Category: Other legal processes

Monday, July 19, 2010

Strange Tale Of Ex New York Times Reporter Who Christian Longo Impersonated On The Run

Posted by Peter Quennell

In follow-up to Lilly’s raw truth of a post on Christian Longo and the similarities with Amanda Knox.

Two things really stand out in this five-minute CBS interview - which sets things up nicely for a longer CBS 48 Hours report, by the way, it seems they don’t always get things wrong.

First, there is the fascination some people have for psychopathic narcissists who have killed. Especially those people who seem themselves not quite right and morally a bit untethered.

And second, there is the cold preening cynicism of the killer himself, who apparently even admitted to Finkel after the trial was all over that, yes, he did kill his wife and three little tots.

But he claims he did that to “save” them. Being bothered about it just isn’t his thing. In prison, Christian Longo’s highly attention-seeking antics, self-pity, and strong public denial continue.

Even Longo has his several white knights. “Such a nice guy.”  Yeah. Right.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Could Michael Heavey’s Muddled Stance Be Facilitating Future Killers?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Is Heavey’s Muddled Stance Dangerous?

Michael Heavey presumably doesn’t think so.

Read this post on TJMK and this post on The Examiner.

You will see that Judge Heavey is STILL framing this as a case of an Italian justice system intent on railroading Amanda Knox; and he as the White Knight that rides to her rescue.

But is Heavey turning a blind eye to a troubled mind?

But let Judge Heavey read Lilly’s post below and the comment thread directly underneath, about psychologically troubled potential killers, and the ways in which they can be detected and even prevented.

Then let Judge Heavey tell us if he still feels he got the framing of the problem just right. We reckon the real framing of the case should be as follows.

MEREDITH’S DEATH WAS TOTALLY PREVENTABLE. Many people in Seattle KNEW Knox was a loose canon. Meredith Kercher did NOT have to die.

Amanda Knox was for many years putting out warning signals in Seattle that all was not well in her hard wiring. Maybe it was something Amanda was born with, or maybe, as the first symptoms seemed to surface right after, it was something to do with the extreme family trauma of her parents’ ugly divorce and the ugly aftermath that followed.

Imagine if Knox’s family and her friends and her teaching faculty in Seattle had more forcefully stepped in to HELP her whenever she acted peculiar. And had prevented her from getting more and more into hard drugs. And had not sent her off to Perugia unstructured, unsupervised, under-funded, and still on drugs.

Would Meredith be in her grave and Amanda Knox in prison right now?

Amanda Knox is far from alone in putting out psychological warning signals. Each time there is a mass killing in the US we hear more about this.

If the books on charming psychopaths and the clinical psychologists have this right, there are literally millions in the US alone that have the defective hard wiring to kill in the “right” circumstances.

Many of them put out warning signs, often for many years. In their own way, perhaps, cries for help.

The Virginia Tech case reported in the video above is a lot more extreme than Meredith’s, and in fact there 32 people died. But the two cases have this one thing in common. In each case, responsible people KNEW there were ominous symptoms in the one who turned to killing.

They did not act sufficiently. And Meredith and 32 other people about her own age died. 

Court officers like Judge Heavey should presumably be encouraging universal consciousness of such warning signals, and protecting the wider public from future killers above all.

Not deflecting public attention from that vital need, and onto to a rampaging Italian justice system that exists only in his own mind.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Very Telling Parallels Here With Murder Cases Like Christian Longo’s

Posted by lilly


Many of the apologist writers claiming that Amanda Knox was railroaded have made “there was no motive” a main argument of their articles.

Most recently, The Machine took apart that claim as made by Amy Jenkins in the UK and Judy Bachrach in the US.

Other posters here on TJMK and and on PMF have frequently noted that neither under Italian not under UK and US law is any proof of a motive required for conviction.

Many of the apologists have also claimed that what looked to most watchers like bizarre red-flags patterns of behavior by Sollecito and Knox before and after Meredith’s death and at trial were just, you know, kids blowing off some steam.

Really. Nothing to sweat over.

Had the writers been experts in the relevant fields, or consulted some experts, or even simply done some online research, they would have turned up hundreds of examples where a motive remained hazy or non-existent. And where the killer came across as pleased with themselves, attention-seeking, and totally self-absorbed, regardless of pain inflicted on others. 

Christian Longo is one of many examples who confused the more gullible of the watchers over his motive and mindset.

In 2001 Christian Longo killed his wife and three small children on the northwest coast of Oregon. He still won’t or can’t explain why he did it, and at first he tried hard to deny it.

The Last Psychiatrist blog (TLP) has a fascinating analysis of Longo’s story.

Longo is a pathological narcissist, and there are some interesting parallels with the way Knox has behaved before and after her conviction for the murder of Meredith.

Longo’s crime is sickening. He strangled his wife MaryJane, attempted to strangle one of his daughters, packed her into a suitcase and then dumped her, still alive, into a river.

