Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trial: Defense Testimony Today On Guede In Milan And Knox In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

Another short day in court

The defenses continue to seem rather rudderless and despondent. Only Maria Del Prato from Milan and two Knox friends testified in court.

A statement to police by Christian Tramontano was introduced; he claimed Guede once broke in and threatened him. But he was not called for cross-examination, and Judge Micheli had not believed him.

This was all of the testimony for today, in yet another short day for the defense side.

1) First report

This is the translation from Italian media of testimony of Maria del Prato, a nursery-school principal from Milan.

The director of a nursery school in Milan surprised Rudy Guede in the school on 27 October 2007.The woman reported that she visited the classrooms in the morning, around 9.15, as she had an appointment with a blacksmith who was supposed to do some work in the garden. “When I entered I saw a guy who was later identified as Rudy Guede. He seemed quiet and relaxed. He told me he was from Perugia and he had arrived in Milan by train, and that at the train station a boy had told him he could sleep there”

She looked in the cupboard and opened the money box, which lacked a few coins. The principal testified that she then called the police, and they opened the knapsack of Guede. “Inside was one of our kitchen knives used to cut the meat.” She said that Guede also had a computer, later claimed to have been removed from an office in Perugia on the night of 13 October.

2) Second report

This is the translation of testimony by friends of Amanda Knox from back in Seattle.

One testified: “She was studious and ‘conscientious, and held three jobs for a while, to save to come to Perugia.  She liked to do yoga, learn languages and read.”

Another testified that Knox “was very studious, a good student, and had the highest grades. She often went out with her friends and she loved to write. She chose to come to Perugia because she wanted to immerse herself in the culture of this country and learn the language. She said she liked the house she found to live in in Perugia.”

(3) Third report

This is a much longer report by Ann Wise of ABC on the ABC News site

The owner of a Milan nursery school took the stand Saturday in the ongoing murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, telling the court that Rudy Guede, convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007, had broken into her school and stolen a big kitchen knife.

Kercher, 21, was found dead in her bedroom, with a large knife wound to her throat.

Knox, 21, and Sollecito, 25, have been on trial in Perugia since January. Knox, Sollecito and Guede all say they are innocent, and Guede’s appeal trial is scheduled to start Nov. 18.

Nursery school owner Maria del Prato testified in court today, with Knox’s and Sollecito’s parents looking on, that she had stopped by her school Saturday Oct. 27, when it was closed, and came upon Guede in her office.

“I asked him who he was,” she told the court, “and he replied perfectly calmly, even though I had caught him red-handed.” Del Prato said he told her he was “a kid from Perugia” who had arrived the night before and had nowhere to sleep.

Stolen Kitchen Knife, Stolen Laptop, Fingerprints

Del Prato doubted his story, as her locker had been opened, and she said she believed Guede was looking for something to steal. Some small change was missing, and Del Prato noticed Guede had a laptop, but he told her it was his.

When police arrived at the school, they searched Guede’s backpack and found a large knife with a 16-inch blade that had been taken from the school kitchen.

Guede was later booked at a Milan police station and accused of theft, receiving stolen goods, and in possession of a weapon. He was also fingerprinted and then released.

It was those fingerprint records that eventually nailed Guede to the scene of Meredith Kercher’s murder. His bloody palm print was found on a pillow under Kercher’s dead body.

Stolen Knife Testimony Comes on Heels of Previous Testimony About Stolen Laptop

The episode that Maria Del Prato recounted in court Friday followed Friday’s testimony by Perugia lawyer Paolo Brocchi, who said a computer and cell phone had been stolen from his law offices in October 2007, weeks before Kercher’s murder. The computer from Brocchi’s office matched the one Guede had brought to Milan.

Luca Maori, the lawyer for Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend also on trial for Kercher’s murder, told reporters in Perugia that more evidence had emerged that indicated Kercher might have been killed in the course of a theft gone wrong, a theft he believes Guede committed.

A statement that was admitted as evidence in the trial Friday seemed to offer more proof that Guede was a knife-carrying thief.

Perugia resident Christian Tramontano, who will not be testifying in person, made a statement to Perugia police Jan. 1, 2008, two months after Kercher’s murder, saying that he had recognized Guede from newspaper photographs as the person who had broken into his house and threatened him with a knife four months earlier.

In the statement to police, Tramontano said he and his girlfriend were awakened by noises in their apartment early on Sept. 1 or 2, 2007. When Tramontano looked down from his loft bed, he saw a young man going through his belongings. Tramontano chased the man downstairs as he tried to escape, but the front door was locked. The thief—who Tramontano later claimed as Guede—first used a chair to keep Tramontano at a distance, and then pulled out a switchblade knife. Guede, who escaped, had stolen a 5 euro bill and three credit cards.

Two friends of Amanda Knox were the only other witnesses to testify in Perugia Saturday.

