Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crticism Of The Hellmann Verdict From Meredith’s Family’s Lawyer Francesco Maresca

Posted by ziaK





Mr Maresca made remarks last week critical of the verdict to various Italian media outlets. This is a translation from the Umbria Journal.

Maresca, on Mez: “They were acquitted for lack of proof, but the sentence takes a very one-sided approach”

“Only the defences’ expert witnesses were given any credence. It’s excessive to completely throw out the first instance case”.

The “reasoning report” of the Assizes court of appeal has confirmed that this is a case of an acquittal because of lack of evidence, rather than an acquittal with “formula piena” [approximately “proof of innocence without doubt”]

However it is also a sentence which is a result of a one-sided approach”.

This is the commentary of Francesco Maresca, who together with the lawyer Serena Perna, represents the young victim’s family, on reading of the “reasoning report” on the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the charge of having murdered Meredith Kercher.

“This reasoning report”, he added, “leave us with an even more bitter taste in our mouths because we consider that the judges gave credence only to the defence-team experts, even on items of evidence of a scientific nature which were never the object of consultation”.

“For them to have completely tossed out the preliminary investigations and the first-instance trial seems excessive to me”....

“There are no great surprises”, said Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, who was prosecutor in the first and second-level trials. “It seems to me”, she added, “that there is a lot of room to challenge the sentence. That duty [however] lies entirely with the Attorney General.”

Posted on 12/20/11 at 01:57 PM by ziaK. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Does A Perverse Fear Factor Account For The Hellmann Jury Breaking The Way It Did?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Italian criminologist Massimo Picozzi, a physician, psychiatrist, professor, author and TV host].


We have already posted on the increasingly notorious CSI Effect.

That’s the phenomenon where these days fearful juries can react ultra-cautiously against multiple ambiguous strands of evidence and become impatient with complex science. Among other things, they don’t want egg on their faces down the road .

Some of us who have now absorbed most of the Hellmann report released yesterday are noting two distinctive themes:

  • A garbling of the law and the hard facts (one hard fact Hellmann garbled is that no-one has come close to proving that was Guede’s bare foot print on the bathroom mat, or explained when and why he took his shoes off);
  • A sense of a condescending fury by this jury toward the jury at the first level (Massei’s trial panel) and the prosecution’s scientific experts; this is actually not a unique occurrence in Italy where appeals require whole new juries eager to strut their stuff.

Today on the Perugia Murder File Forum the Italian lawyer Yummi in part had this to say:

The parts that I found more dishonest and unacceptable are, however, those in the matter (and their omissions) rather than the mistakes in [legal] procedures. The “probable” attribution of the footprint to Guede is an example of insult to intelligence. I haven’t read thoroughly the entire document yet, but from what I’ve read I can say this document is a sloppy and shameful fraud.

I think what really matters - the actually “true” part of the document - is the conclusion, where the court explain that the reason for the acquittal was they were afraid. They thought they were in danger of making a mistake, they explain they felt unable to eliminate possibility of mistake. Their fear stemming from not being able to see a clear overall picture of the evidence and a motive is everything. Their fear, confusion and uncertainty is the ground for their lack of any indication even of the paragraph 1 or 2 [mandatory reason for the verdict].

Interviewed today by the Italian paper Corriere the eminent Italian criminologist Massimo Picozzi (image above), who knew of the Hellmann verdict but had not yet seen the Hellmann report, predicted very much the same thing. 

Picozzi: A debate too technical for the jury

Interview of Massimo Picozzi by Leonardo di Molinelli

Corriere: What of the outcome of Perugia?

“I think it was already decided by the jury when there was a battle between consultants on a very technical issue, the contamination of some DNA.”

The criminologist Massimo Picozzi has not yet read the [Hellman] motivation of the absolution of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, but he has a clear idea as to why the appeal outcome contradicted the first level outcome.

“The reasons can be stated in different ways but don’t bend one iota.  The judgment is due to the fact that when expert consultants have been in dispute, and not only on the content of [some experts] report but also on the skills and qualifications of those experts, the battle becomes so complex that the jury loses the plot.”

Corriere: A controversy has diverted attention from the crime on a technicality?

“Reducing everything to a technical debate has created confusion that the jury was unable to handle. Often even [court] presidents, judges and magistrates are not as competent technically as the progress of science should require.

The prosecution’s DNA advisor Professor Novelli is a forensic geneticist at the international level. When he challenged the findings of the experts and proposed to the judge a third study, the president of the jury said “No thanks, we have enough.’”

Corriere: There are other cases like this? This is just an Italian problem?

“No. The distortion was introduced by TV series like CSI creating the effect that juries require new technologies but are not always prepared to understand them.

I could tell you that in the United States and Canada they are moving more and more into “neuroimaging” which is exploring uses of the nuclear magnetic resonance of genetic structures of criminals.

At this new frontier the accused can be acquitted because it can be assumed that having an MRI of a certain type and genetic constitution does not allow for the having of free will, and therefore they are acquitted for that failure. “

Corriere: [Norway’s mass murderer Anders] Breivik might be such a case?

“Yes, and behind these things it is easy to see a Lombrosian outcome.” [ed. note: said somewhat jokingly. Cesare Lombroso was an Italian doctor who invented the “antropologia criminale” in which criminals are born rather than self-made. ]

“There are at least a couple of facilities in the U.S. that offer screening based on CT and MRI for the recruitment of top managers. “

Corriere: What is the basic thrust?

“Criminal behavior is determined by a series of neurological factors, biological, genetic. In the U.S. and Canada juries hear battle of genetic structures, amygdala, and more. “

Corriere: It becomes very difficult for jurors to live up to?

“Absolutely, and one ends up saying “But how do we crack the structures of criminal behavior if we do not even know what is normal human behavior?” The latest branch of study that is spreading is neuroethics, the fact that we can have a certain neurological structure which does not have any area for ethical responsibility. “

Corriere: It is disturbing?

“Absolutely, we arrive back at the pre-crime state like that in [the movie] Minority Report. So in the end it does not work. “

Corriere: They were right on the Knox case, the American media?

“No. But we guaranteed that development too. The real problem is the length of our trials. If the [trial and first appeal] are compressed into two years instead of four that will eliminate much of the controversy. “

Corriere: Amanda and Raffaele are innocent?

“I prefer to say that they were found not guilty by one particular jury.”

Posted on 12/16/11 at 07:00 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Our Translation Of Today’s Corriere Newspaper Report On The Hellmann Motivation Document

Posted by ziaK





Click image above for the original. This is today’s straight reporting. In-depth commentary should start appearing soon.

The appeal court: “There is no proof of offence” : Amanda and Raffaele are good kids


The report contradicts the first instance judgment: “The motive - of an unplanned choice of evil without purpose by two good youngsters, who were well-disposed towards others - is improbable”

MILAN - The board of appeal judges, which acquitted the two young folk of the charge of having murdered Meredith Kercher, talks of the “essential baselessness” of the elements upon which the Court of the first instance based their conviction of Raffaele Sollecito and of Amanda Knox.

“There is no proof of guilt” with regard to Amanda and Raffaele, writes the judges of the Appeal court of Perugia, in the “reasoning” report on the second-grade acquittal ruling, which was published on Thursday. This baselessness, according to the report, “takes precedence over even the equivocality of those same elements”.

“BUILDING BLOCKS” OF THE CONSTRUCTION - In the 144 pages which must be lodged before 3 January, the judges who wrote the report claim that “those same building blocks” which led the first-instance judges to convict Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox “had failed”. “The Assizes Court of the first instance felt the need to seize upon a motive which, however, while it was not corroborrated by any element of proof, was in itself entirely improbable”, says the report, which demolishes, brick by brick, the structure upon which the judges of the first instance based their verdict of guilt.

GOOD KIDS - “The unplanned choice, by two good young folk, who were well-disposed towards others, of evil for evil’s sake, without any other purpose, is even more incomprehensible because it was aimed at upholding the criminal acts of another youth, Rudy Guede, with whom they had no relations, and is unlike their own personal histories, character and human condition.”