Then he drove his other kids to a bridge, tied stones to them, and threw them still alive into the water as well.

That done, off Longo went to Mexico.

When he was finally captured by police, he was enjoying a lifestyle of socializing, snorkeling, beer, drugs and pretending to be a journalist. His behavior was highly attention-seeking, and he seemed very pleased with himself.

Longo had no prior convictions, and no history of violence.

According to TLP, Longo’s behavior is that of a classic narcissist. Narcissists don’t feel guilt. Longo doesn’t feel remorse for his crime.

Initially, Longo denied murdering his family. It wasn’t him; it was an unknown intruder. Later, he blamed his wife. It wasn’t him; she actually started it.

When that didn’t work, he claimed he couldn’t remember what happened. He gave testimony, but he never explained his actions - as if what really happened wasn’t important.

The Last Psychiatrist writes: “This isn’t a coherent defense, it’s pass interference, it’s reasonable doubt.  It’s not important what did happen, it’s only important that it wasn’t him.”

The only thing of importance is that it wasn’t him. Remind you of anyone yet?

Everything Longo says in his defense is “bullshit” says TLP. “These endless words…are a way of wearing you down into giving him the benefit of the doubt.  Look, you know me, you know the kind of person I am, right?  I can go on and on about this all day; just trust me.”

Even in prison, on Death Row, he’s wearing the mask of a real nice, successful guy who’s been badly treated.

Knox is another convicted murderer who deosn’t seem interested in explaining what happened to her victim, Meredith. It simply is not important to her.

The only thing of importance is that it wasn’t her.

Immediately after the cruel murder of Meredith, Knox raised the suspicion of investigators by her oddly smug and strongly attention-seeking behavior.

From the very start, Knox attempted to upset the investigation by leading police down the wrong track. Her judges and jury (and earlier Judge Micheli) concluded that she and Sollecito cleaned up the murder scene to remove the traces of their involvement.

They moved the victim’s body. They faked a break-in to make police believe a random intruder did it. And when questioned, Knox recalled Meredith screaming, and coldly and deliberately accused an innocent man, her kindly employer Patrick Lumumba, of sexual assault and murder.

Then she claimed she couldn’t remember what had happened on the night. She early-on put this down to drugs. And in court, she said she made the claim against Patrick because the interrogating police beat her.

The message Knox gave when she had the chance to address the judges and jury at the close of the murder trial was a strong indicator of a pathological narcissistic mindset.

Given a golden opportunity to voice real sympathy for Meredith and her suffering family, Knox instead said only that she didn’t want to be forced to wear “the mask of an assassin”.

TLP makes a very interesting comment about motive in Longo’s case. Narcissists kill because they are scared of being exposed. They are scared that the masks they have carefully constructed will be ripped away or replaced. Their identities are threatened.

Knox seems to desperately need people to believe in the identity she’s carefully constructed and maintained.

In reality, sadly, she was in danger of losing her job, she was quite close to being broke, she had chosen an insignificant study-load in Perugia, she was on drugs going back to Seattle, she had not managed to make any real friends in Perugia other than Sollecito, and she had a conviction back home which could have incurred a serious penalty.

But she wants and needs people to believe she was actually a talented student, a pretty young woman with a bright future, a popular and attractive person with a nice family back home.

Some mask, one has to say.

Meredith Kercher was the opposite of Amanda in so many ways - in fact, Meredith was a popular, well-funded, hard-working super-achiever with a very bright future. 

When we delve a little into Knox’s history, in light of the above, we see there are many possible motivations.

Her seeming callous narcissistic syndrome, often noted before she ever left Seattle. Her known growing jealousy of Meredith, whose perhaps rather disdainful presence Knox seemed to find a threat to her self-image and economic security. Fueled by drugs, strong drink, an obsession with violent rape fantasies, and risky casual sex. Coupled with a troubled boyfriend on drugs with a penchant for violent porn and a combat knife collection.

Meredith was perhaps the biggest threat to her mask that Amanda had ever encountered.

TLP says of Longo: “You want a simple answer: why did he do this?”¦The important question is the one no one asks anymore: What was there that would have held him back?”

Sadly now it is too late for Meredith and her family. But instead of continuing to paint Knox as a suffering innocent victim, Knox’s parents should ask themselves: Who and what should have held their daughter back?

If they’d answered that question early-on, when they should have, Meredith might very well still be alive.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Amanda Knox’s Supporters Obtain Rome Embassy Cables About Knox, Prove Of No Help

Posted by True North


The American Embassy in Rome above, and the State Department in Washington below.

Ninety-nine percent of the reason why countries put embassies in other countries is because they really want to get along.

The US and Italy in fact do get along, extremely well, and there are thousands of transactions between the two countries every day. Thousands of Americans live in Italy, and millions of Americans are of Italian descent.

