Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prediction: Guede’s Appeal Will Totally Fail - His Intentions Ugly And Likely To Anger

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Rudy Guede opted for the fast-track trial in front of Judge Micheli last October. His side of things went approximately as follows at the time.

  • Guede was legitimately at the house on the night to have consensual intimate relations with Meredith.
  • He was on the toilet when a bizarre murderous intrusion took place that seemed to involve Sollecito and Knox

That was about it. Judge Micheli didn’t believe a word of it. In his 106-page report he described the voluminous evidence for this being a three-perpetrator crime. And he found it totally unlikely that Meredith would have had consensual relations with Guede that night.

Nothing at all known about Meredith’s intentions that night (she had an urgent assignment to complete) or her chaste moral behavior supports Guede’s claim, and his trashing of the poor victim seemed to anger Judge Micheli.

And so the judge handed Guede the maximum sentence available, thirty years, for murder and a sex crime, and wrote up the case against him in a pretty ironclad way.

Now Andrea Vogt is reporting from Perugia that in effect Rudy Guede will testify to the following at his appeal.

  • Guede was legitimately at the house on the night to have consensual intimate relations with Meredith.
  • He was on the toilet when a bizarre murderous intrusion took place that seemed to involve Sollecito and Knox

Huh? The ONLY way forward now in the opinion of our legal watchers which could get Guede years off his sentence is at this point to tell the truth.

Which seems to our legal watchers and us to be that Guede might have been somewhat accidentally there at the house, and might have been somehow roped in by the other two to a planned taunting and humiliation of Meredith.

That might have then led to her cruel death.

Truth and real penitence and great sorrow and sadness shown to the Kercher family, and a real respect for Meredith’s memory, might win him some points in his appeal.

But this above? If Guede proceeds with those intentions, his thirty years in the sex-offenders wing will be confirmed for sure, and he will face a lifetime of contempt. 

Grow a brain, Rudy. Try to do yourself some good. And maybe get yourself some new lawyers.

The quality of your legal advice seems atrocious.

Below: Guede’s lawyers Biscotti and Gentile with the Kerchers’ lawyer Maresca

Posted on 10/29/09 at 10:20 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Guede appeals
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smart Lawyers Are Asking: What On Earth Possessed Lawyer John Q Kelly?

Posted by The Machine



[click for larger image]

Many very smart lawyers have been dropping by TJMK for over a year now to get a good take on the case.

Many of them email to us, some of them post comments, and several have posted front-page posts. They appear to appreciate the dispassionate tone here, the huge caring for the real victim and her family and friends, and the genuine appreciation for how the case is being handled in Italy.

And many of them really like how we have presented the evidence,  technically and logically. Some have even said that they would love to have the likes of Kermit, Brian, Nicki, Finn, and Pete and, well, myself at their elbow when preparing their own trial arguments and presentations.

Without any exception now they are remarking to us that, yes, there really IS a strong case against Knox and Sollecito, and the defenses have left dozens of questions unanswered.

So it was a jaw-dropping experience for them to see John Q Kelly, a respected Manhattan defense lawyer and strong proponent of victims’ rights, bound onto Larry King’s show on CNN and make wild-eyed accusations like this one.

KELLY: “My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.”

John Kelly then, seemingly rather nervously, tries hard to paint Amanda Knox as the victim. The name of the real victim, the one who died very slowly and painfully, clutching her neck while the life-blood ran out, barely passes John Kelly’s lips.

John Kelly appeared to know little of Italy’s very careful pre-trial process or the very damning Micheli report. or the strong case the prosecution presented or the real facts about Mr Mignini or anything about Amanda Knox’s lifestyle in Perugia or her disastrous stint on the stand that persuaded nobody in her favor.

And he seemed to know nothing at all about the amazing and hyper-talented young woman who went by the name of Meredith Kercher.

Let us examine each of John Kelly’s claims on Larry King’s show to see if they make any sense.

KELLY: “Well, as I said, it’s almost because Amanda showed too much stoicism after the death of her roommate, who she barely knew. These were two girls living together less than eight weeks.”

“And, you know, Larry, you’ve always seen this in these murder cases and things like the husband didn’t cry enough, or they weren’t upset enough when the children went missing. This is one of these things where, I guess, under the Italian culture, she did not respond the way they wanted her to respond. And they sort of put together a case with, you know, gum and toothpicks to try to make a case against her. And it is outrageous.”

I do recommend that John Kelly actually takes the time to read the eyewitness accounts of Amanda Knox’s behavior in the days following Meredith’s murder. There were a LOT of odd actions. For example mere moments after Meredith’s lifeless and mutilated body was discovered, Knox and Sollecito were kissing and caressing each other.

Many have come to feel that her bizarre and callous actions then point to a psychological disorder, perhaps a form of psychopathia, and they were certainly something that Prosecutor Mignini rightly and understandably found very strange:

“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

(The Times, 18 January 2009).

It wasn’t just Mr Mignini or the Italian officials who found the behavior of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito strange:

“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.’”

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

Amy Frost, another witness who had flown in from Britain, testified 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 behavior at the police station was “inappropriate”, as if she had “gone crazy”....

This was no behavior just slightly out of the ordinary. It was nothing remotely like stoic. John Kelly’s assertion that the Italian authorities fabricated a case against Amanda Knox simply because she didn’t respond the way she was expected to in Italy seems pretty ridiculous.

Amanda Knox actually made herself into a suspect because she admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed, and she voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007.

The police already strongly suspected that Knox and Sollecito were involved in Meredith’s murder because they had given contradictory and conflicting witness statements and their telephone records proved that they had told the police what Sollecito himself described as “a pack of lies”.

Now for John Kelly’s next claim.

KELLY: “There’s no forensic evidence. There’s no physical evidence…. There’s no substantive evidence whatsoever against Amanda….”

“I think the only forensic evidence they had was a small portion of Amanda’s DNA on the handle of a knife in Raffaele’s apartment, where she was all the time. And it’s not even consistent with the murder weapon that was used.”

“The murder weapon was a three and a half inch knife. This is a six and a half inch knife that had a minute portion of Amanda’s DNA on it, and inconclusive tests that on the tip of it there was some of Meredith’s blood.”

There are so many factual errors in John Kelly’s comments above that it is hard to know where to begin. For starters, John Kelly contradicts himself by saying there is no forensic evidence, and then saying that the knife is the only forensic evidence.

The knife sequestered from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment is in fact compatible with the deep puncture wound on Meredith’s neck. This was a point that even the defence forensic experts conceded.

The tests on the DNA found on the blade of the knife were not inconclusive. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni testified at the trial that the DNA on the blade of the knife has been reliably identified as Meredith’s

Both Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the scientific police, and the Kerchers’ own DNA expert, Professor Francesca Torricelli, provided independent confirmation that this forensic finding is accurate and reliable.

The double DNA knife is far from the only piece of incriminating forensic evidence.