RUDY GUEDE - The judges set out these considerations, reflecting briefly on Rudy Guede’s definitive sentence to 16 years of incarceration for his participation in Meredith Kercher’s murder. In the reasoning report, they explain that the hypothesis of the participation of several people in carrying out the crime had been set out in the Ivorian’s appeal-court conviction [which had] “basically upheld all the arguments put forward by the prosecutor”.

According to the judges who acquitted Sollecito and Knox, however, “an analysis of every single element on which the hypothesis of joint contribution [to carrying out the crime] leads one, at the least, to doubt the necessary participation of several people in perpetrating the crimes in question”. The Assizes court of appeal therefore stated that they could “concur with” the appeal court conviction with regard to Guede’s responsibility, without “assuming that this conviction has any probatory relevance” as far as determining the responsibility of Sollecito and Knox is concerned.

“The only evidentiary elements which remain unopposed (the crime of “calunnia’ towards Patrick Lumumba) but without the aggravating circumstance, the incompletely demonstrated truth of the alibi, and the dubious reliability of the witness (Quintavalle), when taken as a whole, do not even allow us to hold that the guilt of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has in any way been clearly demonstrated”.

AMANDA UNDER STRESS - “Over and above the formal aspect”, the judges write, “the context in which those declarations were made was clearly characterized by psychological conditions which had become, for Amanda Knox, a truly unbearable burden. In that context, it is understandable that Knox, yielding to the pressure and to fatigue, had hoped to put an end to the situation, by giving to those who were interrogating her what they, at heart, wanted to hear: a name, an assassin.

By giving “the news” of that name to those who were interrogating her so harshly, Amanda Knox hoped, no doubt, to put an end to that pressure, by then - after many hours - a real torture, while adding details and building a brief story around that name was surely not particularly difficult, since many of the details and many conjectures had already appeared the previous day in many newspapers, and were in any case doing the rounds of the town, given the small size of Perugia”.

According to the judges, furthermore, for Amanda “it would have been easier to name the real author of the crime” because “basically, she lived in that house, and to have been there at the time the crime was committed, in her own room, perhaps entertaining [herself with] Raffaele Sollecto, would have been a completely normal circumstance, to the extent that it would certainly not entail responsibility for a crime committed in the room beside [hers]”.

WHO MUST JUDGE - “Having excluded the existence of the proof of guilt which the two current defendants are charged with”, the judges write, “it is not up to this Court to suggest how the affair [the crime] might really have been carried out. Nor whether the author of the crime was one or more than one person, nor whether or to what extent other investigative hypotheses might have been neglected.”

Posted on 12/16/11 at 01:33 PM by ziaK. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breaking News Thursday: Judge Hellmann’s Sentencing Released In Italian; Responses From Italy Follow

Posted by Peter Quennell





Quick summary of main points of the 150 page report by our Italian poster ncountryside below. 

We will have a roundup post on the reporting and takes of the Italian media on Friday and a full translation courtesy of the fluent Italian speakers on PMF in due course.

At first glance our lawyers in three countries are not at all impressed. Any seamless legitimizing is seemingly not obvious to them.

Page 8
Lumumba was arrested following “spontaneous” Knox’s statements.Please note: Court’s quote.

Page 11
The previous report is long even (italian: “ben”) 425 pages.

Page 12
Quintavalle: testimony, however, after one year

Page 27
Guede and sentence of Supreme Court. The sentence is not binding for the Appeal Court mainly because: defendants would be judged on the basis of evidence obtained in their absence during Guede’s trial; Guede’s trial was fast Track (“abbreviato”).

Page 28
Bra clasp, knife, wounds, break-in: examining separately all these facts is strengthened the hypothesis of the presence of an only one person in the house.

Page 30
In page 30 cartwheels are recognized as “gymnastic maneuvers“ ( italian: “manovre ginniche”).

Page 30-35
Calunnia. AK accused Lumumba because exhausted by obsessive interrogations without lawyer. She was well aware of accusing an innocent person, so she is guilty but without aggravating circumstances. Anyway her guilt cannot be used as evidence to the murder.

Page 40
Guede surprisingly has never been questioned .... follows the description of the well known hearings ... conclusion: Guede is unreliable also for this trial, in particular during the hearing of 27 June and also his letter. Instead the chat from Germany with his friend Benedetti is considered reliable.

Page 42
Aviello, Alessi, Castelluccio, De Cesare, Trincan. Called by defense are considered unreliable but the prosecution can not exploit them as witnesses against the defendants.

Page 44 and following.
Curatolo. He is a tramp, now held in prison, with a decline of his mental faculties. Unreliable.

Pages 51-55
Quintavalle. One year later.

Pages 56-58
Capezzali. Unreliable
Monacchia. Not clear.
Deamis.Unreliable.

Pages 58-61
Phone calls. For the Court, Bongiorno’s considerations are valid while Massei is wrong, so the time of death is fixed not later than 22,30

Page 64
Murder weapon.The arguments of defense consultants seem more convincing than the prosecution’s.

Page 87
The clue represented by presence of Meredith’s dna on the knife cannot be considered valid/existing

Page 92
Bra clasp. Contaminated before gathering

Page 100
Footprint on the bathmat. Probably belongs to Guede

... Mixed blood ...

Pages 114-123
Staged break-in. Real and not staged.

Pages 123-130
Alibi. Erroneous conclusions drawn by the Court because based on erroneous scientific expertise .

Page 129
The shower. Not implausible

Page 131
Phone call to Meredith at 12.07. Nothing of suspect.

Page 137
Remain; 1) calunnia 2) non completely proved alibi.

Posted on 12/15/11 at 11:33 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #6

Posted by Peter Quennell




This post: 1 June to Parolisi’s arrest 19 July

Previous posts on the Melania Rea case here which in many ways is comparable to Meredith’s.

By the end of this seven-week period, to 19 July, during which the Italian media coverage is extremely intense, several of the main theories of the crime have surfaced (some 2-3 more are still to come) and the police and prosecutors are being praised for a job well done.

Ascola and Teramo prosecutors have not had to contend with their Perugia counterparts’ giant headaches: three warring perps, their conflicting alibis, three teams of lawyers, a CSI effect, defense-witness pyrotechnics, short-form and long-form trials, a demonizing million dollar PR campaign, and a quirky process and judge in the first appeal.

A strong case against Melania’s husband Salvatore for her violent murder as described below comes together late in July. However (future posts) the roller coaster ain’t done careening yet.





This again is Stefania Dorinzi, Melania’s close friend and neighbor who lived in the same apartment block. Early in June, she gave a long interview on TV about her times with Melania, and what Melania and he husband had been doing in the past few days, and what they intended on 18 April.

She pointed out that the trip that day was very strange. Melania did not take her usual things along including a bag of supplies she always carried for the baby. Melania certainly never talked about going to Casermette park. Very quickly Stefania and her husband began to suspect Salvatore.





This is Salvatore’s family home east of Naples and north of Vesuvius, where he retreated for all of May and for parts of June and July. Below he is seen walking nearby with his sister Francesca.






This is one of several images of Salvatore’s now-outed girlfriend at the regimental barracks, Ludovica Perrone, which flooded Italian websites and TV reports in June. She is an ambitious college graduate who is originally from Turin.

She and her parents came under heavy fire for aggressively working to break up Melania’s marriage even after Melania confronted her by phone several times. Late June Ludovica finally gave an interview downplaying the affair.

In retrospect it did not come across as very truthful. It was contradicted by phone conversation transcripts and Facebook messages filed with the court by the prosecution late in July which showed the affair to be long-standing and very intense.

Those same messages however also served to suggest that she was not a party to Melania’s murder and that she was gradually dropping to the fact that Salvatore probably was the main perpetrator in her death.

In October she was interviewed for a full day at a secret location west of Teramo (which leaked anyway and the media arrived after it was all over) and will be a star witness at any trial. Present state of mind unknown. 





This is the eminent Italian criminologist Francesco Bruno who appeared on TV several times in June to argue forcefully that Salvatore could not have done it (“they were too much in love… wrong psychological profile.. wrong method… no motive”).

