Trial: Friday Morning Not A Good Start For The Knox Team
Posted by Peter Quennell
Click above for The Times’ report by Richard Owen. The main highlights:
1) Knox’s written admission that she was present at the murder is admitted.
The American accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher suffered a setback today after a judge ruled that her confession to being at the scene of the crime could stand as evidence.
The statement Ms Knox was trying to keep from the court contains the same testimony as a controversial “confession” she made to police four days after the murder. In it she admitted to having been at the cottage the night Ms Kercher was killed. She said that she had covered her ears so as not to hear her flatmate’s screams and accused Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner in Perugia, of being the murderer…
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the judge in today’s trial decided that a memorandum Ms Knox had later written in English was admissible because it had been given voluntarily. It could be heard in the defamation case brought by Mr Lumumba against Ms Knox and which is being heard at the same time as the criminal trial.
2) Raffaele Solllecito may be opening up some space for himself here.
Mr Sollecito was granted permission to address the court, and said that he was “the victim of injustice” and “would never hurt a fly”. He said that he found himself in a “completely surreal and totally strange” situation since he was “not in any away involved” in the murder of Ms Kercher, adding: ” I am not a violent man.”
He said that his “sentimental relationship” with Ms Knox had only begun in September 2007 and stressed that he did not know Guede: “I never met him.” There had been a “lot of confusion” in the case, he said, and he appealed to the court to “clear it up”.
Added: Nick Pisa of the Daily Mail has noted: “As Sollecito gave his speech, Knox looked on clearly worried and biting her nails”
3) When police arrived the defendants seemed “surprised and embarrassed”
Mr Bartolozzi said that he had despatched a team of officers to the cottage, where they had found Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito already there. The officers had phoned him to report that Ms Kercher’s bedroom door was locked and he authorised the officers to break it down. Inside they found Ms Kercher’s body….
Michele Battistelli, one of the officers, said that he reached the cottage “after midday, at around half past twelve”. He found Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito at the house, and they appeared “surprised and embarrassed” at the arrival of the police.
They are accused of breaking a window to fake a break in. Mr Sollecito claims that he had already telephoned the Carabinieri, but the prosecution says that he only did so after the postal police turned up.
Police testimony on the finding of the two dumped cellphones was also heard. One was traced to Filomena Romanelli who later told police she had lent the phone to Meredith.The second phone was owned by Meredith.
The Guardian has reported this: “The first witness to take the stand was the local postal police chief, Filippo Batolozzi, who cast doubt on Sollecito’s claim that he was at home downloading a cartoon at the time of the murder. Batolozzi, whose agency oversees internet activity in Italy, said an inspection of Sollecito’s computer revealed there had been no activity on it between 9.10pm on November 1 and 5.32am on November 2.”
The Daily Mail has reported this: “Inspector Michele Battistelli told the court that he was one of the first police officers at the house after being sent their by colleagues following the discovery of Meredith’s mobile phone in a nearby garden.
‘They seemed embarrassed and surprised. They were whispering to each other and told me they were waiting for the carabinieri (paramilitary police). They didn’t say when they called them, just that they were waiting for them.
‘They told me that they had come back to the house and found the front door open and the window of one of the flatmates, Filomena Romanelli, smashed.’
He went inside with the pair and they showed him the broken window, and the ransacked room with clothes on the floor.
But, he added, he was immediately struck by the fact that the glass lay on top of the clothes - as though the window had been broken after the clothes were scattered on the floor.
‘I immediately thought that this had been an attempt to make it look like a break-in,’ he said.
‘I told the two accused this but they didn’t answer me. I also noticed that there was a lap top on the bedroom table and a camera in the kitchen - all items that would have been taken in a break in.’”
I am interested in Raffaele’s “surprise” statement. First of all, I am sure it was not a surprise to his superb defense team. I am sure everything that happens is carefully scripted from this point on. What purpose did it serve? I think he’s trying to crack a hole in any potential conspiracy charge. They know what testimony is forthcoming so I would assume that none will testify that they saw him with Guede before the murder. Otherwise he would be shown to be a liar. If he didn’t know Guede beforehand, it may make a premeditated act more difficult to prove.
Arnold, yes there is a theory on Raffaele’s surprise move. We will be posting on it. Basically it is being seen in Italy as an equal and opposite reaction to the rabid sliming of Italy and the prosecutor by the disastrous Seattle PR campaign. Sollecito is cutting himself loose. Smart move. Pity Knox cant do the same. She is stuck with her albatross.
Our scorecard on today’s proceedings will be up here later tonight NYC time. News is still trickling in from Italy. The case is stronger than even Micheli made us all believe. Rest in peace Meredith.
News is still trickling in. Please look for our scorecard for the whole two days tomorrow night or sunday.
The wheels on the prison bus go round-n-round and we all know who is sitting up front…with that happy smile on her face.
...but not for long.
So some preliminary conclusions from the first day’s evidence are:
- AK changed her story, and the evidence is admissible.
- It seems like RS is looking for an opportunity to dissociate himself from AK and RG if possible.
- RS’s claim to have been working on his computer that night is false.
- AK and RS were embarrassed and surprised when postal police arrived.
- RS’s claim to have already called the Carabinieri when the postal police officers arrived is false.
- The break-in was faked.
- AK and RS never saw the inside of the room when the body was found.
Amanda Knox’s ‘confession’ that she was at the cottage when Meredith was murdered was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court and has always been part of the evidence. Judge Paolo Micheli noted that Knox gave three different alibis.
If Raffaele Sollecito had been surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am, there would be a record of the websites he had visited. His defence laywers very tellingly have been unable to provide any proof that he was surfing the Internet.
It is an indisputable fact that Sollecito did not phone the police before the postal police arrived at the cottage and Sollecito admitted this in his witness statement:
He said he went outside “to see if I could climb up to Meredith’s window” but could not. “I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.” He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).
It’s quite clear from reading Judge Paolo Michel’s official report that the break-in was staged: there were shards of broken glass on top of Fiolmena’s clothes, there were marks on the inside of the shutters, which had been damaged by the rock, and two different sets of bare bloody footprints, which matched the foot sizes of Knox and Sollecito, indicate that they entered Filomena’s room and tried to make it look like there had been a break-in after Meredith had been killed.
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