Rudy Hermann Guede
[Rudy Guede Hermann, pp. 27-44]
Rudy Hermann Guede
In discussing the young men who lived on the lower floor of the house on Via Della Pergola, mention was made of Rudy Guede, himself charged as a co-conspirator [indicato nei capi di imputazione quale concorrente], with the defendants, in the crimes of murder, sexual violence, and burglary.
It has thus emerged that Rudy Guede regularly frequented the basketball court located in front of the University for Foreigners, in Piazza Grimana, a few steps away from the house on Via Della Pergola 7. He was somewhat acquainted with all the young men who lived in that house, as well as some of their friends such as Cocciaretto. He also knew the young women, Meredith and Amanda, who lived on the upper floor; while he had spoken to both of them (cf. statement of Cocciaretto reporting that he spoke with both Amanda and Meredith), he had shown a particular interest in Amanda, whom he “liked” and of whom he had acquired information about whether she was involved with anyone. The negative response he received was true at the time, since the Amanda-Raffaele relationship was to begin only on October 25, 2007, as will be seen later.
The house at Via Della Pergola 7 was thus, for Rudy Guede, a friendly house, and would have appeared to him as such: if was inhabited by friends and by girls that he could hang around with [intrattenersi], in the affairs of one of whom (Amanda) he took an interest; in that house he could find easy and immediate hospitality — as seen by the fact that one Sunday in the middle of October he went there to watch a Formula 1 race — and could linger for long periods of time (as seen by the episode recalled above in which, coming back from the pub at around 2:00 am, he went to the apartment, spending the whole night asleep on the toilet), welcomed as a friend by friends.
Although it has been hypothesized that the murder of Meredith Kercher and the sexual violence were committed concurrently by Rudy Guede as well as the defendants, Rudy Guede is not on trial in these proceedings. Nevertheless, the reconstruction of the facts cannot leave out someone who has been implicated as one of the main participants [protagonisti]; hence it is not possible to avoid discussing Rudy Guede as well in relation to the hypothesized criminal acts. Others – specifically the attorneys for the defendants — have requested the examination of witnesses concerning only Rudy and have referred to what has emerged regarding Rudy Guede himself from the investigations of the police in general and the Scientific Police in particular. They have moreover expressly indicated Rudy Guede as the author — the sole author — of the criminal acts perpetrated against Meredith Kercher.
One piece of evidence that must be taken into account is the presence of Rudy in Perugia on October 29 and October 31, 2007 — which makes it quite likely that Rudy Hermann Guede was also in Perugia the following day and night. There is in fact no evidence to the contrary.
Marta Fernandez Nieto and Carolina Espinilla Martin, after having denied knowing either Amanda or Meredith, reported having met Rudy toward the end of September 2007 since he lived in the apartment below theirs at Via Del Canerino 26 in Perugia. They furthermore stated that they had gone out with Rudy on both the 29th and 30th of October, and with regard to the night between October 31st and November 1st, the night of Halloween, they recalled being with Rudy — whom they had met at around 10:30 pm at the house of an acquaintance of theirs living on Via Campo di Battaglia — almost the whole time. There were about 30 people, and they lingered there until around midnight. Rudy was with them when they then went to the home of another Spanish youth [ragazzo], to Piazza Italia [note: home in Piazza Italia?], and when Carolina went to “Domus”, Rudy, who was with Spanish youths the whole time, went also. The only girl with whom she [antecedent unclear; either Nieto or Mattin; probably Martin] had seen him dance was “a blond girl with smooth, long hair” (cf. statements of Marta Fernandez Nieto and Carolina Espinilla Martin taken on 21-6-2007 and admitted into evidence [acquisite ai fini della utilizzabilità] in the hearing of 7-3-2009).
A number of pieces of evidence collected and analyzed by the Scientific Police give a sure indication of Rudy’s presence in the house of Via Della Pergola 7 and in Meredith’s room when Meredith was killed.