His theory was that the modus operandi was that of a serial killer, and he suggested one (image below) who was then in the news. For various reasons the theory was not accepted by the police and it rapidly faded. 






This is Paolo Ferraro, a Rome prosecutor, who was put on forced leave in June for suggesting that there may be satanic cells in the army. Salvatore’s barracks at Ascoli might be one of those locations.

We discussed this possible satanism in detail in the comments under Post #3. Not much more has leaked out about this so far, though there is a strange tale of a female soldier at Ascoli who was tied to her bed with candles or other flames around her.





This is Laura Titta. She was a soldier at the barracks and along with about ten others was arrested in June for aiding the flight of a convicted Naples Comorrah killer. Again not very much has leaked out.

She certainly knew Salvatore and it has been suggested they had a brief affair. She is considered a very hard case despite her sweet looks and was thought to maybe have been the one who helped Salvatore.

On the two mornings after Melania disappeared on 18 April Salvatore visted the barracks, including once with his daughter, and it has not yet been made public why he did this or who he saw there.





The regiment rushed out the second of at least three waves of media releases to try to show the public that in fact the place is alright. The notice in the image below is a code of behavior for male and female soldiers.






On 16 June a young guy who lived in the same village as Salvatore and Melania reported that a few days before he had seen someone going behind the changing rooms (building at left-center) and apparently hiding something.

When he went to look, he found that it was a mobile phone wrapped up to look like trash. Salvatore admitted it was a secret second phone he had used for secret chats with Ludovica. He denied trying very hard to hide it.

He pointed out that the SMS chip was still inside and the pay-as-you-go phone might be traced back to him. He said he was simply done with it and wanted it out of the way. Two images below show its location. 







This again is Imma Rosa. She was probably Melania’s best friend and had known her for around twelve years. On 19 April after Melania was reported missing Imma was quite startled to receive a phone call from Salvatore.

In the three or four years she had been acquainted with Salvatore through Melania she had never been called by Salvatore. He was now telling her how much he loved Melania and told her was nervous the police would harass him if she did not turn up soon.

Imma was instantly suspicious and contacted the Ascoli investigators right away. Prosecutor Umberto Monti immediately went to the supervising magistrate Georgio Ciccone and requested a tap of both their phones. On 21 April it was approved.

Not all the transcripts have been released, but one of a long rambling call on 1 May between Ludovica and Salvatore, where she ranted tearfully at him and he didn’t say very much, was released upon his arrest on 19 July. 





On 23 June Salvatore was required to come to the Ascoli questura (police hq) for questioning. For several hours, he refused to answer any questions from Umberto Monti and his team on the advice of his new lawyers - Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile from Perugia.

You can see them here as they all exit. The same lawyers had represented Rudy Guede in Meredith’s case and, interestingly, arranged for Guede to choose the short-form trial. In this case, the Italian internet is noticeably critical of them.





This image and the two below are of Salvatore packing up and moving out of the apartment the army had rented for himself and Melania. The army decided not to renew the lease beyond June. Melania’s family came separately to claim her effects.







This is a transsexual or crossdresser who calls himself Alessandra in his online videos. This image is from one of those videos and you can see Alessandra holding the camera and capturing the video while he dances.

Alessandra suddenly became very famous in Italy late in June when some of his videos and those of some other transsexuals or crossdressers were reported as having been found on Salvatore’s seized computer.

This led to the creation of yet another main theory of the crime - that Salvatore himself is sexually out of the mainstream, and that this was the terrible secret Melania told her friend Sonia Viviani she had uncovered two days before she died. 

If such an orientation is revealed as true, it could be considered enough to collapse his marriage and his affair with Ludovica and his standing at the barracks and probably his job. So far, no innocuous explanation has been advanced. 





This is Salvatore at his last TV studio appearance in Rome late in June. As usual it was a mix of his love for Melania, his downplaying of Ludovica, and his anger at the harrasing investigators and the media.

During the on-air segment two videos were aired, one of Melania’s wedding and one of a memorial procession at her hometown just before her funeral. Salvatore had copies of both videos, and he appeared to be exploiting them to manipulate public opinion.

Such cynical use of these videos deeply upset Melania’s family, who had not been asked and received no warning. Melania’s brother Michele forcefully emphasized that all personal videos are the private property of Melania’s family.

Italian media have respected that since. Melania’s family seems to have allowed both videos to remain online. They show Melania in a very endearing light at her wedding and how much she was missed after she died.





In the first three weeks of July all of the emerging evidence seem to be converging and breaking hard against Salvatore.

This shows the San Marco park again. In July a woman witness came forward to tell the investigators she had not seen any man or woman or child at the playground in the key one hour 2:30 to 3:30 on 18 April.

Her presence was confirmed by mobile calls she made and by the CCTV camera at the refreshment kiosk which is behind the camera and to the right.





This is the view down from the Casermette park where Melania’s body was found on the 20th of April toward Civitella where the nearest mobile phone tower is located.

It was now revealed that both Melania’s and Salvatore’s main phones were proven to have been pinged there on 18 April so both of them were seemingly up there. Salvatore’s phone was also pinged at the San Marco park an hour later.





This is from a video taken by an investigator which was aired late in 2011. It briefly showed Melania’s body at a distance in a different place and facing the other way to the officially released police graphics.

Somehow Salvatore knew the correct place and position when late in April he demonstrated them to a reporter on TV. He claimed his friend Raffaele Paciolla who identified Melania’s body took a video and then showed him.

But Raffaele denied that he did so. The image below (in front of the flowers) shows where Melania’s body was “wrongly” depicted as having been found. The depiction “wrongly” showed her facing off to the right.






This above is the Teramo coroner Adriano Tagliabracci (who was a defense witness for Sollecito at Meredith’s trial) who in mid July released the findings of his second autopsy on Melania carried out mid-May.

He depicted what the wounds and blood traces told him of Melania’s final struggle. Her mouth was held closed from behind (in what commenters later noted is a military mode of attack) as Salvatore’s DNA in her mouth suggested while she was stabbed very fast repeatedly.

She broke away but fell down because her pants were down at her ankles, and then the stabbing continued. Some of the stabs reached her internal organs and she died painfully as much as one hour later.





This is the Palo Alto California headquarters of Facebook. The prosecutors requested founder and CEO Mark Zuckerman to unerase some erased messages between Salvatore and Ludovica prior to Melania’s death. He kindly obliged.

Salvatore had phoned Ludovica in late April on the secret phone to make sure that she would erase any such messages on her computer. One unerased message was released at time of arrest. It showed how intense the romance had become.. 





These two images show the lead Ascoli prosecutor on the case Umberto Monti at the San Marco park with Salvatore late in April. He was trying to understand the claimed kidnapping of Melania being described for him by Salvatore. 

On 19 July he filed charges for murder and Salvatore was arrested. Officially regarded as dangerous, he has been locked up ever since despite two lawyers’ motions to release him on bail pending any trial.






This is Salvatore Parolisi arriving at the Ascoli palace of justice to be arrested and imprisoned and told of the reasons why. His lawyers Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile supported him at the arrest hearing before Judge Carlo Calvaresi.





This is the supervising magistrate for the case in Ascoli, Judge Calvaresi, who ordered Salvatore to be arrested and locked up. He issued a 20-page written explanation of his reasoning.

The case now had to go through a change of jurisdiction as there were no signs of a kidnapping from the Ascoli park. Judge Giovanni Cirillo of Teramo wrote a longer 60-page report in two days, and added “cruelty” to the charges.

The Teramo prosecutors Greta Aloisi and Davide Rosati (images of them in the May post) took the lead now from the Ascola prosecutor Umberto Monti.






This is Teramo prison above and below where Salvatore has been held since late July. Salvatore will be formally arraigned for trial next month. He may be moved soon to a prison near Naples so he can see his daughter Victoria once a month. 

Investigations now if anything accelerated into some sensational aspects, all main witnesses were interviewed again more deeply, and Melania’s family and friends were speaking out.

Salvatore got some messages to the public out of prison and his lawyers Biscotti and Gentile threw a few curve balls. Several new possible motives including money (Salvatore had a 100,000-plus Euros hoard which would have to be split in a divorce) were soon to be worked on. 