There were five instances of Amanda Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage, including in Filomena’s room where the break-in was staged.

Furthermore, there was a woman’s bloody shoeprint compatible with Knox’s foot size on a pillow in Meredith’s room. This bloody shoeprint was not compatible with Meredith’s own foot size.

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp.

Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by luminol in the hallway, and the other one was easily visible to the naked eye on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s and Knox’s shared bathroom.

Now for John Kelly’s next claim.

KELLY: “There’s no opportunity.”

Actually there was. Plenty. Amanda Knox’s and Raffale Sollecito’s mobile phone activity on the night of the murder point to their making an opportunity. They both turned off their mobile phones at approximately at 8.40 pm, shortly before Meredith was killed and turned them on again the following day at around 6.00 am - although they claimed they slept in late.

They both claimed conveniently that they couldn’t remember much about the period during which Meredith was killed because they claimed they were suffering from cannabis-induced amnesia (whatever that is) though what they actually did claim to remember differed wildly between the two of them.

Even now after the defense phase of the trial the defendants STILL don’t have credible alibis - despite three attempts each. Sollecito is still refusing to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment all that night - in Sollecito’s last alibi, he claimed that Knox left his apartment at 9 pm and returned only at around 1.00 am.

Now for John Kelly’s next claim.

KELLY: “There’s no confession.”

Actually there is. John Kelly clearly hasn’t read Amanda Knox’s handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007 which was entered in evidence. In that, she voluntarily admitted that she was present at Meredith’s murder: “Everything I have said in regards to my involvement in Meredith’s death, even though it is contrasting, are the best truth that I have been able to think.”

Strong victims-rights proponent John Kelly appeared on the Larry King show to rant and make wild claims without seeming to have even a basic grasp of the facts. Really that was a pity.

The real victim here, Meredith Kercher, could use a heavyweight like him in her corner right about now.


Posted on 10/27/09 at 10:59 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCNN Network
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #18-B: That Weekend Destination Meredith Might Have Loved, Here At Night

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


A mere four or five hours from Perugia, and another of those wonderful destinations in Italy that foreigners are so quick to make their own. Posted previously in daylight. 

Italy surely leads the world now, with France a close second, in the quality and the extent of its amazing urban floodlighting.  As usual, click for the larger images.


















Posted on 10/25/09 at 05:46 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Producer Of CBS Reports On The Case “Crazy, Desperate, Stupid, And/Or Unscrupulous” ?

Posted by The Machine



[click for larger image] 

Meet Joe Halderman. A CBS producer in New York. He now stands accused of blackmail.

None of the four US networks that have attempted coverage of Meredith’s case has a good record for impartial reporting, or anything remotely like a firm grasp of the prosecution evidence as actually presented.

Not one of them seems to be aware of the very careful pre-trial process or the very damning Micheli report. 

Nevertheless, the overall records of NBC, ABC and CNN seem to show some slight attempt at balance.

NBC produced two extremely good Dateline documentaries, which still represent the standard to beat. ABC has a reporter in the court in Perugia, Ann Wise, who we often quote on TJMK because her reporting is generally impartial and good.

And although CNN aired the one-sided Larry King Show last week, and the wild-eyed Jane Velez Mitchel panel discussion (now disappeared from YouTube) in which the lunatics appeared to be running the asylum, CNN did have some good reporting in the early days of the case, and we hear they will attempt to report better.

CBS undeniably is the worst of the worst. CBS has repeatedly spread bias and misinformation and slimed Italian professionals and witnesses, and for that matter Italy itself, throughout the past two years.

Here is our post on one disaster of a CBS report. And here,  here,  here,  and here are our posts on another.

Joe Halderman of CBS (above) co-produced both of them.

Several weeks ago, Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail for apparently attempting to stiff CBS comedy host David Letterman for two million dollars.

Mr Halderman, a producer for the real-life crime show 48 Hours, entered his plea as he appeared in court in Manhattan on a charge of attempted grand larceny.

Speaking earlier, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said that the offence, if proven, was punishable by a prison term of five to 15 years. “Our concern here is extortion and that’s what we’re focusing on,” he said.

Mr Halderman was arrested following an undercover police “sting” operation at a New York hotel, during which he was allegedly recorded setting out his blackmail demands to Letterman’s lawyer.

Now it is being reported in New York that Joe Halderman’s story is taking a really bizarre turn.

One of the last 48 Hours stories that CBS Newsman and accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman worked on - airing just one month before he allegedly launched his plot to extort the late-night host - involved a ransom scheme…

It’s a run-of-the-mill true-crime tale of murder and deception, but it features one detail that seems strange in retrospect: The sister of one of the victims, who never got her brother’s remains from the Philippines after his murder, at one point received creepy anonymous e-mails from someone claiming to have her brother’s ashes, and offering to sell them to her….

The strange thing is, in the story Halderman reported, the ransom scheme goes haywire: The man behind the e-mail ends up attracting attention to himself and gets arrested for Rios’ murder….

We came across the weird synchronicity between Halderman’s day job and his after-hours scheming while going through his old 48 Hours segments and looking for signs that they may have been produced by someone crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to engage in blackmail.

Hmmm. Apparently Joe Halderman is crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to mislead a large segment of the American population about the real facts of Meredith’s murder.

Real crime seems a small step from there. 

Three others who Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau might also want to keep a close eye on are CBS junior producer Sara Ely Hulse, CBS reporter Peter Van Sant, and CBS consultant detective Paul Ciolino!

All have shown themselves extremely ignorant of the basic facts of the case.

Email exchanges with the obviously obsessively pro-Knox producer Sara Ely Hulse have suggested to us that, among many other key facts of the case, she was not aware of the following:

  • Amanda Knox had a criminal record in Seattle.
  • Amanda Knox had met Rudy Guede on a number of occasions.
  • Amanda Knox was not questioned for 14 hours without an interpreter.
  • A woman’s bloody shoeprint in Knox’s size was found on a pillow in Meredith’s room.

The seemingly extremely amateurish detective Paul Ciolino was responsible for conducting the farcical experiment in Perugia in the first CBS documentary linked-to above where he could not even get the STREET right before claiming this was a railroad job from hell.

And reporter Peter Van Sant channeled some of the worst libels about Prosecutor Mignini - baseless claims about satanic sects and so on - without even being able to spell Prosecutor Mignini’s name properly!

It seems to us very odd that both Sara Ely Hulse and Paul Ciolino appear to be members of the Free Amanda Knox Facebook group. Does CBS have any guidelines at all on ethical matters or standards of reporting?

On second thoughts…. Do we REALLY have to ask?



Above: CBS reporter Peter Van Sant who repeated online unfounded libelous smears about Prosecutor Mignini



Above: Junior CBS producer Sara Ely Hulse, an obsessed Knox fan who participated in CBS’s two fiascos.



