Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cartwheels Or No Cartwheels? You Be The Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell

[above: examples of cartwheels, not by Amanda Knox]

The ever-careful and supremely objective Steve Shay has another scoop!

This below is Mr Shay’s report to gullible Seattleites (if there are any left) in the, ah, very well-edited West Seattle Herald:

“Amanda accompanied Raffaele to the station where he was then interrogated by Monica Napoleani, the Perugia chief of homicide. Amanda was there to support him, as he had supported her before, when she was interrogated,” said Chris Mellas. Chris Mellas is the husband of Edda Mellas, Amanda’s mother. Both live in West Seattle.

“She was actually sitting alone in a separate room waiting for her boyfriend, and Napoleani said in court Friday (Feb. 27) that when she went to get some water she walked by the room where Amanda was and saw Amanda “˜doing the splits.’ She said she thought this was “˜odd behavior,’ and that Amanda should have instead appeared to be mourning the loss of Meredith.

The tabloid press further sensationalized her statement by changing “˜the splits’ to “˜cartwheels,’ and the mainstream press ran with that. “

“Amanda does yoga to calm herself down and relieve stress, and she told her father and me that’s why she was doing the splits. Also, in those four days she was in mourning over Meredith, which followed her outrage. Six hours after the discovery (of the body) she was like, “˜Let’s find the bastard who killed her.’”

Meanwhile, back here in the real world….  This was the actual report from the BBC News:

Meredith Kercher murder suspect Amanda Knox “turned cartwheels” in the police station after the killing, a police witness told a court in Perugia, Italy.

Former flying squad chief Domenico Profazio said he had to tell Ms Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito their behaviour was “not appropriate”.

From Seattle’s own Post-Intelligencer

They were always together, Napoleoni said, and did not want to be separated. While police questioned Sollecito, Knox waited in a side room where policewoman Lorena Zugarini, also present at Knox’s questioning, said she saw Knox doing a cartwheel and the splits. Zugarini said she told Knox it was “not the right place” for such activities.

From the UK’s Sky News:

Ms Napoleone also described Knox’s unusual behaviour at the police station where she had been taken for questioning. She said: “She had complained that she was feeling tired and at that stage I told her that she could go if she wanted.” “She said she wanted to stay, Sollecito was also at the station at the time and she said she wanted to wait for him.

“A few minutes later I walked past a room at the police station where she was waiting and I saw Amanda doing the splits and a cartwheel. It was around 11am on November 5th.

From the UK’s Daily Express:

The exchange came as Inspector Ficarra, of the city’s Flying Squad, described 21-year-old Knox’s bizarre behaviour after her arrest following the killing in 2007.

“I was in the elevator and when I got to the floor where the Flying Squad department is the door opened and I saw Amanda doing floor exercises,” he said.

She was doing the splits, cartwheels and arching herself backwards, pressing her hands on the floor. I said to her, “˜What on earth are you doing? Is this the right way to behave?’

From the UK’s Independent:

Chief Inspector Monica Napoleoni told the court where the pair are on trial for murder how, at the police station as they waited to be first questioned, Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox “appeared completely indifferent to everything, lying down, kissing, pulling faces and writing each other notes. They were talking to each in low voices the whole time ““ it was impossible that they were behaving like this when there was a dead body in their house. It seemed strange to everybody”. Ms Knox had also “turned cartwheels and done the splits,” she said.

From the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Ms Napoleoni recalled thinking that Miss Knox and her boyfriend seemed “indifferent to everything” when they were called to a police station in Perugia for questioning on Nov 5, 2007. It was there that the American turned cartwheels and did the splits.

And the last word, as always, from the London Times:

Ms Napoleoni said she and other officers had seen Ms Knox “doing cartwheels and the splits” while Mr Sollecito was being questioned and she was waiting her turn. Ms Napoleoni said she found this “very strange”. She said Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito “had a bizarre attitude throughout - they were laughing, kissing and pulling faces at each other.

