Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #4: The Contortions To Dismiss Witness Quintavalle

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Above: Images of Mr Quintavalle’s Conad store; he serves at far left, his cashier serves at far right]


Scroll down here for previous posts in this series.

Mr Quintavalle owns the Conad franchise at the lower end of Via Garibaldli, about halfway between Meredith’s place and Sollecito’s. Judge Massei in his trial sentencing report had stated this about Mr Quintavalle on page 83:

This Court deems that the testimony of Quintavalle is reliable. It was discovered that Inspector Volturno did not ask Quintavalle if, on the morning of November 2, he saw Amanda Knox in his shop.

He was asked – so Quintavalle recalled - about purchases made by Raffaele Sollecito. Mr. Quintavalle did not say anything about having seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2, 2007 in his shop because he was not questioned about this and because, as indicated by Quintavalle himself, he considered this fact to be insignificant.

This post exemplifies how the Hellmann-Zanetti web of deception uses a flood of reasons-to-doubt in its attempt to discredit Massei’s conclusion that Quintavalle was a reliable witness. Remarkably, the judges did not even recall Mr Mr Quintavalle, and mostly they work from the brief summary of his testimony in Massei’s report and little else.

Quintavalle’s testimony is key to the guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito, and contrary to Hellmann-Zanetti’s improper purpose; therefore they proceeded to systematically “disprove” Massei’s conclusion, stating this on page 39:

Indeed, Quintavalle asserts that she left without having purchased anything.

Verbatim from the hearing of March 21, 2009:

The Hellmann report here proceeds to selectively quote the hearing-transcript in a manner contrary to the usual and customary English-language meaning of “verbatim”. It may be that Hellmann-Zanetti meant to indicate that only the words they did quote were verbatim, and that their ellipses indicated innocent omissions. However the effect of their omissions is not innocent.

…If they had asked me…also because, I repeat, I, when the young lady came into my store, I did not see her leave with anything, because when she passed by and passed by again, when she left and I saw her, out of the corner of my eye I saw her leaving, I did not see that she had a shopping bag or anything in her hands.

PRESIDING JUDGE [PRESIDENTE]: You are speaking of the morning of November 2?

ANSWER: The morning of November 2. I don’t know if she bought anything, I don’t know. My cashier doesn’t remember if she bought anything, I am not able to say whether she bought something or not…”

If one wanted to maintain that perhaps Quintavalle is wrong, because she actually did purchase something, it would be correct to observe that if he could be wrong on this point, and also about the clothing she was wearing, then he could also be wrong about the identification of the young woman [giovane] as Amanda Knox.

Finally, the testimony of the witness Quintavalle does not seem reliable, and, in any case, represents an extremely weak piece of circumstantial evidence.”



Examples of Hellmann-/Zanetti’s flood of Reasons-to-Doubt [That AK/RS are Guilty] :

From Hellmann-Zanetti pages 39-43:

Quintavalle

Another piece of evidence [uno degli elementi] on which the Court of first instance based its conviction of guilt is represented by the testimony of the witness Quintavalle, owner of a grocery store in Corso Garibaldi, not far from Sollecito’s house but also just a few minutes from via della Pergola: he in fact asserted that he saw, early in the morning of November 2, a young woman enter[sic] his store after having waited for it to open, whom he later recognized as Amanda Knox.

According to the prosecution (and to the Court of first instance), this circumstance proves that, contrary to the alibi she gave, she did not sleep at Sollecito’s house until late in the morning, but went very early to Quintavalle’s store, as she urgently needed to acquire a cleaning product suitable to clean the house in via della Pergola of her own traces and those of Raffaele Sollecito, before the police could intervene and take samples, since it was inevitable that sooner or later the alarm would be given because of what had happened.

In reality, even under the assumption that the circumstance is true, this would be a weak piece of circumstantial evidence, incapable in itself of proving guilt even presumptively; but in any case this Court holds that the testimony of the witness is not very reliable, in particular in what concerns the identification of the early‐morning client with Amanda Knox.”



(1) Reason-to-Doubt #1:  “…INCAPABLE IN ITSELF of PROVING guilt even presumptively….”

The reader is being steered away from a level of doubt that is beyond-reasonable, and towards the territory of reasonable-doubt-that -AK/RS-are-Guilty. 

“INCAPABLE IN ITSELF” improperly isolates the issue from all the other considerations which should simultaneously-be-taken-into-account.

“PROVING” improperly implies an inappropriate standard of ‘certainty’.

….this Court holds that the testimony of the witness is NOT VERY RELIABLE, in particular in what concerns the identification of the early‐morning client with Amanda Knox.

Logically “not very reliable” does not exclude “reliable” but Hellmann-Zanetti presumably don’t intend to concede that Quintavalle is reliable; this betrays Hellmann-Zanetti’s extreme bias and determination to exclude Quintavalle’s damning identification of [their client?] Knox.

Later on page 38:

In fact, he presented himself to the police only a year later, following intense urging by a young apprentice journalist…..”

This is a misleading reference to Antioca Fois; see Massei page 84:

He later spoke about having seen Amanda Knox because a young man who used to live above his shop, who he knew, Antioco Fois, had just graduated and had become a freelance reporter for the newspaper Giornale dell’Umbria. When he passed him, he would sometimes ask: “But do you know anything? Did you see something? Did you hear something?”

So one day Quintavalle told Fois that he had seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2; later he decided to go to the Public Prosecutor’s Office because Antioco Fois convinced him that this fact might be important.

So the “intense urging” was more like friendly exchanges with Quintavalle’s neighbour, a former lodger.


