THE MURDER OF MEREDITH KERCHER

November 1, 2007, Via Della Pergola 7, Perugia, Italy, about 9:30pm.  All Saint’s Day would end with the tragic death of Meredith Kercher, an exchange student from Leeds University in the United Kingdom.  Meredith, a London native, dreamed of a year abroad and planned to follow her father’s footsteps and become a writer. She had been in Perugia approximately 45 days.

The Girl with the Dazzling Smile

The Girl with the Dazzling Smile

Her demise would touch the lives of thousands in Britain, Italy and the United States.

A year in Italy was an eagerly awaited dream for this young, dark-haired beauty, but those hopes were dashed when she had the misfortune of walking in on a burglary-in-progress at the apartment she shared with three young women. It was rent day and the thief was looking for cash and technology. Rudy Guede was already in her apartment, using the toilet in the front bathroom, when she arrived. He surprised Meredith in her tiny bedroom, trapping her, and during the struggle he savagely stabbed her in the throat.

Her murder investigation has been marred by controversy since day one.

As she fought for her life the valiant young woman was no match for the street tough, however the thug could not escape science, his was the only DNA found on her body and personal effects.  But in a tragic twist, Meredith’s innocent friends, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, along with Amanda’s employer, Patrick Lumumba, were also blamed for her murder; police tied the students to the crime scene with two miniscule and tainted DNA samples that were thrown out by a higher court in 2011.  Patrick’s arrest stemmed from Amanda’s coerced statement, a result of her illegal interrogation at the hands of the Perugian police, he was released after two weeks and Guede was substituted.  But in an act that defied common sense the police did not release Amanda and Raffaele at the same time even though, by then, they knew that DNA evidence did not support the Sex Game Gone Wrong theory advanced by Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

Today Guede is serving the last few years in his reduced sentence.  Amanda and Raffaele are free after spending four years in prison for a crime they did not commit, but they have a tenuous hold on that freedom because the Italian Supreme Court (ISC) returned the case to the appeal level in 2013; their case will have to be retried at the appellate level and then set back to the ISC.  Meredith’s family is still searching for the truth and no wonder…

Her death became a study in yellow journalism.

Baby of the Family

Baby of the Family

Meredith Kercher, 21, hails from Coulsdon, South London, UK.  She was the beloved youngest daughter of John and Arline Kercher, who were divorced at the time of her death, and the baby sister to John Jr., Stephanie and Lyle.  Meredith was a delightful, witty and fashionable young woman who was in her junior year at Leeds University when she left for Perugia, Italy in the fall of 2007.

The young Briton lived just outside Perugia’s medieval walls on a picturesque hillside with three young women.  Amanda Knox, from the United States, was an exchange student, like herself, and they lived with two young Italian professionals, Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezetti, who both worked for lawyers in Perugia. The four lived in the top floor apartment of a converted farmhouse at the edge of a wild garden that dropped into a ravine crisscrossed with a trail system as old as Italy itself.  The villa overlooked the Tiber River valley below and Meredith had a spectacular view from her bedroom window, her family was duly impressed. Downstairs were four young Italian men and Meredith had been dating Giacomo Silenzi in the weeks prior to her murder.

The Villa with a View

The Villa with a View

The lively house was a source of amusement to the apartment dwellers in the complex just across the street, between the antics of the young adults and the panorama; the residents had the best show in town.

Meredith had taken a class in Italian at the University of Foreigners when she first arrived, then transferred to the University of Perugia to continue her European Studies.  She was a thoughtful and studious young woman who took the opportunity offered by the Erasmus Programme seriously.  But she also had a lighter side, along with classes, Meredith was enjoying the Perugian nightlife with her English girlfriends; the young women were often seen clubbing in a happy, giggling group.  Meredith also found time to introduce her American roommate, Amanda, to Perugia and the two often shopped together, for household necessities as well as for pleasure.  They attended Perugia’s famed Chocolate Festival where Amanda had assisted in picking out a box of chocolates for her father.  She and Amanda had also gone to a classical music concert where Amanda had met her boyfriend.  Meredith was very popular amongst all of her friends.

Meredith and friends on Halloween

Meredith and friends on Halloween

On Halloween, October 31, 2007, Meredith went out with her British girlfriends, first to a party and then club-hopping, the group did not return home until nearly 4am on November 1st, All Saint’s Day.  Meredith had gone as a vampire and posing with friends at the disco were the last memories captured of this sweet and friendly young woman.  She slept in and awoke to find Amanda and her boyfriend, Raffaele, making lunch, they invited her to join them but she declined and went to take a shower.  Afterward they chatted while she put in a load of laundry, then she drew a fake tattoo on Amanda’s arm and, late in the afternoon, left for a dinner party at the apartment of Robin Butterworth and Amy Frost.

That was the last time Amanda and Raffaele saw Meredith alive.

Giggling Girlfriends

Giggling Girlfriends

Meredith, Robin, Amy and their friend Sophie Purton shared a pizza and movie, but she was tired and decided to go home early. The whole group was tired and ready for a relaxing weekend, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are a national holiday in Italy.  Meredith borrowed a book from Robin then she and Sophie left to return to their respective apartments.  Everyone was looking forward to an early night, plus Meredith would have the apartment to herself; all of her roommates were gone.  Amanda and Filomena were spending the night with their respective boyfriends and Laura had left for Rome to spend the holiday with her parents.

