Category: The officially involved

Friday, December 05, 2008

Formal Kercher Request That Trial Be Behind Closed Doors

Posted by Peter Quennell

The Kercher family have now formally filed the request that the trial of Knox and Sollecito be held behind closed doors.

The Kerchers’ request was filed by their extremely capable court-appointed lawyer, Francesco Maresca, with the Court of Assizes in Perugia.

The Court will announce its decision on this at the first, public, session of the Knox/Sollecito trial on 16 January.

The trial of Rudy Guede - which was also behind closed doors - largely hinged on evidence from Meredith’s bedroom and from her autopsy.

That evidence was said to have been extremely disturbing to many inside the court-room, and resulted in Guede’s very stiff 30-year sentence.

If the evidence not yet in the public domain really is as sickening as is rumored, it is hard to see the defense teams resisting the request.

And the Italian system hardly needs to prove publicly its extreme caution, carefulness, and fairness. Despite some absurd claims to the contrary.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/05/08 at 03:21 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (8)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So The Trial Date IS Postponed, Now It’s 16 January

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is a translation of the report from La Stampa.

Meredith process, hearing postponed

Amanda and Raffaele have to answer to the charge of murder

The case against Amanda and Raffaele is postponed to allow for the reading of additional investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor

Postponed to January 16, 2009, is the hearing for the murder of Meredith Kercher, which initiates the trialproceedings against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who are accused of murder in the taunting and violence against American student (Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years jis trial having been expedited, ed.)

The presiding judge, Giancarlo Massei, deferred the opening session to enable the parties to get to know the contents of the additional investigations carried out by the prosecutor of Perugia. Tomorrow is the deadline for the submission of lists and texts that will amount to a total of about a hundred.

And a brief summary of some of the other recent developments in the case….

  • A witness who knew her claims to have seen Amanda Knox in a supermarket early on the day after the crime

  • A second witness claims to have heard a scream on the evening of the crime, this one stating a precise time

  • A witness claims to have seen Knox, Sollecito and Guede together previously - if so, they did know one another

  • A cut was apparently seen on Knox’s neck by another house resident; autopsy and scenario are being reviewed

  • A fund-raising event in Seattle apparently raised $11,000 to help defray Knox’s parents’ defense and travel costs

  • And a Kercher family request for a closed-door trial - permitted in Italy for sex crimes - is now being reviewed

One of the great areas of conjecture is whether the alleged defendants actually pre-planned an assault on Meredith.  Or whether it was perhaps just a taunt, one that took on a deadly spiral.

There was an apparent simultaneous switching-off of their mobiles earlier in the evening, for a reason not so far explained. And now an apparent prior three-way relationship between the two charged and the one sentenced? This does not look good.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ground Increasingly Disappearing From Under Knox-Sollecito Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Paolo Micheli has now been interviewed by Messaggero Umbria, a newspaper published in Perugia.

The judge really seems to have arrived at a very clear conception of how the cruel, senseless deed took place.  Observe in particular these findings below.

All of them are devastating to the talking-points of Friends Of Amanda recently parroted in dozens of news outlets.

Three attackers were present

I took the opposite approach to that of the defence teams. The lawyers claimed that there was no proof of conspiracy between the three because they didn’t know each other and Kokomani’s testimony wasn’t reliable. They also said that it would have been impossible for them to have organised the crime since they had previous commitments which then fell through. My starting point was the three’s presence in the room where the crime was committed.

DNA on the bra clasp was RS’s

I don’t believe [the bra clasp] was contaminated. The dna either came from outside or it was in the room. It’s not possible that Raffaele Sollecito’s dna was in that room. He had no reason to go there.

No contamination of the knife DNA

It’s true that Amanda’s dna was also on another knife found at Sollecito’s home but there can’t have been contamination. I checked both the objects seized from the cottage in via della Pergola and Sollecito’s apartment in corso Garibaldi. Only once, on Nov6 last year, were objects taken from both locations on the same day and the officers who entered the two buildings were not the same.

Guede was not unknown to other two

The fact that there were no calls [with Rudy] is easy to explain; since Oct27, Rudy hasn’t had a mobile phone. It was taken off him by the police. One of the couple knew Rudy. Meeting people in Perugia is easy, it could have been a chance meeting too.

