Rudy Guede

Perugia guede

On Sunday October 21st, Rudy Guede stopped by to visit the guys who lived downstairs from Amanda and Meredith to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix . Rudy Guede was born in the Ivory Coast but brought to Italy as a child by his father. In his late teens, Guede’s father returned to the Ivory Coast, and Guede was fostered by an Italian family he had become friends with. In the summer of 2007 he lost a job he had as a gardener at a restaurant. However, he still had a place in Perugia that he lived in which was very close to where Raffaele Sollecito lived. Though he is described as a “man”,  Guede was very close in age to Amanda and Raffaele; Guede is six months older than Amanda and two years younger than Raffaele. Guede was very interested in basketball, and liked to hang out at the court by the University for Foreigners, a few dozen feet from the house where Meredith and Amanda lived. Guede first met Marco, who lived downstairs from Amanda and Meredith, in 2006 at the basketball court, and played there frequently with Marco and Giacomo.

One day early in October,  Amanda and Meredith were in town with Giacomo and Marco, where they ran into Guede. They all went back to Marco and Giacomo’s. After they got there, Amanda and Meredith went upstairs briefly before joining them downstairs. During this time, Guede joked with Marco and Giacomo about having sex with Amanda before she came downstairs. When she walked in, they stopped laughing but wouldn’t tell Amanda what they were laughing about. They all hung out and smoked pot, with Guede later reflecting that  “for the entire evening [Amanda] had a joint in her mouth, and she was smoking and smoking

Guede claims he first met Amanda at Le Chic, and knew her well enough by late October to know recognize her on the street in town and know where she worked. Just the night before, the Saturday night whe most everyone in the house was at the Red Zone night club, Guede had come around looking for everyone and sought out Amanda at Le Chic.  He had seen Meredith at the Shamrock earlier Saturday evening during the Rugby World cup. He didn’t find anyone, and spoke to the guys about this on Sunday night when he stopped by for the Grand Prix.

Guede wrote a “diary” of sorts after he was arrested in Germany after the murder, prior to being extradited back to Italy.  In his diary he describes his meetings with Amanda and Meredith:

In the days to come I saw Amanda and Meredith around town. We said “hi” and that was it. Then one day, the guys invited me to eat out. It would have been all the guys from the other night, but I was late. I went to their house, but no one was there. So then I went to “Le Chic” to ask about Amanda, maybe she knew where they went, but she wasn’t there. So then I figured that she was with the guys, going out with the others. Meanwhile I went with my usual friends, hanging around in the center of town. It was Saturday that evening. The next day, Sunday, I went to the guys’ house and found them. I told them I‘d tried, but couldn’t find them the day before, that I‘d gotten to their house late, etc., etc., then that I hadn’t seen them in the town center, and that I’d gone to Le Chic to ask about them and Amanda, but not even she was there. And they told me that they’d gone after dinner to “The Red Zone.” Then we spoke a lot about what happened to the guys at “The Red Zone.” But this is their own business that has to do with them…

I met [Amanda] once at “Le Chic,” not knowing it belonged to Patrick. I had gone there once because I had been given a flier with the name of the club…It was inside the club where I met Amanda. I remember very well that she approached me with a smile stamped on her face. That evening I was by myself. I began to talk with her “How are you… Where are you from,” until she told me she was from Seattle…

It was the first time that I met Amanda and after that, I ran into her many times, but it was always “hi” and “bye” each going our own way. I didn’t strike up a relationship (with her).

Guede describes the night he met everyone in town and went back to their house and smoked pot with the guys downstairs:

… in front of the “Shamrock,” we met the two Italian guys with whom I often played Basketball on the small court of Piazza Grimana. It was these guys, with their friends, who approached me. That night I was a bit high/tipsy, but conscious and talking. By then it was time to return home, but talking with these guys, I lost sight of my usual friends and stayed with them.

That is to say, I knew them and I decided to stay with them. At that point, a girl approached us and started to chat us up. I asked where she was from, where she came from, etc, etc. She told me her name was Amanda, and she was from Seattle. Then and there I hadn’t recognized her and I told her that I’d met a girl from Seattle, around before. And she said that she was that girl, at which point, I made the connection of having already seen her. Then we talked, me, the guys, Amanda, while we were going home. Having arrived near Piazza Grimana, I said bye to the guys, but they convinced me to come with them to their house. It didn’t take much to convince me.

Amanda sat down and she too, began to smoke. Then and there, I knew she smoked a lot because the guys told me so, and I saw it with my own eyes. For the entire evening she had a joint in her mouth, and she was smoking and smoking.

