Thursday, February 05, 2009

Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory

Posted by Brian S


And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.

First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.

Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.

Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.

Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:

Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)

Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi

The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.

The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.

Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.

They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.

Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.

On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.

The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.

Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.

Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.

Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.

This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.

Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.

It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.

Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.

So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.

He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.

He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.

Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:

[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]

1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.

2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.

He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?

She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.

3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.

But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.

This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.

4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.

This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.

Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Two Books On The Case In The Works By Respected Writers

Posted by Peter Quennell



One book, we hear, by New York writer Nina Burleigh (top shot), who already has four highly-praised books to her name.

And one by prolific book writer and Sunday Times correspondent John Follain (bottom shot)

John Follain periodically reports on the case from Italy for the UK’s Sunday Times.

Posted on 02/04/09 at 07:46 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesMedia newsMore hoaxers
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Trial: Prosecution Resumes Friday - Meredith’s Following Is Now Worldwide

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

We are seeing about 1200 unique visitors a day. And more visitors on the hearing dates and the trial dates.

The “visits” column in our daily statistics for the past week shows the most significant figures. Readers in nearly 100 countries. These are the top 20. This is an English-language site, of course, and Italian readership of Italian sites would be proportionally higher.

And the UK has its own excellent online reporting. There are proportionally far more media sources reporting the case than here in the United States. .

Seems a wonderful tribute to the compelling persona of Meredith herself. Meredith has attracted a real worldwide following.

Posted on 02/04/09 at 12:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryTrials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesMedia news
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction

Posted by Brian S


Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

A week ago, just within the three-month deadline, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.

Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.

He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.

His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:

Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.

Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.

He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.

He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.

By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:

On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith …talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (…), we met in the evening around half eight, like that.

While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.

With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.

In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.

Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.

Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:

Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.

He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.

Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.

Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.

Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.

Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:

...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute:

Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her?

…Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help
…There was a progression of violence
…The victim sought to fight back

If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl – it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.

Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.

The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.

Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.

Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own

Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.

Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.

Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.

However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.

He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.


Amanda Knox Defence Team Strongly Objects To Seattle Sliming Strategy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Luciano Ghirga (left) and Carlo Della Vedova.

Click for a larger image. They are apparently thoroughly ticked off. Here’s our previous post on exactly what made them so ticked.

Once again, the demand from the Amanda Knox legal team goes out: Pipe down, Seattle. And give Amanda Knox a break.

Translation below by poster Kermit is of the story in today’s La Nazione

“Those American personalities are not helping Amanda”

Lawyer Ghirga: “I have spoken with Prosecutor Mignini”

by Enzo Beretta - Perugia

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova.

These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

Luciano Ghirga, lawyer for the American accused by the prosecutor of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, once again distances himself from the Stars-and-Stripes “know-it-alls” who repeatedly have tried to throw mud on the work of investigators and have even personally attacked Giuliano Mignini, head of the murder investigation.

There is strong evidence which supports the prosecution, unlike the “macaroni” pleading endlessly and one after the other on American television broadcasts, who pay lawyers, show-men and private investigators not much inclined to read the documentation.

That documentation was studied a lot by the Review and Court of Appeal judges, who confirmed preventive prison for the suspects, and the GUP Paolo Micheli, who has sentenced Rudy to thirty years in prison (with the abbreviated trial) and sent the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend to trial. This is a validation of the good work done by the investigators.

Lawyer Ghirga has not acted on a video in which the correctness of the findings of the forensic investigators is called into question, thereby attacking the protagonists of the case. But he will play his cards at the appropriate time in the trial, which resumes Friday.

“On a personal level I expressed my impressions to Dr. Mignini,” Ghirga said.

The lobbying work by Amanda’s side fits into a framework of traditional adversity by Americans when their fellow citizens are left in the hands of another country’s justice.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Why The Smears Of Prosecutor Mignini By Knox “Friends” Are Really Simply A Sideshow

Posted by Peter Quennell


Other than, of course, for the corrosive effects on Amanda Knox’s own defense.

Having attracted a defamation suit for his paper from Mr Mignini for his reporting of the antic Friends fund-raiser, Mr Shay (left above) then jubilantly surfaced on the blog of another Seattle newspaper.

