Category: Hellmann 2011+

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti In Perugia Seen Enjoying Their 15 Minutes Of Fame

Posted by Peter Quennell









Thursday, June 30, 2011

DNA Report Already Dead On Arrival? Francesco Maresca Etc Don’t Think It Is Very Good

Posted by Peter Quennell


The New York Times redeems itself a little with an okay story on the report. It includes this:

The lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, countered that the word of the independent experts would not be the last word, and said he would raise his objections during the last week in July, when the report will be formally discussed during a week of hearings.

He said that the scientific police and the consultants who carried out the original tests had far more experience than the independent experts appointed by the court.

“I was surprised that these experts were so certain, and gave such strong, drastic opinions, given that they don’t have the same number of years of experience under their belt,” Mr. Maresca said.

Our Main Poster lawyer Tom M emailed this.

Maresca makes sense.  The referral was not for the purpose of making a legal judgment about the two pieces of evidence, but to report on the techniques employed and the procedures followed. At the end of the first trial there were X number of DNA expert witness reports; now there are X+1 expert reports and this latest one only muddies the water. 

It does not make the judges’ task easier as far as these two items are concerned.  Unless there is something in their analysis that is considerably more persuasive than what the previous defense experts said, AK and RS really haven’t advanced the ball, it’s just that now they have, I don’t know, say 3 expert reports instead of 2 that criticize the LCN and say it could be contamination.

One thing that needs to be looked at is whether legal standards and scientific standards are at odds.  Italian law places the burden of proof on the party that asserts something.  “Can’t rule out contamination” may be a true scientific statement, but does it supplant legal doctrine?  I don’t think so. 

Also, while scientific protocol call for repeatability, Italian seems to provide where the amount of material to be tested is so small that only one test can be performed, others are notified and invited to attend to observe and to raise objections.  I think the law is within its rights to do this, even though the pure scientist would not.

That of course is what happened. The defense experts were all invited to come witness the one-time-only testing of the knife but failed to show. The knife test would not even be under review if they had showed. No wonder the prosecution sound ticked.

There are also quotes in the New York Times from others who expected more and better than they got. 

Other accusers of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito said that the DNA was just one piece of evidence in the case that they built against them, based on various testimonies, their lack of an alibi and what prosecutors say is other damaging physical evidence, which has not been reviewed. During one interrogation, Ms. Knox allowed that she was in the house when Ms. Kercher was murdered, an admission she later retracted, saying she had spoken under duress.

“The first jury decided looking at a wide range of evidence, the DNA was only part of it,” said one prosecutor, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. “Everything else still stands.”

And Italian poster Yummi on PMF posted this:

I am reading the report. The report brings in a lot of interesting information about the details of the DNA findings on these two items.

However, I fail to find the conclusions about the bra clasp convincing. In this report, the final issue of contamination is considered in the abstract, as well as criticisms on Stefanoni’s work.

In the abstract means, the conclusion on the probative value is given without an assessment on how likely a contamination might occur on that one specific profile of that contributor, which is Raffaele Sollecito.

The same report infers there was environmental contamination of the bra clasp, on the basis of the presence of a plurality of male contributors (at least two). But fails to give weight to the outstanding difference in the peaks hight/areas (amount of DNA) between these third parties, on one hand, and Sollecito’s DNA on the other: the amount of DNA prsent is very diferent in the two cases.

There is a very big difference in the amount of DNA from these contributors - Sollecito on one side versus others, his contribution really very large compared to others. I don’t know why the report fails to notice this.

The report also criticizes the “interpretation” given by Stefanoni, as said, of the DNA chart on the bra clasp. But, in fact, in the end the report acknowledges that both autosomic and Y haplotype DNA of Sollecito are present on the bra clasp (p.135):

So there is no doubt Sollecito’s DNA was on the bra clasp in large amount.

The same report cites failure of meeting interpretation standards for the bra clasp DNA. But acknowledges that there are no agreed standards for the assessment of stutters and alleles on mixed profile traces.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/11 at 04:34 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009Hellmann 2011+Comments here (30)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 140-Page Conti-Vecchiotti Report On The Partial DNA Review Is Released

Posted by Peter Quennell


The report is much in the news in Italy. We don’t yet see a good English language report and a full translation will take a few days..

The experts have concluded that the LCN test of Meredith’s DNA on Sollecito’s large knife may have been invalid. This was the one-time-only test that every defense expert chose to skip.

Also that they cannot rule out that there was no contamination on the bra clasp (above) and that Sollecito’s DNA might indeed have flown through the air - though from where? There was only one other DNA sample for Sollecito in the entire house.

Italy does follow its own DNA protocols, but for reasons that are not altogether bad. It is very common for nations to depart from international protocols in all areas, not only forensic, if they think theirs are in some ways better.

Jurors did not say after the 2009 trial that either of these bits of evidence or non-evidence were the make-or-break items for them. The defenses asked for 33 re-examinations of evidence in their appeal submission but were granted only these two.

The DNA in the bathroom and the corridor and Filomena’s room all still looms very large. So do the cellphone, computer, eyewitness and alibi testimony. For the defense, it seems still an uphill task.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/11 at 04:52 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Comments here (17)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seen In The Court Today: The Appellants, Main Witness, Prosecutor, Defense Counsel

Posted by Peter Quennell








Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/27/11 at 06:55 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Hellmann 2011+Comments here (3)

30-Plus Minute Video By Perugia’s Umbria24 TV Of Rudy Guede In The Courtroom

Posted by Peter Quennell

All in Italian. This is a video of the press TV feed in the press room which is allowed.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/27/11 at 06:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Hellmann 2011+Comments here (4)

Rudy Guede For The First Time Sort Of Accuses Knox And Sollecito Face To Face

Posted by Our Main Posters




1. Potentially A Huge Day

Tension was really fraught. Everybody involved in the appeal and everybody watching in Italy knew this could be THE day.

Guede had recently lost his final Cassation appeal and in a very hard-line ruling Knox & Sollecito had also been associated with the crime.

He was at this appeal hearing as a prosecution witness, because he had written a letter to the prosecution heatedly denying the claims of a former cellmate, Alessi, that he had said Knox and Sollecito did not attack Meredith with him, another two had.

With seeming nothing to lose, Guede could both deny Alessi’s claim and definitively point the finger of blame at the pair, and thus all three would remain locked up for many years.

2. How The Day Actually Went

Despite a turbulent day in court this was not a shapeshifter event. The problem was that Guede was far too nervous to testify.

He is not normally nervous, but it is rumored that the name of Sollecito’s mafioso Uncle Rocco might have been been whispered in his ear.

