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 by Peter Quennell on 12/07/11 at 02:23 PM in The legal followups


Pay as you go scheme

Posted by chami on 12/08/11 at 09:21 PM | #

Yeah. For Melania’s family, we can hope. In one of Salvatore’s released messages, he actually says he could serve 30 years.

If convicted with the “cruelty” factor accepted he could serve even longer than that. He shows a lot of grief on camera which might be late-dawning repentance, though on the Italian forums most see him as a bad actor.

He has had some fan letters in prison and even in this seemingly clearcut case there are a few on the net who sound like the FOA.

If the police and prosecutors put any foot wrong I’m not yet seeing it.  Salvatore presumably thought he could bamboozle them but they played several smart tricks. What an effort. They take life seriously there.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/08/11 at 09:43 PM | #

Ascoli and Terramo are smaller towns than Perugia but so far they seem to have matters of justice pretty well covered with impressive shows of force and competence.

They are not university towns with 20,000-plus students from elsewhere in residence, some of whom took off after Meredith died which created pressure for reassuring public statements and fast arrests.

The victim Melania was found away from the towns in a forest rather than dead in her own home. There was less fright factor there too.

The serial killer theory never did fly though all the other theories are still in play. After the arrest some sensational things leaked out from the barracks. Odd things did go on there.

Salvatore was not arrested for a full three months and in that period he and his sister Francesca were many times on TV. He was not demonized by prosecutors or police. He had every opportunity to convince Italy that he was a good guy here and yet gradually in face of the well-informed reporters he was widely seen to fail.

There was none of the reporters’ incessant “on the one hand… on the other hand… ” that we see in the USA. The talk shows are thoughtful and radically different from the hot-headed crime panels on American cable TV.

Now Salvatore and his lawyers are left with very little new and convincing to say. The police and prosecutors fed information out slowly and carefully and (as with Melania’s body) some of it deliberately misled. There is a lot more info to come.

Translations from the detailed arrest orders will appear here in a day or two. They read like mini versions of Massei.


The mountains you can see in some images are in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. They are the highest mountains in the Appenine chain (far higher than anything near Perugia) which are the slowly-splitting-apart backbone of Italy.

The park (within which San Marco and Casermette are both at the eastern tip near the Adriatic coast) is one of the largest in Italy, and it is a European biodiversity site. It is natural for those who live locally to want to head up there on days off.

Theres a map and some great images here:    and

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/09/11 at 04:03 PM | #

I am just curious: was Ludovica was a partner in the crime?  What was her role? - apart from breaking up the marriage. Anyway I do not think the marriage was on a solid foundation; if not Ludovica, it would have been some one else.  Was there any evidence that she instigated the terrible crime?

I see lots of young boys and girls in my regular job here and good girls- I mean both brain and beauty- more often than not- choose a rough and tough but smart acting boy. I always blame it on the DNA but this is very interesting observation.

There is something that sometimes clouds our good judgments. That odd things go on in the barracks is hardly surprising but the choices they make are really interesting! 

I feel so sad for the little kid.

Posted by chami on 12/14/11 at 12:21 PM | #

Latest news. The Appeal Court report is arrived:$plit/C_2_documento_105_file.pdf

Posted by ncountryside on 12/15/11 at 06:34 PM | #

Translate later if ncountryside does not get to it first!

Posted by Miriam on 12/15/11 at 07:56 PM | #

Posted by Miriam on 12/15/11 at 08:00 PM | #

Just give us some highlights.  I am starving for news! Google translation is hopeless!  Italian judges always show their literary talents.

What are the reactions in the Italian media?

Posted by chami on 12/15/11 at 08:07 PM | #

Posted by Miriam on 12/15/11 at 08:27 PM | #

Wow! I was expecting the judge to have flawed logic- but not to be utterly stupid!

Although wrong , I think it was just about possible for a judge to come up with an acquittal on certain grounds but to be just another propaganda mouthpiece for the dumb as mud Knox PR machine-incredible. Something smells about this,seriously.

AT LEAST Hellman could have not attempted to distort science by claiming that the burglary wasn’t faked.

Posted by rb on 12/15/11 at 10:44 PM | #

@countryside & Miriam

Good references & important news. Now we await action by the prosecution (maybe not before Christmas?)  We don’t have to wait for the judge’s report which is officially in (although I couldn’t copy its phrases for Google translation.)

I did copy from Italian news reports & have read the uninspired journalism in the CNN report. And I believe this:

The Italians have wanted to be rid of this case.  Send the girl home & quiet the American uproar (she has indeed served time.)  Bring the nice Italian boy home too.

But the Italians overall (courts & judges) know well & quite believe the guilty verdict of the first valid trial, based on physical evidence (which Hellman dismisses entirely) & circumstantial evidence which is quite as damning.

I have no wish to send Amanda or Raffaele back to prison—that would be a misconceived strategy at this point.  For even if the inadequate Hellman appeal is overturned, finally, nothing can change the fact that it has “happened.” And with consequence.

Mignini is quoted again (somewhere) as favoring a prosecution appeal but he sounded to me uncertain about its feasibility.  In truth, Italy owes it to its judicial integrity to consider Mignini’s appeal, whatever the outcome.  Not imprisonment, not now, but affirmation of the valid judgment which Hellman wrongly overturned.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/15/11 at 11:18 PM | #

@rb Wow is right. I am only on page 33 of the report…..either this man is barking mad or a complete ASS!!!

