Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #10: The Chief Suspect Sonia’s Boyfriend Now Certain To Stand Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Sonia’s sister Anna moved to Perugia from south-east Italy to wage a persistent campaign]

Indicted chief suspect in Sonia’s possible murder Umberto Bindella is still out on bail, but lacking his passport so that he gets no ideas of fleeing.

He did flee a few months ago and ended up with his car down a steep slope below a highway a few miles south of Perugia. He sat in the car all night, maybe shocked, maybe despondent, maybe suicidal, and he and the car were hauled back up to the highway the following morning.

One theory is that Sonia may have told Bindella she was pregnant and an angry Bindella physically attacked her. The main basis for considering Bindella as a suspect is some phone calls he made on the night, the contents (if recorded) of which have not been made public and the reasons for the calls not explained, plus also other subsequent behavior. 

The Perugia police and lab people and prosecutors and investigating judge have all been ultra-cautious in pursuing the case, as a body that could be Sonia Marra’s has never been found, and in this case unlike Meredith’s the evidence really is quite thin.

Several weeks ago, the results of some court-mandated forensic tests on a jacket Bindella was wearing on the night Sonia disappeared came back, and there was a court hearing for the announcement of the results.

The report from Leggo Italia.

No traces of organic material, female DNA or blood were found on the jacket seized from Umberto Bindella, the thirty-one-year-old accused of killing Sonia Marra, the Perugian student from Puglia who disappeared four years ago….

According to the reconstruction in the indictment against Bindella, who is claiming no wrongdoing,  he wore the jacket on the evening when Sonia Marra had disappeared.

The deposition of the expert lasted only a few minutes. According to the defence lawyers Daniela Paccoi and Silvia Egidi, “this is yet another proof of innocence.” of their client.

Prosecutors Giuseppe Petrazzini and Angela Avila have asked for a trial of Bindella. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Quotidiano di Puglia reported on that second hearing.

The family of Sonia Marra, a student who disappeared into thin air in Perugia four years ago, formed a civil party to the preliminary hearings that began today before the GUP of Perugia, in which Umberto Bindella may be charged with killing the young woman and concealing her corpse with an accomplice, Dario Galluccio, who works in the banking industry.

Family members were represented by advocate Alessandro Vesi. Bindella, 31, was present in court today as were Sonia’s parents, her two brothers and her sister Anna. The hearing was postponed until February 7 when the prosecutor’s request for a trial of the accused will be decided upon.

A careful process where again the judges are showing no bias toward the prosecution. To the contrary, putting it through the same hoops Meredith’s case was put through.

Nevertheless Bindella seems certain to be facing a trial early in 2012.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/11/10 at 07:00 AM in The legal followupsItalian related


Thanks for the update on the Sonia case, Peter. This is so sad. I can’t believe she has two brothers and a sister, just like Meredith…. wow.

I am hoping some break will come in this case. It is almost worse, for the accused as well as the victim, to have it stretch out endlessly like this. Perhaps Bindella’s conscience will solve the problem, although that would not really be a satisfactory result for the family. Gee this is maddening!!!!

Bless her family. I hope for the best outcome possible here.

Posted by Earthling on 11/12/10 at 07:38 PM | #

Kind words from you as always Earthling. Sonia seems to have been a really sweet girl. Even if innocent, Umberto has always come across as something of an uncaring brute.

It was stunning researching this case to find out just how many people go missing (anywhere) and what havoc it wreaks on their relatives’ lives.

One of the earlier posts on Sonia has something about the missing persons internet network in Italy and a live, very much watched TV show about missing persons on which Anna has appeared at least twice.

The Perugia city council even ran a special session just for discussions of her. It was because of this that the scholarship for Meredith was not really a total surprise. The Kerchers have MANY supporters in Italy.

Not Girlanda of course. But most Italians are a lot more sensitive than he.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/12/10 at 08:30 PM | #

I think an additional point to note is that families of missing children NEVER give up hope. So it is very hard when someone is accused of the murder. That can leave them very torn and complexed.

Arline Kercher has been quoted as saying she can never get over hoping that Meredith is really still alive and time and again in her house she looks to where Meredith would usually be. 

Meredith’s bed is still probably made up. Arline has suffered so much.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/13/10 at 03:05 AM | #

So true, Pete. I know from losing loved ones, simply in the usual way of dying after a long, happy life, one still hopes. For the first few years, I still felt like calling my Mom when I had a particularly eventful day, had a good (or bad) experience, or just wanted to talk about current events. Sometimes I’d even reach for the phone before realizing that there was no number to call. My sisters reported the same feelings. I also held onto mementos for years. Still do hold onto some of them.

I cannot even hope to understand how a family member of a victim might adjust. It is heart-breaking to think of Meredith’s parents, especially her mother. I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. Or Sonia’s mother’s, either.

I’ve been following the Zahra Baker case here in the States. It’s so heart-breaking as well. Seeing the mother (biological) today kneeling before the memorials for her daughter was almost unbearable for me. It is horrid what some people would do. I cannot comprehend it. Sigh.

The only thing society can do is try to provide justice for the perpetrators, and care for the victims. And prevention, of course. The neighbors of Zahra spoke of seeing abuse, but not knowing what to do; they now feel the importance of reporting it whenever seen. I hope this awakens a lot of people.

Posted by Earthling on 11/13/10 at 05:22 AM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I hope the Marra family can find peace - not knowing must be the worst pain.

The careful diligence of the Italian Judicial System is again clear to see.  It’s slow moving nature must be particularly hard on the family, but, I think, the fact that the investigation is thorough and detailed must be of some comfort, knowing that things are being done properly, no stone left unturned and all.

I agree with Earthling, many of us who have lost people in our lives can find it hard to fully let go, to have someone snatched away from you must make it all the harder.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/13/10 at 09:33 AM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry More On Motive: Some Of The Cases Of “Nice” Girls Who Killed With Little Or No Motive At All

Or to previous entry Van Der Sloot’s Attention Seeking Antics In A Peruvian Prison Are Continuing