Headsup: Will Gladwell perpetuate hoax at heart of new book Monday in Los Angeles interview with Brit Marling? We'd appreciate someone warning her, also Larry Wilmore, and help them avoid legal liabilities.

Category: DNA and luminol

Friday, May 11, 2018

Overview Of All Our Powerpoints For Those Many On Media Threads Praising Them

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Perugia from the Rome direction; railway station at center-left

1. Post Overview

These brilliant Powerpoints have been getting effusive praise online and in emails by many who began with them.

Others have posted asking how to find them.  We are very grateful for their interest. Here they all are, the complete set. One is by James Raper, one by Fly By Night, two by Nikki, and the others by that indefatigable frog Kermit.

They are often very funny, mostly bothersome to the humorless Knox attack-sheep, and always technically excellent. But their main draw appears to be that they are so explanatory, so highly compelling.

Watch a few and the sense that the Italians got things right can get to be unshakable.  While videos can be telling, Powerpoints look to be even more telling. Other victim sites might well benefit from this model.

2. All Our Powerpoints

1. Click for Post:  A Witness Trashed By Paul Ciolino For CBS In Fact Looks Very Credible (Kermit)

2. Click for Post:  A Comprehensive Guide To The Relevant Locations (Kermit)

3. Click for Post:  A Minute By Minute Visual Guide To The Events On The Night (Kermit)

4. Click for Post:  A Very Odd House, In A Very Odd Location (Kermit)

5. Click for Post:  A Graphical Tour Of The Crime Scene Itself (Kermit)

6. Click for Post:  Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene (Kermit)

7. Click for Post:  DNA Evidence - A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject Here (Nikki)

8. Click for Post:  Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test (Kermit)

9. Click for Post:  Defense Claim AK & RS Couldn’t Have Disposed Of Meredith’s Phones Is Wrong (Kermit)

10. Click for Post:  The DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack (Nikki)

11. Click for Post:  Countering The Spin By The Defenses On The Recent Cottage Break-in (Kermit)

12. Click for Post:  Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right (Kermit)

13. Click for Post:  150 Questions For The Defendants They Have Incessantly Avoided (Kermit)

14. Click for Post:  The Telling Case Of The Doctored Footprint (Kermit)

15. Click for Post:  Justice For Meredith - The Thoughts Inspired By Two Mountains (Fly By Night)

16. Click for Post:  We Now Examine The Compelling Evidence For The REAL Railroading From Hell (Kermit)

17. Click for Post:  Total Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Guilty As Charged (James Raper with Kermit)

18. Click for Post:  Katie Couric Interviews Raffaele Sollecito! We Already Have A Sneak Preview!! (Kermit)

19. Click for Post:  Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat (Kermit)

20. Click for Post:  On Contradictions, Here Preston Contradicts Preston (Kermit)

21. Click for Post:  Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC’s Sneak Preview! (Kermit)


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #4

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



One of two Sollecito footprints matching in EXACT dimensions

1. What Hampikian Omits In Misleading The American Audience (2)

Hampikian’s illegal nonsense on the DNA in the case is quite obviously worse than useless.

It actually came to HURT the defenses rather than helped them, and drew the mafias in (see Part 2 below). Do please feel free to purge your mind of it, and take in our forensic Powerpoints.

Click each image below, and keep clicking.

1. DNA: A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject By Nicki


2. DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack By Nicki


3 Telling Forensic Evidence Against Sollecito By Kermit


4. How Pro-Knox Mafia Tools Doctored A Sollecito Footprint By Kermit


5. Total Evidence Suggests AK & RS Guilty By James Raper w/Kermit




2. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #3

Posted by Peter Quennell



Knox enablers Jason Flom, Barry Scheck, Greg Hampikian

(Click here to go straight to Comments. Long post.)

1. What Hampikian Omits In Misleading The American Audience (1)

Think of the evidence in the case as a giant jigsaw puzzle. Say it consists of 1000 pieces.

We at TJMK and PMF and the Wiki are finally on top of nearly all of them. Thanks especially to Italy’s amazing habit of documenting and its open-process juries and our fine translators.

In the US and UK there would be few such documents. And no reasoning at all from any black-box jury. No surprise really that the Innocence Project has many cases here - and none in Italy.

Hampikian in his frenetic marketing of Knox, in sharp contrast to our full picture, leaves out pretty well everything. The previous post by KrissyG showed this for us first.

Amazingly, Hampikian revealed he is not even clued up on the full extent of the DNA.

Now in the prosecution phases of the trial back in 2009 the judges and lay-judges were presented with all 1000 pieces of the puzzle, in 20 day-long sessions (a quarter in closed court and not reported by media in detail). Also they did voluminous side-reading of the case files.

Plus of course staring at the telling Knox and Sollecito reactions for hours and hours.

Knox obviously preferred to be daffy and her version of likable, and to try to warm up a hostile Sollecito. He was obviously sulky and angry at Knox, refusing to look at her or to speak in favor of any of her alibis. Both grimly sat through the hard-to-take closed sessions.

For us and many in Italy, the case came to be a convincingly strong one about midpoint in the trial.

That was when a defiant Knox was on the stand for two days, doing herself no good, incessantly contradicting herself and causing this typical reaction and this one.

Knocked back by this, the defenses used up only a very few court days to attempt rebuttals and attempt to squeeze nice opinions out of character witnesses. Pretty well all Italy could see the defenses were outgunned, listless, and demoralized.

Back in 2008 there had been talk of RS and AK admitting to heavy drug use or psychological issues but the parents would have none of it.

So other than incessantly beating up on Guede (an easy “out” as he was not present to defend himself) it was hard for them to find things to talk about. Some court days were cancelled because of this and Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno skipped several sessions.

This all matters. It explains things. But Hampikian omits all of it in his simplistic and ridiculous bid for glory.

He misrepresents a small fraction of the DNA evidence, reveals himself ignorant of a much bigger and equally damning fraction, and ignores all other evidence as if everything other than DNA is of lower importance.

So here below from the Wiki Evidence Masterlist is all of the forensic evidence made public by the end of 2009. (Although very extensive, this is still only about 50% of all the evidence items on the Masterlist. Hampikian hid that half also.)

Again, this was all known to the jury as of the end of trial - which like any jury anywhere can convict on ONE item if it speaks guilt to them. This was the only jury to hear the whole case. The one that voted for guilt unanimously.  As any American or British jury would have done.

Part 3 at bottom summarizes the damning court take and the Knox shills’ spin.

2. Forensic Evidence In The Public Realm By Late 2009

Area 1: The Wounds

11-01   Meredith Kercher sustained 43 wounds during the assault that killed her. (Perna closing arguments 2009)

1-02   She had 10 knife wounds and 33 other wounds. (Lalli 2009)

1-03   She had at least 15 bruises: on her mouth, nose, cheeks, jaw, neck, elbows, right forearm, small of her back, left thigh, and right lower leg. The bruises indicate she was not only restrained, but also kept from screaming for help. (Lalli 2009)

1-04   Some of the bruising on Ms. Kercher was in the shape of fingertips, with some fingertips being smaller, of a woman’s size. There were no ligature marks. (Lalli, Marchionni, Codispoti 2009)

1-05   Some of the neck bruises indicate Ms. Kercher was being choked at some point during the assault. (Liviero 2009)

1-06   The internal vaginal bruising suffered by Ms. Kercher happened before her death and was violent. (Lalli, Marchionni 2009)

1-07   She had only 2 major knife wounds, one on each side of her neck. The remaining knife wounds were minor. (Lalli 2009)

1-08   The wound on the right side of her neck was narrow and deep. The wound on the left side of her neck was wide, large, gaping and fatal. These two wounds were likely made with two different knives. (Bacci, Politi, Codispoti, Mignini 2009)

1-09   She had another knife cut just below the gaping wound on the left side of her neck. (Lalli 2009)

1-10   She had 3 other glancing knife wounds on her neck and cheeks. (Lalli 2009)

1-11   She had 3 small cuts on her right hand and one small cut on her left hand. (Lalli 2009)

1-12   Her defensive wounds were virtually non-existent, especially when compared with other single-attacker knife attacks, where knife wounds on the hands and arms are prevalent. (Cingolani, Codispoti 2009)

1-13   The wounds were compatible with an assault by multiple persons (Cingolani, Codispoti, Lalli, Liviero 2009).