At the request of the US Administration, the Italian government recently put a large contingent of Italian troops in Afghanistan.

Under the US Freedom of Information Act,  any American citizen can request and usually obtain astonishing amounts of official documentation, far beyond what can usually be extracted from the bureaucracies in most other countries.

Occasionally this information has embarrassed the department concerned, or the party in power in the Congress or the White House. But usually the documents are innocuous and without drama. Conspiracies simply never show up.

The blogger History Punk on his website Historiographic Anarchy has posted some cables (pdf format) from Rome to Washington, which report periodically on the Rome Embassy’s monitoring of Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison and her trial and appeals in Perugia.

As we would expect, these cables are extremely mundane. They were sent by a middle-level official in the consular section of the Rome Embassy to the Italy desk in the State Department.

They report carefully on the careful Italian legal process, and they never remark on anything wrong. No charges or claims or complaints are relayed from Amanda Knox. There is no talk of any anti-Americanism. No instructions, questions or comments are cabled from Washington in return.

One cable was not released. It was marked confidential and the contents are unknown. Here’s a guess at its contents: “Please keep those xenophobic ranters on a chain - they are doing the American cause in Italy no good at all”. 

My first post here on TJMK and proud of it. This is a good fight I join.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Legal Analysts Abrams & Kelly Who Reported Badly On Meredith’s Case Turn “Expertise” To Peru

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) Dan Abrams

Above: NBC’s legal analyst Dan Abrams on recent developments in Peru. Immediately below: Dan Abrams after the Knoc-Sollecito verdict last December.

Last December, Dan Abrams exaggerated the Italian media depictions of Amanda Knox and their effects - has he ever watched the CNN and Fox crime shows at home in New York?!

But he essentially got it right on the hard evidence presented and on the legitimacy of the verdict. He did not slam the prosecution or Italy in general, and he displays at least some token understanding of how the Italian legal system works.

Missing only was any mention of the (then forthcoming) judges’ sentencing report, and the key fact that that report represents the point of departure for the appeals. A report that is strongly loaded against the flaky scenarios of “who REALLY did it”.

By the way, Dan Abrams here followed some minutes of appalling reporting by NBC’s Keith Miller, who has surely been the worst and most biased reporter in Perugia. Miller is apparently based in London, a freelance, and not Italy, and he speaks no Italian.

If you so wish you can see Paul Miller here fawning over the Knox family and Amanda Knox, and misrepresenting just about every “fact” he selects to mention.

2) John Q Kelly

Below: John Q Kelly, a New York lawyer who is often on the airwaves, generally with a heavily pro-victim slant, talking about the Lima and Aruba murder cases in which Joran Van Der Sloot is the one suspect in each. 

On Meredith’s case John Q Kelly got it very screechily very wrong.  That was probably the single worst lawyer’s commentary on Meredith’s case (leaving aside Anne Bremner’s absurd rants) that we have ever seen.

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

Not surprisingly, John Q Kelly has not since said another word on Meredith’s case.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wow! Seems A Spreading Epidemic Of Lone Wolves, Now Being Claimed On Two Continents

Posted by Peter Quennell


While in Santiago Chille before he was extradited to Lima Peru (above) this is what Van Der Sloot reportedly told police.

Van der Sloot gave a different account of events while in custody in neighboring Chile, where he was captured after the killing and quickly extradited.

In the version offered to Chilean investigators, Van der Sloot said he and Flores were surprised in the early morning by two robbers in an apparent assault.

“A man came out of the bathroom blocking the access door with a knife in his hand. On the bed was another man with a gun,” the Spanish-language report quotes him as saying. “The man with the knife said to be quiet, but Stephany began talking in a loud voice and he hit her in the face, making her nose bleed.”

It also says Van der Sloot told Chilean agents that the previous day, he and Flores had been extorted by apparent police officers who demanded $4,000 and a wristwatch he brought from Thailand.

Two lone wolves!  Apparently he then got some advice from Seattle that that one is copyright, and and that he could not use the “14 hours without food or interpreter or lawyer” line, not right now.

However. it could soon become available. Along with a cheap Spiderman act..

After weighing how absurd all this was sounding, he was overwhelmed with the truth.


Friday, June 11, 2010

The Charging Of The Stephany Flores Murder Suspect In Lima Peru This Morning

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Lima + Aruba Murder Suspect Appears To Be Frantically Dealing: A Lesson For AK And RS?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Not surprising considering the thought of this.

That would grab any half-smart perp’s attention. Smart of the Lima authorities to make that hellish future quite plain.

Dealing is the only way Van Der Sloot can go now, several of our lawyer posters believe. His latest defense lawyer was talking of trying to have his confession to Stephany’s murder revoked, apparently on the grounds that his first lawyer (from Peruvian legal aid) was not a “real lawyer” whatever that means.

Perhaps he is not thinking things through.