So his prison letter was read out for him by the prosecution, and it did include this.

This splendid, marvelous girl was killed by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

Then Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno grew increasingly frustrated in attempting a cross-examination, and Guede ended up barely saying a word. The letter alone is rather diminished evidence.

3. Duncan Kennedy for The BBC

See this on the BBC website by Duncan Kennedy.

Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend did kill Meredith Kercher, a man who was also convicted of the 21-year-old’s murder has told an appeal court.

After Rudy Guede confirmed he believed the US student killed her British housemate, Knox jumped to her feet saying she was “shocked and anguished”.

The hearing in Perugia is the first time that all three defendants have given evidence on the same day.

Knox, 23, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26, are appealing their convictions.
Child killer

Miss Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey, was found with her throat cut at her Perugia flat after what prosecutors claimed was a sex game taken to the extreme.

Knox is serving a 26-year sentence for Miss Kercher’s murder while her Italian co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Sollecito, was sentenced to 25 years.

Guede told the court that claims by a fellow prison inmate that he thought Knox and Sollecito were innocent were not true. He said he never made that claim to the inmate.

On 18 June, convicted child killer Mario Alessi told the appeal Guede had confided that Knox and Sollecito were innocent.

According to Alessi, Guede said he and a friend went to the house Miss Kercher shared with Knox with the intent of having sex with Miss Kercher and that when she refused, the scene turned violent and his unnamed accomplice slit her throat.

Drug-dealer Guede was jailed for 30 years for the sexual assault and murder of Miss Kercher after a separate fast-track trial. His sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal.

Guede was in the witness stand as a letter he had written in response to Alessi’s claims was read to the court on Monday.

“This splendid, marvellous girl was killed by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox,” the letter said.

Guede has previously admitted being in the house at the time of the murder, but denies involvement in Miss Kercher’s death.

After cross-examination by the defence, Guede said he had always believed Sollecito and Knox were behind the murder.

“I’ve always said who was there in that house on that cursed night,” he told the court.

Knox stood up after Guede’s evidence and denied his claims.

“The only time that Rudy Guede, Raffaele and I were in the same space has been in court. I’m shocked and anguished.

“He knows we weren’t there and have nothing to do with it,” she said.

Sollecito said Guede was always talking “about a shadow that could be me and a voice that could be Amanda’s… we’ve been fighting shadows for four years. Our lives have been destroyed in a subtle and absurd way.”

Speaking before Monday’s hearing, Knox’s mother Edda Mellas told reporters she hoped that Guede would have the “integrity to stand up and tell the truth”.

She said her daughter was “always very anxious and nervous but I think she’s glad things are moving along. She feels things are going well,” but that it is, “hard to get too hopeful, especially after the first trial.”

Two other witnesses were called to counter claims made by another defence witness, a member of the Mafia named Luciano Aviello, who had told the court earlier this month that his brother - who is on the run - had killed Miss Kercher during a botched burglary.

The two witnesses - two inmates at the same prison as Aviello - testified that Aviello had said he had been contacted by Sollecito’s defence team to stir up confusion in the trial in exchange for money.

Witness Alexander Ilicet said Aviello had wanted the money for a sex-change operation.

4. Andrea Vogt For The Seattle PI

See this in the report in the Seattle PI by Andrea Vogt.

As if the appeal wasn’t bizarre enough, two convicts were called by the prosecution as counter witnesses Monday to contradict several inmates called by the defense earlier this month.

They maintained they had overheard in prison conversations about a plot among other inmates to testify in exchange for money and benefits, such as reduced prison time.

The person they heard was arranging things, they said, was Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, who heads up Italy’s parliamentary justice committee.

She forcefully denied the corruption accusations in the break afterwards and vowed to file charges and take legal action against her accusers.

One claim by the inmates was that Bongiorno offered a sex change operation to Luciano Aviello. It would be helpful if some of this if it exists emerged on tape. What possible reason would they have to lie?

5. And So To The Bottom Line

Along with Judge Hellman’s increasingly evident bias, and the smoke being blown over the DNA, and the Sollecitos and Bongiorno not (at least not yet) investigated by the judge for alleged witness bribes, not to mention Uncle Rocco’s power to alarm even by whispered mention of his name, the Knox and Sollecito defenses are down, but not yet for the count.

6. And A Footnote On The Kabuki Dance

This for the first time on Guede’s side (but not on Knox’s or Sollecito’s side) crosses a public boundary between the three.

The Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria explained it thus..


Saturday, June 25, 2011

If Rudy Guede Testifies On Monday As He Might, It Could Be Game Over For Sollecito And Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell





Rudy Guede might be compelled by the judge and prosecution on Monday to testify at length. He does not seem to have a legal reason not to as the Supreme Court set his sentence in stone.

He may of course really want to. Guede seems tired of being painted as the lone wolf or the wolf with two other accomplices.

In March last year he was decidedly ticked off when Mario Alessi began quoting or misquoting his claims about involvement. Here is the public letter he issued at the time, which inspired Mignini and Comodi to go interview him.

Guede’s letter to News Mediaset translated by TJMK poster Tiziano.

The complete text of the letter written by the Ivory Coast man.

Viterbo 07/03/2010

As usual in this beloved beautiful country of ours, there are many dishonest people given over to lying.  And there are likewise those who give these people a voice without the slightest questioning of their consciences, whether it’s worth the trouble of giving space to certain conjectures.

In recent days the only things I have heard have been blasphemous insinuations about me; baseless gossip which has done nothing other than harrying, hither and thither, TV news channels, even though for reasonable people it is the pure invention of a wicked mind.

It must be said that all I have heard in recent days in the media, about what has been falsely stated by this foul being by the name of Mario Alessi, whose conscience is nothing but stinking garbage, are purely and simply the ravings of a sick and twisted mind, his ravings are the dreamed-up, untrue declarations of a monster who sullied himself with a frightful murder in which he took the life of an angelic little human being, as is known throughout Italy. This fellow, now, is telling lies about things that I never said to him and (other things) that I never said, things that don’t exist either in this world or the next.

To his ““ or rather their- rotten declarations, it’s my intention to put in black and white that I never confided in this disgusting creature, since moreover that I’ve got nothing to confess or anything else (to say), and everything that I had to say I have already said to the judges and I will go on shouting and fighting while I am still alive, until the truth itself and justice itself prevail over such lies, and even less did I speak one to one or together with other people or with other inmates about my trial affairs, and if I had ever had something to say, don’t you believe that I would have talked about it with my lawyers?  Giving rise to and giving credit to what is a blasphemous statement made by a sick mind, to a monster who had no pity for a child.

