Sunday, March 01, 2009

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

Posted by Nicki

1.Monica Napoleoni

Today’s hearing resumed with the deposition of Ms Monica Napoleoni, the head of Perugia’s homicide squad, which had been halted yesterday.

Some of her statements were extremely touching and sad. For example, she reported on the text messages that were found on Meredith’s phone from her parents who, having heard on the news broadcasts that a British student had been murdered in Perugia, wanted to make sure that their daughter was fine. [A heartfelt comment on this by reader TT on the post below this one]

Ms Napoleoni also described what she saw when she entered the murder room and leaned over Meredith’s lifeless body. She reported that Meredith body had been cut about so ferociously that it was very hard for her to even look at the wounds.

Ms Napoleoni also talked about a female shoe print that was found next to the pillow near Meredith’s body, a footprint of a size compatible with Knox’s.

During cross-examination, Sollecito’s defense showed Ms Napoleoni pictures of the cottage rooms taken while the search by the Flying Squad and Scientific Police was taking place. She pointed out that shoe covers and gloves were always being worn by everybody present.

In one instance on December18th when the bra clasp was found and sequestered “whole overalls were used by everyone, since the scientific police were at work”.

Ms Monica Napoleoni confirmed the impartial handling of Knox on the night of 5-6 November which she briefly witnessed, and also confirmed that she witnessed “Knox”˜s gymnast show” and improper behaviour of the couple during the course of investigating such a tragic event.

2. Rita Ficarra

Ms Rita Ficarra, the officer in charge of the Perugia Flying Squad, reported about the night between November 5 and 6, when the two defendants were interrogated and later arrested in the wee hours of November 6th.

Knox turned up at the police station, although she hadn’t been asked to, “because Sollecito had been requested to be interviewed and she was accompanying him” Ms Ficarra said.

She was not required to stay, and could have gone home any time.

“I encountered her in the waiting room doing splits, cartwheels and bridges. She was showing off her gymnastic capabilities”. Ms Ficarra added that she reproached Amanda, and asked her to quit her inapt behaviour, as in addition to her gymnast show, Knox kept French-kissing, stroking and hugging Sollecito.

Ms Ficarra felt that was very inappropriate behaviour to be going on in a police station while waiting to be heard concerning a gruesome murder.  “Everybody else was terrified” Ms Ficarra said “except for Amanda and Raffaele, who seemed indifferent, were smirking, and kept on French kissing.”

Ms Ficarra then described Knox’s interrogation and the false accusations against Patrick Lumumba.

Ms Ficarra testified that when Knox was asked about Mr Lumumba”˜s text message to her on the night from his bar, “she started crying and wrapping her hands around her head, she started shaking it, and then she said: it was him”¦Patrick killed her”.

At this point, Ms Ficarra said “I stopped the interrogation and informed the judicial authorities”. Ms Ficarra stressed that “Amanda was never mistreated” and that “she had a chance to rest, go the bathroom, and eat”.  She insisted on writing out and signing statements both then and after being warned of her rights. She declined to have a lawyer present. 

Ms Ficarra’s deposition continued: “After Knox was notified of her arrest ““ in English - she asked for a pen and paper, saying: I’ll give you a present”. Ms Ficarra added “Knox asked me to read what she was going to write before she was taken to jail, because she wanted me to have a clear idea about what had happened”.

Ms Ficarra maintained that “Knox was never subjected to threats or violence…. she was treated firmly, but with cordiality”.

3. Knox and Sollecito

As Andrea Vogt reported, Knox and Sollecito both made impromptu declarations during today’s trial session.

Knox made a very brief statement in Italian, claiming “They did offer me drinks and food, but they started treating me as a person only after I made those declarations”. She did not elaborate any further.

Sollecito’s declaration took more time. He claimed that during his interrogation on the evening of November 5, he asked to make a phone call to his father but was denied it. He then asked for permission to call a lawyer, but he was not allowed to do so. He did not report any mistreatment or any physical or psychological abuse from the police.

4. A comment on this.

It should be noted that when Sollecito asked for a lawyer’s assistance, he had not yet even become a suspect. His status was still that of a “person knowledgeable about the facts” who is not legally entitled to insist on a lawyer being present. 

Not an actual suspect. Simply a person who could possibly yield useful information to the investigators. So why would someone who is being heard as a “helper” be so concerned about getting a lawyer? If he really had nothing to hide?

The next trial dates are March 13 and 14, 20 and 21, and 27 and 28.


anyone know exactly what the italian law is with regard to having access to a lawyer - as either a witness or a suspect?

