Category: Other witnesses

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today’s Star Witnesses For The Defense Alessi & Aviello Up To Necks In Trouble?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Alessi above; no shot of Aviello available due to protected status

1. Summary Report

Today the Long-shot defense witnesses Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello were heard. 

Already the Italian media are reporting on what looks like a slow moving train-wreck for the defense.

1. Mario Alessi

We have already had many posts on Alessi (read from the bottom up). Frankly, not a great choice. Mario Alessi is one of the least liked and trusted characters in Italy.

In part because before Alessi was arrested for killing a baby with a spade after kidnapping the parents, he was seen on national TV saying “Who could have done such a horrible thing?” Attempts to hoodwink the Italian public and courts never seem to go over very well.

Main reporting on the testimony of Mario Alessi will be available later today.

Here is what we already know. 

1) Alessi’s nervous and defiant claims on the witness stand that Guede told him Sollecito and Knox were not involved sounded distinctly hollow.

2) The prosecution ripped into him during the cross-examination phase and left him squirming and evasive on his claims.

3) The prosecution announced that the police have already investigated him for false claims, and a request for his prosecution has been sent to Viterbo.

4) The lawyer for the victim’s family also ripped into him with a description of his murder of a baby, with an image of the baby being presented to the court.

5) Alessi then developed some sort of health condition with low blood pressure as one of the symptoms, and was briefly treated.

6) Alessi seemed to be trying to opt out from any more interrogation on the stand, but Judge Hellman ordered him to come back.

2. Luciano Aviello

Luciano Aviello next took the stand.

We have already had many posts on Aviello too (read from the bottom up).  Again this is not someone Italy likes or trusts.

The Naples Comorrah mafia snitch among other things accused his missing brother and one other of murdering Meredith while in the wrong house looking for valuable art. Hellman had real problems keeping order in the court as Aviello also accused the police and RS lawyer Bongiorno of crimes.

The prosecution cross-examination of Aviello was cut off. Oddly, Hellman appeared to not want to hear about those latter accusations at all.

A fuller report will be posted when the media reports come out. It will be interesting to see if any photographs appear of Aviello. There are no recent shots. Barbie Nadeau tweeted from the court that he looks about 12 years old.

If he cannot produce Meredith’s keys or a knife that he claimed he buried at his brother’s request, he too will be toast and also facing new charges.

2 Longer Report #1

From an excellent report in the Daily Beast by Barbie Nadeau:

Five super-witnesses took center stage in a Perugia courtroom in defense of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who are appealing their convictions for killing Meredith Kercher.

[Mario Alessi]

The first witness, Mario Alessi, was on the stand briefly before he turned pale and took ill and had to leave the courtroom. After nearly an hour, he returned to tell the court a very convincing story about how Rudy Guede admitted that Knox and Sollecito were not part of Kercher’s murder and that a “drunk man” and a “fat guy” killed her instead.

He started by recounting how he and Guede found a quiet spot in the prison yard out of the view of the closed-circuit television camera and Rudy poured his heart out, telling him the real story of Kercher’s murder.

Alessi’s account was rich in detail as he explained how he tried to convince Guede to “tell the truth.” The only problem with Alessi is the fact that he is one of Italy’s most notorious murderers himself, convicted for the 2006 kidnapping and murder of a two-year-old boy.

The lawyer representing the Kercher family Francesco Maresca held up a photo of the child and asked Alessi, “Do you know who this is?” “No,” Alessi replied, looking away. “That’s ok, we know who he is,” replied Maresca.

[Alessi Cellmates]

Three more witnesses followed, each backing up Alessi’s account of Rudy’s story, each one more colorful than the previous… their credibility was deemed questionable based on the fact that they were convicts and the essence of their testimony was prison-yard gossip.

The judge… decided he needs to hear from Guede himself to clarify the prison gossip. That hearing was scheduled for June 27. And Guede will testify.

[Luciano Aviello]

The final witness threw a curveball in a day that was going largely Knox’s way.

Luciano Aviello took the stand to tell the court that his brother was the real murderer. He explained that he was just out of prison for mafia collusion and living in a “mini apartment” in Perugia “thanks to your generous justice system” he added, looking at the judge for effect.

Then he explained that on the night of November 1, after he got back to Perugia after a quick trip home to Naples, his brother came to his apartment at around 10 or 11 at night.

“My brother came in and sat on the sofa. The right arm of his jacket was ripped and he could see blood on his arm. My brother then pulled out a pocket knife and a set of keys. He was very afraid. He didn’t want to create problems for me in Perugia. My brother was very emotional.”

Aviello then went on to explain that his brother had met up with an Albanian man who offered him “work” in the form of a robbery. The Albanian had inadvertently jotted down the address incorrectly and they went instead to the house where Kercher and Knox were living.

Having found Kercher home alone, they started to attack her sexually and then they killed her. “I’m not telling you this because I have hate inside me for my brother,” he said. “I am coming forward because it is the right thing for me to do.”

At one point he lectured the prosecutor about jumping to conclusions too quickly. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent,” he said. Then under cross examination he lost his temper and exploded into a near-rage of wild gesticulation and Neapolitan dialect that was largely incomprehensible…

[Reaction Of Knox]

Knox, who was dressed in a conservative skirt and blue blouse, looked dismayed during most of the hearing. Her appeal is winding down and she knows well that every trial date should count towards proving her innocence, and potentially setting her free….


3. Longer Report #2

This is by our main poster Will Savive.

Another prison inmate Luciano Aviello [42] who has served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra, testified today that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.”

Aviello said that the Albanian (who offered his brother “work” in the form of a robbery) had inadvertently jotted down the wrong address, and they instead went to the house where Kercher and Knox were living, and they were surprised by Meredith’s appearance. According to Aviello, his brother and the Albanian man then committed the murder and fled.

Aviello is from Naples, but was living in Perugia at the time of the murder. He claims that his brother, who is currently on the run, was staying with him in late 2007 and on the night of the murder he returned home with an injury to his right arm and his jacket covered in blood.

Flanked by two prison guards, Aviello described how his brother had entered the house Meredith shared with Knox and had been looking for the painting when they were disturbed by a woman “wearing a dressing gown.” So many convicts, which one to believe, if any?

“My brother told me that he had put his hand to her mouth but she had struggled,” Aviello testified. “He said he got the knife and stabbed her before they had run off. He said he had also smashed a window to simulate a break in.”

Aviello said his brother had hidden the knife, along with a set of keys his brother had used to enter the house. “Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place,” he asserted. Consequently, Aviello had been in the same jail as Sollecito and had told him: “I believe in your innocence.”


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Barbara Benedettelli: Campaigner For Victims And Families Says Italian System Denies Them Justice

Posted by Peter Quennell



You can see the problem. Many Italians now think that their justice and penal systems lean too far in the direction of perpetrators getting every possible break.

We have posted often on how tough things are for Italian police and prosecutions, and how many hurdles they have to jump through. There is great caution built into the process before cases ever go to trial, and then there are two compulsory rounds of appeal.

There are proportionally very few perpetrators in Italians prison by global standards, and when there in prison they are given quite a nice time, trained to perform usefully when released, and very often get out of prison early.

Seemingly very humane. But this does carry very high costs. There are often almost unbearable pressures on victims’ families, as Meredith’s father John Kercher has several times described. On top of all this, there is the growing western fascination with perps, and in many cases their elevating to popular cult-worship status.

Barbara Benedettelli is a writer and columnist and the editor of the popular “Top Secret” program on Rete4 TV…  Her latest book (only in Italian) is called “Victims Forever”. She talks of various prominent perps and the enormous and unrequiting pressures on victims’ families. In polls a large majority of Italians detest this. They want much less stress on “fairness” and MUCH more compassion for victims families and, if still alive, for the victims.

Barbara Benedettelli has been interviewed by Maria Rosaria De Simone for Italia Magazine

Barbara, tell me about your latest book, “Victims Forever.”

In this book, I put all my soul into it. I was completely absorbed, I have worked tirelessly. It’s the outcome of numerous interviews that I made with the relatives of those who were torn from life prematurely. Life is the greatest gift that we possess and it is important that we learn to respect it. We can not devalue it, treat it as waste paper. We can not despise it. Life must be defended. That ‘s what I tried to highlight.

Who are the ‘victims forever’ you speak of?

The victims are always the relatives of those who were killed. Killing a person is to kill an entire world, destroying the lives of family members who are sentenced to a life of pain. The murderer after serving his sentence can still have a future. Relatives of the victims do not.

They are sentenced to a life in pain. In the book I wanted to give voices to these victims. It covers eight stories.

I saw that the book contains interviews with relatives of the victims.

Yes, the book includes dialogues spoken in confidence, and the correspondence I received from relatives who live a life torn apart. They are trying to make their voices heard in order to receive justice, and instead they feel forgotten, mistreated and poorly tolerated by our justice system.

I approached them only to discover a world that I not even remotely imagined. I came into their lives on tiptoe, I saw their pain, the disillusionment of discovering that the murderer, in the process, is transformed from a ruthless criminal into a “poor victim” who is well treated, carefully supported, and spoiled to give him, after a detention not adjusted to the brutality of the crime, a new life, a new possibility for the future and a rehabilitation.

In the Italian criminal justice system, the victims and the relatives of the victims, who have lost their greatest asset, matter very little.

It cares far more for the wellbeing of the murderer, his recovery, his return to the social system. And with this mindset, I found that victims and their relatives do not receive justice.

We have a ‘system of rewards’ and if the murderer demonstrates a desire to involve themselves in re-education, we reduce by forty-five days every six months of the sentence. And we add a number of other benefits.

