The Prison Informants

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Judge Hellmann granted the defense permission to add five prisoners, and potentially a sixth, who claim they know who the real murderer is. The defense request to add these witnesses was a highly speculative strategy. Putting your faith in the testimony of inmates is questionable and in this case the prisoners were presenting three completely different stories. In one version a prisoner would claim that Knox and Sollecito's co-accused, Rudy Guede, committed the murder alone. A second prisoner would tell an alternative version where Meredith's murderer was his Mafioso fugitive brother. The third version involved a claim that Meredith was a drug addict and that in the few weeks she was in Perugia she managed to acquire sufficient unpaid debts to a unidentified drug dealer who ordered her murder. The defense lawyers, despite requesting that these witnesses are allowed to testify, expressed concerns about the value they would bring to the trial.[1][2]

Mario Alessi

Mario Alessi is serving life in prison for the kidnapping and murder of a child.[3][4] He testified that he gained the confidence of Rudy Guede while imprisoned with him in Viterbo and that Rudy told him that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had nothing to do with the murder.[5] Alessi insists that Rudy told him that a drunk fat guy killed Meredith after she refused to have a threesome with them and asked them to leave.[6] [7] According to Alessi Rudy told him that he went to the bathroom and his companion attempted to sexually assault Meredith and ended up killing her.[8]

The defense also put three additional inmate witnesses to support Alessi's claims but that did not play out as expected. One inmate turned out to just be looking for a break in the mundanity of prison life and testified that he knew nothing and that he could not even understand Italian sufficiently to have heard anything. The second would only say that Alessi had told him the story of Rudy admitting to the murder but he heard nothing from Rudy himself. The third inmate was the only one that said anything of value. He claims that he heard Rudy say that Knox and Sollecito are innocent. The value of this statement is questionable. Alessi was already being investigated for volunteering false testimony in an unrelated case so the defense's strategy here is difficult to understand.

Rudy was called to testify and denied that he had ever shared any confidences with Alessi.[9] See Rudy Guede's Testimony.

Luciano Aviello

Luciano Aviello was Raffaele's ex-cellmate in prison and he had a history of making revelations on prominent criminal cases that never ended up having any merit. It didn't take long for Luciano to start proclaiming that Raffaele was not the murder and that he knew who the real killer was. Despite multiple attempts to get the attention of authorities everyone ignore Luciano. In an act of less than stellar judgement Amanda Knox's legal team eventually contact and deposed Aviello.[10]

Aviello's story was that the real murderer was his fugitive brother Antonio. Both brothers were connected to the Camorra (a Mafia-type criminal organization, originating from Naples) and both brothers were living in Perugia when Meredith's murder happened.[11] Luciano claims that on the night of November 1 around 10 or 11 his brother returned to the apartment they shared and his brother's clothing was ripped and he was covered in blood. He claims that Antonio had met an Albanian and the two had planned a robbery but that the Albanian wrote down the wrong address.[12]

This testimony was contradicted by both of Aviello's cellmates who claimed Aviello had been bragging that Sollecito's father had agreed to pay him €70,000 to muddy the water in Raffaele's case. Aviello also has eight previous convictions for slander.[13]

A month after the testimony Luciano Aviello himself came forward saying he was paid €30,000 by the Sollecitos to lie in an attempt to confuse the issue and gain Raffaele's freedom. [14] Aviello now changed his story to Raffaele told him that he was not there but that Amanda was the one who killed Meredith.[15]

The Supreme Court of Cassation was critical of Hellmann for not allowing Aviello to be recalled once he announced that he had been bribed for his testimony.[16] To address that mistake Judge Nencini allowed Aviello to testify on October 4th 2013. Aviello showed up dressed as a women and is in the process of undergoing gender-reassignment surgery.[17] Aviello has now reverted to the original story that his brother was the killer. Aviello denied receiving any money from the Sollecito family.[18] Aviello claimed that the murder happened during spiritualist seance and the commissioned theft of a painting.[19] The La Nazione reporter described the testimony as surreal and comments from Judge Nencini made it clear that Aveillo was not considered a reliable witness.[20]

Update:

Luciano/Lucia Aviello, was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in May 2014 for offending the judiciary (oltraggio), a charge most closely comparable to the U.S. concept of Contempt of Court, for his outbursts before the Hellmann Court. Another separate trial against him is ongoing in Perugia for slander (for the false accusation against his brother). [21]

Notes

  1. Staff. "Meredith/ I legali di Sollecito: "Alessi attendibile? Lo deciderà la Corte"" Umbria Left 21 May 2011.
  2. Staff. "Meredith/ Lettera di un detenuto: conosco nomi mandante ed esecutore del delitto" Umbria Left 20 May 2011
  3. The "Baby Tommi" murder was a notorious case, in which Alessi pleaded on Italian TV for the supposed kidnappers to return the baby, despite the fact that he himself had beaten the child to death with a shovel. Staff. "Meredith/ I legali di Sollecito: "Alessi attendibile? Lo deciderà la Corte""Umbria Left 21 May 2011. See also this English language account on the "People You'll Meet in Hell" website
  4. Staff. "Meredith/ I legali di Sollecito: "Alessi attendibile? Lo deciderà la Corte"" Umbria Left 21 May 2011.
  5. Staff. "Meredith/ I legali di Sollecito: "Alessi attendibile? Lo deciderà la Corte"" Umbria Left 21 May 2011.
  6. Nadeau, Barbie "Can Prison Gossip Free Knox?" The Daily Beast 18 June 2011
  7. Staff. "Meredith-Alessi: Met uccisa perchè rifiutò sesso a tre (il punto finale) Umbria Left 18 June 2011
  8. Staff. "Meredith-Alessi: Met uccisa perchè rifiutò sesso a tre (il punto finale) Umbria Left 18 June 2011
  9. Staff. "Those are inventions of Alessi" TGCOM Cronaca 11 March 2010
  10. Staff."Processo Meredith, spunta un pentito del clan Mariano: «Amanda è innocente»". Il Mattino 9 June 2010
  11. Squires, Nick "Amanda Knox not guilty, says Italian mafioso"The Christian Science Monitor. 14 June 2010
  12. Nadeau, Barbie "Can Prison Gossip Free Knox?" The Daily Beast 18 June 2011
  13. Nadeau, Barbie "Can Prison Gossip Free Knox?" The Daily Beast 18 June 2011
  14. Marruco, Francesca. Meredith, Aviello: «Ho mentito d’accordo con gli avvocati di Sollecito in cambio di soldi» Umbria 24 27 July 2011
  15. Marruco, Francesca. Meredith, Aviello: «Ho mentito d’accordo con gli avvocati di Sollecito in cambio di soldi» Umbria 24 27 July 2011
  16. Hellmann's Refusal To Allow The Recalling of Witness Luciano Aviello
  17. Kington, Tom Amanda Knox retrial: mafia gangster claims brother was killer The Guardian October 4 2013
  18. La Nazione (‏@qn_lanazione) tweeting from the courtroom
  19. La Nazione (‏@qn_lanazione) tweeting from the courtroom
  20. La Nazione (‏@qn_lanazione) tweeting from the courtroom
  21. Vogt, Andrea [1] May 24, 2014