Category: Seattle context

Saturday, June 27, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Another Short Day For Defenses

The defenses continue to seem rather rudderless and despondent. Only three witnesses.

Maria Del Prato from Milan testified about Guede, and and two Knox friends from Seattle testified as character witnesses. 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 is mostly reported by Ann Wise of ABC on the ABC News site

2. Testimony On Milan Pre-School Break-in

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…

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…

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.

3. Claimed Perugia Home Break-in

Christian Tramontano is a presently unemployed nightclub bouncer who claimed it might have been Guede in a nightime encounter in his apartment.

In late 2008, Judge Micheli questioned this witness. As he could neither identify Guede positively in the dark, nor explain how Guede entered or exited his apartment with zero sign of a breakin, Judge Micheli dismissed him frostily as one of several wannabe grandstanders.

However, what is a desperate defense to do these days, if not to recycle proven nonsense?! From Ann Wise of ABC again. 

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 tried 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.

Comment: Even the defenses don’t want to call Tramontano so he could be cross-examined! Judge Micheli had contemptuously dismissed him as yet another of the money-grubbing opportunists plaguing the case. He had reported to police only months after the case was in the news. He admitted he got no good look at Guede, and there was no evidence of a breaking-in via the windows and doors.

4. Knox Character-Witness Testimony

Two friends of Amanda Knox were the only other witnesses to testify in Perugia Saturday. From Ann Wise again and Italian media sites.

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 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.

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.”


Trial: Amanda Knox’s Mother Talks To The Media Of The Costs To The Family

Posted by Nicki



[courtesy AP; click for larger image]

Italian media are reporting upon the Knoxes’ financial strains:

Today’s Il Messaggero offers so far the most complete report in Italian. Here’s a translation of today’s article

AMANDA’S MOTHER: WE HAVE MORTGAGED THE HOUSE IN ORDER TO ATTEND THE TRIAL

She has used all her vacation time, she is currently not receiving a salary and she has also mortgaged her house, in order to stay close to Amanda. Edda Mellas has travelled at least ten times back and forth from the USA to Italy. “Our life is no longer a normal one”- she says, recalling the day of Amanda’s arrest on November 6th 2007. Mellas works as a schoolteacher in Seattle and she explains she has already used up all her vacation time in order to stay close to her daughter. She adds “now I’ve given up my salary in order to be here.. Every time I come, I stay from two to seven weeks . We have even mortgaged our house in order to be close to Amanda”.

When they are in Perugia, Mellas, her husband Chris and Curt, Amanda’s father, live in an apartment in the outskirts of town. It’s the place where Mellas spends most of her time, reading books and using her pc, waiting to go visit he daughter in jail. Chris is able to continue working using the Internet ““he’s a computer engineer-as Curt Knox used to do, but recently ““his ex -wife says-he lost his job since he hasn’t accepted to move from Seattle to San Francisco, as he had been asked to do by the department store chain he worked for .

Amanda has a sister in Seattle, Deanna. “She has been here two or three times” - Mellas explains “““for the rest of the time, she’s trying to concentrate on her biology studies at WWU”.  Mellas says that in Italy and Perugia “people are nice and friendly and ready to help”.  Now that we are hearing defense witnesses”- Mellas concludes with a little smile-“we are all starting to feel better”

Posted by Nicki on 06/27/09 at 01:42 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Marriott PRComments here (5)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Website-Only Seattle PI May Be Going To Make It

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for media commentator Peter Kafka’s analysis.

The Seattle PI website still carries some of the best US reporting from Perugia on the case, by Rome-based Andrea Vogt. 

The home-based reporting, blogging and editorials have been rather more of a mixed bag.

Kafka thinks that the Seattle PI’s owner Hearst’s figures dont quite add up yet, but he would like to see things work out.

If the Seattle PI pulls it off, other US papers may follow this route.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Ol’ Seattle - The Other Disjunction

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Disjunction: a sharp cleavage…

We are certainly looking at a disjunction in Perugia, a pretty, gentle, and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Seattle is not so very different. It is a pretty, gentle and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Okay, maybe every five blue moons! But still, Seatle is a smart, safe town, with a high median IQ and a great university and some exceptional industries (Boeing and Microsoft). All in all, a very desirable place to live.

In both cities (twin cities, by the way) there is something of a pinch-me quality about the case we are following.

And now in the news? Seattle’s comparatively firm property values are reflecting this. It seems that people want to live in Seattle more than they do in many other places.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/30/09 at 08:02 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxComments here (6)

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