Finally in our series for now these are the headlines on a couple of the arrest stories. With Italy’s murder rates among the lowest in Europe and only a very small fraction of the US’s such headlines as these do not appear very often.



Posted on 12/07/11 at 09:23 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, December 02, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #5

Posted by Peter Quennell




This post: events in May 2011

These CCTV images above and below are the last known shots of Melania Rea still alive. She is with her husband Salvatore and baby daughter Victoria and it is the day after Palm Sunday.

Melania would be dead approximately five hours later. She is entering a supermarket here. Then she goes to a clinic for a quick check of a health condition, and then back home to call her mom.

They talk for about seven minutes. She tells her mom that her little family was heading for the afternoon to the playground at the San Marco plateau about ten minutes drive to the west.

Although Salvatore and Victoria were seen there about two hours later, there is zero trace of her having ever arrived. Her body was found in another park 10 kilometers south two days later.








This is the Carabinieri office in Ascoli. They have helped with major arms of the investigation including the tracking of cell phones and the blood and DNA work where Melania’s body was found.





This is Umberto Monti who was the lead Ascoli prosecutor on the case through to Salvatore being charged in July in Teramo. Teramo has jurisdiction over the Casermette park.

He prepared a detailed report for the overseeing judge in July which outlines all the evidence already assembled against Salvatore. This led to a judge labeling him dangerous and locking him away pending charges.





These are the Teramo prosecutors, Greta Aloisi and Davide Rosati, who have also been working on the case all along. They assumed the lead from July once Salvatore was locked away. Teramo is about 20 kilometers south of Ascoli.

If and when the case against Salvatore Parolisi for killing Melania goes to trial, they will be the lead prosecutors in the court.





Salvatore Parolisi was prominent and outspoken on Italian TV for a number of weeks. He appeared on several national interview shows like these above and below. He explained his version of events - Melania’s supposed kidnapping.

He often cried on camera,  and said often how much Melania and he were in love. He looked or assumed a look of being haggard. He urged the police to find the real killer, and he became more and more prickly as his credibility fell.






This is Father Don Carlo Lupi, the Catholic priest at Melania’s and Salvatore’s local church. He had spoken with them after the Palm Sunday service the previous day, and they always seemed to him good together and in love.





This is the Villa San Marco clinic in Ascoli where Melania was checked three hours before her death for a small gynaecological condition. She had been advised to abstain for a short while from sex, a fact which came to matter later.





In these images above and below, we can see Salvatore and his sister Francesca with a reporter in the Casermette park right where Melania died. In this documentary report, he identified precisely where Melania’s body was found.






This is Melania’s friend Sonia Viviani who tried twice to call Melania mid-afternoon and also sent her several text messages. Melania did not pick up, although her mobile phone had a loud ring tone and the vibration was also switched on.





This is Melania’s friend Immacolata (“Imma”) Rosa who talked with Melania two days before her death. Melania told Imma she had just found out something really shocking and did not want to describe it over the phone.

Two main theories of what this shocking secret could be emerged in June and July (see later posts), both bizarre, and both possibly the real main motive behind the crime against Melania.





This is Raffaele Paciolla, a prison guard, who lived in the same building as Melania and Salvatore. They were very good friends. Raffaele was taken up the mountain by the police to do the first identification of Melania’s body.

When Salvatore was challenged about knowing where Melania’s body was found (see images above) he said Raffaele had taken shots with his phone. But Raffaele said he took no shots, a fact very damaging to Salvatore.





This is Raffaele Paciolla’s wife Stefania Dorinzi who lived with Raffaele in the same building. She knew that Melania was struggling to hold onto Salvatore and said after the crime Salvatore emerged as a very nasty person.





This is Colonel Alessandro Patrizio who was the commandant of the Clementi regimental barracks where Salvatore was a trainer. The barrack trains almost exclusively girls, some 330 every three months. Then they decide if they want to continue.

He moved fast to try to shore up the reputation of the barracks and to demonstrate that growing suspicions of major breaches of rules were taking place were wrong. He was reassigned within three months. It was said to be long-planned.
 




This is Krizia Sardella who completed the course but decided not to become a soldier. She still lives locally. She trained with Salvatore and said her group found him to be upstanding, serious, polite, and seemingly safe to be alone with. 





This is a soldier colleague of Salvatore at the barracks who would not give his name or show his face on camera, but said he found Salvatore’s behavior in the barracks to be okay and nothing out of the ordinary.





This is Melania’s friend Valentina Esposito who like her other friends knew from Melania that something was amiss in her marriage. Melania had talked of taking the baby back to her hometown for kindergarten.





This is the Samsung model of mobile phone that Melania had on her that day. She last used it to talk with her mother. The police remotely switched it to GPS mode to try to find approximately where Melania was lying.

They then did a great deal of signal measurement with similar phones in both parks (full details in the prosecutor’s report) and concluded that there was no proof that Melania had ever been to the first park as Salvatore had claimed.





This map is from the report on the cell towers in the wider area to which Melania’s phone would respond with a ping. One tower near where Melania’s body was found documented a strong signal from her phone all afternoon.





This is the town of Civitella several kilometers south of Ascoli and east of the mountain on which Melania was found. From a call box (shown below) at the bus station, somebody called in a report on her body two days after she disappeared.

He seemed to be authentically someone in his sixties with a strong regional dialect. He has never been traced, but that is said to be not uncommon for such calls. He may be a wild-mushroom picker in the forest. 







Late in the month, rumors of Salvatore having a longtime girlfriend at the barracks grew to a crescendo, and his fellow soldier trainer Ludovica Perrone, about three years younger than Melania, was publicly outed.

Phone calls in the next several weeks that they both thought were secret (Salvatore used a secret second phone) were recorded by the police, and long excerpts appeared in the prosecutor’s report in July.

Salvatore had led Ludovica to believe that his leaving Melania was just around the corner, and so she had arranged for her parents to meet him the following (Easter) weekend at a hotel on the Amalfi Coast south of Naples.

He had apparently not said as much to Melania. She knew about the affair and was outraged. Twice in the three days before she died she called Ludovica at the barracks to warn her to stop breaking up their marriage.

Ludovica was dismissed after the case opened up and has since disappeared, though the police know where she is and still interview her. She sounded outraged after Melania’s death at hearing Salvatore on-air saying how much he loved Melania. 






This is the Teramo coroner Adriano Tagliabracci who in mid May did a second autopsy on Melania and concluded she had not been moved after her death. He reconstructed the horrific final fight that she went through.

He also concluded that the body had been stabbed a dozen more times the day after Melania died, and that the body was inscribed and a syringe inserted to throw investigators off the trail. 





This is Michele Rea, Melania’s brother, who attended the second autopsy with Salvatore and his brother Rocco. Nearly a month after the murder both families were still getting along well, though they bitterly split soon after. 





These next few shots are of Melania’s funeral at Summa Vesuvio, her home two, three days after the coroner released her body for burial. Believe it or not, the shot above is of Salvatore hugging Melania’s father Gennaro; both were crying.








Salvatore moved back to his own home town near Vesuvius after his forced release from the army at the start of May. His car and the entrance to the yard of his family’s apartment were watched by reporters up to late July when he was put in prison.






Meanwhile little Victoria lives with Melania’s parents at Summa Vesuvio and she is not old enough yet to understand anything that is going on.  As in Perugia, cold callous unrepenting narcissism reigns, while there is more and more heartbreaking damage.

Open questions

These are not make-or-break, but they do show that as in Perugia there will always be loose ends. Why were there so many small cuts on Melania’s body? Why did she have her back turned, seemingly trustingly with her pants down? Why did she agree to go to the Casermette park when that was not what they’d intended? Who mutilated Melania’s body on the Tuesday? Was it possible for Salvatore to get back there on Tuesday unnoticed? Or could that have been Ludovica, or another woman? Why did he visit the barracks on Tuesday and Wednesday? What was Melania’s dark secret that she had told no-one? And if Salvatore wanted to marry Ludovica, why did he not simply ask Melania for a divorce?

