-tide-of-hate-mail
(b) People magazine cover
(c) Seattle Times limited view of Amanda shaded by windows of the car: debut of the celebrity
(d) versus full spread of Amanda out walking—albeit on a highway—looking carefree & happy.
(e) Oddly enough, Amanda somewhere downtown in denim jacket & clownish-puffy cap, worn askew. One of these photos shows a pigeon-toed Amanda in a stoop, mid-step, glancing out apprehensively from under the brim of her cap, or as much of it as may cover her face.

These last two photos give me the impression that she’s been set-up & is deliberately posing. Quite as if the very busy Knox PR machine is trying out several possibilities to see which of them plays best.

If not, why did the Seattle Times fail to show Amanda & companion walking along an open highway? That was surely local news. Yet those photos appear in the Daily Mail, an English tabloid. So were they paid for?

Overall, Amanda is in the clear & is apparently sought-after, but these same appearances are at variance with what she knows of herself, deep down. How can she do this? How can she keep it up?
How can she be so divorced from an atrocity of her own making?

Posted by Ernest Werner on 10/14/11 at 11:21 AM | #

@george:
I’m another lurker too. 4 years. I’m in general agreement that AK/RS are guilty.

Not to add conspiracy fodder but, I’m wondering if Guede’s prison beating (3 years ago?) was a threat to silence him so he doesn’t talk.

Also, is it possible that the judges, members of the jury, were all bribed or threatened in some way? And that RS legal team goes along with it because they have so much reputation to lose?

@peter and others: I can only echo the sentiment that this is truly an excellent site. It doesn’t make token gestures of sympathy to Meredith (like injusticeinperugia.com. Can’t say I’m convinced they really care. Also not sure why that site doesn’t provide the English version of the Masei report like you guys.)

Quick comment/suggestion about the top-most sidebar pic. Perhaps the picture that Meredith’s sister is requesting be used would be better placed there…? Seems more fitting somehow.. Just a suggestion. http://maundygregory.wordpress.com/tag/meredith-kercher/

Would be nice to honor her sister’s request.

Posted by jen200 on 10/14/11 at 02:22 PM | #

Hi Jen200,

It’s not far-fetched at all to imagine that Guede’s reluctance to speak out is due to concerns about his personal safety. Prior to the AK/RS acquittal he had little reason to talk, but now he obviously feels like he took the rap for the other two, and the monetary value of his story has increased. We may not hear from him for a while, but we will hear from him.

I think if you look at the trials, one court convicting unanimously—with some jurors voting for a life sentence—and the next court voting, apparently, for a 530.1 acquittal seems unlikely to have been based on the facts.

Nadeau pointed out that doubts had already been raised in the first trial about Curatolo and the two pieces of DNA evidence, so the appeals court learned very little that was new. The only surprise was that Bongiorno gambled on putting the child killer on the stand, probably to get Rudy’s black face in front of the jury, which she deduced—correctly—was judging the case based on courtroom appearances.

And remember that a number of judges refused this trial, so effectively Hellmann and Zanetti volunteered for it. Did one or both of them have an agenda? How did they select the jury? At least one of them had been a juror on four prior murder appeals. Did they not have a good idea how he was going to vote?

Certainly there were political pressures as well. The Sollecito family has been charged with trying to tamper with the prosecution. Who’s to say they didn’t succeed? Powerful policians were recruited on both sides of the Atlantic. Berlusconi himself is seen as benefitting from the acquittal.

All of these little things add up. Grifters call this a “layering scam”, where you can’t point to any one thing as clear-cut cheating, but put together a given result is virtually preordained.

Posted by brmull on 10/14/11 at 04:23 PM | #

Hi Jen200 & brmull,

It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens with RG in the coming months. For now, he seems to be the only one in on the kill who is incarcerated. Jen’s concern about being too conspiratorial is valid, but I’ve also been wondering if RG is just too important a potential witness to be left alone. If he decides to declare little other than his opinion about how unfair the current situation (RG in prison, AK & RS free) is, I think the possibility exists that someone, perhaps representatives of Dr. Sollecito or the AK public relations machine may have come to a quiet agreement with RG to keep quiet about the details of what happened in the period leading up to, during and after the murder of poor Meredith. Maybe the promise of money, future employment or both? The job market in Italy has been very bad for many years. The country is full of university graduates and people with advanced degrees who can’t find career-path employment. The job prospects of a minimally educated, black, infamous excon can’t be good. Given this situation, it may not have been too difficult to secure RG’s commitment to keep his mouth shut about vital case details with the promise of lucrative lifetime employment upon his release. Does anyone know whether the Italian prison/corrections system provides for parole or early release for convicts who have good prison records? If it does, maybe he gets out in 10 or 12 years. That might not seem like such a bad deal to RG under the circumstances. Total speculation, I know, but can’t help wondering about it. If he comes out with major revelations about who did what to whom, etc. in the next year or so, the above hypothesis will evaporate.