The book denounces a system that does not respect the victims in their need for recognition of their dignity, their value.

The penalties that are imposed on the offenders should be proportionate to the offense. A man who committed a murder, resulting in a final death, a road of no return, should receive an appropriate sentence, because what he did can not be erased, nor can there ever be reparation.

Instead, our Constitution, with the intent of an educational purpose and the rehabilitation of prisoners into society, has since 1975 triggered a series of benefits for good behavior, leading to numerous reductions of sentences for those convicted.

This is pervasive. It results in assurances for the inmate that leads to a serious imbalance. A murderer is often out of prison very soon, not having fully served his sentence, often emerging unaware of the seriousness of the crime he committed.

Relatives of the victims not only feel that their loved one is killed for the second time by a justice that they consider unjust, but often have to live with the terror of meeting the murderer on the streets of their country, proud and with the eyes of those who got away and without any gesture or sign of repentance.

In my book, the relatives of the victims complained that today in our justice system there does not exist any certainty of punishment.

Can you give some examples?

Take the case of four young boys, Alex Luciani, Daniela Traini, David Corradetti, and Eleonora Allevi.  In 2007, they were going to get ice cream.

A Rome boy who was drunk while driving a minibus mowed them down.

Well, consider how much pain, how many people were destroyed that night: the boys, their friends, their parents, their brothers, all those who loved them. Yet all this could all have been avoided. The murderer, Marco Ahmetovic, the previous year had attempted a robbery at a post office. Should he not have been in prison?

Of course, he should have been in prison. And how did it work out?

The taker of four young lives, Ahmetovic, was given six years and six months in prison. He was initially under house arrest in a residence by the sea with a friend, and then released because the house did not meet the standards.


There is no certainty of punishment, as you say. Not only is the sentence not appropriate for the offense that was committed, but even that is not properly served.

Yes, this is an insult to the relatives of the victims. I’ll give you another example. Remember little Tommaso Onofri? [The baby murdered near Parma, Sicily, by Mario Alessi.]

How could I forget? His case has been watched throughout Italy with bated breath ...

I interviewed his mother, Paola. She is a woman destroyed. The closer you get to her, the more you feel her pain and are overwhelmed. Paola calls for justice, justice before any thoughts of re-education, to punish, to emphasize that the life of a child has value.

Destroying that has a price: that of freedom. This price, the price of liberty, must be paid by the murderer. In 2006 Paul had a family and that now no longer exists.

Two men kidnapped Baby Thomas, who was seventeen months old, and they killed him without mercy. Mario Alessi and Salvatore Raimondi, these are the names of the killers.

And Antonella Conserva [Alessi’s wife and] was their alleged accomplice. Alessi was sentenced to life imprisonment. Raimondi, he was given twenty years, he has benefited from the fast-track trial [same as Guede’s] despite the brutality of the crime.

We keep waiting for the decision of the Court of Appeal in Bologna. [The Supreme Court of Cassation referred the wife’s case back to them.] The woman’s defense team seeks to demonstrate that she was not involved despite the evidence.

“I declare myself innocent,” she says. Meanwhile there is only one certainty, that the family will never see again Tommy Onofri that they killed.”

Mario Alessi had already had trouble with the law.

Indeed, this is another important point.

Alessi had a conviction for first and second-degree sexual assault. In 2000 a young couple in their rural home was attacked by two unknown men armed with a gun and a knife. The girl was brutally raped. And the rapist was the very same Alessi, who was arrested but released after only nine months after expiry of the period of detention.

After two convictions for rape, Mario Alessi was turned out and free to go and kill the little Tommaso Onofri.

This is the scandal of the Italian justice ...

Yes, a scandal and you could tell a long sequence of stories like that.

How did you feel to spend so much time with the relatives of the victims?

It ‘s hard. Their pain becomes your own, you’re totally involved.

However there is one thing you can say. Relatives of the victims asked for the certainty of punishment for the murderers through my book, but I have not read in them hatred, resentment and fury. Only pain and grief.

I remember that you entered into politics ...

I went into politics. I was full of projects, I thought I could change the world. I thought I could help those who are weakest, those who are less fortunate.

Unfortunately, I encountered the harsh realities of politics. I found myself alone in my battles. I am too idealistic, I do not go over well with this policy.

And in all this your husband Claudio Brachino [the host of Top Secret, image below] helped you?

Claudio is a wonderful man. Always over the years we worked together. He has always supported me. He’s also a loving father. He respects my work and my need to carry out my work in complete independence.

Claudio is not only a true professional, but he is also very sensitive and is proud of what I’m doing. Even my two sons are, who I love with all my heart, and who I have rather neglected during the writing of this book. Especially in the final stages. I was very busy and unbearable.

*********

Maria Rosaria De Simone adds: I read her book, “Victims forever.” Barbara Benedettelli’s work is valuable not only for the way she conducted the interviews and the reflections of high compassion, but also she uses the Italian language fluently and is full of interesting styles. Very nice also is the foreword to the book by Rita Dalla Chiesa, who recalls the day when she learned of the murder of her father, Carlo Alberto. An excerpt.

This is for More Victims. A book in which the soul of the writer shows through and seems naked, stripped at times. Pages that reflect strong feeling, the passion of civil pain but also the love for life, interspersed with the complaints toward a system that allows double, triple, endless injustices. These make these people, in fact, Victims Still.

Not only once, but whenever a court fails to follow up, a murderer intrudes again in those lives that are torn, injured, deprived of any human right. Every time we, the people, public opinion, politicians, judges, writers, forget that the effect of a murder does not end with the death of a human being irretrievably “deleted”, but continues in those who survive the death. Because a human being is an entire world. A world full of meaning, history, and other people.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Defenses’  Possible But Extremely Unlikely Star Witness Is Once Again Back In The News

Posted by Peter Quennell





Above: Mario Alessi. The defenses’ possible get-out-of-jail-free card.

That is if he actually agrees to testify in face of possible perjury charges, can do so credibly, and can weather a withering cross-examination from the prosecution which has already investigated his claims - and a possible reappearance of Rudy Guede on the stand.

Mario Alessi’s claim is that Rudy Guede confessed to him in their cell that he actually carried out the crime against Meredith with two others, not Sollecito and Knox. Guede has very adamantly denied this, and remains seething and maybe likely to hit back hard.

Alessi, a carpenter, actually has some assets in Sicily where he lived and where he murdered a baby boy. But he applied for legal aid for his trial and appeals and he got it - a lot of it. The total is nearly $200,000.

The prosecution then appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court of Cassation that Italian taxpayers should not be stuck with this very large tab. Yesterday the Supreme Court disagreed.

And so Alessi gets to keep his property in Sicily, and Italian taxpayers are indeed stuck with the large tab. Confidence boosting? The Perugia prosecution probably hopes so…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/20 at 05:34 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (12)

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Witness Icognito: Could Outnumbered Knox And Sollecito Defenses Be Forced To Resort To This?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Luciano Aviello is the so-called Camorrah Supersnitch from Naples. He has not been photographed in two decades.

When he testifies in court, he does so from behind a curtain, so that back in his cell he can sleep easier. Perhaps make that: can stay alive.

The beautiful scene below is of Alba, north of Genoa and south of Turin in northwest Italy, where Luciano Aviello may or may not be in the prison there. Nobody seems to know for sure.

We first described what is know of Luciano Aviello back here in June of last year, along with some excellent satire.

Aviello explosively emerged as a possible key defense witness - the US and UK media made a really huge deal out of this - when he claimed that his missing brother was the real murderer, along with two others.

And that Aviello knew where some evidence was hidden (not yet actually unearthed).

As with the hapless Mario Alessi, on whom we posted earlier this week, Luciano Aviello was interviewed not only by the defenses, but also by Prosecutor Mignini and Ms Comodi.

The Italian police also investigated his claims - and they did a surprise search of his prison cell. Nothing is known of what the police and prosecution found out, which makes Aviello something of a one-man minefield.

Even in the middle of last year, Luciano Aviello did not sound too credible.

Here now is an excellent new profile of Aviello and the credibility of snitches like him. It is by Mike La Sorte,  a professor emeritus at the State University of New York. Mr La Sorte includes this:

On November 1, 2007, in the Italian city of Perugia, Meredith Kercher was murdered. A trial was held and Amanda Knox was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned. At the time of the murder Luciano Aviello was out of prison and living in Perugia with his brother, Antonio. Returning to prison for extortion, Luciano from his cell in the Spring of 2010 came forward to announce that the true slayer of the victim was Antonio.

“Yes,” he declared, “it was my brother who killed Meredith during the commission of a break-in. I can produce the weapon of the crime and the keys to the house.” This generated international attention and got Avellino into the newspapers. His confession gave the defense the excuse to reopen the case to review the evidence. [Actually the mandatory appeal was already pending.]

Camorra expert Gigi di Fiore said of him: “Aviello is a strange person. He has had several contacts with the Anti-Mafia Commission and was judged to be less than truthful, a confused youth in search of publicity. He would want to exchange information for protection but had little to offer. His story is an emblematic event of no merit.”

Why could Luciano Aviello’s testimony on his claimed murderous brother (who presumably does know what he looks like) really, really matter to the besieged Knox and Sollecito defenses if it is believed? 

These are the reasons:

    1) The Supreme Court of Cassation has already accepted that overwhelming evidence proves THREE people - Guede and two others - all attacked Meredith.

    2) There are literally hundreds of evidence points pointing to Rudy Guede and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - in fact MORE point to Knox and Sollecito.