Posted on 12/02/11 at 07:40 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #4

Posted by Peter Quennell




This post: events in April 2011

Above is Melania Rea’s husband, army corporal Salvatore Parolisi, with his sister Francesca, when he was riding a national wave of sympathy back in April and May.

Could this equally prominent case not so far from Perugia in turn come to impact upon the final appeal outcome of Meredith’s case? There seems a distinct chance of this. 

What may become obvious as we illustrate events starting from April is that, given a level playing field and no vigorous PR campaign, the dedicated work of the different components of the Italian police is impressively good.

They come across as highly trained, competent and well-organized, and they leave very few stones unturned. Here four arms of the Italian police - the Carabinieri, the Scientific Police, the Ascoli police, and the Teramo police - have worked together notably smoother than say the FBI and the CIA before the New York trade towers came down.

This has been in face of a pro-defendant justice system, possible attempts at intimidation, two main motives and scenarios and several others, a confusing crime scene re-arrangement, a time-and-resources-consuming alibi, little DNA, no fingerprints, no weapon, four or more mobile phones to be analyseds, Facebook messages erased (and un-erased when Facebook HQ in California obliged), a possible charming psychopath, hints of a possible satanic sect, and no eye-witnesses at all.

Tough case. Still, this has lead to an approval rating for the investigators now through the roof, and the endorsement (post directly below) of the Supreme Court. 





These shots pick up from the previous main post on the geography of the house, barracks and two parks and the layout of the San Marco park where Salvatore claims Melania disappeared. 

This shows the temporary operations headquarters set up in the Colle San Marco park on 19 April, the day after Melania disappeared, where her husband claimed he last saw her.

The investigators were first trying to find her, and then when her body was found in another park to the south trying to unearth any evidence that she was ever there. 





The police swept for fingerprints and DNA (no luck) the playground where Salvatore said he and Victoria were at play while Melania headed off for a restroom in a bar and to bring back two coffees.





The police used dogs trained in several kinds of search (no luck) to cover the whole park. They were initially looking for a body or a grave, and then any evidence proving Melania was there.

As we mentioned in the previous post. a large number of people in the park that afternoon were lined up for interrogation, and over the next month were called to police HQ in Ascoli. 





This is the road along the side of the mountain which is the short way to get from Colle San Marco park to Casermette park seven or eight miles south, where on the 20th a tip led to Melania’s body being found.





This is the east side of the “mountain of flowers” where in Casermette park, in the center of that dark green swathe near the top, Melania’s body was found. Salvatore’s regiment trains up there.





That park is used almost daily by the army trainees at the Ascoli barracks where Salvatore primarily trained newly enlisted women soldiers in among other things weapons techniques.





These two shots above and below show Meredith’s body being removed, to be transported to the morgue in the palace of justice several miles to the south in the large town of Teramo. 

Melania’s body was photographed and examined in the park, and then two autopsies were carried out. Salvatore never saw Melania in the park, though he later identified for a reporter the precise spot.






These three shots above and below show the large Carabineri and Scientific and local police presence on the mountain at Casermette park which remained there in force for most of the next week.







This is Colonel Luigi Ripani from Ascoli who was in charge of co-ordinating the police investigation in the two parks and issuing the few rather cryptic reports to the media of what was going on.





This shot above and the one below show the Casermette refreshment kiosk, not yet open for the summer season, next to which Melania’s body had been arranged.






This shot and the three below show evidence of a considerable struggle. Melania was a tall strong girl. She was attacked and stabbed from behind, it is now believed when she was relieving herself and unable to run.

That fact in particular which emerged at the second autopsy has incensed those in Italy who have been following the case.








A wedding ring was found lying in the dirt, the same one you can see here on Melania’s ring finger. Several other items were also found, but not (then) her bag or wallet or keys.




This is Teramo in Abruzzi province (larger than Ascoli in Marche province to the north) which now has primary jurisdiction. Since July Salvatore has been locked up in prison awaiting a possible trial there.





Melania’s first autopsy was carried out here at the palace of justice morgue in Teramo. A main interim conclusion was that Melania (later reversed) had been killed some place other than the park.





The police released this graphic and the one below when requesting leads. They show a syringe in Melania’s chest which had male and female DNA on it; and cuts like a swastika on Melania’s upper left leg.

The police graphic below is (perhaps out of kindness) misleading. Melania’s pants were down around her ankles, which prevented her running (she did get up, but then fall again) as it’s believed the killer intended.






This is an image of the Teramo coroner who carried out this autopsy and also a second one in mid May which put the place of death back by the kiosk in the park. He found two foreign DNAs on Melania’s body.

One was Salvatore’s DNA, inside her mouth, which was ruled as placed there maybe by a kiss, maybe only minutes before she died. The other was a small trace of an unknown woman’s DNA under the fingernails of one hand. 





This image above and the two below are of Melania’s family: mother Vittoria, father Gennaro, and brother Michele. All often appear on TV. They were very supportive of Salvatore early on.







This image above and the two below are of Salvatore’s family: mother Vittoria, loyal sister Francesca (a good friend of Melania who was very distraught), brother Rocco, and Francesca with Salvatore. 

Salvatore’s father has kept in the background, and he has made few or no willing appearances on TV. Early on, Rocco and Francesca often appeared on TV, supporting Salvatore but also lamenting Melania’s death.



Posted on 11/29/11 at 07:24 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #3

Posted by Peter Quennell





Next detailed post on this “parallel universe” case not far from Perugia late today. There are two breaking-news developments to report.

1) Today 28 November the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome should respond to a petition from defense lawyers Biscotti and Gentile (for yes, it is again they, the Rudy Guede defense team) to allow Melania’s husband Salvatore Parolisi out of Teramo prison on bail on the claimed grounds of a lack of hard evidence. If he gets out on bail he may fight for custody of his daughter, who is now with Melania’s parents near Naples..

If you read Italian, the Ascoli prosecutor who saw Parolisi confined to prison in July, Dr Umberti Monti (image below), pending more investigations and possible charges, offered the Ascoli magistrate this 68-page reasoning.

2) And the second magistrate on the case, Dr Marina Tommolini, in Teramo, the large town south of Ascoli and south-east where Melania’s body was found, had her Audi A6 doused in gasoline and set on fire. She was not in it. It’s not clear if the destruction of her car was case related, but strong suspicions are out there.

There is a huge volume of “known facts” on the case but also many unknowns and puzzles. All sides seem to have learned lessons from Perugia. The national and local police and prosecutors are playing a masterful game of seeping out info on this or that point to stir up leads. More surprises to come.

[Below: the lead Ascoli prosecutor on the case, Dr Umberti Monti, who works with counterparts in Teramo]

Posted on 11/28/11 at 10:45 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #2

Posted by Peter Quennell





This photo series picks up from the first, overview post. Click on any images for larger versions.

Melania Rea came from Summa Vesuvio, a suburban town on the north slope of Vesuvius a few minutes east of Naples, and Salvatore Parolisi from nearby. You can see Summa Vesuvio here at bottom left.

Vesuvius last erupted in 1944, and one day will do so again. Beyond Vesuvius here is Pompeii (not visible) and also the Bay of Naples.and Sorrento (top right) and the mountains that on their other side form the Amalfi Coast. 





Melania and Salvatore were married in Summa about three years ago in the church where last April her funeral was held. At the end of both ceremonies, white balloons were released into the sky.





Melanie then moved to set up home with Salvatore outside the town of Ascoli Piceno which is almost directly opposite Summa on the east coast. She and Salvatore rented an apartment, which the army paid for, south of his barracks..





This is the Clementi army barracks at the east end of Ascoli where Salvatore was stationed until he was given a release from the army after Melania was murdered last April.

Rome investigators launched a confidential investigation into strange happenings at the barracks a few months ago. [See more on this now in Comments.] Not much information has been given out. It is possible that Melania stumbled on a dark secret; she told a friend that she had.





These are some of the women soldiers who were being trained at the barracks. They are all volunteer soldiers and 330 are stationed at the barracks at any one time. Salvatore was one of their instructors, and he had a heavy affair with at least one.





This is the apartment building south of the barracks, in the village of Folignano, where Salvatore and Melania were living. That is their car in front.