(2) Reason-to-Doubt #2:  “In fact, he presented himself to the police only a year later….”

Readers are invited to mistrust Quintavalle because he belatedly told this to the police for an untrustworthy reason, steering them further away from a level of doubt [with regard to Knox/Sollecito guilt] that is beyond-reasonable, and further into territory that is reasonable-doubt of their guilt.

Later still on page 38:

Now, what actually happened more than a year before Quintavalle presented himself to the police is absolutely not irrelevant, for the purpose of evaluating the reliability of the witness, especially from the point of view of the genuineness of his memories and the exactness of the identification.



(3) Reason-to-Doubt #3:  “absolutely not irrelevant, for the purpose of evaluating the reliability of the witness”

This double-negative statement further invites Readers to regard Quintavalle as unreliable because his memories are false, and his identification of Knox is too inexact. Steering Readers yet further into a level of doubt of Knox’s guilt that is reasonable-doubt.

Yet further down on page 38:

…..this was a witness who – taking into account what he himself explained – took a year to convince himself of the precision of his perception, and the exactness of the identification of Amanda Knox with the girl that he saw, although he was able to appreciate the relevance of his testimony already in the days immediately following the murder.



(4) Reason-to-Doubt #4: “..took a year to convince himself…”

From Hellmann-Zanetti page 36:

…..took a year to convince himself of the precision of his perception, and the exactness of the identification of Amanda Knox with the girl that he saw, although he was able to appreciate the relevance of his testimony already in the days immediately following the murder.

Repetition of reader-invitation to regard Quintavalle as unreliable, because his perceptions are not precise enough for Hellmann-Zanetti, and his identification of Knox was too inexact even though he knew at that time that his testimony was crucially relevant.

The reader is being steered even further away from belief that Knox and Sollecito are guilty towards the territory of reasonable-doubt-that -AK/RS-are-Guilty. 

Are we there yet? Is there reasonable-doubt-that-AK/RS-are-guilty NOW?!


(5) Reason-to-Doubt #5: “Quintavalle cannot maintain that…”

Near the bottom of Hellmann-Zanetti page 38:

...from the testimony of Inspector Volturno at the hearing of March 13, 2009, it turned out that Quintavalle and his employees and other shopkeepers in the area were shown photographs of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, and were asked in particular to mention any possible purchases of cleaning products on the part of the couple, as this was a precise focal point of the investigation. Thus, Quintavalle cannot maintain that he did not mention what he saw on the morning of November 2 to Inspector [53] Volturno because he did not think it was a relevant circumstance.

Readers are yet further invited to mistrust Quintavalle, because his failure to “mention” everything he had seen, and his idea of “a relevant circumstance” were unacceptable to Hellmann-Zanetti. 

That’s already five reasons to doubt on the first Quintavalle page alone.

See also Hellmann-Zanetti page 42:

....according to Quintavalle’s own statements – he only caught a glimpse of the girl, first out of the “corner of his eye” and then from a bit nearer for a few moments, but never from the front (verbatim from the hearing of March 21, 2009: “Yes, then she entered, I saw her let’s say like this, three quarters left, three quarters of the left side. I didn’t see her from the front…”

And Hellmann-Zanetti page 43:

“....when she left and I saw her, out of the corner of my eye I saw her leaving,”

Hellmann-Zanetti are now reduced to semantic quibbles about Quintavalle’s use of words to describe his visual-angle-of-view when he looked at Amanda Knox’s face.

But see Massei page 83:

This young woman remained impressed in his memory because of her very light coloured eyes, azzurri [light blue]. …. she could have been 1.65 to 1.67metres tall. Her face was bianchissimo [very light skin colour] and she apparently was about 20-21 years old.

And see Massei page 84:

...it is worth observing that the witness gave a precise description of what he saw on the morning of November 2 and also provided a description of certain physical features of the woman he saw (light blue eyes and pale face) which, together with the unusual time, may well have fixed in his memory what Quintavalle said he saw.

So by selective omissions of the contents of the Massei Report, based on the 4-dimensional observations of the Massei trial hearings, Hellmann-Zanetti use a 2-dimensional record of the Massei Proceedings, and semantic quibbles about Quintavalle’s angles of visual observation, to discredit Quintavalle’s testimony.

Even though Quintavalle - who the Hellmann-Zanetti jury never even saw - had testified convincingly at trial that it was Amanda whom he saw in his shop at opening-time on November 2, 2007, and he had held up well under cross-examination.

Enough already? Isn’t this a contorted flood of Reasons-to-Doubt-That-AK/RS-are-Guilty?  Do you now believe that Quintaville is an unreliable witness?

If you now believe that Quintaville is unreliable, then Hellmann-Zanetti will have accomplished their mission.


[Below: Conad is at right and School for Foreigners at back. RS’s place maybe 500 meters behind, up the hill]





Comments

John Follain, in his impressively balanced, and detailed book “Death in Perugia”, was present in the Massei Courtroom when Quintavalle testified on 21st March, 2009.

Follain’s Global Position was almost identical to Massei’s and Follain saw and heard Quintavalle in the same Audio-Visual 4-D that the Massei Jury did.

By sheer coincidence Follain’s vivid description and verbatim scripting of Quintavalle’s testimony is being published tomorrow on Amazon Kindle facilitating quotes from Follain’s book here on TJMK.

http://amzn.to/RvAscC

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/20/12 at 02:25 AM | #

Thanks Cardiol.

In their Conclusion, H-Z concede that Quintavalle’s testimony could be accurate. I think they did this to hedge against criticism that they deemed him unreliable without talking to him.