Posted by mojo on 03/01/09 at 10:16 AM | #

Here is a link to today’s Observer (The Guardian’s Sunday title) article from Paul Harris. He scored a trip to Seattle!

Posted by bucketoftea on 03/01/09 at 12:55 PM | #

Mojo, you asked about the requirement for a lawyer to be present? The requirement was described by Nicki in this very key post here.

The Italian process looked to lawyers we chat with as a pretty fair and very cautious one. In general, the Italian process seems tougher on the prosecutor and easier on the defendant than we are used to in the US and the UK.

This was the evening when Sollecito voluntarily made a statement that Knox had not been with him at his place for some hours on the evening of the crime, and that he had been working on his computer and chatted with his dad.

The testimony that came out two weeks ago suggested that his computer had not been active for most of that period, The testimony that came out this week suggested that he may not have talked with his dad.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/09 at 02:29 PM | #

Thank you Nicki for this very informative and well written report.

Posted by Jools on 03/01/09 at 04:21 PM | #

Bucketoftea, on the Guardian/Observer piece from Seattle (we saw it last night) there seem to be some interesting media trends in motion here.

The US media seemingly without exception is now moving to the cautious middle on the case, where we consider ourselves to be, as the trial progresses and tough new evidence pours out. The main reporting here has been from the Associated Press, and that has been quite neutral and without added drama or bias. Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI is also filing very good reports.

While the British media are on the whole also very wait-and-see now (which is why we link to them a lot) the Independent newspaper and especially the Guardian newspaper seem to have decided to adopt a strongly contrarian line.

The Guardian/Observer has now published three of these strongly contrarian pieces. None of them have been balanced or well-researched (or researched at all!) and all seem intended mainly to stir up some “news” to give the Guardian/Observer a belated niche.

In this latest piece, the “Friends” in Seattle interviewed seem to be finding it very hard going now. It cannot be easy for them - many got way out in front of the known facts, and some have some big financial interests in this going their way.

Our readership in Seattle has just jumped enormously, by the way. Nice city. The city is not to blame, and probably not the university either. We are planning some positive pieces on Seattle, to balance any bum rap it may have been getting!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/09 at 04:26 PM | #

While I can understand Knox and/or Sollecito’s defense team challenging the DNA evidence and the method by which it was gathered and proposing alternate scenarios for what occurred, I am at a loss to understand how the “Friends of Knox” can be so strident in their defense of this woman and her character.  Do they, or anyone else for that matter, dispute that she accused an innocent man of murder, resulting in his arrest and incarceration????  That alone should make her a pariah, irrespective of the findings of the court with as to her own participation in the crime.  Her staggeringly poor (and offensive) behavior in the police station and, more recently, in wearing a loud, obnoxious shirt to the trial also call into question the defense of her as a “sweet hometown girl.”

I am also perplexed by the lack (to date) of any indication as to what Guede has said or will say as to the events of the evening.  It would seem to have made sense to offer him a plea deal or lesser sentence in exchange for his willingness to testify.  Was he, according to the prosecution scenario, present during the entire time that Knox and Sollecito are alleged to have been with Meredith?

Posted by Sierra1049 on 03/01/09 at 06:37 PM | #

And note Sierra that Knox apparently did not retract that written accusation of murder during the entire time that Patrick Lumumba was locked up. She had plenty of time to do so. She was in effect claiming to be an eyewitness to a murder he had committed, and there was one more seeming bit of evidence against him: his mobile was thought to have been pinged in the vicinity of the house, though I believe only by one antenna, and it needs three to triangulate a mobile and be accurate as to where it is. An eyewitness to Patrick’s really being at his bar was what finally sprung him.

We are not sure whether a stick or a carrot was applied to Guede since his sentencing late October to make him sing. It may be neither if (1) the crime was too depraved, as we suspect; or (2) the prosecution’s case is more than strong enough without him. Suggesting that (1) or (2) are correct is the fact that a few days ago his lawyer came out and said there was no way he would be testifying. Good luck on that later appeal, then, Rudy Guede.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/09 at 07:10 PM | #

Just seen this from the London Times report on the hearings:

‘Police said both Mr Sollecito and Mr Guede, who claim not to know each other, used nicknames derived from Manga comics’

We have discussed these comics and the cartoons that RS watches before. I have always thought that to understand RS, it is important to think of him as a 15 year old.