1-14   Bacci, Lalli and Liviero testified that the wounds could not be ascribed with 100% certainty to a single person or multiple person assault. However Lalli and Liviero preferred the multiple person assault scenario, given the quantity and different types of wounds. (Bacci, Lalli, Liviero 2009)

1-15   Lalli confirmed under questioning by Judge Massei that if the rape happened during the assault, then the assault had to be carried out by more than one person. (Lalli 2009)

Area 2: The Blood traces

2-01   Blood traces were found all around Ms. Kercher’s bedroom, not in one specific area. (crime scene photos)

2-02   In Ms. Kercher’s bedroom, blood was found by the far wall, on and inside the closet, under the desk, by and under the bed, on the walls above the bed, on the mattress cover, on the floor in large quantities and on the door into the bedroom. (crime scene photos)

2-03   Blood was also found on the floor in the form of partial shoeprints leading out of the cottage. Blood traces were also found on the small bathroom door, in the small bathroom (on the light switch, sink, bidet, bathroom floor mat, etc.), possibly on a few items in Knox’s bedroom, and also in Luminol-revealed traces found on the floor in the corridor, in Knox’s bedroom and in Romanelli’s bedroom. (crime scene photos, Codispoti 2009)

2-04   No blood traces were found near, leading to or in the large bathroom where Guede defecated. (crime scene photos, Dr. Stefanoni Genetic Test report)

2-05   Blood pattern analysis indicates Ms. Kercher was fatally stabbed around 40 cm above the ground, near to the closet door. (Camana 2009)

2-06   Blood traces on the floor indicate objects were shifted or removed after Ms. Kercher had started bleeding from the fatal wound. (crime scene photos)

2-07   Ms. Kercher’s body was moved after she was stabbed, as can be seen from the blood smears on the floor. (crime scene photos)

2-08   Blood traces on the mattress cover indicate that one or more knives used in the assault were placed on the mattress cover. (Politi 2009)

2-09   Blood traces under the bed indicate someone was likely searching under the bed for something after the assault. (Codispoti 2009)

Area 3. Clothing traces

3-01   Blood was found on her sweat jacket, bra, jeans and socks. (crime scene photos)

3-02   Ms. Kercher’s bra and sweat jacket indicate she bled on the right side, likely from the knife wound on the right side of her neck, for some time before these were removed. (evidence item photos in Dr. Stefanoni’s slide presentation)

3-03   The sleeves on her sweat jacket were pulled inside-out. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-04   Blood stains on her sweat jacket and shirt indicate these were pulled up around her neck after she had been wounded. (Codispoti 2009)

3-05   Her jeans were also inside out, with blood spots inside her jeans. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-06   Her panties were found near her body, and had no blood stains. (Stefanoni 2009)

3-07   Ms. Kercher’s bra was removed after she was dead, as can be seen from blood speckles on the bra that were not found on her chest. (Micheli Motivation report, Codispoti 2009

3-08   Her body was covered with a duvet, and she only had an undershirt on. (Micheli Motivation report)

3-09   Police found a pillow, a bed sheet, a sock and two towels under her body. (Nencini Motivation Report- citing Lalli’s site report)

3-10   Guede’s bloody handprint was found on the pillow. (Sbardella 2009)

3-11   Guede’s bloody shoeprint was found on the pillow right under Ms. Kercher’s leg. (Sbardella 2009)

3-12   Police found Ms Kercher’s bra clasp under the pillow, and then later found it again under a carpet in the bedroom, 46 days after initial discovery. (Cantagalli, Codispoti, Stefanoni 2009, crime scene photos)

3-13   A sock was found around one of Ms. Kercher’s purse handles on the bed. (crime scene photos)

3-14   Ms. Kercher’s purse was found on the mattress cover, indicating it had been placed there after the duvet had been used to cover her body. (crime scene photos)

Area 4. Ms. Kercher’s room

4-01   Only the mattress cover remained on the bed. After the assault, someone removed the duvet, pillow and bed sheet from the bed, and placed Ms. Kercher on the bed sheet, two towels and pillow on the floor, then covered her body with the duvet. (Codispoti 2009, crime scene photos)

4-02   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s wallet and credit cards from her purse and placed the purse on the mattress cover on the bed. (Profazio 2009, Nencini Motivations report, crime scene photos)

4-03   Someone left receipts on the duvet covering Ms. Kercher’s body. (Codispoti 2009, crime scene photos)

4-04   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s cell phones and tossed them over a roadside wall, inadvertently into the garden of another villa, some 950 meters from the cottage. (Nencini Motivations report)

4-05   Someone took Ms. Kercher’s room and house keys. (Napoleoni 2009)

4-06   An empty jar of Vaseline was found on her desk. (crime scene photos, Napoleoni 2009)

4-07   The wall shelf by her closet had been knocked around, and objects on the shelf were tipped over. (crime scene photos, Codispoti 2009)

4-08   Ms. Kercher’s nightstand lamp and Knox’s nightstand lamp were both on the floor next to the bed. (crime scene photos)

4-09   Knox’s lamp was partially under Ms. Kercher’s bed, and it was the only functioning light Knox had in her room. (crime scene photos, Nencini Motivations report)

4-10   Someone closed and locked Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door, and took her bedroom door key. (Battistelli, Romanelli, Altieri, Zaroli, Napoleoni 2009)

4-11   Romanelli testified Ms. Kercher rarely closed and locked her own bedroom door, while Knox claimed Ms. Kercher normally locked her door. (Battistelli, Zaroli, Altieri, Romanelli 2009)

4-12   Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door had a small crack in it before it was broken down. (Altieri 2009).

Area 5: Shoeprints

5-01   Guede’s bloody left shoeprints were found in Ms. Kercher’s room.

5-02   Guede’s bloody left shoeprints were also found leading down the corridor, into the kitchen/dining room and out the front door, without any trace of prints indicating he turned to close and lock Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door.

5-03   Five different papers and cards, most smudged with blood, were found on the floor in Ms. Kercher’s room. These papers and cards had at least two different types of shoeprints which did not match any of Ms. Kercher’s shoes.

5-04   A similar card was found in Romanelli’s room, with a shoeprint not matching those on the cards and papers in Ms. Kercher’s room.

5-05   A smaller shoeprint similar to Guede’s shoe type was found on the pillow found under Ms. Kercher. Police consultants estimate this was a female sized shoe.

Area 6: Footprints

6-01   Half of a bloody footprint was found on the bathmat. The heel of this footprint, which should have been on the floor, was missing, suggesting it was cleaned away. (crime scene photos, report)

6-02   The bloody footprint matches Sollecito’s right foot size and characteristics.

6-03   Five Luminol-revealed footprints were found on the floor in the corridor and in Knox’s bedroom.

6-04   One of these Luminol-revealed footprints was compatible with Sollecito’s right foot.

6-05   Two others were compatible with Knox’s right foot.

6-06   None of the Luminol-revealed footprints were compatible with Guede’s feet.

Area 7: Fingerprints

7-01   Ms. Kercher’s fingerprints were found on Knox’s closet door.

7-02   Knox’s fingerprints were only found on a glass in the kitchen. None of her fingerprints were found in her own bedroom, or elsewhere in the cottage.

7-03   Sollecito’s fingerprints were on Ms. Kercher’s bedroom door and on the inside face of Laura Mezzetti’s door.

7-04   Guede’s fingerprint was found in Ms. Kercher’s bedroom.

Area 8: DNA testing general

8-01   227 evidence items were sampled or bagged. 30 of these were not analyzed.

8-02   From the remaining 197 evidence items, over 480 DNA and Y haplotype tests were prepared from liquids, solids or hairs. Many objects were sampled in multiple places.

8-03   Out of the over 480 DNA and Y haplotype tests, only 193 of these tests actually yielded DNA useful for comparison. (40%)

8-04   24 tests were from samples taken from Ms. Kercher’s body. Of these, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s Y haplotype, 17 tests yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s, and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-05   11 tests were from samples taken from the exterior of the cottage. Of these, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown female, 2 tests yielded cat DNA and the remainder did not yield useful DNA.

8-06   21 tests were from samples taken from the basement apartment at the cottage. Of these, 16 tests yielded cat blood, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-07   221 tests were from samples or items taken from the upper apartment at the cottage. Of these, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s DNA or Y haplotype, 82 tests yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Guede’s DNA or Y haplotype (both tests from the same sample), 5 tests from 5 different samples yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Ms. Kercher’s and Sollecito’s DNA or Y haplotype (both tests from the same sample), 4 tests yielded DNA compatible with Knox’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown female, 3 tests yielded DNA compatible with an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-08   4 tests were from samples taken (from bloodied tissue papers) found in the vicinity of the cottage, yielding DNA compatible with an unknown male or an unknown female.

8-09   16 tests were from samples taken from Sollecito’s car and no DNA useful for comparison was found.

8-10   102 tests were from samples taken from Sollecito’s apartment. Of these, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Knox’s DNA, 7 tests yielded DNA compatible with a combination of Knox and Sollecito’s DNA, 7 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Sollecito’s DNA, 3 tests yielded DNA of 3 unknown males and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-11   29 tests were from samples taken from Guede’s apartment. Of these, 14 tests yielded DNA compatible with Guede’s DNA and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-12   6 tests were from samples taken from the pub Le Chic and no DNA useful for comparison was found.

8-13   50 tests were from samples taken from the defendants or defendant’s items during arrests or likely at the police station. Of these, 6 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Guede’s DNA, 8 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Knox’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA compatible with a combination of Knox and Sollecito’s DNA, 2 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Lumumba’s DNA, 4 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Sollecito’s DNA, 1 test yielded DNA of an unknown male and the remaining did not yield DNA useful for comparison.