    3) Despite the absurd claims of the dispirited conspiracy panel at Seattle University Monday night, not one evidence point - NOT ONE -  points to anyone else.

The defense lawyers actually get along well with Mr Mignini, and they know that the justice professionals have really done an okay job. They have never once claimed that any evidence was fabricated, or that investigators made things up, or beat or starved Amanda Knox, or performed any other criminal act. They seriously need to finger other perps.

So. Look forward to welcoming the colorful if invisible Mr Aviello. We sure do look forward to seeing you.  Or not, as the case may be.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08 at 08:26 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnesses31 Aviello hoaxComments here (14)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Harsh Language For Possible Defense Witness Mario Alessi From The Supreme Court Of Cassation

Posted by Peter Quennell


Mario Alessi is the jailhouse snitch who claims that Rudy Guede told him that Guede and two others murdered Meredith.

That if believed would leave Knox and Sollecito in the clear. But if the Knox and Sollecito defenses put him on the witness stand, it might destroy their appeal like a hand grenade.

Why? Well, the prosecution interviewed both Alessi and Guede in prison and they further investigated Alessi’s claims - and have never made those results public. Alessi’s own lawyer does not believe him and she has publicly urged him not to get on the stand to repeat his claims.

She presumably fears he might get slapped with perjury charges and end up spending even more years behind bars - he is already serving a life sentence at Parma Prison which normally means 30-plus years.

The Supreme Court has just issued a ruling on the appeal of Alessi’s wife wife Antonella Conserva. It says that as she was not present at Mario Alessi’s horrific killing of Baby Tommy when the baby would not stop crying, her 30 year sentence is not properly supported in law.

Her case is referred back to the Appeals Court in Bologne where the first-level appeal must be repeated. Meanwhile Alessi looks even more disreputable.

The other possible witness with an alternative theory is Luciano Aviello. But he has a well-established record of lying. 

More and more it is looking now like Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito may be forced to take the witness stand in last-ditch efforts against their appeals totally failing and their getting awarded even tougher sentences.

Little else is going their way these day - the DNA review and and Mr Curatolo’s testimony are expected to still remain creditable, and even if they don’t they are only two drops in a large evidence bucket.

If either do take the stand (and if they don’t, much will be made of that, even though Italian law says it shouldn’t) Kermit’s cross-examination questions are waiting.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Sixth Appeal Hearing: Andrea Vogt On The Testimony Of The Witness In The Square

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: north side of Piazza Grimana showing the benches where Mr Curatolo normally sits]

Click here for Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle PI from the appeals court.

One of the case’s most colorful and controversial characters, Curatolo, 53, has spent many a day sitting in the small public Piazza Grimana square near the university where college students come to play basketball, buy hashish and hang out….

When questioned by prosecutors, he said he remembered seeing Knox and Sollecito having “an animated discussion” in the square, which overlooks the villa where Kercher’s body would be found the next day. It was not raining that night, he said, when asked about the weather. The following day the Carabinieri came around to ask him if he had seen anything, he recalled, and he had watched as forensic crime scene investigators worked around the house.

“Are you sure that the day after you saw those two discussing in an animated way you were questioned by the Carabinieri and saw the police at Via della Pergola in their white suits?” asked Mignini.

“Very sure,” Curatolo said. “As sure as I am that I am sitting here.”

But minutes later, in questioning by Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Curatolo also said he had seen young people in masks and getting on buses to go to the discos. The distinction is important because Halloween was Oct. 31 and there were likely students in costumes, getting on shuttles to go to the discos on the outskirts of town.

Kercher, however, was killed on the evening of Nov. 1, 2007, which is All Saints Day, a somber holiday in Italy, when it is less likely there were any festivities.

“I think it is clear that he does not have a lucid memory,” said a member of Knox’s legal team, Maria del Grosso, after the hearing. “And I think it was demonstrated today that he is not a credible witness.”

However, prosecutors and the lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, maintained the testimony was in line with previous statements.

“He repeated exactly what he said during the first trial. We still believe he is reliable.”

Good neutral report, as you’d expect, from Andrea Vogt who is the American reporter most consistently in the courtroom. All the other reports in English seemed to include a lot of fluff from the defenses.

We’ll have an analysis post on this hearing and the DNA testing in Rome later today or tomorrow.

**********

Below: Mr Curatolo’s preferred benches are at the far left there. If Sollecito did watch the gate of the house on the night he’d need to be to the far right there. The gate can easily be seen from there.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fifth Appeal Hearing: Testimony On Club Closings And Buses Leaves Credibility Of Eyewitness Intact

Posted by Peter Quennell


The shot above from the front of the School for Foreigners is of Piazza Grimana.

Click for a larger image. You can see the square with the benches at extreme left and right, and at rear the basketball court where Rudy Guede played. At the back there at the far right are the stone stairs down which Knox and Sollecito may have entered the park.

The many traversing buses mostly stop right in front here and they would block most of that view.

It is hard for us to see the defense witness testimony from six witnesses - one nightclub owner apparently refused to show - that several clubs were closed and several buses not running as any big deal.

In this post below we mentioned that Judge Micheli at Rudy Guede’s trial in October 2008 had accepted the testimony of Mr Curatolo because he said it was the night before the police descended on Meredith’s house and the square.

Judge Masse’s court also used this as a pointer to Mr Curatolo’s credibility and the Supreme Court of Cassation in denying Guede’s ten appeal grounds also endorsed the testimony as good. 

Here now is a repeat of our report on Mr Curatolo’s day in court by our man in the court at the time, StewartHome2000,  almost precisely two years ago (29 March 2009).

He is a fixture in Perugia. He is a vagrant that spends most of his time hanging around Corso Garibaldi (the street where Sollecito lived) and Piazza Grimana (the piazza in front of the School for Foreigners within eyeshot of the gate of Meredith’s house on Via della Pergola).

The crowd murmured as he was helped in by court assistants, uncleaned and dressed in an old jacket and winter knit hat. His skin was dark against his long un-groomed white hair, beard and mustache. But once he opened his mouth, you knew that this guy was no slouch. He spoke clearly, concisely and directly, and was very certain of what he saw.

His testimony never swayed and was consistent even under cross examination. In short, his appearance was one thing, his articulate convincing testimony was another.

He stated that he has been a regular hobo (for lack of a better term) around that part of Perugia for about 8-9 years. He testified that he was in Piazza Grimani around 9:30-10:00pm when he saw across the piazza two people, a man and a woman. He described them as a couple from the way they were sitting next to one another.

He was asked to describe them and he turned and looked at Amanda, just a few feet away, and said calmly, “it was her”, and then looked at Sollecito and said “and him.” He stated that having been in that area he had seen them before separately, but this was the first time he saw them together. But he was certain it was them.

He said also that, although he did not watch them all the time, he did see them again “poco prima di mezzanotte” or “just before midnight” at the same place. He originally said that they were there from 9:30 through midnight, but clarified that they were there at 9:30-10:00pm and may have left around 11-11:30 and then returned to be there just before midnight.

After midnight, he left the piazza to go to the park and sleep.

The next day, he arrived at his faithful piazza around 12:00pm, and eventually, around 1:30 or so, he saw the carabinieri pass by, and the police and crime scene staff, and stated that he watched them at the scene, including the CSI people dressed in the full-white suits.

Under cross-examination, Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno may have thought she had an easy target. But in fact he held up extremely well. She asked, “how could you possibly know it was 9:30?” and he responded “Because the sign next to the piazza has a digital clock. I look at it often to check the time”.

He stated that “when I sat on the bench to read I looked at my watch and it was just before 9:30pm”¦.and I saw them shortly afterwards.” He said he knows what he saw, and he saw those two! No more questions.

Buses and nightclubs were not even mentioned in this comprehensive report. They were not even brought up by the defenses to rebut Mr Curatolo’s timeline two years ago.

The defenses again seem to be clutching at straws.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Fifth Appeal Hearing: What Will Be On The Agenda Tomorrow In Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Scheduled for tomorrow are seven witnesses for Sollecito’s defense, which is trying to prove that the eyewitness in the park, Mr Curatolo, got his dates wrong.

One of the ways in which Mr Curatolo identified the night on which he says he watched Knox and Sollecito sitting and talking in the park and periodically peering in the direction of the gate of Meredith’s house was by the presence of some buses.

They may have been the buses which climb up the very narrow Via Ulise Rocchi from the square to some clubs further up. However many, many other buses also pass through that square.

The defense hopes to land its first blow on the prosecution’s case by showing that on the night those nightclub buses weren’t there - that the clubs were closed that night for the holiday, and so the nightclub buses were nowhere to be seen.

Is this crucial? We think not. Mr Curatolo is useful in establishing a possible timeline for the night, but not for much more than that. The prosecution have never given the slightest hint that they believe anything like their whole case hangs on him.

And in Rudy Guede’s brief trial in October 2008 Judge Micheli accepted Mr Curatolo’s testimony as valid because he said he saw Knox and Sollecito on the night before all the police descended on Meredith’s house and the square.

Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith.

In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

Acceptance of his testimony is already endorsed by two appeals courts, including the Supreme Court of Cassation, and all the decisions and all the evidence from all three courts now get ported into the Knox-Solleito appeal.

You can see photos of the square here and the view down to the gate of Meredith’s house here.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Five Sleepers For The Knox And Sollecito Defenses That Could Make Matters Even Worse

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Knox defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova and Sollecito defense lawyer Luca Maori]


The situation actually seems tougher for the defenses than even the very stark facts in the post below suggest. Here are some sleepers.

