Friday, April 27, 2012

Good Review Of “Meredith” By Barbie Nadeau In Tina Brown’s Influential “Daily Beast”

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click the image above for Barbie Nadeau’s full review. Excerpts here:

John Kercher writes in an easy, somewhat apologetic first-person voice, tucking in details about why Meredith chose to study in Perugia and how during a class trip in high school she decided she would one day live in Italy, a country she fell in love with as a young child when the Kerchers vacationed there.

He gives new details about Meredith that the press who followed the case never uncovered, including how Meredith’s former boyfriend Lloyd proposed to her in a Japanese restaurant shortly before she left for Perugia. She declined, but kept the ring for a few days before giving it back.

He also pays homage to each of Meredith’s close friends, both those from her hometown and those in Perugia, and describes in painful detail what it was like to read the cards on the flowers left in tribute both in Italy and England after her death.

But Meredith is more than memoriam; it is also a valuable textbook on the details of the criminal trial. Considering that he is writing about the murder trial of his daughter, Kercher manages to be surprisingly dispassionate when it comes to the evidentiary facts of the case….

In one of the book’s most heart-wrenching scenes, he describes the surreal night Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder and how the courtroom was silent when the judge read the guilty verdict. “I looked towards Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollectio: gone was the confidence and smile that Knox had displayed throughout the pretrial and trial.

Then, as the judge delivered his pronouncement, in an Italian I could not understand, I watched her collapsing forward. I saw her parents’ look of disbelief.”

Kercher also walks the reader through what their family considered the even more painful and confusing events that followed the guilty verdict, and how the American press and some British outlets embraced Knox’s claims of innocence during the appeal, sacrificing Meredith’s memory in the process.

Meredith’s name, he points out, was frequently left out of news stories, which became more and more focused on Knox during the appellate process. For the Kercher family, which had just begun their closure with the guilty verdicts, the process of retrying the case and reliving those painful details of their daughter’s murder all over again in the appeal was almost too much to bear.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/27/12 at 07:04 AM in

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I’m downloading Mr. Kercher’s book today. Had to wait for the weekend because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down, or stop thinking about it. More thoughts after reading…

Posted by brmull on 04/27/12 at 11:11 AM | #

Hi brmull.

You are right, it is a read beyond normally fascinating and I was surprised at how many pages I read on the Kindle last night.

It will be very interesting to read your take. We’ll be posting reviews quite soon and it would be good to have yours.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/27/12 at 02:38 PM | #

Clearly the Supreme court considers the new appeal only on its merits but it doesn’t hurt to have this book out in public and it wouldn’t be hard for what the book says to become mainstream.

To say that the courts would not be aware there is an account out there respectful to the lower and supreme courts is a bit naive - they would be well aware and it’s hardly going to prejudice Meredith’s case.

I’ll be getting the message up at my place once I can work out the best way to advertise it and shall choose one or two quotes.

This can only be to the good, this book and he is a fine writer to boot.

Posted by James Higham on 04/27/12 at 03:15 PM | #

Hi James.

Agreed 100 percent. Italian prosecutors face one of the toughest tasks in the world. The Italian justice system began with the Post WWII constitution already strongly favoring defendants and then successive governments (espec Berlusconi’s) made it much much more-so.

There is a mood in Italy that the system has “liberalized” too far and that almost all victims get pushed right off the stage, espcially at first appeal level.

To correct this imbalance would involve some changes in Italian law, such as eliminating juries at first appeal level, and stopping defendants making self serving “spontaneous statements” to the court as Amanda Knox did repeatedly - to her great advantage as it worked out.

Books like John Kercher’s are not uncommon in Italy, or in the US for that matter: making the victim a presence in the room. Many websites try that too.

In the US there are confrontational TV shows like Nancy Grace’s that often say a lot of good things about the victim and a lot of bad about the presumed perp.

In Italy the equivalent shows are not confrontational and they can include suspects and families and lawyers from all sides and some very good reporters. (The best Italian reporter on Meredith’s case is Giuseppe Castellini of Umbria Joiurnal.)