There was definitely sexual assault

There are some doubts about the dynamics and the position of the victim’s body when she was stabbed. These are however not sufficent to repudiate the hypothesis of sexual assault…. Sexual assault is also an “˜invasion’ of the body as was described in the autopsy. It is certain that the rapist pulled the victim’s top up. Some blood had also run down onto the trousers. It’s therefore plausible to think that whoever violated the victim put their hand down her trousers.

Why there was no rape

Why didnt they complete a rape?] Because she screamed. Also with a knife at her throat and being held down it’s likely that she shouted out. There is a witness, Nara Capezzali, who said she woke up and was shocked by this scream.

Meredith was restrained while taunted

On the victim’s right-hand there was one small cut, a few milimetres long, in between two fingers. On the left-hand, there were four clearly visible cuts. Also the tip of the finger had blood on it. This indicates that the victim’s right-hand was being held as she tried to defend herself with the left. After the fatal stab, she put her hands on the wound.

That last remark really drives home the true horror of Meredith’s incredibly cruel last few minutes. Someone was ferociously slashing away at Meredith like a maniac with a knife. And then did nothing at all to save her.

Walked out on her while she was still alive, clutching her neck to stop the life-blood flowing out of her.

After months of murky semi-silence from police and prosecutors, now the sentencing dossier quoted below and this interview seem like a fire-hose of information.

Is the judge signaling to the defense that a long-form trial will not work to their advantage? That they should simply cave now? Plead guilty, and hope?

And if they don’t, how on earth can they fight THIS sad, sick, depraved stuff?


Supreme Court Denies The Pair Bail, Insists On Prison To End Of Process EDIT

Posted by Peter Quennell



(Reuters) - A 21-year-old American exchange student indicted in Italy for the murder of her British flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was denied house arrest on Wednesday by a judge who ruled she was too great a flight risk to release from jail.

Amanda Knox’s Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, was also denied house arrest as the couple await trial, set to begin on December 4.

Sollecito’s lawyer said Judge Paolo Micheli feared the two suspects could flee the country or commit another murder.

Knox and Sollecito have been held in jail since shortly after the killing last November of 21-year-old student Kercher, whose semi-naked body was found in her apartment in the university city of Perugia in central Italy.

Prosecutors say Kercher was stabbed in the neck when Knox, Sollecito and a third suspect tried to involve her in an orgy. The case has riveted Italians and received wide cover in the media.

The third suspect, 21-year-old Rudy Guede, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday for rape and murder.

Guede, born in the Ivory Coast, had chosen a fast-track procedure with no jury, which under Italian law allows suspects to receive a lesser sentence if they are convicted. Prosecutors had requested life in prison.

All three suspects deny wrongdoing.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: How The Suspects Enjoyed Their Day In Court EDIT

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the translation from Ansa.

Actually, it seems they spent the day locked up in the basement. Down below everybody else’s feet. And simply not enjoying it at all.

Presumably they were trotted upstairs one at a time, to be told of the finding by Judge Paolo Micheli.

Guede seems to have remained cool, but Knox and Sollecito were both visibly distressed at their outcomes.

Hard landings. Perhaps a case of too many rosy scenarios. Of lawyers, friends and families failing to let them down easy,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guede Gets 30 Years, Knox & Sollecito Trial Starts December 4 EDIT

Posted by Peter Quennell

[PHOTO PENDING]

Lee Glendinning of the UK Guardian reports:

Rudy Guede has tonight been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, an Italian judge has ruled.

The judge at the court in Perugia also ruled that there was sufficient evidence available for Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito to stand full trial for Kercher’s murder.

Knox, 21, a US student, and Sollecito, 24, an Italian IT graduate, were
accused of having killed Kercher in the course of a sex game that went wrong, alongside Rudy Hermann Guede, 21.

Kercher’s semi-naked body was found on November 2 in her bedroom in the cottage she shared with Knox. Her throat had been cut.

Lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents Miss Kercher’s family, said: “We are very satisfied, even though this was a young man who faces a very heavy sentence.”

For the past two months, Guede, from Ivory Coast, has been involved in a fast-track trial at his own request on charges of murder and attempted sexual assault. He has the right to appeal the sentence.