1) All the DNA tests could go against them, Amanda Knox’s DNA might be confirmed on Meredith’s bra or bra clasp as several DNA witnesses believed it was, and if the opening of the knife handle is permitted, Meredith’s DNA might be discovered in there.

2) The defenses hope to destroy the timeline of Curatolo the eyewitness in the park by proving there were no nightclub buses operating that night. But Judge Micheli said that in accepting him as credible his statement that he saw the two in the park the night before all the police activity at the house was enough, and did not even mention any buses. The Hellman court might agree.

3) Prosecutors interviewed and investigated both Alessi and Aviello but never revealed what they found out. If the defenses call them as witnesses, as they desperately need to in light of the Supreme Court of Cassation position below that Guede and two others were involved, they could be destroyed in cross examination and end up facing perjury charges and longer prison terms as a result.

4) The Hellman court might discount the Massei scenario that Guede just happened to be there for a reason not explained, and just started to molest Meredith with two others nearby, who then just oddly chose to join in on his side with some handy knives. The prosecution and Judge Micheli both believed the hazing of Meredith was probably a Knox-driven initiative. The prosecution could make this a main argument in the requested waiving of the mitigating circumstances the Massei court allowed.

5) Sollecito and/or Knox could insist on mounting the witness stand despite counsel advice and in trying to explain the alibis and cellphone and computer happenings and a few other things might collapse under cross-examination - their first unrestrained cross-examination in this process.

Raffaele Sollecito’s superstar lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, now on maternity leave, may not be heard from again. And Sollecito still seems to be maintaining some separation and not giving Knox any help with her fifth alibi.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/27 at 06:11 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoax31 Aviello hoaxComments here (9)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open Questions: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by SomeAlibi


Welcome

If you’ve come to this website because of the Lifetime movie of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, then welcome. 

Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The movie you’ve just watched is equivocal on that matter and perhaps didn’t help you at all.

On the internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and you will find people who are passionate in their support of the prosecution. 

My own arrival

Placing my own cards on the table here: as a twenty-plus year practising trial lawyer, I am firmly a part of that latter camp.  But it wasn’t always that way.

It was information ““ evidence ““ that changed my views. What became very clear to me, early on, was that very few people in the English-speaking world are aware of anywhere near all of the evidence in this case.

I had thought I had grasped the core of the case, but I did not.  The case is deep and complex and like many criminal cases, the complete facts behind it have been only sketchily reported in the media.  The movie you may have just watched only skirts the real reasons the jury convicted.

The unanimous jury

I am sure that we all agree that no jury, in any murder case, given the awesome responsibility of adjudicating on (young) people’s lives for a multi-decade period of imprisonment, condemns people lightly.

It should be a matter of logic that the evidence presented against the accused must have been deep and satisfied the 6 lay jurors and 2 judges on the case for them to pronounce that huge judgement. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be the possibility of a mistrial, but clearly the evidence presented must have been substantial.

In this, we’ve already hit the first problem.  Some supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will tell you there’s no evidence against them. 

This is patently silly.  No jury ever convicts people and sends them to prison for 24 plus years without being quite convinced of the case against them.  Miscarriages of justice do happen, but the idea that there is “no evidence” can be summarily dismissed. 

The only question is whether the evidence is sufficient, true and accurate.

The voluminous evidence

So is the evidence enough to convict beyond a reasonable doubt?  The six lay jurors and two professional judges thought so, clearly.  What you realise, when you come to the facts of the case, is that the evidence is based not around a single key event but on multiple points. 

It can be astonishing to realise that the case is based not only on DNA evidence but also on cellphone evidence and computer records and further yet on multiple conflicting and contradicting versions of what happened that night from the mouths of the accused, not to mention falsely accusing an innocent man of responsibility for murder causing his incarceration. 

The wealth of evidence is actually extremely unusual. It goes way beyond the quite similar Scott Peterson case.

The Massei Sentencing Report

What is absolutely new to the English speaking legal world is that the reasoning for the conviction can be read in an extremely detailed 440+ page report online.  Bilingual posters at the Perugia Murder File Forum many of whom who are also key posters at TJMK translated the entire document into English over several months last year. 

It was my privilege to play an extremely small part in that work.  People from four different continents with backgrounds in forensic science, law, academia and a host of other disciplines participated. 

You can read an effective executive summary by clicking on the Massei Report link at top here and reading the conclusions from page 388 onwards:

The Knox PR campaign

If you are new to this case, you will likely be shocked how much evidence there is against the convicted parties.  Amanda Knox’s family have spent over $1m and involved a professional PR agency called Gogerty Marriot to suggest otherwise in the English-speaking media. 

You might wonder why an innocent person needs a million dollar PR campaign on their part.  Make yourself a coffee and read the conclusions of the judge’s report. It will take you about 15 minutes.  Up until you read this report, almost everything you watch, hear and read is PR spin and is quite deliberately positioned to make you believe there is no case.

When you complete it,  I believe you will have a very different take. That 15 minutes could change your ideas about everything you thought you knew about the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Now for a quick tour of the evidence.


Some of the points of evidence

Consider as you read it what is your own possible explanation for each of the following:

  • the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito on Meredith’s bra-clasp in her locked bedroom;

  • the almost-entire naked footprint of Raffaele on a bathmat that in *no way* fits that of the other male in this case ““ Rudy Guede;

  • the fact that Raffaele’s own father blew their alibi that they were together in Raffaele’s flat at the time of the killing with indisputable telephone records;

  • the DNA of Meredith Kercher on the knife in Raffaele’s flat which Raffaele himself sought to explain as having been from accidentally “pricking” Meredith’s hand in his written diary despite the fact Meredith had never been to his flat (confirmed by Amanda Knox);

  • the correlation of where Meredith’s phones were found to the location of Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guedes’s flats;

  • the computer records which show that no-one was at Raffaele’s computer during the time of the murder despite him claiming he was using that computer;

  • Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s in five different places just feet from Meredith’s body;

  • the utterly inexplicable computer records the morning after the murder starting at 5.32 am and including multiple file creations and interactions thereafter all during a time that Raffaele and Amanda insist they were asleep until 10.30am;

  • the separate witnesses who testified on oath that Amanda and Raffaele were at the square 40 metres from the girls’ cottage on the evening of the murder and the fact that Amanda was seen at a convenience store at 7.45am the next morning, again while she said she was in bed;

  • the accusation of a completely innocent man by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that when Amanda Knox rang Meredith’s mobile telephones, ostensibly to check on the “missing” Meredith, she did so for just three seconds - registering the call but making no effort to allow the phone to be answered in the real world

  • the knife-fetish of Raffaele Sollecito and his formal disciplinary punishment for watching animal porn at his university ““ so far from the wholesome image portrayed;

  • the fact that claimed multi-year kick-boxer Raffaele apparently couldn’t break down a flimsy door to Meredith’s room when he and Amanda were at the flat the morning after the murder but the first people in the flat with the police who weren’t martial artists could;

  • the extensive hard drug use of Sollecito as told on by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that Amanda knew details of the body and the wounds despite not being in line of sight of the body when it was discovered;

  • the lies of Knox on the witness stand in July 2009 about how their drug intake that night (“one joint”) is totally contradicted by Sollecito’s own contemporaneous diary;

  • the fact that after a late evening’s questioning, Knox wrote a 2,900 word email home which painstakingly details what she said happened that evening and the morning after that looks *highly* like someone committing to memory, at 3.30 in the morning, an extensive alibi;

  • the fact that both Amanda and Raffaele both said they would give up smoking dope for life in their prison diaries despite having apparently nothing to regret;

  • the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested, Raffaele Sollecito didn’t celebrate the “true” perpetrator being arrested (which surely would have seen him released) but worried in his diary that a man whom he said he didn’t know would “make up strange things” about him despite him just being one person in a city of over 160,000 people;

  • the fact that both an occupant of the cottage and the police instantly recognised the cottage had not been burgled but had been the subject of a staged break-in where glass was *on top* of apparently disturbed clothes;

  • that Knox and Sollecito both suggested each other might have committed the crime and Sollecito TO THIS DATE does not agree Knox stayed in his flat all the night in question;

  • the bizarre behaviour of both of them for days after the crime;

  • the fact that cellphone records show Knox did not stay in Sollecito’s flat but had left the flat at a time which is completely coincidental with Guede’s corroborated presence near the girl’s flat earlier in the evening;

  • the fact that Amanda Knox’s table lamp was found in the locked room of Meredith Kercher in a position that suggested it had been used to examine for fine details of the murder scene in a clean up;

  • the unbelievable series of changing stories made up by the defendants after their versions became challenged; Knox’s inexplicable reaction to being shown the knife drawer at the girl’s cottage where she ended up physically shaking and hitting her head.


In conclusion

This list is not exhaustive. It goes”¦ on”¦ and on”¦ and on”¦ And yet, those supporting Knox will tell you that’s all made up, all coincidental. 

Really?  Does the weight of all that evidence sound made up to you?

If so, it must be the most over-rigged criminal case in the history of crime.  Unlikely beyond all and any reasonable doubt.

The judge’s report explains why the jury found the defendants guilty. I truly expect you will be astonished at the amount of evidence if all you’ve done is watched a film or read a few press reports. 

For any questions thereafter, please join us and post them on truejustice.org or perugiamuderfile.org .  You’ll find here a host of good people who are all working on a totally volunteer basis in memory of the only victim of this crime.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher. RIP.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inaccurate Report By The Associated Press Carried By Over 2,000 Media Sites

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above is one inaccurate headline. The witness Curatolo has NOT been convicted of drug dealing. No reason to be feeling encouraged. .