As I reported accurately, I was told by people attending the charity that Mignini is mentally unstable. His over-the-top response seems to indicate that this is so, but (disclaimer) I am not degreed in the field of psychology and therefore cannot for certain diagnose Mignini as having the mental problems others have said they have noticed he has. Ironically, I have heard numerous reports on American and European TV that claim Amanda Knox is a “sociopath” because we do not see her cry on camera. I wonder if Mr. Mignini has objected to all these reporters calling her this?

To which the first response of the excellent Seattle Crime Blog (which added the boldface above) was as follows:

If you can’t diagnose it, then don’t mention it…or at the very least, put the term “mentally unstable” in quotes. You write news stories for a fairly well-respected publication, Mr. Shay. Giving opinions on matters such as this is not your job, and the comments above have just provided further fuel for Mignini’s fire.

A good reporter lets his stories speak for themselves, without launching attacks against those who criticize them. Now - whether this is the case or not - you’ve come across as defensive, and just another body who drank the “Amanda is Innocent” Kool Aid. And the snide rhetorical questions do little to help your case.

Do Mignini’s claims hold any legal bearing? Probably not. Is he overreacting by filing a claim that does little more than make a statement? Probably - though let’s not forget that this is a man who has a job to do, one that has been an uphill battle from the start given the media circus surrounding the case since Kercher’s death more than a year ago.

The defamation suit in question seems rather appropriate.

And with regard to Mr Shays’ “sociopath” claim, if you spend real time online studying this case, one big surprise is there’s little professional reporting that demonizes Amanda Knox. And even less that seriously talks negatively about her psychology. She does draw reporters’ attention for sure, but she sometimes gives the impression she seems to like that and might even provoke it.

The demonization of Prosecutor Mignini, on the other hand, seems to have developed into quite a behind-the scenes industry. We have been sent some of the material that is circulating, and it ranges from improbable to frankly very nasty. We’ve checked extensively, and virtually none of it rings true to those in Italy who have encountered Prosecutor Mignini.

Perhaps the commonest response is that he wouldn’t be in his job if it did. And anyway it seems irrelevant to the case going forward.

For one thing, Prosecutor Mignini has alongside him at all times the excellent and very experienced co-prosecutor, Ms Comodi. It would be very tough to put anything over on her, and watchers in Italy all know that. 

And for another, there is the ongoing momentum of the case within the Italian system of justice, with all of its cautious checks and balances. Many or most of them are in favor of defendants, and they are all tough for prosecutors to contend with.

Prosecutors in Italy are possibly quite envious of the more all-encompassing, wide-ranging powers of prosecutors in the UK and the US. Many prosecutors in the US are elected, of course, and if you want to see prosecutors with REAL powers, check out some of those guys.

Here is how Prosecutor Mignini’s powers always have been more constrained than the Friends-driven meme is suggesting, and how his powers seem to become almost of only academic importance as the case proceeds.

  • In Italy, the indicative evidence is summarized in a large and complex case in a huge volume; the famous 10,000-pages-plus in this case. It is the raw work of dozens of evidence professionals.
  • In Italy, the judges (in this case already around a dozen) and the juries and defense lawyers all have to spend a lot of time reading and studying that body of work, and they really get to know the indicative evidence by the time of the hearing or trial.
  • In Italy, the work of the prosecutor at trial is comparatively lightened because of this. The prosecutor and his team get the evidence together, and then they have a relatively restrained role at the trial itself. And remember Judge Micheli openly disagreed with Mr Mignini on the theory of Rudy Guede’s crime. Not that it mattered very much though - Guede still got handed 30 years, and Mr Mignini had only asked for 25.
  • And in Italy, the work of the judge and jury before trial and at trial is relatively heavy because of this. Change prosecutors at this point and there would be barely a hiccup. And then the judge must come out with the sentencing statement. In the case of Judge Micheli’s report on Guede, it is an astonishingly dense 106 pages, which takes some hours of reading and figuring-out.

Given all this, even those who seem to see Mignini as evil-incarnate would find it incredibly hard to make the case (none of them have yet) for how the body of evidence could have been falsified and the prosecutor could have hoodwinked 12 judges, most of Italy, and the close-case-followers - now up in the thousands.

And comparisons being made between Prosecutor Mignini and the rogue American prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke lacross-team case are unfounded. Nifong was back then facing an election for prosecutor,  and he had to face none of these checks and balances with the Duke case, so he really could run rampant. And the minute Mr Nifong had to pass his case over the lowest of hurdles, it simply turned into dust. No comparison there.

A good trial for Amanda Knox and justice for Meredith could both use less of this irrelevant sideshow.