Above: CBS consultant Paul Ciolino who ran a farcical test in Perugia and also slimed prosecutor and police



Above: Indecisive CBS producer Doug Longhini who with Joe Halderman produced CBS’s two fiascos

Posted on 10/23/09 at 12:51 PM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedHoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCBS NetworkNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Follain’s Book And At Least One Other On Meredith’s Sad Case Due Out In January

Posted by Peter Quennell


The verdict in the case is tentatively expected around the end of the first week in December and the first of the books will be out about six weeks later.

Please expect detailed reviews of all the books here on TJMK.

Our criteria for judging all the books is really pretty simple. One, will they be accurate on all the evidence and fair to the Italian system? And two, will they tell us sympathetically much more than we already know about the wonderful person that was Meredith? Or will they simply obsess further about the two defendants? 

Everything we know about John Follain (above), the Italy correspondent for the UK Sunday Times, from John’s past reporting on the case, from his past books, and from comments about him by those who work with him in Rome and greatly respect him, is that John is scrupulously fair, never ever sensational, and increasingly well researched on who Meredith really was.

We are still waiting to see what angle Nina Burleigh will be taking in “Cottage in Perugia” but we are hopeful. And we can probably kinda anticipate what one-note angle Candace Dempsey’s “Murder In Italy” will be taking.

Oh and this just for the record. Nearly a million people dropped by TJMK seeking to know Meredith in the past year.

Posted on 10/21/09 at 12:46 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #18: Yet Another Wonderful Weekend Destination That Meredith Might Have Loved

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[click for larger images]

















Posted on 10/18/09 at 11:02 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reporters: Seven Areas To Pinpoint With Curt Knox, Edda Mellas And Chris Mellas

Posted by Kermit




Tough questions for reporters to get beyond the incessant spin

Area To Pinpoint #1

Don’t you think that Amanda’s latest of several defence positions is weakened by the fact that her new alibi - that she was with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito all night - does not coincide with the alibi of Raffaele?

He has used his right to not declare in their trial but stated just after the crime that he was at his apartment all night, and that Amanda left between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. on the night of the murder?

(Raffaele’s defence lawyers and his father have confirmed to journalists covering the trial that while they have some defence issues in common with Amanda - for example, questioning the DNA analysis - Raffaele’s defence is not necessarily supportive of or in line with Amanda’s.)

Area To Pinpoint #2

Why did Amanda cut short a questioning session (where she was accompanied by her lawyer) in December 2007, near the beginning of the investigation, and maintain silence - as is her right under Italian law - until the trial was well underway in 2009?

Area To Pinpoint #3

Why do you need a costly, professional PR campaign aimed at an American audience, when your daughter is in an Italian trial? Some observers feel that since the legal case against Amanda is strong, your only hope is to influence the State Department and obtain its political intervention in this case.

However, American diplomats - beyond providing basic, standard consular support - don’t want to touch this case with a ten-foot pole.

Area To Pinpoint #4

Why do you question the honor and professionalism of the Prosecutor of Amanda’s murder trial through your Amercian focused PR campaign, when Amanda’s Italian defence lawyer had to apologise to Prosecutor Mignini for this campaign?

This campaign extrapolates the slight that an American fiction author (Douglas Preston) felt when he was momentarily arrested after ensnaring himself in a police sting operation to do with planting false evidence when he was using a false name.

This arrest was recently rejected for separate legal action against Mignini. On the basis of Preston’s bad feelings, the PR campaign tells us that Mignini has a “history” of inappropriate behaviour.

Do you agree that this smells of “spin”? Why can’t you fight Amanda’s legal battle on the basis of a solid, coherent alibi?

Area To Pinpoint #5

Why would Amanda call you in the middle of the night in Seattle to tell you about what was still supposedly only a break-in in her house (before Meredith Kercher’s door was broken down by the police who soon arrived), when Amanda was accompanied by her Italian boyfriend who would know better than her how to react?

Why to your great surprise at Capanne Prison could Amanda not even remember making that call? And why on the witness stand did it take you many minutes to summarize that 88-second call?

Area To Pinpoint #6

Before the trial started, Amanda’s Italian defence lawyer publicly stated that Amanda had not been hit by police during her questioning on 5 November 2007.

During that session she stated she was in the cottage when Meredith was murdered, and she falsely accused Patrick Lumumba of being the murderer - an accusation which has given rise to an additional charge against her).

Once the trial had started, and coinciding with the arrival of Amanda’s stepfather Chris Mellas in Perugia, Amanda made a spontaneous statement in court that she had been slapped on the back of her head during this questioning, and her Italian lawyer had to incorporate these statements into her testimony.

Are you satisfied with the Italian defence team? Are they aligned with the talking points of the PR campaign?

Area To Pinpoint #7

The justification that Amanda has been held in preventive custody since she became a suspect is due to the possibility that she may flee Italy (in addition earlier on in the investigation to the possibility that evidence may be tampered with).

On various occasions you have publicly regretted not getting Amanda out of Italy before she was arrested.

Also, Seattle King County Judge Heavey (associated with the “Friends of Amanda” campaign) sent a letter to the Italian judiciary on State of Washington letterhead where he decried alleged irregularities and illegalities in the investigation (nobody knows what he based these allegations on).

Such an official letter would suggest to Italian authorities that were Amanda ever to find herself in the United States before her legal processes have finished, that it could be difficult or impossible to extradite her back to Italy.

Are some of the public statements made on behalf of Amanda counterproductive to obtaining her early freedom?

Posted on 10/15/09 at 06:36 PM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Amanda Knox 1.0Knox-Mellas teamHeavey, BremnerHoaxers from 2011Knox BookHoaxers: media groupsCNN Network
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Croydon Guardian The Kerchers’ Hometown Paper Continues To Report Objectively

Posted by The Machine


Click above for the factual report. The Croydon Guardian has posted way over 100 stories and regular readers will be among the best-informed in the UK.

The Croydon Guardian was the first newspaper anywhere to mention True Justice For Meredith Kercher, which helped put TJMK on the map in November of 2008.

It is also good to see the journalist Kirsty Whalley doing what so many journalists covering the case have failed to do, namely sticking to the facts. No spin. She writes a balanced account and is not afraid to unequivocally state that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife and Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp.

It’s no secret that Amanda Knox’ family and supporters have tried to exert a stranglehold over the media and angrily control what journalists can and cannot write. So it’s refreshing to read an article in a small local paper that hasn’t been hijacked for once by Curt Knox, Edda Mellas, Anne Bremner or Doug Preston.

Incidentally, Anne Bremner needs to prep up on Italian law after getting a basic fact wrong in a recent interview on ABC News when she claimed that the Italian legal system has eight jurors and two judges. Bremner seems to have the unfortunate habit of messing up whenever she’s interviewed about the case.

Who can forget her stridently analyzing entirely the wrong crime scene on NBC last year?