At the same time, judge Paolo Micheli listened to evidence from lawyers for Knox and Sollecito in pre-trial hearings to decide whether the pair should face trial over the student’s murder.

Knox and Sollecito have been held in jail since shortly after the murder and the judge has tonight indicated that he would not grant their requests for house arrest. The trial is set to begin on December 4….


Dramatic Day For Guede, Knox, Sollecito: The Cast Arrives

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above: Prosecutor Mignini


Above: Prosecutor Comodi


Above: Prosecutors Mignini and Comodi


Above: Kercher family lawyer Maresca


Above: Guede lawyer Biscotti


Above: Guede lawyer Gentile


Above:Sollecito lawyers Buongiorno and Mauri


Above: Knox lawyers Ghirgha and Vedova


Above: Falsely accused Lumumba and lawyer Pacelli


Above: And the defendants; in the vans


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sollecito Team Turns Sharply Against Knox? This Is Extraordinary, A Really Big Deal

Posted by Our Main Posters




Breaking News In London Times

A report says Sollecito places Knox at the scene of the crime.

As she had herself as well, twice, in the evening before her arrest. Still, a surprise move coming so soon after this truce.

The report, by Richard Owen from Perugia for the UK Times went online on the Times website three hours ago.

It also confirms what case-watchers already know; that tomorrow, Tuesday, is quite a cliff-hanger for the third defendant, Rudy Guede, who may be convicted and possibly sentenced right there and then.

Amanda Knox, the American flatmate of the murdered British student Meredith Kercher, has for the first time been implicated as being at the scene of the crime by her former Italian boyfriend.

With a verdict imminent in the pre-trial hearings over the murder in Perugia almost a year ago, the three suspects in the case appear to have turned on each other.

After the conclusion of the hearings, Judge Paolo Micheli, 44, a former Carabinieri officer who has been a magistrate since 1990, will decide tomorrow whether Ms Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend, should stand trial for the murder.

At the same time, he is also due to convict or clear Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast immigrant who is accused by prosecutors of taking part in the killing, but who has opted for a fast track trial in the hope of a reduced sentence if found guilty.

Lawyers for Mr Sollecito have told the judge that, according to a forensic expert called by the defence, Ms Knox’s DNA is on Ms Kercher’s bloodied bra-strap as well as that of Mr Sollecito and Rudy Guede.

Professor Francesco Vinci, the forensic scientist, said the DNA traces were “too contaminated” to be useable as evidence, but showed the presence of “at least three people”.

The admission appears to support the prosecution case that all three were present at the scene of the crime.

It also breaks a [recent] tacit pact between Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, who have sent each other supportive letters while in custody and until now have avoided incriminating each other. Mr Sollecito even sent Ms Knox flowers on her birthday this summer.

Lawyers for both Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox have repeatedly claimed the couple spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat, indicating that Mr Guede was the lone killer.

Today, the prosecution and defence lawyers will present their closing arguments. They will argue that if a trial date is set, the suspects should be released from prison into house arrest. Ms Knox has asked to be housed at San Fatucchio, a supervised community and farm in the Umbrian countryside, 40 kilometres from Perugia, for recovering drug addicts and young offenders run by the Catholic charity Caritas.

Last weekend Walter Biscotti, one of Mr Guede’s lawyers, accused Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of framing his client, a drifter and small-time drug dealer who was brought up in Perugia and mingled with the student community. “We believe Knox and Sollecito were the murderers,” Nicodemo Gentile, another of Mr Guede’s lawyers said.

Mr Biscotti said Mr Guede, the only one of the three who admits he was at the hillside cottage Ms Knox shared with Ms Kercher on the evening of the murder, admitted attempting to have consensual sex with Ms Kercher, but had not raped or killed her. The prosecution says that Mr Guede’s DNA was on Ms Kercher’s bloodstained pillow.

Ms Kercher was found last November semi-naked in her bedroom with her throat cut. The prosecution claims she was assaulted just after Hallo’een in a murderous sex game, possibly inspired by a Japanese comic strip about vampires which Mr Sollecito had been reading.

Prosecutors say that Ms Knox stabbed her flatmate while the other two forced her to her knees and held her down, with Mr Sollecito pinning her by the arms and Mr Guede holding her by the throat.