Posted on 02/01/09 at 07:56 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…






Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Influential Legal Talking Head Nancy Grace Of CNN Is Now On The Case

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

[Click the arrow above, and then drag the time button to the 5-minute mark.]


Nancy Grace [image at bottom] runs a wildly popular CNN crime talk-show.

It is the companion program to the wildly popular show of Jane Velez-Mitchell that is already on the Perugia case.

A couple of days ago Nancy was on another wildly popular show, ABC’s The View, talking about the Perugia case. The View reaches three and a half million viewers daily, remarkable for a daytime show.

I think we can all agree that Nancy Grace does not mince her words. Nancy proceeds methodically here, presenting these relevant facts:

  • Age of the victim and the American suspect
  • A description of the relationship between the victim and her American roommate
  • Knox’s statement to police that she was present when her roommate was killed
  • Knox’s subsequent claim that she was coerced into making the statement, rather weakened by her assertion that she had smoked pot on the night of the crime and was therefore confused
  • The key physical evidence placing Knox at the scene (the knife and the mixed blood).

Nancy then closes the segment with these observations on the case:

  • She says Knox was “obviously” involved in the murder.
  • She notes that the victim was tortured and sexually assaulted prior to being murdered.
  • She ends by bringing up two other seemingly unlikely murder suspects: Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson.

This came just two days after the antic Paul Ciolino fundraiser which got extensive coverage in Seattle.

Nancy’s compelling intervention on The View could not have exactly pleased the David Marriott PR team or the Friends of Amanda who organized the fundraiser.

Nancy’s appearance also coincided with the release of the much-awaited and very detailed report of Judge Paolo Micheli (post below) on the Guede sentencing. It was Judge Micheli who had decided after a preliminary hearing that there was ample evidence against Knox and Sollecito to send them to trial.

The wheels really seem to be coming off the media effort at this new development.

We already see anew the reflexive barrage of protests from Friends supporters in Seattle. Candace Dempsey, the Seattle blogger who signed a book deal with Penguin to make money out of Meredith’s murder, attended the Saturday night Friends fundraiser for Amanda Knox.

But in her very next post, rather than describe her wonderful night with Mr Ciolino, she weighed in on Judge Micheli’s ruling. The title of her post is quite ludicrous: Why would she [meaning Amanda] let a killer in?

Well, Rudy was not actually a killer at the point when Amanda Knox allegedly let him in. And he was not convicted until months later. Is this really too subtle a point to be grasped?

And there’s more. On the NBC Today show on Wednesday morning, a visibly agitated Anne Bremner claimed to bemused host Matt Lauer that Judge Micheli was guilty of “theorizing” (gasp!)

She then changed tactics in a way frequently observed of the Friends PR effort: Oops! Change the story-line being propagated.

Perhaps a Lone Wolf or a Spiderman didn’t actually enter the cottage through the window? Bremner “theorized” that perhaps it was Meredith who opened the door to Guede?

Do I hear Candace Dempsey shouting “Why would she let a killer in?” Never mind! Remember Jonathan Demme’s terrific Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense?

It looks to me like some people have really heeded that command.


Posted on 01/28/09 at 09:54 PM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Judge’s Report On Guede Sentence Suggests Roles Of Knox And Sollecito

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Seems rather a bombshell for the remaining two defendants. A shapeshifter, even.

Last October, Judge Micheli [bottom here] released a summary rationale of his verdict and sentencing of Guede. And last night, the judge released his full report on the rationale.

Richard Owen of the London Times [above] seems the only reporter so far to have read all 106 pages - how we wish American coverage could achieve this superb level. Some excerpts:

Judge Paolo Micheli, releasing a report on his reasons for sentencing Rudy Guede, 22, to 30 years in prison in October for his part in the murder, said the killing was “a group crime”. Guede had not himself cut Ms Kercher’s throat. But there was “cast iron proof” that he had taken part in the murder, even if he did not strike the “mortal blow”.

Under Italian law a judge has to outline the “motivation” behind his verdict. Unlike Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, Guede… opted for a “fast track” trial in the hope of a reduced sentence.

Judge Micheli was also the pre-trial judge who in October said there was enough evidence against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito for them to be sent for trial. The prosecution alleges that Guede tried to sexually assault Ms Kercher while Mr Sollecito held her down and Ms Knox toyed with a knife against her throat, which she then used to stab her. Judge Micheli said he accepted that there was “complicity” between the assailants, but said some aspects of the prosecution reconstruction were “fantasy”.