The palm print found on the pillow in Meredith’s room, on which Meredith’s lifeless body was lain, was found to be that of Rudy Guede; the DNA of the victim and of Rudy Guede was found in the vaginal swab performed on the victim; the DNA of Rudy Guede was also found on the cuff of Meredith’s sweatshirt found in her room and on a bra-strap belonging to Meredith, which was torn and soiled with blood; in addition, Rudy Guede’s DNA was also found on Meredith’s purse, which was also in her room. Further biological traces pointing to Rudy Guede were found in the toilet paper recovered in the toilet of the larger bathroom. The feces present in the toilet did not however yield any result; Dr. Stefanoni, biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easly leads to the destruction [note: original says “presence destroys”; what is meant is “bacteria destroys”] of the DNA that could have been present in the feces. Finally, prints left by a shoe solied with the victim’s blood were found in the hallway leading from Meredith’s room to the house’s exit. Initially those prints were held to be compatible with the footwear of Raffaele Sollecito. As will be seen again in what follows, later verifications managed to rule out such compatibility and revealed that the footwear was of the same type, mark, and number as those that could have been contained in a shoebox found in the residence of Rudy Guede on Via Del Canerino.
The results of such abundant and convergent findings have not been subject to criticism, and no evidence has been presented which could undermine their reliability [paraphrase]. Moreover, the methods of discovery, evaluation, and examination, which we shall have occasion to discuss in the sequel, render these results worth mentioning.[paraphrase]
It follows from the evidence just presented that Rudy Guede was in the house on Via Della Pergola when Meredith was killed:
- He went into the larger bathroom, the one used generally by Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti, and made use of it without flushing, which permitted the finding of the toilet paper used and of his biological traces on it.
- He then went into Meredith’s room and left another biological trace (the result of the vaginal swab) on the body of the young woman, as well as traces on her clothing (bra-strap and sweatshirt) and belongings (purse) which were in the room.
- He then left the room and made is way to the house’s exit, leaving the prints of one of the shoes he was wearing, prints made in the victim’s blood.
In their variety and in the convergence of the verifications relating to them, these traces and pieces of evidence do not permit us — as we have said — to doubt the presence of Rudy Guede in the house and in Meredith’s room on the night of the murder. The evidence reveals the path taken by Rudy Guede that night in the house on Via Della Pergola: through the living room and the hallway to arrive at Meredith Kercher’s room; through the same places – living room and hallway — to get to the exit after killing Meredith, without changing direction to go anywhere else, given that the bloody prints outline a trajectory that leads directly from Meredith’s room to the exit. In this regard it is worth recalling the testimony on this point by Gioia Brocci, a photographic analyst [‘foto segnalatrice’] working for the Perugia Police Department [Questura di Perugia], who was present in the house in the late afternoon of 11-2-2007: there were traces in the corridor that appeared to be of blood, in the form of [costituenti] shoe-sole-prints that “in heading from Meredith Kercher’s bedroom toward the exist” became “ever lighter and fainter” [sempre piu labili e piu esigue] (p. 138) and by putting together the various features [punti] of these traces we may deduce [ricavare] a path [linea] heading straight toward the exit (p. 159, statement of Gioia Brocci).
At this point we cannot avoid the question of the means of access used by Rudy Guede to obtain entry into the house at Via Della Pergola 7 on the night when Meredith was killed.
The breaking of the glass of the window in the Filomena Romanelli’s room, the disorder found in that room, and the presence of a large stone constitute suggestive evidence on this question.
After all, in one of her calls to Romanelli, Amanda speaks of the broken glass and of the possibility that someone entered the house by breaking this window; likewise in the calls to 112 and in the initial statements given to the Postal Police. In the email of 11-4-2007 sent by Amanda to 25 persons in the USA (acquired ex art 234 cpp and admissible) it is also hypothesized that a burglar could have gotten into the house, and Amanda speaks of being concerned with making sure nothing was missing. Moreover, the attorneys for the defendants — specifically Raffaele Sollecito — have but a great deal of emphasis on the notion that the window located in Filomena Romanelli’s room could — by being broken with the large stone found in the room itself — have permitted access to the house on Via Della Pergola 7. Also cited in support of this were witnesses who reported certain behaviors on the part of Rudy Guede, and a consultant was appointed — Marshall [maresciallo] Francesco Pasquale — who reported on the possibility of the window having been broken from outside the house, which would permit one to furtively enter the house at Via Della Pergola 7.
