Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Giuseppe Castellini Speaks Up For A “Kind Homeless Man Of Many Aspects”

Posted by Jools

Giuseppe Castellini (above) is the editor of the Journal of Umbria in Perugia. Throughout the case he and his various reporters have done amazing, fearless work.

Today he writes movingly about the sad passing in prison of the honest and brave free spirit Antonio Curatolo, who had been charged during the appeal on a minor eight-year-old charge, apparently at someone’s insistence.

Our lives crossed on the path of the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher. And, somehow, we were no longer separated. Even though, rather than crossing paths, in time they’ve run parallel courses. Up to Friday, when death took him away, at the age of 56. And in his passing we (I speak in the plural because the same sentiment is felt by Francesca Bene, Luca Fiorucci and Antioco Fois, the colleagues who have been following the Meredith case and who met him), we feel deeply saddened.

Antonio Curatolo was no saint. But he had his candour, his naturalness, his humanity and his inner rectitude. Sometimes, I felt he was perhaps dissociated. The homeless romantic and anarchic that reads a lot and has a self-taught culture, living on the edge of society by choice, but who “struggles along” not always in a limpid way. A stray cat, clever and naïve at the same time. Tough and kind, profoundly honest, and at the same time illicit.

I remember when we were informed that a homeless man told someone (who then informed us) that he had seen on the night of the murder Amanda and Sollecito in the Piazza Grimana in Perugia, when as usual he was reading while sitting on a bench in the piazza. The story is well known: Amanda and Sollecito are at the edge of the basketball court, and Raffaele sometimes gets up and leans over the guard rail.

An important testimony, because they had said they were asleep at that time. I remember the contact, the meeting, making him repeat continuously until he was exhausted, what he had seen. Trying to make him contradict himself, to see if what he was saying was true.

A good relationship was born in those days. We spoke about other things apart from the Meredith case, things in general. We got to know each other, we talked about our lives, so many things. And, eventually, it was not very difficult to convince him to tell the investigators what he had told us.

Even though we had to insist (with him, but also with the other witnesses that we found) on surpassing that anti-State Italian mentality in which everyone goes about his business, and that if you rather trust the State you’ll end up in trouble. He testified, and since his testimony was very important (he was defined by the media, with a bit of exaggeration, the “super-witness”), he was “grilled” very thoroughly. 

But he essentially repeated the same story. So much so that the defence teams of Amanda and Raffaele, in the end they stirred in the direction of Curatolo maybe having seen the two youngsters, but not on the night of the murder. His version fully convinced the GUP Judge Micheli (who pointed out that no one could dare question his story because of the mere fact that Antonio had chosen an unusual way of life) and also convinced the judges of the First Instance trial.

Not those judges of the appeal, though, according to whom all the witnesses - especially if found by journalists ““ were either mythomaniacs, or were prompted to exaggerate by the suppose desire at all costs for a journalistic scoop by reporters (showing, if I may say so myself, a strong cultural retardation of the judges and a very provincial point of view - far from the reality ““ toward the print press and, more generally, media).

Antonio, as mentioned, was not a saint. His relationship with drugs not only bears witness to his admission that he was a heroin addict, but also the legal troubles related to possession of drugs with intent to sell. An accumulation of small penalties that brought him under house arrest and in prison. Although he proclaimed his innocence. The last time I saw him, some months ago, was when I met him in the street and I accompanied him to the small flat he had rented in Corso Cavour. To complete the house arrest penalty, he told me.

But seeing him enter into that small apartment, after seeing him in the cardboard houses that he was building here and there, gave me the sad impression of a little bird entering a birdcage.

In short, I loved him, despite some aspects of his life. When I saw him we smiled. And they were smiles of men sincere with each other. I had affection for him. His sins, I’m sure, have been forgiven.

May the earth of the grave rest lightly on you, Antonio.


In the early days of the investigation the above named reporters from the Journal of Umbria went about their work of looking for witnesses so diligently that they were known as “The Witness Factory”.  We can thank them for their efforts.

Needless to say the Witness Factory was all part of this grand conspiracy against the lovebirds!

Antioco Fois it was who found Curatolo and then Quintavalle.

It is interesting that Castellini says that they all shared the same sentiments as regards Curatolo. Including Francesca Bene who dug up information about Claudio Pellegrini.

Doug immediately jumped into print and in and over his head on that one and to this day will still probably say he thinks that Pellegrini was involved, rather than own up to the embarrassing fact that it was all a red herring.

But the case of Pellegrini just shows that the reporters were not working for one side or the other but just doing their job ferreting out what they could and passing the information on.

Posted by James Raper on 08/14/12 at 08:30 PM | #


This is interesting -

“..showing, if I may say so myself, a strong cultural retardation and a very provincial point of view - far from the reality - by the print press, and more generally, media.”

I would say the above is not entirely clear and permits of two differing interpretations. Thus it could be -

1. ” suggesting…. a strong cultural retardation and a very provincial point of view… on the part of the print press” etc

OR (if there is a translation error)

2. “showing a strong cultural retardation and a very provincial point of view… towards the print press” etc.