Reconstructing the crime in his 106-page report, Judge Micheli said the first blow was struck at Ms Kercher while she was standing up. He said she was killed because she refused to take part in a sexual game which “escalated into violence and got out of control”.

Judge Micheli said Guede was “a liar” and there were “no extenuating circumstances”. “Even someone who wanted to believe him would find it impossible,” the judge wrote. He added: “It is credible that Guede entered the house because he was let into it by someone else, and that someone could only be Amanda Knox.”

He said there had been an “agreed plan” to satisfy “sexual instincts” which ended in “murderous intent”. Guede had continued to try to assault Ms Kercher sexually even when a knife was produced and even when the knife “sank deeper into her neck” the judge said. Guede had not completed the sexual act only because of Ms Kercher’s “screams of pain and fear”.

The prosecution in the trial of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito alleges that Ms Knox arranged for Guede, who had made clear that he was attracted to Ms Kercher and wanted to have sex with her, to come to the cottage when she knew her flatmate was there.

Judge Micheli said the statements Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, had made following his arrest and extradition to Italy were “nothing more than a colossal accumulation of contradictions and attempts to throw investigators off the track”.

In his haste to flee, Guede had bumped into a couple near the cottage who had testified to police, the judge said. Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito meanwhile had been seen at a square above the cottage by a homeless man, and apparently waited there “to see if police arrived”, the judge said.

He said that because of “complicity” between the three, Guede had “never once mentioned the name Amanda” until late into the inquiry, when he said he had heard Ms Knox’s voice at the door and seen a man “resembling” Mr Sollecito….

Judge Micheli said Guede had had “no intention of saving” Ms Kercher’s life as she lay bleeding to death. He noted that neighbours had testified that they clearly heard a woman screaming in agony inside the cottage late at night.

In his defence Guede had claimed that he was in the bathroom with stomach pains when Ms Kercher was murdered. The judge said this was untrue.

So it seems Meredith was set-up. Tortured. Stabbed, many times. And abandoned. Walked out on, when she still could have been saved. Savagery incarnate.

Poor Meredith. Poor poor Meredith. How very much sadness you evoke.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, January 23, 2009

Web Commentary Skeptical Of “Friends” Campaign Proliferating

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for an example.

More commentaries like these are surfacing now. Posted by independent news-watchers who are all of them unknown to us.

They are taking a close look at the case, and finding the Friends of Amanda Knox claims wanting. And the financial angles of some of them suspect.

Posted on 01/23/09 at 07:21 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is The “Mignini Has Framed Them” Meme Now Fading?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Looks to us like it might be a strong case.

Perhaps easy to challenge the bits and pieces of the evidence. Perhaps harder now to challenge the sum of the whole.

The whack-a-mole problem.

And if Rudy Guede mounts the stand to tell all (he is to be an early witness, and wants time off his 30 years) and if Rudy’s tale cannot be seriously shaken by the defenses ...

Well, as the lead judge observed, this trial might be over by summer.

In Italy, the notion that Prosecutor Mignini somehow invented or twisted the facts of the crime to frame two of the defendants never really seemed to catch fire.

The problems with this notion are that there were too many professionals involved, the case has had to pass through too many judicial hoops, and there now seems an awful lot of evidence needing serious addressing.

Maverick Rome-based Peter Popham of The Independent (new image above - he looks better!) has seemed to be the lone media holdout for the Mignini-invented-it point of view.

But even Mr Popham is now sounding as if he’s in the dispiriting early phases of a U-turn.

This is from a skeptical piece of his just recently posted:

... how did Mr Mignini discover these salacious details? Through confessions, witness accounts, tapped telephones? Was there a video camera or tape recorder running throughout? None of the above.

None of the three accused has dropped even a hint that they were involved in an orgy, no party trash was discovered, nobody was peeking through the windows. The account seems to have emerged fully formed from the prosecutor’s imagination.

But this is from a more jaded piece also just posted.

Where did they actually pass the night, and doing what? Why did they make a start on cleaning up the murder scene next morning, and why didn’t they call the police? Amanda Knox will have to do a lot more than smile if she wants to go home.


As we mentioned yesterday, Mr Popham’s first piece above was strongly challenged by a commenter - a lawyer in the UK, who actually knew Meredith in person.