Rudy Guede clearly dealt with the system too. He gave away a few things, but not very much (less than we would have liked) but still, he did end up facing only 16 years.

There is a rumor (just a rumor at the moment) out of Italy that Sollecito might - might - be separating himself out. He just might have offered to talk, and to do some sort of a deal.

Our lawyers suspect that Della Vedova and Ghirga might have wanted to try to deal for Amanda Knox too - maybe a psychological or hard-drugs based defense.

But that the hard-liners on the Knox bandwagon in Seattle and elsewhere (Preston, Ciolino, Anne Bremner, Michael Heavey, John Q Kelly, and so on) seem to have duped the Knoxes and Mellases into thinking that an innocence outcome was a very high probability with a hard-line PR campaign and defense.

And now look at where Amanda Knox stands. Not at all pretty. 

In our lawyers’ views, what is the worst move of all moves that the Knox bandwagon drivers and the AK groupies have made?

Arguing that this was simply a lone-wolf attack, and probably only by a seemingly very very very nimble Rudy Guede.

A lone-wolf- attack was totally ruled out over a year ago by Judge Micheli.

He based that on (1) the evidence from Meredith’s autopsy which showed 100% that two or three had to have been involved, (2) the overwhelming signs of a clean-up and the moving of Meredith’s body - several hours after the attack, (3) the various witness statements, and (4) the total meltdown of AK’s and RS’s various alibis.

And the AK + RS sentencing report due out soon on PMF and TJMK in English will be absolutely the kiss of death to any serious defense based on the lone-wolf scenarios (such as they are).

There is not the slightest possibility that Meredith was attacked by just one perp - with TWO knives - while being sexually attacked - while attracting all of THOSE wounds to her body - and not revealing ANY signs of being able to fight back.

Frankly, if the lone-wolf theory is the Knox campaign’s last best shot,  Amanda Knox is well and truly cooked.  She might still achieve a shorter sentence, some final peace of mind for Meredith’s family and friends, and some self-respect for herself through the rest of her life.

But she does need to deal.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Charges In The Murder Of Stephany Flores In Lima Peru Are Expected Tomorrow

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: the father of Stephany Flores describing her to the press in Lima. Below: the hotel where she met a violent fate.

The police and prosecution news conference that had been announced for this morning has been put off for 24 hours, at which time a judge is expected to announce the charges against Joran Van Der Sloot.

Apparently the average time between charges announced and a verdict announced in Peru is about two years. Van Der Sloot would be kept in prison for the whole time, standard practice to prevent disappearance and maybe to prevent further crimes..

Those who think that the actually pretty mild media depiction of Amanda Knox in the weeks after Meredith was found should perhaps take a look at this headline in a New York newspaper this morning.

This is pretty typical of the coverage of suspects in horrific murders in the United States, and the very benign treatment of Knox seems a total outlier. The cable new netwroks between them are giving this case about three hours a day, and all have had crews in Peru.

The FBI and police in Alabama seem to be envisaging a request to extradite Van Der Sloot to the United States for the attempted $250,000 fraud of Natalee’s mother. It is still not clear who paid Van Der Sloot the $25,000 he apparently mostly blew on gambling in Lima.

There is also a report that his mother and, before he died of a heart attack in Febriuary, his father were increasingly distancing themselves from their son.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/10 at 06:56 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhereComments here (1)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Associated Press Confirms That Joran Van Der Sloot Has Confessed To Murder In Lima, Peru

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: images of Lima in Peru - one of the world’s driest cities (it almost never rains) so the greenery is pretty remarkable.

The Associated Press is today confirming what reader Nell posted on the thread below last night.

Joran Van Der Sloot has confessed that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez in a rage, after she discovered his role as chief suspect in the presumed murder of Natalee Holloway. She did this via his laptop, while he went out to get breakfast (recorded on camera - that hotel sure has good CCTV) at 10 past 8 in the morning.

Peru’s chief police spokesman, Col. Abel Gamarra, told The Associated Press that Van der Sloot admitted under police questioning Monday that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores on May 30…

Gamarra said the case would now be turned over to prosecutors to present formal charges and Van der Sloot will be assigned to a prison while he awaits trial. Murder convictions carry a maximum of 35 years in prison in Peru and it was not immediately clear if a confession could lead to a reduced sentence.

Van Der Sloot’s father, a judge, recently died of a heart attack in Aruba, while playing a game of tennis. He was originally there as a judge in training, which explains why his son Joran, then 17, was also there. He was long suspected of possibly helping his son to dispose of Natalee’s body and of using his connections to slow or stall the Aruba investigation.

Either way, it sounds like Aruba could use someone like the officer in charge of the case in Lima, Peru, to close the Natalee Holloway case once and for all. Or someone like Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

A tragedy that it was not resolved before Van Der Sloot headed out for Lima - using money from Natalee Holloway’s mother. It seems the Aruba police, with help from the FBI, already had all that they needed.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/08 at 02:15 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhereComments here (13)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Knox, Anthony, and Van Der Sloot: Why Some Murder Suspects Revel In Their Sudden Prominence

Posted by Peter Quennell



Click here for Barbie Nadeau’s report on bizarre murder suspect mindsets in Newsweek.