Meredith was no doubt pleased to have some private time; she was planning to do some homework, laundry and then get some rest.  She would be leaving for London a few days later to celebrate her mother’s birthday and wanted to have things in order before going.  Meredith was devoted to her mother and looked forward to giving her an opera calendar as a birthday present; she was excited to see her family and looking forward to telling of her adventures in Perugia.

Sophie Purton walked Meredith partway home and they parted company about 8:45pm.  Sophie had the sad misfortune to become the last person to see Meredith alive.

Rudy Guede

Rudy Guede

Rudy Guede, 21, the thief-turned-murderer, had lived in Perugia since he was five years old.  Roger Guede and his young son left Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire behind in hopes of a better life, after years of prosperity their homeland was becoming dangerous again.  They settled in Perugia where Roger worked as a laborer, but he had a terrible temper and Rudy often hid from his wrath.

Guede, by all accounts, was a personable, lively child but hard to control, from a young age Guede learned to fend for himself.  He was often seen wandering the streets when his father locked him out and once a teacher intervened because he came to school poorly dressed for the cold winder.

By his teens he literally had The Village trying to raise him after suffering through a chaotic childhood, at one point the wealthy Paolo Caporali family took him in.  He had met Caporali’s son playing basketball and they were impressed with his athletic prowess and friendly demeanor, so they informally “adopted” him about age 16.  They provided an education but Guede would not attend school or work with a tutor and he often lied about what he was doing.  He had problems with memorization and was frustrated with the educational experience.  One member of the family remarked that he didn’t seem “to know right from wrong” and “was afraid of the dark,” but thought of him as a “sweet and shy boy.”

Boy in Da House

Boy in Da House

But no one could control Guede’s desire to party, he refused to study and work so the Caporali’s turned him loose at age 18 while Roger Guede was visiting family on the Cote d’Ivoire.  To go from the lap of luxury, being chauffeured to school, to walking the streets homeless and poor must have been a devastating shock.  Guede moved to Milan to live with his aunt Georgette and she helped him find work at a café, but in the spring of 2007 he lost the job and drifted back to Perugia where he had more freedom.

With the help of Mrs. Caporali, he rented a student apartment on via Canarino off Corso Garibaldi.  He was not working but had begun to circulate in the clubs despite being broke, occasionally pretending to be a European Studies student.  He was an excellent dancer and chatted up the university women, although one witness said he was a “nuisance” to girls.  Guede often stayed over at a friend’s apartment, preferring not to go home, and the roommates there later remarked about his strange sleepwalking episodes, falling asleep on the toilet and periods of crawling on the floor while barking like a dog.  At first they thought it was funny and then later asked him to not come back because all of them were concerned about the odd behavior.

Piazza Grimana Basketball Court

Piazza Grimana Basketball Court

He often played basketball at the Piazza Grimana court, across the street from Via Della Pergola 7 where Meredith lived.  It was there that he became acquainted with the guys who lived in the apartment below hers and they also testified that they found Guede’s “sleeping on the toilet” very strange.

Later, in prison, he was diagnosed as having Psychogenic Dissociation, commonly called “Fugue State.”  If, in fact, Guede is suffering from dissociation disorder, that would make him an unpredictable individual who would be experiencing amnesia, difficulty memorizing, suicidal feelings, prone to fantasy, prone to angry outbursts and/or suffering from PTSD.  The disorder is nearly always the result of traumatic childhood abuse, which meshes with Guede’s profile.

Guede exhibits many of the characterizations of Dissocial Personality Disorder, including a callous unconcern for others, a persistent attitude of irresponsibility, unable to maintain relationships, does not experience guilt, does not learn from punishment, readily blames others and rationalizes bad behavior.  All of these diagnoses fall in the realm of psychopathy, a personality disorder that includes “diminished capacity for remorse and poor behavioral controls.”

Each characteristic describes aspects of Guede’s personality as witnessed by many people over a period of years.

I suppose the armchair psychologists could say that Perugia had a time bomb walking its streets and interacting with its university students, from my layman’s point of view I would definitely agree.  Here is a young man whose unsettling and frustrating behavior was, in reality, the effects of his abusive childhood.  His obvious mental issues and learning disabilities foreshadowed his descent into a life of crime.

Guede began burglarizing as he bounced between jobs in Milan and Perugia.  He is also is suspected of selling drugs even though he was known to be a lightweight who would become very stoned from “a small amount” of hashish, but that did not stop him from getting high whenever the opportunity presented itself.

By the time Guede was 21 he was well known to the local police, but had never been formally arrested.  Evidently he had a pocketful of Get Out Of Jail Free cards, perhaps because of his association with the wealthy Caporali’s.

On Sept 27, 2007, in Perugia, Christian Tremontano awoke in the middle of the night to the sounds of a prowler and found Guede going through his things.  Guede grabbed a chair to fend off Tremontano, holding it in front of him as though he were a lion tamer, then pulled out a pocketknife and threatened the homeowner.  Guede managed to get to the door and escape.  Tremontano reported the break-in to police officer, Monica Napoleoni, who told him to file an official complaint.   But when he arrived at the police station he was put off by the long line and decided that since he hadn’t been injured and nothing was stolen it was not worth the wait.  During the month of October Tremontano, a bartender at Merlin’s disco, recognized Guede when he came into the establishment and had the bouncer throw the thief out.

Crime Scene

Crime Scene

Oct. 13, 2007, in Perugia, the law office of Paolo Brocchi was broken into.  The alarm had been turned off, a rock thrown through the second story window and glass shards were carefully placed on a desk.  The thief drank soda from the refrigerator and turned the heat on full blast.  A laptop computer, printer, USB flash drives, a mobile phone and a cell phone were reported missing.

