Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trial: A Heavyweight American News-Site Reports Well On The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in Tina Brown’s new Daily Beast

The Beast is an innovative and very-fast-growing New-York based site (like our own!) which launched about the same time we did (no connection).

We see this piece is by the same Rome-based American reporter who filed the Newsweek report below. There are only three or four American reporters close to this case, so it seems they’re in real demand now.

Less than we would have liked on Meredith. Almost no mention. But there are points here of special interest:

1) Knox seems to be enjoying the assigned role

Sollecito comes in shortly after, but most people remain fixated on Knox, who does not look at all like the girl in TV footage taken the day after the crime, cuddling with Sollecito. She is older, thinner, and much prettier, and she has an aura about her. She looks comfortable in the courtroom, almost as if she is playing a role rather than facing charges of cutting Meredith’s throat while Sollecito held back her arms and Guede sexually assaulted her.

2) Sollecito has a new journalism career

Sollecito, who comes from a wealthy and connected family in Puglia, in the south of Italy, has been recruited to write a regular column from prison for his hometown paper in Bari. In it he recently claimed that he was a 23-year-old virgin when he met Knox. Interest in Sollecito has not been as ardent as that lavished on the pretty American coed, but it is growing.

3) The aggressive PR campaign is discouraging digging

An aggressive PR machine out of Seattle that runs under the moniker “Friends of Amanda” speaks out quickly and authoritatively in Knox’s defense, effectively discouraging US media from digging deeper into this mysterious crime. Family spokesman David Marriott arranges regular TV appearances for Knox’s parents and confirmed in an email that ABC’s 20/20 “paid for [Amanda’s mother] Edda to travel to Perugia and back. As a result, the family feels obligated to speak with ABC first.”

We hear other rumors of American networks paying big bucks for the attention of the biological parents. No-one, of course, is paying the Kerchers anything at all - they apparently insist on paying all their own bills.

4) TJMK and Perugia Murder File get highlighted

Meanwhile, the case has taken on a bizarre life of its own in the blogosphere, where a number of partisan websites, in both English and Italian, wage fierce battle. Among the most notable are the New York-based True Justice for Meredith Kercher and the Perugia Murder File, which both believe that Knox is guilty and defend the court proceedings in Perugia, translating critical court documents and creating impressive Powerpoint presentations to help readers decipher the evidence.

Hmmm. Vey nice, but a correction, if we may, Beast?  These sites don’t ever claim guilt. They point to very hard evidence to address, and a very fair process under way. And to the once-fading-fast notion that justice for Meredith, the only real victim here, really matters.

The impressive Powerpoints created for us by Kermit and Nicki (with more to come) are all here. And why the defendants were sent to trial can be read here.

5) The fratricide on some amateur websites now in meltdown

The blogs in defense of Knox include Italian Woman at the Table, which is run by a Seattle-based reporter writing a book on the case, and Perugia Shock. Comment sections in the blogs are rife with threats and accusations—not against Knox and Sollecito, mind you, but against other bloggers. Some have taken to exposing the actual names and addresses of people posting under screen names or threatening physical harm to those with opposing views of the case.

6) And how the case coverage is tracked in Perugia

The blogs are taken very seriously in Perugia, where prosecutors have assigned someone to follow the postings.

So how is it going there, guys? Getting paid to read us? That must be a first…

Posted on 02/19/09 at 08:27 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trial: Newsweek Reports On The Perugia Progress So Far

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click above to start the video]

A good report now online from Newsweek’s Italy correspondent Barbie Nadeau.

Newsweek’s piece has more detail on the testimony from Meredith’s sad friends than previously reported in English. It concludes that the case continues to be stranger than fiction.

By the way, Newsweek is the only US weekly devoting resources to the case so far - strange to us, as the growth in our own readership suggests a very big potential audience.

Posted on 02/18/09 at 09:06 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trial: One Very Peculiar Witness Gets Even More Interesting

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Hekuran Kokomani. AKA the Albanian.

Scathingly dismissed by Judge Micheli at Rudy Guede’s trial for being REALLY confusing… And yet, still on the witness list for the present trial.

He may or may not have seen strange happenings on the street outside the house on the night in question. Or on the previous night. Or on both nights.

He may or may not have seen the present defendants running around in costume and one of them brandishing a knife. He may or may not have knocked Sollecito down and broken his glasses. And he may or may not have had a cash offer from Rudy Guede for the short-term use of his car.