1) From the original A&P release last Saturday

That Antonio Curatolo, the eye-witness in the park, had already been convicted was maybe mischievously planted by Luciano Ghirga (image below) the hands-on lawyer for Amanda Knox.

Or maybe he just made a mistake. This wrong fact was then widely quoted in commentary and blog posts. Total search hits are over 2,000.

A defense lawyer for Amanda Knox, the U.S. college student serving a 26-year prison sentence for the murder of her British roommate, expressed optimism Saturday that a drug charge conviction of a prosecution witness might help the American in her appeal in Italy.

The defense always maintained that Antonio Curatolo, a homeless man in the university town of Perugia, wasn’t a credible witness, Luciano Ghirga told The Associated Press in Rome.

Perugia court offices were closed Saturday, and officials could not be reached to confirm Italian news reports that Curatolo had been convicted earlier in the week for dealing drugs. It wasn’t immediately known what his sentence was or if he had been jailed….

“We have always said that he was not a credible witness,” Ghirga said, referring to Curatolo. “It was the court that held he was credible.” The drug charge conviction “will be an additional thing to help prove the witness is not credible,” Ghirga said in a phone interview.

2) From the A&P correction issued today.

This release states that Curatolo has NOT been convicted. As of noon New York time on Tuesday the number of sites carrying this correction is less than 1,000.

ROME “” In a Jan. 15 story about a prosecution witness in the Perugia murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox, The Associated Press, relying on information from a lawyer, erroneously reported that the witness, Antonio Curatolo, had been convicted on a drug charge. Curatolo has been ordered to stand trial on a drug charge, but has not been convicted.

The defenses are seeming pretty desperate. Understandably so. Luckily for justice for Meredith, in Italy as in the US and UK the defenses cannot use a mere charge against a witness to discredit them on the stand.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Proposed Defense Witness Aviello Cell Searched: Could Be Setback For Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: So-called supersnitch Luciano Aviello as he looked maybe 20 years ago]

The defenses could be about to find that neither of their requested key witnesses will be willing to mount the stand. 

The Italian media are reporting that the prison cell of Luciano Aviello has just been searched. Aviello is the supersnitch from Naples who has a history of falsely accusing others to try to give himself a break.

We have been remarking for a while that both Aviello and the baby killer Mario Alessi could face perjury charges and another few years on their sentences if the police can uncover evidence that if either testify, they committed perjury on the stand.

Both prospective witnesses were interrogated in prison by both the defense teams and the prosecution. The defense claims after their interrogations always sounded pretty desperate. The prosecution have never ever revealed what they heard.

The purpose of the Aviello search was stated to be related to a possible charge of calunnia which in effect is criminal defamation of others. Possibly Aviello’s cellmate snitched. That sure would be ironic.

Let us take a leap in the dark here. Do Italian authorities REALLY not like people who lie in the course of criminal proceedings? Whether on the stand or in the mass media?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/11 at 03:06 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnesses31 Aviello hoaxComments here (0)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Report #1 On Perugia: I Meet A Very Decent Brave Man

Posted by SomeAlibi


I walk the journey to the cottage from where Meredith and Sophie parted ways at the Via Del Lupo. Time from there to the cottage is 5 minutes at a leisurely pace. I video the journey for proof.

As I finish, I decide to walk up Via Scortici with the wall of the basketball court to my left, just to prove to myself that it isn’t what sane people would normally do (they go round the basketball court on the stairs of the Via Della Pergola which is why Amanda saw Rudy, practising on the basketball court, daily).

Managing not to get spread against the wall by a slowly passing car which honks at me for my patent stupidity, I come to the bottom corner of Piazza Grimana by the news-stand. The entrance to Corso Garibaldi, Raffaele’s road, is five metres away.

I turn round to look at the entrance to Piazza Grimana and see the figure of a man on crutches with shoulder-length white grey hair poking out from the bottom of a striped bobble hat walking away from me and towards the steps. Is it? I cross quickly and go round the top of the basketball court, along the pavement of Via Pinturicchio trying to look down to see if I can identify him. If it’s who I think it is, I haven’t been able to find him in previous days.

The man is dressed in a white and blue ski jacket and moves purposefully, even with the crutches. He goes to the steps of Via Della Pergola and heads down towards the cottage. But then he does a right and disappears into Via Melo which is half way down the steps and leads to an area of public garden. I go down after him, down the steps, and turn into Via Melo too. I try to take a picture but inadvertently engage video mode. That has to go quickly ““ I need to catch him.

I walk past a woman and then overtake him. As I do, I look back at him naturally as if just with a friendly passing nod. I allow my “˜spontaneous’ surprise to stop me.

“Mr Curatolo?” I say, in my best very English sounding Italian. He looks at me in a friendly way. His eyes are bright, unbothered, looking straight at me. He furrows his eyebrows minutely at me.

“Curatolo” he says with a pronunciation which is different from mine but in ways in which I’d never be able to explain. “Yes, I’m Curatolo” he says in Italian.

His voice is soft, clear, his diction precise, also unbothered, and he looks at me calmly.

I smile at him and nod, mostly to myself. I size him up for a couple of seconds. I reach out to shake his hand which he does so unhesitatingly, taking if from the crutch at his side. As I draw close to him, I hate myself for doing it, but I use an old trick a policeman taught me and breath in deeply through mouth and nose. It looks like a normal inhalation, which of course it is, but I’m smelling him. There isn’t the slightest wiff of alcohol or smoke about him, not from today or last night, completely corroborating the precision of his speech.

My spoken Italian, worse than my understood, will now let me down but I will try in Italian and English combined. He replies only in Italian.

“Thank you,” I say, shaking his hand, “Meredith Kercher; what you saw ““ so important.” I point to my eyes as I do so.

“Ah, Meredith Kercher,” he replies, understanding my action and nods. “Are you a friend?” he asks.

Well that’s a complex one. “Yes, in a way”, I reply, waggling my hand from side to side in the universal language of “˜kind of’.

“Ah, I see. That is a good thing,” he replies.

“Thank you,” I say again, patting my chest with the flat of my hand. “Many people say thank you. Many people.”

He nods.

“It is my pleasure,” he says in that calm voice again. Then he shrugs with those crutches of his but in a very measured way. “I saw what I saw” he says simply.

I look him straight in the eyes throughout the whole conversation. He doesn’t once break eye contact back ““ never - and I particularly note it when he says those final words. I look at him some more and I nod again.

“I know you did,” I say.

But this time I really do know it, with certainty. And since Raffaele and Amanda never said they went to the basketball court on the previous night and did what Curatolo saw them doing, I know when he saw them too.

“For you, sir,” I say and give him a twenty euro note to help him through today.

I ask if I might possibly take a quick picture, just to prove it happened, and he graciously says yes. I take a single one and then I shake his hand once more. I pat him on the back and smile a last time.

And then I say a final thank you and goodbye. I haven’t got the Italian to talk to him further but more than that, I want him to know that sometimes people say thank you and mean it without wanting anything else.

I walk off back towards Piazza Grimana and out into a little sunshine on an otherwise grey day as the bells start to chime out one o’clock.

Seeing the three disco buses last night after 11pm helped, about what happened that night in the square. But this meeting helped me more. I’ve dealt with more liars than most people have had hot breakfasts: I know the deeply credible ones, the squirming ones, I know the lies of drug addicts and thieves and other types more innumerable than I care to mention. He’s none of these things whatsoever. He is calm, measured, collected and together, softly spoken; a man with dignity even if he is down on his luck.

Curatolo saw what he saw, and now, as I start walking with a smile on my face, I know he did too.

Posted by SomeAlibi on 10/31 at 11:36 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesThe wider contextsPerugia contextComments here (14)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report:  All Judges, Lawyers And Witnesses At Trial Jan-Dec 2009

Posted by Storm Roberts



[Above: Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court]

Our intention with this new series of posts is to show how thorough the trial was, and how compelling the Massei Report on the grounds for the Knox-Sollecito sentence is. 

At the beginning of the trial, the witness counts were considerable: approximately 90 for the prosecution, 60 for the civil plaintiffs, 90 for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, and 65 for the defence of Amanda Knox.

However, a large number of witnesses for both Amanda Knox and for Raffaele Sollecito were removed from the witness listing. Thus the actual number of people testifying was lower than originally expected. 

Here is a comprehensive list I have compiled, made by going through the Massei Report, picking out the witnesses, and noting what they testified about. If I had the information available, I have noted where a witness was specifically called by the defence of either of the then defendants.

Officers Of The Court

  • Judges:  Dr Beatrice Cristiani and Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court.
  • Prosecutors: Public Ministers Dr Manuela Comodi and Dr Giuliano Mignini.
  • Interpreter for Amanda Knox:  Dr Anna Baldelli Fronticelli.



[above: the two prosecutors]

The Legal Teams:

  • For the family of Meredith Kercher:  Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna.
  • For Diya “Patrick” Lumumba: Carlo Pacelli.
  • For Aldalia Tattanelli (the owner of the house): Letizia Magnini.
  • For Amanda Knox:  Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova.
  • For Raffaele Sollecito: Giulia Bongiorno, Daniela Rocchi and Luca Maori.



[above: Amanda Knox’s legal team]

Witnesses


The following is a list of witnesses and a brief note as to the evidence they presented. I am not detailing their arguments here, merely indicating the areas the witnesses were heard in.  For full details of the evidence and the court’s arguments please read the Massei Report in full and the summaries coming up.