Oct. 23, 2007, in Perugia, Mandu Maria Diaz, Guede’s next door neighbor, was away from home when she was told that her house had been severely damaged by fire.  She returned to find that a second floor window had been broken and that the fire had started on the third floor when a scarf was tossed over a lamp.  The thief had also cooked a meal in the kitchen, left the stove on, tossed food all over and left the refrigerator door ajar.  Then, to her dismay, she learned her beloved cat had died in the fire, the thief had left the pantry door open which had blocked the cat’s escape.  To make matters worse her mother’s heirloom gold watch was stolen.

Oct 27, 2007, in Milan (five days before he would slay Meredith Kercher) Guede is caught inside a nursery school by the owner, Maria Del Prato.  She arrived that morning with two repairmen, including a locksmith, to beef up security after her school had been broken into on October 8th, during which the thief had eaten food and stolen money.  Del Prato and the workmen surprised Guede coming out of her office where he had been attempting to hook up his laptop computer using her power cord.  “He accepted that he was caught and was very calm,” said Del Prato, while the repairmen kept Guede from leaving, she called the police.  When the Milanese police searched Guede’s backpack they found a large butcher knife that was taken from the nursery’s kitchen, as well as, stolen keys, a mobile phone, a cell phone and a woman’s gold watch.  The mobile phone, cell phone and laptop were identified as belonging to the law firm of Paolo Brocchi, but Guede claimed he bought the laptop from a man at the Milan train station.  The owner of the gold watch was not publically identified, but it is speculated that it belonged to Guede’s neighbor, Mandu Maria Diaz.

“We all had the feeling that he was a dangerous person,” said Mrs. Del Prato.

In the month and a half that Meredith Kercher was in Italy, Guede had robbed four people, two of which through a second story window, once using a rock.  He had eaten food, set a fire, killed a cat and was caught red-handed with stolen goods from two of those robberies.

But in an ironic twist of fate, the Milanese prosecutor told police that “Guede is Perugia’s problem” and put the brazen thief on a train.  Perugian police order Guede to apologize to the law office and on Monday morning, October 29, Guede makes a lame attempt and again tells them the story of buying the laptop from a stranger in Milan.  How is it that the police are so unconcerned by Guede’s actions?  Is he working for them?  Or are the Caporali’s intervening for him?

Meredith would be celebrating another birthday.

Meredith should be celebrating birthdays.

Had Police in Milan or Perugia arrested Guede for even one of those burglaries Meredith Kercher would be alive. 

Rudy Guede’s chosen path in life led him from burglary to murder because the local police were indifferent to public safety.  What does that say about the safety of the university students in Perugia?

First-of-the-month robberies in Perugia are as expected as a full moon because many of the university students pay rent in cash; their cellphones and laptops are also valuable to a nimble thief. Guede’s rent was due and his landlady was demanding payment as well as proof that he was working.

Guede had no job and no money; in fact he had asked an unidentified student for money on October 30th but was refused.

On that ill fated November 1st Guede was plying his trade as a burglar in Meredith’s home when she walked in unexpectedly.

At 7:30pm Guede left his home just after the beginning of the TG3 News program.  At 7:53pm he was caught on a CCTV camera in the parking garage across the street from Meredith’s apartment walking through the garage toward the villa.  He was recognized by his jacket and shoes.  Initially the time stamp of the CCTV was thought to be accurate, but analysis of the police arrival on November 2nd proved that it was slow by about 12 minutes; the times in this essay have been corrected to reflect that fact.  It is also noteworthy that the prosecution would later try to use this discrepancy to their advantage.

It's No Problem!!

It’s No Problem!!

At 8:22pm, the same CCTV camera captured Guede walking along the street toward the cottage, again recognized by his shoes.  At nearly the same time Meredith was getting ready to leave her friend’s apartment. Guede later tells police that he arrived at the cottage about 8:30pm.  His actions lead many professionals to believe that he threw a rock through the bedroom window of Meredith’s roommate just after the first sighting and entered through the same window a few minutes after the second.

It is a common burglary trick to throw a rock through a window and wait to see if anyone within the home or within the immediate vicinity notices the noise.  Remember the wild garden just below the cottage? It offers a perfect vantage point with an escape route, the ravine below is filled with trees and trails well known to Perugia’s denizens, Guede included.  He had been, after all, one of Perugia’s “street kids” for at least ten years and it stands to reason that he would be familiar with the trail systems in the ravines that surround the hilltop city.

Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom window, the Point of Entry, is closest to the driveway. Just below and to one side of her window is a retaining wall for the parking area.  Standing next to the wall and beneath her window one cannot be seen from the street or the overlooking apartment complex, especially a burglar in dark clothing.  Law enforcement professionals think that Guede climbed up using the barred window just beneath Filomena’s as a toehold, and pulled open the shutter, or perhaps stood in the parking area and pried it open with a stick.  Then he lobbed a rock the short distance through the window from the parking area before hiding until he was sure no one was home and no neighbors heard the window breaking.

Filomena's window, upper right.  Barred window, lower right.

Filomena’s window, upper right. Barred window, lower right.

Guede already had experience lobbing a rock through a window as he demonstrated in the previous month at Brocchi’s law firm.

Had anyone noticed him he could have easily lied that he was looking for the guys downstairs; in fact he had probably looked to see if they were around before breaking and entering.  It’s also likely that he may have known they would all be gone visiting family from conversations they had while playing basketball or when he visited.  Thieves commonly “case the joint” before a robbery and being welcome at the apartment of the guys was the perfect way to do just that.