Kokomani has a continuing modicum of credibility, because he seems to have reported accurately a breakdown at the junction near the house on the night of the crime.

Maybe he’d make a nice witness - if he’d only get his head straight. Clearly (see above) scared out of his freaking mind about something.

Now arrested for possession of eight grams of cocaine.

Eight grams of pure cocaine in the US and Europe fetches around $1000.

That’s a lot to have on hand for just a user. It suggests he might be both a user and a dealer - he does drive a nice car (a VW Golf) and he sends money home to his family in Albania.

So let’s see now. He’d maybe make a nice witness - if he’d only get his head straight.

And where is he now? In safe custody. Getting his head straight.

Just sayin!

Posted on 02/17/09 at 10:23 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Meredith’s Neighborhood: Her House From The East

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for more images.

This is possibly not a direction that Meredith ever walked. There are no footpaths, the cars race by, and the street mainly heads to routes down to the east and the north.

You can clearly see Meredith’s bedroom window in the shot above. The green shutters are closed now. Sollecito and Knox both said they considered how to get into Meredith’s locked room via that window, which in fact is very high up.

You can see in the foreground the old fruit-trees which have a lot of fruit on them in the summer, and the half-completed structure which appears to be intended for more bedrooms or another apartment.

Behind the house, from this angle, are its car-park and gate, the dumpsters, the intersection and steps up, the basketball court and small park, and finally the School for Foreigners, about 200 meters away. Shots to follow.

And see Kermit’s excellent powerpoints on the probable history of the house.

Posted on 02/16/09 at 09:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Meredith’s Neighborhood: Her House From The South

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for more images.

Shots taken from the street above, and from the parking building above that again. The house is still a crime scene and looks neglected and abandoned.

The house is built at a slightly odd angle, facing too far right, so only Meredith’s window and the balcony look onto the great sweeping hillsides to the north.

You can see the window of Filomena’s room above, through which a burglar may or may not have entered. A mop and pail - though not that mop and pail - can be seen at the entrance. 

The boys’ apartment downstairs is reached by way of steps down to the east of the house (last shots). It is down there that mobile-squad cops broke in the door because of blood traces.

The window in those shots is of Laura’s bedroom. The separate structure down there is not complete, and it looks like an old attempt to add a couple of rooms or an apartment.

And see Kermit’s excellent powerpoints on the probable history of the house. 

Posted on 02/16/09 at 08:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Meredith’s Neighborhood: Her House From The West

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for more images.

Mid-summer and the house area is very lush from this angle. The house is surrounded at the front and sides by productive fruit-trees.

Meredith would have seen the beautiful fall colors, but probably not yet these rather bright summer greens.

These shots were taken from the fast circular road outside the city wall that cars use to get to and from the modern town and the railway station to the west.

Directly behind here about 500 meters away is where the two mobile phones were tossed into a garden. Guede and Sollecito both lived behind here and higher up, also about 500 meters away.

The parking building above the house, which Meredith probably crossed to get home that night, is visible here. That is where running footsteps were heard and the four CCTV cameras are located.

And see Kermit’s excellent powerpoints on the probable history of the house.

Posted on 02/16/09 at 07:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Trial: Defendant Noticeably Bubblier Than Meredith’s Sad Friends

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for more images from yesterday.

Here’s the story by Nick Pisa in the Daily Mail:

Amanda Knox had a Valentine’s Day message on her T-shirt when she appeared in court at her murder trial in Perugia, Italy, yesterday: All You Need is Love.

As she walked into court flanked by prison guards she smiled broadly and wore her cardigan open so the slogan – a Beatles classic – could clearly be seen.

Below: Is Raffaele Sollecito doing a double-take there? None of the shots available show anyone else smiling.


Posted on 02/15/09 at 08:20 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009The psychologyAmanda Knox
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trial: Saturday Morning, Meredith’s Other Italian Roomie Testifies

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for John Follain’s report in the London Times. Several highlights:

1) The strange wound on the kneck:

Amanda Knox, the American student accused of murdering her British housemate Meredith Kercher, had a fresh scratch on her neck after the crime, a witness told an Italian court yesterday.

Laura Mezzetti, another housemate, said she saw the mark on November 2, 2007, a few hours after the body was discovered, while they were waiting to be questioned at a police station.

“Amanda had a wound to her neck. I noticed because it was known Meredith had been killed by a wound to her neck,” said Mezzetti. “She had a scratch to her neck. I was afraid Amanda, too, might have been injured. I was worried and I looked at it really closely.”