8-14   Of the 82 tests yielding DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA at the cottage, 4 samples were taken from the corridor floor, 5 were taken from the kitchen/dining floor, 66 were taken from Ms. Kercher’s room and clothing, 1 was taken from the floor in Romanelli’s room and 6 were taken from the small bathroom.

8-15   17 tests yielded unmatchable DNA, with 6 tests yielding DNA compatible with 3 different females and 11 tests yielded DNA compatible with 7 different males. 13 of these samples were found in tissue paper outside the cottage and on cigarette butts in the ashtray in the cottage kitchen.

Area 9: DNA testing- specific

9-01   Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found on the kitchen knife at Sollecito’s apartment. Her DNA was found in a groove towards the cutting edge of the blade. The grove is part of a series of noticeable scratches running parallel along the blade.

9-02   Knox’s DNA was found on the top of the handle of the same knife.

9-03   A second sample of Knox’s DNA was also found on the same knife, where the blade goes into the handle. This second sample was an LCN sample of mixed DNA, and was statistically determined to be Knox’s DNA. (RIS Berti & Barni 2013 report)

9-04   DNA mixture compatible with Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA was found on another stained pocket knife that Sollecito had.

9-05   DNA mixture compatible with Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA was found on a cigarette butt in the cottage kitchen. Except for the bra clasp, no other samples at the cottage yielded Sollecito’s DNA.

9-06   7 samples yielded DNA mixtures compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA mixed with either Knox’s DNA, Sollecito’s DNA or Guede’s DNA.

9-07   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Sollecito’s DNA was found on the metal bra clasp. Sollecito’s Y haplotype was also on the metal bra clasp.

9-08   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Guede’s DNA was found on Ms. Kercher’s purse near the zipper.

9-09   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Knox’s DNA was found in three blood traces in the bathroom- on the bidet drain plate, in the sink and on a plastic container containing cotton swabs.

9-10   DNA mixture compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA and Knox’s DNA was also found in a Luminol-revealed blood stain on the floor of Romanelli’s room, and in a Luminol-revealed bloody footprint in the corridor.

9-11   A second Luminol-revealed blood stain in Romanelli’s room yielded Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

9-12   A sample of blood from the small bathroom faucet yielded ONLY Knox’s DNA.

9-13   Guede’s DNA was found on Ms. Kercher’s purse, the left sleeve of her sweat jacket, her bra strap, in Ms. Kercher and on the toilet paper in the large bathroom.

Area 10. Other biological traces

10-01   3 samples of presumed blood traces were found in Knox’s bedroom, on a pillow, on the night stand and on the wall by the head of the bed.

10-02   No semen was found in Ms. Kercher.

10-03   Guede left his feces in the toilet in the large bathroom.

10-04   3 fragments of toilet paper were found on Ms. Kercher’s desk; all three yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

10-05   2 tissue papers were found in Sollecito’s bedroom; both had blood that yielded DNA compatible with Sollecito’s DNA.

10-06   A glass on Ms. Kercher’s night stand yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

10-07   A strand of hair and a trace of blood were found on Romanelli’s window frame. The blood trace did not yield human DNA; the hair color was dark chestnut.

10-08   5 samples of blood traces on a towel and faucet in Guede’s bathroom all yielded Guede’s DNA.

10-09   4 samples of blood stains on Guede’s jeans and a museum ticket in his jeans also yielded Guede’s DNA.

10-10   The range of digestive timing is, under normal circumstances, 3-5 hours. This range could easily be expanded depending on any number of factors, including stress and alcohol, both of which slow digestion. (Ronchi 2009)

10-11   Based on body temperatures and the digestive process, the time of death range was estimated between 20:00 of November 1st and 04:00 of November 2nd, with the probability that the time of death occurred around 23:00 of November 1st. (Lalli 2009)

Area 11. Luminol traces

11-01   1 sample of a Luminol-revealed blood trace was taken from Guede’s apartment.

11-02   9 samples of Luminol-revealed blood traces were taken from the cottage, including Knox’s room, the corridor and Romanelli’s room.

11-03   Knox’s and Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found on the Luminol-revealed blood stain in Romanelli’s room.

11-04   Knox’s and Ms. Kercher’s DNA was found mixed in a Luminol-revealed bloody right footprint in the corridor.

11-05   14 samples of Luminol-revealed blood traces were taken from Sollecito’s apartment.

11-06   6 samples were taken from Sollecito’s bathroom, including the door, floor and shower basin.

11-07   3 samples were taken from Sollecito’s bedroom, including the door and floor.

11-08   5 samples were taken from the floor of Sollecito’s kitchen.

11-09   2 of the Luminol-revealed samples taken from Sollecito’s apartment yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA. 1 sample yielded DNA compatible with Knox’s DNA.

11-10   1 sample yielded an unknown male’s DNA (unmatchable).

Area 12: Hairs

12-01   Of the over 480 tests prepared on samples, 93 of these constituted hairs or fibers. 86 were human hairs of varying length, in varying colors. The most significant colors noted were black, blonde, chestnut, light chestnut and red chestnut.

12-02   Only 3 hairs yielded DNA; all 3 hairs yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA. All 3 hairs were chestnut colored and over 15 cm long.

12-03   35 hairs were chestnut in color; the vast majority of these were found in Ms. Kercher’s room. 2 were also found on a kitchen sponge at Sollecito’s apartment.

12-04   7 hairs were black in color. 6 of these were 4 cm long or less, and so likely Guede’s hair. 4 of these were on the duvet and 1 was on the mattress cover, both in Ms. Kercher’s room. 1 was also on a sponge at Sollecito’s apartment.

12-05   21 blonde hairs were analyzed, and were likely Knox’s hairs. Most were found at Sollecito’s apartment, 10 on a sponge in the kitchen and 5 on a sweater.

12-06   Of the 6 blonde hairs found at the cottage, 2 were on the duvet, 1 was inside the small bathroom sink, 1 was on Ms. Kercher’s purse and 1 was on her mattress cover.

12-07   4 light chestnut hairs were found. 3 of these were 9 cm long or less. 1 was found on the kitchen sponge; 1 was found on the bra and one was found on Ms. Kercher’s sweat jacket. Sollecito had light chestnut colored hair.

3. Court Assessment & Knox Spin

Judge Micheli was the first judge to make something of all this evidence, late in 2008. Unsurprisingly, if one has actually studied it, one of his major findings was this.

The pack attack, and the crime-scene rearrangement. Led by Knox. She could have escaped trial right there by rebutting it. But she and her team had pretty well zero comeback.

Oh, Hampikian, you didn’t know that?!

The “counter-case” of Hampikian, and other such shills of the PR campaign as Heavey, Fischer, Douglas, and Moore, is like a three-legged stool, with all the rest of the case simply ignored.

  • One leg is the Interrogation Hoax and we have shown in 20 posts that Knox always lied about that.

  • One leg is the supposedly “flawed” DNA analysis that actually wasn’t, which KrissyG took first new whack at last week.

  • The third leg is that there was no pack attack and that Guede somehow did all of the above on his own.

Including taking off a shoe to make ONE imprint in blood on the bathmat in a footprint several sizes smaller than his own…

On Planet Earth, nobody has ever come close to making all of the above fit a Lone Wolf. The defenses only listlessly went through the motions when they tried. Then they seized on Alessi and Aviello when they came along.

That was the defenses proving a pack attack!!

4. Tip for IP contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #2

Posted by KrissyG



Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments

1. Post Overview

Previously main poster Hopeful showed up the intensely superficial grasp of the case by an Innocence Project founder who is a lusty huge booster of Knox.

We see no sign that anyone in the Innocence Project (IP) has ever done due diligence, or has any better grasp of the case than Jason Flom. We certainly don’t see any on video or in print. We see only appallingly misleading and illegal work…. and nothing else. As Hopeful said in that post:

Anyone who thinks Idaho IP representative Greg Hampikian’s seemingly illegal involvement in the court-ordered DNA re-testing was somehow competent and truth-based should read KrissyG and James Raper for two blasts of reality.

This may come as a surprise. In ten years nobody whatsoever has ever landed the slightest blow on the huge (though not pivotal) DNA component of the case.

The defenses and many others have seriously misrepresented it, yes, but that is something else.

2. Chief IP Misleader Hampikian

Nearly a year before Knox ever turned up at her first Innocence Project meeting in Oregon, we had highlighted IP Idaho rep Greg Hampikian’s very misleading work here.

Our main poster the Machine had acidly remarked about Greg Hampikian in that post:

    1. He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

    2. He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

    3. He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

    4. He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

    5. Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Do please read all of the Machine’s very damning post. Note that Hampikian has never ever tried to answer back, though he is still as much of a self-infatuated rooster as before. I would add to the Machine’s profile of Hampikian these further revealing points:

    1. In an aura of personality cult he incessantly proclaims that he is the founder and director of the Idaho Innocence Project.