The editors of two of the newspapers in Seattle - the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the West Seattle Herald - could also learn a thing or two from reading Kirsty’s article. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will not now allow any of its readers to comment about the case - something that online reporter Monica Guzman was commendably unhappy about.

Italy has been portrayed as being a backward country by elements in the US media and especially by a vociferous minority in Seattle. Perhaps the people of Seattle should be more concerned about being denied the right of freedom of speech, a basic constitutional right, by one of their main newspapers.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s readers deserve to know whether Amanda Knox’s family was behind the decision to ban all comments about the case. It has already been well-documented on TJMK that the Seattle-Post Intelligencer hosts a strident and highly inaccurate “reader’s blog” which has had a record of trashing poor Meredith and her silently-grieving family.

The West Seattle Herald hasn’t fared much better with bumbling reporter Steve Shay covering the case. Shay’s pieces are more like Knox family newsletters than newspaper articles. Shay landed The West Seattle Herald in hot water by making unfounded comments about Mignini, which resulted in Mignini suing the newspaper

If it relies on its own local paper, Croydon essentially knows the truth of what is going on. And Seattle unfortunately doesn’t if it relies on its own dismal reporting.

Posted on 10/14/09 at 05:41 PM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #5 Defendants’ Claims Shown To Be A Mass Of Contradictions

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Perugia’s central police station]

Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports, some transcripts made of the testimony and the mobile phone records of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The first four posts were on the DNA evidence, the luminol-enhanced footprint evidence, and Raffaele Sollecito’s and Amanda Knox’s various conflicting alibis.

Now we look at the many contradictory statements of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito brought out by the prosecution.

The prosecution showed that not only are they contradicted by one another. They are contradicted by telephone and computer records, by closed-circuit TV footage, and by the corroborated testimony of several witnesses.

One question that Judge Massei and Judge Cristiana and the six members of the jury will now be asking themselves is: if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent and had nothing to hide, why did they lie so repeatedly?

Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers have had the unenviable task of trying to explain all their contradictions away.

Sollecito’s lawyers have argued that he lied out of confusion and fear. Knox’s lawyers have argued that she dramatically changed her version of events because she was hit and mistreated by the police on 5 November 2007.  Neither of these claims stood up to close scrutiny.

And the prosecution made it overwhelmingly apparent to the judges and the jury that Knox and Sollecito each lied deliberately and repeatedly to various people even before they were suspects and even before Knox was questioned on 5 November.

It was made intensely obvious that Knox and Sollecito’s versions of what they did on 1 November had very little in common with each other, especially in that part of the evening when they both claim they couldn’t remember very much because they were suffering from cannabis-induced amnesia.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that shows that cannabis can cause such dramatic amnesia. Skunk cannabis can cause extreme psychotic episodes and murders have occurred as a result. Long term use of cannabis can affect short-term memory and users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But wipe out whole chunks of an evening from anyone’s memory banks? The proof simply isn’t there.

1-A) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito told investigators that Knox and he had left the cottage on Via della Pergola at 6.00pm and that they went for a walk downtown. They passed through Piazza Grimana, Piazza Morlacchi and the main fountain in Corso Vannucci.

1-B) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Amanda Knox

Knox told investigators it was an hour earlier at 5.00pm and that they went straight to Sollecito’s apartment.

2-A) The evening of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito first claimed in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, computer expert Mr Trotta said that the film had actually been watched at around 6.30 pm.

On 5 November Sollecito told police that Knox went to meet friends at Le Chic at around 9pm and that she didn’t return until about 1am:

“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11pm. Phone records show that there was no telephone conversation at this time. Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier at 8.40pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was alone and surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am. No technical evidence of this was introduced. computer specialists have testified that his computer was not used for an eight-hour period on the night of Meredith’s murder

The Kercher’s lawyer, Franco Maresca, pointed out that credible witnesses had really shattered all of Sollecito’s alibi for the night of the murder.

2-B) The evening of 1 November according to Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox told the police that she hadn’t replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message. The police knew full well that this wasn’t true because they already had her mobile phone records that proved that she had texted him.

“After that [finding out she wasn’t required at Le Chic] I believe we relaxed in his room together, perhaps I checked my email.” But no internet activity at all was proven at Sollecito’s apartment beyond the early evening.

“One thing I do remember is that I took a shower with Raffaele and this might explain how we passed the time. In truth, I do not remember exactly what day it was, but I do remember that we had a shower and we washed ourselves for a long time. He cleaned my ears, he dried and combed my hair.”

But Sollecito made no mention of taking a shower with Amanda Knox on the night of the murder.

In Amanda Knox’s handwritten note to the police she claimed that she and Sollecito ate around 11.00pm:

“One of the things I am sure that definitely happened the night on which Meredith was murdered was that Raffaele and I ate fairly late, I think around 11 in the evening”

But Knox testified at the trial that she and Sollecito ate around 9.30pm.  “After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor.”

3) The early hours of 2 November

Both Knox and Sollecito claim that they woke up late on 2 November. However, their mobile phone records show the mobiles were turned on at approximately 6.02am. Sollecito also used his computer at 5.32am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

4) The afternoon of 2 November

At 1208pm, Amanda Knox called Filomena and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom. Knox claims that she made this call from Sollecito’s apartment.

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

Knox claimed that when she called Meredith’s Italian phone it “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her mobile phone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (Meredith’s WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds. There were no messages left.)

At 12.34pm Amanda and Filomena again spoke on their phones. Filomena said, “We spoke to each other for the third time and she told me that the window in my room was broken and that my room was in a mess. At this point I asked her to call the police and she told me that she already had.”

The prosecution introduced records to show that Knox and Sollecito didn’t actually call the police until 12.51pm.

In her email to friends in Seattle on 4 November, Amanda Knox says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena. Knox’s mobile phone records prove that this was untrue.

In the email, Amanda also claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele finished calling the police at 12:55pm. But cellphone records show that Knox never ever called Filomena back at all.

Sollecito and Knox both claimed they had called the police before the postal police had turned up at the cottage and were waiting for them. Sollecito later admitted that this was not true, and that he had lied because he had believed Amanda Knox’s version of what had happened.

He said he went outside “to see if I could climb up to Meredith’s window” but could not. “I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.

He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).

The CCTV cameras in the car park record the arrival of the postal police at 12.25pm which corroborates Sollecito’s admission that he had spoken rubbish.

Knox’s email to friends in Seattle describes the decision to call the police as something implemented by herself and Sollecito, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

Knox’s mobile phone records show that she called her mother at 12:47pm, but she makes no mention of this call in her email. (This call was very extensively analysed by fellow poster Finn MacCool and he showed a fascinating progression in both Amanda’s and her mother’s recollection of that call.) 

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

Amanda Knox testified that she couldn’t even remember phoning her mother, which will be very difficult for the court to believe. Phoning her mother when it is well after midnight in Seattle to tell her mother that she thought somebody had broken into her home and that her housemate was missing seems an unlikely thing to forget.