Witness Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, at the hearing of 6-27-2009, reported that on the morning of Saturday, October 27, 2007, as she entered the nursery [asilo] located on Via Plinio 16 in Milan, of which she was the director, she noticed that a person she did not know — subsequently identified as Rudy Guede — was leaving from her own office. There were no signs of forced entry. Some small change was missing from the box where money was kept. Rudy Guede had a knapsack [zaino] inside of which he was carrying a computer. The police, who were called immediately, made him reveal the backpack [zainetto] in which there was a long kitchen-knife of approximately 40 centimeters. She recalled that there were other objects in the sack [zaino]: a set of keys, a small women’s gold watch, a small hammer of the sort found in buses for breaking the windows. The police told her that the computer had been stolen in Perugia, from a lawyer’s office [studio legale]. The witness explained that she was accompanied by her six-year-old son, a locksmith [fabbro] who was to perform work, and an assistant [rappresentante] [note: or possibly “salesman”]. Rudy Guede justified his presence by saying that he had requested, at Milan central station — where he may have spent the night and where he found out about this nursery — back payment of 50.00 euros from the witness herself. The witness explained that the knife was in the kitchen; it was not locked and Rudy Guede could have taken it from that location.
Additionally, witnesses Paolo Brocchi and Matteo Palazzoli, lawyers, described a burglary in their law office located in Perugia at Via Del Rosetto 3 on the night between Saturday, October 13, and Sunday, October 14, 2007. The burglar or burglars had entered through a window of which the glass had been broken with a rather large rock; the glass was scattered everywhere, and they had found their clothing on top of it (p.10, hearing of 6-26-2009). The inventory taken afterward revealed a missing computer, cellular phone, USB cables [chiavi USB], and portable printer. On October 29 a colleague had called Paolo Brocchi to tell him that in the hallway was a person who said he had been found in Milan with items that Mr. Brocchi had reported as stolen, but which he claimed to have acquired legally in Milan. Paolo Brocchi immediately recognized that person as Rudy Guede (p. 20, hearing of 6-26-2009).
Mr. Palazzoli, testifying at the same hearing and a colleague of Mr. Brocchi, stated that the window that had been broken was “a French window [portafinestra] which looks out on a terrace facing the internal courtyard of the building, and under the courtyard, exactly aligned [‘proprio in corrispondenza] with our window, is a door with a metal grating…” (p.41, hearing of 6-26-2009). He also pointed out that he had received notice of the fact that the computer that had been stolen from him had been found in Milan.
Cristian Tramontano, whose summary statement of 1-7-2008 was admitted in the hearing of 6-26-2009, described a burglary at his own residence. It was committed by a young man who, having been discovered, was attempting to reach the exit when, finding the door locked, he pulled out a clasp knife to threaten Tramontano, who had been chasing him out of the house. Tramontano stated that he seemed to recognize the perpetrator in Rudy, whose picture he saw in the newspapers.
These episodes — the Milan nursery, the burglaries in the Perugia legal office and at the home of Tramontano (although in the latter case the recognition of Rudy was described with the expression “I seem to recognize…”) — display obvious and notable differences from the epsiode regarding the breaking of the window in Romanelli’s room; yet more striking [accentuate] differences emerge when considering the hypothesis that Rudy Guede used that means of access [into Via Della Pergola 7].
If we grant that Rudy was the perpetrator of the burglaries committed at the offices of Messrs. Brocchi and Palazzoli and at the house of Tramontano, it must be observed that none of these men knew Rudy, and nor did the director of the Milan nursery on Via Plinio — a situation entirely distinct from that regarding the house on Via Della Pergola, where Rudy knew the residents of the lower apartment as well as Meredith and Amanda (something that does not seem insignificant).
In the nursery there was no forced entry or violence upon objects, and neither was climbing involved. In the Perugia legal office the burglar was able to enter by means of “a French window which looks out on a terrace facing the internal courtyard of the building” (p. 41, hearing of 6-26-2009) and thus could avail himself of a surface (the terrace) on which he could easily move around; objects were taken from the office, glass was found on top of clothing, and a first-aid kit was rummaged through (possibly suggesting an injury which necessitated its use); in the Milan nursery Guede was found with illicitly-acquired objects (such as the computer) and with a knife taken from the kitchen of the nursery itself. In Tramontano’s house, it does not appear that the burglar entered with the kind of crashing sound [fracasso] that the breaking of a window with a stone would have produced (Tramontano states that he was awakened by noise coming from below his lofted bed), and furthermore the burglar was seen going through personal items — with the intention [it must be presumed] of finding and taking away something of value.