As far as the Real Truth, I think Quintavalle didn’t come forward immediately because he wasn’t sure of what he saw. That doesn’t make his testimony unimportant.

We know Knox was an early riser. It makes sense that the killers would have needed supplies for the clean up. Knox and Sollecito had been to the Conad store in the past. It was one of the first stores in the area to open, if not the first.

In short, there is no particular reason to believe Knox wouldn’t have been there, except her own declaration that she was asleep until 10am or so—a claim that is contradicted by her ignorance of Papa Doc’s phone call, by the 6am turning on of cell phones. and by her known habit of waking up early.

Posted by brmull on 08/20/12 at 06:30 AM | #

Out of curiosity, the picture of the store shown above looks different than the one on Google Maps:

http://goo.gl/maps/4MQvk

What am I missing here?

Posted by brmull on 08/20/12 at 06:37 AM | #

Hi brmull

Good point that other evidence contradicts Knox. Dr Galati would approve of your logic. All Mr Quintavalle is really doing is confirming she was out of bed when she said she wasn’t. The buying and using of bleach went nowhere.

“In their Conclusion, H-Z concede that Quintavalle’s testimony could be accurate. I think they did this to hedge against criticism that they deemed him unreliable without talking to him.”

Hmmm. Good luck. In Yummi’s translation in his important post below, Dr Galati’s appeal argues that Hellman-Zanetti violated both Supreme Court jurisprudence and the code.

” 3.  The establishing of the unreliability of the witness Quintavalle. The method declared to assess reliability of the witness violates the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on the topic, and the insufficient reasoning violates Article 606(b) and (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code.”

***

Google Earth Street View is showing you the wrong Conad.

That tobacconist is above Sollecito’s place. Our images are of the one owned by Mr Quintavalle, the Conad-Margherita way down the hill, about halfway to Meredith’s cottage, about 20 yards from Piazza Grimana and the School for Foreigners.

Inspector Volturno: “After a few days, we tracked the store down, which was a Conad‐Margherita, located at the start of Corso Garibaldi, where both the owner and the cashier recognised Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox in the photos we showed them. Raffaele Sollecito was a regular client of this store, whereas the girl had been seen there two or three times in his company.”

Drive down the hill and you’ll see it. Two arches on the right with the Conad-Margherita sign over both of them. Images added up above, below Cardiol’s post.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/20/12 at 08:23 AM | #

Amidst the general, and quite laughable, nonsense spouted by H&Z, they do however make a point which is worthy of consideration.

I refer to -

[H&Z]  “.... from the testimony of Inspector Volturno…... it turned out that Quintavalle and his employees…... were shown photographs of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, and were asked in particular to mention any possible purchases of cleaning products on the part of the couple, as this was a precise focal point of the investigation. Thus, Quintavalle cannot maintain that he did not mention what he saw on the morning of the 2nd November to Inspector Volturno because he did not think it was a relevant circumstance.”

[Massei] ” He was asked - so Quintavalle recalled - about purchases made by Raffaele Sollecito. Mr Quintavalle did not say anything about having seen Amanda Knox on the morning of the 2nd November 2007 in his shop because he was not questioned about this and because as indicated by Quintavalle himself, he considered this fact to be insignificant.”

The difference, we can see immediately, is that Massei does not mention the photographs and that the question as to purchase of cleaning products related, on the basis of the photographs, to both Knox and Sollecito.

We know that Volturno produced the photos to Quintavalle a few days after the 16th when it was the case that Quintavalle had already made a connection between Knox and the girl he saw.

[Massei] “He recalled that a few days after….. the arrest…. and when he saw all the pictures that were [in the newspaper].... he said to himself “but this is the girl of the other morning”, and this was a reference to the picture of Amanda Knox published…”.

So far, so good for H&Z. It is justfiable for them to query why Quintavalle did not tell Volturno that he had seen Knox at that early hour on the morning of the 2nd November.

However one is inclined to ask “So what?” Is that sufficient for them to judge Quintavalle unreliable purely on the basis that “Quintavalle cannot maintain that he did not mention what he saw…. to Volturno…. because he did not think it was a relevant circumstance”.

It was, on the face of it, and was retrospectively, a relevant circumstance. But in order to judge Quintavalle unreliable we need to rule out why he could not have reasonably failed to see the relevance, at the relevant time, when he was being shown the photgraphs, and report what he saw, but H&Z fail to address this, simply deeming it, for their part, inexplicable in the circumstances.

But what is relevant to a witness who has not actually seen a crime happen anyway?

Let us address what might have made it all abundantly relevant for Quintavalle. Did he, for instance, know, when he was shown the photographs, that Knox had claimed to have spent the night at Sollecito’s and to have only got out of bed at around 10.30 am on the morning he saw her? Did he think that the only purpose of purchasing cleaning products was to manipulate a crime scene? What were the connections going on inside his head, if any?

Although H&Z know that the photos and the cleaning products were a “precise focal point of the investigation”, and Volturno obviously, was Quintavalle made aware by Volturno as to the reasons why, or was it that all he was aware of was that he was being asked whether Knox and Sollecito had purchased a product, specifically Ace bleach?

Posted by James Raper on 08/20/12 at 09:06 AM | #

Shopping a regular customer or friend of a regular customer to the law never seems especially easy for any shopkeeper.

Stores here in NYC seem to try hard to handle things quietly and keep the police at extreme arms length. Not that they dont like the police but that is a quick route to a star performance on the evening news.

They wont admit it and claim zero tolerance but rumor has it they all tolerate a certain amount of shoplifting.

They try harder with passive dissuaders like CCTV and security tags on items than frogmarching their errant customers out of the store.