Posted by george on 10/15/11 at 01:06 PM | #

@brmull: Nice response. Thank you. Was unaware of “layering scam” notion.

@george: Totally off topic - I wonder if a shift towards a quasi-agrarian socio-economic set-up would help with the unemployment problem. On suburban farms, degreed folks could handcraft chevre and other tasty goodies during the day (for barter or pay), and do their intellectualizing at night. This way more people would have “work”, but they’d just have to be content with a much lower payscale and bartering. I’d be down with that.

Posted by jen200 on 10/16/11 at 10:01 AM | #

Hi George and Jen20. Thanks for your interesting posts just above.

“Does anyone know whether the Italian prison/corrections system provides for parole or early release for convicts who have good prison records?”

Yes the Italian justice and penal system is geared almost more than any other to repentance and rehabilitation. It’s part of what is so interesting to our own lawyers etc here. It offers lessons many other countries could use. Many of the pizza makers in Italy learned their skills there. Knox and Sollecito were both able to study and had a sort of day job in their prison. If perps work at it in Italian prisons they can get a lot of breaks. Recidivism is much lower there than here.

On Guede’s employment prospects and possible $$$ for staying quiet. Alessi claim that the Sollecitos waved money at him to testify still remains unrebutted, but if they went that route once they may not want to again. I think he doesn’t talk only because of shame and maybe fear because he was once beaten up. Remember he has NEVER confessed and denies any role in Meredith’s death - his two core claims remain that Meredith invited her there (untrue) and he briefly tried to save her before he ran away (possibly true).

On Italian job creation, far more job creation worldwide results from small enterprises and startups than large. (Please learn that, Mr Obama and company in DC.) Italy has maybe the best model for that in the world right under its nose.

If you read the works of Michael Porter (eg The Competitive Advantage of Nations) he describes the astonishing abilities of Italian networked clusters of small enterprises to dominate some industries worldwide. Italian tile making, clothes making, fashion goods making, and performance car making all made themselves into world beaters. All of those industries are in northern Italy and so far southern provinces didnt find the touch. Those products still absolutely dominate in New York and there must be well over 100 fashion stores on upper Madison Avenue etc owned by Italian entrepreneurs. Here is one of those we profiled who has two stores here.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/brunello_cucinelli_perhaps_the_most_globally_prominent_of_perugias_hig/

Mr Cucinelli started from nothing and is now one of the largest employers in and around Perugia. His business model is one to die for, ask his hyper-devoted staff.  Rudy Guede was maybe only a year or two away from going into the restaurant game for himself when his great restaurant job up north collapsed and sent him into a talespin (though I have yet to see PROOF that within just weeks he dealt drugs or became a serial burglar or knife wielder).

On Jen20’s mention of graduates running small farms, we were 100 miles north of New York yesterday at the huge annual sheep and fiber show at Rhineback in Duchess County. I use a lot of my own time at those shows talking models of growth and many of the sheep and goat farmers and handicraft people are graduates who migrated in because the whole area is so much fun. On one of my other sites, one concentrating on development where I live, I posted these shots of that show - they dont show those graduates, but you maybe get an idea of why over qualified people happily give up high salaries to get into that much more fulfilling work.

http://galaxyrising.com/index.php?/trifecta/comments/terrific_annual_sheep_and_wool_show_at_rhinebeck/

Once you understand how growth actually works (and I doubt there’s an economist in the world that does) it’s possible to whip up astonishing effects. Keep an eye on my main ballet site, where in a few days with luck I’lll post something that could maybe transform prospects for that hard-pressed cultural industry worldwide.

http://excitingperformances.com 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/16/11 at 11:59 AM | #

Hello Jen200 and Peter,

Jen, all I can say in response to your comment about a shift to a quasi-agrarian model moving into the future, is: “What Peter said!”. The idea of degreed people deciding to get involved in smaller, independent farms raising high quality, organic, healthy produce, dairy products and livestock products for direct sale to consumers in nearby cities is a proven success here in NYC. The once or twice a week green markets held in city parks are full of small-scale producers from within a radius of about 200 miles from the city selling fresh, healthy and flavorful items of the type you mentioned. As the world economy continues to contract, and particularly the American middle class continues to shrink, the skills and knowledge of this recent generation of small farmers are going to take on much greater importance. If things really crash economically and it becomes too expensive to transport produce across the continent, these small farmers may be in the forefront of teaching the rest of us how survive.

