Just as expected, five inmates testified to in an Italian court that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent, to the best of their knowledge. According to Barbie Latza 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.
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, 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 is 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 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.
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.
Another inmate, Luciano Aviello —who served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra—testified today claiming that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.” Aviello said that the Albanian—who offered him “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 (pictured above as a teenager) 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 that 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.”
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.
Rudy Guede will now get a chance to rebut all of the above at the next appeal hearing on 27 June 2011. Will he drop the bomb on both defense teams?
This may be the worst-case scenario that the pussyfooting Knox and Sollecito defenses tried to avoid for three years. Did they 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.
Today's hearing, if nothing else, proves that both defense teams have abandoned the lone wolf theory--or they are at least willing to strongly entertain the idea that more than one person committed the murder. Not a good sign for either defense team, because it sends a confusing message that they are not committed to their earlier theory: that Guede was the sole assailant (7th paragraph).
Stay tuned here for continuing coverage...
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