Amanda Knox told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked. Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

The prosecution also made it obvious to the court that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, like Rudy Guede, changed their stories to fit new facts as they became known:

When Sollecito was confronted with the mobile phone records on 5 November, he immediately admitted that they hadn’t called 112 before the postal police arrived.

After initially denying it, Knox readily admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed when she found out that Sollecito had stopped providing her with an alibi.

Despite this changing of their stories to take into account the latest known facts, Knox’s and Sollecito’s versions still contained numerous contradictions. Sollecito’s final alibi contains several apparent lies, and Amanda Knox accused Diya Lumumba of killing Meredith while making no mention of Rudy Guede. 

In Conclusion

The reasons Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have given for them lying - namely false memories, confusion and fear – seem very unlikely to fly with the court.

Repeated evidence was introduced to show that Meredith’s other flatmates and friends all behaved radically differently, and told what were obvious truths that matched up repeatedly and resulted in not a single major contradiction. All were checked out in this careful fashion and then allowed to go on their way.

Only the defendants’ claims failed to coincide or match with everything else.

Again, and again, and again.


Moved By Italian Justice: Doing The Very Best It Can For Meredith And Her Poor Family

Posted by Hopeful

Crestfallen and broken, Amanda and Raffaele react in visible distress in the latest courtroom photos.

Amanda looks sad, smitten, perplexed, astounded, with anger not far under the veneer, yet overall truly sorrowful for the first time in 2 years. Raffaele is weeping as the court denies more evidence do-overs. He feels the weight of this blow.

These two are probably guilty, but it still makes me sad to see what prison can do to human beings. Why, oh why, couldn’t they have let Meredith live and simply enjoy her sweet life? Mercy to her would have been multiplied back to them so very many times over.

I believe Prosecutor Mignini and his assistant, Mrs. Comodi, and all the Perugia homicide cops want to see JUSTICE done above all.

Surely they take no pleasure in the misery that native-son Sollecito is undergoing. They had to arrest him to redress a huge evil. I’m sure they regret the repercussions this has meant to his father, a fine medical doctor, an upstanding citizen of Italy. Despite this, and America’s loud outcries, they have proceeded.

I think the Italian police and prosecutors have acted with more intense caution and discretion in handling the evidence against Amanda because of her U.S. citizenship. I don’t think this is a case of two innocents being railroaded.

If the Italian police had wanted to score points politically, they could have closed the case after the arrest and conviction of Rudy Guede. The police saw undeniable proof to their practiced eyes that Amanda and Raffaele were very guilty.

And I don’t think forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome is in the prosecution’s back pocket. I believe she acted in good faith. Patient and careful analysis of forensic lab samples requires real intelligence and excludes quick passion.

“To Be or Not To Be”. Methinks Amanda does look a little Danish.

It wasn’t fish blood or cat’s blood or pierced ear blood on their hands, it was the blood of honor. Meredith was defenseless in a foreign land. She was a great asset to her own family, to the Erasmus program, to Italy, and eventually to the world. She deserves the best efforts of her host country, and she’s receiving them here.

It now feels like justice is not only happening here - it’s convincingly SEEN to be happening. We all owed you this one, sweet Meredith. May you rest in peace.

Posted on 10/11/09 at 06:56 AM by HopefulClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe officially involvedPolice and CSIThe prosecutorsThe judiciaryVictims family
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied: The Report From Andrea Vogt

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from the report of Andrea Vogt (above) in the Seattle P-I.

An Italian jury rejected Amanda Knox’s multiple requests for an independent review of contested evidence Friday, bringing the end in sight to the Seattle student’s contentious murder trial….

Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, asked the court to approve an independent review of several contested pieces of forensic evidence, most notably the kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and what prosecutor’s argue is the Kercher’s on the blade, and a bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA.

Knox’s lawyers also asked for a review of the luminol-enhanced footprints, the mark on the pillowcase that the prosecution argued was a woman’s shoeprint, but which the defense argues is simply a bloody crease, and several other traces of DNA found in the flat Knox and Kercher shared….

The Kercher family’s attorney, Francesco Maresca of Florence, argued, however, that the court already had plenty of material to review. “We all know that in all trials of this nature there are different analyses of forensic evidence made by the various expert witnesses,” he said. “The court must now consider the seriousness and integrity of the experts’ testimony.”

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi went a step farther, saying while she did not believe a review was necessary, she would she would “almost be pleased” to see the results with regard to the prosecution’s footprint expert analysis.

The eight-member jury, which includes two professional judges, flatly rejected all defense requests at 9:30 p.m. after deliberating just under two hours.

Immediately after the judge’s announcement, Sollecito bowed his head and briefly wept, as lawyers began haggling over court dates for closing arguments.

Knox glanced worriedly at her lawyers, who patted her on the back and insisted confidently after the hearing that the outcome was not unexpected, nor necessarily negative for their client…

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Knox’s Perugian attorney, Luciano Ghirga. “We wanted to clarify the evidence, but obviously the judge doesn’t feel he needs additional information. We are ready to argue.”

The judge was careful to note that the jury’s decision did not indicate a presumption of guilt and left open the possibility that the court could call for additional review of evidence after closing arguments and before a verdict.

Nonetheless many court observers expressed surprise at the fact that the jury chose to not review even a single element of the controversial forensic evidence. For Knox, however, the complete rejection of a third-party review could have a silver lining—effectively positioning her better for an eventual appeal.

Our legal watchers doubt the validity of that last remark - that somehow the judges and the jury have messed up here, and that this is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeals.

They note that Italy has a “smart jury” system which is encouraged to take a very broad birds-eye view of the case. The multi-alibis testimony and the mobile-phone testimony and the eye-witness testimony and the various mixed-blood traces and the various bloody footprints are considered almost impossible to account for if the defendants are in fact not guilty. The DNA on the knife and the bra-clasp are not make-or-break issues in this case and never were.

The sleeper in this trial of course as in the Rudy Guede trial is the huge and very detailed report that the judges must prepare and release within three months of their verdict. The astounding level of profesionalism of those reports - unique in the law world - leaves American lawyers in real awe.  In the case of Guede, the report by Judge Micheli was absolutely damning.

If the verdict here also is guilty, those unconvinced by that report will probably all fit neatly into one Volkswagen.

Posted on 10/10/09 at 11:52 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesEvidence & witnessesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009
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Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied - The Report From Nick Pisa

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from Nick Pisa’s report in the UK’s Daily Mail.

A judge last night rejected defence requests for an independent review of evidence in the Meredith Kercher murder case.

The decision means that a verdict in the trial will come by early December as an independent review could have taken up to a month delaying the decision….

Yesterday lawyers for Knox and Sollecito argued that the review should be held because of errors in the police investigation and the way evidence was collected.

Key to the case is a 30cm black handled kitchen knife on which DNA from Knox was found on the handle and that of Meredith on the blade.