The method of access to the house on Via Della Pergola, however, was different; and from that house nothing was removed or even prepared to be taken away (Romanelli was not alone in speaking of a room turned upside-down while failing to mention that any objects were in any way collected for removal; nor is
But beyond the recognizable differences in the situations — a person wishing to sneak into residences or offices could, after all, change their modus agendi — are the specific, concrete circumstances which rule out the possibility that, when Meredith was killed, the house on Via Della Pergola was accessed by means of the window located in Romanelli’s room, after the rupture of the glass of that window.
We have already discussed Rudy Guede’s acquaintance with the residents of the house on Via Della Pergola, and the good relations, of friendship and fun [gioco]], that he enjoyed with them (with all of the young men on the lower floor, with Amanda — in whom he had definitely shown interest — and with Meredith). It thus appears implausible that Rudy decided to enter the house in the furtive and violent way that the breaking of the window would manifest; the implausibility is compounded by the fact that at least some of the residents could have been present in the house, or one of them could have arrived at any moment and surprised Rudy Guede — whom they knew — in the act of committing the burglary, or afterward.
Filomena Romanelli has reported (see statement given at the hearing of 2-7-2009) that when she left the house on Via Della Pergola 7 in the afternoon of November 1, 2007, she had closed the shutters of her window (p.68), and had pulled them inward (p.95); “the wood was swollen a little, so it rubbed on the shelf” (p. 26). She explained that “it was an old window…the wood rubbed” and the day she left she recalled “having closed it also because I knew I would be gone a few days” (p.96), and further explained, taking note of what she stated on 12-3-2007, that “I had pulled the shutters, because I thought I hadn’t closed them” (p. 115).
It must therefore be held that when Filomena Romanelli left the house on Via Della Pergola, she had pulled the shutters of her room toward the inside, thinking indeed that she had not closed them; furthermore, since they were old and the wood was a bit swollen, they rubbed on the sill, and to pull them inward it was necessary to use a bit of force; but in this case, once they were pulled inward as Romanelli recalled doing, they remained firm due to the pressure exerted on the sill by the swollen wood. Now, in order for a stone to have broken the glass of the frame [infisso] without causing the shutter to be crushed, it would have been necessary to avoid the shield [riparo] formed by the shutter and thus to open the latter from the inside. Indeed, the defense consultant has hypothesized exactly this, and in his presentation he excluded the presence of the shutters. Consequently, since the shutter had been pulled inward, and its rubbing created a force on the sill on which it rested, an initial operation aimed at opening the shutters would have been required. The failure to find suitable tools (although it is unclear what type of tools could have been used for this task) leads one to posit that there was an initial climb undertaken for the purpose of fully opening the shutters (“if the shutters had been closed, [the stone] couldn’t go through — that’s obvious” (statement of defense consultant Francesco Pasquali, p. 22, hearing of 7-3-2009), making it possible to hit [centrare] the glass and break it by throwing a large stone. The “climber” (the window in Romanelli’s room is at a height of some three meters from the underlying ground level, cf. photo 11 of the relevant file) would also have had to trust that the shutters had not been latched, and moreover, that the “darkeners” [“scuri”] — that is, the wooden panels that usually constituted the outermost part (or innermost depending on the point of view) — had not been closed; that is, they had not been attached to the frame on which the glass was located, since otherwise it would not have been possible to open the shutters from the outside, and nor would it have been possible to open up a way of entering the house by breaking the glass, since the “darkeners” attached to the frame equipped with glass would have continued to consitute an obstacle to opening the frame despite the rupture of the glass.
Assuming then that the climber had, so to speak, bet on the presence of both the “favorable” and indispensable circumstances indicated above, he would have had to perform an initial climb — after getting himself under the window of Romanelli’s room — to open the shutters; he would have had to obtain the large stone, and, after locating the point from which to throw it to hit the window, throw it (it does not seem possible to assume that he climbed up while carrying the stone and threw it with the risk of being hit by the shattering glass).