We have posted a lot on two other young Italian women victims (Sonia Marra and Melania Rhea) whose cases seemed to show Italian justice at its best, and which would be sure things in the UK and especially US.

Probable perps (Sonia’s boyfriend Umberto Brindella and Melania’s husband Salvatore Parolisi) were identified early on, and the evidence is very strong, and zero other scenario or possible perp has come along.

Nevertheless both cases seem stuck at the starting gate for now, and the prosecutors are having to go what seems like an extra thousand miles. And even if they get convictions at trial, mushy know-it-all juries at first appeal level may void any verdict and sentence.

Our Italian lawyers all say that the Supreme Court (and the President who can if he wants have a role) often re-balance, so in all three cases convictions may eventually stand. But what hard work and how tough for those hurt.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/27/12 at 04:29 PM | #

John is a journalist. My personal feeling is that they know far more than us but often cannot speak out openly in public. But then what is already out in the public is so damning…

It would have been very difficult in any other country, even with all the show by all the king’s men and all the king’s horses, for the two perps to walk free so easily. I particularly get irritated when these two lovebirds complaint about the prison facilities…

John Kercher has been an exceptionally decent man. I can only guess his sufferings…

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I notice that you are unarmed.

Posted by chami on 04/27/12 at 08:51 PM | #

The release of his book is really causing the FOAkers to come out in full force like a bunch of vultures (which they are). Michelle Moore has been the worst, she has been attacking me and others calling us stupid and misinformed. Funny since I speak fluent Italian and read the official court transcripts as well as followed the non filtered Italian media from day one. Who does this woman think she is.

By the way, does anyone really know much about her Husbands FBI work. He seems to fluff up his experience quite a bit and if I recall during his Seattle University presentation, he used a photo from a Florida Crime scene and claimed it was his own. I would love to actually see another FBI agent without an agenda debate him on TV, maybe once and for all it will shut those two up.

Posted by Severino518 on 04/28/12 at 01:14 AM | #

Not to get off topic but just an observation. I am sick and tired of the Knox supporters talking about experts refuting evidence.

Who are these experts? I don’t consider Steve Moore, Hampikian and Halkides and especially Steve Moore experts. They spout off their beliefs to people who know little or nothing about Italian law, crime scene investigation, forensics, etc.

They never were sworn under oath and never actually visited Italy to actually examine the evidence. No one has debated them to prove them wrong so to the uneducated masses, what they say goes because they assume because one is FBI and the other are PhD’s that they must know what they are talking about, when in reality they would have been debated by other experts and most likely end up looking like fools.

On another note, I just read the Conti report, why in gods name is an Italian research team quoting the Missouri Highway Guide and North Carolina code? What do these guides have to do with collecting evidence in Italy, and no offense to people from there, they are not exactly known as states who have everything on the ball.

Seems to me like these guides were given to them by Halkides and Hampikian, if thats the case this is far from an independent review of the evidence.

Posted by Severino518 on 04/28/12 at 01:41 AM | #

Hi Severino.

On Michelle Moore. This seems to us an extreme case of “holier than the pope,” possibly driven by deep-seated insecurities on her part. (How she phrases her denial of this is itself telling.)

When Steve Moore first appeared on the internet, he was noticeably slobbering over a faux vision of Knox. (Same with Bruce Fischer and Michael Heavey.)  Uh-oh said our psychologists, here we go again. Next thing we knew, Michelle Moore was slobbering even more-so. 

The FBI was seemingly quite glad to see the back of the self-promoting but quite average Steve Moore. He did not do any deep murder crime scene analysis there (that is usually what local law enforcement does), which is perhaps why he has still not posted his resume.

They did both go to Italy, but only once, and he speaks no Italian so the 10,000 plus pages of evidence would have been a closed book. He has never listed the evidence he reviewed.