  • Amanda Knoxtestified while not under oath at the request of her defence and the legal team representing Diya Lumumba.  Her testimony was heard on 12th and 13th June 2009. Raffele Sollecito made a couple of interventions from his seat beside his three lawyers, but he did not get up on the stand.
  • Mrs. Elisabetta Lana and her son, Alessandro Biscarini.  They discovered two mobile phones, both belonging to Meredith Kercher (one was registered to Filomena Romanelli, Meredith’s flatmate), in their garden at Via Sperandio.
  • Dr. Filippo Bartolozzi - at the time Manager of the Department of Communications Police for Umbria - Dr. Bartolozzi received the mobile phones from Mrs Lana, the first at approximately 11.45 to 12.00hrs on 2nd November 2007, the second at approximately 12.15 to 12.20 hrs.  He traced the first phone to Filomena Romanelli and, at noon, despatched two officers to her address to investigate why her phone was in Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi - the two officers despatched by Dr. Bartolozzi.  They arrived at 7 Via della Pergola at a little after 12.30 hrs - they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sitting outside the house.  They gave evidence about the circumstances leading up to the discovery of Meredith’s body and with regards to securing the scene whilst awaiting the Carabinieri and Scientific Police.
  • Filomena Romanelli who was Meredith’s flatmate gave evidence regarding the phone she had lent to Meredith.  She also detailed when she had moved into the flat at 7 Via della Pergola and the living arrangements.  She told of her plans for the 2nd November and how a worrying phone call from Amanda Knox led to her calling her back and returning to her home earlier than planned.  A key point of Ms. Romanelli’s evidence was her disagreement with Amanda Knox over when Meredith locked her door - Ms. Romanelli stated that Meredith had only once locked her door and that was when she had returned to England for a few days.
  • Paola Grande, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri - the other young people who were at the property when Meredith’s body was discovered.  Mr. Altieri broke down the door to Meredith’s room.
  • Laura Mezzetti - the fourth flatmate in the upstairs flat at number 7 Via della Pergola.  She testified with regards to the living arrangements and also that Amanda Knox is an early riser, a “morning person”.
  • Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Sophie Purton and Nathalie Hayward - Meredith’s friends from England.  They testified as to when they last saw Meredith and described the behaviour of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Police Station in the evening of 2nd November 2007.  They also testified that Meredith had no plans after returning home at around 21.00 hrs on 1st November other than to study and have a rest as they had been out late the previous night and believed that they had classes the next day.  Meredith’s friends did not know of Rudy Guede and had not heard Meredith mention his name.
  • Giacomo Silenzi, one of the young men living in the flat underneath Meredith’s flat.  He was Meredith’s boyfriend.
  • Stafano Bonassi, Marco Marzan and Riccardo Luciani the other tenants of the downstairs flat.  Along with Mr. Silenzi they testified as to the the interactions between themselves and the girls upstairs, the gatherings they held, the fact that Rudy Guede was known to Amanda Knox.  They testified as to Rudy Guede’s actions at their house.  They gave evidence of having met or known of Raffaele Sollecito and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Giorgio Cocciaretto a friend of the young men in the downstairs flat testified with regards to knowing Rudy Guede through playing basketball and having seen him at the 7 Via della Pergola house when both Meredith and Amanda Knox were present.
  • Rudy Guede availed himself of his right not to participate in the trial of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito.  Judge Massei details Rudy Guede’s involvement based upon the evidence available in order to complete the reconstruction of events of 2nd November as he was charged alongside Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Marta Fernandez Nieto and Caroline Espinilla Martin - two young ladies living in the flat above Rudy Guede, they testified than on the night of 31st October they had been in the presence of Rudy Guede and that the only girl they saw him dance with was a “blonde girl with long smooth hair”.
  • Gioia Brocci from the Questura of Perugia who testified with regards to a trail of shoe prints leading from Meredith’s room to the exit of the flat getting fainter as they went.  Ms. Brocci also testified as to the lack of signs of climbing on the wall below Filomena Romanelli’s window.  She also collected evidence from the bathroom next to Meredith’s room.
  • Sergeant Francesco Pasquale testified as to the possibility of breaking into the flat though the window in Filomena Romanelli’s room.  Sergeant Pasquale was a consultant for the defence.
  • Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, Paolo Brocchi, Matteo Palazzoli and Cristian Tramontano testified with regards to previous incidents involving or possibly involving Rudy Guede.
  • Edda Mellas , Amanda Knox’s mother.  She testified as to communications with her daughter on the 2nd November amongst other things.
  • Antonella Negri a teacher at the University who taught Amanda Knox and who testified as to her diligence as a student.
  • Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele Sollecito.  He testified as to his son’s character and about his communications with his son.  He also spoke of his son’s relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri station commander in Giovinazzo, the Sollecito family’s home town.  He testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of hashish.
  • Jovana Popovic testified as to the presence of Amanda Knox at Raffaele Sollecito’s home at two points in time on the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s employer at “Chic”.  He testified that he has sent her a text message excusing her from work on the evening of 1st November.
  • Rita Ficcara Chief Inspector of the State Police - to whom Amanda Knox delivered a written statement composed whilst she was awaiting to be transferred to Capanne Prison.
  • Antonio Curatolo - Mr. Curatolo testified as to having seen Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the basketball court in front of the University (the Piazza Grimana) in the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Maurizio Rosignoli - who runs a kiosk in the Piazza - testified with regards to the timing of buses at the Piazza Grimana thus corroborating times in Mr. Curatolo’s evidence.
  • Alessia Ceccarelli - who worked managing Mr. Rosignoli’s kiosk - gave evidence as to Mr. Curatolo’s presence in the Piazza.
  • Marco Quintavalle, who runs the shop “Margherita Conad”, testified he had seen Amanda Knox at 07.45 hrs on 2nd November, she was waiting for him to open his shop, she went to the section of the store that had items such as groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products but he did not serve her at the till so could not specify what she bought if anything.  He testified that he knew Raffaele Sollecito as he was a regular customer.
  • Officer Daniele Ceppitelli gave evidence with regards to the 112 calls made by Raffaele Sollecito at 12.51 and 12.54 hrs on 2nd November.  In these calls Raffaele Sollecito declared that nothing had been stolen from the flat.
  • Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and Maria Ilaria Dramis gave evidence of unusual sounds and activity coming from the area around 7 Via della Pergola - namely a scream and the sound of running footsteps.



[one of Sollecito’s three lawyers with Sollecito]

Expert Witnesses

  • Dr. Lalli, the Coroner, he performed the post mortem and ascertained the cause of death and a “time window” when death was likely to have occurred.  He put the time of death between 20.00 hrs on 1st November 2007 and 04.00 hrs the following day.
  • Dr. Domenico Giacinto Profazio was head of the Perugia Flying Squad at the time of Meredith’s death.  He gave evidence regarding the investigative procedures and safeguards including the physical security of the property.
  • Dr. Marco Chiacchiera, deputy director of the Perugia Flying Squad also gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.
  • Monica Napoleoni, Deputy Commissioner of the State Police gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.  She also testified as to Raffaele Sollecito’s desire to remain with Amanda Knox.
  • Mauri Bigini a chief inspect at the Flying Squad confirmed the evidence given by Profazio and Napoleoni.
  • Armando Finzi a chief inspector at the Flying Squad gave evidence regarding the examination of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat and the collection of the knife which is now termed “the Double DNA Knife” (Exhibit 36).
  • Stefano Gubbiotti and Zugarini Lorena confirmed the evidence regarding the search of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat.
  • Dr. Giunta from the Scientific Police in Rome directed the detection of latent prints at the scene.
  • Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni from the Scientific Police in Rome collected biological trace evidence for analysis.  She also performed the analysis of DNA evidence and testified extensively on all aspects of DNA - from the background science, through the collection and the testing methods employed to the analysis.
  • Professor Mauro Marchionni, Dr. Vincenza Liviero and Professor Mauro Bacci, the three consultants appointed by the Public Ministers to analyse the forensic medical evidence testified as to various aspects of Dr. Lalli’s report including the cause of death, timing of death, the sexual assault and the wounds.  They reported on the degree of compatibility of the knife - Double DNA Knife, Exhibit 36 - with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Gianaristide Norelli, the consultant for the civil party, is a forensic police doctor. He testified with regards to the time and cause of death and the sexual assault against Meredith.  He testified as to the degree of compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Francesco Introna, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence testified with regards to the forensic medical evidence (cause and time of death, the sexual assault). His opinion is that the murder was committed by one person and that the Double DNA Knife was not the weapon used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He hypothesised that Meredith was already undressing at the end of the day when she was surprised by her sole attacker who attacked from behind.
  • Professor Carlo Torre, a consultant appointed by Amanda Knox’s defence testified with regards to the same areas as described above.  In his opinion the Double DNA knife was not the knife used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He believed a stabbing from the front was the most likely dynamic, and he saw nothing that would lead him to believe there was more than one attacker.
  • Professor Vinci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, he testified with regards to the stains on the bed sheet -which appeared to be made in blood, outlining a knife.  Professor Vinci also testified with regards to footprints found in the flat.
  • Dr Patumi, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified with regards to the neck wounds suffered and also with regards to the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Anna Aprile, Professor Mario Cingolani and Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi, all independent consultants appointed by the judge (GIP) at the preliminary hearing. Professor Aprile testified specifically on the question of the sexual assault, Professors Cingolani and Umani Ronchi again considered the evidence with regards to the cause and time of death and the compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.
  • Dr. Torricelli, the consultant for Meredith Kercher’s family, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Dr. Sarah Gino, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Tagliabracci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified and gave his opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.  He also gave evidence with regards to the effects of certain drugs.
  • Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici and Gregori Mirco officers of the Postal Police, gave evidence with regards to the seized computer equipment and also with regards to internet activity at the home of Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Mr. Fabio Formenti, the technical consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence - observed the Postal Police’s analysis of the computer equipment.
  • Dr Michele Gigli and Dr. Antonio D’Ambrosio, consultants appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified with regards to the computer and internet evidence.
  • Chief Inspector Letterio Latella gave evidence with regards to mobile phones and how they pick up signals from base stations which cover certain areas, he also testified with regards to the call records of the mobile phones of the defendants, victim and others.  He detailed how a connection to the network was picked up by the base stations and how the location of the phone can be approximated through knowing which base station was used.  He was able to tell the court which connections to Meredith’s two phones were made from her own flat and which from Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Assistant Stefano Sisani provided evidence with regards to both landline telephone services and mobile phone services.
  • Bruno Pellero an engineer appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence to give evidence with regards to telephonic communications.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT, gave evidence regarding shoe prints and footprints (including those highlighted by the use of luminol.
  • Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia, who worked alongside Dr. Rinaldi.
  • Chief Inspector Claudio Ippolito a consultant who reported on shoe prints - appointed by the public minister.