Peter, wow, I’m really getting an education reading your material and links! The depth and breadth of your knowledge is very impressive. Thanks so much for this site. Your observation about the large number of boutique manufacturers in Italy, and their concentration in the north of the country is right on. I’ve got a Colnago racing bicycle manufactured just outside of Milan and can attest to the Italian’s ability to design and build amazing high end products. Unfortunately, the southern part of the country has not shared in this success. Also spend time in Dutchess County NY. Would like to get your take the hyraulic fracturing natural gas extraction method now being proposed west of the Hudson. Perhaps at your other site.

Sorry to take things off topic here.

Posted by george on 10/16/11 at 08:20 PM | #

It must be another “cycle” for modern civilisation (like with the hippies getting back to the land) but it jumps out in my mind as a peculiar juxtaposition : ipad in one hand, milking pail in the other!
I have several friends who live within the Seattle city limits and are now raising chickens. One lives across the Sound and has not only chickens, but turkeys, goats and sheep. Most city dwellers one generation back would have considered this a smelly business, best left to backwoods types. While it is surely healthier, in the age of virtual reality, to be in touch with the land, I wonder if it is just a passing fad or an actual movement toward food safety and security? Could you picture AK and RS milking goats and making stinky cheese as rehabilitation?

It is encouraging to hear some new voices here, even long-time lurkers. We have been raking over the same ground for so long on this case that it is difficult to remember how it seemed upon first learning about it. Don’t know where it will progress to from here, but the same unanswered questions about their behaviour and words immediately following the “discovery” of M’s body need accounting for. I hope that I don’t encounter Knox in the grocery store, but if I should, I will try to contain my lingering disgust.

Posted by mimi on 10/17/11 at 02:34 PM | #

Anyone see the article in the National Enquirer in the USA stating ‘big news’ - that Rudy told the prosecutors that a drug dealer met him in the driveway in front of the villa that night, indicating that this guy could be the other killer, but that the prosecutors refused to let him present that evidence because it messed up their own case of the threesome? 

Also I believe that is where I read that AK told RS that she wants to marry him and have his baby and perhaps that is the plan of bringing him to the USA before Christmas….?  Not that I believe anything in the National Enquirer but that is the sort of rubbish a lot of people read in the supermarket lines.  Well I have to admit it caught my eye and I read it too, out of curiosity.  Would present an interesting twist in the saga.

Posted by believing on 10/17/11 at 11:42 PM | #

believing,

Absent evidence to the contrary, I’m assuming the Enquirer is talking about The Albanian. They have a knack for giving you just slightly too little information to be sure they’re full of baloney.

I do tend to believe the rumors that Rudy was involved in the drug trade, although I admit there is nothing in the way of proof. Why else would Knox and Sollecito want to hang out with him?

The mention of the car in the driveway is reminiscent of what the tow truck driver said—that there was a dark-colored car in the driveway. The time frame that the tow truck driver described was much later in the evening, but I’m still intrigued. Why might there have been a car in the driveway?

I don’t see Sollecito getting back together with Knox. When someone gets you involved in a murder—one week into your relationship—you usually harbor ill feelings about it, or at least you should. People who believe Knox and Sollecito are innocent are susceptible to these salacious rumors. We know better.

Posted by brmull on 10/18/11 at 12:22 AM | #

Have just read the Follain book which is excellent.  Two points regrding evidence.  It is suggestive that nothing was taken in the staged robbery except the make-up from the cosmetic bag of the Italian girl whose window was broken in the cottage.  Like the quilt being placed over Meredith’s body this would only be done by a female surely.  Gold jewellery and a laptop in the same room were untouched. I am also curious about the washing in the washing machine.  Sollecito’s statement to police was that Knox left his flat with a plastic bag to go back to the cottage to collect clothes for washing.  At the cottage the Postal Police noted that washing in the machine was still warm and it was identified as a mixture of Meredith’s and Knox’s clothes.  Knox never said anything about doing the laundry when she supposedly returned to have a shower in a cold flat with a bloodstained bathroom and front door allegedly wide open.  If you begin with the idea that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and look for evidence to prove one or other of their changing stories there is none.  The evidence is all the other way.  I am putting my hopes in the Court of Cassation.

Posted by helenv on 01/04/12 at 01:31 AM | #


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