Catsius Spyridon, a Greek student studying in Perugia, said he met Knox in October 2007 at the Internet shop where he worked as a supervisor.

Spyridon told the court that he and Amanda had gone out together a number of times; the last time was Oct. 31, 2007—Halloween. After hitting a couple of night spots together, Knox asked Spyridon to accompany her to the Fontana Maggiore—the fountain in the heart of old Perugia—where she was meeting Raffaele Sollecito, whom she had just started seeing.

Seattle Friend Testifies for Knox

Seattle student Madison Paxton, a close friend of Knox, was the final witness Saturday. Speaking in English with the help of an interpreter, Paxton said she had met Knox in college, and they had become friends in their sophmore year. She described Knox as “very conscientious,” and said she did yoga, liked to read and study languages and bicycle, and had come to Perugia to immerse herself in Italian culture.

In response to a question from Knox’s lawyer, Paxton said she had never seen Knox carry a knife in her bag. She said that Knox smoked marijuana occasionally, perhaps twice a month, and that she said she got along with her Perugia roommates.


AK has yet to impress me as being an intelligent person that loved to write. The drivel she has hashed out in her diary and other statements for the most part, sound as though they were written by a grade school dropout. The grading curve in Seattle must be hugh.

Posted by fotomat on 06/27/09 at 04:43 PM | #

Hi fotomat. If you think the character witnesses maybe came on a bit strong as most of us do take a look at this story in (amazingly) the UK Guardian for a heavy industrial-strength rave about Knox.

It is perhaps worth recalling that Knox had no scholarship at all for Perugia (that was extremely unusual, and as a result she had real money and job concerns), while Meredith had a well-funded EC Erasmus scholarship for Perugia, a scholarship which students and academics in Europe are in real awe of.

We know of nothing on the personal-skills and academic fronts that Knox was capable of that Meredith did not in fact do better, Meredith seemed to work much harder, and at that time (late 2007) Meredith spoke very much better Italian. She also seemed to attract classier boys, like her boyfriend downstairs, who Knox also apparently wanted.

Presumably not very endearing to any alpha-females that there might have been around.

Presumably this is what the Seattle character witnesses and the UK Guardian (now the most biased newspaper on the case) are trying so hard to hide. These girls were far from an even match.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/27/09 at 06:05 PM | #

interesting how, in the UK Guardian piece, when it mentions footprints of amanda’s in the house and says: “of course, she lived there” DOES NOT reveal that the footprints were bloody, mixed with meredith’s blood and discovered by using luminol which indicate a cleanup.  do they not have all the facts?

Posted by gramjan on 06/27/09 at 09:40 PM | #

I don’t know if Amanda Knox is innocent or guilty.
But to base your belief on her innocence after talking to her mother shows a bias that I am surprised the Guardian didn’t question.

Posted by anna49 on 06/27/09 at 10:54 PM | #

I thought I would chime in, too, about being disappointed in The Grauniad.

Posted by bucketoftea on 06/28/09 at 12:37 AM | #

Of course the footprints were mixed with Meredith’s blood. Who else’s blood could be the source of the blooy footprints? What’s significant was that Amanda’s blood was mixed in, too.

Posted by malcolm on 06/28/09 at 09:21 AM | #

Hi all,  Here is an interesting piece written by Charles Mudede of “The Stranger”.  This is a weekly alternative arts and entertainment paper in Seattle.The writing may be offensive to some.  This was written in Feb of 2008. Pay attention to the conversation the reporter had with Matthew. According to Matthew, who worked with Amanda, when he met her, she asked if he was Jewish, and when he said yes, she screamed, “My people killed your people” and began laughing hysterically.  Amanda’s mother,
Edda Mellas is German.

It’s just another example of AK being insensitive and speaking inappropriately. 

Be sure to read the comments that local readers have posted.  One comment references True Justice and Perugia Murder Files.

I agree that AK’s writing is that of a young school girl.  5th grade maybe? Very immature writing just as her email was. As for her friends and family speaking about her schooling, I am sure AK was a good student, she made the Dean’s list at UW.  In 2008, the U turned away 8000 applicants out of 20000.  My niece was a 4.0 student all through school, helped bring the debate team to Nationals in Washington DC, had sports, community service, numerous awards and recommendations on her application and was accepted to the U, but did not get accepted into their honors program.  Happily, she is at University of California, Berkely, studying medicine.

Posted by BARBM on 06/28/09 at 11:38 AM | #

Disgraceful piece in The Guardian. The hack is a sports writer. He clearly never even bothered to look into the evidence. What a joke. And this from the newspaper that I have admired all my life from when I was very small. Shockingly lazy journalism. They clearly needed column inches. I feel a letter to the Editor coming on. Suggest you all do the same…


p.s anyone else having trouble getting onto The Perugia Murder Forum at the moment? Has it been hacked? I only get adverts. Cyber-attack?

Posted by TT on 06/28/09 at 09:47 PM | #

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