Quite typical of charming psychopaths.

Today Barbie Nadeau starts with the Dutch murder suspect Joran Van der Sloot, possible killer of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez, whose capture in Chile and extradition to Peru (video above) has been on every US newscast.

He has previously been shown on TV in an interview secretly filmed (video below) in which he gleefully pretty well admits that he killed American student Natalee Holloway in Aruba, a Caribbean island that is an integral part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.

Now, as such smug suspects often do, he seems to have killed again.

In this case, as in the case of Casey Anthony, who is charged with killing her baby daughter Caylee, there has been no murder suspect’s PR campaign, no adolescent sliming of the prosecutors, and no adolescent mis-stating of the evidence. The true victim is the one getting all the sympathy.

The far more typical stance of the US media in such cases.

Certainly no one is more famous as an irreverent celebrity suspect than Seattle native Amanda Knox, who is serving a 26-year sentence for the sexual assault and murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.

In the early days of the Kercher murder investigation, Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, acted absurdly. Knox, with no apparent grasp of the seriousness of a murder investigation, performed cartwheels for the cops in the police station waiting room.

The two suspects admitted to being high before talking to police, as Sollecito said, “to take the edge off.” They told investigators multiple stories and lies, including Knox’s naming her Congolese nightclub boss as the real assassin.

For added flavor, she even described Kercher’s screams to investigators. During her 11-month trial, she behaved like a beauty queen on the runway, making what jurors later called a mockery of the court by her blatant disrespect of the Italian legal system.

In the final days of her trial, when things were looking grim, she started to act demure. By then it was too late.

Dupes like Oprah and Geraldo Rivera and certain others should wake up to the true danger of charming psychopaths. They do tend to kill again. And also wake up to the one true victim in Perugia, whose name was Meredith Kercher.

By the way, in a bizarre parallel, it now seems that Joran Van Der Sloot is setting out to further entangle his mother.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calunnia Claims At The Core Of The Problem For Amanda Knox - And Her Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell



Here is Amanda Knox claiming mistreatment as the reason why she falsely fingered Patrick Lumumba.

This was the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room on 12 June 2009. It was legitimate for the reporters there to capture it.

Our Italy-based Italian-speaking posters Fiori and Nicki both observed that to many or most Italians. Knox’s two days on the stand rang pretty hollow. She apparently needed to come across as a lot more fragile for the claims in the video to ring true.

Yesterday at the first hearing to set the date for Knox’s new trial, the number of police interrogators who are considered to have been targets of calunnia Amanda Knox was stated as twelve.

They will presumably all be testifying both at Knox’s new trial in October, and at the trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who allegedly repeated Knox’s claims on TV, and for whom the first hearing is coming up on 7 July.

They could face prison time and/or fines.

Judge Claudia Matteini observed that her presiding over the early hearings into Meredith’s case in 2008 (and denying Knox house arrest, a denial believed based in part on a psychological profile never made public) was not automatically a reason for her being replaced as a judge in this new case.

Knox had not made the claims you can see in the video at the time Judge Matteini was presiding. However, she agreed with what seems a reasonable defense request that a higher court should take the question of a possible conflict of interest under review.

She stated that the appeals court will issue a decision on who should be the judge for the new trial on 17 June.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Knox Hearing On Calunnia Charges Technicality, Then Trial Set To Be Under Way June 16

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Nick Squires in Rome for the Daily Telegraph has the report which includes this.

Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, argued that it was inappropriate for the slander charge to be heard by judge Claudia Matteini, because she had been involved in one of the preliminary hearings into the Kercher murder.

The case on Tuesday was adjourned until June 17, when another judge is likely to be assigned to the case.  The trial is likely to start on October 1. Her appeal is also expected to start in the autumn, meaning that the two cases could run concurrently.

If Knox is found guilty of slander, she could face another six years in jail, on top of the 26 years she is currently serving.

And Knox could face MORE time than 26 plus six years if the prosecution wins it on appeal. Possibly a total of forty.

So much for the PR campaign and the ongoing misinterpretation of the evidence and sliming of the prosecution by the “pro-Knox” websites. Guede of course ran no campaign, his lawyers and friends were always respectful, he took the short-form trial (an admission of some kind of guilt), and he tried some sort of apology to Meredith’s family.

And after his first appeal he emerged with only 16 years.


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #9: Extreme Caution Over Non-Repetitive Testing In Sonia’s Case Too

Posted by Peter Quennell


It will be interesting to see if the defense observer ducks out of this examination in this case too.

La Nazione/Umbria describes a hearing last Monday in Perugia on the jacket the chief suspect was perhaps wearing on the night Sonia disappeared.