He would then have had to go back under Romanelli’s window to perform the second climb, and, with the glass broken, open the frame (standing or kneeling on the outer sill of the window since otherwise he could not have reached the hook that closed the window-panels [ante] by putting his arm through the opening made by the stone, because if the panels [ante] had not been closed it would not have been necessary to break the glass but only to throw open the shutters) and thereby enter the room.
Such a scenario [dinamica] appears completely implausible given the amount of work (getting under the window; climbing in order to throw the stone; scaling the walls) and given the uncertainty of success (it would have been necessary to bet on the combination of the two favorable circumstances indicated above), involving the repetition [reiterazione] of movements and behaviors that, moreover, would have been easily visible to anyone happening to pass by on the street or or, indeed, arrive in the house.
Nor can it be hypothesized — as the Defense Consultant has — that the shutters had been completely opened, as that would contradict the statements of Romanelli which appear corroborated and absolutely plausible given that she was away for the holiday and had valuables in her room, and already felt uneasy about the wooden, barless frames; moreover the idea that the shutters were completely open is at odds with the position they were found in as described by the various witnesses on the day of November 2 and documented by the corresponding photographs (cf. for example photo 11, already cited).
But in addition to the preceding considerations, there is other evidence which rules out the possibility that a burglar entered the house by means of the window in Romanelli’s room. The aforementioned double-climb, necessary to scale the height of three-and-a-half meters, would have left print-marks on the wall, or rather, on the parts of the wall on which the “climber” would have put his feet, especially since Romanelli and Marco Zaroli have made statements indicating that the ground, on that early November evening, was wet (see statements of Marco Zaroli, hearing of 2-6-2009, p. 174, and statements of Filomena Romanelli, hearing of 2-7-2009, p. 24; see also the document introduced in the hearing of 3-28-2009 concerning the fact that it rained on 10-30-2007). No such sign was left on the wall, however. Furthermore, the nail — as noted by this Court itself on the occasion of its inspection — remained where it was, and it seems difficult to suppose that the climber — owing to the position of the nail as well as its features, which can be seen in photo 11 — would not have somehow “run into” that nail and applied force on it, either inadvertently or as a support, causing it to fall or bending it. On this matter, it will be useful to recall what was said by witness Gioia Brocci, already cited, who stated at the hearing of 4-23-2009 that she had also observed the outside of the apartment, and, specifically concerning the wall underneath the window with the broken glass (that of the room then occupied by Filomena Romanelli), explained as follows: “We observed both the wall underneath the window…as well as all of the vegetation underneath the window and noted that the wall did not have traces of anything at all, no more of mold than of grass, nothing, various scratches, it had nothing, and also all the vegetation which was under this window was not so much as trampled upon, nothing” (p. 142, statement of Gioia Brocci). She also recalled the existence of a nail on the wall, which was sticking out at about 6 centimenters, and added that “in walking around the external perimeter of the apartment” she had soiled her shoes with “grass attached to the shoes” (p.145; cf. also statements of officer Zugarini, hearing of 2-28-2009, p. 133).
Additionally, the fragments of broken glass were scattered in a homogeneous manner on the internal and external windowsill, without any noticeable displacement and without any piece of glass being found on the surface below the window. This circumstance, also confirmed by Mr. Pasquali, rules out the possibility that the stone was thrown from outside the house to allow access inside via the window after the glass was broken. The climber, in leaning his hands and then his feet or knees on the windowsill, would have caused some of the glass to fall, or at least would have had to move some of the pieces lest they form a trap and cause injury. However, no piece of glass was found under the window and no sign of injury was discovered on the glass found in Romanelli’s room.
It should also be observed how the presence of numerous pieces of glass on the external windowsill would have also rendered plausible the presence of some fragments on the ground underneath, there being no reason why so many pieces of glass should have all come to rest on the external sill without crossing the edge and falling to the surface below. This situation, like all the other patent incongruities discussed so far, is however adequately and satisfactorily resolved by hypothesizing that the rock was thrown from the inside of the bedroom with the two shutters closed toward the inside, thereby forming a shield [riparo] and impeding the fall of the glass fragments to the surface underneath; once the glass was broken from the inside, the rock could be put in part of the room and the shutters could be pushed outward and thus opened from inside the room.