Pehaps Chris Mellas and Steve Shay and Ken Robinson of the West Seattle Herald should discover the tubes of the internet.


For people who have been following this case, Chris Mellas has little to no credibility. He has gone on record with statements that have either turned out to have no basis in reality or that remain unsubstantiated. He has also threatened people on the internet, or allowed his associate to do so, in some cases using his own IP addresses.

But that isn’t the point. The point is that reporters who were in the courtroom and who heard the testimony given by the two officers reported what was said accurately. The two officers - Ficarra and Zugarini - may well have mistaken yoga cartwheels, splits and backbends for the more traditional gymnastic versions of these movements. Be that as it may. Italian reports from journalists in the courtroom say “ruota” and “spaccata” (the “wheel” and the “split in half”) because that is what the officers said in their oral testimony under oath.

Chris Mellas may be right in stating that his stepdaughter was actually doing moves she learned in yoga class, but he is absolutely wrong to assert that - yet again - the press got it wrong. He was neither in the courtroom nor at the police station on November 5. Personally, I think his aim was - yet again - to discredit the press in general because he does not like everything the press is reporting. It is called shooting the messenger.

Perhaps a secondary aim was to divert attention from the fact that the claim of gross mistreatment of Guantanémo-like proportions does not hold up under scrutiny. It is also part of an ongoing strategy to discredit the police. But Mellas undermines his own strategy by making statements that are not credible.

Finally, Steve Shay could and should have provided some context for Chris Mellas’s statement - such as that provided above. He could have contacted one or two journalists who were in the courtroom, to ask what exactly was said by the officers. As it stands, his article has little truth value. It merely voices an opinion we have all heard from Chris Mellas, who apparently thinks that all journalism is tabloid journalism. If so, then why did he bother talking to this journalist?

Someone in the family/friends entourage thought this article provided another good opportunity to give details about my private life - such as my name, my husband’s name and our approximate location in the small community of West Seattle. I flagged the comment (made anonymously, of course) as a violation last night, and it was removed a few minutes ago (14 hours later).

I am beginning to think that the local support movement has some fringe members who hope to shut down free inquiry that may lead in directions running counter to its own agenda. The West Seattle Herald took strong, clear and immediate exception when Dr. Mignini claimed the paper had committed defamation against him. I hope it does the same thing with regard to cyber-bullying, especially when it takes the form of posting the real names and addresses of posters whose only crime it to express an opinion and who are exercising their right to do so using a pseudonym.

I notice the bullies don’t use their real names when they “out” others. Why is that?

Margaret Ganong (who posts as Skeptical Bystander and, when that name is not allowed, as Lectrice or Lectrice56)

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 03/03/09 at 08:13 PM | #

Ironic Cartwheels

The West Seattle Herald’s headline states, “Knox says cop misread yoga move.” 

Let’s see if we can follow this.  Amanda, very possibly, has slit her flatmate’s throat.  She in turn, according to her, is physically intimidated by the Italian police.  This pains her so much that she states that Patrick Lamumba committed the murder.  Lamumba’s logging into his till may have saved him from spending his life in prison, but also is the first proof that Amanda was lying that night. 

Unfortunately for her, that story helped focus the world’s attention on her plight.  Because of this spotlight, the case is probably being treated judicially and not politically so no strings can be pulled and no evidence is lost.  Now, there are people and news organizations who believe that she told the truth in every instance except where she tried to send an innocent father and husband to prison for the rest of his life. 

So, once she realized that lying about Patrick was an enormous error she had to do something.  Blaming it on police brutality probably seemed reasonable at this point since she couldn’t use the excuse of her being stoned to explain it.  It appears that she can stay up late at the bars in Perugia, she can stay up late playing with knives and mops, but staying up late at the police station drinking tea is too much for her and leads to her downfall.

Clearly Sir Walter Scott had it right when he wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!”

Posted by Arnold_Layne on 03/04/09 at 06:49 AM | #

Programme for the next three hearing, 13, 14 and 20th March

Giuliano Mignini e Manuela Comodi have called 16 witnesses for the next hearings.