A week after this, Guede is discovered in Milan sleeping in a Kindergarten. Police are called, and discover him with a laptop reported to have been stolen from a Lawyers office in Perugia. Guede claims he bought the laptop at a market, and that someone had directed him to the Kindergarten as a place he could sleep overnight.

A visit to Perugia, pt. 1

Via dell’Acquedotto

A year ago, I traveled to Perugia, Italy. I’ve been to Italy on many past occasions. When I was in college I decided to go on my own to a town in Italy and take language lessons-like Amanda, except for me it was Florence. I was not on a program arranged through my school- I had a semester off and decided to go. My original interest in Italy was not completely out of the blue, as I I had met and briefly dated an Italian woman while I was visiting England one year. The trip to Perugia was my third or fourth trip to Italy. On past trips I stayed primarily in the north, visiting Venice, Pisa, Trieste, Bologna, and, of course, Florence. This was my first time south of Florence.

Perugia Mini-Metro

Researching online, I wasn’t really able to understand how to get to Perugia by train. To get there from Rome required a transfer, and then the Perugia train station was some ways outside of the town center. Arriving by train, the first impression is of anything but a “medieval town,” which the English language media loved to call it. The buildings and the city looked quite modern- and sprawling.  The vision we get of Perugia throughout this case is really of only the city center- the older part of town on the top of the hill. I recalled Amanda’s story of having to walk a long way, then hitch a ride, to get into town, and I wondered where she actually got off the train, because luckily, there is the mini-metro to take you from the station, under the center of town to the other side, where its a short walk to the city center. The mini-metro opened in January 2008, four months after the girls arrived in Perugia.

Yes, this “medieval village” has its own little metro rail! Its cute; its self-driven, and the cars spend the day traveling from one end of the track to the other. There’s an automated turntable at either end of the track that spins the car then sends it back the other way. Interesting fact- if you instead ride the metro away from the city center to the end of the line, you arrive right next to the Questura!

View of Perugia, looking north along the historic town center. In the valley at the top is the house; the British girls lived center-right; Raffalle and Rudy lived in the upper left

I started following this case about nine years ago, and during that time I’ve looked repeatedly at the the online maps like Google and Bing. But even reading the descriptions and seeing the maps, I still don’t know if I was quite prepared for the city. I really didn’t fully understand the topography from those maps, although with Google’s 3-d view its easier to see now.  The main road along the top of the hill running south to north is primarily a pedestrian-only way. Its somewhat like an upside down J. At the north end, going down the hill takes you to the nook in the valley where the four girls lived. On the inside of that J (on the right in this photo)was Patrick’s Bar, Le Chic, and where Meredith’s British friends lived.  The path Meredith took home on the night of the 1st was on the street that circles the hill, which made a lot more sense once I was there walking the streets: the easiest path from the British girls house to the house Meredith and Amanda lived in was not up and over the hill, but around the short end of the “j”.

One thing I was immediately struck by as I took this route is that there is a grade school almost right above the house. The plaza behind the grade school is the one with the metal stairs directly above the parking garage right next to the house! Meredith would have walked past the school on her way home her last night. The nearness of the grade school to the house in which Meredith was murdered surely worried local residents, and I would not be surprised if we learned that the proximity to the school, AND to the center of town, increased the pressure on the police to solve the murder.

From the house you can walk almost directly up the hill straight into town, and its an uphill walk!  I did this walk several times during the time I was there as I was getting a feel for the town. As I spent time walking around town, I reflected both on my own impressions of the town and the events and stories of both Meredith and Amanda when they first arrived. Over the next weeks, I will be looking how my trip to Perugia helped with understanding aspects of the case.

While I saw these sites, though, I also got to know the city center for my own. I ate some great pizza, I hung out and talked to one of the wine bar owners, I shopped in the bookstore.  Perugia is a lovely place, and I hope to get back there again soon.

While I traveled I didn’t get too much of an opportunity to speak to people about the case. I was surprised when I stopped in a bookstore in Rome to ask about books on the case, I didn’t get an immediate recognition from the clerks. I spoke to two or three people, and finally found one that had a recognition about the case, but then they had to look up in their computer if there were even actually any books written.

The other conversation I had was in Perugia… and that will be in my next post.

Perugia metro and apartment buildings

Channel 5 TV FAIL: The window climb

According to one Knox’s supporters, repeatability is one of the measures of good science. Repeatability means if you repeat an experiment *under the same conditions*, it  will lead to the same result. If the conditions are not the same, then repeatability is not relevant. Here, then, are ways in which Channel 5 fails at repeating (recreating) elements leading to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Below is an analysis of the window climbing demonstration.

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