The Defense Consultant, M.llo Pasquali, nevertheless maintains that the rock was thrown from outside the room and outside the house. He arrives at this conclusion on the basis of various pieces of evidence: the presence of fragments of glass on the internal and external windowsill, and the “intrusion of fragments of glass fallen from above into the inside…of the room”, all the way to the blue rug and the bed (p. 47. hearing of 7-3-2009).
These elements do not appear to have the significance that the Consultant has given them.
It should first be observed that M.llo Pasquali has stated that he has never dealt with stone-throwings except in the case at hand; although he has maintained a possibility of making “a parallel with firearm ballistics”, he has nevertheless admitted that, while in ballistics one is able to work with precise data (p. 39, hearing of [7?]-3-2009), “here we have uncertainties [variabili] that are infinite” (p.40). Exactly on account of these uncertainties, and what was observed above, the claim and explanation offered regarding the launching of the rock from outside appear unconvicing [non condivisibili]. If indeed we assume a launching from the inside with the shutters pulled toward the inside (as they had to be according to what was explained above), and the frame on which the glass was installed being slightly open and with the “darkener” [scuro=blind(s)?] covered by the frame, we have a situation analogous to that of a launching from the outside (the same part of the frame is hit) and the pieces of glass, due to the impact with the large rock and the resistance (shielding effct, one might say) offered by the blind(s) [scuro], will necessarily fall on both the internal and external sill (taking into account the slight opening of the frame and the proximity of the shattered glass to the external sill); the presence of the shutters pulled toward the inside — as described by Romanelli — would have furthermore prevented the pieces of glass from falling on the lower surface; a fall that did not in fact occur, but which, however, would have been easily detected in the case of a launching from the outside. As for the presence of the glass fragments in Romanelli’s bedroon, the violence of the impact, the characteristics of the glass (rather thin as reported by Romanelli and described by m.llo Pasquali), the large rock used, and the shielding effect (so to speak) of the blind(s) covering the frame on which the glass stood (the position of the blind(s) being confirmed by the scratch shown in the relevant photo) adequately explain the diffusion of the fragments.
But the fact that this was a mere staging, a mise-en-scène, is evidenced by other circumstances: the photos taken by Questura personnel (see photos 47-54 and 65, 66) suggest activity apparently designed only to create a situation of obvious disorder in Romanelli’s room; they do not suggest any actual rummaging or searching for valuables that would be attractive to a burglar. The drawers of the nightstand next to the bed do not even appear to have been opened (photo 51 and statements of Battistelli who reported that it was Romanelli who opened the drawers and found them closed, without any sign of their having been searched through; see p. 66 of Battistelli’s statements, hearing of 2-6-2009); the objects on the shelves appear from photo 52 to be absolutely untouched; articles of clothing appear in photo 54 to have been thrown from the wardrobe into piles but there does not appear to have been any search undertaken in the wardrobe, in which a few pieces of clothing and boxes remained in their positions without any indication of a search for valuable items possibly located there (see photo 54); the boxes on the table (see photo 65) were not opened to search for any valuable objects that could have been inside. In fact, no valuable item was taken away or even set aside and prepared to be taken away (cf. in particular the statements of Romanelli on this point) by the imaginary thief (as we may at this point call him).
A final point to be recalled concerns the presence, noted and reported by more than one witness, of glass framents on top of objects and clothing in Romanelli’s room.
This circumstance, also suggestive of staging — albeit not decisive since nothing rules out the possibility of the imaginary thief having first broken the glass and then making a mess in the room — has been disputed by the attorneys for the defendants on the basis of the photos which do not document the presence of glass on clothing and displaced objects in Romanelli’s room, and the principle [rilievo] that the evidentiary value and precision of a photograph [il valore documentale e di cristallizzazione di una determinata situazione realizzata da foto] should prevail over statements of witnesses about their recollection [dichiarazioni testimoniali affidate al ricordo].