    2. He took quite a shine to Amanda Knox and went white-water rafting with her.  He broke with his wife, shortly after.

    3. This absurd claim appears on his Wikipedia page - those are often written by the “celebrities” themselves:

    During the high-profile case of Amanda Knox, on May 23, 2011, Greg Hampikian announced that, based on its independent investigation and review, DNA samples taken at the crime scene all pointed to African drifter Rudy Guede and excluded Knox and Sollecito. Upon reexamination of the DNA, he concluded that the evidence is unreliable and contaminated. Hampikian’s findings are one of the main reasons that Knox and Sollecito were set free.

    Really?! The mafias had no role? Hard to believe from this that Hampikian was never an official witness put under cross-examination at the trial or appeals. He had zero official role, and the very extensive DNA evidence really proved nothing of the sort. More DNA samples of Knox than of Guede were at the scene. No contamination was ever proven.  In fact, it was categorically ruled out by the courts.

    4. He has appeared in numerous Youtube clips in especially prepared tv shows, in which he presents himself as “the objective scientist” not letting on that he is essentially only a PR shill.

    5. Hampikian was claiming a government grant for his department at Boise State University.  Journalist Andrea Vogt suspected he was using the funds to promote Amanda Knox’s marketing.  Vogt applied for information under the Freedom of Information Act.  Hampikian evaded the demand by claiming his work was a top trade secret. Academic scientists are supposed to be transparent and make their work replicable and peer-reviewed by other scientists.  So Vogt’s instincts seem correct, given the unlikely reason.

    6. He praises himself on his wiki page as “Prof. Hampikian is also an accomplished amateur folk singer and songwriter.” Indeed, he appears on a Youtube video, sounding like a hundred cats in pain singing about his d-i-v-o-r-c-e., after his rafting expedition with Knox.  She appears grinning by his side in pictures.

    7. He has given evidence under oath in court several times (though never in Italy) claiming he was THE expert who got Amanda Knox “exonerated”.  Knox has never been exonerated, certainly not on the DNA evidence, and the mafias clearly had a role in springing the pair. So, Hampikian is not someone who takes solemn oaths seriously, although his illegal interference was real. 

    8. The defence lawyers for Paul Jenkins and Fred Lawrence are currently in court to try to pin the DNA evidence on another convict, David Wayne Nelson, with Hampikian as the “˜expert DNA witness’ claiming,

“˜“I do a lot of cases,” said Hampikian. “This is the second time I can remember one of my cases where it cleared two men and someone else is a hit to the database.”

He doesn’t say to whom he is referring in this absurd claim, but no doubt it is Knox and Sollecito with Guede as the “˜hit’.  Hampikian, thus, is a stranger to the truth, as Knox and Sollecito’s DNA at the crime scene is legally sound.

Comment by Ergon

Examples of typical dishonesty from Greg Hampikian in this article

1. “We asked the Italian lab to supply validation of such a sensitive measurement, but they never complied”.

Yes they did, though maybe not to the professor from Idaho.

2. “a new study on the knife was then ordered in Italy. This failed to repeat the DNA finding”.

They didn’t retest the “˜DNA finding’.

3. “This finding was never repeated, despite many attempts”.

There was only one attempt, which the defense accepted as all that could be done.

4. “As DNA consultant for the defence in the Amanda Knox case”.

You weren’t hired “˜by the defense’ but inserted yourself in your personal capacity using public funds.

5. “but when fingerprints and DNA from the scene were analysed, only two profiles were identified: those of the victim and Rudy Guede”

Also Raffaele Sollecito’s, and Amanda Knox’s blood DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s.

6. “Calls followed for global standards on use of low copy number DNA”.

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA profile on the bra clasp wasn’t LCN DNA, nor was contamination proven against any of Stefanoni’s findings.

7. “a kitchen knife at Sollecito’s house. It didn’t match many wounds on the body and tested negative for blood.”

Because there were two knives, and it tested negative for blood because it was rigorously washed in bleach.


3. Who Manages Or Crosschecks Hampikian?

Hampikian seems to have a pass to claim whatever he wants in the name of the Innocence Project. No quality control, no peer review, no reporting, no accountability at all. Just a near-endless stream of lies.

If Hampikian was to be checked out and made to stop lying and acting as a PR shill, and to stick only to the truth, whose job in the IP would be that? Presumably the man at the top. Barry Scheck.

Has Barry Scheck been asleep at the switch? If so, not for the first time. .



4. Ten Quick Facts About Barry Scheck

1. Born 1949, at Yale Scheck was a “˜fervent anti-war demonstrator’.  In Los Angeles he was a key member of OJ Simpson’s “˜dream team’, which got OJ off a murder rap in 1995.

2. Barry Scheck, as a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, is a forensic and DNA evidence expert. He joined the “Dream Team” to help them “˜harness the power of forensic and DNA evidence’ to assist in Simpson’s defence.

3. Scheck is also known for his work as co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that uses DNA evidence to “˜clear the names of wrongfully convicted inmates’.

4. Scheck co-founded the Innocence Project in 1992 with Peter Neufeld, also his co-counsel on the O.J. Simpson defence team.

5. The Project claims it is “˜dedicated to the utilization of DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted’.

6. To date, it claims 343 wrongful convictions have been overturned by DNA testing “˜thanks to the Project and other legal organizations’.

7. The Innocence Project claims “˜it does not use legal technicalities to challenge convictions; the Project accepts only cases in which newly discovered scientific evidence can potentially prove that a convicted person is factually innocent’.

8. Scheck unsuccessfully defended British baby sitter Louise Woodward against a charge of killing a baby in her care, shortly after the OJ acquittal, leading some to perceive a “˜backlash’ against his defence methods.

9. Scheck and Neufield were heavily criticised in 1999 in a case where eight cops were charged with abusing Abner Louima or shooting dead Amadou Diallo-to benefit their own civil cases on behalf of those victims, putting the police at risk of an unfair trial.

10. Scheck and Neufield called a press conference before the criminal trial, revealing potentially incriminating evidence against the four policemen from an autopsy report, which revealed Diallo was shot in his foot and legs whilst already down. Their ethics were questioned.  Outside the press conference, 1,000 Scheck supporters chanted, “˜“No justice, no peace, no more racist police.”

5. So The Bottom Line On Scheck Is?

Thus, we have a picture of someone who sees himself as a warrior for social justice, and anti-establishment.  Scheck uses his privileged position as a lawyer and DNA expert to help the disadvantaged and oppressed.

However, after the OJ Simpson trial, which saw Scheck shoot to fame, and not necessarily in a good way, but as a silver-tongued crafty defence lawyer who could persuade a jury that night is day by any means at his disposal, regardless of ethics, there emerges a hint of a ruthless man driven by an urge to get the better of his perceived opponents.

So far so good, this is 100% of what we the public have cynically come to expect of a winning-at-all-costs lawyer.  We want them to write our “˜strong letters’ for us, or to win our compensation; perhaps get us off a rap.

We want them to “˜be on our side’, and when you are poor, dispossessed and otherwise “˜invisible’ to the establishment, finding such a high-profile lawyer to champion your case, then fawning gratitude transforms into hero-worship and cult following.

Such is the effect of Scheck’s Innocence Project, thousands of prisoners in the USA claiming to be “˜wrongfully convicted’, whether they are or not, flock to sample the “˜exoneration’ he holds out as the prize for joining up.

Add to the pot US attorneys who as part of their standards are expected to devote a substantial part of their time towards “˜pro bono’ work (free representation), then the ready pool of the poor and deprived that make up the Innocence Projects are ready made clients for them.

6. IP Does Indeed Do Some Good Work

We have shown again and again that American law enforcement, justice and incarceration systems, not their Italian equivalents, are the systems where injustices are off the charts.

Read for example the series of three posts starting here.  An estimated 200,000-plus sitting in prison because prosecutors scared them into a plea-bargain.

Barry Scheck’s target group and release rate is absolutely miniscule compared to this 200,000, but it is not a net negative on the whole. Every little bit of pushback can help. Scheck’s interviews and speeches are often good.


 

7. But Things Do Go Badly Wrong.

The Medill Innocence Project Case

There seems plenty of evidence that the Innocence Project is only loosely managed from the top. Other grandstanders and corner cutters and law-breakers like Hampikian are far from unknown.

And to IP host institutions like lawschools “mistakes” like this one below can bring major harm.

In the Medill Innocence project, a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, David Protess, was picked to head this.

His work had overturned convictions in a number of high-profile cases that won freedom for the “˜wrongfully imprisoned’ and earned him fame and prestige that included a TV-movie deal and a new post. From the start, Protess got his law students to were acting as amateur gumshoes, Protess dispatched them to interview witnesses and dig up new evidence.

Protess was looking for wrongful convictions.  He thought he had found one in Anthony Porter, who had narrowly escaped execution for a 1982 murder and had since served fifteen years, after winning a last minute reprieve.

Protess was keen to highlight that the State had been prepared to execute an innocent man, and he and his private eye students pinpointed an “˜alternative perpetrator’ in Alstory Simon.

“This investigation by David Protess and his team involved a series of alarming tactics,” the Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, said in her statement after Simon’s eventual release.  The Medill Innocence Project’s tactics, “were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law-enforcement standards, “they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon’s constitutionally protected rights.”