Prosecutors say the knife, which was found in the kitchen of Sollecito’s flat, is compatible with the murder weapon - which has never been found.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Della Vedova said that too many discrepancies had emerged in the examination of the knife by forensic scientists….

Sollecito’s lawyers had also asked for a review of a bloodied bra clasp found at the scene which had his DNA on it.

They pointed out that the clasp had been found during an initial police search in one point and then ‘lost’ for six weeks before being found else where in the room….

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had argued that: ‘There is no need for a review as the evidence was gathered in a very professional way by qualified persons.’

In his ruling judge Massei said: ‘The court has heard from several consultants who have brought several elements and which rule out the need for any further proof.’...

As the judge read out his decision Knox, who earlier had been laughing and joking with guards, closed her eyes and looked upwards.

Sollecito rubbed his eyes and was in tears as the decision would seem to indicate the court has already made up its mind over their guilt.

Posted on 10/10/09 at 11:44 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesEvidence & witnessesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Dan Norder “Crime Historian” Makes Over A Dozen Mistakes In A Very Short Piece

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for all of Dan Norder’s offensive and wildly misleading post. Some excerpts below.

The commenters below his absurd piece pretty well nail him to the wall. He makes a couple of flustered responses that only dig him in deeper, and then he goes (hopefully forever) silent.

And so yet another Doug Preston sock-puppet bites the dust. Where does Preston FIND these suckers?!

Italian investigators formed a rather unusual theory to explain the murder. Amanda Knox — Kercher’s American roommate, who was then 20 — and Raffaele Sollecito — an Italian who was Knox’s 23-year-old boyfriend at the time — were accused of being sex maniacs who wanted Kercher to participate in an orgy, raping and killing her when she refused.

Police apparently came up with this explanation because they thought it was strange that the two, while being held for routine questioning, were seen cuddling and occasionally kissing. Somehow the public displays of affection went from being considered merely inappropriate behavior under the circumstances to evidence of a lust murder.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, at first argued that Kercher was killed by Knox and Sollecito as part of a Satanic ritual [he didn’t] involving an orgy or sacrifice, but later decided to tone things down a bit and focus solely on the idea of extreme sexual perversion.

Mignini has made similar accusations in the past [he hasn’t] most notably in the Monster of Florence case. After American author Douglas Preston and Italian reporter Mario Spezi criticized him for blaming that unsolved series of murders on a shadowy group of devil worshippers, Mignini responded by accusing them of being part of this Satanic conspiracy. Spezi was imprisoned on suspicion of murder and Preston was driven out of Italy after being threatened with prosecution.

Mignini’s preoccupation with the idea of Satanic cults [he has none] is one that is shared by a number of people in various countries over the years. For example, in the 1980s the United States legal system was full of alleged incidents of groups of people engaged in sexual molestation and murders based upon shoddy and manufactured evidence…

Unfortunately these kinds of accusations often are accepted at face value. The moral outrage at the idea of such crimes is so overwhelming that things like lack of evidence and the sheer absurdities of the claims being made never sink in. Similarly, the idea that Knox and Sollecito were perverts capable of murder was leaked by the police to the press and took on a life of its own.

When Knox was unable to obtain her clothes after the cottage became a crime scene and went to buy new underwear, the news media painted it as inappropriately rushing off to buy lingerie after the murder. Tabloid papers in England and Italy have continually referred to her as “Foxy Knoxy” and “Angel Face,” reinforcing the idea that she is a siren instead of a student. Whenever a photographer captures Knox smiling at a family member or friend who she has not yet seen during the two years she’s been incarcerated, the public just sees that she’s always smiling in court and concludes that there’s something wrong with her.

But what evidence has been presented in court that would support the idea that Knox is a homicidal sex maniac? Kercher’s friends from England testified that she resented Knox for bringing men over to the house and for having condoms and a vibrator in a bag in the bathroom.

The actual evidence points to a more simple solution [actually it does’nt] . DNA tests show that Rudy Guede, a 20-year-old acquantance of the students who lived downstairs at the time of the murder, had sex with Kercher the night she was killed. His DNA was also found in the bathroom. Bloody shoe prints matching his foot size were discovered by the body. He fled to Germany shortly after the murder. In fact, he’s even already been convicted of the crime.

But apparently Mignini couldn’t let go of his theory. Guede gave conflicting stories after his arrest, originally claiming that Kercher and he had consensual sex, that she had been killed while he was in the bathroom, and that he saw an unknown Italian man over the body. But he eventually told the police what they wanted to hear: that Knox and Sollecito were responsible for the whole thing….

Posted on 10/09/09 at 10:52 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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Trial: The Agenda For Today’s Evidence Hearing In The Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for La Nazione’s report in Italian. The translation, with thanks to PMF’s Tiziano

[Today’s] sitting of the trial of RS and AK for the murder of MK before the Court of the Assizes of Perugia , the examination of the witnesses having been completed, will be dedicated to final investigative requests which will be presented by the parties.

This sitting is being prepared for by the prosecution and the defence with the greatest discretion.

However it is taken as given that the lawyers for the accused will ask for an impartial expert report on the DNA traces at the centre of the investigation. The court will begin to examine these requests tomorrow from 3.30 PM. The time to arrive at a verdict will then depend upon the decision, which could arrive on Saturday. The trial could lengthen if in fact expert reports or eventual other witnesses should be be permitted. If this is not so, however, the final phase with closing arguments and addresses will ensue.

The defences for Sollecito and Knox have already announced that they intend to ask for an expert report on the DNA traces found on the bra clasp of the victim, attributed to the young man from Puglia, and on the traces on the blade of the knife, considered to be the weapon used in the crime, which belong to the American and to MK. The lawyers have in fact challenged the means by which the items were collected and the way that they were analysed, advancing the hypothesis of accidental contamination.

Thus [today] a formal request for the expert report should be made, but the possibility of a surprise request is not ruled out. On the other hand, it does not appear that the PMs Manuela Comodi and Giuliano Mignini will be making any particular requests. They have spoken of a “solid prosecution picture” emerging from the witnesses. The lawyers for the civil complainants, the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna, seem to be following the same line, having highlighted the “quality” of the work done by the investigators.

The court’s decision should be announced tomorrow Saturday.  It can of course turn these requests for more tests down. If that happens, we would see the closing arguments (summations) from the prosecution and defenses and a verdict all happening in the next several weeks.

With the court only in session from mid-afternoon today, we guess if there is any report it will be a late one. The report tomorrow will be the biggie.

Posted on 10/09/09 at 03:24 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Newsweek’s Barbie Nadeau Has A Really Vital Piece On How The Evidence Stacks Up

Posted by Peter Quennell


And,  in short, it is ominous.

Click above for the full report. This really IS vital reading. A few key excerpts as follows.