This is the same model and color of car as their car, a French-made four-door Renault Scenic. It was sequestered several times by the police for searches and traces of Melania’s blood were found inside. Salvatore claimed they were old. 





Here are Salvatore and Melania out walking with their baby Victoria who was born late in 2009. Melania suffered from post-partum depression, but her health at the end was mostly good.





[Click for larger image] This is looking south. Ascoli and the Clementi barracks are directly below. Casermette park in the distance is where Melania’s body was found.

Salvatore claims that on the afternoon of Monday 18 April he drove Melania and Victoria from their home (bottom left) about 10 kilometers west to a park with a playground on the Colle San Marco plateau (bottom right).





Salvatore claims that Melania and Victoria began playing on these swings, and that after a while Melania said she needed a restroom. As she headed off, he suggested she go to a nearby bar and to bring them back two coffees.

See that brown refreshments kiosk in the woods in the background? That becomes key, because people were sitting there watching and there is also a CCTV.





This is the restaurant and bar less than 200 meters away from the playground where Salvatore says he thought Melania was headed to, to use the restroom and purchase the coffee.





After nearly an hour of playing with Victoria (he says he lost track of time) as Melania had not returned Salvatore checked at the bar and called the local police and they brought along a tracker dog.





[Click for larger image] To Salvatore’s real or feigned great surprise, the tracker dog headed off at right angles, down the road along which he said they had driven up to the park. The scent went cold about 300 meters away from the swings.





Here is the playground in the background. If Melania walked that route she would have had to come by this portaloo and the refreshment kiosk with its outdoor seating, then mostly occupied.





This is the refreshment kiosk looking onto the road that Melania would have walked. The park was quite busy and people were seated in those chairs.





This is the access road to the park down which the police dog suggested Melania must have walked. The road descends here at just a slight slope.





After 250 meters the road above arrives at this intersection. Instead of turning left (yellow arrow) and back up another road to the bar, the dog turned right (blue arrow) and it lost Melania’s scent at the war memorial. 





This is the war memorial by the intersection where the dog lost Melania’s scent trail.





The police now arrive in force. This is the scene the next day when the police set up a base to search the park and to re-create what he says happened with Salvatore.





Salvatore is seen here with senior police officers and detectives explaining what he claims happened at the playground. Also in the two images below.







On the corner of the roof of the refreshment kiosk is a closed-circuity TV camera (CCTV) seen ringed here. Its recording was examined for an image of Melania walking by. No image was found.





The proprietor of the refreshment kiosk was interviewed by the police and later by the media. He did see a man in shorts with a small girl at the swings but he did not see Melania walking by.





This is the garden side of the bar where Salvatore said he thought Melania was heading to use the restrooms and pick up two coffees. Melania might have entered here.





This is the inside of the bar where Salvatore said he thought Melania was heading to use the restrooms and pick up two coffees. Melania would have had to walk through here.





The proprietor of the bar and restaurant was interviewed by the police and later the media. He saw Salvatore when he came checking, but he had seen no sign of Melania.
 




All the people who were sitting under the trees at the refreshment kiosk (two are seen here with a reporter) were interviewed. They had seen no sign of Melania walking by.





On wednesday an anonymous police call was made from this callbox (center at back) at a bus station in a town 15 kilometers south. The caller, disguising his or her voice, said there was a body in the Casermette park on the mountain high above the town.





The police headed in force for this park, which Salvatore knew well because his regiment trained there. They found Melania’s body beside the kiosk arranged like this..

There were around 32 stabs to Melania’s neck and upper back, some inflicted many hours after she was dead. Police profilers say this could be the payback of an extremely jealous other woman, and a jealous other woman (a fellow soldier) will appear.

Or maybe Salvatore alone could have made it look like this. Or other soldiers could have done it, if Melania for example stumbled onto the dark regimental secret the Rome police are now investigating.

Much of Italy now follows this cliffhanger, rooting as usual for the police, in part because Melania left behind a little girl. Also because Salvatore seems to have a terrible alibi, and yet nothing concrete ties him (yet) to Melania being found right here.

Open questions

These are not make-or-break, but they do show that as in Perugia there will always be loose ends. Who made the call from that booth? Was the dog fooled and if so how and by whom? What does the mobile-phone triangulation show? Why did Salvatore visit his barracks each of the next two days?


Posted on 11/24/11 at 07:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Annulled: No Evidence, And No Jurisdiction

Posted by Peter Quennell





The ANSA news service is reporting that Giuliano Mignini’s and Michele Giuttari’s 2010 convictions have been annulled.

The Florence appeal court ruled scathingly that no evidence exists and also that the Florence trial court did not have jurisdiction. The case might be looked at again by the prosecutors in Turin or Genoa, which Mignini and Giuttari favor to get the spurious case against them more than just annulled. They’d like its root causes brought out. .

Mignini had caught the exact-same Florence prosecutor on tape, with a judge’s consent, bewailing the fact that the Monster of Florence cabal was tying his hands. That trial was simple a panicky attempt to get himself out from under which will hurt his career and the trail judge’s too.

It wasn’t Mignini who invented the Florence cabal (or satanic sect) notion, and he is suspicious of people (like Preston and Spetzi) who work so hard to deny it.  Many of the Italian Monster of Florence books also argue 180 degrees away from Preston. Hmmm. What hold does the Monster of Florence sect have over Preston? Is he a secret satanist?! The world really wants to know…

Mignin’s quoted remarks outside the appeal court make it sound like he would like to resume the investigation of why Dr Narducci died suspiciously in Lake Trasimeno. That had to be halted because the Florence prosecutor seized all the papers on the case.

We have posted several times as much on Mignini as most of the UK and US media combined, and we translated a long email from him, and two long and very revealing interviews.

Kermit’s contrast of Preston’s satanic obsessions with Mignini’s really very mundane interests are an absolute must-view.

Posted on 11/22/11 at 03:39 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Facts Of Melania Rea’s Stabbing Death In Italy Last April Are Also Proving Hard To Get Straight #1

Posted by Peter Quennell





In Italy the rates for murder are low by global and European standards. It has the second lowest murder rate in Europe, more than Norway’s but less than Britain’s, France’s, Sweden’s or Finland’s.

Puzzling murders are very rare. Only a very small fraction of Italian murders are of women and and at least two-thirds of those are simple, obvious crimes by by husbands or other relatives or boyfriends.

So at any one time few puzzling cases involving the deaths of young women, which seem to cause special outrage, are in the news or on Porta a Porta or the other TV talk shows. Meredith’s death was one of the rare exceptions, and that certainly drove the police and prosecutors to go the extra mile.

Melania Rea’s death is another. She was killed in April in very strange circumstances about 90 minutes south-east of Perugia. Her murder and investigation and Meredith’s seem to have several points in common, included the dogged sorting-out of an apparent cover-up.

Melania, 29, and her 30-year-old husband, Salvatore Parolisi, came from a town between Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, where Melania now lies buried (image of her funeral below).

Corporal Parolisi was an instructor in the Clementi army barracks in the town of of Ascoli Piceno, where many female soldiers are trained. (Images of barracks and female soldiers training below).

Parolisis claimed to the police that on 18 April he was on a picnic with Melania and their 18-month-old daughter in a park on the south side of Ascoli Piceno,. He said Melania went off to look for a restroom and did not ever come back.

Two days later, an anonymous telephone tip from a phone-booth in a town nearby to a park called the the Mountain of Flowers, 10 kilometers south of Ascoli, led to the finding of Melania’s body in that park. The location is close to an army shooting range, and Parolisi later said that he and Melania had visited that park just 10 days before.

The police initially concluded that Melania’s body had been moved there after her death,  and so the jurisdiction for the case is the Carabinieri’s and local police’s back in Ascoli. 

The autopsy concluded that Melania had died slowly from loss of blood. She had suffered 32 stab wounds, some post-mortem, all of them shallow and possibly inflicted by someone not particularly strong.