But it was a cold night, as well as a family holiday, so most people were inside and traffic was light on the busy street above the villa.  Once the coast was clear, Guede climbed in from below, again using the barred window as a toehold, brushing shards of glass into the room as he entered and then closing the shutter so that someone approaching would not see the broken window.

Guede was a strong and wiry athlete, an excellent basketball player and many remarked on his agility.  At any rate he had no problem scaling walls and law enforcement authorities have no doubt whatsoever that Guede could have accessed Filomena’s window quickly and easily.

It was about 8:30pm, which corroborates with the story he told the police, and in the space of 30 minutes he rifled trough Filomena’s room and the refrigerator, helping himself to food and drink, then he used the front bathroom. He admits to being on the toilet, his DNA was found on toilet paper next to it and he told the police in his sworn statement that a “bad kebob” had given him a digestive disorder.  Guede’s MO from the other burglaries also shows him eating and leaving messes, according to experts this adds “insult to injury.”  Burglars who behave in this manner are thought to enjoy the personal violation the victims feel along with their loss of security.  Or he could just be hungry, most likely it’s a combination of the two, hunger and head games given what his personality assessment revealed.

Sophie and Meredith in happier days

Sophie and Meredith in happier days

About 8:45pm Meredith and Sophie Purton left the dinner party and parted ways about ten minutes later, Meredith continued on by herself.  Sophie testified that she arrived home at 8:55pm and the CCTV camera shows that Meredith arrived home about 9pm.  A cellphone call to her mother was interrupted at 8:56pm, shortly after she parted company with Sophie, and she may have lost reception in the narrow streets.  Her family, however, said that it was unusual that she would not call back.

As Meredith unlocked her front door and stepped in she was unaware that her life was about to end.    Defense investigators believe the attack occurred shortly after she arrived home.  Evidence suggests that she was dead within the hour of the phone call to her mother, perhaps as early as 9:30pm.

My heart goes out to Arline, what a sad legacy, knowing that Mom was one of Meredith’s last thoughts.  I hope she knows that parents everywhere grieve for her loss and are aware of the terrible burden she and her family have shouldered while trying to find the truth about what happened to Meredith.  I hope she finds the answers she seeks.

Meredith had no idea Guede was in the house and must have simply walked back to her bedroom, planning to call her mother again.  She hung her purse on the chair and kicked off a shoe but had not yet taken off her blue Adidas jacket.  She was fully clothed and may have been sitting on her bed when Guede appeared in her bedroom door.  In any case, she was effectively trapped in her tiny bedroom with an intruder blocking the escape route.

Meredith's bedroom just after she was discovered

Meredith’s bedroom just after she was discovered

Her bedroom is the primary crime scene because there were no signs of struggle anywhere else in the apartment.

The fatal injury consisted of a series of 3 stab wounds on the left side of Meredith’s neck, all in the same place, in quick succession, from a short bladed knife whose hilt left a bruise on her skin.  A short knife like the pocketknife Guede used to keep Christian Tremontano at bay while he escaped from Tremontano’s apartment just over a month earlier.

Three quick stabs wounds from a knife (3.149 inches) much smaller than the infamous Kitchen Knife (6.89 inches) that the prosecution entered into evidence, three wounds exactly the same depth.  Had the infamous kitchen knife gone in hilt deep, three times, it would have almost decapitated Meredith; such a blade would have entered the front of her neck and come out of the back.

Folding pocketknife with 3 Inch Blade

Folding pocketknife with
3 Inch Blade

Amanda quotes in her book “Waiting To Be Heard,” “Professor Torre…explained that in a moment of homicidal frenzy, it would be highly unlikely for a killer to plunge a knife in only halfway…And the odds would rise to impossible when you considered driving a knife in, to precisely the same depth, measurable to a thousandth of an inch, three times in a row.”—Pg. 336-7.

Between the fatal wound and three shallow knife wounds on the right side of her neck (control wounds) Meredith bled profusely, but she exsanguinated from the fatal wound on the left side and her room became a blood bath within five minutes, a massacre.  She lost consciousness from oxygen deprivation of the brain in approximately 10 minutes and would have bled out shortly thereafter.

Guede did not flush the toilet in the front bathroom, leaving his poo behind, so as not to alert Meredith to his presence.  He must have crept down the short hallway, but I often wonder if she was alerted to a sound.

Kitchen Knife with 6 Inch Blade

Kitchen Knife with
6 Inch Blade

Meredith and Guede struggled, her family has long maintained that she is feisty and I believe that she did fight for her life against this determined intruder.  She may have recognized him as a friend of the guys downstairs, though they only met once, and most likely yelled at him, “What are you doing here?” or something along those lines.  She might have even screamed which would have panicked him.  In fact, during his statement to police Guede said, “She screamed,” and that might be why he punched her, angered by her aggressiveness.

Meredith was hit or punched in the mouth hard enough to leave severe trauma and swelling before she died and this would have surely left her dazed.

The shallow control wounds on the right side suggest that he would have put the knife to her throat as he was facing her to scare her into submission.  Meredith also had knife contact wounds on her fingertips from reaching up to get it away from her throat.  While he held the knife to her throat, Guede grabbed her by the hair so hard that it resulted in scalp trauma when a plug of hair was pulled out from the back of her head.  The hair plug was found on the floor drenched in blood and a few strands were found in her hand, she might have been trying to get him to let go or reached back instinctively because of the pain.