She told the court that the scratch, which was just under half an inch long, was bright red. She gestured to show that it was beneath Knox’s chin.

Mezzetti said she had not seen the scratch when she had eaten breakfast with Knox at their cottage two days earlier….

Asked why she had failed to mention the scratch when she had spoken to the police, Mezzetti said she thought everybody else would have noticed it.

2) Sollecito’s belated calls to the Perugia police station

The court heard recordings of two phone calls that Sollecito made to the police.

“Someone has gone into the house by breaking the window. The door is locked. There are bloodstains in the bathroom,” Sollecito said in a flat tone at 12.51pm.

In a second call three minutes later he sounded alarmed. “The door of the bedroom of one of the housemates is closed and there are traces of blood in the bathroom,” he said.

Sollecito says he made the call before officers arrived at the cottage, but the prosecution claims this is disproved by the timing of the calls.

Posted on 02/14/09 at 09:20 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: The “Very Kind Young Man” Who Courted Meredith “Very Sweetly”

Posted by Peter Quennell


That is the description at trial last saturday of Giacomo Silenzi, by Meredith’s roomie, Filomena.

He lived downstairs from Meredith. Giacomo will testify today, along with his own roomies from downstairs

He was away from Perugia when the crime took place. His apartment was empty - and broken-into.

The explanation is not yet in the public domain. One of the many mysteries still to be unlocked.

Posted on 02/14/09 at 01:15 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Trial: Friday Afternoon, More Tough Testimony From Meredith’s Friends

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above left with Meredith: Sophie Purton


Above: Robyn Butterworth


Above: Amy Frost

Richard Owen of the London Times reports on the afternoon’s testimony.

1) Robyn Butterworth

Describing Ms Kercher’s last hours, Ms Butterworth said that Ms Kercher had joined her, Amy Frost and Sophie Purton to eat a pizza and watch a romantic film.

Ms Kercher had not made or received phone calls, and had not said that she was expecting anyone at the house she shared with Ms Knox.

She had returned home “about nine”. Ms Butterworth said they had all been tired after Hallowe’en the night before, when the friends had gone to a pub and a nightclub, returning home at 4.30am.

2) Amy Frost

Amy Frost, another witness who had flown in from Britain, said that [at the police station] Ms Knox was “giggling” and kissing Mr Sollecito.

“I remember Amanda sticking her tongue out at him. She had her feet on his lap,” the court was told. Ms Frost said that Ms Knox’s behaviour at the police station was “inappropriate”, as if she had “gone crazy”....

3) Natalie Hayward

Ms Hayward told the court that she remembered Ms Knox saying: “They slit her throat, Natalie, she would have died slowly and in a lot of pain.”

4) Sophie Purton

Sophie Purton, another close friend, said that she remembered hugging Ms Knox at the police station “but she did not reciprocate my hug, she seemed quite cold. She kept her arms at her side.” 

When she asked Ms Knox what happened Ms Knox replied: “What do you want to know, because I know everything.” She told Ms Purton “that Meredith was found in the wardrobe but only her foot was sticking out, and also that her throat had been cut”.

Since Ms Knox also said she was not there when the door of Ms Kercher’s bedroom was kicked in, Ms Purton said she assumed this information came from one of the Italian flatmates who was present.

Posted on 02/13/09 at 11:39 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnesses15 Single alibi hoax
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Not Far From Here, Meredith Said Her Final Goodbye To A Friend

Posted by Peter Quennell




[click for a larger image]

Meredith said goodbye to Sophie Purton not so far from here. Sophie lived on the way to Meredith’s house. Sophie testified about this today.

Up the steps and through an arch is where Meredith had had her final happy meal with her caring English friends. Sophie’s house is about 5 minutes away, behind where this shot is taken from. .

Posted on 02/13/09 at 07:08 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryEvidence & witnessesThe locationsThe timelines
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Seven Sad And Deprived Friends - Our Hearts Really Go Out To Them

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


[click for larger image]

Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Natalie Hayworth, Jade Bidwell, Samantha Rodenhurst, Helen Powell and Robyn Butterworth..

Lifetime friendships would have formed in Perugia, as they do in such places.  Now probably sadly affected for the rest of their lives.

Shot outside the court complex today, by photographer Nick Cornish.