Who knows? One of the Conad staff maybe did see her buy bleach - she was just there to window-shop toilet paper?! But saying that might have been a bridge too far.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/20/12 at 11:20 AM | #

In addition to Cardiol’s comment on ” incapable in itself of proving guilt, even presumptively “, there is the ” this would be a weak piece of circumstantial evidence” bit which immediately precedes it.

As usual H&G are being somewhat ambiguous. Ambiguous because they are being manipulative.

When saying “weak” do they mean that the evidence has not been established to their satisfaction, or do they mean that it has been but that it is weak because it is only circumstantial?

Yes we are talking circumstantial evidence and all such evidence isolated from any other corroborative evidence, is weak. That is the nature of it.  H&Z are stating the blindingly obvious about this piece of evidence but without that qualification. This is utilising the deductive paradigm, for which they are roundly criticised by Galati in an almost tautologous way.

Actually it’s more than circumstantial. It’s a key piece of circumstantial in that, as they are fully aware, it directly contradicts Knox’s oft repeated alibi.

By deploying the adjective “weak” - an entirely unnecessary embellishment - they hope to distract the reader away from the far more appropriate adjective - “key”.

Posted by James Raper on 08/20/12 at 11:35 AM | #

“but in any case this court holds that the testimony of the witness is not very reliable, in particular in what concerns the identification of the early morning client with Amanda Knox.”

I am just wondering. In what other particular way did they found him unreliable? Perhaps, in his absence, they had some mental image of him as an estate agent, second hand car dealer or spiv.

That at least would fit with preconceptions determined according to one’s status or condition in life.

Curatolo - tramp = very unreliable
Quintaville - Store keeper = not very reliable
Knox and Sollecito - American with mega bucks campaign and son of well to do pilllar of the community = very reliable.

Posted by James Raper on 08/20/12 at 12:25 PM | #

Pete commented:

“Shopping a regular customer or friend of a regular customer to the law never seems especially easy for any shopkeeper.

Stores here in NYC seem to try hard to handle things quietly and keep the police at extreme arms length. …..
They wont admit it and claim zero tolerance but rumor has it they all tolerate a certain amount of shoplifting…..[rather] than frog-marching their errant customers out of the store.
Who knows? One of the Conad staff maybe did see her buy bleach - she was just there to window-shop toilet paper?! But saying that might have been a bridge too far.”


Hellmann/Zanetti’s Quintavalle section refers to Massei’s cleaning product conclusions wrt Knox’s presence in Quintavalle’s shop on the morning after Meredith’s murder [Nov.2, 2007] variously as because Knox was there needing to:

“acquire”, “buying”, “purchase”, “bought”, “purchase”, “purchase”, “purchased”,  “purchase”, “bought”, “bought”, “bought”, and “purchase”

- cleaning-products.

Somewhat repetitive, isn’t it?  However, Hellmann/Zanetti’s repetitions [inadvertently?] draw attention to a fact of life so endemic to almost the whole world that it can glide smoothly under our radar-screens:

Shoplifting, or as it is referred-to in legal circles, “Concealment of Unpurchased Merchandise”.

Who among-us is not familiar with that subject? Haven’t you seen it being done? Haven’t you ever known someone who does it?

“No one has an accurate record, but various studies show that shoplifting cost U.S. citizens from $24 to $40 billion a year. This includes merchandise stolen and security measures.

One to two percent of all shoppers enter a store to steal.

Female shoplifters outnumber males by 20 to 1.

Most shoplifters are under age 21, with the peak age of 15.

Nine out of ten shoplifters are under age 30.49% of all shoplifters attended college.Of all shoplifters, 45% are middle income, 28% are high-income, and 27% are low-income.

For every dollar taken in bank robberies, $300 is lost to shoplifting.”

In this AK/RS-Quintavalle Case I am not aware of any specific evidence that AK shoplifted or “Acquired” and then discarded a Grey Coat, but as Pete asked:

“….she was just there to window-shop toilet paper?!”

WTH! Would whoever did the cleanup [and Massei leave no doubt that there was a clean-up], leave a documented receipt-trail of purchases, instead of simply shop-lifting?

As for Quintavalle, his reticence and uncertainty-as-to relevance could well be reluctance to drive-away his otherwise-valuable customers.

Does Quintavalle want a reputation for hassling petty-theft-Students?

Doesn’t Quintavalle regard them as cost-of-doing-business overhead?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/21/12 at 12:48 AM | #

Thank for the photos Peter.

I agree Quintavalle was afraid to tell the police what he had told to others. There are several legitimate reasons why I witness might act that way.

The defense theory that Quintavalle invented his story later doesn’t hold water because of Chiriboga’s testimony that her boss asked her whether she had seen Knox on the morning of 2-NOV. The question presupposes that Quintavalle thought he had seen her and was seeking confirmation.

My pet theory is that Knox was not looking to buy anything in particular but was waiting around for her laundry to dry. The Speedy Wash nearby opened at 7:00. I am absolutely certain that the blue rug in Meredith’s bedroom was among the items washed.

Posted by brmull on 08/21/12 at 03:44 AM | #

P.S. I would concede that Quintavalle’s testimony that he could not recall if police had asked him about Sollecito and Knox, or whether they had shown him any photos, seems damaging to his credibility. People don’t usually forget when the police show up asking questions about a sensational murder.