Evidence: Rudy Guede

Who it hurts: Knox and Sollecito

Rudy Guede is the 24-year-old Ivory Coast native convicted in a fast-track trial last October for his role in Kercher’s murder. He is serving a 30-year sentence (his appeal begins on Nov. 19). Guede, who refused to testify in the Knox trial, has admitted that he was in the house when Kercher was killed. He says Kercher invited him there and that the two were making out when a stomach cramp from a bad kebab sent him to the bathroom. He was on the toilet with his iPod headphones on through four songs and, when he came out, Kercher was dying. He says he tried to save Kercher by using a towel to sop up the blood on her neck wounds, but he was scared after a man he says looked like Sollecito told him that “they’ll pin this on the black guy.” Guede fled to Germany, where he was later arrested for skipping a train fare. His feces (found in a toilet), along with his DNA and fingerprints from Kercher’s bedroom, link him to the crime scene. The sentencing judge who convicted him, though, did not see him as a lone assailant. Instead, the judge wrote in his sentencing report that he believed Guede acted with Knox and Sollecito.

Evidence: Murder dynamic

Who it hurts: Knox and Sollecito

One of the most complicated aspects of Kercher’s tragic death is how the murder itself played out. The prosecution believes that Knox, Sollecito, and Guede taunted Kercher in a sex game that quickly escalated to violence and ended in murder. Countless forensic experts, including those who performed the autopsies on Kercher’s body, have testified that more than one person killed her based on the size and location of her injuries and the fact that she didn’t fight back—no hair or skin was found under her fingernails. The defense has confused matters more: Knox’s forensic specialist testified that Kercher had been killed by only one person from the front, but Sollecito’s expert testified that Kercher had been killed by one person from behind.

Evidence: Knox’s confession

Who it hurts: Knox

On Nov. 5, 2007, Sollecito was called to the Perugia police station for questioning about Kercher’s murder. Knox testified last June that she did not want to be alone, so she accompanied him. During his interrogation, Sollecito admitted to police that he did not know for sure if Knox actually spent the night of the murder at his house, as she had told police earlier. Since Knox was at the police station, the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m., and, by 5:45 a.m., Knox had told police that she was in the house when Kercher died—and that Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the nightclub where she worked, was the assailant. She even described Kercher’s screams. She, Sollecito, and Lumumba were arrested. The next day, Knox wrote a five-page memorandum reiterating everything she said the night before. But since there was no lawyer present during her interrogation—and so far no one has produced an audiotape of the interrogation—Knox’s attorneys were able to have her verbal confession thrown out of evidence. The five-page memorandum still holds….

Evidence: Conflicting alibis

Who it hurts: Unknown

Knox maintains that she spent the night of Nov. 1, 2007, at Sollecito’s house. Sollecito did not take the stand during this trial, and his lawyer told NEWSWEEK that it was, at least in part, because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi….

So Sollecito did not take the stand in part because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi. Wow. That has to hurt.

Very much more in Barbie Nadeau’s original piece.  We recommend that you read it all.


Law Enforcement All Over Italy Demonstrating Over Berlusconi Cutbacks Going Too Far

Posted by Peter Quennell


Prime Minister Berlusconi now has his own huge problems so it seems like a good time to demonstrate.

Many Italian cities have just seen demonstrations by law enforcement and there was a large one in Perugia (not these images here).

Leaderships of the law enforcement unions gathered this morning in front of the Prefecture of Police in Perugia to protest against cuts in public security by the government.

Representatives of SIULP, WIS, SIAP, SILPA, UGL and COISP distributed leaflets to people to explain their difficult position as a result of “the Berlusconi government’s political promises to operators of private security,” the “lack of recruitment to compensate for deficiencies in staffing “, the” non-renewal of contracts that expired up to two years ago” and “the inadequate resources being allocated by the government.”

Despite all this, states the flier given out by the union leaderships, the police have quietly continued to work, and to achieve great successes against the Mafia, terrorism, and “widespread crime’....

The president of Umbria provence, Marco Vinicio Guasticce, spoke up on their behalf. “There can be no safety for the citizens if you cut the organs and means that underlie both the prevention and punishment of crime”.

There seems to be a popular theory not unrelated to the facts in Italy that those politicians who move against the police and judiciary always seem to have a lot to hide.

Not much room these days in the overcrowded and underfunded Capanne prison, Mr Berlusconi. Perhaps pick one of the others.


 

Posted on 10/08/09 at 07:35 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contexts
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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Italian Tourism Bouncing Back: Perugia Becoming More Visited

Posted by Peter Quennell

That above is one of Perugia’s four-star hotels right off the great Corso Vanucci. It is two or three minutes walk from the courtroom.

Towns in Italy in mid-summer are always pretty quiet, because so many are away at the beach. But there is a report out now that despite the recession, hotels in Perugia and Italy generally are moving back to very high occupancy.

Italy is the second most-visited country in Europe after France. And rightly so.

Posted on 10/07/09 at 09:43 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer PerugiaThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

And Now An Excellent Report By Andrea Vogt On The University Of Washington Reforms

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt posts this important story on the Seattle PI website.

Ever since we posted this excellent analysis last February of Amanda Knox’s extremely unstructured and underfunded arrangements in Perugia (read also the comments), we have been waiting for the University of Washington and others to move to stop it ever happening again.

Finally, it seems, they have.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

They really should be given a name. The Meredith Kercher reforms.

Posted on 10/06/09 at 08:33 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextN America contextAmanda Knox
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Monday, October 05, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington Area - Where Amanda Knox Lived And Worked

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Three scenes here that would have been much of the rest of what Amanda Knox saw daily in her second student year before heading for Europe.

The first four shots are of the small house that Knox lived in just north of the university campus and then there are two shots of the neighbors. It is here that an infamous party took place which ended with threats to the neighbors and some rock-throwing, and a summons and fine for Knox. She seemed to take the whole thing very lightly.

The next five shots are of the coffee shop (the World Cup) where Knox waitressed for money for Perugia. It went out of business last year, and is now Tango, a dance studio. This shop is quite near to her house, but the street and the block and the store are all pretty unprepossesing. There is little foot traffic nearby, and low wages and low tips might have contributed to Knox being under-funded in Perugia. .

The final two shots are of the street where, had she waitressed here, Knox could have made some real money. She would know this street for sure. It is just one block west of the main campus.

It is known as the U-Distrct Ave or just The Ave,  and it is full of bookstores and restaurants and clothes stores that cater to U-W students with a little money. The shots were taken late in the day and few students were around, but it is for most fo the year extremely lively.

Shots above and just below: Amanda Knox’s rental house in her second year just north of the university



Two shots below: the street and the neighbors of Knox’s house shown in the shots above


Five shots below: The black windows of a former coffee shop where Amanda Knox waitressed to make money for Perugia





Two shots below: the lively “U-Distrct Ave” which Knox presumably walked, shopped, and ate meals along


Posted on 10/05/09 at 09:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington’s Surprisingly Pretty Main Campus

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

As we have been showing, this very sad tale is playing out in a number of beautiful locations.