With this latest scenario, which my lawyers, my family and I are now used to, from this latest person, the monster Alessi, I hope that Italians and the rest of the world realise that they are dealing with pigs, pigs which stink of the slime of falsehood, but which, not withstanding everything, go around showing their faces and suffocating people with their fetid lying.

Like their umpteenth scenario which does nothing more than give me the strength and the awareness to struggle more than ever, so that the truth that they want to hide is revealed for everyone to see.

As far as I’m concerned, (I have) the serenity and the calm of complete peace of mind, as a person who does not parade this unfair suffering, but who trusts in justice and in the good sense of Italians. 

And finally I wish that sooner or later the judges will recognise my complete non-involvement in what was the horrible murder of the splendid, magnificent girl who was Meredith Kercher, by Raffaelle Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

Guede Rudy

See that final paragraph? It seems likely that he explained as much to Mignini and Comodi when they interviewed him in March 2010 in Viterbo (nothing has ever been released about what he said) and on Monday Judge Hellman could press him for proofs.

Past posts worth reading in this context are this one on his rather sad growing up and this one on the Supreme Court’s reasons for rejecting his final appeal, stating that three people had to have done it.

Also this one on one of his online conversations from Germany in 2007 with a Perugia friend, kindly translated by a PMF team.


Giulia Bongiorno’s Next Super-Witness: The Apple Of Her Witness Luciano Aviello’s Eye?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Anti-Aviello Testimony

This above is former Italian politician Vladimir Luxuria who, despite appearances, is fully male.

Testifying for the prosecution today, several rather convincing fellow-inmates have now contradicted defense witness Luciano Aviello’s 18 June testimony that his brother and one other had murdered Meredith.

Here is their claim. Defense counsel Dalla Vedova’s and Bongiorno’s “super witness” Luciano Aviello had told his fellow inmates that he wanted a sex change operation so he could end up looking like Luxuria.

This operation was to be paid for with money he claimed Bongiorno was offering for his false testimony to help RS and AK.

Giulia Bongiorno ended up outraged, and threatening lawsuits at this testimony, which she claimed was false (the paying of the money bit).

We are told an investigation will be started which may affect whether Bongiorno can stay on the Sollecito team.

[Added: yes, a month later we were told an investigation was under way.]

2. Bongiorno’s Other Problems





Above, a juror is grinning at Giulia Bongiorno’s frustration while Rudy Guede stonewalls her.

At various points in the trial and appeal she has dropped the ball in spectacularly goofy ways.

Bongiorno disappeared from the trial court late in 2009 for weeks with no explanation. She next appeared with a baby in her arms. 

This morning she was sputtering to Judge Hellman that she only found out today about Rudy Guede’s letter - the letter reproduced in full in in this post which we translated into in English a full year ago.

She tried to have it excluded.

Here is another of Bongiorno’s sundry public disasters. She had claimed that an ex-burglar would climb into Filomena’s bedroom - but he never made it above eye-level with the window-sill.

In fact in three and a half years NO climber has ever made it through that window, though one or two did break in the far more logical way - via the hard-to-see and easy-to-climb rear balcony.

We do look forward to Giulia’s suit against the inmates. She has promised such suits often before.

Perhaps they will all arrive in a bunch?


Monday, June 20, 2011

Repeat of March 2010 Post: Guede Denounces Alessi, Blames Knox And Sollecito For Meredith’s Murder DRAFT

Posted by Peter Quennell


Guede will be required to testify on June 27. This is a repeat of Tiziano’s post of 12 March last year. At this point, Mario Alessi had made his claims to Sollecito’s lawyers at Viterbo Prison about Guede telling him he murdered Meredith with two others. And Rudy Guede had issued a heated hand-written rejection, denying this, ridiculing Alessi, and naming Knox and Sollecito as the murderers. Subsequent to this post, Prosecutors Mignini and Comodi travelled to Viterbo and interviewed both Alessi and Guede. This letter was Guede’s last major statement on the subject.

Please click here to read Rudy Guede’s hand-written letter from Viterbo Prison (above)  in Italian.

Below is our translation of the letter as posted by TGCom.

Rudy Guede was obviously provoked into putting his version of events out by the claim of Alessi (see video at bottom of this post) that he had a colleague with him on the night, and also by the finding of the judges in the Dispositivo that he was the prime instigator.

The complete text of the letter written by the Ivory Coast man.

Guede’s letter to News Mediaset.

Viterbo 07/03/2010

As usual in this beloved beautiful country of ours, there are many dishonest people given over to lying.  And there are likewise those who give these people a voice without the slightest questioning of their consciences, whether it’s worth the trouble of giving space to certain conjectures.

In recent days the only things I have heard have been blasphemous insinuations about me; baseless gossip which has done nothing other than harrying, hither and thither, TV news channels, even though for reasonable people it is the pure invention of a wicked mind.

It must be said that all I have heard in recent days in the media, about what has been falsely stated by this foul being by the name of Mario Alessi, whose conscience is nothing but stinking garbage, are purely and simply the ravings of a sick and twisted mind, his ravings are the dreamed-up, untrue declarations of a monster who sullied himself with a frightful murder in which he took the life of an angelic little human being, as is known throughout Italy. This fellow, now, is telling lies about things that I never said to him and (other things) that I never said, things that don’t exist either in this world or the next.

To his ““ or rather their- rotten declarations, it’s my intention to put in black and white that I never confided in this disgusting creature, since moreover that I’ve got nothing to confess or anything else (to say), and everything that I had to say I have already said to the judges and I will go on shouting and fighting while I am still alive, until the truth itself and justice itself prevail over such lies, and even less did I speak one to one or together with other people or with other inmates about my trial affairs, and if I had ever had something to say, don’t you believe that I would have talked about it with my lawyers?  Giving rise to and giving credit to what is a blasphemous statement made by a sick mind, to a monster who had no pity for a child.

With this latest scenario, which my lawyers, my family and I are now used to, from this latest person, the monster Alessi, I hope that Italians and the rest of the world realise that they are dealing with pigs, pigs which stink of the slime of falsehood, but which, not withstanding everything, go around showing their faces and suffocating people with their fetid lying.

Like their umpteenth scenario which does nothing more than give me the strength and the awareness to struggle more than ever, so that the truth that they want to hide is revealed for everyone to see.

As far as I’m concerned, (I have) the serenity and the calm of complete peace of mind, as a person who does not parade this unfair suffering, but who trusts in justice and in the good sense of Italians. 

And finally I wish that sooner or later the judges will recognise my complete non-involvement in what was the horrible murder of the splendid, magnificent girl who was Meredith Kercher, by Raffaelle Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

Guede Rudy

Below: Alessi’s statement at Viterbo Prison to Raffaele Sollecito’s defense team. Warning: this very self-serving statement by Alessi is graphic and offensive, as well as, in our view, almost certainly untrue. 

