Friday, April 03, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt On Forensic Evidence In Closed Court, Knox Calunnia Against Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell

Court Session Overview

Andrea Vogt provides another fine report on the trial, on the Seattle PI website.

See below for her report late today on (1) the wound pattern, (2) Knox & Sollecito reactions to the images, (3) gleeful purchase of underwear, and (4) what Patrick Lumumba told the court of his experiences.

Lumumba was the one fingered by Knox as the perp, and it took two weeks to get that charge refuted. Knox is being prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, on a calunnia charge. 

1. The Wound Pattern

The first hard forensic evidence to emerge in the Meredith Kercher murder trial—testimony of the coroner who autopsied the slain young Briton—was debated behind closed doors here Friday.

Lawyers emerged to say a forensic expert believes that more than one person may have attacked the British college student.

The decision to close the courtroom—prohibiting the public and press from both viewing video or hearing audio of the crucial testimony—came as a large international conference of journalism was being held just a few blocks away.

The Kercher family’s attorneys requested closure to protect the victim’s dignity, as jurors were shown gruesome photos of the autopsy examination….

Lawyers emerging from the closed session reported a pivotal moment toward the end of arguments when the presiding judge asked the then-coroner, Dr. Luca Lalli, if, after looking at all of the facts before him, he believed Kercher’s wounds were inflicted by more than one person.

He responded affirmatively.

Under cross-examination, defense attorneys asked if he could exclude the possibility that she was killed by a single attacker, and he said he could not.

“Looking comprehensively at all the elements, Dr. Lalli deduced, from a logical point of view, that there were multiple aggressors,” said Francescso Maresca, attorney for the Kerchers.

Specifically, Maresca said Lalli pointed to the nature of the multiple wounds afflicted—more than 23 to her cheeks, neck, legs and palms of her hands—consistent with strangulation, bruising and stab wounds.

Lawyers from both sides seized on parts of Lalli’s testimony that best reflected their case. The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex. Defense attorneys pointed to Lalli’s inability to determine conclusively whether or not Kercher had been raped.

“There is not certainty that there was sexual violence, at least not biological traces to prove that, and a lone aggressor was not ruled out,” said Marco Brusco, attorney for Raffaele Sollecito, outside the courthouse.

2. Reactions Of Knox & Sollecito

Knox and Sollecito were both present during the coroner’s testimony, though Knox turned her head away from the photos and sometimes covered her face with her hands, while Sollecito occasionally looked up.

“She was upset and couldn’t look,” said Knox’s mother Edda Mellas, who spent the day in an adjacent witness waiting area getting occasional updates from English-speaking lawyer on the two-man defense team.

Mellas cannot speak about the case or be in the courtroom because she will be called later as a defense witness. She will return to her teaching job in Seattle on Monday. “I am always torn,” Mellas said. “I want to stay here with Amanda, but I have to go back to work.”

3. Gleeful Purchase Of Underwear

The court was re-opened to the press and public around 4 p.m. to hear the testimony of a Perugia shop-owner who witnessed Sollecito and Knox buy a g-string together in the days immediately after the killing and talk about “going home to have hot sex.”

4. Patrick Lumumba On Criminal False Accusation Of Crime

The last witness, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, told jurors the harrowing tale of his false arrest in early morning hours as he was warming up milk for his infant son.

“They said ‘Police! Police! Open the door.’ They were agitated,” recalled Lumumba. “They took me in front of my son, handcuffed me and wouldn’t tell me anything, they just said ‘You know what you did.’ I was not beaten, but it was a hard situation.”

Lumumba said that he was later stripped of his clothes at a certain point and left nude facing a wall in police headquarters. The window was open, he said, and it was cold.

Lumumba was arrested after Knox pinned the blame on him during the all-night police interrogation that led to her arrest. He spent 14 days in jail before being cleared of any involvement in the crime. Knox now faces slander charges for falsely accusing him.

On the stand Friday, he told jurors that he and Knox had a good personal relationship, though she was not the best employee. He hired her for 5 euros an hour to work as a waitress, but eventually limited her role to handing out fliers and doing publicity.

The night of the killing he sent her a text message telling her she didn’t need to come to work, to which she replied in Italian, “We’ll see you later. Good night.”

Lumumba said the two did not have an appointment to see one another, but rather, he interpreted the message as the American salutation “see you later,” which can also mean"bye.”

After he was cleared, the pub’s business never picked back up, however, and his financial trouble worsened.

“Everything fell apart. When the pub was sequestered for three months. When it re-opened, well, who would go to a pub run by someone who had been arrested for murder? Of course they go somewhere else. I lost everything.”

Lumumba said the episode also re-awoke terrible childhood memories about the night his politically active father was kidnapped back in Congo (and never seen again). He wakes up in the night worrying about the safety of his toddler son, said Lumumba, who an Italian court recently awarded 8,000 euros for false imprisonment.


Just seen part of a local TV programme with Lumumba answering questions at length. Its called, La Verita di Lumumba, and seems to have been aired 43 days after the murder.

Unfortuately, I can only find parts 3,4 and 5 with google video ... the full programme must be quite long.

Anyway, he is questioned about his ‘giving amanda’s job to Meredith’. Patrick doesn’t seem to give much weight to this. He says that Knox was already working fewer days than she had at the beginning, 1 or 2 instead of 3 or 4 times a week, and didn’t seem bothered.

He describes the ‘job offer’ to Meredith more in terms of a ‘one off’ thing, basically, he says that all the bars dream up any excuse they can to have ‘parties’ ... just to get people through the door. In Meredith’s case, she knew how to make Vodka based cocktails from some place she had worked in the UK (Sounds like Revolution, the Russian theme bars you find everywhere). This, plus a female DJ was just an excuse to have a ‘ladies night’.

As far as Lumumba was concerned, this shouldn’t have caused friction, says ‘Amanda wasn’t a bartender’, however he concedes that it could have been misinterpreted.

Posted by Kevin on 04/04/09 at 02:43 AM | #

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