From the Daily Beast in 2014:

Perhaps the worst of those alarming tactics were used by Paul Ciolino, a private investigator working with Protess who got Simon to confess to the murder. According to Alvarez’s findings, Ciolino threatened Simon, promised him a short sentence and financial rewards for cooperating, and used an actor to play a witness who accused Simon of the shooting.

Finally, Ciolino volunteered a lawyer, Jack Rimland, to represent Simon in court. Rimland, a personal acquaintance of Ciolino, may have had a conflict of interest defending a man that his associate was trying to prove guilty, but that didn’t stop him from taking the case.

At the time, it did the trick. Alstory Simon confessed to the murder on video and within days, after more than a decade on death row, Porter walked free.

The State prosecutors then had to spend time and money retrying Porter and reaffirming the seemingly overwhelming evidence of his guilt (six eye witnesses named him).  However, the case against Porter was dropped a month later.  Following on from this case, Illinois banned the death penalty, in 2011.

More from the report in the Daily Beast.

After initially defending the program, Medill launched an investigation of its own. In the end, it was found that students working under Protess had used false pretenses in trying to elicit witness statements.

More damningly, the professor’s claim that the records from his class’s work were protected by journalistic privilege was undermined by the discovery that he’d altered an email instructing that the project’s findings should be turned over directly to defense counsels without any copies retained.

When it was all over, Protess had negotiated his retirement and left the school. His reputation bruised but with legacy of his central victory””winning Anthony Porter’s freedom””still intact.

After Simon’s release last month and the accusation that Protess helped put an innocent man in prison for 15 years, possibly freeing a killer in the bargain, his legacy may be the least of his concerns.


The IP Role

This is a perfect illustration of what can happen when badly supervised lawyers try to solve a case outside of a courtroom.  Delusion, fanaticism and a disregard for due process can blind an Innocence Project lawyer or law student to the truth of culpability.  In other words, they find themselves fighting the establishment, whatever that is, rather than true injustice.

The State prosecutor, Alvarez, said at the time:

“The bottom line is, the investigation conducted by Protess and private investigator Ciolino as well as the subsequent legal representation of Mr. Simon were so flawed that it’s clear the constitutional rights of Mr. Simon were not scrupulously protected as our law requires.”

In 2016, Alstory Simon filed a $40m lawsuit From the Chicago Tribune.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave the green light to a $40 million lawsuit alleging Northwestern University and former star professor David Protess conspired to frame a man for an infamous double murder that became one of the most significant wrongful conviction cases in Illinois history.

The lawsuit brought by Alstory Simon alleges Protess and private investigator Paul Ciolino manufactured bogus evidence, coaxed false statements from witnesses, intimidated Simon into confessing and set him up with a lawyer, Jack Rimland, who coached him to plead guilty.

In denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said that it was plausible the money and publicity Protess had brought to Northwestern had allowed a culture of lawlessness and unethical conduct at the university.

The Bombshell Twist

In June 2017 Chicago Tribune reported a “˜bombshell’ twist.  It was revealed that in 2014 at the time of Simon’s release a 28-page internal report wherein the deputies of the then State Attorney Alvarez had concluded, “˜there is not sufficient evidence to seek to vacate Simon’s convictions’. 

Many High-profile Innocence “˜Exonerees’ Earn $‘000’s

Simon is like so many prisoners released early, whether or not there is an “˜Alford’ deal ““ where release is on condition the prisoner accepts the State does not accept liability that the conviction was wrongful and no “˜certificate of innocence’ is provided.

This type of deal is true, for example, for “˜Sunny’ Jacobs, released from death row and finally prison for her role in the murder of two policemen in Florida, and the notorious WM3 which includes Damien Echols, who has since made millions from books and tours on the back of “˜innocence’.

Amanda Knox, Damien Echols and the other two WM3 are listed by All American Entertainment as exonerated “˜speakers’ charging up to $10,000 a time.  Yet none have had a “˜certificate of innocence’.  Thus, by Ciolino’s own words, they cannot be classed as ‘exonerated’.

Cook County “˜Wanted to Prosecute David Protess and Paul Ciolino’

The reason Cook County gives for refusing to vacate Simon’s conviction is because he failed to come clean on the deception a taking a rap for another man’s crimes in exchange for a shorter sentence.  The reports states:

Simon was not a child or inexperienced at any relevant time. As of 1982 he had accumulated an extensive criminal history. He had been arrested for robberies or armed robberies five times between 1966 and 1977. He had three felony or armed robbery convictions. ... He was 47 when he (pleaded) guilty. This certainly complicates his claims regarding coercion and being misled.

The report criticises the “˜less than ideal circumstances’ in which Ciolino tricked Simon into confessing the first time, after which Simon continued the masquarade by spontaneously admitting to firing the fatal shots for some time after his conviction.  For example, in a letter to his lawyers.

However, in spite of these reservations, Alvarez had called a news conference and announced there was “˜no other conclusion’ than that Simon should be freed.  Pointedly, she indicated that if it were not for the statute of limitations (time limit for bringing a charge) she would have prosecuted Protess and Ciolino.

Subsequently she declined to send representatives to contest Simon’s effort to win a “certificate of innocence,” a document that allows wrongfully incarcerated, factually innocent persons to collect cash damages from the state.  It was because whilst Simon probably did not commit the murders, he was part of the innocence fraud which put him in prison and which freed Porter.

Paul Ciolino Hits Back

The latest news, as of January 2018, leading on from the supposed “˜leaked’ document of 2014 which showed Simon’s convictions were merely “˜vacated’ is that Paul Cionlino is suing Simon, Alavarez, and a couple of the “˜Park’ filmmakers, a Chicago Tribune journalist and policemen for damages for “˜defamation’.

The 66-page petition mirrors the counterclaim Ciolino filed before and which was dismissed last year.  He claims his reputation and career were destroyed by the allegations in the Simon case.  Ciolino claims Simon was “˜paid thousands of dollars’ and witnesses interfered with by these anti-Innocent Project forces. 

The Murder in the Park documentary, asserts there are many other cases where “˜the wrong man is imprisoned and the right one was freed, which Ciolino claims is defamatory.  He highlights the letter to Simon’s lawyers in which he states he killed Hillard in self-defence and Green by accident.  Ciolino’s new lawsuit is described as “˜frivolous and without merit’ (Prieb) and “˜so false as to be sanctionable’ (Ekl)

Simon had alleged Ciolino impersonated a police officer and used actors as fake eye witnesses.  He claims Ciolino said if he confessed, he’d get a shortened sentence by claiming “˜self defence’ and avoid the death penalty.  He was also “˜promised large sums of money from book and movie deals’ if he played along, the suit alleges.

Paul Ciolino Acknowledges a Vacated Conviction Does Not Mean “˜Exoneration’

If this illustrates anything, it’s that Innocence Projects running parallel to the US legal system can cause all sorts of chaos and confusion.  In effect, Alvarez the State Prosecutor having freed Simon, is now refusing to vacate his conviction.  The Innocence Project does not see a vacated conviction as an “˜exoneration’ as evidenced by Ciolino suing for defamation on the grounds that “˜Simon is guilty after all’.

If a vacated conviction does not mean exoneration to people like Ciolino, then people like Ryan Ferguson, the West Memphis Three and Amanda Knox, whom the Innocence Projects spearhead as their “˜Star Exonerees’ are gods with clay feet standing on a false pedestal.

It calls into question the integrity of Innocence Project lawyers, such as Kathleen Zellner, who is said to earn more than $12m per annum as a conservative figure.  The last published Annual Report of the Innocence Project shows a turnover of $26m, with a surplus gain of >$3m in the “˜not-for-profit’ org in 2016.  Zellner is famous for obtaining “˜death bed’ confessions from prisoners on Death Row taking the rap for the alleged crimes of her clients, thus securing their release.

8. My Conclusion About This Above

Given these pressures and these possibilities for mismanagement, what of the IP’s illegal intervention into the case in Italy? What of the false touting of an “innocent” Knox? What of the trashing of Italian justice, in witting or unwitting harmony with the mafias?

Another IP trainwreck waiting to happen. And happen it did.

9. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #1

Posted by Hopeful



Jason Flom, Amanda Knox

1. Series Overview

Barry Scheck’s Innocence Project quite openly admits to bending the 2011 appeal via collaboration with the “independent” DNA consultants.

Anyone who thinks Idaho IP representative Greg Hampikian’s seemingly illegal involvement in the court-ordered DNA re-testing was somehow competent and truth-based should read KrissyG and James Raper for two blasts of reality.

Beginning early in 2014 (soon after the Florence Appeal Court reaffirmed Knox’s guilty verdict and a whole year prior to the Supreme Court outcome) the Innocence Project clutched Knox firmly and propelled her onto the elite speakers’ circuit. It has repeatedly used her since as a keynoter and potent draw for attendees and presumably for funding too. 

Knox’s speaking career would have gone absolutely nowhere if Barry Scheck & Co had not promoted her with such manic enthusiasm. They still remain unencumbered by comprehensive due diligence or a fact-based narrative. Much simply seems unknown. Trashing Italy is apparently just fine.