This is a notion which, though attractive, does not appear sustainable [accoglibile] since it does not take into account the chronological succession of events. We find Romanelli’s deposition to be significant and a refutation of the supposed contrast between the documentary evidence (i.e. the photos from Romanelli’s room which do not show pieces of glass on top the clothing and displaced objects) and the testimony. In the examination of 2-7-2009 itself, she recalled having left her computer in its case “upright, not lying down” (p.269) and then, when she re-entered the house she saw that the window was broken in her room and “everything was out in the open” (p.40). She checked for jewelry, saw that it was there, and looked for the comptuer which she glimpsed “from below” (p.40) and, continuing to explain, she stated that “in picking up the computer, I noticed that I was lifting pieces of glass, in the sense that the pieces of glass were on top of things” (p.41) and the circumstance was striking enough to her at that moment to the point of being the subject of a specific remark: “it was a stupid burglar; besides the fact that nothing was taken, the pieces of glass were also on top of things” (p.41). Then, in addition to this vivid memory, the witness also reported entering her room and looking to see if anything was missing, and in the process also moved objects, thereby modifying the location of the glass fragments. At that moment, of course, only the Postal Police were present, looking for the reason for which two phones were found in the garden of a house on Via Sperandio, and the broken glass of a window, merely suggested a burglary that was entirely independent of the finding of the two phones; it thus appeared entirely normal and almost automatic that one would go into the room where the window was broken, without any caution, with one’s attention being focused only on seeing what was missing. The displacement of the objects and the gradual alteration of the situation in Romanelli’s room with respect to the pieces of glass (which, found on top of objects, ended up falling and being shifted in the searching activity that one can imagine Romanelli performing with a certain agitation and anxiety on account of the state of concern and disturbance she found herself in) was therefore natural. The photos, however, where taken only afterward, around 3:00 pm according to what may be inferred from the statements of the forensic investigators [personale della scientifica] of the Perugia Questura, Cantagalli and Brocci, when the discovery of the lifeless body of Meredith imposed a different set of concerns [una diversa circospezione]: the necessity of preserving the situation, avoiding any alteration of the same, and of acquiring every piece of evidence that could turn out to be useful to the investigation.
The time at which the witnesses noticed the presence of glass on objects is thus distinct from the time at which every detail of the house and its surroundings was photographed and in some sense preserved.
Consequently, the visual and tactile perceptions of the witnesses cannot be evaluated against the photos depicting the environment, these representing different points in time, with differing features. In this regard it suffices to consider the fact that Inspector Battistelli directed everyone to exit the house not when he saw the broken window in Romanelli’s room, but when the discovery was made of a dead body in Meredith’s room.
Hence the statements describing what was noticed in the room cannot be held reliable only insofar as they correspond to what is represented by the photos; this applies in particular to the presence of the glass fragments and the position thereof. On this point, besides the statements of Romanelli — which appear reliable due to their precision, the emotion [by means of] which the event thus imprinted rather vivid images and recollections upon her, and by the reported remark that was recalled above, which corroborate the recollection — the statements of Officer Fabio Marsi must also be recalled; he remembered having seen “that there were articles of clothing and other personal items n the floor, with glass on top, as well as this rock which presumably had broken the window” (p. 127, hearing of 2-6-2009) and furthermore added that Romanelli “checked if things were missing; she said ‘No, but look here, everything’s here, everything’s here” (p. 129, hearing of 2-6-2009): an act of verification which, as has already been observed, necessarily entailed (the room being in a mess) a displacement of objects and thus also of glass fragments, rendering the situation as represented by the photos different from that seen by the witnesses. Therefore, the presence of glass fragments on top of the various objects on the floor, strewn about in a disorganized way, must be considered a circumstance that is demonstrated by the testimony and not contradicted by the photos. The presence of glass on top of objects found out of place can only indicate, necessarily, an act of staging, since the throwing of the rock and the rupture and falling of the glass from the window would have had to take place in the room as Romanelli had left it, and in particular, pieces of glass could not end up being found on top of objects whose displacement would have been due to the imaginary thief(?) who would have been able to enter the room only after breaking the window — the items and clothing that he would have moved having necessarily to end up on top of the glass.
What has been explained up to this point leads one to conclude that the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window constitute an artificially created production, with the purpose of directing investigators toward someone without a key to the entrance, who would have had to enter the house via the window whose glass had been broken and who would then have perpetrated the violence against Meredith that caused her death.