Perugia’s Exceptional Uni And Economy May Have Made RS And AK Feel Small Frogs In Big Pond

[Multi-millionaire success story Brunello Cucinelli and, below, his Perugia-area factory and a typical store]

Few crime specialists seem to see the pattern of the attack against Meredith as being absent of intense anger.

There is no way that attack represents the pattern of a lone burglar or for that matter of a single perp of any kind. The Supreme Court already KNOWS that and they know that at first appeal the Knox and especially Sollecito lawyers tried desperately to prove that two or three other perps were there, either with Rudy Guede (witness Aviello) or without (witness Alessi).

For months now, apparently unnoticed by the FOA sheep, the defenses have been sounding absolutely feckless in the face of the juggernaurt prosecution appeal submitted to Cassation by Perugia’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati.

We’re betting that if they had it all over they would have urged Knox and Sollecito to take the short-form trial and one of the olive branches offered by the prosecution (that it was a sex-based attack which went too far, not an intentional preplanned murder).

They could have entered known facts about Sollecito and Knox to show that at the least they had tin ears and had always been callous, jealous and quirky. They might have advanced a drug-based excuse - the other olive branch advanced by the prosecution was that they were on cocaine and not marjuana that night and cocaine can induce rages leading to murder.

They might also have advanced the notion that both AK and RS were being remorselessly frozen out by their peers, who increasingly looked down on them, not least of course Meredith whose sleep and studies were constantly disrupted by the thoughtless, sharp-elbowed Knox.

Consider first who were their peers. Perugia is a city of driven high performers and it may not be the most comfortable environment for low-performing layabouts. In its own small way it is about as hustling as Manhattan.

It is one of the brightest cities in Europe with an extremely high median IQ. It is one of the top-performing cities in the Italian economy, in part because of the advanced scientific research at the very large university, and in part because it is the home to some brilliant international entrepreneurs.

Both these faces of Perugia are constantly in the Italian news. A search of the past week’s news for the university turns up reports on medical and mathematical and space-science breakthroughs and as usual a number of international conferences in the works.

And a search of last week’s news for Perugian businesses turns up for example this report on Brunello Cucinelli the highly sucessful and innovative fashion-goods entrepreneur who is now talking of doubling his factory.

Sollecito was never really a part of either. He had few friends and no girlfriends, he was a year or two behind his age-group in his studies, and he needed his back watched at all times - though from his book it is obvious that he felt needled by his highly successful doctor-father.

And Knox arrived with poor Italian despite all the claimed studies back in Seattle, she took on only a light and unimpressive study-load (compare Knox’s to Meredith’s) and she was rapidly shedding friends and the goodwill of her tolerant, well-meaning employer.

Neither had a credible and impressive career path in mind, and for that matter, still don’t. It is tough enough to know you are not making it, that can induce in many quite a rage.

But it is even tougher when all your peers around you notice it, and in American street parlance you get to feel “dissed”.

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I always felt a tad sorry (so shoot me!) for Rudy Guede who didn’t go looking for a life away from Africa and thought that he might parlay his restaurant stint up noth into a business of his own until the restaurant collapsed and he was forced back to Perugia and the myriad misrepresentations by Nina Burleigh.

He mever really represented himself as something that he wasnt and was the only one of the three to ever show any real purpose.

It seems very indicative that both Sollecito and “Bruce Fisher of New York” try so hard to associate themselves with New York. It is a very welcoming city and gives everybody a chance and many of them make it, sometimes via higher education and sometimes not. I think everybody in tune with TJMK could, not least because they are well-grounded

But I see no qualities in either of those two delusional narccisists to suggest that they would be in strong demand.

Meredith on the other hand was fully interchangeable with any professional at the entry level of the United Nations and if she wanted it she had a powerhouse career just ahead of her.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/08/13 at 07:42 PM | #

A friend of mine with whom I graduated from high school (I don´t know her anymore, time has made us strangers,unfortunately) decided to spend her freshman year abroad and happened to choose Perugia.

I think she studied Biological Sciences there but I´m not sure. We graduated in 2007, so she must have been there when the Meredith Kercher case was on everyone´s minds.

Posted by aethelred23 on 01/08/13 at 07:58 PM | #

Over on PMF they are discussing how Knox had just taken two big whacks to her ego and how much to weight each one.

One was Meredith not returning her Halloween night messages, and one was Patrick texting to say he didnt require her - he meant for that night, though it might have sounded like “for good”.

There can be a devil in text messages (and emails) and Rule One if a text (or no return text) leaves one boiled up is: pick up the phone and call.

Knox might have been scared at what she’d hear back. Okay, for that we need a Rule Two.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/08/13 at 08:37 PM | #

What worked with her narrow circle of party-buddies in Seattle didn’t work among a group of young professionals and ambitious students in Perugia.  That’s the essence of AK’s challenge and one she couldn’t deal with.