Together in the same courtroom without a word spoken between them.

On the one hand, Anna, the sister of Sonia Marra, the student from Puglia who disappeared from Perugia in November 2006. On the other hand, Umberto Bindella, who is accused of killing the girl and concealing her body.

At this preliminary hearing, Judge Carla Giangamboni fixed the date on which the police investigations will start on the jacket seized from the suspect.

Professor Giuseppe Novelli is the expert appointed by the court, the task of checking whether there are biological traces of organic material possibly due to Sonia Marra.

Prosecutor Joseph Petrazzini agreed to carry out investigations into the black jacket Bindella was wearing when first arrested, three years earlier, after the death of Sonia, in response to defense attorney Daniela Paccoi, who request the forensic examination.

They will be carried out in the laboratories of the faculty of medicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. The garment examination will begin on June 7.

Following the tests for the defense will Dr. James D’Agostaro, an expert in genetics…

Bindella had been in prison but he was released by the magistrate [judge Micheli] who concluded the investigators had not proved ‘serious indications of guilt’.

The jacket is now an object of tug of war between the prosecution and defense. It was confiscated by agents of the police post from the closet of Bindella before his arrest.

It was ‘“similar to that worn by the unknown assailany,” said a girl, a neighbor of Specchia student, who claims to have seen a man enter the apartment in via Purgotti where Sonia lived.

In that house biological traces of Bindella [Sonia’s former boyfriend] and the vicrim were found.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/21 at 03:30 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedComments here (2)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #8: Bindella Hearing Tomorrow - Prosecutor Won’t Ask For Incarceration

Posted by Peter Quennell


Our previous posts are here. There is a surprise move in the case.

The prosecutor leading the Sonia Marra investigation, Joseph Petrazzini, has withdrawn his appeal to the court of review against the decision of the investigating judge, Paolo Micheli, to release Sonia’s boyfriend, Umberto Bindella, pending further investigations.

The scheduled hearing on this appeal will still be held tomorrow in Perugia, but it is expected that all that will happen is that the withdrawal of the prosecutor’s appeal will be noted. So Bindella will continue living at home.

Two reasons for this are being hypothesized. One, that Bindella won some sympathy when he recently disappeared and drove his car down a steep slope. He did not really seem to have the makings of a great getaway artist.

And two, that there may be problems with such evidence as there is against him, or possibly a new line of investigation is opening up in this difficult, frustrating case.

Sonia’s sister Anna (right above) is part of a nationwide missing persons support group. Someone she may have known - the mother of a girl, Paola, who disappeared 17 years ago in Turin - has now taken her own life.

Anna remarked in sympathy: “No, I do not think it was hopeless for her I think that she just had not found anyone who listens. That’s what happens all too often to the families of missing persons.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/06 at 05:04 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedComments here (0)

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #7: New Evidence Check And Decision Soon On Umberto Back In Custody

Posted by Tiziano



[click for larger image]

Sonya’s is the other recent case of a woman student in Perugia who ended up in harm’s way.

In Italy this case gets as much attention as Meredith’s case, in part because Sonya is also very appealing, and in part because here to there seems to have been such callous cruelty.

You can read our previous posts here concluding with her boyfriend’s strange disappearance - the image above is when Umberto Bindella reappeared, out of his vehicle which had plunged down a slope, perhaps with suicidal intentions. 

Tam Tam is now reporting new developments. This is translated from the Italian:

Developments in the Sonia Marra - Umberto Brindella case.

A jacket belonging to the young man from Marsciano will be subjected to precise scientific analyses in the next few days; on the other hand, a decision on the appeal against his release from prison is expected on May 7th.

On April 7th the scientific analyses on a jacket of Umberto Bindella, the young man from Marsciano under investigation for the disappearance of the student Sonia Marra, will be carried out.

The investigators therefore are continuing to sound out the relations between the two.

On the other hand, the hearing of the Tribunal to examine the Proscutor’s appeal on the merits of the provision to release Bindella from prison is set down for May 7th.

The regional TV news in its afternoon edition also referred to talk about a failure to find telephone records between Bindella and Ms Marra.

This fact is said not to have repercussions on the investigation, but would add another “mystery” to the whole business.

Posted by Tiziano on 04/02 at 03:44 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedComments here (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CBS Producer of Most Biased Perugia-Case Reports Pleads Guilty To An Unrelated Crime

Posted by The Machine



CBS 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman plead not guilty just a few months ago to a blackmail attempt against a popular late-night comedian.

Yesterday, as the report above shows, Joe Halderman really changed his tune.

He now pleads guilty as charged - and he is apparently very relieved to be receiving only 4 to 6 months behind bars, a fine, and community service.

Slimy ethics at play. Not to mention criminal behavior, and a nasty intent to hurt others.

Unsurprising, really, that he worked for 48 Hours.