Comment by Liam O’Huigin

Title: Peter Popham: Legal Genius

“Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are on trial because Meredith Kercher died horribly, and they gave conflicting accounts of what they were doing at the time and behaved suspiciously the next day.”

Yeah, right. And I suppose everything else the Independent has reported about the pair since November 2007 has come fully formed from the brains of its journalists without the benefit of corroboration from the pair.

Before we take up Mr Popham’s invitation to consider Knox and Sollecito to be whiter than the driven snow, let’s remember, inter alia, that Knox implicated a man who could prove that he was not at the crime scene at the relevant time, that they have given a number of inconsistent accounts of their own whereabouts and activities, that the pair have fallen out between themselves, and that DNA evidence was recovered strongly suggesting their presence. If a prosecutor failed to bring a case against them, people would rightly think that some sort of cover-up was in place.

If it was Mr Popham’s daughter who was the victim of this crime, I doubt he’d be writing about the case in such a lofty and detached tone. I happen to have known Meredith, and I also happen to be a lawyer. I would be outraged if the Italians had not taken matters this far in the light of what we have so far read about the case. And unless the defence manages to produce something very special during the course of the trial I know what verdict I expect to be brought in….

Mr Popham commits an interesting Freudian slip in this article, which shows where his sympathies lie. He talks of the “three” accused, by which I assume he is including Rudy Guede: the latter is no longer an accused, having been convicted of the murder and sentenced to thirty years.

He is therefore correctly described as a murderer, or a criminal or a convict. Why does Mr Popham find that hard to do?

None of Mr Popham’s commenters, in fact, are still buying the fading “invented and framed” line. And we would REALLY like to see more of Meredith’s friends now speaking up.

Write to us, or for us, if you want to win one for her.

Posted on 01/21/09 at 08:18 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Influential Legal Talking Head Jane Velez-Mitchell of CNN Is Now On The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click above for the transcript]

CNN airs two one-hour crime talk-shows nightly. Nancy Grace’s, and Jane Velez-Mitchell’s.

They are wildly popular in the US, and the shows can be real scene-changers.

Nancy and Jane are INTENSE advocates for and defenders of victims’ rights - something this case could use some of, right now. 

They have very little patience for defendants who make a weak case or lie. And if they see tricks going down, in the courtroom or outside, they will leap on the case like a dog on a bone.

Usually for days or weeks, and sometimes for months.

Jane has clearly concluded that tricks are going down in the Meredith case. She is becoming very, very scathing in her increasingly frequent segments.

The first time we caught Jane on the case, she was working over a confused, stuttering Peter Popham of the Independent - that’s a great comment below his absurd piece, by the way.

You could watch Jane’s skepticism growing, minute by minute. Last night, her show aimed its spotlight at the opening session of the trial.

Click on the shot above for the astonishing discussion.

Posted on 01/20/09 at 12:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trial: The UK Sunday Times Reports The Prosecutions’ Possible Scenario of The Crime

Posted by Peter Quennell

Excerpts from the report by John Follain in Perugia.

Meredith was “Softened up for Fatal Sex Game”

Prosecutors allege that Amanda Knox instigated an ‘erotic game’ with her housemate and became violent when she resisted. Amanda Knox says she is glad ‘the hour of truth’ has arrived. She denies killing Meredith Kercher

New details about a sex game that allegedly led to the murder of Meredith Kercher, the British exchange student, have been revealed by an Italian prosecutor.

Giuliano Mignini, the official leading the case, alleges that Amanda Knox, Kercher’s American housemate, instigated the “erotic game” and probably persuaded an accomplice into “softening up” the 21-year-old Briton.

Reconstructing the student’s final moments, Mignini alleges that Kercher’s killers became “incensed and violent” after she resisted their advances….

Mignini gave his account of the murder at committal hearings which were closed to the public. However, details of his reconstruction will appear in a book called Meredith: Lights and Shadows in Perugia.

It is written by Vincenzo Maria Mastronardi, a forensic psychiatrist, and Giuseppe Castellini, editor of the Giornale dell Umbria newspaper, and will be published this week.

Mignini said Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was likely to have been irritated with Knox for allegedly bringing Sollecito and Guede to the cottage the young women shared late on the night of the murder in November 2007.

Knox, whom Guede was always trying to please, probably pushed him into “softening up” the English girl and preparing her for the erotic “game” . . . while Knox “dedicated” herself to Sollecito, said Mignini.