There was extensive bruising to her face, and a syringe was stuck in her chest. There was no sign of sexual violence,

Self-infliction was immediately ruled out. A serial killer was briefly considered, as the nature of the victim and the crime and the condition of the body all resembled the vital facts of a serial killer’s victim called Rossella Goffo

No DNA or other physical evidence connected Melania’s husband to the crime. His story sounded sincere and it mostly hung together. After some initial questioning he was allowed to leave the barracks, and to return to his town near Vesuvius.

There both his own family and Melania’s family gave him a lot of public support. But then Parolisi (image in bottom two shots here) was recalled to Ascoli for more questioning, and the case began to get complicated.


























Posted on 11/18/11 at 09:37 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Italian Lawyers Strategically Timed Strike This Week Causes Postponement Of Knox Calunnia Case

Posted by Peter Quennell





The legal action for criminal slander against Amanda Knox brought by those she claimed maltreated her at an interrogation (not by Mignini) is postponed to mid-May 2012.

This has the effect of putting the court dates past the release of the Hellman sentencing report due latest at year’s end and the filing of the grounds for appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation due six weeks later.

The main lawyers union in Italy has chosen this week for their industrial action to protest the recent history of extreme political pressure by ex-PM Berlusconi’s party on the justice system, resulting in among other things the underfunding of the police’s forensic operations.

The lawyers’ union also has a long list of requested legal reforms which has long been stalled in the parliament. Lawyers are not expected to be alone in making their bids forcefully in this period as the Italian public sector budgets shrink.

Amanda Knox’s position on the calunnia charge seems weak as she herself at other times said she was treated well, she cannot identify who she claims hit her, and she has no witnesses corroborating her story and up to a dozen denying it.

Her own lawyers filed no mistreatment complaint and very publicly in a media crowd said no hitting ever happened. Knox has already served a three year sentence for criminal slander against Patrick Lumumba.

Most trials for calunnia, a serious charge due to the personal damage inflicted, result in conviction.

Posted on 11/15/11 at 05:18 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Italy Really Lucks Out With An Exceptional President And Now An Exceptional New Prime Minister

Posted by Peter Quennell

Italy already possesses in President Napolitano one of the more popular and effective presidents in the world

Now President Napolitano has handpicked Dr Mario Monti to succeed PM Silvio Berlusconi, starting out perhaps as soon as tomorrow. Dr Monti is the president of one of Italy’s premier business schools in Milan, and he has twice been elected a European commissioner.

Other heads of government and stock and bond markets around the world seem increasingly optimistic that Italy can now manage to pull out of its nosedive. Italy’s austerity package as mandated by the EC has already been passed by the upper house in the Rome parliament.

Below is the only video (a few months old) we can spot in which Mario Monti speaks in English at length. And here in Business Insider is a short balanced assessment of Italy’s new prospects.

So. Fingers crossed but the trend looks promising. Enjoy your very overdue retirement, Mr Berlusconi. Keep out of prison…

Posted on 11/11/11 at 11:06 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Why The Analysis Of Evidence, Open Questions, Scenarios, And Bigger Issues Won’t Go Away At All Soon

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Raffaele Sollecito, facing Meredith, giving his weak best shot at explaining what “really” happened]


Poor David Marriott. He seems to be embarked on some mind-numbing attempts to try to correct a real mess that is very largely of his own making.

The campaign’s demonization of Italy and the police and prosecution and objective media and internet supporters of justice seem to have painted Knox and Sollecito into an impossible corner. Media sources are telling us that a large minority in the US and UK and a large majority in Italy believe RS and AK still have explaining to do, and that the open questions are far from going away. And that new people have begun digging. 

Innocent people when freed from prison are expected to be putting themselves out there brightly on TV almost daily, showing us how seriously attractive and compelling they are, and putting to bed the many open questions. And their online buddies would be presumed to be equally warm and compelling.

Instead, Sollecito’s major appearance on Italian TV last week consisted of a narcissistic hour-long whine which answered none of the tough questions and seems to have won him no new converts. And Knox is giving the appearance of remaining very tightly chaperoned and deeply tongue-tied while the weeks before she actually speaks out turn into months.

Both families seem extremely jittery about what bad things could happen if the two ever connect up again. Perhaps especially if unscrupulous media arranged for the conversations to be bugged. And their online supporters seem as over-the-top as ever - perhaps more-so if they feel they deserve some quality time with Amanda. 

The hard evidence and open questions and scenarios we continue to explore on PMF and TJMK are not driven by a hatred of AK or RS.

No very popular websites flourish for years based mostly or entirely on hate. Here on TJMK we very rarely post exclusively on either AK or RS and we post far more often on the much more exceptional person that was Meredith. All of us think the slamming of Italy has been unfair, and the huge majority of our posts concentrate directly on the hard evidence and scenarios and open questions and wider contexts affecting the case.

Our takes on possible motive and psychology continue to presume that Judge Micheli essentially got it right (and Judge Massei who may have blinked rather less-so): that what culminated in Meredith’s cruel death started out as a vicious hazing, for any of various possible reasons: jealousy and competitive rage, fear of being displaced as a waitress, an argument over drug-dealing in the house, use of skunk cannabis or cocaine which causes psychotic episodes, an argument over theft of money, an assumed Halloween night snub, untreated mental illness, and so on. And that the forced-sex aspects were most likely to pour on the humiliation and to aid the cover-up.

Lawyers posting on PMF and TJMK and some others who don’t but talk with us are suspecting that Judge Hellman, in his blunt refusal to allow the prosecution any DNA re-testing, in his jury briefing, in his garbled announcement of the appeal verdict, and in his contradictory comments in the next several days, may have made enough legal mistakes for a 75% probability that the Supreme Court will insist on a major revisiting of the case or even a complete new appeal trial.

We now have on PMF and TJMK over 1,000 pages of translation which is absolutely vital for people in the US and UK to understand the case as Italians have always seen it. That includes both the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports. The massive hard evidence and massive suspicious behavior and highly contradictory alibis and literally hundreds of open questions are described under the various headings in our right column.

And the many scenarios in which prosecutors, judges and our own posters have sought to create a complete narrative to explain what resulted in Meredith’s death are all set out here. In the last few days, many of our members have been doing a terrific job in the comments, filling out some of those scenarios.

Yesterday one of our commenters, Martin, added a post-liberation scenario as his take on what is really going on, and he okayed us to post it here.

I’d like to take a brief moment to parse the present situation and the reports that come to us from various sources, and to consider the message behind the headlines and beneath the surface. We have photos and abundant reports of the Defendant with her latest victim in Seattle. Both her absence of moral restraint and her familiar pattern of seeking immediate gratification remain unchanged. The familiar pattern is aptly described by Sollecito:

“She lived her life like a dream, she was detached from reality, she couldn’t distinguish dream from reality. Her life seemed to be pure pleasure; she had a contact with reality that was almost non-existent.”

The message that she sends to Sollecito is “stay away”; or, if you do come for a brief visit, I am not interested in anything romantic because I already am with someone else; so sorry. There briefly was the possibility that she would fake the continuing romance with Sollecito for the purpose of a TV appearance and profit, but those offers never came in.

And why is she so eager to get out of the houses of her parents? While they attained some form of victory, it is pyrrhic in nature. Though they have the admiration of many, the bankers who have loaned them money for their PR firm, their legal dream team, and for other purposes, are not all smiles; they are, after all, businessmen who have made loans and now want a return on their loans, and they want it now. Pressures have been rising within the households, money is low, and offers are not pouring in as expected. She wants out of the houses.

So, what of her new lover? Beyond sending a message to Sollecito and escaping from the unpleasantness of her home life, she is with him to ride out the pending legal appeal and quite possibly is considering having a child with him, although she will tire of him quickly; if he has a friend on the face of the earth, he should advise him to get away, and fast. She may want a child because in her mind she may think it would make it more difficult for the US to agree to deport her if she has a child, in the event that her conviction is reinstated. However, if the present verdict of not guilty is sustained on appeal, the present boyfriend will become history.

There are yet more reasons for these events. Even among some of her supporters, it’s beginning to sink in that she does not have clean hands. She has kept a low profile among the Cult in Seattle. Among the hundreds of supporters who dug deep into threadbare pockets and worked hard for her, at least a few of them have begun to ask questions. Why hasn’t she come clean with them as to exactly what was her role, how did things actually unfold, what really happened?

