Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 4 of 4)

Posted by Cesare Beccaria

My previous report appeared here. In January 2009 the trial of Knox and Sollecito sees its first session. In February 2009 the prosecutor calls Rudy Guede to testify in the trial of his presumed accomplices.

A year earlier, Guede had said, on several occasions, that he wanted to have a face-to-face confrontation with Sollecito. This time, on the contrary, he says that he will be “mute” until his appeal, although he could “say some heavy stuff regarding the two defendants, but first I have to defend myself.”

All the attorneys conveniently keep their client off the stand, except for Amanda, who does a fairly decent job. Guede is not put on the stand and no confrontation was allowed by his lawyers. Sollecito is conveniently kept on the sidelines throughout the trial except for a couple of interventions. All their words were filtered by their lawyers.

On 4 April 2009 Guede is again called to testify at the trial in Corte D’Assise, andt he exercises his right to silence. From February to December 2009 the three attorneys play their game in Court, both in the Guede appeal and in the Knox-Sollecito trial in the Corte D’Assise.

Everything they said is documented in the trial transcripts and their reciprocal accusations went on and off until the last days in the Corte D’Assise.

As we have already seen for Rudy’s trial, during the closing statements the explicit accusations re-emerges with great strength (“the only guilty person is Guede, while Raffaele must be acquitted”, says Mrs. Buongiorno) and then the ceasefire kicks right back in again, right after the trial.

In mid-December 2009 a fourth Porta a Porta program discusses the murder of Perugia.

The previous week Amanda Knox and Raffaele Solecito have been found guilty of the murder, and now Guede is waiting for his verdict on appeal.

On this program the attorneys continue with their veiled reciprocal accusations, but without being direct and too explicit. More than a ceasefire, it’s an armed truce.

Amanda Knox’s attorneys were not present on the program, but Amanda was represented by Mrs. Sabina Castelfranco, the correspondent for CBS. This time she timidly tries to venture into the usual American media propaganda and lies regarding this case, but she’s regularly contradicted, and on certain occasions even ridiculed.

Sollecito’s father is present in the studio. His father talks about the innocence of his son, and only of his son, without mentioning anything in defense of Amanda. “My son was not at that house….  Curatolo could not have seen my son because he was at his house”. He says that if Raffaele was present at the crime scene he would have helped Meredith, and so on.

The host Bruno Vespa asks Sollecito’s father why did Amanda accuse Patrick, an innocent man? Francesco Sollecito responds “You are giving me a hard task, that of being not only the defender of my son but also of Amanda Knox”.

Giuseppe Castellini, director of the Perugia newspaper Giornale dell’Umbria, says that this trial has a logic, and such logic emerged from the various judges in 2008 up to Judge Micheli (GUP) that charged them with the crime.

The judges had said that more than one person committed the crime.

“Clear elements prove than more people were involved”. There’s physical evidence at the crime scene of more than one person. Two witnesses heard the screaming and more than one person leaving the house. The GUP had asked “Who are these people?” and Castellini concludes that “all clues and all circumstantial evidence lead to only two people and to no one else”.

“This is the weird thing”, says Castellini. “Everything leads to Amanda and Raffaele. There is not a third person….  Defense then rightly tries to dismantle such pieces of evidence one by one, but this is in essence the story of this trial”.

The host Bruno Vespa asks Guede’s lawyer Biscotti “You claim that the killers are Amanda and Raffaele?” Biscotti responds: “No, actually it is the Court that has decided on first instance that Amanda and Raffaele are the killers”.

The discussion rotates around Rudy’s role and statements.

We know that Rudy Guede never took the stand at either trials and only gave a spontaneous declaration that doesn’t require any questioning on the part of the prosecutor. In court, Rudy said: “I heard the voice of both Meredith and Amanda and they were arguing over what Meredith had already told me: the money that Meredith was missing”.

Rudy says he heard Meredith saying to Amanda “We need to talk”, and Amanda responding: “What’s happening?” In his declarations in Court Guede does not mention Raffaele (as he had previously done out of trial) but merely states that he was assaulted by a young man, in a time span of few seconds, and couldn’t recognize him. (Note that in previous statements he had said that the struggle lasted few minutes and that the assailant was Raffaele).