The people she gravitated towards, including both Sollecito and Guede, had their own coping issues.  That doesn’t always lead straight to criminal behaviour but in this case it did.

Posted by Stilicho on 01/08/13 at 10:43 PM | #

I am anxious to see what Knox will include in her book:

1) further details that she has been able to remember about the night of the crime 4-5 years later, that she didn’t provide to the investigation or courtroom?

2) a description of her objectives in going to Berlin and Perugia, and how she set out to achieve them?

3) words of encouragement to the Kerchers, and heartfelt sorrow for the loss of their dear daughter Meredith, without including in the same sentence that she (Knox) has to get on with her life?

4) a better explanation why she didn’t make any clear effort to clear Patrick or apologise to him until he was free from jail?

etc. etc.

If any one of those points are covered in Knox’s book, then a miracle will have happened.

Posted by Kermit on 01/09/13 at 07:59 PM | #

By now she is well aware that Sollecito has changed his story again.  He claims he was busy replying to emails the night of Meredith’s murder.  He claims that she signed statements accusing Patrick of murder almost two hours before he signed statements saying she was not at his apartment.

Sollecito failed entirely in providing a case for his innocence.  That’s what an ‘unflinching memoir’ is supposed to do.  The row is even harder to hoe for Knox.  It was in her home that mixed DNA of herself and Meredith was discovered outside a locked door.  She needs to come up with a convincing explanation for this that extends beyond the embellishment of the ‘bathmat boogie’.

She also needs to elaborate on the unfinished paragraphs from her 17-DEC-2007 meeting with Mignini. That was the time when she invented the ‘bathmat boogie’ and was near to explaining everything before her lawyers severed communications.  Now that she’s free she needs to complete those sentences.

Any bets that she won’t?

Posted by Stilicho on 01/09/13 at 09:15 PM | #


I am sure the ghostwriter, whoever it is, will be careful to include condolences to the Kerchers. But the preponderance of the content will be about the real and only victim, namely Knox.

Indeed were she to be permitted full editorial rein I am sure the book would include a chapter expanding on what it would have been like to have been the victim instead of Meredith. After all, she was always saying “It could have been me” and she did pen a paragraph wondering might have passed through Meredith’s mind. Ew.

Unlike with Sollecito I can imagine Knox penning segments of her creative writing for the ghostwriter to consider. It would be fascinating to be able to read what got discarded i.e all of it I should think.

Posted by James Raper on 01/09/13 at 10:24 PM | #


I just hope that publisher HarperCollins not only assigns a good ghostwriter (better than Sollecito’s Andrew Gumbel) who knows something about the case, but that they also assign an extensive fact-checking team (better than the 5 lawyers whom Douglas Preston says checked his The Monster of Florence book, and who didn’t even pick up the basics that we did in a couple of hours with a bit of Googling).

The PR spin is describing the book as “unflinching”, which I take to mean that it won’t move anyone, i.e. it will be rather boring and not introduce any new information that could help us understand what happened in the cottage on the night of 1 Nov 2007.

Posted by Kermit on 01/10/13 at 12:44 PM | #

The further we distance ourselves from the past, the harder will it be to preserve the truth.

Posted by aethelred23 on 01/10/13 at 08:44 PM | #

@Kermit:  Most biographies aren’t ‘unflinching’ and that adjective has a certain connotation when applied to a young woman who mugs for the cameras, leads sing-a-longs, and issues retorts to the prosecutor at her own murder trial.  Everyone’s going to note that she actually did flinch or rather removed herself from the vicinity of Meredith’s room when the door was broken down.

It’s a marketing term, to be sure, but ‘unflinching’ conveys several unusual meanings for Knox.

Posted by Stilicho on 01/11/13 at 08:48 PM | #

Frankly speaking, I am not particularly worried about their academic status and performance, although these are really very important parameters.

Take any university or any class and you will find a broad spectrum of students. Out of 100 students, about 20-30 will be top performers and about 40-50 will be just average. We target our teaching towards to the middle section so that the students with the average label goes to the top. It is really crowded at the top and the mid-level students need to work hard to climb the few steps.

On the other hand, it is really easy (from the teachers’ perspective) for the poor students to make the transition to the average one but somehow they don’t. They have poor attention span and really poor motivation. The lecture in the class makes no sense to them. And the intellectual company they keep is also known as the last straw.

I have observed this system from close and I have observed this from far. It is partly a matter of perception but I feel that many students have failed to find their proper “groove”. They are lost, in some sense.

We do not want them to hang on indefinitely. We make sure they get out soon. After all, it is not their fault. What is needed is some individual attention which is impossible in a classroom setup.

I speak from my modest experience.

Posted by chami on 01/12/13 at 03:33 PM | #

@ chami
You´re right ,classrooms and universities are not such nice places after all. Bullying and isolation and are becoming ever more frequent.

Posted by aethelred23 on 01/13/13 at 12:58 AM | #
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