Ms Knox’s lawyers reject this, saying Ms Kercher was assaulted by “one robust killer”. Last week, Ms Knox burst into tears when the allegation was made in court that she stabbed Ms Kercher, saying: “Meredith was my friend, I had no reason to kill her.”

Mr Guede claims he was listening to his iPod in the bathroom when Ms Kercher was killed in the bedroom. He fled to Germany after the killing, but was tracked down three weeks later in Germany.

Mr Sollecito’s defence team, headed by Giulia Bongiorno, a high profile lawyer and parliamentary deputy, brought props including a shop window mannequin wearing a bra into court last week to back their case. They claim “a thief”, who they suggest was Mr Guede, smashed a window to enter the cottage and killed Ms Kercher when she returned and recognised him, fleeing with her two mobile phones.

Ms Bongiorno argued that the presence of Mr Sollecito’s DNA on the bra fastener but not the rest of the garment proved it was due to contamination and mishandling by police forensic scientists.

Hmmm. Perhaps Rudy Guede should back out of the short-form trial (where the chips are loaded against him but the sentence is guaranteed shorter) and go for the long-form trial instead?

Oh, and better send more flowers, Raffaelle. She is going to be ticked at this one.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Professional Rates The Perp Walks

Posted by Peter Quennell



How They Shape Up

Someone in the criminal justice profession here in New York been examining the shots of those charged.

They thought about the demeanors, the bearings (to the extent this can be observed), clothing choices, and facial expressions, and whether they compel, for or against.

They informally rate Knox first, so far, Guede second (smart move, that $200 Sean John sweater), and Sollecito at the back of the pack.

And they insist on an interesting hedge: if there are any psychopaths in the group, all bets are off.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/28/08 at 04:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThe officially involvedComments here (0)

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Three Suspects Enter Court For Next Micheli Hearing Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

More images on our People Page


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CCTV Video: Seemingly Unlikely That Meredith And Guede Are Seen Here Together

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above: this is possibly Meredith returning home. Below: this is possibly Guede, presumably headed for the house as well..

First, the whole video really REEKS of wetness. Looks like Frank of Perugia Shock gets it wrong once again. All the horizontal surfaces are gleaming. Take a look at the last shot below. The reflection of the car headlights suggests a light rain - still in progress.

Second, the CCTV monitors in our own parking buildings here have a much wider field of view than we are seeing in the video. The video (see the post below) gives the impression of having been zoomed-in for the TV broadcast version - they do that a lot. And it is very compressed.

Three, it is something of a surprise not to see Meredith returning home by way of the steel stairs. That (blue line) is the shorter route for her. What we see here suggests she used the stone steps. Maybe the light is better on that route. Or maybe she picked up a gelato from the gelateria up the top..

Fourth, it is puzzling that Guede arrives from the direction of the steel stairs. That (the red line) is not the quick route down from the kebab place, and he may have had business in the direction of the Chic bar.

Or wanted very much to hide his face en route. For SOME nefarious purpose.

Two more images from the parking-facility CCTV camera.


[click for larger images]

Above: this is possibly Meredith returning home. Below: this is possibly Guede, presumably headed for the house as well.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24/08 at 09:27 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedEvidence & WitnessesOther witnessesComments here (3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More On The Evil That Was Rained Down On Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell



The Tom Kington Interview

Tom Kington of the UK Observer interviews Patrick Lumumba.

Diya Lumumba, 39, was at last week’s first pre-trial hearing in Perugia at which Knox, 21, appeared in public for the first time since her arrest last year. ‘Why did she accuse me?’ he asked. ‘The black is always the killer in films, and I am convinced that is why she named me as her way of derailing the investigation.’

It was November last year when Knox, by then in custody, implicated Lumumba in the killing, telling police he entered Miss Kercher’s bedroom in their shared house on the night of 1 November, while she covered her ears in the kitchen… Police raided Lumumba’s home and arrested him in front of his Polish wife Aleksandra and baby son Davide, saying only: ‘You know what you did.’ Investigators leaked an allegation that Lumumba had entered the isolated house outside Perugia’s medieval walls to ‘possess’ Miss Kercher…

Please click here for more

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