We’ve had many photo spreads on Perugia and various other places in Italy, including where Sollecito came from, and spreads on Meredith’s exiting hometown of London and her spectacular university town of Leeds.

Now we turn to Seattle.

Amanda Knox came from West Seattle, a very large and surprisingly high plateau south-west of the downtown of Seattle, and she studied for two years at this university several miles north-east of the Seattle downtown.

The top shots here are the most significant from Knox’s perspective, for they are the libraries and lecture halls she would have frequented almost daily. The other shots show other departments and some of the attractive landscaping where she might have sat out with friends.

Why surprisingly pretty? Well, this is a publicly funded American university run by the State of Washington and the public universities, while often very good, can be mind-numbingly utilitarian.

This is not a private Ivy League institution like Harvard or Stanford or Princeton or Yale. But it sure looks like one of them.

As always, click for the larger images.















Posted on 10/04/09 at 09:46 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #17: Another Spectacular Coast That Meredith Might Have Loved

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[click for larger images]

Meredith could easily have reached here by car down the autostrada in three or four hours.

This is the Amalfi coast. Again a very beautiful place that many foreigners in Italy hit in a hurry.

It is the south shore of the peninsula across the bay from Naples - in effect, it has its back to Naples. At the end of the peninsula is Sorrento, and just out to sea beyond is the Isle of Capri.

Improbably, there are towns all the way along. More improbably, there is a two-lane highway all the way along too, very high up on the side of the hill - you can see one shot of it below.

And even more improbably, full-sized buses and coaches head along that road. Mostly they are easy to squeeze past, but periodically in tight places, negotiations have to take place.

Quite often with considerable humor. Italy is never ever short of friendly smiles and laughs. Perhaps one reason Meredith was so attracted. .

These are the previous posts in this series. Many peoples’ favorite.















Posted on 10/03/09 at 08:38 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Friday, October 02, 2009

Apartment Below Meredith’s Is Re-Tenanted And Hers Will Be Too Soon

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for larger image]

The Italian news service AGI has a report on the re-renting of the house that includes this:

Apparently annoyed but amused. one new tenant [of the basement apartment] did not want to talk to reporters. A few days ago, he rented the apartment with two other students…

‘‘No money, no declaration. I want three thousand euros” said the boy in imperfect English when jokingly speaking to reporters who were waiting outside the house on Via della Pergola…

He knows of the attention that will be paid to him by journalists because he has chosen not to live inside the Perugia old sity in an ordinary house, but instead in one that became the scene of a heinous crime for which a trial still proceeds.

The boy, about twenty years old, perhaps Spanish, went out in the afternoon and returned home at around 4:00 pm bringing a small bag, a trolley with two bags, a bag for PC and a backpack.

After closing the green gate behind him which gives access to the house, he stayed home for about ten minutes and then went out again.

Dressed in jeans and a red and blue shirt with a “9” printed on the back and the word ‘‘Espana’’ on the front, he seemed more amused than intimidated by the presence of the journalists. The young man reiterated his unwillingness to speak…

Then, along with three friends, probably all Spanish, he headed out again for a nearby bar to get some coffee takeaways to bring back to the new apartment.

On entering the house the four young men dragged the kitchen table and some chairs outside and they then set to talking quietly, with some amused glances reporters in the garden opposite the front door.

And the Italian news agency APCOM has a report that a Perugia estate agency is in several ongoing negotiations to rent out Meredith’s apartment, now extensively refurbished.

The house is owned by a retired woman who lives in Rome and who seems to be dependant on income from it to pay her way. We believe the Italian government made a payment to her for the period the house was sequestered - for most of the time it was sequestered at the request of the defenses. 

That one of the apartments is again tenanted by students suggests there was no hike in the rent. But the value of the property seems certain to zoom soon in light of this proposal and might one day come down to make way for more parking in the area.

Our poster Kermit created a great Powerpoint show on the house’s rather strange history.

Posted on 10/02/09 at 09:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedEvidence & witnessesOther witnessesThe wider contextsPerugia contextAmanda Knox
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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Posted by Peter Quennell


Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

And the only “criminal charge” against him (it isn’t) seems to flow from his guessing right in the Monster of Florence case - and apparently no charge of this kind has ever won a “conviction”.

Above is Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro.

He is in the news now because he has demanded prison sentences for TWENTY-SIX Americans.

Between them they seem to have colluded in grabbing Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian in Italy, back in President Bush’s day, and taking him off to be tortured.

Not to the United States where torture is not legal, but to Egypt where it more-or-less is.

Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the CIA’s way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it was practiced.

The CIA has declined to comment on the Italian case, and all the Americans are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.

As we remarked in this post it is pretty hard for a foreign government and especially now the American government to throw sand in the Italian wheels of justice. 

The American government is really just sitting this one out. And it may be covertly delighted when Amanda Knox and her clan fade to silence.

Posted on 10/01/09 at 12:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009The wider contextsItalian system
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time’s Nina Burleigh Has A Take On Some Of The Courtroom Participants

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nina Burleigh’s interesting report from the courtroom.

Nina Burleigh is researching a book on the case. She is an experienced and objective researcher with several excellent books to her name, who is unlikely to be swayed by the strong emotions and spin in Perugia.

Posted on 09/30/09 at 11:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Nina BurleighHoaxers: media groupsTime weekly
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Perugia Is At Less Risk Of Earthquakes Than Its Neighbors

Posted by Peter Quennell


See Perugia and you will agree. Any earthquake damage to this truly wonderful town would be a great tragedy in itself.

Here was our previous post. Now an American expert has made public the finding that Perugia is very unusually kind of riding the waves, which explains why it has not seen a major earthquake in 2000 years.

U.S. researchers say they’ve determined some slow-moving faults may help protect some regions of Italy and other parts of the world from earthquakes.

University of Arizona postdoctoral researcher Sigrun Hreinsdottir said until now, geologists thought when a crack between two pieces of the Earth’s crust was at a very gentle slope, there was no movement along that particular fault line.

“This study is the first to show that low-angle normal faults are definitely active,” Hreinsdottir said.

Assistant Professor Richard Bennett, who led the study, said scientists can now “show that the Alto Tiberina fault beneath Perugia is steadily slipping as we speak—fortunately, for Perugia, without producing large earthquakes.”

Perugia is the capital city of Italy’s Umbria region.

Creeping slowly is unusual, Bennett said. Most faults stick, causing strain to build up, and then become unstuck with a big jerk that translates into a big earthquake.

Hreinsdoottir and Bennett say they have shown the gently sloping fault beneath Perugia is moving steadily at the rate of approximately one-tenth of an inch a year.

They said Perugia has not experienced a damaging earthquake in about 2,000 years because the fault is actively slipping and might not be collecting strain.

“To have an earthquake, you have to have strain,” Hreinsdoottir said.  The research appears in the August issue of the journal Geology.

Posted on 09/28/09 at 04:19 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contextsItalian context
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