Rudy Guede will be interrogated on the claims in this statement today Friday by Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi at Viterbo Prison. There could be news coming out of this interrogation later today.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Current Court Reporting: Seattle Post Intelligencer Still Posts The Best, Least Bias, Most Detail

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Seattle waterfront just north of downtown - Seattle PI building is at front center with globe]

Witness Andrea Vogt’s excellent report on the proceedings today in Appeal Court.

1). On the assorted criminals testifying today. 

The dramatic day of testimony, requested by the defense, brought together a gang of criminals of whom Hollywood scriptwriters could only dream, including a convicted rapist and childkiller, a mafia snitch and other hardened long-timers with little to lose.

Their riveting testimony (complete rubbish or explosive and key new revelations, depending on your point of view) led jurors down some of Italy’s darkest alleys, from the desperate gangster neighborhoods of Naples to the powerful masonic lodges of Umbria and tough Italian prison wards with their own code of honor….

Only one of the five had no connection to Sicily or Naples and that was a Romanian who claimed on the stand that his signature had been forged on a document presented by the defense and that he knew nothing about anything….

2) On the testimony of Mario Alessi

Alessi took the stand around noon, after a sharp drop in his blood pressure required a nurse’s attentions (the stress of testifying had caused him to lose 15 pounds over he last 10 days, his lawyer told seattlepi.com). Alessi said he earned Guede’s trust while they were incarcerated together.

One day, Guede took him by the arm and led him to a corner of the prison yard where they would be out of view of closed-circuit cameras, he said. Then, Guede told him that the real truth was that a drunkard who had gone to Kercher’s flat with Guede from the disco had sexually assaulted her and then killed her to avoid “rotting in prison” for the rape….

Toward the end of Alessi’s story, the lawyer for Meredith Kercher’s family, Francesco Maresca, branded him a repeat liar. Maresca held up a photo of “Tommy,” whose high-profile disappearance and slaying in 2006 shocked Italy….  In response to the photo of Tommy, Alessi said no, he didn’t recognize the boy, to which Maresca said, “That’s OK, we do.”

3) On the testimony of Luciano Aviello:

But on the night of Kercher’s murder, Nov. 1, 2007, Aviello testified, his brother came home with a ripped, bloodied jacket and was covered in scratches on his arms. He eventually said he had stabbed a young woman after surprising her during a break-in to steal a painting, Aviello said…

The brothers had then hidden the murder weapon and keys to the house in a nearby wall and covered the hole with mortar. “Go and see for yourselves. Verify it! You’ll find I am telling the truth,” said Aviello. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.”  Police and prosecutors have never publicly confirmed that such a search was done. Aviello’s brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

When prosecutors asked him about his connection to Alessi and the other cons, Aviello took offense, saying he had nothing to do with those “pedophiles and rapists,” but was rather just an “honest” gangster from Naples doing time for routine organized crime.

Toward the end, Aviello’s testimony grew increasingly aggressive toward prosecutors and police with whom he had collaborated. At one point guards held his shoulders as he yelled accusations through the gap where two front teeth should be. “You are a klan, not the judiciary!” he yelled.

4) And on the prosecution’s many new rebuttal witnesses.

... the court agreed to call a number of counter-witnesses requested by the prosecution, including two more prisoners and two police officials. The court also agreed to hear Giacomo Benedetti, the friend of Rudy’s whose Skype conversation with Guede while Guede was on the lam in Germany led to his arrest, as well as Guede himself.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today’s Desperate Moves By The Defense Lawyers Seem To Have Backfired On The Two Defendants

Posted by willsavive




1. Court Order Of Business

Just as expected, five inmates testified to the Italian court that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent, to the best of their knowledge.

According to Barbie Nadeau (author of the Beast Book Angel Face) security was tight in Perugia today, as a string of blue prison vans pulled into the back parking lot of the central courthouse carrying some of Italy’s most notorious convicts.

2. The Testimony

1. Mario Alessi

First to the stand was Mario Alessi who is serving a life sentence in Italy for kidnapping and killing 17-month old, Tommaso Onofri, in 2006, was called by Sollecito’s defense team. Almost immediately after taking the stand, Alessi turned pale, became ill, and had to step down. After nearly an hour he finally returned to tell his story.

Alessi, who was being held in the same prison as Rudy Guede, testified that the Guede told him that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, speaking in prison conversations in November 2009, a month before the Knox and Sollecito were convicted.

Alessi said Guede approached him during recreation time at the Viterbo prison. “Rudy links arms with me, inviting me to take a walk with him, he has something important to tell me,” Alessi told the court. He quoted Guede as saying he was worried because “I don’t know whether to tell the truth or not,” and that the truth “is altogether different from what you hear on TV.”

Alessi then testified that Guede said he and a friend went over the house with the intent of having three-way sex with Meredith Kercher. When she refused, the scene turned violent. Alessi said Guede told him he had gone to the bathroom and upon coming back he had seen his friend holding Kercher to the ground.

Eventually, “a knife appeared, almost out of nowhere,” Alessi said, quoting Guede as saying that it was pointed at Kercher’s throat. Kercher began fighting, according to Alessi, and her throat slit got slit in the process. Guede tried to rescue her, Alessi said, but his friend stopped him.

Alessi testified (translation by Jools) that”¦

“Guede asked me what benefits he would get if he told the truth. He then said that he had met Meredith in a bar with some friends of his ““ one was called The Fat One. He said that one had got drunk and that he had followed Meredith home to see where she lived.

A few days later he said he and this drunk friend went back to the house to see Meredith. They asked her if she would like to have a threesome and she had told them to leave.

Rudy said he then went to the bathroom and that when he came back the scene was very different. He said that Meredith was on the floor, back down, and that his friend was holding her down by the arms.

He said that they swapped positions. Rudy then told me that he had put a small ivory handled knife to her throat and that it had cut her and his hands were full of blood. He said that his friend had said: “˜We need to finish her off or we will rot in jail.’”

Note: The bold statement above is a huge inconsistency, because, by all accounts (Knox as well as others who lived in the cottage), Guede already knew where Meredith was living - he had been to the cottage twice before that.

According to Alessi, Guede did not reveal the identity of his alleged accomplice.

Alessi said he and Guede had developed a friendship in prison but eventually Alessi broke it off as he realized that Guede “said two innocent people were in jail” but did nothing about it. Alessi then contacted the lawyers representing Sollecito. Of course, being the humanitarian that he is, Alessi claims that he tried to convince Guede to “tell the truth.”

