Saturday, March 26, 2011

Knox Appeal: Witness Gives Conflicting Testimony

Homeless man, Antonio Curatolo, 54, took the stand today and may have mixed up the date that he saw Knox and Sollecito with Halloween. “The two youngsters were talking intensely to each other,” he told the court. “I can remember that in the piazza that night young people in masks were coming and going and buses were leaving for the nightclubs.”

Knox and Sollecito’s defense team pounced on the fact that Kercher was killed on November 1st, one day after Perugia was filled with Halloween partygoers wearing masks and taking buses out to clubs on the fringes of the hill town. Previous witnesses have said that on 1 November all the clubs were closed.

“This was a witness the prosecution really counted on, while for us Curatolo’s statement that he saw them the night of the murder is not reliable,” said Giulia Bongiorno, a lawyer representing Sollecito. “If he saw them another night, well, they did live in the area,” she said. “We have been saying Curatolo is unreliable for three and a half years,” said Luciano Ghirga, a lawyer representing Knox.
Curatolo’s testimony, however, also gave hope to prosecutors. He claimed that the morning after he had seen Knox and Sollecito he was still in Piazza Grimana and witnessed investigators in white forensic outfits entering the house where Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood. “Police and carabinieri were coming and going, and I also saw the 'extraterrestrials’, that would be the men in white overalls,” Curatolo said.

“I am really certain, just as certain as I am sitting here, that I saw those two youngsters the night before the men in white outfits.”

Curatolo also told the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, that it was not raining the night he saw the pair. “He has simply repeated what he told the trial,” said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the Kercher family. “What is key is that he is sure he saw them the night before the police came and that it was not raining. It rained on the 31st but not on the 1st,” he said.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said the confusion between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 is a moot point as it has already been ascertained that Knox was somewhere else—in a pub where she worked—on Oct. 31 and so could not have been seen in the square.

In more bad news for the prosecution, CBS News correspondent, Allen Pizzey, says leaked documents indicate that two independent forensic experts will say traces of Knox’s DNA on a 12-inch kitchen knife, and Sollecito’s on a bra clasp found at the murder scene, were too small and too contaminated to be admissible as evidence. Traces of Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp totaled 150 cells, clearly enough to warrant a reliable test and hard to prove contamination from the machine used to test it or from the scene itself. It will be interesting to hear the experts explain their findings on this piece of evidence. As of now the experts are still scheduled to report their findings to the court on 21 May 2011.

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