And some of them have begun to figure things out and now are feeling taken advantage of. Watch out for the wrath of a man or woman who discovers that their bona fides have been taken for a chump. There are a few of these people out there, and if they ever hook up with one another, or even decide to come out singly, there will be serious trouble. Foxy already knows that she must do what she can to avoid this eventuality, and so she is doing all that she can to stay away from them, to lay low, and to pretend she’s very, very busy. And this means that the best option for her is the safety of a familiar romance, back to school and, I think, the real possibility of surreptitious planning for a child.

There is a reasonably good chance that her conviction will be reinstated on appeal, and she knows it. The evidence remains, hard blood evidence, and overwhelming circumstantial evidence remains, evidence proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.  And now the DNA may be able to be retested with newer and more accurate methods. If the criminal conviction is not reinstated, there may be civil claims with a good chance of succeeding, in one forum or another, that will drag on for years. There is no statute of limits on murder, and, there may be no double jeopardy in Italy.

The sharp sting of the photos of Foxy with her newest Boy Toy alone won’t push Sollecito to do it, but there are purely practical reasons that may make it compelling for him to confess. At some point, Sollecito may find it in his best interest to come clean and to cut a deal with prosecutors to spend 3 or 4 more years in prison so as to be able to pay his penalty and to lead a clean life thereafter. If he doesn’t confess, this will drag him under for the rest of his life. Italy is a much smaller fishbowl than the US, and Italians overwhelmingly feel there is culpability; he may come to see that he will be unable to escape without a just penalty.

If Sollecito confesses, which logic and evidence suggest that he and his family would be wise to consider, he will be seen as an honorable man and will be able to hold his head high.


Posted on 11/09/11 at 08:59 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesMore sockpuppetsReporting on the caseMedia newsAmanda Knox
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

With Less Than 1/4 Of Italians Polled Supporting Him PM Berlusconi May Be Toast Later Today

Posted by Peter Quennell


Breaking news. Stocks jump in Europe and the US on the news that PM Berlusconi has told the President of the Italian republic he will soon resign.

PM Berlusconi let it be known several weeks ago that he had agreed with his coalition partners to be gone by this Christmas.

Global stockmarkets liked that as there has for a while existed a premium built in to his going. But several days ago he was reported as having done a U-turn, and was now intent on hanging on.

Not least so he can keep one step ahead of Milan prosecutors who have lined up three cases against him. And Perugia (yes Perugia) prosecutors investigating his close buddies for milking contracts for the 2006 winter Olympics and 2010 earthquake rebuild. 

Today there will be a routine budget vote in the Italian parliament - but Mr Berlusconi has attached to it a vote of confidence in himself. This is from the investors’ website The Street.

Italian politics remains in the spotlight. The Italian bond market’s off-the-run 10-year yields are currently at 6.591%. The Italian government will submit a routine budget for Parliament to vote today, with Berlusconi attaching a confidence vote to a failed budgetary outcome. From there, if the government fails to reach a majority of 316 votes for a confidence vote, Berlusconi will be forced to resign his post.

Ahead of the vote, speculation about the prime minister’s imminent departure is rife and markets have welcomed the prospect. In Italy’s fragmented political landscape, his departure would not necessarily mean that austerity measures will pass quicker.

If the Berlusconi government falls, the first choice would likely be to see if a new coalition government can be formed with the existing parliament. This is likely to be supportive of risk appetite in the short term, but it would end quickly if a coalition could not be formed and the fall in the government were to lead to elections. This would ultimately delay the passage of the austerity measures and sap business and investor confidence even further.

Nevertheless, from here the best outcome for market sentiment in is likely to be a resignation of Berlusconi followed by the formation of a new government from the existing parliament.

And this “et tu Brute” report was just posted online by the National Post.

Silvio Berlusconi’s closest coalition ally Umberto Bossi told him to resign on Tuesday in what could be a mortal blow to the Italian prime minister.

Bossi, head of the devolutionist Northern League, said the 75-year-old media magnate should be replaced by Angelino Alfano [image below] secretary of the premier’s PDL party.

“We asked the prime minister to stand down,” Bossi told reporters outside parliament.

Odds are Mr Berlusconi will be gone today later today or very soon and there will be national elections within six months. Hopefully the incessant political meddling with the Italian justice system, which we suspect affected the Perugia appeal verdict, will then cease.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to have favored Berlusconi’s short-term survival, but these days irritated markets speak louder than politicians’ words.

[Below right: Mr Angelino Alfano, Mr Berlusconi’s most likely immediate successor]

Posted on 11/08/11 at 11:04 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Meredith’s Perugia #30: Naples Where Meredith On A School Holiday First Got Deeply Hooked On Italy

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Posted on 11/06/11 at 11:40 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer Perugia
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Stephanie Kercher’s Open Letter In Remembrance Of Her Sister And Closest Friend Meredith

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




For us, this has only ever been about Meredith. She had been in Perugia for eight weeks and I had moved away from home only three weeks previously. We had stayed in touch updating each other with the exciting new things we were doing.

I had just got home from a training course when Mum called me, her voice trembling, relaying news that a 21-year-old English girl had been found under a mattress in Italy.

Trying to calm Mum down I began calling Mez on her mobile. I ended up leaving a voice message explaining what had happened, telling her to be safe and to call me as soon as she could.

I finished, as always, saying “I love you”. I even emailed her the news page so she knew what I was talking about… Little did I know I was already too late.

Dad’s was the next voice I heard. Through tears he told me the name he had been given by a newspaper was Meredith. I cannot remember what I thought – it was a mixture of disbelief and sheer pain. I did not know what to think or do and then my body just sunk.

When I arrived at Mum’s the pain in my chest was unbearable as I was told the few details of what had happened – the broken window, her door locked on the inside.

Thoughts and scenarios were racing through my head faster than I could comprehend and I collapsed into my parents’ arms, filled with the fear Meredith must have endured that night.

We stayed up all night watching the news, waiting for any concrete information. The Halloween photo of Meredith was the first to appear and I spun round to Mum and said ‘That’s not Mez! That’s not Mez, Mum!’

I was adamant it was not my little sister, but Mum stroked my hair and painfully submitted that it was.

I cried all night until I could barely see or breathe, everything just felt so empty. From the moment we received the call I knew we had to go and look after Mez.

We were told she was in a room with flowers either side of her and Mum said we had to go as soon as possible because she did not want to leave Meredith on her own. I cannot begin to imagine how my parents must have felt, I just know how numb I was and how Mum’s strength pulled us together.

We began our journey to identify her and bring her home. Arriving in Italy was surreal, everything happened so quickly. I still remember looking at Meredith lying there so still, no breath to be taken, a crisp white sheet pulled up to and over her neck.

She seemed peaceful, yet she bore a look of determination, of courage marred by defeat. It was a look that let us know how hard she had fought to be with us – and for that I am eternally grateful.

From that moment we knew we had to fight for her, too, not only for justice for her, but every day for ourselves, for her.

Others have given us the strength to continue since November 1, 2007 and we’d like to thank everyone around the world who has supported us and given us hope.

This is testament to a truly special sister, daughter and friend. She really did touch so many lives with her selfless compassion and loyalty, and continues to do so now.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Mez never knew how effortlessly beautiful she was or how much of an impact she had on people. This was a quality of hers, which enabled her to make others laugh, help others when they needed someone, and become someone to aspire to.

She held such an incredible presence that the void she has left us with is noticeable every day. Marking the fourth anniversary of our loss, we now live without reason. No motive was found.

It is difficult to find any reason to want to hurt her and it terrifies me to think she may have left us that night not knowing either.

We still hope justice will prevail and, in the darkest times, the support given to Meredith and us as a family reminds us of why we are still here.

We are working with friends and colleagues to start a Trust Fund in Meredith’s name to help with the case and eventually support anyone else who may tragically find themselves in our position, so that her fight may continue and help others.

On November 1 at 9pm I will light a candle for my sister, may she rest in peace.

Posted on 11/02/11 at 01:07 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer family
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