Posted by brmull on 08/21/12 at 03:56 AM | #

Here’s Follain on Quintavalle:

http://amzn.to/RvAscC

Follain, John (2012-08-21). A Death in Italy: The Definitive Account of the Amanda Knox Case

Kindle Locations 3950-3984:

“21 March 2009   …. the first of the witnesses found by the local Giornale dell’Umbria newspaper took his turn in court. The grocer Marco Quintavalle, who had said he’d seen Amanda in his supermarket early on the morning after the murder – when she claimed she was in Raffaele’s flat – spoke slowly and precisely. But what Quintavalle clearly considered an ordeal unsettled him; his left eyebrow often twitched some half a dozen times in quick succession.

Under questioning by Mignini, he described Raffaele as a ‘very serious, very well-brought-up young man’ who came to the shop as often as twice a day but never stopped for a chat. What struck him about the young woman he had seen walk past him, only a couple of feet away from him, into his shop at 7.45 a.m. on the morning after the murder was how pale she looked – and her blue eyes.

‘I can still see it today, she had a very white face, with these blue eyes it was very striking,’ he said. ‘She looked really exhausted but that looked pretty normal to me, because students who’ve been out dancing or to a party stay up all night.’ Some days later, one of the girls at the till who had been out for her coffee break came back and told him she’d heard that Raffaele had been arrested the previous day.

‘It’s not possible. Are you sure?’ Quintavalle said. He asked her to go and buy a newspaper and when he saw Amanda’s picture he immediately thought to himself: ‘But that’s the girl I saw the other morning.’ He told the court: ‘I recognised the oval shape of her face, the nose which is very regular, this beautiful oval shape, with these very light-coloured eyes.’

Judge Massei interrupted Mignini’s questioning. ‘Excuse me. Do you recognise the girl you saw on that occasion in this courtroom?’ The courtroom went still; lawyers stopped tapping on their laptops. Quintavalle turned to take a long look behind his left shoulder at Amanda, the first time he had looked at her smiling and laughing in family photographs; a tipsy Amanda wagging her finger at the camera at a party with her student friends; Amanda looking hunted in the garden of the cottage on the day Meredith’s body was discovered.

Today’s Amanda stared at the images of herself, looking as if she was about to cry. When it was the turn of Raffaele’s lawyer Maori, he tried to undermine Quintavalle by pressing him on why he hadn’t called the police the moment he recognised Amanda in the newspaper. Why did he wait a whole year to come forward?

Quintavalle replied he’d only come forward because the journalist Fois had persuaded him to. He simply didn’t think that what he’d seen was important. ‘And besides, I wasn’t all that keen to get involved, just as I’m not that keen today,’ Quintavalle said. But Maori wouldn’t let go. ‘But the question is why he presented himself a year after. So—’

Mignini interrupted him to jump to Quintavalle’s defence. ‘Objection, because the witness has to say the truth – when he testifies, or how he was found, is of no interest. What’s important is what the witness says. The fact that he comes forward after some time is sadly because of reasons we all know about.’ Mignini continued: ‘Witnesses should come forward immediately, but many of them say: “Well, what I say doesn’t matter at all.” They don’t understand the importance of what they have to say.’

But Judge Massei overruled Mignini; the issue of how Quintavalle had come to testify would help to assess his reliability, the judge said. Pressed once more, Quintavalle gave a curt answer. He had decided to testify when the journalist had told him he should. ‘That’s all there is to it,’ he said.”

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/21/12 at 04:59 AM | #

Hi brmull.

Interesting idea about AK waiting on the laundry to open or for her load to be done.

Just possible. It is closer to RS’s place of course, I guess maybe 200 yards up the hill, above the piazza in the 2nd shot below.

She could have been doing both the laundry and something in the store, it was a while before she got to her own house.



Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/12 at 09:03 AM | #

Hi Cardiol.

Timely quote from John Follain. Sure doesnt sound like Quintavalle was in a mood to embellish things or make them up and Massei liked that.  (None of the witnesses appeared to be in it for fame and fortune, unlike almost all of AK’s “friends”.)

Interesting riff on possible shoplifting. Pretty funny too.

This is what you see H-Z thinking? “She didnt walk out with any bleach but IF she did she sure paid for it, unlike that drug dealing murderous serial burglar [who had no criminal record] who also lived up that street woulda done.”  ?!

Click on the shot below to blow it up.

When I first heard about Meredith and the case (mid 2008) the crowd on PMF (not called that then) were thinking it might be one of those large gallon jugs of bleach you can see on the floor by the freezer.

But it later became (I think because one or a receipt for one was found at one of the houses) that turquoise spray bottle on the 2nd shelf above. A tad easier to walk out with.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/12 at 09:20 AM | #

I haven’t been on this site for awhile and was surprised to see that Sollecito’s book has already been published! 

There were no customer or critic reviews on the site.  Has anyone read it?

http://www.amazon.com/Honor-Bound-Journey-Hell-Amanda/dp/1451695985/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Posted by believing on 08/21/12 at 10:05 AM | #

hi Believing.

Not yet published. “This title will be released on September 18, 2012.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/12 at 10:10 AM | #

Sorry, never mind, it is a book that can be pre-ordered.  I like the way he capitalizes on the name of Amanda Knox, since it will be published in English in the USA.

Posted by believing on 08/21/12 at 10:15 AM | #

The turquoise bottle above appears to be a product called CIF which is used to clean bathrooms.  Was the receipt in fact found, showing a purchase on 2nd November??  I thought they had not been found for that date.

Posted by believing on 08/21/12 at 10:17 AM | #

Hi Believeing.

It’s a Proctor & Gamble detergent bleach called Ace. Mr Quintavalle testified that that was the only spray bleach he sells.