[Background: the Judges and jury (lay judges) for the trial]>


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Aviello Story Seems To Show The RS & AK Defenses All But Concede Guilt Of All 3

Posted by Peter Quennell


Defenses Grasping At Straws?

The Sollecito defense latched with alacrity onto baby-killer and jailhouse-snitch Mario Alessi three months ago.

This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Sollecito defense’s desperate weakness, rather than as a get-out-of-jail-free trump-card for RS.

Several weeks ago, the Amanda Knox defense latched onto Camorra clan-member and jailhouse snitch Luciano Aviello.

With a lot less alacrity though - his various stories have been around for a long time.  This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Knox defense’s desperate weakness,

Luciano Aviello, who is now in prison, and his brother Antonio, now on the run, are or were connected to the Camorra (NBC Dateline report above) which is Naples’s equivalent of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the NDrangheta in Calabria. The Camorra was in some ways the older, larger and badder of the several mafia arms.

Luciano Aviello and Antonio Aviello were living in Perugia at the time the crime against Meredith took place. Over a year ago, our poster Catnip posted this translation of a report from Italy on the Perugia Murder File board.

Saturday 09 May 2009

Prisoner writes: ‘I know real murderer’s name’

“I know the real name of Meredith’s killer, a fellow-brother Albanian friend of mine told me, and it’s not Raffaele Sollecito.” Luciano Aviello is Raffaele Sollecito’s ex-cellmate and, now, maybe encumbering his admirer, is writing another letter to Court of Assize president Giancarlo Massei.

A few weeks ago he had sent a letter in which he claims to have asked two of his friends to break into the murder house to prove that anybody could have done so. Yesterday, the page count of his letter jumped to five, and the tone was angrier.

He’s had it with journalists, because they’ve referred to his less than clear past, and because they wrote about his previous never-proven-true “revelations” on various important and dramatic criminal cases (like the disappearance of little Angela Celentano).

He’s had it with the police too, in whom he confided his secret about Raffaele’s innocence and who didn’t even give him the time of day.

He maintains that, actually, he has a letter written by an Albanian friend, which contains the real name of the murderer, and he wants to speak only to the court president, Giancarlo Massei, to reveal it to him.

Even the lawyer on the civil side of the case, Francesco Maresca, acting for the Kerchers, remains skeptical: “That letter ought to be re-read carefully: it’s not flour from his grainsack*”.

*****************

* This is a proverbial phrase (non è farina del suo sacco = “it’s not grist from his own mill”) meaning it wasn’t written off his own bat, and that other hands contributed to it.

And there is a video of a Sky News Italy report in Italian dated 21 April 2009 which in effect says “this isn’t any big deal’.

Judge Massei showed no interest in him. So Aviello and his kaleidoscopic claims thereupon went onto the back burner.

Fast-forward to several weeks ago, when the Knox defense engages in a high-profile, noisy flurry of activity to get a deposition from Luciano Aviello.

This time, Luciano recalls,  it was actually his own missing brother who did it, and he himself buried some clothing, a knife, and some keys.

Casting total doubt on everything Luciano Aviello ever says, his hometown newspaper Il Mattino in Naples comes out with this report. It is our translation.

The Meredith Case - A Mariano Clan Supergrass Pops Up

“Amanda Is Innocent”

By Gigi di Fiore

In the newsroom of the Mattino he seemed at ease. Luciano Aviello was [20 years ago] just over twenty years old, and had asked to recount his experience as a “streetwise youth in the Mariano Camorra clan”.

In an earlier time, a war was in full swing in the Spanish Quarter [of Naples] between the Mariano clan, the “picuozzo” [another name for this clan after the “picuozzo” or cord around a monk’s habit] and the Di Biase family, also known as the “faiano”.

The DDA (Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia or Distict Anti-Mafia Directorate) did not yet exist, but Federico Cafiero de Raho was already employed as prosecutor in the investigations into organized crime.

It was he who dealt with that bloody war. Twenty years later, Aviello had become a news-magazine character. Now in his own words, he claims to have a rolet in the Perugia trial for the Meredith Kercher case as a “decisive” witness.

On 19 April of last year, he addressed two little hand-written pages to the President of the Court of Assizes of Perugia, Giancarlo Massei. He declared himself ready to tell the truth, and revealed that he had twice given some friends of his the task of breaking the seals on the house where the crime took place.

On 31 March of this year, Amanda Knox’s defense team video-recorded the declarations made by Aviello, who is now 41 years old. As the weekly news-magazine “Oggi” writes, he said: “It was my brother who murdered Amanda [sic]. I can recover for you the knife used in the crime and the keys of that house”.

This fellow arrived on the third floor of via Chiatamone [Editor’s office of the Mattino] wearing casual clothes with a pretence of elegance: he never retracts anything, always seeking to find suitable words to best describe his “revelations”.

Contact lenses, slim, a cousin killed because he was affiliated to the Mariano clan, Aviello spoke, revealing an outline personality, in a shadow world of braggadoccio, always on the sidelines of the dealings and violent acts of those in power among the clans of the Quarter at that time.

He ended up in jail, having confessed to a murder. It wasn’t true, but they had promised him 5 million lira, a lawyer and an annuity.

The clan didn’t respect the pact, and so he began to talk freely. Enticed by the good life, he began to act as a gofer/go-between selling “black lottery” tickets. He felt important. He earned 500 thousand lira per week.

It wasn’t bad. Then he did “embassies” [message-running], little services, but never great criminal leaps. The clans considered him “not very trustworthy”.

He was implicated in the investigation into the Spanish Quarter Camorra, and convicted.

Today, Federico Cafiero, now deputy prosecutor and DDA Coordinator for the investigations into the Caserta province clans, says of him: “He was altogether untrustworthy, although every so often he would invent a new one [new story]. A revelation, as he would call it, which would subsequently reveal itself to be out and out nonsense”.

Such as when he said that he knew where Angela Calentano was to be found, or that he knew the hideouts of the main fugitives of the D’Alessandro di Castellammare clan.

For his “revelations” against Tiziana Maiolo, ex president of the Justice Commission of the Chamber, he was hit with a trial, in 1997, for calumny.

Two years ago, he fired off his biggest tale yet: he accused a public prosecutor from Potenza in the famous trial on “dirty robes” between Catanzaro and Salerno. He was given an audience by the prosecutor Rosa Volpe in Salerno.

He had announced revelations. His contradictions were immediately exposed.

On those occasions also, the sources of his stories were newspaper articles or gossip with his cell-mates. Such as Raffaele Sollecito, or Gennaro Cappiello for the “dirty robes” investigation.

A compulsive liar, a seeker of publicity?

Twenty years ago, Aviello seemed to be a self-centred person, proud to present himself as a witness to “important facts”. But he never managed to arrive at a scheme of constant collaboration.

For various crimes, he has so far served 17 years in jail. Now the Perugia case appears. Who knows?

Our poster SomeAlibi seems to have had the last meaningful word on the absurdity of this tale. SomeAlibi posted this rather devastating satire on the PMF forum.

I can see it now..

Ghirga: “Well thank you Mr Luciano Aviello, that testimony I think the court will find extremely interesting concerning why Amanda Knox couldn’t have done the murder because it was your brother who was responsible. Despite the fact he’s missing. But thank you and I believe we’re finished.”

Luciano Aviello (quietly): “We ain’t finished”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “So, about this de-fa-may-shun thing.”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “She didn’t do it.”

G: “Sorry?”

LA: “She didn’t dooo it.”

G: “But Mr Aviello we brought you here to talk about the murder not the—”

LA: ”—see it sounds like you ain’t hearing me too good. Perhaps you need a little airation of your ears to help you with that. How would a 22 millimetre hole strike ya? She didn’t say nothing. She didn’t doooo it, capice?”

G: “But, she said it in interview. And in court. I mean, we were all there”

LA (putting tooth-pick on witness stand) “See, now you are making me repeat myself and I don’t like that at all, no I don’t. But I am a tolerant man, so maybe once more for luck ok? She didn’t dooooooooo it.”

G: “All of us were there!... She doesn’t actually disagree she said it…. hello… Mr Aviello… hello… what are you…. what are you doing… why are you counting?”

LA: “Now requiring this many pine boxes ain’t going to be ecologically acceptable my friend, so I suggest EVERYONE here learns to listen up real good ok?”

Court (all): “Huh?”

LA: “Repeat after me. She didn’t dooooooooooooooooo iiiit”

Court (all): “Like hell she didn’t”

LA: “Wise guys, huh?”