Neither now seem to have any other kind of a career. TV gigs and investigation contracts have come to nothing so this seems now all of what they do. Neither of them seem to stop for breath or to actually think through the hard facts and open questions. Instead they bluster right by them. Read the two reports of Steve on the Seattle U panel and the various other fact-checking posts below:

In one of the first posts, Steve Moore doesnt even realize that the Italian equivalent of the FBI (which is very close to the FBI) handled most of the case. Michelle screeched at Miginini at the courthouse during the appeal and may still be charged. Steve runs a nasty anti-everybody blog and could also be charged.  Make sure to drop those links off where they can be most read?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/28/12 at 04:32 AM | #

Hi again Severino.

On the FOAK faux experts you certainly have it right. We have access to many more than they do including many in Italy, and without exception our experts think the Perugia and Rome teams got it right.

Read all there is on Luciano Garofano on this site. He is the most respected crime scene expert in Italy and he has always argued they got it right.

And read Fly By Night here on the Conti report which shows how (we believe with the under-qualified Hampikian’s help, hence the mention of US manuals) they got it wrong.

Ted Simon before he became a PR shill was on NBC warning that a whack-a-mole approach to the evidence trying to discredit it one by one would fail. Then when he joined the Knoxes, guess what? he too was playing whack-a-mole.

Like her parents many KNOW that Amanda Knox was involved but then there are these die-hard others who are easily led by the nose.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/28/12 at 04:54 AM | #

Hi Severino,

I’d like to know whether Amanda Knox’s family, Chris Halkides or Greg Hampikian have had any contact with Conti and Vecchiotti.

Posted by The Machine on 04/28/12 at 01:38 PM | #

I really wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Its funny how the Knox’s complain about Italian Corruption, well like anywhere corruption come sin the form of pay to play, thats politics these days. I find it out how a business judge with no murder and forensic trial experience was given such a controversial case and how he green lighted a obviously biased report. If you recall the FOAkers might have let their pride get to them and they said right before the appeal that they knew she will be free, its be arranged. Sort of a Quid Pro Quo, they had monetary resources from people the Media who obviously saw the story of a white middle american girl bullied by those evil dark hair mafia corrupr EYE-Talians. Most middle American’s have obvious prejudice towards Italians since they only see us in mafia movies, so the news easily can use that to boost ratings. Someone was paid off somewhere, I guarantee. Now that Giralanda is gone and a Post Berlusconi Italy, I think things are gonna come out that will shock the naive just like it did with the lies in the Iraq war.

Posted by Severino518 on 04/28/12 at 05:12 PM | #

Its funny how the Knoxi claims conspiracy on part of the Italian investigation and prosecution. In my studies of Political Systems the one thing about conspiracies is that its almost impossible to keep one out of the eye of the public due to the number of people involved. In the case of the Italian prosecution multiple agencies from the local and state level were involved in the investigation as well as 19 Judges and numerous reporters covering the case. One would think some shroud of evidence would have popped up by now of one. With the Knox’s, I truly believe that there was some dirty politics involved in her appeal and there is no doubt with a New Italian government and when the supreme court taking up the case, someone is gonna say something. That is why we must not give up in our quest from the truth and educate people on what happened, when we have the masses behind us, the Knox with all the money and media behind them will be easily taken down.

Posted by Severino518 on 04/28/12 at 05:23 PM | #

@The Machine

About your question to Severino.

Chris Halkides and Greg Hampikian are both in academics and may or may not know either or both. However, even if they knew (which I doubt), they would not have contacted directly (it would have been too dangerous).

Although I disagree with Chris Halkides, I consider him a gentleman. I do not think he would stoop so low.

Usually these arrangements are made discreetly (very discreetly) and via third party.

I also think that someone was paid off somewhere, sometime, for services rendered. Look what happened when the white house secret service refused to pay for the services received?

People in academia are greedy and the Italy is a relatively poor country. The payments, if any, must have been substantial.

Insanity is hereditary.  You get it from your kids.

Posted by chami on 04/28/12 at 06:34 PM | #
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