We have all seen Guede pulling goulish faces on his youtube video. For five days after the killing, AK and RS were in a world of their own and making faces at each other. We’ve seen RS dressed up in a goulish outfit brandishing a meat cleaver and a bottle of bleach.

I am starting to think that these three were living in their own fantasy world, made more unreal by drugs. I think Peter said that one of these Manga magazines was about killing a vampire ?

Would these three be crazy enough to play out some idiot vamprire slaying game that went too far?.

I really do wish we could hear what Vincent Bulgosi (the Manson prosecutor) makes of this. I know he never uses a computer, but his assistant does, perhaps there is a way to ask him?.

Posted by Kevin on 03/02/09 at 03:27 AM | #

“I think Peter said that one of these Manga magazines was about killing a vampire?”

Yeah. All the Blood series comics are sold here in Manhattan (email me anyone if you want the store addresses) and Blood the Cartoon Movie is downloadable with bit-torrent. All in English.

Those ones are quite mild - like Buffy the Vampire - but that pornography and sadistic violence mention made sense to me - many of the mangas are over there at that end of the spectrum. Other than Blood, what was he reading and viewing?

Bugliosi! There is an idea….

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/02/09 at 02:36 PM | #

The whole idea that these people could be influenced by something as childish as comics may seem far fetched, but the police don’t seem to entirely rule out the idea?.

In Italy, I’ve seen guys of exactly RS’s age play acting at being the Blues Brothers, for example, to an extent that makes you wonder whether they are quite ‘all there’.

I think we’d need to hear or read an experts opinion on how people can cross the line from fantasy into reality, it still seems a big step?.

Apart from the dodgy testimony of Kolomani, we seem to have a gap in our knowledge of where AK and RS were on the night previous to the murder, and what they were doing.

Knox claimed in her Nov 4th email that the last time she saw Meredith was when she emerged from her room on 1st Nov, with ‘vampire’ makeup still running down her face.

It doesn’t seem entirely too far fetched that drug fuelled play acting on Halloween continued the following day and evening?.

During the next sitting of the court, we are scheduled to hear about what the investigators found out about the defendants drug taking. RS has admitted to drug taking in the past, it would be interesting to hear whether they had experimented with something they had never tried before.

Posted by Kevin on 03/02/09 at 05:00 PM | #

If Guede’s appeal takes place after the trial of RS/AK, I wouldn’t count to much on hearing from him.  To my knowledge, he has not confessed to any wrongdoing as was seen in the reasons for his being found guilty.  His appeal will be on proceedings during the trial that might have been incorrect.  If he testified at the RS/AK trial about what they did he would implicate himself.  It also seems to me that it is too late for a plea bargain to reduce his sentence.  Lastly, I don’t think the prosecution would want to bring him to the witness stand because it would be too much of an admission that their case is shaky.  It probably would hurt them no matter what he said.  For the same reasons, I don’t think the defense wants him either.

However, if his appeal takes place before the end of the trial, he might decide he has nothing to lose by admitting to everything.  In that case, things might get really interesting.  He could, for example, admit to having done it by himself and then explain why he spent all night cleansing all the rooms except Meredith’s.  Or he might not.

Posted by C3PO on 03/02/09 at 07:18 PM | #

Is the evidence going to show:

a) RS was at the crime scene when the crime happened?
b) not a), but the evidence shows he was part of a “break-in staging” and/or cleanup?
c) neither a) nor b)- that RS was in the wrong place at the wrong time yet innocent other than alleged statements?

If b) is true, what does that say about RS? And in Italy, is accessory after the fact punishable by the same sentence as the actual crime?

Reading between the lines, or various web sites, maybe RS & AK are taking the approach that they are innocent because RG is guilty. Might RG play it the same way? e.g., keep silent and appeal only after someone else is found guilty?

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

Donatella Miliani in La Nazione yesterday contrasted the alleged maltreatment of Knox by the Italian Police (according to FOAK and Anne Bremner) with the maltreatment of the 15 yr old girl in a Seattle jail by Paul Schene.

She was rather diplomatic, there was no mention of US pratices such as waterboarding, detention without trial, kidnap of suspects and transportation to detention facilities, etc.

The only injury to Knox I’ve seen reported is the scratch she had on her neck the day after the murder, five days before her arrest.