I side with those who think SOME product was used. I cant research this right now now but I seem to recall that the receipt found (dated another day) was for that bottle but the bottle itself wasnt found at RS’s or AK’s and that his maid testified she didnt ever use bleach.

If so, odd, that receipt. I guess his cash register was checked for date correctness.

Of course, if AK secretly liberated the bleach, there would be no receipt for the day. As Cardiol notes H&Z used extreme overkill to imply AK’d never, never, never do that. Hmmm. Well. Desperate times…


Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/12 at 11:11 AM | #

Italy has laws about carrying knives in public. Once I bought a kitchen knife from the roadside and then I was told that I cannot carry it to my place in public transport! Of course I broke the law.

Another law is that I must preserve the purchase receipt (even if it is for a cup of coffee) as officials can demand to see it. But what if I have already consumed the coffee?

Another interesting law is that the accused criminals are allowed (means encouraged) to tell lies and lies and nothing but lies. But working with young people for a very long time, I have become an excellent lie-detector!

Many people in small towns do not issue the receipt (just to save a few cents on taxes) and small shopkeepers intensely dislike talking about it. It is only a couple of euros and they will not admit that they have sold the item without a proper receipt. I just think (when I needed only one or two items), I also have just left the correct amount so often and walked away without waiting. She might have done just that!

Most bleaches are strongly perfumed (to hide their horrible native smell) and the perfume lasts almost 24 hours.

One mistake was not to check the garbage dumps around the city. Our American friend was reportedly lazy, and she would have delivered the garbage close by. But the Italian Friend knows better and he would have dumped the items in the woods.

I seriously think that “the good kids” lost a set of clothes, shoes and some other paraphernalia.

I understand that some “make-up” was actually stolen. It must have been useful to hide some visible marks. I think it would not have worked on the black fellow.

To get the time correct, we need some other cue. Taken in isolation, we will lose track of time within 24 hours!

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s hard to get it back in.

Posted by chami on 08/21/12 at 01:27 PM | #

From Follain, above:

“He simply didn’t think that what he’d seen was important. ‘And besides, I wasn’t all that keen to get involved, just as I’m not that keen today,’ Quintavalle said.”

This corroborates that Quintavalle just wanted to stay out of it.

Pete wrote:

“…. it later became (I think because one or a receipt for one was found at one of the houses) that turquoise spray bottle on the 2nd shelf above. A tad easier to walk out with.”

and,

“It’s a Proctor & Gamble detergent bleach called Ace. Mr Quintavalle testified that that was the only spray bleach he sells. I side with those who think SOME product was used. I cant research this right now now but I seem to recall that the receipt found (dated another day) was for that bottle but the bottle itself wasnt found at RS’s or AK’s and that his maid testified she didnt ever use bleach. ”

Yes, Follain wrote (Kindle Locations 3572-3573):

“ Raffaele’s cleaner had never seen bleach in his flat before but police found several bottles there – to clean the blood off various objects including the kitchen knife.” But I don’t know Follain’s source, and

“The Police commented on the odor of bleach at Rafaelle’s”:

And Massei wrote (p 106)
:
“….Armando Finzi, chief inspector of the Flying Squad of Perugia, said that on the morning of November 6 he was ordered by Dr. Profazio to perform a search of the house of Raffaele Sollecito in Corso Garibaldi (number 110). Before entering the house, they all put on gloves and shoes covers. There was also the deputy chief of police Chiacchiera, Passeri, Ranauro, Camarda, Rossi and Sisani. In the house there was a strong smell of bleach….”

So, these are serious discrepancies in AK/RS’s stories regarding bleach.  It is clear that the spray bottle of bleach IS a “ tad easier to walk out with.”

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/21/12 at 02:06 PM | #

References to Quintavalle in Darkness Descending:

…a young girl with piercing laser-blue eyes and pale alabaster skin was waiting impatiently for the convenience store to open.  This shop at the bottom of Raffaele’s street.  She stomped her feet to keep warm, even though she was wearing a hat and scarf, jeans and a grey-white jacket, similar in lightness to the one worn by the figure caught on CCTV near 7 Pergola ten hours before.

“Good day”, said Marco Quintavalle, the shop’s owner, to the girl, as he opened up the shutters.  But she didn’t reply.  Instead she headed straight for the shelves stacked with cleaning products, most significantly including bleach, before paying and heading in the direction of 7 Pergola.

Doing what the police should have done, reporter Fois targeted his resources on the Grimana Square area…the square’s newsstand owner told Fois that a shopkeeper called Marco Quintavalle had remarked to him that he had seen a young woman fitting Amanda’s description when he opened his shop at 07:45 a.m. on 2 November.  Fois stopped by the shop to hear the story from the man himself.

“Yes, I remember her,” Quintavalle confirmed. “She went straight over to the back of the shop where I keep detergent5s.  I saw her leave – she turned right, towards Grimana Square, not left towards Garibaldi Street” – the direction of 7 Pergola Road.

[Quintavalle] was relentless in displaying his accuracy to the court; he remembered perfectly that it was the morning of the 2nd that he saw a woman who matched Amanda’s description in his shop.

Posted by Fly By Night on 08/21/12 at 02:16 PM | #

Cardiol,

You missed out a chunk when quoting Follain. No doubt you noticed. It’s a pity that one can’t edit one’s comments

It should be -

“.....Quintavalle turned to take a long look behind his left shoulder at Amanda, the first time he had looked at her since entering the courtroom.
“Yes”, he said.
Amanda’s cheeks and ears suddenly flushed but she held his gaze, frowning slightly, apparently in both concentration and concern.
“Are you sure?
“Yes”.
“Is it her? Are you sure it is the girl you saw?” Judge Massei insisted.
Quintavalle again turned to stare at Amanda. “I am sure now, yes.”
Later, when a TV interview with Quintavalle was shown on a giant TV screen, glimpses of Amanda’s life before her arrest unexpectedly unfolded before the court - Amanda smiling and laughing in family photographs…” etc

The use of the “now” seems to indicate that for a while he was perhaps not as certain as at this point in time.