The CBS production team of Halderman, Longhini and Ely Hulse have tried very hard for two years to sell the American public on the fiction of an innocent Amercian girl being railroaded by corrupt and incompetent foreigners.

The CBS documentaries on Perugia have been exceptionally biased and xenophobic, worse even than those of ABC, highly one-sided, pandering to the Knox family, ignoring of Meredith as the real victim, and absolutely riddled with factual errors.

In particular the CBS team went to town on Prosecutor Mignini, having Doug Preston in his predictably shrill and cowardly manner rant on at great length about him.

This has all been documented here on TJMK.

CBS have never apologized for their anti-victim bias, or their sliming of Italy and the official participants, or their misrepresenting of even the most basic of facts. And now in an example of real poetic justice, one of their lead producers is a convicted criminal, and he has to spend 4 to 6 months behind bars.

We hope that Halderman reflects on his crimes against the trusting American public while inside, as well as his bizarre crime against a CBS colleague.


Monday, March 01, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #6: The Sole Suspect Goes Missing For Several Days

Posted by Tiziano


We have posted several times previously on the case of Sonia Marra, a missing and possibly murdered Perugia student.

Her boyfriend Umberto Bindella (above after being found) is the sole suspect. On March 12th the Review Court will decide on the appeal by Prosecuting Magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini against Umberto Bindella’s recent release from Capanne Prison, where he was being held while police investigations were advancing.

Terni In Rete reported a couple of days ago that Umberto Bindella had gone missing for several days and there was a fear that he might have caused himself harm .

BINDELLA FOUND. “THEY HAVE RUINED MY LIFE AND CONTINUE TO DO SO”

FEBRUARY 28TH 2010 18.08 HOURS

By Adriano Lorenzoni

Bindella has been seen in the woods near Deruta in the vicinity of the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths.

UPDATE: The Carabinieri from Deruta have found Umberto Bindella in the woods around Deruta, near the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths. According to the first reports it has been learnt that Bindella was found in a confused state.  His vehicle was bogged down in a pool of mud. His parents and his lawyer, Daniela Paccoi rushed to the spot.  Bindella himself exchanged a few words with journalists to whom he insisted that he had absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance of Sonia Marra.

“They have ruined my life and continue to do so.  In reply to the reporters who asked him why he had run away from home, he replied, “I needed a break to think”.  His mother as well repeated that her son was “a victim”.

Lawyer Daniela Paccoi asked for “respect on behalf of the media” for her client.  “Umberto is confused, it’s been two days since he ate, he needs peace.  Perhaps we will give a press conference, for now let’s leave him in peace.”

Umberto Bindella was found safe and sound.  He was seen in the early afternoon by a group of trippers who were on a horse ride through the woods around Deruta.  The Carabinieri who were alerted straight away went to the spot.  First they found Bindella’s car, then they came upon Bindella himself, who was found in good physical conditions.  According to first reports, Bindella is supposed to have told the officers that he had no intention of going home.

During the 48 hours when Bindella left no trace of himself, his parents feared that he could have done himself extreme harm.  He had left papers on his desk in which he expressed his disappointment about justice, holding himself to be its victim….



And La Nazione has the story on what he claimed happened, and Bindella is now back in Perugia. 

Perugia, the finding of Umberto Bindella

Luca Vagnetti

“I didn’t run away, I just needed to be alone and think a bit, away from everyone.” The mystery around the disappearance of Umberto Bindella finished in a little stretch of woods, between Deruta and Casalina.

Deruta, March 1st, 2010 ““ On Friday evening the traces of the 31year-old young man accused of the murder of the student Sonia Marra (missing since November 2006 when she was 25) were lost. 

Yesterday the Carabinieri of the Deruta Branch found him not far from the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Baths, from where it seems that he had not budged in the period of time between his leaving home and his discovery.  Upset and nervous to the point of attacking a photographer, but alive, hidden in a little wood on the edges of the highway in his Honda Jazz, which had ended up accidentally in a ditch.

Therefore the possibility of a tragic final gesture has been averted.  “My family knows that I could never do such a thing,” Bindella said referring to the theory of a suicide which had actually circulated straight after he went away. The arrival of the forces of law and order, of his parents, of his sister and brother-in-law served to calm down the young man, who then vented his feelings into the microphones of the press.

“The system is disgusting” he said “and this event is ruining my life.  I’m not afraid of the trial, I’m afraid of the system; in spite of everything I still trust in justice, I’m ready to defend my honour and to show my innocence.”

Wearing a dark red jumper, blue jeans and black shoes, Bindella let himself go and intensely showed his state of mind.

“They are depriving me of liberty, of dignity, of work and everything.  This whole business is stopping me from living the years between 30 and 40; and once all the accusations against me collapse, nobody will be able to give me back what has been taken away from me.  I am innocent, I reaffirm this, but the system thinks differently: I have clarified my position; I have given all the explanations, everything that I have been asked.”