The fact that she had all of these wounds suggests that Guede had the knife in his hand when he entered her bedroom.  Plainly he meant to do her harm.

At some point Guede was able to get behind her, most likely after he punched making her easier to control.  Bruising on the lower part of her face is consistent with a hand holding her jaw forcefully.  Behind and above her, in full control of her head is also the correct position to have stabbed her in the neck.  She was bruised on both elbows, legs and hips indicating that she fell or was pushed to the floor and/or furniture during the struggle.

With Guede holding on to her hair, she would have been completely at his mercy.

But Guede did not show Meredith any mercy.  He stabbed her in the left side of the neck, three times, hard enough to leave a bruise.  This is a man full of rage and anger, angry that she fought for her life or angry that she “made him kill her” or both.  Meredith had 47 bruises, abrasions and cuts, including the fatal wound and her injuries are consistent with an attack by a strong man who swiftly overpowered and brutalized her.

Then this angry man, in an act of perversion and to establish an alibi, stripped Meredith as she was dying.

Meredith was killed with her blue jacket still on

Meredith was killed with her blue jacket still on

Meredith was fully clothed when she was stabbed; the front of her blue Adidas jacket was drenched in blood and Guede’s cellular DNA was found on the cuff as he grabbed her arm to control her or perhaps as pulled it roughly off of her.  It was the last thing she was seen wearing when she left the dinner party at Robin and Amy’s home.  It was found inside out and tossed against the armoire.  There were drag marks in the blood as Guede moved her around to pull off her shirts, jeans and panties, he cut off her bra and pushed up her camisole to expose her breasts.

Then he placed her pillow under her butt to allow him to digitally violate her; the pillow has a suspected semen stain that the prosecution has withheld from a DNA review since 2007.  Defense experts think that Guede masturbated, this shows characteristics of a truly sick individual, perhaps someone who was “abused as a child.” The Perugian prosecutors said the suspected stain was “unnecessary” to the investigation.

A suspected semen stain that is “unnecessary” to a rape and murder investigation?  Sure, that makes sense.  Oh wait!  NO IT DOESN’T!

DNA Graph

DNA Graph

The bottom line is that copious amounts of ONLY Meredith and Guede’s DNA were found in her bedroom.  Guede’s DNA was all over her and inside her body, his handprint in Meredith’s own blood on the wall, shoe and foot prints in her blood were found in her bedroom, her bathroom and down the hall leading to the front door.  His fingerprints were found on her purse and her jacket.

Meredith was mercifully unconscious from blood loss at this point.  The murder and sexual deviancy lasted for maybe 30 minutes; it was now about 9:30pm.  She died looking at her bedroom window perhaps wishing she could escape the horror as her life slipped away, perhaps thinking of her loved ones so far away.

Certainly Guede did not care what she was thinking, he was thinking of escape.  He was thinking of his alibi.

Guede may have tried to clean up the blood with towels from the bathroom that Meredith shared with Amanda, a green one was found under her body and a light colored one next to her body.  In a statement to police Guede claimed that he “tried to save her.”

Yeah right, tried “to save” the poor girl he had just beat up, murdered and then sexually violated.  My Bullshit Meter just went off.

Then Guede flipped Meredith’s bedspread over her body, so that he didn’t have to look at her anymore.  So he didn’t have to see what he had just done.  Obviously covering her up was more “care and concern” from Guede.  He set the knife off on her bed leaving an imprint on the sheets and then used a third beige towel to clean himself up.  He left drops of her blood in the bathroom when he washed his bloody right foot off in the bidet, a partial bare footprint in Meredith’s blood was found on a blue mat in front of the sink along with some faint smears.  Guede also rifled though Meredith’s purse, leaving his fingerprints, and stole her rent money, credit cards, two cellphones and house keys.  Items similar to what he had stolen at other burglaries.

Then he locked Meredith in her bedroom, not that she was able to leave, but because he wanted to make it harder to find her body, apparently afraid that someone would open up her door.  This is also the reason he took her cellphones, one of her roommates would be alerted to hear them ringing unanswered in her bedroom and they would have certainly raised an alarm.

Bloody foot prints in red

Bloody foot prints in red

Guede left bloody shoeprints as he ran down the hall, out of the apartment and into the night.  The prints were in a distinctive sole pattern (concentric circles) from a pair of Nikes that he admitted owning and he told investigators that he threw them away.  He was unable to lock the tricky front door, or maybe he didn’t try in his haste, and left it standing open.  The door was open all through the cold November night and into the morning until Meredith’s roommate, Amanda Knox, discovered it at 10:30am.

Guede’s escape route is speculated upon.  Did he run from the cottage through the streets or down into the Fosso del Bulagaio ravine just below the cottage?

Guede could have fled by 9:45pm giving him time enough for the ten minute walk around the corner and along the Via Andrea da Perugia to the Lana house.  But much more likely, given his state of mind, he would have fled through the garden into the ravine below Meredith’s house to avoid any people in the street.  Even if he was in dark clothing, the haute couture of thieves, and similar to what was seen in the CCTV footage, he was splattered with blood and in an extremely distressed mental state.

Rudy Guede had just committed his first murder, why wouldn’t he want to hide and gather his wits?