And when Guede failed because of energetic resistance by the victim, the three became incensed and violent.

They grabbed Kercher by the neck and tried to strangle her. Sollecito grabbed her violently in the back and on a breast, deforming her bra clasp and then they finished her off with the violent knife stab to the left part of the neck. Kercher gave a last desperate scream, which was heard by [a neighbour].

The prosecutor said that just before the final blow, Kercher suffered a cut to the right hand as she tried to free herself and pushed away the knife which Knox allegedly held.

A minute after the last stab wound, the three allegedly fled the cottage, with Knox and Sollecito returning later to stage a fake robbery by breaking a window, said Mignini.

The prosecutor singled out the placing of a duvet over Kercher’s body as “extremely important from a psychological point of view”. He argued it indicated pity and respect for the victim: “Amanda, especially as a woman, couldnt bear that naked, torn female cadaver.”

Both Knox and Sollecito insist they were at his home on the night of the murder. Their defence teams dispute DNA evidence linking Knox to a knife, which investigators say may be the murder weapon, and Sollecito to Kercher’s bra clasp.

Last week Knox told her lawyer Luciano Ghirga: “At last the hour of truth has arrived. I’m not afraid. I hope that the whole truth will come out because I’ve always been a friend of Meredith’s and I didn’t kill her.”

However, Mignini alleges that on the morning after the murder Knox tried to delay the body’s discovery by telling other housemates that it was normal for Kercher’s bedroom to be locked.

When the door was kicked down, Knox and Sollecito were too far away to see into the room, where Kercher’s half-naked body lay on the floor under a beige duvet, according to witnesses quoted by Mignini at the committal hearings last October.

“When those present go outside after the body is found, Knox and Sollecito are also outside, intent on kissing and caressing each other, as they did subsequently during police searches.”

“A very strange way of behaving which started the very moment the victim’s body was found . . . and at a time when all the other young people were literally overwhelmed by that discovery” said Mignini.

Posted on 01/18/09 at 09:45 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: Defendants Did Chat At Trial Friday: Defense Move? Or Just Making Nice?

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click above for full report]

Added later: We now have good reason to doubt that this chat ever happened. The meme may have emanated from a dubious source. There is of course a court order FORBIDDING the two from communicating.

We also believe that it’s doubtful that the eyes of the two ever met. RS sneaked 4 or 5 glances at AK, and AK sneaked at least one glance at RS, as the shot posted below showed.

But that may have been that. Nothing more. Signs of a fork in the road? One will now go one way and the other will go another way? Stay tuned.

Posted on 01/18/09 at 09:09 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Trial: Court Report From Trisha Thomas Of Associated Press

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 01/16/09 at 04:47 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: Amanda Knox Takes Her Place At The Start Of The Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for a selection of shots. This may be the last time Knox is photographed in court.

Some shots available seem to catch Amanda Knox at a gleeful moment. It is hard to know what to make of those shots. Photographers click away at a “gotcha” moment. It may have lasted only five seconds and meant nothing.

These are a few of the less loaded shots. They show Amanda Knox being led in, looking around the courtroom, perhaps for people she knows, and reading some passage in the Italian legal code.

It appears that an uncle and aunt were present at the back or in the balcony. Her biological parents will be witnesses and so are not allowed to attend the trial before they testify.

It seems certain now that Rudy Guede will testify. And Knox and Sollecito have just both said they’re eager to do so.

So far as we are aware, the Kercher family and the parents of the defendants have not yet ever come face-to-face. That is probably an encounter that none of them look forward to.

Posted on 01/16/09 at 01:43 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Amanda Knox
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Trial: Raffaele Sollecito Takes His Place At The Start Of The Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for a selection of shots. This may be the last time Sollecito is photographed in court.

The last shot here was a real catch for that photographer. It appears to be the one time that Amanda Knox tried to catch his eye.

Posted on 01/16/09 at 12:24 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Raff Sollecito
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Trial: The Proceedings Commence: The Times’s Lunchbreak Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story. The Kercher family is not present. Nor are the biological parents of Amanda Knox. It is not yet reported if Raffaele Sollecito’s father is present; his mother passed on.

And note this breaking news on yet another possible eye-witness, near the bottom of David Owen’s piece - the significance here being that Rudy Guede may have known both defendants prior to the night in question.