Upon cross-examination, Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca held up a photo of the child Alessi murdered (Tommaso Onofri) and asked him, “Do you know who this is?” “No” Alessi replied, looking away. Italian media report that he also denied he is serving a life sentence.

Three more fellow Viterbo prison inmates were called to back up Alessi’s story, including police informant Marco Castelluccio, who took the stand behind a blue cover, guards around him. Castelluccio said he heard the story about Knox and Sollecito’s innocent mostly from Alessi. He said on one occasion, however, he heard Guede say from a separate cell that Knox and Sollecito were innocent.

2. Luciano Aviello

Another prison inmate Luciano Aviello [42] who has served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra, testified today that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.”

Aviello said that the Albanian - who offered his brother “work” in the form of a robbery - had inadvertently jotted down the wrong address, and they instead went to the house where Kercher and Knox were living, and they were surprised by Meredith’s appearance. According to Aviello, his brother and the Albanian man then committed the murder and fled.

Aviello is from Naples, but was living in Perugia at the time of the murder. He claims that his brother, who is currently on the run, was staying with him in late 2007 and on the night of the murder he returned home with an injury to his right arm and his jacket covered in blood.

Flanked by two prison guards, Aviello described how his brother had entered the house Meredith shared with Knox and had been looking for the painting when they were disturbed by a woman “wearing a dressing gown.”

“My brother told me that he had put his hand to her mouth but she had struggled,“Aviello testified. “He said he got the knife and stabbed her before they had run off. He said he had also smashed a window to simulate a break in.“Aviello said his brother had hidden the knife, along with a set of keys his brother had used to enter the house. “Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place,” he asserted.

Consequently, Aviello had been in the same jail as Sollecito and had told him: “I believe in your innocence.”

Knox’s lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, visited Aviello in Ivrea prison near Turin back in May 2010 and videotaped his statement and included it in their appeal request.

Under cross examination from the prosecution it emerged that Aviello had also been convicted seven times of defamation to which he angrily replied: “That’s because all of you, the judiciary are a clan.”

As Aviello testified, Knox””dressed in an ankle length floral pattern white dress and blue top””listened intently, occasionally making notes or discussing points with her lawyer. 

3. A Comment

So many convicts, which one to believe, if any?

Rudy Guede will now get a chance to rebut all of the above at the next appeal hearing on 27 June. This may be the worst-case scenario that the pussyfooting Knox and Sollecito defenses tried to avoid for three years. Did Knox realize?

Oh yes, it’s true! Judge Hellman has ordered Guede’s testimony to counter that of Mario Alessi. Guede will be heard alongside two fellow-detainees and two Perugia officers. June is shaping up to be a real “scorcher” in this appeals trial.

Guede had refused to speak on the stand in the original trial of Knox and Sollecito, because his appeal was still ongoing. Now, with Guede’s final appeal completed with Italy’s Court of Cassation; a real surprise could be in store.


Cross-posted here from my own website Savive’s Corner.


Today’s Star Witnesses For The Defense Alessi & Aviello Up To Necks In Trouble?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Alessi above; no shot of Aviello available due to protected status

1. Summary Report

Today the Long-shot defense witnesses Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello were heard. 

Already the Italian media are reporting on what looks like a slow moving train-wreck for the defense.

1. Mario Alessi

We have already had many posts on Alessi (read from the bottom up). Frankly, not a great choice. Mario Alessi is one of the least liked and trusted characters in Italy.

In part because before Alessi was arrested for killing a baby with a spade after kidnapping the parents, he was seen on national TV saying “Who could have done such a horrible thing?” Attempts to hoodwink the Italian public and courts never seem to go over very well.

Main reporting on the testimony of Mario Alessi will be available later today.

Here is what we already know. 

1) Alessi’s nervous and defiant claims on the witness stand that Guede told him Sollecito and Knox were not involved sounded distinctly hollow.

2) The prosecution ripped into him during the cross-examination phase and left him squirming and evasive on his claims.

3) The prosecution announced that the police have already investigated him for false claims, and a request for his prosecution has been sent to Viterbo.

4) The lawyer for the victim’s family also ripped into him with a description of his murder of a baby, with an image of the baby being presented to the court.

5) Alessi then developed some sort of health condition with low blood pressure as one of the symptoms, and was briefly treated.

6) Alessi seemed to be trying to opt out from any more interrogation on the stand, but Judge Hellman ordered him to come back.

2. Luciano Aviello

Luciano Aviello next took the stand.

We have already had many posts on Aviello too (read from the bottom up).  Again this is not someone Italy likes or trusts.

The Naples Comorrah mafia snitch among other things accused his missing brother and one other of murdering Meredith while in the wrong house looking for valuable art. Hellman had real problems keeping order in the court as Aviello also accused the police and RS lawyer Bongiorno of crimes.

The prosecution cross-examination of Aviello was cut off. Oddly, Hellman appeared to not want to hear about those latter accusations at all.

A fuller report will be posted when the media reports come out. It will be interesting to see if any photographs appear of Aviello. There are no recent shots. Barbie Nadeau tweeted from the court that he looks about 12 years old.

If he cannot produce Meredith’s keys or a knife that he claimed he buried at his brother’s request, he too will be toast and also facing new charges.

2 Longer Report #1

From an excellent report in the Daily Beast by Barbie Nadeau:

Five super-witnesses took center stage in a Perugia courtroom in defense of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who are appealing their convictions for killing Meredith Kercher.

[Mario Alessi]

The first witness, Mario Alessi, was on the stand briefly before he turned pale and took ill and had to leave the courtroom. After nearly an hour, he returned to tell the court a very convincing story about how Rudy Guede admitted that Knox and Sollecito were not part of Kercher’s murder and that a “drunk man” and a “fat guy” killed her instead.

He started by recounting how he and Guede found a quiet spot in the prison yard out of the view of the closed-circuit television camera and Rudy poured his heart out, telling him the real story of Kercher’s murder.

Alessi’s account was rich in detail as he explained how he tried to convince Guede to “tell the truth.” The only problem with Alessi is the fact that he is one of Italy’s most notorious murderers himself, convicted for the 2006 kidnapping and murder of a two-year-old boy.

The lawyer representing the Kercher family Francesco Maresca held up a photo of the child and asked Alessi, “Do you know who this is?” “No,” Alessi replied, looking away. “That’s ok, we know who he is,” replied Maresca.

[Alessi Cellmates]

Three more witnesses followed, each backing up Alessi’s account of Rudy’s story, each one more colorful than the previous… their credibility was deemed questionable based on the fact that they were convicts and the essence of their testimony was prison-yard gossip.