The ravine Fosso del Bulagaio

The ravine Fosso del Bulagaio

The ravine Fosso del Bulagaio is named for the stream that flows out of Perugia, just to the west of Meredith’s home, and empties into the valley below. Like most locals, Guede would have been very familiar with it, what kid does not like to play at a streamside or explore a forest or poke around in a garbage dump?  Especially one of the poor street kids.  The ravine, once a carefully tended garden, is a now tangle of brambles and trees with well worn trails crisscrossing in all directions, Perugia is discussing turning it into a park.  It would have been very easy for Guede to avoid detection by following the ravine down to Via Bulagaio, cross the road, up a driveway and into a line of trees at the edge of a field that leads directly to the Lana house. The cover provided would have also given him time to calm down and he may have even cleaned up some more using the stream.

In his book, “Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox,” Raffaele tells of a discovery of shoe prints in dirt at Guede’s apartment.  “That optimism soared on November 21, (2007) when a lawyer from Luca Maori’s office was invited to watch the police conduct another search of Rudy Guede’s apartment. On the floor were numerous shoe prints with the same pattern of concentric circles as the ones at the crime scene. These did not, at first sight, appear to be made in blood so much as earth, as though the wearer had gone for a walk in the woods and dragged the dirt in behind him.”–Pg. 98.

Guede's bloody shoe print

Guede’s bloody shoe print

This illustrates that it is very likely that Guede was in the ravine or the fields near the Lana house.  It’s also possible that this is the area he dumped the knife, there are many garbage dumps in the ravine that local residents complain about and it would be easy to bury it just about anywhere.  The police did search the ravine but did not announce any discoveries, I often wonder if they actually found the knife used to kill Meredith? With all of the deception that I have witnessed, I would not be the least bit surprised.

At any rate it would have been the perfect avenue of escape for a person who had just committed a murder, especially if Guede was freaked out by what he had just done, he would need somewhere to collect himself.

Regardless of which direction he took, Guede was in the immediate area of the Lana house by 10pm when Meredith’s cellphone pinged the tower that serves that area. He was trying to access her bank and was blocked, so he hung up, then a few minutes later someone sent her a picture. Both of these calls pinged at the same tower, so we can surmise that Guede was lurking in the same general area. With the ridges and valleys that surround Perugia it’s most likely that Guede had crossed Via Bulagaio for the signal to be picked up by the northern cell tower, a ridge would have blocked the signal from the tower near Meredith’s home.

Meredith had two cellphones, one for the UK and one for Italy; her roommate Filomena had lent her the Italian phone.

Cell towers

Cell towers

At 10:00pm someone placed an unsuccessful call to Meredith’s bank in London from her British cellphone, the call failed because the 44 prefix for the UK was not used.  It pinged the cell tower that served the area where the phones would be found the next morning and not the tower that served Meredith’s home.  At 10:13pm the British cellphone also received a picture message that pinged the same cell tower, a picture from home that she would never see.  The phones would physically need to be on the other side of a ridge to the northwest of Meredith’s home, a ridge next to the ravine, to block the signal to the cell tower that serves her apartment.  That area places Guede in the field behind the Lana home.

It is not in dispute in either the lower or higher courts that Meredith’s English cell phone was in the vicinity of Elisabetta Lana’s house by 10pm on November 1st. It is also not in dispute that by 11am on November 2, 2007 both of Meredith’s cell phones would be found in Lana’s garden which just below Via Sperandio, a street that leads up hill toward Guede’s apartment.

But in a bizarre twist the Lana household received a prank phone call at nearly the same time as the cellphone call to Meredith’s bank.

At 10pm Elisabetta Lana received a phone call that said she should “not sit on the toilet or it will explode.” Her household had received several prank calls in the weeks prior to the murder, but during the investigation this particular call was looked at much more closely as it happened on the night that Meredith died and her phones were found in the garden the next day.  Mrs. Lana would be called as a witness during the trial of the First.

She called the police shortly after 10pm to report the bomb threat and the police arrived to investigate about 10:30pm, they found nothing and reported the threat as a prank.  It could be that the pranksters were neighbor kids who enjoyed watching the police arrive, but one wonders if Guede also saw the police. I don’t think so, because he surely would have avoided the house since he was splattered in blood, so he must have thrown the phones in the garden after the police were gone around 11pm.  If he was sitting in the line of trees on the backside of the ridge, calming himself, he may not have noticed the action at the Lana house.  It wasn’t as if there were lights and sirens blaring.

Imagine the coincidence?  The police had just left and Guede comes walking out of the fields behind the house and tosses the phones in the garden just before he walks up Via Sperandio to go to his apartment.

Domus Disco ad

Domus Disco ad

About 3am, on November 2, 2007, All Soul’s Day, Guede was seen in the Domus Disco some five hours after the murder, and witnesses described him as “smelling awful and acting strangely.” It’s safe to say that he would be sweating profusely after the murder and the trek through the ravine or streets, anyone that had committed their first murder would be very upset.  It’s possible that he would be acting like he was in a trance or dream or possessed, all of those words are used by convicted killers to describe how they felt after their first murder and that would certainly fit “acting strangely.”

Given the perverse and brutal act he had just committed, sweating and walking around in a daze would have been expected.

Guede was in trouble with his landlady for non-payment of his rent so he may have sneaked into his apartment to change clothing, but not to take a shower. He told police that he went home to change and that he “got rid of his bloody clothing” but would not say where.  Again I go back to the ravines surrounding the city as perfect dumping grounds for his clothing and the knife, the five hours between the murder and being seen in the disco would have been enough time to accomplish all of this.