Patrice Lumumba’s civil suit against Knox, for 516,000 euros, for his unjust 15 day imprisionment, will be heard tomorrow, according to the Corriere dell’Umbria

Posted by Kevin on 03/03/09 at 04:10 PM | #

Apart from technological advances (most significant here in regard to forensic tracking of internet/cellphone activity and DNA evidence) there is precious little that is new under the sun…

We, as humans, will not be fully evolved until we can stop causing one another unnecessary pain and grief. I’ll try hard not to rehash the 1000 variations on a theme already out there and emphasize what I haven’t read:

How easily influenced are the half-baked:

*  Manga, like snuff porn, doesn’t have to lead to copycat behaviour. What did Sollecito do to experience “extreme sensations” prior to Halloween ‘07??? Blaming Harry Potter would be like blaming the Beatles for Sharon Tate’s murder (didn’t this happen?) but don’t summarily dismiss Potter (beyond Knox’s mention of RS’s physical resemblance): Is Harry not essentially an antihero—the hapless tool of Dumbledore’s mission against the true driving force, the sociopathic Voldemort? And is Voldemort not evil because he tortures children,and kills indiscriminately in his eugenistic quest to purify the Wizarding world and rid it of Mudbloods?!

*  Violent/deviant sexual behaviour is not a 21st century invention. It isn’t for the squeamish, and most practitioners, consenting adults, likely keep it a secret from their parents, employers, neighbors, etc., but the law tends to keep out of it as long as no minors are being abused, and unless someone dies.  How often does anyone CONSENT to die?? (I am not suggesting that Meredith consented to anything that happened to her. That was the work of truly depraved individuals who must be brought to justice!)

*  Apparently Knox WAS hit in the head at the police station—by her own pummeling fists! (“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid”?), as witnessed by the guard leading her in for fingerprinting.  Was this a habit of hers? Another childhood quirk, like her mid-sentence yoga poses and gymnastics?

*  How is the atmosphere in the Knox-Mellas household? Not that we’ll find out from them, but, apart from calling the girl a “shithead” and an “obtuse retard”, was the loving stepdad sexually inappropriate? Did he make her feel bad about her body image? Did the Jesuits, at that expensive prep school? What were their sex-ed classes like? Abstinence only? Promiscuity a ticket to hell?  (Did I actually read somewhere that RS was a virgin before meeting Knox?)

I could go on and on, but I’ll close, for now, by suggesting that anyone who hasn’t yet should read “The Education of Amanda Knox”, an archived Seattle Stranger article by Charles Mudede. Interesting insight into the pre-Perugia persona of the Party Girl rock-thrower…

Posted by mimi on 03/04/09 at 09:27 PM | #

Guede has lodged his appeal, he is sticking to his story, which all but names AK and RS as the killers following a row between Meredith and Knox over missing money.

I think this means that AK and RS will have to testify now to rebutt this?, and be subject to cross examination, rather than just make ad hoc statements.

Not sure whether Guede has to testify, his lawyer seems to be arguing that Micheli drew the wrong conclusion about the statements he has already made.

Anyway, looks like are moving closer to getting the truth?

Posted by Kevin on 03/10/09 at 01:17 AM | #

I see that the appeal is likely to be heard after the summer recess, meanwhile Guede’s lawyers will monitor the RS/AK trial for information useful to the appeal. They say that they may well call new witnesses.

The most shocking thing to me is his lawyer saying that Guede has ONLY to be ashamed of not calling for help before fleeing.

Even if his story were 100% true, which is extremely doubtful, then he is still guilty of allowing Meredith to bleed to death, over a period of 2 hours
  .... instead he went nightclubbing.

For me, this admitted crime is enough to deserve a life sentence, never mind the one he was convicted of?.

Posted by Kevin on 03/10/09 at 09:58 AM | #

Row over money - how does he know?

The following is the statement by Guede’s lawyers as to his involvement, “...Guede told the court that he had ‘eaten a dodgy kebab’ and was in the bathroom listening to his iPod when Meredith was killed. He said he emerged to find her dying in a pool of blood.  Guede told the court he struggled with a man who resembled Sollecito and that he thought a woman who looked like Knox was at the door of the house waiting.”

If this is the case, how does he know that AK and Meredith were arguing over money?  He would have been in the bathroom when others showed up, had the argument, and stabbed her.

Posted by Arnold_Layne on 03/10/09 at 05:32 PM | #


In Micheli’s report, Guede’s version (which Micheli doesn’t believe) has Meredith telling him about the missing money and laying the blame on ‘druggy Amanda’.

From the bathroom he claims he heard others arrive and Meredith saying ‘We’ve got to talk’

Posted by Kevin on 03/10/09 at 09:21 PM | #
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