Il Giornale dell’ Umbria reported that a new witness, a researcher named only as Fabio G, had told police he had seen Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and Mr Guede together near the cottage Ms Kercher shared with Ms Knox on 30 October 2007, two days before the murder and sexual assault.

Posted on 01/16/09 at 09:47 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: Reuters Shot Of The Courtroom, Getty Shot Of Lead Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click for larger images. The defendants were not yet present.

These may the last shots of the courtroom and judge for a while. Still cameras and TV cameras have just been reported as banned from the courtroom.

The press will be present except during the most sensitive passages. Audio recordings may at times be allowed.

Posted on 01/16/09 at 09:22 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Trial: The Proceedings Commence: The UK’s Daily Mail Reports First

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the story. From Nick Pisa’s report:

Dressed in a hooded grey sweatshirt Knox, 21, smiled and shook hands with her legal team as she was led into court. She seemed overwhelmed by the mass presence of over 150 journalists and TV crews - who, bizarrely, had been herded inside a caged area in the court normally reserved for terrorists.

Nick Pisa appears to be sitting in the terrorist cage at bottom-right below. Click for a better look at him.

Posted on 01/16/09 at 08:25 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good Overview Of The Case In Germany’s Der Spiegel

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the two-part report by Alexander Smoltczyk.

Based on the numbers of reports appearing in Germany, interest in the case is high there. It seems to rank fourth after Italy, the UK, and the US.

There is some mild sensationalism in the newspapers there; not much. Reporting on the whole is as in this report: factual and objective.

Before she moved to Perugia Amanda Knox stayed with an uncle in Germany and interned for a day or two at the Bundestag in Berlin. German is one of her languages.

An on-the-run Rudy Guede was caught on a train in Germany and after a brief period he was semt back to Italy where he broke from the other two.

And Italy is the Number One tourist destination for Germans on vacation. They know and really like the place.

Posted on 01/15/09 at 08:48 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trial: Rather Surprisingly, The Trial Will Take Place Here

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Somewhere in this complex. The Court of Assizes, in the Piazza Giacomo Matteotti.

Familiar turf for the two defendants. In several different courtrooms, this is where all the pre-trial hearings took place, except the hearing at the Supreme Court in Rome.

La Nazione is reporting  that the choice of court is controversial. The court seats only 150 and so only a tiny handful of media and a tinier handful of the public will get to be present.

Rudy Guede’s trial was moved down the hill to the west, to much larger court space in the modern part of town. In part to avoid the much-photographed perp-walks that the defendants had had to make it through.

Will we be back to watching the perp-walks, resuming from tomorrow? Nobody seems to know. The attires and demeanors of the defendants were much studied at the time.

One large TV monitor is already hooked up in a separate large room for the media. The decision whether to switch it on should be out of the way by 10:00 tomorrow morning.

Meredith’s house is about one kilometer to the north - off to the left in the first of these shots.

A place of work in the daytime, with a big police presence, this is a really beautiful square at night.


Below: Behind complex, tunnel system, from which defendants might enter by elevator

Posted on 01/14/09 at 01:32 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Book Deal We Are Maybe Not In Favor Of

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the breaking story. This book now seems prejudicial, and it might be good if it’s withdrawn.

The passage we quoted in an earlier post actually seemed beneficial to Knox. The book is not out in English.

[Added] The author has now stated that the contentious passages in the book were all written by Amanda Knox herself.

In my book I used the diary written by Amanda Knox herself and which is now part of the evidence in the trial against her.

‘I don’t understand how the fact that I have retold her own words in a book can have a negative influence on her trial.

Earlier proceedings have already established the sexual element of the this case and that is what I am saying in the book.

So Amanda should sue… herself?! The diary excerpts sure are getting a lot of reads. It was an Italian best-seller over Christmas.

Sounds like that withdrawal is too late and this may be a red herring that goes nowhere.

Posted on 01/13/09 at 03:06 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesMedia news
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Mr Mignini, Pehaps Keep A Close Eye On This Person, Too

Posted by Peter Quennell


[Amended] That guy on the far left is said to be Frank. We owe you one, Candace. Thanks for the tip.

An email that came in from a trusted source says Frank’s collaboration on the book deal is believed to be dead.

If that really is the case, it is good news, and that is the end of this story. We’ll keep watching, though.

By the way we dont really go looking for stuff on Frank. It just pours in. Perugians seem really ticked at him.

Posted on 01/13/09 at 09:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2008Francesco Sforza
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