13 march, the agents mobile squad from Perugia and the central operations squad from Rome, plus an assistant from the flying squad who will testify on the interpretations made at the Police station regarding the the behaviour of AK and the English friends of Meredith.

14 march, the investigators of the Postal Police, who will testify about the personal computers confiscated.

20 march, will center on the mobile phones of the defendants and the victim, an investigator from the mobile squad and security people from Vodaphone will testify about the calls.

Patrick Lumumba has presented his claim for compensation for damages against Knox (516K euros), backed up by a report from his therapist on the stress suffered. Also presented a report from his accountant on the damage to his business ... he tried to reopen his pub, but was forced to close, due to lack of clients.

He commented that the experience was ‘like being on the beach and a plane falling on your head’.

There sould be a judgement within a few days.

Posted by Kevin on 03/04/09 at 05:25 PM | #

Steve Shay seems to be losing some of his characteristic ebullience with this most recent Herald offering. Perhaps it is slowly dawning upon him that there is no Pulitzer in the works for his incisive coverage of Hurricane Amanda.

Notable: No longer on a cosy first-name basis in the headline. And no freckle-faced childhood photo accompanying the print article( which appears alongside the police blotter..)  I had to use a friend’s computer to access the Herald’s webpage (they seem to be blocking my access from home!! Did I hurt their feelings? Was it something I said about their failure, in the “local girl” article, to portray AK as an ADULT?) 

The identical “cartwheel” article does sit below a shot of the athlete, in her gym shorts. As of this evening, 44 comments followed, some sympathetic, some intelligent, one or two idiotic, per usual.(e.g., a what’s it to any of you no-lifers, anyway? Well, to me, it’s that when my 22-year-old cousin screamed as someone repeatedly stabbed her in the chest as she lay sleeping, someone closeby banged on her door (stopping the attack) and phoned the police(saving her life).

As to Mellas’s “what she told her father and me”, all I have to say is, she told her mother she “needed to buy some underwear” (because the police wouldn’t let her back into the crime scene?). Did she “need” sexy lingerie?

Also, what sort of stress prompts this great need for calming down when at home?

Posted by mimi on 03/07/09 at 07:44 AM | #

Forget the ironic part. Now that’s really ironic.

In my post above, I forgot the Ironic Part.  Chris Mellas, Steve Shay, et. al. are creating a rukus over the possibility that AK might not get a fair trial.  By trying to shift the blame from AK47 and others in Seattle to the Italian justice system, they have focused the world’s attention on the trial.  As a result, some of the behind the scenes political machinations have been thwarted which otherwise might have left RSAK in pretty good shape.  The last thing that FOAK really wants is for them to get a fair trial but, in part because of them, that is exactly what she is getting.

Also ironic is the sitch involving the “contaminated” bra clasp.  Someone or some people scrubbed and cleansed the crime scene other than Meredith’s bedroom leaving only evidence pointing to RG.  FOAK is arguing the shoddy police procedure resulted in the DNA being deposited on the clasp by an investigator’s foot.  Ironically, there is no source of DNA contamination because the rooms other than the bedroom contained no DNA (at least not that I know of).  Hence, and ergo, the bra clasp could not have been contaminated.

Posted by Arnold_Layne on 03/07/09 at 06:34 PM | #

Hi Arnold,

You are very right. All over the crime scene, Sollecito DNA was only found on the bra clasp and on a cigarette butt; the source of his biological material on the clasp was defined very abundant by Dr Stefanoni and identification very clear cut, hence the probability of accidental transfer of DNA containing cells approaches zero. Defense is going to have a hard time with this one, to my opinion.

Posted by Nicki on 03/08/09 at 05:16 AM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Brief Explanation Of Difference Between “Calunna” And “Diffamazione” EDIT

Or to previous entry Trial: Wrap-Up On The Testimony For This Week From Officers Who Questioned Knox