Posted on 02/13/09 at 11:38 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesPondering motiveEvidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Friday Morning, More Testimony From Meredith’s Sad Friends

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the first report by Richard Owen.

Ms Knox had spoken to someone on her mobile phone while at the police station, claiming that she had found the body, Ms Butterworth said. Ms Knox said: “How do you think I feel? I was the first to find her, it could have been me.”

Ms Knox had described the crime scene, saying that Ms Kercher’s body was “in the closet with a blanket over her. I would say wardrobe, I wouldn’t say closet, that’s why I remember it. When I went home I wrote the word down.”

 

 

 

 

Posted on 02/13/09 at 10:17 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesCellphone activity
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Trial: Friday Morning, Grinning Knox For Openers - And Now This

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the first report by Nick Squires on testimony from Meredith’s friends.

1) From Robyn Butterworth

“I found Amanda’s behaviour very strange,” said Robyn Butterworth… “I found it difficult to be with her because she showed no emotion when everyone else was really upset. We were all crying but I didn’t see Amanda cry,”

“She and Raffaele were kissing and joking together, there was laughter at some point, I remember Amanda stuck her tongue out at Raffaele. She put her feet up on his lap and they were kissing and cuddling and talking.”

“Amanda kept saying ‘I found her, how do you think I feel?’...She seemed proud to have found the body. I heard her say that Meredith was in the closet with a blanket over her. I also remember her talking on the phone and she was saying things like ‘It could have been me.’”

2) From Natalie Hayward

Another friend, Natalie Hayward, expressed the hope that Miss Kercher had not suffered when she died. Miss Knox allegedly replied: “What do you think? She #### bled to death.”

Miss Kercher was often annoyed that Miss Knox skipped her turn to clean their shared bathroom and thought it odd that the American kept a vibrator and condom in full view in an open wash bag.

“Meredith thought it was strange because they were there for everyone to see, she found it uncomfortable. My perception of their relationship was that it was at times a bit awkward and there were a few concerns Meredith had.”

Italian sources are reporting that Amanda Knox then asked to make a statement in Italian (believed her first) to the court. A quick translation:

“I am innocent and have faith that everything will come out and that everything will be alright.” Amanda then recounted that the vibrator had been given to her as a joke gift by a friend before coming to Italy. Knox described it as a little red bunny, about 10 centimetres long, and emphasised that it was a joke.

Posted on 02/13/09 at 09:37 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trial: Days 4 And 5 - The Court Agenda For Friday And Saturday

Posted by Nicki


Notes on who will testify, from the Giornale dell’Umbria.

Arriving on Thursday, and accompanied by their parents, will be seven British women student friends of Meredith. The prosecutors consider their testimony very important because the women students are expected to provide important details about relationship and personal movements.

The seven young women are Sophie Purton, Meredith’s closest friend (they were students together at the University of Leeds), Robyn Butterworth, Natalie Hayward, Amy Frost, Samantha Lee Rodenhurst, Jade Bidwell and Mary Power. Since none speaks Italian (after their friend was murdered they quickly returned to England), the Court has appointed a translator, Isabella Preziosi.

The Friday hearing will be devoted to their testimony, which will focus on the last hours in the life of Meredith. She partied with them on Halloween Night, at the pubs and clubs of the old town, and on the afternoon of November 1st was a guest at the apartment of one of the girls.

In particular, the witnesses will be asked to say who Meredith spent the night of Halloween with, whether or not she met Rudy Hermann Guede, and what she said and did during the afternoon they spent talking and having dinner together.

Sophie Purton was the last person who saw Meredith alive. The two walked together from via Bontempi along via Roscetto, a few minutes before 9 pm, on their way home.

The witnesses will also be asked to testify about the relationship between Amanda and Meredith and about what, allegedly, the American girl told them while at the police station waiting to be questioned, on the afternoon of November 2 and during the days that followed.

The Saturday witnesses include Meredith’s roomie Laura Mezzetti, who works for a law firm in Perugia like her friend, Filomena Romanelli, who testified last Saturday.

Giacomo Silenzi (an Italian friend of the British student); his friend Stefano Dalio Bonassi; and the carabiniere Daniel Ceppitelli, the operator of the 112 call center, will also testify. Stefano Bonassi had testified in an earlier hearing that Rudy was attracted to Amanda, when they had met in the downstairs apartment that he shared with Silenzi.

Here is last week’s testimony and here is the theory of the crime.

Posted on 02/12/09 at 10:47 PM by NickiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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