Going to a disco would also have been a way to create an alibi, every thief knows how to do that, as well as have a drink.  And I’m positive he needed a drink to try and calm himself, I imagine he was still checking his hands for Meredith’s blood. Witnesses said he had cash on him, spending Meredith’s rent money is insulting enough, but later accusing Amanda of the theft is downright cowardly.

This young man has acted cowardly throughout this ordeal, so I am not at all surprised.

Some twenty-four hours later, on November 3rd, Guede was seen again at the same disco “swaying” by himself on the dance floor during a moment of silence for Meredith. News of her death had swept through the city like wildfire; people were terrified and coming together for comfort while Meredith’s roommates were at the police station being interviewed.

The Monster of Florence victims

The Monster of Florence victims

November 16, 2006, almost exactly a year before, university student Sonia Marra disappeared without a trace; her body has never been found. Perugia, in the shadow of the famed Monster of Florence serial killer, was in an uproar and parents began to pull students out of the universities; everyone was afraid and the atmosphere tense.

Guede stayed in town to follow the news of Meredith’s death until the afternoon of November 3rd when he fled to Germany.

North African wanted for questioning

North African wanted for questioning

By November 5th the papers were saying that a “North African” was involved so they may have already identified him from the fingerprints he left at the scene, Guede was in the database and police could have ID’d him within a day or two.  By November 10th, Guede was “a person of interest” and the manhunt was on.  He was tricked into revealing his whereabouts when the police orchestrated a sting using one of his friends. The Nov. 19, 2007 Skype conversation revealed that he was in Germany and shortly afterward he was apprehended trying to board a train.

Guede was extradited back to Italy on December 6, 2007.

In the Skype call, Guede tells Giacomo Benedetti that he was surprised Amanda had been arrested because “she was not in the house.” He doesn’t even mention Raffaele and then he places himself at the scene by commenting about theft of Meredith’s money, admitting that the police “don’t even know the money is missing yet.” After his return to Italy and in the custody of the Perugians, his story begins an evolution and ends when he pins the theft of Meredith’s money on Amanda saying that Meredith “complained” about her.

Guede and Meredith barely knew each other, why would she confide in a stranger?

Guede’s official story to the police is that he was “on a date” with Meredith the night of her murder and that they were in her bedroom, she was nearly nude, and they were engaged in “heavy petting.”  Yet her family and friends insist that Meredith was not the type to cheat on a boyfriend and since she was dating Giacomo Silenzi, it seems unlikely that she would have participated in a sexual liaison with Guede; a person she barely knew.  Plus her British girlfriends said that Guede did not interact with Meredith on Halloween, when he insisted that they had set up “the date.”  Not a single one of them remembers seeing him that night, much less seeing Meredith talking to him.

Worst date ever

Worst date ever

Guede said that when he went to the bathroom, to relive himself of the “spicy kebab,” that a stranger came in and killed Meredith.  When he heard her scream he stepped out of the bathroom, with his pants down, as a stranger ran by yelling that the “black man would be blamed.” He pulled up his pants and ran into Meredith’s room to find her bleeding profusely, then grabbed towels out of the bathroom to try and stop the flow of blood.  But he was unsuccessful and so he ran away, frightened that he would be blamed for her murder.

So, according to Guede, first he was the lover and then the rapist, if the Sex Game Gone Wrong is correct.  First he “petted” Meredith and then he joined in on an orgy that ended in her death.  Does this make sense to you?  Me neither.  It’s a whole boatload of baloney.

Please note that in all of Guede’s versions he is acknowledging truth, this is what law enforcement calls the SODDI Defense, a common ploy used by criminals.  “I was there, but Some Other Dude Did It.”  Guede weaves elements of the truth into his story to explain the evidence linking himself to the crime while blaming a mysterious other person.  The Mysterious Other Person is Guede himself; it’s like he is having an “out-of-body experience” as he describes to police how the murder was committed.

The mystery attackers are not “other people,” they are Rudy Guede.

One thing that stands out is WHY Guede chose to strip and sexually violate Meredith as she lay dying.  This single act of perversion is extremely disturbing.  In his book, “Law and Disorder,” John Douglas (the legendary FBI profiler) sheds some light on such an act as he describes the “Lust Murder” of Suzanne Collins.  Her killer was a “particular form of sociopath” who kills because it “makes him feel good.”

This type “wrestles with a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy” and so “perverse sexuality of the crime is often manifested in other forms than traditional rape….. The necrophilia of the crime points in two complementary directions.  It underscores the inadequacy of the individual, who knows he could never make it with a girl of <Meredith’s> caliber under “normal” circumstances.  It also demonstrates the perpetrator’s need to control…” Pg. 107  Suzanne Collins was not targeted, like Meredith, her murder was a crime of opportunity.

Could Guede be a Lust Killer?  His background certainly points in that direction.

Once back in Perugian custody his story was altered to include Amanda and Raffaele.  Guede became the “hapless bystander” in Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini’s sexual fantasy of orgy and murder starring Amanda.  Guede allowed the Perugian authorities to write his script for him and has pandered to their every request; in return they have protected him.  They suggested the Fast Track trial and today Guede will be eligible for parole by 2014.

That is really the sick and twisted part, that the Perugians are so very willing to put the real murderer back on the streets in order to save face for persecuting innocent people.  That they are wholly unconcerned about releasing a man with obvious psychological issues back into the public realm, while they will pull out all stops to drag Amanda and Raffaele continually into court.

I think the Perugian authorities are every bit as depraved as Rudy Guede.