Well… that certainly went very well! This all reads like an Italian movie called in English Johnny Stecchino by Italy’s favorite funny actor Robertio Benignii

He accidentally finds himself confused with a mafiosos in Sicily, sees his days are very numbered, and starts talking fast. Very fast… He gets out of it, somehow, but the real mafioso still takes the hit.

Nice knowing you, Luciano…


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Claimed Guede Confidant Mario Alessi Has Been Moved Two Hours North To Parma Prison

Posted by Peter Quennell

Nice city, Parma. Famous for good food. Where the prosciutto hams come from.

The French singer on the video is Juliette Greco. The French generally love Italy, the fifth most visited country in the world (it is also the fifth largest industrial producer). Tourists from France and Germany constitute the largest national groups.

Not that he is likely to enjoy it very much. But it is reported that Mario Alessi has just been moved from the Viterbo prison north of Rome to the prison in Parma.

The newspaper website Viterbo Daily reports that this was a precautionary move by the Prisons Department, in the light of the bitter disagreement between Guede and Alessi as to whether Guede confided to Alessi that he had a companion along on the night Meredith died.

Alessi’s claim has been met in Italy with great scepticism, and it seems unlikely that the two ever even talked.  No-one else has made a similar claim. Those grasping at straws argued that Guede also confided in a priest and a nun, but they seem to have gone awol.

Alessi is serving 30 years and if it can be proven that he lied under oath in his testimony to prosecutors Mignini and Comodi, he could see his term extended by several years.

Our next post (a complex one) hopefully later today looks again at Rudy Guede’s role in the case.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01 at 03:19 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (2)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Behind Mario Alessi’s Own Trial And Life Sentence: The Kidnap And Murder of A Baby Boy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Mario Alessi and his wife Antonella Conserva at trial in Parma, Sicily, in 2008.

A notorious and very cruel case. A masked Mario Alessi kidnapped a baby at gunpoint, and 20 minutes later beat him to death with a shovel. He received a life sentence and his wife Antonella 30 years.

Here on the People You’ll See In Hell website is one apparently quite accurate English-language report of their crime.

Tommaso Onofri was a beautiful baby who lived with his mum, dad and older brother in a country house near Parma, Italy. The evening of March 2nd, 2006, seemed a normal one at Onofri home. The family was having dinner, and 17-month-old Tommy was in his usual place for this time of day, sitting in his high chair.

Suddenly, two men with their faces covered by balaclava burst into the room. The family, terrified and thinking they were being robbed, wisely told the pair of bandits, “Take whatever you want.” But this was no robbery ““ no, it was much worse than that. To everyone’s shock and surprise, instead of taking money or jewels, one of the men pulled the baby out of the high chair,and the two intruders ran off with little Tommaso Onofri.

The Police and news media went mad about this case. The Onofris seemed like such a normal family, without secrets, and they were not rich. Nobody ever asked for a ransom. Little Tommy was an epileptic baby who needs daily medications, but days passed and there was no trace of the child or the kidnappers.

Investigators looked at every angle. They found traces of child pornography in Mr. Onofri’s computer, and for a short time police suspected him, but it turned out there was no evidence to support the theory that he was connected to the disappearance of his son.

Then, police checked on a man who worked in the Onofri house as a builder, some days before Tommy was kidnapped. His name was Mario Alessi and he’d done time for sexual assault; some years before, he raped a girl in front of her boyfriend.

But now he was a free man, and he had a wife and a son. Police interrogated him, and Mario Alessi became the first legitimate suspect. But again, they had no evidence and were forced to release him.

He went back home and did an interview with his wife for an Italian TV show (for money, I suppose). Video cameras went to their house, they showed what fine, upstanding people the Alessis were, how suspecting them was a huge mistake. “You shall not touch children!” said Alessi to millions of fellow Italians on TV.

Some days later, he, his wife, Antonella Conserva, and another builder who worked with Mario Alessi, Salvatore Raimondi, were arrested for the kidnapping of Tommaso Onofri. But where was little Tommy? Antonella ConservaIt seemed to everyone that now that the case was over, the baby should now be back in his mother’s arms.

Finally, in April of 2006, one month after the disappearance of little Tommy, Mario Alessi confessed. He led the police to a river not far from the baby’s country home. The police found the body of 17-month-old Tommaso Onofri buried in a shallow grave at the bank of the river, in high state of decomposition. It turns out he was murdered just 20 minutes after he was taken from his highchair.

Here’s how police say this crime took place. Mario Alessi and Salvatore Raimondi planned the kidnapping. They had decided to kidnap the baby because they did some work for the Onofris and mistakenly assumed they were rich. The original plan called for them to give the baby to Alessi’s wife, Antonella Conserva, to care for him, while they made arrangements to ransom Tommaso.

But something went terribly wrong: Alessi took the baby and ran off on a motorbike. First he heard police sirens closing in behind him, then he saw police cars on his road, and he started to get nervous. Little Tommy couldn’t stop crying and Alessi began to panic, so he went down to the river. Finally, fearing the police would hear the baby’s cries, Mario Alessi took a shovel and beat Tommaso Onofri to death. He buried the body in the sandy soil at the bank of the river.

Mario Alessi was condemned to life in prison. His accomplice, Salvatore Raimondi, got 20 years (he was the first to confess and he had chosen an abbreviated process), and Antonella Conserva was sentenced to 30 years”.

Amanda Knox and Raffele Sollecito: please meet your new best friend from hell…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/12 at 05:37 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (4)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jailhouse Snitch With “New Evidence” Doesn’t Seem To Be Widely Believed

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Andrea Vogt as usual has the best report. Key excerpts:

1) Claims by a fellow prisoner oif Rudy Guede

In a bizarre development Friday, attorneys for Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend, deposited a new piece of evidence in the slaying of British student Meredith Kercher—the deposition of a Sicilian bricklayer serving a life sentence in the same prison as Rudy Guede in Viterbo, Italy.

In the statement, deposited Friday and obtained by the seattlepi.com, the fellow convict claims Guede confided in him that Knox and Sollecito were innocent and that the murder was committed by a friend of Guede’s who had gone to Kercher’s house for a threesome.

Mario Alessi, 38, is currently serving a life sentence in connection with the brutal kidnapping and murder of Tommaso Onofri, a 2-year-old boy from Parma known as Tommy, whose high-profile disappearance and murder in 2006 shocked the nation….

Sollecito’s attorneys requested authorization from the Bologna Court of Appeals and sent their legal assistants to videotape Alessi’s statement in Viterbo, where he is detained in the same sex crimes section of the prison.

In the statement, Alessi claims three other prisoners can confirm his declarations. He said he wrote several letters to Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, because he felt the need to tell her what he had heard from Guede during their open air breaks.

Buongiorno is a noted lawyer from Sicily who is also a parliamentarian and heads a governmental justice commission. On many occasions Guede said explicitly and clearly that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were completely extraneous to this homicide, he said in the deposition.

Around the time of Guede’s appeal, Alessi claims Guede confided in him that the murder was actually committed by a friend of his, who had joined him at Kercher’s for a threesome, which she resisted. Alessi gives a detailed description of the scene as he claims was described to him by Guede: with Kercher getting wounded as he tried to get away from her knife-wielding attacker. While Guede tried to stem the bleeding, the friend said “we’d better finish her off or we’ll both rot in prison,” according to Alessi’s account.

The friend then stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and fled, leaving Guede to try to stop the bleeding, Alessi claims. Later, the two saw each other in the disco, where the friend gave Guede money to flee to Germany, Alessi claims he said. The name or identity of the friend Alessi said Guede was referring to was not given. Guede’s attorney, Walter Biscotti, drove to Viterbo on Saturday to speak with Guede, who emphatically denies the conversation ever took place.

2) Denials by Guede, his lawyers, and prison authorities

In the strongest terms possible, Rudy denied ever having talked to Alessi about these matters, Biscotti said. Alessi’s appeal of his life sentence was denied, so he is not credible. He is doing what those who are desperate do grab onto someone else in desperation. But Guede is bothered by the fact that he is always being dragged into the middle, Biscotti said.

Authorities who interrogated Alessi in the Onofri case said Saturday that they do not believe he can be considered reliable and had given misleading declarations in the past.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/10 at 04:04 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other witnesses30 Alessi hoaxComments here (7)

Friday, October 02, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, September 18, 2009

Trial: Defense Expert Tries To Claim Sollecito-Sized Footprint Is Guede’s

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the Daily Express’s full report. The relevant section:

A bloody footprint found at the house where a British student was killed in Italy was wrongly attributed to one of the defendants in the case, a forensic expert has testified at the murder trial.

The footprint was found on a bathroom rug in the house in Perugia where Meredith Kercher was killed in November 2007.

Prosecutors have attributed it to Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian who is on trial on murder charges with Amanda Knox, his girlfriend at the time. Both defendants deny wrongdoing.

In his testimony, expert Francesco Vinci compared detailed pictures of the footprint on the rug with images of Sollecito’s feet, arguing that the sizes and shapes “absolutely don’t match”.

“Differences, one by one, can be seen,” said Vinci, who is a witness for Sollecito’s defence.

According to Vinci, the footprint is “compatible” with the foot of a third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In effect then, the claim is that Guede was participating with bare feet in the cleanup of the crime scene some time after the death of Meredith - although precisely what he cleaned up is unclear, as strong evidence of his presence remains.

Like many of the defense’s attempts at rebuttals, this sounds to us like a tragedy that is now playing out as farce.

In one of his clinically precise powerpoints Kermit already refuted this claim

 


Page 2 of 5 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›