Late next month at an Innocence Project “gala” in Kansas City Knox will yet again be an IP keynote speaker.

2. The Jason Flom Podcast

Jason Flom is a founding board member of the Innocence Project. As the sharp eyes of our main poster Guermantes picked up, Flom interviewed Knox in January 2017 for a podcast: The Wrongful Conviction of Amanda Knox.

Flom seems to have done little or no homework. Most of these posts predate this interview. So an open-minded interviewer not toeing the self-serving IP party line could have avoided the naivety and manipulation we can see here.

Knox tells Flom the Perugian investigators (actually the highly respected national elite) were like children pretending to process a crime scene but making major mistakes. Her tone of voice suggested mockery and ridicule of them playing at being forensic scientists.

Flom laps up this nonsense unquestioningly. However Knox’s lies to Flom were mainly of omission, so much that she didn’t want to speak of and that Flom could not even comprehend.

When he asked her why she was targeted when several other people were at the cottage the morning the police arrived (Filomena, her boyfriend, Raffaele) Knox explained that her behavior didn’t impress police as that of an innocent person because she was kissing Raffaele and being comforted in the yard of the cottage.

There is no special sign that she was targeted. And she omits a mountain of other behavior. She refuses to tell Mr. Flom of her highjinks in the Questura, her tongue sticking out, her cartwheels, or her thong-buying visit to Bubbles, nor of her skipping the memorial service for Meredith in the days after the death. None of that escapes her lips.

She does pretend some indignation about Rudy Guede the “real killer”. Mostly she talks of every single sad emotion she endured in the 8 months of incarceration before she was charged with murder.

She mentions Meredith throughout the interview very little. She seems to be mostly swept up in memories of how she was robbed of hope behind bars, and she revels (this was 2017) in how a few persons who first thought her guilty have been convinced by more recent media that she is innocent and have apologized to her. She ascends skyward on such thoughts.

Her main concern seems to be with her public image and her power to con the world.  It becomes evident when she narrates to Flom her morning at the cottage in the hours before Meredith’s body was discovered, when she first entered the cottage saying the door was wide open and she was there alone to take a shower before proceeding to go to Gubbio for the weekend with loverboy, that she was in a deep mental quandary as to the meaning of the open door, the small bits of blood in the sink (she emphasized to Flom how small the specks were) and the dirty toilet in a nearby bathroom that she was so greatly alarmed enough to want to slow down her trip out of town and instead bring Raf back over to see about things at the cottage and give his opinion.

She was so worried, she pretends. So terribly worried, but not worried enough to walk a few feet down the hall and open a bedroom door to see if a roommate were present and hadn’t heard her “hello, is anybody there?” Ridiculous. She also mentions that her computer was safe in her own bedroom and hadn’t been stolen but not one word that her lamp was missing”¦ as if she wouldn’t have noticed that.

She talks much of her own humanity, that people who meet her will not judge her but will find her innocent, but if they haven’t met her in person they will assume guilt. She seems to feel that they need to be blinded by her “humanity” and give her a pass on having destroyed Meredith’s life. She says very little to Jason Flom about Raffaele, depicting him as a non-threatening puppy and their relationship before the murder as one of sweetness and a juvenile thing.

Mr. Flom suggests it was like a high school relationship between two college students, she half-way assents to his description. She said that the language barrier circumvented them from discussing deep issues, that it was mostly hand-holding and him wanting to give her perfume like Italian women wore and to show her some new store or market he had discovered.

Knox seems to hold her greatest anger and disdain (well-hidden of course unless you know this case backwards and forwards and have seen Knox’s wiles) toward Philomena. It was Philomena’s hysterics and shouts of “a foot, a foot” and the general screaming and shouting of spontaneous anguish and grief over knowing it was Meredith’s body in the bedroom, that seems to antagonize Knox the most. Imagine that, some people actually GRIEVED for Meredith and thought her worthy of a display of emotion and concern.

Knox tells Jason Flom that it was Philomena’s SIM card inside the cell phone that Meredith was using, that tied the phone to the cottage. It was Filomena’s SIM card that enabled the first police to rush to the cottage so fast, and who interrupted Knox in her little last minute cleaning scheme and that threw her out of her rhythm and almost tripped her up by arriving so quickly, perhaps that was why Knox despised Filomena so much. Also it was Filomena’s boyfriend who kicked open the door and thus sent Knox out of the cottage quickly and permanently. She seemed to show irritation with Flom when she spoke of being rousted from her house in Perugia.

She tells Flom that she believed the police when they said she was being sent to prison for her own protection, thinking she was a witness (untrue: grounds for arrest were fully explained by Dr Mignini). She said she should have realized when they put her in handcuffs that this was ludicrous, but she was naïve and idealistic.

She said she went to Japan and to Germany when she was 14 years old, and that her beloved Oma, her German grandmother, had wanted her to be an exchange student to Germany. She was taking German and Italian language classes before she went to Perugia, she said.

She seems to imply slightly that it was her father’s fault that she took the language courses rather her first love of creative writing. She said she felt she couldn’t have sold Dadddy on the usefulness of a creative writing degree, so she detoured and took the languages degree hoping to become a translator. She said that the University for Foreigners in Perugia was not demanding or rigorous at all and she was disappointed at that. (Hint hint, is she suggesting she had too much free time from studies and thus went wild due to “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? She could easily have enrolled at the main university and gained course credits for her degree back in Seattle - as her parents believed she was doing.)

She bristles with rage at the thought of friends who suggested she change her name to deflect publicity. Never. Her ego is limitless and she wants to be herself, that is paramount.  She said her biggest fear was that she would forever have to cower in a corner. She speaks of her determination to do the opposite now that she has her freedom back and is safe to speak.

She seems sincerely grateful to people who spent their energy and time in trying to get her free from prison, and feared she might have been forgotten and left to languish behind bars. She seems sincerely moved that people who didn’t have to care about her, did so. No doubt this is the natural reaction of anyone sprung from prison cells, whether guilty or innocent.

Her main beef behind bars was that she could not sway the entire world with her words alone.  She talks a smooth line and certainly had Mr. Jason Flom in her sway. She also claimed that Meredith’s DNA had been thought to have been on the knife but that it was not (Carabinieri labs confirmed it was, so there’s another lie from Knox).

It irks me that people who question Knox won’t take time to read up on the case.

Why can’t they ask Knox about the 5 spots of her DNA mixed in Meredith’s blood throughout the cottage? Knox also laughs with Jason Flom about the impossibility of her cleaning up the crime scene, when it’s proven without question that a bloody footprint was erased that led to the footprint on the blue bathmat. Knox is lying about the cleanup.

And when Knox explained to Flom her discomfort at discovering the unflushed toilet, she tells him that Laura and Filomena were neat freaks (liked to keep a very clean house). She did not say the same for Meredith, but only mentioned Laura and Filomena being clean freaks. She did not tell Mr. Flom of her normal unflushed toilets that the long-suffering Meredith Kercher had to face daily.

Knox omits much of the truth, and twists the rest of the truth. Her best truth is whatever she can think up for the occasion. And the daffy Mr Flom swallows it.

3. Tip For IP Contributors

On Amanda Knox. Innocence Project Idaho rep Hampikian’s ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. Thus he subjected Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. Thus Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement that Knox and RS must hide for life.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why Did The Mainstream Media Enable A Takeover By The Conspiracy Nuts?

Posted by The Machine



How Seattle is misinformed. Exoneration? Riiiight….

Rampant Conspiracies

This condemnation is written in light of the ever-growing wave of translated transcripts.

They show how extremely good the investigation and case at trial really were. And how extremely wrong were too much of the press. Why did mainstream media organisations allow so many conspiracy nuts to spout their unsubstantiated and ridiculously far-fetched claims?

Mainstream media organisations have known for a while that the general public has an insatiable appetite for documentaries about allegedly innocent people who have been convicted of murders they didn’t commit.

A cursory glance at the selection of true crime documentaries on Netflix provides evidence of the appeal of this specific genre. Amanda Knox, West of Memphis and Making of a Murderer are all hugely popular.

The Serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Mine Lee case is one the most downloaded podcast of all time. Sarah Koenig presented the case from the defence’s perspective and concluded there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of Hae Min Lee’s murder. 

The juries in the respective cases above listened to the prosecution and defence present their cases in court.

They weighed the testimonies of the experts and witnesses for both sides and they were all convinced that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Damian Echols, Jesse Misskelley and Jason Baldwin and Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and Adnan Syed were all involved in exceptionally brutal murders.

There is damning evidence against all the people mentioned above. But many journalists don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story.

Among The Worst

Paul Ciolino admitted in a question-and-answer session about the Meredith Kercher case at Seattle University that CBS News didn’t care whether someone was innocent. The only thing they care about is the story.

I work for CBS News. I want to tell you one thing about CBS. We don’t care if you did it. We don’t care if you’re innocent. We like a story. We want to do a story. That’s all we care about.

It was recognised as far back as 1999 in the legal profession that journalists have an inclination to slant their reports in favour of the defendants.