Meredith's funeral

Meredith’s funeral

Meredith was laid to rest in the cemetery that adjoins her old school in Croydon, England on December 14, 2007. Her memorial at St. John the Baptist parish church was attended by hundreds of mourners, many carrying a white rose; including her sister Stephanie.  Meredith’s brother Lyle delivered the eulogy, reminding mourners “that we were here to celebrate her life” and the Vicar of Croydon led the service. The Vicar, Reverend Colin Boswell, was the chaplain at Old Palace School where Meredith was a former student.  Her sister Stephanie read a poem that she had written especially for the service called ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ then mourners listened to Meredith’s favorite U2 song, “With Or Without You.” Laughter rippled through the pews as family and friends, including dozens of University of Leeds students, remembered this delightful girl. It was a fitting send-off for the girl they all knew as “Mez.”

No more trouble in my soul

No more trouble in my soul

Meredith’s father John was involved in the music industry as both a journalist and an autobiographer of several artists.  With a nod to his expertise, just before her death Meredith stepped into that world herself when she appeared in a hauntingly beautiful music video by Kristian Leontiou called “Some Say.”  It’s is a touching legacy for this lovely young lady to be forever young, forever exquisite, and forever in our hearts.

“No more trouble in my soul, no more time to make me whole, so today I try to tell you I’ll be on my way…”

 

The Kercher family without their beloved Meredith

The Kercher family without their beloved Meredith

There is nothing worse in the world than to outlive your child and that is exacerbated when your baby is brutally murdered in a senseless and heartless manner.  Meredith Kercher deserved so much better.  Her parents deserve the truth; they have never, ever deserved deceitful lies.  Meredith never deserved to be “an agenda” for some self-serving public official.

Yet that is exactly what has happened and it has cost four innocent families in innumerable ways.  Meredith’s family has lost her forever, Amanda, Raffaele, Patrick, their families and friends have suffered the stigma of unjust incarceration and now are at the mercy of a callous justice system that is little than  more a cottage industry to make money for the Perugian coffers.  

My articles center on the Defense Point of View because I have come to realize, in these years of anger, frustration and heartache for all of the parties involved, that the prosecution was determined to suppress information that would have shed light on what really happened the night Meredith died.  It is a ponderous task to winnow the truth out of the haboob of paper that the prosecution dumped on top of it, but by doing so the simple truth of the matter emerges.

The unadulterated reality is that the death of Meredith does not include Amanda, Raffaele or Patrick.  They are innocent bystanders.

The creation of Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini’s vainglorious sexual fantasy derailed any chance for a competent investigation.  His actions and his perverted illusion resulted in the arrest of innocent students and an innocent business owner before a single piece of forensic evidence had been processed.

He influenced proceedings to repeatedly deny access to key pieces of evidence to the Defense.

That act alone should raise huge red flags to anyone who wants really wants  justice.  Although it is their LEGAL RIGHT, the Defense has never had access to the infamous Pillowcase and the Hard Drives and one wonders, if they still exist, what information they would reveal.  In fact the Defense was illegally blocked from an independent investigation of all of the evidence, as is their right.

Ironically, despite the prosecution’s blatant attempts to immobilize and block every avenue, it was the Defense that always fought for the truth to come out about Meredith’s murder, along with their determination to exact justice for Amanda and Raffaele. It was the defense that continually refocused attention on Rudy Guede while the prosecution spent a vast amount of time and energy to distract the public from the real killer by the use of tabloids and Internet trolls.

And because of the prosecution’s actions, to this day, much of the public has no idea that Meredith’s true killer is in prison.

Many think that the killer has never been caught or that there were multiple unknown killers and one can see just how effective the prosecution’s Smear Campaign has been. But for the so-called “Knox PR Machine,” the public would never know that it was Rudy Guede who took the life of a beloved daughter, sister and friend or that his sentence was reduced and he will be on the streets within the decade.

Perhaps to kill again, unless justice truly can be served.

But will justice ever be served?  The world is witness to an extraordinary “Face Saving” effort by the Italian Supreme Court on behalf of Mignini and the Perugian police.  It has become apparent that a few dozen judiciary officials in Italy will do whatever it takes to keep Mignini’s sexual fantasy in place despite no concrete proof, that the court system would sacrifice the lives of innocent young adults in order to appear competent is mind boggling.

But competence is glaringly absent from this simple case of a young woman killed by a burglar, the Italian court system prefers orgies to facts.  And should we expect more from the same judicial system that claims that women cannot be raped if they are wearing tight jeans?  From the system that imprisons scientists for not accurately predicting earthquakes?  

Given their past performance, should we expect the Italian Supreme Court to disallow a Public Prosecutor’s sexual fantasy?

Should we not tell the public the truth in order to appease the prosecution?  Do the whims of dirty old men outweigh the public’s right to know how and why innocent people are being railroaded?  Does a grieving family deserve to be lied to protect an appallingly perverse and false scenario of their loved one’s death?

Years ago Amanda waited in Perugia so that she could give Meredith’s family a hug and her personal condolences, that gift was taken from them by Mignini and his Clan.  THEIR schemes outweighed any kindness that was reserved for the Kerchers and we have all felt a sense of loss that this poor family never got to know the Real Amanda Knox, the kindhearted girl that we all love.

Angel Mez

Angel Mez

We hope that one day the Kerchers will know the truth, that their questions will be answered to their satisfaction and that they will come to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Amanda, Raffaele, their families, friends and true  supporters have always, always been there for Meredith.  And we are still here for her family and friends.

God bless you Meredith, rest in peace my dear, may the Lord watch over your family as He is watching over you.