“I don’t feel like a scapegoat, at the most a victim: the investigations are all going in one direction; they are trying every way to find me guilty, without examining other possibilities.”

Bindella speaks openly of the “obtuseness” of the magistrates, while his mother holds her hand on his shoulder and seems to almost hold up this big man who is almost a foot taller than she is.

“I believe him ““ the woman declares, her eyes dense with emotion and understandable concern ““ because he is a good lad.  He needed to think and probably he could have done so differently; he’s done something foolish, but this going away doesn’t mean anything in itself.”

The tow truck arrives to pull out Bindella’s car, a small crowd gathers on the edge of the road: the young man who wanted to reflect all alone thus finds himself once again with so many eyes directed at him.

Below: Deruta is about 20 minutes drive south of Perugia at the west edge of a forrested area.


 

Posted by Tiziano on 03/01 at 06:54 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedComments here (2)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Sad Case Of Sonia Marra #5: Prosecuter Indicates Case Against Sonia’s Lover Is Strong

Posted by Tiziano


Sonia Marra and Meredith Kercher may be the only two women students to meet a brutal and senseless end over a very long period in Perugia.

This case - one of a search for true justice for Sonia - remains a demonstration of the same carefulness of the Perugia judiciary, cool persistence of the police and prosecuting magistrate, and restraint of the Italian press that we have seen in Meredith’s case. 

Last week Umberto Bindella was released from Capanne Prison as a murder suspect and he headed back to his apartment in Perugia. We presumed that Friday’s would be our final post on the case, at least for a while, and that it might never be solved.

Not so fast, it seems.

The prosecuting magistrate has now argued that the judge who released Bindella (Judge Micheli, yes, our Judge Micheli) had not considered new evidence against Bindella seriously enough, and seeks to put Bindella back behind bars to ward off the possibility of his disappearing.

This report on this stand of the prosecutor, which may or may not win out, appeared in today’s La Nazione - Umbria Edition.

THE PM: BINDELLA MUST GO BACK BEHIND BARS

By Erika Pontini

It was on the cards and it has happened: the magistrate Giuseppe Petrazzini wants Umberto Bindella behind bars and has lodged an appeal against the decision of judge Paolo Micheli who decided to free the only person under investigation for the murder of Sonia Marra because, in his opinion, the serious indications of guilt which permit the application of custody on remand were lacking.

“A leap in quality in the consistency and seriousness of the clues had been demonstrated, as evidenced above, precisely in the realisation that he [Bindello - Ed] had allowed himself to make incriminating admissions [to his police officer friend when he was supposed to have said “˜I’ve made a real mess.’-Ed] when he should not have yet known anything about the disappearance of Sonia Marra…. Up until today the clues were lacking that last but essential element.”

It will now be the Perugia Review Tribunal - presided over by Dottoressa Nicla Flavia Restivo - which will decide whether the thirty-one year old from Marsciano must go back to a cell, or whether the prosecution will continue investigations with Bindella out on bail. 

The tribunal should decide within twenty days.

Doubts remain about many of the statements of the person under investigation - this is even the opinion of investigating magistrate Micheli - who probably lied about some of the profiles noted above, both about relations with the girl and about [his friend the financier who provided an alibi - Ed] Galluccio, with whose contribution, whether as a witness or as a co-accused, it is fair to imagine it would be possible to reach concrete results. And the statement of the witness remains valid [the little girl’s - Ed] and has an important circumstantial value.

But in itself it is not sufficient to maintain the restriction on Bindella’s personal liberty.It is reasonable to hold that, on the basis of what has been gathered, he should be tried: but the law requires that he should take part as a free man;  also, the theory that the differences can be resolved between the possible reconstructions of the phone call with [the police officer friend -Ed] through a confrontation between the latter and the person under investigation himself, does not legitimise the continuation of remand in custody, there exists nonetheless a situation of doubt where the general principles of the law bind this judge to resolve in the sense favourable to the accused, who must be permitted to take part in that and other trial activities as a free man.”

Umberto Bindella had been investigated in recent weeks after three years of uninterrupted investigations into the disappearance of the student from Specchia.  On January 18th judge Paolo Micheli, accepting the request of the prosecution, had ordered the measure of remand in custody against the ex forestry worker accused of murder, concealment of a body and the theft of Sonia’s two mobile phones.

After 19 days in a cell and following the application of the defence - Daniela Paccoi and Silvia Egidi - judge Micheli changed his mind and decided on the release of the man under investigation.  The Prosecuting Magistrate, however,  is not convinced by that reasoning and in five pages explains to the Review Court why the thirty (sic) year-old from Marsciano must go back behind bars.


Posted by Tiziano on 02/17 at 06:25 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedComments here (1)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meredith’s Perugia #22: Salento In South-Eastern Italy - Where Sonia Came From

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


 


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