The judge… decided he needs to hear from Guede himself to clarify the prison gossip. That hearing was scheduled for June 27. And Guede will testify.

[Luciano Aviello]

The final witness threw a curveball in a day that was going largely Knox’s way.

Luciano Aviello took the stand to tell the court that his brother was the real murderer. He explained that he was just out of prison for mafia collusion and living in a “mini apartment” in Perugia “thanks to your generous justice system” he added, looking at the judge for effect.

Then he explained that on the night of November 1, after he got back to Perugia after a quick trip home to Naples, his brother came to his apartment at around 10 or 11 at night.

“My brother came in and sat on the sofa. The right arm of his jacket was ripped and he could see blood on his arm. My brother then pulled out a pocket knife and a set of keys. He was very afraid. He didn’t want to create problems for me in Perugia. My brother was very emotional.”

Aviello then went on to explain that his brother had met up with an Albanian man who offered him “work” in the form of a robbery. The Albanian had inadvertently jotted down the address incorrectly and they went instead to the house where Kercher and Knox were living.

Having found Kercher home alone, they started to attack her sexually and then they killed her. “I’m not telling you this because I have hate inside me for my brother,” he said. “I am coming forward because it is the right thing for me to do.”

At one point he lectured the prosecutor about jumping to conclusions too quickly. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent,” he said. Then under cross examination he lost his temper and exploded into a near-rage of wild gesticulation and Neapolitan dialect that was largely incomprehensible…

[Reaction Of Knox]

Knox, who was dressed in a conservative skirt and blue blouse, looked dismayed during most of the hearing. Her appeal is winding down and she knows well that every trial date should count towards proving her innocence, and potentially setting her free….


3. Longer Report #2

This is by our main poster Will Savive.

Another prison inmate Luciano Aviello [42] who has served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra, testified today that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.”

Aviello said that the Albanian (who offered his brother “work” in the form of a robbery) had inadvertently jotted down the wrong address, and they instead went to the house where Kercher and Knox were living, and they were surprised by Meredith’s appearance. According to Aviello, his brother and the Albanian man then committed the murder and fled.

Aviello is from Naples, but was living in Perugia at the time of the murder. He claims that his brother, who is currently on the run, was staying with him in late 2007 and on the night of the murder he returned home with an injury to his right arm and his jacket covered in blood.

Flanked by two prison guards, Aviello described how his brother had entered the house Meredith shared with Knox and had been looking for the painting when they were disturbed by a woman “wearing a dressing gown.” So many convicts, which one to believe, if any?

“My brother told me that he had put his hand to her mouth but she had struggled,” Aviello testified. “He said he got the knife and stabbed her before they had run off. He said he had also smashed a window to simulate a break in.”

Aviello said his brother had hidden the knife, along with a set of keys his brother had used to enter the house. “Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place,” he asserted. Consequently, Aviello had been in the same jail as Sollecito and had told him: “I believe in your innocence.”


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Possibilities For Political Derailing Of Justice For Meredith Are Now Down Near Zero

Posted by Peter Quennell

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (below left) gets a huge slap in the face in a referendum of Italian voters. He had no obvious powers to wield over the appeal in any case.

Mr Berlusconi’s own grip on power will be weakened by the repeal of a law that excused senior office holders from attending court because of their workload. He is a defendant in three time-consuming trials involving allegations of bribery, fraud and paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl—cases that are sapping his authority.

And the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano (below right) makes clear through a spokesman that he will not lift a finger to help to spring Amanda Knox despite the request from some junior Berlusconi-party parliamentarians..

Italy’s president says he’s following the case of American student Amanda Knox but can’t intervene as she appeals her conviction on charges she murdered her British roommate.

President Giorgio Napolitano’s diplomatic counselor responded to an Italian lawmaker who asked the head of state to intervene to avert controversies stemming from the case.

Mr Napolitano is known to really dislike Mr Berlusconi and his party, so the Rocco Girlanda ploy the Knox forces inflated into an imminent home run was actually dead even before it ever began.

There is no growing global or American or Italian mass movement pro-Knox, and President Obama and Republicans leaders have nothing to gain by denying Meredith her justice.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

So The Two Pressed Defense Teams Decide To Go Eyeball To Eyeball With Cassation

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. How Looks The Appeal?

The appeal is not looking very pretty for the defenses.

There seems no single brick in the wall of the prosecution’s case that, if pulled, will place the entire structure in doubt.

The Supreme Court ruled last December that at Rudy Guede’s trial, Judge Micheli had it right in saying that three perpetrators killed Meredith, one of which was definitely Rudy Guede.

Judge Micheli also ruled in October 2008 that only Knox had a reason to rearrange the crime scene, and Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial judge Massei ruled the same in December 2009.

The extensive forensic evidence in Filomena’s room, in the corridor, and in the bathroom Meredith and Amanda Knox shared, has so far been ruled out for re-examination.

None of it suggests Guede was ever in that bathroom or in Filomena’s room - in fact it suggests he headed straight out the front door .

Eye-witnesses other than the man in the park, Curatolo, are not to be heard from again.

Curatolo is probably not much discredited because he could say that it did not rain on the night he claims he saw Sollecito and Knox in the park watching the house (it did rain on Halloween) and that it was the night before all the cops arrived at the house. Buses were around as he described.

The only thing that might have shaken his timeline is that he might have seen a late Halloween reveler or two.

And the defenses seem to have no obvious way of explaining why Knox and Sollecito came up with so very many muddled alibis and why each at one point even ended up blaming the other.

A report today from TGCom said this on the review of two small parts of the DNA evidence:

Expert reports on the traces of DNA found on the knife held to be the murder weapon used to kill Meredith Kercher, and the clasp of the bra worn at the time of the murder, will be filed June 30.

This has been established by the 2011 Assize Court of Appeal in the Perugia trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The new deadline was set by the judges at the request of their experts who had requested an extension of 40 days.

The experts have been in the courtroom, explaining that they have obtained all the scientific data required.

They have however also highlighted the need to consult the minutes related to the seizure of the knife and the testimony in the 2009 trial of the agents that followed the inspection at the home of Sollecito. Documents that the Court ordered are to be provided to the experts.

In front of the judges one of the experts stressed that the “maximum cooperation” was provided by the scientific police who performed the technical tests in the course of the investigations.

Nothing in that looks too promising.

2. Best Defense Options Left?

What moves are available if Knox and Sollecito are really to be sufficiently suggested not guilty?

  • Option 1: Putting both of them on the witness stand without preconditions for the first time so the appeal court can hear their stories in full, compare them, and subject Knox and Sollecito to no-holds-barred cross-examination.