Posted by James Raper on 08/21/12 at 05:05 PM | #

Someone should write a definitive essay on Quintavalle and the cleaning supplies. It’s very confusing, and very contentious. We see above that even Follain and Darkness Descending have different versions.

There is a police video of the search of Sollecito’s flat on PMF. You can see the cleaning products he kept. He also had recently gotten a new cleaning lady, and the previous one did remember the bleach bottles as I recall.

I say this over and over: it’s especially unsatisfying that Hellmann ruled this eyewitness unreliable without calling him again, leaving so many questions unanswered. Massei found him credible. Follain found him credible. Both were there to see him testify. Hellmann was not.

Posted by brmull on 08/22/12 at 03:32 AM | #

Hi brmull -

re your info about the previous cleaning-lady - Thanks!  We do need our own internal Google!

You write Massei and Follain “were there to see [Quintavalle] testify. Hellmann was not.”

So succinct! Roll on the day of OUR satisfaction!

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/22/12 at 04:12 AM | #

@ brmull – checked our internal Google [Search] but found no ref.s to cleaning lady. Internal e-mailed you but didn’t get through. Were your ref.s posted on PMF?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/22/12 at 09:50 AM | #

Hi Cardiol.

The name of RS’s cleaning lady who had to stop work for him when he was arrested was Rosa Natalia Guman Fernendez de Calle.

Here on 22 March 2009 is what Stewart Home reported for us directly from the court.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/report_from_the_courtroom_how_saturday_went/

Next Rosa Natalia Guman Fernendez de Calle, an Ecuadorian woman, took the stand. She had been Sollecito’s cleaning lady. She had worked for him about 2 months and would come every Monday around 2:00 to 4:00 pm to clean his apartment. She stated that she used only Lysoform, which is a general household cleaner like Mr. Clean. She would vacuum, mop the floor, clean the bathroom and kitchen, and so on. The cleaning products were kept under the kitchen sink as in most homes, and there were usually about 5-6 different cleaning products there and other cleaning supplies.She had been told to only ever use Lysoform to clean.

The last time she cleaned the apartment went was on November 5th, and Sollecito and Knox were there then. She went under the sink to get the cleaning products, and noticed a bucket with water in it and wet mop rags. She asked why the wet rags and the bucket, and he said they had had a leak. She did say the bucket had water in it and it was clear.

When asked if she ever used bleach in his home she said absolutely not. When asked if there was bleach among the cleaning products, she said she could not say either way. The 5th of November was the last day she worked for Sollecito as he was subsequently arrested.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/22/12 at 11:44 AM | #

Thanks Pete: “When asked if she ever used bleach in his home she said absolutely not.” - Before the 5th of November.

So the Massei quote (p 106): In the house there was a strong smell of bleach….” – On the 6th of November, is evidence of bleach-usage in Sollecito’s place on 5th-6th of November.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/22/12 at 12:26 PM | #

Well on the 5th. Knox and Sollecito were in the police station on the 6th.

Knox is shown the kitchen drawer of knives on the afternoon of the 4th when she starts shaking etc. Knox and the others were wearing gloves and shoe covers (hoopla!) and it may be that this was when she first became aware of the significance that DNA (it having been explained why they were all wearing wearing gloves and shoes) could come to have.

Quite apart from the knives in the drawer bringing back immediate memories of the murder I wonder whether the incident also prompted her a little later to think about The Knife and Sollecito’s flat and, if they were to be subjected to forensic evaluation, what that would reveal.

I suspect that The Knife was just washed under a tap on the night of the murder but then wiped with a bleached rag later, maybe as part of a general cleaning of the flat with bleach on the 5th. The first thing the investigators noticed on the 6th was a strong smell of bleach.

Posted by James Raper on 08/22/12 at 02:35 PM | #

brmull,
Your theory that she was hanging about waiting for her washing makes a lot of sense. I’ve always had trouble with the idea that Knox would brazenly enter a shop at that time of the morning to buy cleaning products - would anyone smart enough to clean up a crime scene risk that?
Quintavalle, to me is more credible than Curatolo.
The problem with Curatolo is that apparently he has testified in court concerning two other cases. Do you know anything concerning the background of these other cases.

Posted by John Forbes on 08/22/12 at 08:38 PM | #

Hi John.

Read above. Nobody seems to have said she entered brazenly - Mr Quintavalle said she entered in a manner suggesting not wanting to be noticed, was apparently not seen to make a purchase so there seems no receipt, and then was observed heading off down the hill, maybe with the bottle, maybe not.

She may have had a sleepless night and looked exhausted and puffy around midday that day. Presuming RS and AK were too smart to do things is belied by their conflicting alibis and, shortly after arrest, accusations against one another.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/23/12 at 12:11 AM | #

John,

I know she was at the laundry sometime that morning because neither the cottage nor Sollecito’s place had a dryer.

Knox had been up all night and was tired and probably hung-over. She left her lamp in Meredith’s bedroom, among other sloppiness. I have no difficulty believing she walked around Perugia in broad daylight, though perhaps with a hat and scarf. I think she expected she had been seen, and that’s why she later admitted she was carrying a laundry bag and a bright red mop back and forth. In the end, she was just very lucky no one came forward who saw her.