Vincenzo Mastronardi, a criminologist hired by Guede’s defense, repeats what Rudy told him: “I heard the bell. I heard it was Amanda. I heard Meredith say “˜we need to talk’”. Bruno Vespa asks him: “Did he only hear Amanda?”, and he responds “Yes, he only heard Amanda”.

Then Mastronardi explains his discussion with Guede. He asks him “Did he have glasses? He responded “˜no’. Did he look like Raffaele Sollecito? He responded “˜I don’t know, he might look like him but I am not certain’. “˜All I am certain of, is that the voice was of Amanda’ “.

This is interesting: why does Guede confirm that Amanda was in the house, but does not confirm - in December 2009, just a few days before his verdict on appeal - that Raffaele was also in the house?

Why has he been accusing Raffaele since March 2008 and now, just before his verdict on appeal, he says (or rather, his consultants say) that he’s certain about Amanda but not of Raffaele?

Do Guede’s attorneys fear a wrong move by Sollecito’s attorneys, while being confident about Amanda’s attorneys?

At this point the host Bruno Vespa starts a heated argument with the criminologists, claiming that it is not possible that Guede could have not recognized the assailant. “Come on, you’re a criminologist” says Vespa, “you know that anyone could easily recognize the face of the person that is wielding a knife in front of you….  You have to agree that this is an element of objective fragility” he adds.

Paolo Crepet, a psychiatrist, notes that originally Rudy’s version was kind of different. “Rudy talked to his assailant. He was threatened”.

Rudy’s attorney intervenes “No, you remember wrong”. Bruno Vespa also intervenes and says to Biscotti “Wait, you must admit that there is plenty of incongruence. They didn’t give Guede 30 years for nothing”. Biscotti responds “They sentenced Guede just like they sentenced the other two”.

On the timing of the murder, Bruno Vespa asks if it is true that Guede talked about 9:00-9:30PM.

Here the attorney of Guede gives an inaccurate response that was not picked up by anyone in the studio. He says that Rudy said that the murder happened at a later time. “He didn’t have a watch, therefore he didn’t know the exact time [of the murder], but it was certainly very late”, says Biscotti.

This is incorrect. Guede has said, at the beginning and on a couple of occasions after, that he entered the house with Meredith at 21:00 and that he heard the screaming at 21:20-21:30. So why is his attorney now saying that Guede testified that the murder happened much later? Why did no-one in the studio intervene to contest his statement?

On the forensic tests, Bruno Vespa says that “Non-repetitive testing must be done, by law, with the presence of all parties, otherwise they are not valid”.

The lawyer for Meredith and her family, Maresca, responds “All tests are not disputable, since all attorneys and their consultants were notified on the time and date of these non-repetitive tests”.

And in fact no one from the defenses showed up. By law, if they are notified and don’t appear for the testing, the results are perfectly valid. Defense attorneys chose not to be present, although notified and invited, because that was seemingly part of their defense strategy.

Regardless of the outcome of those non-repetitive tests, it would have been strategically preferable to avoid being present, because if the results were favorable to their client, that would be fine. And if the tests went against their clients, they could always claimed contamination at a later time.

On 4 March 2010 Rudy Guede, following the public release of the Motivazione against Knox and Sollecito, said: “chi sa’ parli” (“those who know must speak”).

On 6 March 2010 Rudy Guede writes a letter to Mediaset following the appearance on the scene of Mario Alessi, a child murderer serving a life sentence, who was claiming Guede divulged that he was alone at the house with another accomplice. Guede ends his letter by saying that the “horrible assassination” of Meredith was done by Amanda and Raffaele.

The court reached their decisions based on testimony and evidence from the night presented at trial. Everything else, including diaries, phone calls from Germany, cartwheels and media gossips, was totally irrelevant to the judges.

Formally, Guede’s accusations of the two accomplices must be dated from March 2008, but we know very well that the reciprocal accusations started on November 2007 and they went on for the entire two trials.

Except for Amanda, the attorneys have strategically avoided their clients from taking the stand and responding to questions, confrontations and cross-examination. Raffaele never spoke one word, except for spontaneous declarations. Guede was kept silent throughout the two trials, despite various promises of “speaking out”.

The prosecutor asked to have Guede on the stand for questioning, but he always exercised his right to silence and, as the Massei Report states on page 389 “The defense of Knox and Sollecito did not give their consent to admitting Guede’s declarations”. This is very indicative of the trial strategy adopted: avoiding their clients to pronouncing one bad word and avoiding putting them face to face with each other.

Now for some conclusions.

There is a lot of “I don’t remember” in this horror story. Rudy doesn’t remember the face of the aggressor, but then slowly, but progressively, his mind begins to function and, at appropriate moments, he remembers his name and that of his friend by the door.

Amanda doesn’t remember if she went to Via della Pergola with Lumumba, nor if Raffaele was with her. She doesn’t remember what she did at Raffaele’s house for the entire evening and night, but then she meets a nun in jail that restores her memory.

Raffaele also has a hard time remembering what happened in those few hours. He doesn’t remember if he was home alone or if Amanda was with him. Then he changes his statement but still doesn’t remember if Amanda left and, if she did, at what time she returned.

Can cannabis give such effects in exactly the time frame in which a young woman is being brutally murdered? Why did only three people out of 84 interviewed have this incredible amnesia?

As the journalist of Corriere della Sera, Fiorenza Sarzanini, said: “the arrests happened when they were saying things like “˜I was there with Patrick but can’t remember if Raffaele was also there’.

And Raffaele saying things like “˜I was at my house all night, but I don’t remember if Amanda was with me the entire time’”.

All three have lied several times, lost their memory but then slowly regained it, and changed their stories in order to fit new information as it became progressively known.

But most importantly they all have accused each other from the very beginning.

Not only the appellate judges of Rudy Guede’s trial but even Judge Micheli in Guede’s trial of first instance said that “The defendants, more or less explicitly, have intended to defend themselves by accusing each others.”

And that Rudy Guede “was there and he knows very well what happened”

“We might think that he remains firm on his unsustainable positions in order to cover up for someone, but on the contrary” says Judge Micheli, “it was from the very beginning that he chose not to involve others, and then he changed his attitude when he understood that other people were abandoning him to his own destiny”.

It should also be considered that the defense of Amanda Knox and of Raffaele Sollecito have called to trial only those witnesses that would testify against Rudy Guede and have requested only that police carry out more investigations on Guede.

Also, the Massei Report states that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito have at the end of it all “explicitly indicated Rudy Guede as the sole perpetrator of the criminal acts against Meredith Kercher”.

Rudy’s original story of the events was so ridiculous that no one could have possibly believed him. And no one did.

Despite this, he avoided naming his presumed accomplices directly, but chose instead, from the very beginning, to imply their involvement through his writings and his threats, while waiting for the appropriate time to formally accuse them of the murder.

“Guede kept quiet for as long as he could” said the Court of Appeal “because, given the deep connection of the events, accusing Amanda and Raffaele would have exposed him to their very probable retaliation”.

The court said all three should have explained what had happened in that house on the night of the murder, “at least for a sense of human compassion toward the poor victim”.

Instead, they “preferred to cram their statements (made on several occasions) with lies, reticence, half-truth, allusions, improbable occurrences and by more or less veiled reciprocal accusations”.

This is my final report. Ciao from Rome, and thanks.


All this work was a real eye opener. Explains many things about the lawyers’ strategies, and shows clearly the fact that all three are equally involved.

I keep feeling it is not realistic to think that Meredith would have wanted some touching with Rudy. It is out of character, even if not impossible of course. However, it is doubtful that he would have gone then to the bathroom, sitting there with his Ipod… That’s not the way you want to make a good impression.

He insists that she was fully clothed when he left.

I believe the 2 others used him. I do not know how. Maybe they said they would play the girl a funny prank, and he was in for it.

When he left and they tried to cover their tracks, they hoped to put the blame on an intruder/rapist. And they could place some of Rudy’s DNA in some private areas of poor Meredith. Is that plausible?

Rudy of course will not say he came to make a prank with the 2 others, so he has to say he had a romantic reason, and stick with it.

Posted by Patou on 05/18/10 at 06:24 PM | #

Thank you, Cesare,

These four articles have been fascinating, from a view point I would never have been able to see from having only the English speaking media to go on.

One thing that your work has made crystal clear is how convoluted the three defences have been (and still are).  I can’t see an innocent suspect (in any criminal investigation) chopping and changing their story, weaving such a web - the truth stands on it’s own, it doesn’t need “spin”.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 05/18/10 at 06:37 PM | #

Adding my thanks Cesare. Interesting to note your point about the DNA analysis and the defense’s strategy not to be there. I am in agreement with Patou that Rudy was set up as the fall guy—(that’s not to discount his involvement in any way), but at what point and how??—doubtful we’ll ever know.

Posted by mojo on 05/18/10 at 07:18 PM | #

Thanks Cesare. The machinations of the defence lawyers are truly fascinating. Of course, they have a duty to do what is best for their clients but…innocent people simply don’t behave like this. Period.

Posted by Janus on 05/18/10 at 11:18 PM | #

If you considered yourself to be truly innocent you would expect to have your legal representative (or expert) to be present at the DNA tests, wouldn’t you?

KNOWING that you were INNOCENT wouldn’t you say something like: “.... make sure that the process is correct and and in line with normal practices and that they don’t ‘diddle’ the specimen?

Interesting and more damning is the fact that NONE of the 3 accused were represented at the DNA testing. But ALL 3 to some degree, would later claim contamination.

How convenient.

Posted by Chan on 05/19/10 at 02:11 PM | #

Thank you Cesare, I have never been more convinced of the guilt of the three accused and the correct way the trial was executed. Of course both prosecution and judges know all the tricks of the trade and were not convinced by the tactics used by any of the three criminal defense teams.

I am glad the prosecution itself initiated the appeal of the conviction of Amanda and Raffaele, so the prosecution is in control, making sure justice is done to Meredith.

Posted by saskia on 05/19/10 at 07:52 PM | #

I agree, Giselle. This is one of the things that most annoys me when Curt Knox whines about their being “no evidence” against his daughter and how he “knows” she is innocent.

If (heaven forfend) a daughter of mine was ever charged with murder, I hope that I would study the evidence as best I could, and if I truly believed there was “no evidence” against her, and if I “knew” she was innocent, I wouldn’t mortgage my house to pay for a lawyer. I would know I wouldn’t need to do so.

My disgust for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas grows more strongly each day. Originally, even after I concluded that Knox was guilty, I couldn’t blame the parents for defending their daughter, but I am coming to the belief that both Curt and Edda quite possibly KNOW that Amanda is guilty, and have probably known for a while.

Posted by Janus on 05/20/10 at 05:48 AM | #

At this point, they know for sure. They may have been blinded by wishful thinking at the beginning, hoped that maybe she only “knew” something but was not really involved, but they, certainly, have had time to ask themselves the logical questions we ask!

And she has no reasonable answer.

Plus, they probably have been told or shown evidences that were not presented in court, as it seems the Kerchers said they had some evidence never presented and knew that justice has been served.

The Knox/Mellases, also, have been forced to realize that their sweet angel in soccer outfit or with her little guitar has been gone for a while and replaced by a disturbant girl to whom it is normal to offer a rabid rabbit as a farewell gift, who finds it fun to post on facebook that she had sex with a stranger on a train, who smokes marijuana etc…

In a way, I feel bad for them, but I have no respect for the way they want to save her with lies, and pay for it. And then, make money on it too, to be, if possible, rich, making Meredith’s death their chance in a lifetime… How ugly is that?

Posted by Patou on 05/20/10 at 01:41 PM | #

Thank you Cesare, a brilliant cross-referencing of the various statements made by the convicted and their defence teams.

Seen in this format, it´s incontrovertible that all three were playing the same game of ´veiled accusations´and retractions, the same ¨I could say more but I´ll bide my time¨ and impossible to believe that any of them could be innocent.

The only conclusion is that they were all there, jointly responsible and all - still - hoping to evade responsibility for what they did to Meredith.

Just the detail of the defences not attending the non- repeatable DNA testing says it all.

Any innocent person would be counting on the DNA to CLEAR them and insisting on their lawyer´s presence, not hedging their bets to allow for future cries of contamination because they know it may well convict them.

Posted by Clarissablue on 05/20/10 at 03:27 PM | #


I second everything you wrote about the Knox/Mellas family. I share your view 100%.

I am convinced Edda Mellas must have had a strong feeling if not the certainty that her daughter was involved in Meredith’s death, that’s why she flew to Italy even before her daughter was arrested.

In the last two years the Knox/Mellas have proven to have no class and no shame.

Posted by Nell on 05/21/10 at 02:43 AM | #
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Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry The Chilling Killing Propensities Of Sollecito’s Various Knives

Or to previous entry How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 3 of 4)