  • Option 2: Putting the two prison inmates Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello on the witness stand, with several claimed corroborators, to say in Alessi’s case that Guede confided that he did it with two others, and to say in Aviello’s case that his missing brother did it with one other.

What we know of their claims so far - and police and prosecution have really checked out Alessi and Aviello and revealed nothing of what they have up their sleeves - there are only poor connects between their claims and what is described in the Micheli and Massei reports.

Each could crumble in a devastating way under cross-examination, and then be contradicted by a long line of witnesses that the prosecution could bring in to rebut them.

Here is Andrea Vogt reporting on Option 2 from the trial session yesterday which turned out to be mainly procedural: setting several new appeal court dates, and a new date for the findings of the reviews of the DNA on the large knife and bra clasp.

The parties eventually agreed to hold hearings June 18 and 27. And, surprisingly, Judge Hellmann also agreed to admit five new controversial witnesses into the appeals trial, a process normally reserved for debating contested evidence already introduced in the first trial.

The five new witnesses being requested by the Sollecito and Knox defense are all prison inmates ““ convicted of everything from child homicide to being Mafia snitches and drug dealing.

Some of the witnesses have given conflicting accounts of stories they’ve heard about the case while behind bars. At least three, however, agree on their version, that Rudy Guede told them that Knox and Sollecito were innocent (an account Guede denies).

The prosecution is likely to call for counter testimony. The decision to open up the appeal to wholly new testimony from convicted prison inmates is bound to complicate the already confused trial even more, and likely push any final decision far into the fall, toward the fourth anniversary of Kercher’s brutal stabbing and Knox’s incarceration in connection with it.

As if five convicts weren’t enough, Knox’s attorneys announced they had received yet another letter from a different inmate, Tommaso Pace, this time making bizarre and unfounded claims that victim Meredith Kercher was targeted by two unnamed brothers paid $100,000 to kill her over alleged drug debts.

The new letter from Pace (whom the judge and attorneys must still agree to call as a witness) sets up the prospect of potentially six prison inmates taking the stand in Knox’s defense over the summer””each of them with a slightly different story and motive for telling it.

Alessi’s own lawyer seems to have counseled him not to get up on the stand, presumably fearing perjury charges and additional time in his cell.

Aviello is literally unlikely to show his face.

The prosecution could bring back Rudy Guede as a witness against both, and even without Guede testifying, it looks like the prosecution might turn all five witnesses on their heads. 

So Option 2 could drag things out for some months, and try to confront the unequivocal Supreme Court finding issued last December and ported into this appeal: no one wolf.

And still have the Knox and Sollecito defenses conclusively crumble.

Meanwhile, the judges and jury could be watching a very prolonged dog-and-pony show, while impatiently wondering:

“WHY didn’t they simply choose Option 1? Then some or all of us might very quickly have gone home.”


Monday, March 28, 2011

Sixth Appeal Hearing: Andrea Vogt On The Testimony Of The Witness In The Square

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: north side of Piazza Grimana showing the benches where Mr Curatolo normally sits]

Click here for Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle PI from the appeals court.

One of the case’s most colorful and controversial characters, Curatolo, 53, has spent many a day sitting in the small public Piazza Grimana square near the university where college students come to play basketball, buy hashish and hang out….

When questioned by prosecutors, he said he remembered seeing Knox and Sollecito having “an animated discussion” in the square, which overlooks the villa where Kercher’s body would be found the next day. It was not raining that night, he said, when asked about the weather. The following day the Carabinieri came around to ask him if he had seen anything, he recalled, and he had watched as forensic crime scene investigators worked around the house.

“Are you sure that the day after you saw those two discussing in an animated way you were questioned by the Carabinieri and saw the police at Via della Pergola in their white suits?” asked Mignini.

“Very sure,” Curatolo said. “As sure as I am that I am sitting here.”

But minutes later, in questioning by Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Curatolo also said he had seen young people in masks and getting on buses to go to the discos. The distinction is important because Halloween was Oct. 31 and there were likely students in costumes, getting on shuttles to go to the discos on the outskirts of town.

Kercher, however, was killed on the evening of Nov. 1, 2007, which is All Saints Day, a somber holiday in Italy, when it is less likely there were any festivities.

“I think it is clear that he does not have a lucid memory,” said a member of Knox’s legal team, Maria del Grosso, after the hearing. “And I think it was demonstrated today that he is not a credible witness.”

However, prosecutors and the lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, maintained the testimony was in line with previous statements.

“He repeated exactly what he said during the first trial. We still believe he is reliable.”

Good neutral report, as you’d expect, from Andrea Vogt who is the American reporter most consistently in the courtroom. All the other reports in English seemed to include a lot of fluff from the defenses.

We’ll have an analysis post on this hearing and the DNA testing in Rome later today or tomorrow.

**********

Below: Mr Curatolo’s preferred benches are at the far left there. If Sollecito did watch the gate of the house on the night he’d need to be to the far right there. The gate can easily be seen from there.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Giordano Supreme Court Report On Final Appeal By Rudy Guede

Posted by Our Main Posters



[St Peters in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in background]


Please click on the image above for this meticulous translation from Italian to English.

The PMF translation team on three continents consisted of Jools, Thoughtful, Clander, TomM, Catnip, Yummi and the 411.

This post spelled out how very ominous for the Knox and Sollecito defenses this report really is.

We will have a post soon examining the fine details of this very tough report.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Limited Review Of The DNA Tests Agreed To By Judge Hellmann Are Now Underway In Rome

Posted by The Machine


[Amended by the Machine after his posted comment.]

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti of La Sapienza University in Rome (above) have begun the review of the DNA on the large double-DNA knife and the bra clasp under the eyes of expert witnesses.

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni and Professor Giuseppe Novelli will be testifying on behalf of the prosecution. 

Professor Novelli has an impressive CV. He is a highly regarded professor of biomedicine at Tor Vergata in Rome and director of the Centre of Excellence for Genomic Risk Assessment in Multifactorial and Complex Diseases.  Professor Novelli is regarded as the “father of police forensics” in Italy.

If there had been any doubts about the validity of the DNA evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, he wouldn’t have agreed to testify for the prosecution.

A number of independent experts have already confirmed the validity of the DNA evidence at various court hearings.

There was an independent review of the forensic evidence in 2008. Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA unit of the scientific police, reviewed Dr. Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable.

He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team. “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

Alberto Intini, the head of the Italian police forensic science unit, testified for the prosecution at the trial last year. He maintained that the crime scene had not been contaminated. He pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist.

He also stated that the results of the tests showed that the investigation had been carried out correctly because there was not even one trace of any of the forensic technicians.

The Kercher family hired their own DNA expert, Professor Francesca Torricelli, and asked her to examine the DNA evidence.

Professor Torricelli is the Director of a genetic facility at Careggi University Hospital and has been working in genetics since 1976. She testified at Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial last year and she also confirmed Dr. Stefanoni’s findings.

She told the court that the significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp meant that it was unlikely that it was left by contamination. She also agreed with Dr. Stefanoni that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the double DNA knife.

Distinguished DNA expert and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano analysed the DNA and forensic evidence for the early 2010 book “Darkness Descending”.

He has more than 32 years of forensics experience and is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is considered by many as Italy’s top forensics expert. In his section of the book, he explains at length why he too thinks that Knox and Sollecito are guilty of Meredith’s murder.

Although General Garofano agrees with Dr. Renato Biondo and Alberto Intini that the scientific police did a good job, he thinks the police should have separated the plastic handle from the knife and checked for blood there because it often gathers in the grooves and recesses under the blade.

Stefano Conti has asked Judge Hellman for permission to take apart the handle of the knife.

The conclusions of the DNA retesting must be filed with Judge Hellman’s court no later than May 9 and they will be discussed at the appeal hearing on May 21.

Retesting of the DNA was always a high-stakes gamble for the defense teams and could prove to be game-over for Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal in a single stroke.

On the other hand, the prosecution has little to worry about either way, as the balance of the evidence is so massive.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fifth Appeal Hearing: Testimony On Club Closings And Buses Leaves Credibility Of Eyewitness Intact

Posted by Peter Quennell


The shot above from the front of the School for Foreigners is of Piazza Grimana.

Click for a larger image. You can see the square with the benches at extreme left and right, and at rear the basketball court where Rudy Guede played. At the back there at the far right are the stone stairs down which Knox and Sollecito may have entered the park.

The many traversing buses mostly stop right in front here and they would block most of that view.

It is hard for us to see the defense witness testimony from six witnesses - one nightclub owner apparently refused to show - that several clubs were closed and several buses not running as any big deal.

In this post below we mentioned that Judge Micheli at Rudy Guede’s trial in October 2008 had accepted the testimony of Mr Curatolo because he said it was the night before the police descended on Meredith’s house and the square.

Judge Masse’s court also used this as a pointer to Mr Curatolo’s credibility and the Supreme Court of Cassation in denying Guede’s ten appeal grounds also endorsed the testimony as good. 

Here now is a repeat of our report on Mr Curatolo’s day in court by our man in the court at the time, StewartHome2000,  almost precisely two years ago (29 March 2009).

He is a fixture in Perugia. He is a vagrant that spends most of his time hanging around Corso Garibaldi (the street where Sollecito lived) and Piazza Grimana (the piazza in front of the School for Foreigners within eyeshot of the gate of Meredith’s house on Via della Pergola).

The crowd murmured as he was helped in by court assistants, uncleaned and dressed in an old jacket and winter knit hat. His skin was dark against his long un-groomed white hair, beard and mustache. But once he opened his mouth, you knew that this guy was no slouch. He spoke clearly, concisely and directly, and was very certain of what he saw.

His testimony never swayed and was consistent even under cross examination. In short, his appearance was one thing, his articulate convincing testimony was another.

He stated that he has been a regular hobo (for lack of a better term) around that part of Perugia for about 8-9 years. He testified that he was in Piazza Grimani around 9:30-10:00pm when he saw across the piazza two people, a man and a woman. He described them as a couple from the way they were sitting next to one another.

He was asked to describe them and he turned and looked at Amanda, just a few feet away, and said calmly, “it was her”, and then looked at Sollecito and said “and him.” He stated that having been in that area he had seen them before separately, but this was the first time he saw them together. But he was certain it was them.

He said also that, although he did not watch them all the time, he did see them again “poco prima di mezzanotte” or “just before midnight” at the same place. He originally said that they were there from 9:30 through midnight, but clarified that they were there at 9:30-10:00pm and may have left around 11-11:30 and then returned to be there just before midnight.

After midnight, he left the piazza to go to the park and sleep.

The next day, he arrived at his faithful piazza around 12:00pm, and eventually, around 1:30 or so, he saw the carabinieri pass by, and the police and crime scene staff, and stated that he watched them at the scene, including the CSI people dressed in the full-white suits.

Under cross-examination, Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno may have thought she had an easy target. But in fact he held up extremely well. She asked, “how could you possibly know it was 9:30?” and he responded “Because the sign next to the piazza has a digital clock. I look at it often to check the time”.

He stated that “when I sat on the bench to read I looked at my watch and it was just before 9:30pm”¦.and I saw them shortly afterwards.” He said he knows what he saw, and he saw those two! No more questions.

Buses and nightclubs were not even mentioned in this comprehensive report. They were not even brought up by the defenses to rebut Mr Curatolo’s timeline two years ago.

The defenses again seem to be clutching at straws.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/11 at 05:27 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Comments here (5)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fifth Appeal Hearing: The Two Appellants Arrrive In The Courtroom

Posted by Peter Quennell



Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/12/11 at 12:51 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Comments here (13)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fifth Appeal Hearing: What Will Be On The Agenda Tomorrow In Court

Posted by Peter Quennell


Scheduled for tomorrow are seven witnesses for Sollecito’s defense, which is trying to prove that the eyewitness in the park, Mr Curatolo, got his dates wrong.

One of the ways in which Mr Curatolo identified the night on which he says he watched Knox and Sollecito sitting and talking in the park and periodically peering in the direction of the gate of Meredith’s house was by the presence of some buses.

They may have been the buses which climb up the very narrow Via Ulise Rocchi from the square to some clubs further up. However many, many other buses also pass through that square.

The defense hopes to land its first blow on the prosecution’s case by showing that on the night those nightclub buses weren’t there - that the clubs were closed that night for the holiday, and so the nightclub buses were nowhere to be seen.

Is this crucial? We think not. Mr Curatolo is useful in establishing a possible timeline for the night, but not for much more than that. The prosecution have never given the slightest hint that they believe anything like their whole case hangs on him.

And in Rudy Guede’s brief trial in October 2008 Judge Micheli accepted Mr Curatolo’s testimony as valid because he said he saw Knox and Sollecito on the night before all the police descended on Meredith’s house and the square.

Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith.

In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

Acceptance of his testimony is already endorsed by two appeals courts, including the Supreme Court of Cassation, and all the decisions and all the evidence from all three courts now get ported into the Knox-Solleito appeal.

You can see photos of the square here and the view down to the gate of Meredith’s house here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/11/11 at 06:42 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesOther witnessesAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Comments here (7)

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