@Ernest, well if they don’t go to prison, then Rudy should be set free, not fair that only one pays. At least in my opinion. Hopefully, he will finally start telling the truth!

Posted by Miriam on 12/15/11 at 11:42 PM | #

From page 31 to page 35 it is all about “poor Knox”, why not throw in some waterboarding while he was at it?

Below is a good example….. the pro Knox camp is going to have a field day with this.

Posted by Miriam on 12/16/11 at 12:24 AM | #

@Ernest, well if they don’t go to prison, then Rudy should be set free, not fair that only one pays. At least in my opinion. Hopefully, he will finally start telling the truth!

Posted by Miriam on 12/15/11 at 05:42 PM | #

Don’t look for Rudy to say anything now, according to Hellmann all the forensic evidence is invalid. Hellmann IMO has given Rudy grounds for a re trial if that’s possible. I mean if Hellmann’s motivation is accepted it would mean the case against rudy is no good too. Otherwise how did the same investigators completely mis handle and only contaminate the evidence against Amanda and Raffaele.

Posted by Amber2670 on 12/16/11 at 12:50 AM | #

Thanks ncountryside for the quick translation!

And congratulations to Terry who won the pool on the length of the Hellmann report, guessing 150 pages…

...although when you take out all the fluff, all of us guessed too high 😊

Posted by brmull on 12/16/11 at 01:41 AM | #

There’s a whole further part to the Melania saga beyond the main post above which includes further surprises and lessons about Italian justice and its generally very high level of performance.

Just to note for now that in 2011 in Italy Melania’s case has been the most googled crime case in Italy. It took over the lead from Meredith’s and the levels of compassion for Meredith and Melania look to be similar and the highest in recent years.

Also that Salvatore Parolisi is probably about to be charged with Melania’s murder and that his lawyers Biscotti and Gentile have waived the preliminary appeal, and in effect in a macho way said, bring on the main trial.

The evidence base is far LESS against him than it was for Knox and Sollecito. There was no DNA presence except for Salvatore’s inside Melania’s mouth. There were no finger prints or foot prints and no eye witnesses to any of the events on the day. No weapon is identified.

Only really damning is the mobile phone pattern. Melania’s phone was only ever pinged at the park where she was found on the afternoon she died; his was pinged an hour after her estimated death in the park where he seemingly was trying to create an alibi.

The daughter seems to have been with him throughout, presumably in the car a few yards away when Melania was attacked. Whether there’s evidence he had an accomplice and what were all the components of a motive are not clear. Hints of both in posts coming up.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/22/11 at 01:32 PM | #

I do not know if you already wrote about this but I didn’t realize that the husband of Melania Rea was sentenced to life in prison in January 2013 for her murder.  From what I understand from the article, (translated by Google into English imperfectly) the judge decided the crime was simply Salvatore’s rage at being sexually denied by the wife that afternoon, and perhaps for some months before that, and feeling humiliated by her.  It is hard to believe that a husband with no prior violent tendencies would fly into such a rage that he would stab and kill the wife for that reason, but that seemed to be what the article said and shows for how little someone can be murdered.

Posted by believing on 03/10/13 at 08:57 AM | #

This was the article:

Posted by believing on 03/10/13 at 08:58 AM | #

Hi Believing

Thanks a lot. We knew about Parolisis’ verdict and life sentence but didnt yet post, the reason being that a lot happened between this post and the trial and as this was a visual series we need to find time to sort out the shots. After Cassation decides AK’s and RS’s fate for the next several years in two weeks, time’ll be good for this. It’ll need maybe 4 posts for the same level of detail as in the previous six. 

Melania did know about Ludovica Perrone (she confronted her) and Ludovica was “secretly” interviewed at a villa a few miles west of Teramo while the media (which knew what was going on) tried hard to track her down. They found the villa late in the day, but she was gone. Authorities did a good job of not wrecking her life though messages showed she had been putting pressure on Salvatore to break with Melania which didnt make her everybody’s hero.

So maybe there was an extended phase of no sex and general coldness and it got to Salvatore in the wrong way. Very sad. Melania was by all acounts very sweet. Popular caring for Melania was very like popular caring for Meredith, and there seems a lot more caring for most victims and rather less lionizing of some perps in Italy than we see in the US.

RS and AK remain not at all popular in Italy (with good reason the appeal verdict is regarded as corrupt) and as RS has come out with a book slamming Italy (which has dropped him in a whole swamp of trouble) and AK may soon stupidly do the same with her book, they sure aint popular heros over there.

We intend to post on the stupidity of her book. From the point of view of her own interests the rumored thrust and timing are appalling. Unless Cassation simply quash her appeal and endorse her conviction for calunnia against Patrick, she has 1-2 years to go to try to get the felony conviction annulled. Either that or remain a convicted felon for life. So any sneering book sure wont help. 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/10/13 at 03:28 PM | #

By the way all the facts in the comment of 22 November just above still stand.

There was a lot less physical evidence against Parolosi than in Meredith’s case; and no witnesses except some who said he and Melania werent where he said they were (at the park).

He was mainly cooked by the cellphone pings and his crazy story - which was a lot less crazy than the sum of Knox’s and Sollecitos many alibis.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/10/13 at 07:03 PM | #
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