P. Cassell, “The guilty and the ‘innocent’: An examination of alleged cases of wrongful conviction from false confessions”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 1999:

...academic research on miscarriages should not rely on media descriptions of the evidence against defendants. Journalists will all too often slant their reports in the direction of discovering “news” by finding that an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted.

The default position of mainstream media organisations in the US was that Amanda Knox is innocent despite the fact that the vast majority of journalists who covered the case weren’t in a position to know this - they hadn’t regularly attended the court hearings or read a single page of any of the official court reports.

The news organizations in Seattle was so partisan in their support of Amanda Knox that they were effectively just mouthpieces for the PR firm of David Marriott that was hired by Curt Knox to influence a credulous and naive local audience who felt duty-bound to support the hometown girl.

Lawyer Anne Bremner couldn’t resist the temptation to use the case to promote herself in the media. Judge Michael Heavey was recruited so he could use his position as a judge to sway the public.

The vast majority of people in Seattle were kept completely ignorant of the basic facts of the case by all their newspapers and all their TV news, so they were not in a position to realize that both Bremner and Heavey got basic facts wrong.

Many American journalists who reported on the case hold the ridiculous belief that the US legal system is the only competent and just one in the world, and that no US citizen charged by a foreign court with any crime can possibly be guilty of it or ever receive a fair trial.

The claim that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by corrupt officials in a foreign country by her supporters was manna from heaven for mainstream media organizations in America.

It was a sensational story that was guaranteed to enrage and entertain a gullible American public in equal measure.

It’s not possible to ascertain precisely who originated the story that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by a corrupt legal system.

But it almost certainly came from someone within or very close to Amanda Knox’s family. Jan Goodwin was one of the first journalists to make the claim after interviewing Edda Mellas for Marie Claire in 2008.

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

Goodwin didn’t offer any evidence to substantiate her claim that the Italy legal system is corrupt, presumably the word of Edda Mellas was good enough for her.

It transpired that the word of Edda Mellas and ex-husband Curt and Amanda Knox’s supporters was good enough for the vast majority of journalists who covered the case on both sides of Atlantic.

They unquestiongly accepted everything they heard without bothering to do any fact-checking whatsoever. Time and again not a single investigator or court official in Perugia was interviewed.

This explains the reason why so many articles about the case are riddled with factual errors and well-known PR lies.

Other media organisations wanted to get in on the act and claim there was dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

CBS News allowed a couple of zany conspiracy nuts to spout their nonsense without providing any evidence to support their wild-eyed claims. Here’s Paul Ciolino again:

This is a lynching ... this is a lynching that is happening in modern day Europe right now and it’s happening to an American girl who has no business being charged with anything. (Paul Ciolino, CBS News.)

Here is Peter van Sant.

We have concluded that Amanda Knox is being railroaded… I promise you’re going to want to send the 82nd Airborne Division over to Italy to get this girl out of jail. (Peter Van Sant, CBS News.)

The reporting was invariably tinged with xenophobic sentiments. Italy was portrayed as some backward Third World country whose police force was comically incompetent. Here’s CBS’s Doug Longhini.

But in the case of Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy last December, the Via Tuscolana apparently failed to separate fantasy from truth. Too many Italian investigators rivaled Fellini as they interpreted, and reinterpreted facts, to suit their own, surrealistic script.” (Doug Longhini, CBS News).

WHERE in all the transcripts is that proved?  Doug Longhini’s pompous and pseudo-intellectual comments are meaningless and lack any substance, although he was no doubt very pleased himself for his “clever” reference to Fellini.

Ironically Longhini was unable to separate fantasy from truth when he produced the error-ridden American Girl, Italian Nightmare for CBS News. The documentary includes the familiar PR lies about satanic rituals, the 14-hour interrogation sessions, and Knox not knowing Rudy Guede.

Lawyer John Q Kelly seemingly forgot the Latin maxim “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit” - “he who asserts must prove” - when he claimed that Knox and Sollecito were being railroaded and evidence against them had been manipulated.

My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.

“There’s been injustice here. There’s been injustice in other countries but this is just beyond the pale. The manipulation of evidence; the most unfavorable inferences drawn from the most common of circumstances and conduct was just a gross injustice here.”

(John Q Kelly, CNN).

Judy Bachrach was also allowed to claim there was a conspiracy to Amanda Knox on CNN.

Everyone knew from the beginning that the prosecutor had it in for Amanda Knox, that the charges are pretty much trumped up…

From the beginning this was carefully choreographed, they wanted to find her guilty, they’ve kept her in jail for two years even before trial and they did find her guilty. This is the way Italian justice is done. If you’re accused, you’re guilty.

There isn’t an ounce of hard evidence against her and all of Italy should be ashamed actually.” (Judy Bachrach, CNN).

Arguably the craziest conspiracy nut - and the competition is fierce - is the former FBI agent Steve Moore in early retirement.

Steve Moore claimed the Perugian police, Guilano Mignini, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni, Edgardo Giobbi the head of the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome, Judge Massei, and the Italian Supreme Court were all part of a dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox.

Moore claimed the following on his blog.

For this to happen, though, pompous prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, forensic perjurer Patrizia Stefanoni, and mind-reading detective Edgardo Giobbi (and others), must be prosecuted for their corruption. The judge who rubber stamped the lies in the first trial, Massei, must be also called to the bar of justice-or back to law school.

In a discussion with lawyer Paul Callan on CNN Moore actually claimed the Supreme Court was involved in the conspiracy.

Paul Callan: “And now “¦ and they (the Perugian police) got the Supreme Court of Italy involved in this conspiracy? You know, that’s like saying that “¦ [Steve Moore interrupts]”

Steve Moore: “Yes, they do. Yes, they do. You are being naive. You don’t understand the Italian system. You don’t understand it. You are defending something you don’t understand.”

Barbie Nadeau reported Moore’s claim that evidence was manipulated for The Daily Beast.

The evidence that was presented in trial was flawed, it was manipulated.

Steve Moore has never provided any evidence to support his wild-eyed hysterical claims there was a huge conspiracy involving a prosecutor, different police departments, Judge Massei and judges at the Italian Supreme Court to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

It’s no wonder TV legal analyst Paul Callan was smiling, desperately trying not to burst out laughing, when he discussed the case with Moore on CNN.

Moore provided irrefutable proof in the short time he was on CNN that he is ignorant of the basic facts of the case, and that he hasn’t read any of the official court reports. He falsely claimed “the DNA that they said was Raffaele’s was actually a woman’s DNA.”

No expert claimed this at the trial.

Sollecito’s DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. David Balding, a professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was “very strong”.

Moore told Erin Burnett: “The second trial proved with independent experts that the DNA that they claim was the victim’s was not on the knife.”

A number of forensic experts - Dr Stefanoni, Dr Biondo, Professor Novelli, Professor Torricelli, and Luciano Garofano - have all confirmed that sample 36B which was extracted from the blade of the knife WAS Meredith’s DNA. The independent experts did not carry out a test on this sample. 

In England there were deranged conspiracy nuts claiming Amanda Knox was framed too.

Amy Jenkins bizarrely claimed in The Independent that Knox and Sollecito were the victims of a miscarriage of justice because Knox was a young woman, the Italians didn’t like the fact Knox snogged her boyfriend and someone needed to save face or something.

The truth is, Amanda Knox’s great crime was to be a young woman ““ but mainly it was to be a young woman who didn’t know how to behave. She was 20 years old, she was suffering from shock, and she was in a foreign country. She was interrogated with no lawyer and no translator present. She made a phony confession.

Clearly no saint, she wasn’t a Madonna either. That’ll make her a whore then. She snogged her boyfriend; she was slightly provocative on Facebook; she turned an inappropriate cartwheel. In a Catholic country, it’s clearly not such a leap to go from there to stabbing your room-mate in the neck during a violent sexual assault ““ because that’s the leap the prosecution made.

To save face, Knox and her poor boyfriend had to be somehow levered into the frame. As the whole juggernaut of injustice chugged on it became harder and harder for the six lay judges who acted as a jury to destroy a case that had been constructed over two years by prosecutors who were their close working colleagues.” (Amy Jenkins, The Independent).

Conclusion: READ THE DOCUMENTS

More and more the translated documents prove that all of them have been wrong. The conspiracy theorists predictably haven’t provided one iota of evidence that there was ever any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

I suspect the producers at mainstream media organisations like CBS News and CNN knew there never was any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox all along, but they didn’t get care because they wanted a sensational story. 

Too many people within the media perversely see murder as entertainment. Rather than providing balanced and factually accurate coverage of murder cases they want to outrage and entertain the masses with melodramatic stories of conspiracies involving corrupt prosecutors and cops who want to frame innocent people for murders they didn’t commit instead.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the popularity of Making of a Murderer on Netflix. It filled a vacuum after Knox and Sollecito were acquitted in 2015.