Curatolo lived on the street for 20 years. I don’t know the exact number, but the PR campaign says he was a witness in 3 murder trials, the most recent being in 2001, a case in which a Tunisian man murdered his girlfriend. When you live on the street you see some bad stuff, and so it’s no surprise that a keen observer like Curatolo would have been of help to the police, although he was a very reluctant witness.

Curatolo’s story that he first saw Knox and Sollecito at 9:30pm meshes with their alibi ending in the vicinity of 8:40 to 9:10. His observation that Sollecito kept looking over the wall toward the cottage meshes with the tow truck being there, which Curatolo couldn’t have known. His description of them talking animatedly or arguing fits with the witness Monacchia Antonella who heard arguing in front of the cottage around 11:30. And of course Knox, unsolicited, placed herself at Piazza Grimana in her statement to police.

Posted by brmull on 08/23/12 at 02:12 AM | #

Cardiol,

Ann Wise was the source for the bleach being there before. She’s usually fairly reliable but as I read the whole article I’m doubtful of its veracity. Anyway here it is:

“In what was a relatively short hearing at the trial, the judge and jurors also heard testimony today from Sollecito’s former cleaning lady.

Marina Ciriboga, from Ecuador, answered questions regarding the use of bleach as a detergent at Sollecito’s house.

Prosecutors believe Knox and Sollecito used bleach to clean up blood and other evidence on the crime scene after the murder. A number of prosecution witnesses have been questioned regarding purchases of bleach and bottles of bleach found in Sollecito’s house.

Ciriboga today said that she usually washed the floors with another detergent, but that she had asked Sollecito to buy bleach. When she stopped working for Sollecito in September one and a half bottles of bleach were still in the house, Ciriboga said.”

http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=7939101&page=2

Posted by brmull on 08/23/12 at 02:58 AM | #

Two different cleaners and both from Ecuador. It looks as if in Perugia Ecuadorians have cornered the market in cleaning.

Posted by James Raper on 08/23/12 at 04:57 AM | #

Great article, Cardiol.

H&Z had ample opportunity to recall Quintavalle just as they had summoned Curatolo.  I was appalled at Q’s treatment at their hands.

The question of his identification of Knox comes down simply to credibility.  He was at his store that morning and nobody doubts that.  The question is then where Knox really was if not at his store.

The weakest part of their logic regarding Q is, in my opinion, the time frame H&Z use to determine credibility.  On Page 36, they claim to know Q’s motivation for providing a witness statement:  it took him a year to convince himself that he had actually seen Knox at his store.

This makes little sense, since he could have convinced himself within days if not hours of her photograph first shown in the Italian media.  On the contrary, it could be even less likely that he would confirm his perceptions as time passed and, perhaps, doubts crept into his original identification.

This is really another example of the World’s Record For Special Pleading.  It doesn’t matter when Q made his identification:  it could always be argued he only did so once he was satisfied with “the precision of his perception”.  (That last is a direct cite from H&Z).

Largely I think you’ve shown that their discussion of Q indicates just how biased this court was.  The arguments against his testimony could be placed on a sliding scale so that no matter when he said he saw Knox his words would be ‘not very reliable’.

Posted by Stilicho on 08/23/12 at 05:35 PM | #

Peter and Brmull,
Thanks for the replies. It irks me the business about Curatolo having been a witness in other trials. This is often quoted in the pro Knox sites, but I can’t find any reference to it in Follain’s book, which surprises me, if Curatolo had been used as a witness three times previously, surely Follain would have mentioned it.

If true, Curatolo is damaged to some extent, if untrue and just malicious PR propoganda, someone should really look into it.

Posted by John Forbes on 08/23/12 at 11:26 PM | #

John,

In Knox’s appeal it says that Curatolo was a witness in two prior cases, and apparently in court it was disclosed that the most recent one, in 2001, involved a Tunisian man who murdered his girlfriend. I haven’t been able to find any other details but I have no reason to doubt the appeal document. Although it’s right to be a bit skeptical of someone who has testified in the past (and this is a routine question that lawyers ask in depositions), there can be an innocent explanation.

Curatolo was a rare bird, an educated man who lived on the street by choice. My friends and I once climbed to the roof of a San Francisco hotel overlooking one of the city’s red light districts. During the course of just that night we saw not just prostitution, but assaults, drug deals, DUI and illegal weapons.

From what I understand Curatolo had his good days and bad days, i.e. in some interviews he was more lucid than others. He once told lamented on Italian TV that until Guede talks we’ll never know what really happened, which doesn’t sound like a guy who wants to be the hero. But according to Stewart Home, who was in court when Curatolo testified for Massei, the tramp was spot on:

http://perugiamurderfile.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=121&start=1800#p7384

When called to testify again for Hellmann, Curatolo told reporters he was anxious about testifying, because the whole media seemed to be on the killers’ side. And yes he did call them the killers.

In contrast, Sfarzo is someone who I think enjoys being in the spotlight so much that he exaggerates and makes up stuff. I would put Kokomani in that category too. Curatolo did not come across like that at all.

Posted by brmull on 08/24/12 at 04:34 AM | #

John,

I found out the other two murder cases in which Curatolo was a witness: Achref Dridi (the Tunisian woman) and Maria Scota (a landlady). I don’t know how Curatolo came to be involved but some of the details are online.

Posted by brmull on 08/28/12 at 01:54 AM | #


Make a comment

If you are reading this please log in to post a comment.

Smileys



Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry DNA Proof 40 Years After A Cowardly Murder Shuts Down A Fact-Fogging Campaign For The Murderer

Or to previous entry An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation