Meredith Kercher: December 28, 1985 – November 1, 2007

 

MeredithLeftProfileToday, December 28, 2015, would have been a milestone birthday for Meredith Kercher.

Her murderers live on to celebrate birthdays and profit from their crimes. The only milestone in their vacuous, parasitic lives would be the day they repent, tell the world what they did, and ask the Kercher family for forgiveness.

Meredith’s father, John Kercher, wrote a book about his daughter Meredith: Our Daughter’s Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth

Sadly, there has been no truth or justice for Meredith and her family.

Today, let us all light candles and build a bonfire of light for a young woman who, by all accounts, was herself a radiant light.

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness ∼ ∼ Chinese Proverb

floating lanterns

Acquittal of Amanda Knox: Italian Supreme Court Presiding Judge Talks to Media

Judge Gennaro Marasca Speaks About the Verdict

[A word of acknowledgment to the translators — including Jools — of an article appearing in Corriere del Mezzogiorno on March 29, 2015. Your work is much appreciated.]

**********************************************

Gennaro Marasca

Gennaro Marasca

A couple of days following the Italian Supreme Court’s acquittal this March of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (for murdering  Meredith Kercher), presiding Judge Gennaro Marasca of the Cassazione’s 5th Division was deluged with phone calls. Curious colleagues were blowing up his phone regarding the unexpected acquittal.  Marasca, the well-respected President of the Fifth Chamber Division of the Court, uncharacteristically granted the following original Italian interview to Corriere del Mezzogiorno on March 29, 2015.

The Murder of Meredith Kercher  — Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the evidence was insufficient

The doubts of Gennaro Marasca, the Neapolitan judge who presided over the Supreme Court of Cassation panel that acquitted the two defendants accused of the murder of Meredith in Perugia.

Someone like him, someone who has spent a whole career condemning ‘the judges who speak to journalists’ (the last time he did was on the board council of the Supreme Court, criticizing his colleague Antonio Esposito for the interview granted after the conviction of Silvio Berlusconi), someone like this is certainly not a magistrate to go for interviews — after the verdict that has split Italy sending [sic] definitively discharged Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, defendants in the trial for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Yet, despite the [his] reluctance, the judge was unable to avoid the phone calls from colleagues and friends from Naples, all looking (in vain) for any details.

And now, the President of the Fifth Chamber of the Supreme Court that issued the ruling two days ago is a magistrate from Naples — Gennaro Marasca, one of the best known “robes” in the city.  He, with the always [sic] courtesy, has limited himself to respond to everyone that the sentence will speak for itself, but that the decree of ruling issued at the end of the trial can already say many things.  What acquitted Amanda and Raffaele was the same identical manner in which the former senator for life Giulio Andreotti was acquitted — that is, applying the second paragraph of Article 530 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

There is, in this Marasca explanation, most of the reasons for the judgment, since the rule states that “the judge pronounces judgment of acquittal even when it fails, is insufficient or is contradictory evidence that the fact exists or that the accused committed it.”  And, not surprisingly, at the Palazzaccio [SC] Piazza Cavour in Rome, it is noted that an article of the law is rarely indicated (as in this case) in a decree of ruling of the Court of Cassation.

An Excellency

And to say {sic] that Marasca wasn’t even supposed to get to those courtrooms. — certainly not because of demerits (he is considered one of the best judges in Naples, and not by chance. On January 25th 2014,  the head public prosecutor of Nola, Paolo Mancuso, cited him among the “excellency” (together with Carlo Alemi. Giuseppe Fusco and Nino Vacca), but because his ambition – four years ago – was to be nominated prosecutor general of Naples.

He applied to the CSM [translator’s note: the magistrates’ governing body, but it was rejected. The reason? It so happens that, in the country where judges put their robes back on after doing politics, the magistrates’ governing body decided not to nominate him because “it can’t be ignored – as written in the motivation report – that Marasca has held for several years after 1994, the post of council member for the city” at the time when Antonio Bassolino was mayor.

 Justice was served: it’s our job

That episode is now forgotten. Marasca more than once has reiterated that “I like my job at Cassazione,” also because – he confided to some of his colleagues – it’s that place where “we try to apply the law sometimes forgotten in local offices.”  And as an experienced judge, Marasca has even been able to manage the sudden popularity in an Italy that was divided between those who exulted at the acquittal of Amanda and Raffaele and those who instead contested the decision. To those who asked him [Marasca] if justice had been served, he replied that a judge must base his decision on the elements of the trial and that, therefore, “justice had been served only because we did our job.”  Of course, the most simple solution would have been to annul the appeal and remand to a new trial, but the “insufficient evidence” was judged “difficult to be filled” even later.  And therefore – the president explained to the colleagues – if those are the elements, “what need is there to have a new trial?” [End]

 

***********************

Cited below is the specific criminal code

Italian Criminal Code of Procedure Article 530 Paragraph (2)  Il giudice pronuncia sentenza di assoluzione anche quando manca, è insufficiente o è contraddittoria la prova che il fatto sussiste, che l’imputato lo ha commesso, che il fatto costituisce reato o che il reato è stato commesso da persona imputabile.

English Translation (Google)  The judge pronounces acquittal even when there is insufficient or contradictory evidence that the thing certain, that the accused committed it, that the action constitutes a criminal offense or the offense was committed by a person due The court judgment of acquittal even when it is missing, and insufficient or contradictory evidence that the fact there is, that the accused has committed, that the fact is a criminal offense or the offense was committed by a person eligible. [END]

Judge Marasca did deliver a brief oral statement to the press at the conclusion of deliberations on the night of March 27, 2015, but there is not an official summary, nor is the Dispositivo (verdict) published on the Court’s website.

Judge Marasca compared the Knox-Sollecito acquittal to the 2002 conviction of former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (for murder), and subsequent acquittal. Rarely cited in Cassazione rulings, this code seems to be the catch-all for awkward acquittals.

Meredith Kercher

Meredith Kercher

 

For Meredith.  RIP.

Isabel Celis: Three Years Missing; Police Silent on Persons of Interest

Saturday, April 21, 2012, Sergio Celis Calls Emergency 911

Tucson, Arizona

“Hello, I want to report a missing person said Sergio.Celis to the 911 dispatcher.

First impressions. Quick, don’t overthink. Was this a call for a friend, acquaintance in need, a work colleague?

Is this how YOU would report your “missing” six-year old daughter?

In this excellent updated commentary provided by Peter Hyatt on his website, the 911 call is analyzed according to the principles of Scientific Content Analysis (SCAN). This is a good introductory exercise for any readers unfamiliar with the techniques used by the FBI, law enforcement, specially trained military interrogators. [Refer to former military interrogator Lena Sisco’s guest blog.]  The beauty of the science is that any interested, motivated individuals can learn the techniques. Caution: it’s harder than it looks but fascinating!

Mr. Celis’ telephone call should shock listeners. Immediately, we’re alerted to deception. Put yourself in the position of Sergio Celis. It’s a Saturday morning. His wife had left for work. Their little girl — and only daughter — is found to be missing from her bedroom and is nowhere in the house.  As Peter explains,

the father of a kidnapped child is not likely to start his call with “hello.  Note: this is not expected by anyone in a hurry to get emergency information to an operator.

The father of a kidnapped child is not likely to refer to her as a “person.”  Please note that a “person” is gender neutral 

************************************************

“I believe she was abducted…”

Sergio Celis: “I want to report a missing person, my little girl who’s six years old, I believe she was abducted from my house.”

IsabelCelisTimelinePhotoEven though statement analysis studies words, not inflection or tone of voice, the calm, measured style is notable. He doesn’t need to be screaming or loudly weeping, but how much colder can he get?  We don’t need any special training to detect an immediate problem. Detachment. Guilty knowledge.  Deception.

His wife, Rebecca (Becky), was called at work prior to the 911 to inquire about Isabel and then told to “get her butt home” [chuckles at his own joke — and in a later interview gets defensive about public criticism.] Continue reading

The Final Injustice: High Court Acquits in Meredith Kercher Murder

 March 27, 2015        

Corte Suprema di Cassazione, Palazzo di Giustizia

Rome's Palace of Justice, Supreme Court judges deliberate into the night

Rome’s stately Palace of Justice, Supreme Court judges deliberate into the night

 

Kristeva, our own citizen journalist, from Perugia Murder File, attended the hearing. The location of the hearings had been moved to the Great Hall to accommodate the large crowd, but cell phone use was banned.  This didn’t prevent Kristeva from finding a way to provide regular, timely updates, for which we’re all immensely grateful.

On that Friday, word had quickly spread that a verdict was imminent. Shockingly, Kristeva tweeted “Acquitted.” Kristeva is fluent in Italian. No mistake.

KristevaAcquitted03-27-15

 

KristevaNoMoreAppeals03-27-15

 

KristevaCalunniaUpheld03-27-15

 

Fom independent journalist Andrea Vogt who has been convering the case from the beginning:  

Continue reading

Hannah Graham’s Remains Identified

Hannah-graham-2-665x385

 “When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be,” Graham’s parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement provided by the Albemarle County [Virginia] Police Department. “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter. … Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished.”

This profoundly sad statement followed today’s announcement that 18-year-old Hannah had been positively identified., Her remains were found on October 18th during a search conducted by Sheriff’s Deputies. They were prepared to call it a day when they gave it one more try and found scattered human remains in a wooded area of Albemarle County. Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., age 32, is reported to have previously lived not far from the spot where he dumped the body of this beautiful, brilliant University of Virginia student.

HannahGrahamStandingHannah was last seen in his company leaving a bar/restaurant in the early morning hours of September 13. Witnesses said she appeared physically impaired, barely able to stand, leaning into Matthew who was noted to have had a tight grip on her opposite arm.  Although Hannah had been drinking earlier at a party that night, surveillance cameras later captured her walking normally, at times running, prior to her encounter with Matthew, who approached her as she walked along The Mall, a popular avenue of restaurants, bars and nightspots.

Morgan Harrington

Morgan Harrington

Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, age 20, who disappeared in 2009, was murdered, her remains found only six miles from where Hannah’s were recovered. Forensic evidence has linked both Morgan and Hannah to Jesse Matthew,

Meanwhile, yesterday a judge issued a bench warrant for Matthew’s transfer to Fairfax County to face charges on a 2005 sexual assault case. The details of the assault reveal a brutal assailant. I believe it’s a certainty that Morgan and Hannah endured the same unspeakable torture prior to death.

JesseMatthewBenchWarrant

Charges for the murder of Hannah Graham are pending.

 

RIP Hannah

Anni Hindocha: Husband Shrien Dewani’s Cape Town Trial Commences

Nearly Four Years After Murder of Anni Hindocha, Shrien Dewani’s Trial Starts Monday, October 6, 2014

AnniAndShrienIn what has become known as the Honeymoon Murder, Shrien Dewani, a 34-year-old British citizen, will stand trial in the Western Cape High Court, South Africa.  Charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice, Dewani’s lawyers had fought a drawn-out legal battle to prevent his extradition from the UK to South Africa. In November, 2010, he and his bride, 28-year-old Anni Hindocha, a Swedish citizen, were honeymooning in Cape Town, staying at the five-star Cape Grace Hotel. Two weeks prior on October 27, the two had been married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Mumbai (Bombay) India. Anni’s family states that a civil ceremony was planned the following March.

No Cameras Allowed in Court

Outside High Court Cape Town

Outside High Court Cape Town

Unlike the Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria, Dewani’s trial will not be televised. Personally, I’m disappointed. Gag orders could be issued restricting media commentary (opinions) while at least the public could view the proceedings. But presiding Judge Jeanette Traverso has spoken and I fully and completely respect that decision.

Dewani’s Mental Health, Good Lawyers, Extradition

CCTV captured Dewani numerous times in hotel hallway. Here he's seen making "gunslinger" gestture to Anni

CCTV captured Dewani numerous times in hotel hallway. Here he’s seen making “gunslinger” gesture to Anni

Extradited in April from the UK to South Africa, Dewani was immediately placed under the care of physicians at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital where he received a 30-day evaluation. I believe the process is similar to the Oscar Pistorius mental health review. Anyway, he was found competent to stand trial and that is what counts.

Also similar to Pistorius, Dewani is rich. His high-powered legal team successfully delayed his extradition for years, arguing that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Diagnosed with depression and PTSD following Anni’s murder, his lawyers were prepared to take his appeal all the way to the High Court but ultimately a judge ruled that he was fit to stand trial in South Africa.

Following the initial stages of the extradition process, the court had to decide whether there was evidence which would be sufficient to make a case requiring an answer by the person if the proceedings were the summary trial of an information against him.[63] The mere suspicion, reasonably justified, by the South African prosecuting authorities would be sufficient.

And off he went to South Africa upon order of a British judge before his appeal was even heard by the Supreme Court. Continue reading