I think Castellini means 1 above rather than that Hellmann and Zanetti are culturally retarded etc, but who knows?.

The article is interesting not only for what Castellini says about Curatolo but for what Castellini himself thinks about the case and is implying about the attitude of the appeal judges.

Posted by James Raper on 08/14/12 at 09:15 PM | #

Thanks for the edit Jools. That’s clear then. Castellini doesn’t think much of Hellmann and Zanetti either.

Posted by James Raper on 08/14/12 at 10:25 PM | #

The original sentence in Italian is:

“ Non quelli dell’appello [i giudici]  (…)  dimostrando, mi si permetta di dirlo, un forte ritardo culturale e una visione molto provinciale – lontana dalla realtà che non sia quella di casi minoritari – della stampa, o più in generale dei media “.

So it is a criticism of the second degree judges (Hellmann-Zanetti court): they are culturally retarded. They have a “strong cultural retardation” and a “very provincial idea (point of view towards)  about the media”.

Castellini criticizes Hellmann court’s stupid, retarded and provincial prejudice involving the press and the media (the kind of: “those who speak with the media must be bad”). It seems Cstellini really hates Hellmann and his revolting idea that good and moral citizens/villagers should be silent in public, do their buisness and hide from media contact, otherwise they are liars, opportunists or mythomaniacs.

Posted by Yummi on 08/14/12 at 11:27 PM | #

Added: Oh thanks a lot Yummi. You just beat me to it, and with more devastating authority.


Hi James. I didnt hear from Jools since she posted. She posts translations on PMF and expects me to grab and format them for here.

I checked that sentence with someone else who has Italian and she confirmed Castellini was being contemptuous of the judges. (He’s not the only one who speaks of them that way around Perugia.)

TV-watching Italians are very familiar with Castellini making highly informed comments on the case. He was in several of the group shows like the Porta a Porta series on the case and is extremely bright and dispassionate.

If there is anyone in Italy that would not be fooled by a mass police conspiracy it would be Castellini. That he takes the firm point of view he does should give us great confidence.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/14/12 at 11:40 PM | #

Thank you, Jools for this translation. And thank you, Mr. Castellini, for your moving and profound eulogy. Mr. Castellini touches on the lack of intelligence of the appeal judges report in assuming that everyone who testifies in a criminal trial does so for notoriety, money, or some sick pleasure in telling tall tales. Those judges were the sick ones.

RIP Curatolo. You done good.

Posted by Earthling on 08/14/12 at 11:40 PM | #

You’re safe in the arms of Jesus now, Toto. Thank you for telling the truth. You suffered for it. At the 11th hour of your life you achieved much just like Samson.

Posted by Hopeful on 08/15/12 at 12:45 AM | #

Hi James,

Thanks for the mention of the reporters. Pellegrini was the raving man in the piazza who was mad at his girl. He was very thoroughly investigated, and then dismissed.

Nobody dropped the ball here. Except those who dont have Italian as a native language, and dont have a clue about real police procedure, and real checks and balances, in real-world Italy.

Doug Preston attached his mistake-riddled Afterword to his absurd MOF book MANY MONTHS after Pellegrini had been investigated and had faded to an irrelevant footnote.

The section in the MOF Afterword is too long to quote in full here. Scroll down to the part highlighted in bold on pages 7 and 8 and see how he babbles about Pellegrini as maybe the REAL killer of Meredith:


Preston: “The connection, if any, between the bloody man shrieking “1 killed her” and the murder of Meredith Kercher remains largely uninvestigated and unknown.”

Gimme a freaking break. The FOA is absolutely riddled with incompetency - and yet they are serial shriekers about how incompetent everybody else is?!

In the image below, Preston and Spetzi are the two tramps on the right (they are disguised for sleuthing). Good grief. Is that BLOOD on Doug Preston’s pants?!


Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/15/12 at 02:26 AM | #

Pete wrote: “In the image below, Preston and Spetzi are the two tramps on the right (they are disguised for sleuthing). Good grief. Is that BLOOD on Doug Preston’s pants?!”

LOL! Good one, Pete. They look more disreputable than Curatolo on a bad day.

Posted by Earthling on 08/15/12 at 08:16 AM | #

The FOA is absolutely riddled with incompetency

Not at all surprising! They just thought they would buy off everything with cash. That would have certainly worked but the PR men messed it up.

Sure enough: the sweet smell of money attracts lots of ants and rants!

I see lots of blood everywhere.

People tend to make rules for others and exceptions for themselves.

Posted by chami on 08/15/12 at 02:22 PM | #

Hi Earthling and Chami.

If you enjoy seeing the meddlesome Preston cut down to size (and who doesnt?) watch the second half of Kermit’s “Railroad to Hell” Powerpoints here.


They will take a minute downloading.

To show he could take a joke Preston posted stills from that show on his own website. For a moment we really were impressed.

Then we realised he had slyly Photoshopped some of the text to make himself look good and Mignini (as usual) worse without telling anyone.


The weenie.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/15/12 at 04:50 PM | #
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