I have no doubts that journalists from mainstream media organisations are currently looking for the next alleged case of someone being framed or railroaded for a murder they didn’t commit.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Multiple Attackers and the Compatibility of the Double DNA Knife (Exhibit 36)

Posted by James Raper

Our YouTube whiz DelPergola’s video of November 2010

Ed note: This evidence area is enormously compelling - but also emotionally difficult. It is why initially we did not publish our translation of the Micheli Report. And why a quarter of the trial was behind closed doors with the media excluded. That well-meaning decision has bedeviled the case ever since, because only the jury and others in court then - including the white-faced and tongue-tied accused pair - were exposed to the full power of the prosecution testimony.

Material from some of my previous posts on TJMK (link at bottom here) was incorporated into my Justice on Trial book. From Chapter 15, this is the second of several posts setting out further material.

Before looking at the forensic evidence, which is the final theme I identified earlier, it will be helpful to take into account the wounds suffered by Meredith, and whether these suggest anything as to the dynamics of the murder, and whether any of them were compatible with the knife recovered from Sollecito’s kitchen, Exhibit 36, called the Double DNA knife because the DNA of Meredith was found on the blade and the DNA of Knox on the handle.

As mentioned earlier the autopsy was carried out by Dr Lalli.

It was observed that there were no significant injuries to the chest, abdomen or lower limbs.

The significant elements in the examination were described as follows :

A fine pattern of petechiae on the internal eyelid conjunctive.

The presence of tiny areas of contusion at the level of the nose, localised around the nostrils and at the limen nasi [threshold of the nose].

Inside the mucous membranes of the lips, there were injuries compatible with a traumatic action localised in the inner surface of the lower lip and the inner surface of the upper lip, reaching up to the gum ridge.

Also found on the lower side of the jaw were some bruising injuries, and in the posterior region of the cheek as well, in proximity to the ear.

Three bruising injuries were present on the level of the lower edge of the right jaw with a roughly round shape. In the region under the jaw an area with a deep abrasion was observed, localised in the lower region of the middle part at the left of the jaw.

Once the neck had been cleaned it was possible to observe wounds that Dr Lalli attributed to the action of the point of a cutting instrument.

The main wound was located in the left lateral region of the neck. A knife would be compatible provided it had one cutting edge only which was not serrated. The wound was 8 cms in length and 8 cms deep. The width could not be measured because the edges had separated due to the elasticity of the tissues both in relation to the region and to the position of the head, which could have modified the width. The wound had a small “tail” at the posterior end. The wound penetrated into the interior structure of the neck in a slightly oblique direction, upwards and also to the right.

Underneath this large wound, another wound was visible, rather small and superficial, with not particularly clear edges, “becoming increasingly superficial until they disappeared”, in a reddish area of abrasions. The knife had penetrated both Meredith’s larynx and the cartilage of the epiglottis, and had broken her hyoid bone. A consequence of that damage is that Meredith would be unable to vocalise, let alone scream.

There was also a wound in the right lateral region of the neck, also attributed to a pointed cutting instrument. This was 4 cms deep and 1.5 cms wide (or long). It had not caused significant structural damage.

The presence of two relatively slight areas of bruising, with scarce colouring and barely noticeable, were detected in the region of the elbows.

On Meredith’s hands were small wounds showing a very slight defensive response. A small, very slight patch of colour was noticed on the “anterior inner surface of the left thigh”. Another bruise was noticed on the anterior surface, in the middle third of the right leg.

The results of the toxicological analyses revealed the absence of psychotropic drugs and a blood alcohol level of 0.43 grams per litre.

Tests of histological preparations of fragments of the organs taken during the autopsy were also performed. They revealed the presence of “pools of blood” in the lungs.

The cause of death was attributed to asphixiation and loss of blood, the former being caused by the latter.

There was nothing in the pathology which confirmed that Meredith had been raped, though we should recall that Guede’s DNA was found on the vaginal swab, though not of a spermatic nature. For Massei this was confirmation that she had been subjected to a sexual assault.


—————————————


There was argument in court as to whether Exhibit 36 was compatible with the main wound. There was no dispute amongst the experts that it could not have been responsible for the wound on the right. The knife had an overall length of 31 cms and the length of the blade from the point to the handle was 17.5 cms. The width of the blade, 4cms from the point, exceeded the width of the right hand wound. The wound on the right was more akin to a pocket knife, or perhaps a flick-knife.

I shall look at the arguments advanced by the defence as to why the knife would not be compatible in a moment, but before that there is a simple logical point as to incompatibility based on measurements.

A knife would only be incompatible if the length of the wound was greater than the length of the blade of the knife, or if the width of the wound was less than the width of the blade. Exhibit 36 was therefore a priori compatible.

On this basis I would also have to concede that a pocket or flick-knife is not a priori incompatible with the main wound, unless (though we would not know) the length of it”˜s blade did not exceed 8 cms.

It should however be recalled that the width of the left side wound was also 8 cms. That is over 5 times the width of the wound on the other side of the neck. The width of the blade on Exhibit 36, 8 cms from it’s tip - and being approximately 3.5 cms wide- was over twice the width of the blade on the “pocket knife”. This fact, and the robustness of the larger weapon, particularly with regard to the observed butchering at the base of the left-sided cut, makes Exhibit 36 a far more likely candidate, in my submission, than a “pocket knife”, and that’s without taking into account Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

We can also enter into a numbers game as regards the experts (8 of them) who opined on compatibility. Massei tells us that Dr Liviero concluded “definite compatibility”, Dr Lalli and Professors Bacci and Norelli “compatibility” whilst “non- incompatibility” came from the 3 GIP experts nominated at a preliminary hearing. The latter were Professors Aprile, Cingolani and Ronchi.

As far as I am concerned “non-incompatability” is not hard to understand. It simply means compatible.

Professors Introna, Torre, and Dr Patumi, for the defence, opined that Exhibit 36 could be ruled out. Their argument was twofold. First, the length of the blade was incompatible with the depth of the wound had the knife truly been used with homicidal intent. Indeed, if it had been thrust in up to the hilt then the point would have exited on the other side of the neck. Secondly, they said that the smaller wound or the abrasions beneath the main wound, mentioned earlier, were in fact caused by the hilt of a knife striking the surface of the neck. Obviously if that were so then the main wound was not caused by Exhibit 36.

Their argument does not consider, because we do not know, what may have been the actual dynamics of the knife strike. We cannot know what was the cause of the underlying wound or the reddish area of abrasions. As to that wound it may have been the result of the knife edge being run across the surface of the skin and the abrasions may have had a different cause in the prior struggle for which there is ample evidence. Hence their argument seems very weak. 

We cannot leave the topic without considering that there may have been more than two knives involved. This possibility arises from the evidence of Professor Vinci, for the defence. He considered blood stains that were on the bed sheet in Meredith’s room. These stains very much resembled the outline of a knife, or knives, laid to rest on the bed sheet.

It was Professor Vinci’s contention that the bloody outlines (a dual outline from the same knife he said) was left by a knife with a blade 11.3 cms long, or a knife with a blade 9.6 cms long with a congruent blooded section of handle 1.7 cms long (9.6 + 1.7 = 11.3), and having a blade width of 1.3 to 1.4 cms.

Taking these measurements as read they may seem incompatible with a pocket knife (such as Sollecito had a proclivity to carry) and they certainly are as regards Exhibit 36. It follows, he argued, that one has to infer the presence of a third knife in any hypothesis and if a pocket knife and Exhibit 36 are already accounted for by Knox and Sollecito then a reasonable inference is that the third knife would have to be Guede’s. Professor Vinci’s blade is not incompatible a priori with either of the two wounds.

The problem, and without going into detail on the matter, is that Professor Vinci’s contention and measurements are somewhat speculative depending on what one thinks one sees in the stains. It is rather like reading tea leaves. One could just as well superimpose Exhibit 36 over the stains and conclude that it was responsible for them.

Massei only briefly commented about the bloody outlines on the bed sheet. He opined that the blood stains were certainly “suggestive” but insufficient to establish any clear outlines from which reliable measurements could be established. Clearly then he did not accord any reliability to Professor Vinci’s measurements.


—————————————————-


We can now turn to the issue of whether Meredith’s injuries tell us anything about whether her attacker was a “lone wolf” or not.

Massei believed that Meredith’s injuries lay at the heart of the matter. It seemed inconceivable to him that she would first be stabbed twice and that she would then be strangled. The amount of blood, being very slippery, would make maintaining pressure on her throat difficult. So Meredith was forcibly restrained and throttled first. The hypothesis of a single attacker requires that he continually modify his actions, first by exercising a strong restraining pressure on her, producing significant bruising, and then for some reason switching to life threatening actions with a knife, thereby changing the very nature of the attack from that of subjugation to that of intimidation with a deadly weapon, and finally to extreme violence, striking with the knife to one side of the neck and then to the other side of the neck.

Massei described the first knife blow, landing on the right side of her neck, as being halted by the jawbone, preventing it from going any deeper than the 4 cms penetration. The court considered that this was an action to force Meredith to submit to actions against her will. The same hypothesis could also, of course, in view of the injuries to the jaw, apply as to the lack of penetration with Exhibit 36 on the other side

What surprised Massei about Meredith’s wounds was that in spite of all the changes in approach during the attack she somehow remained in the same vulnerable position, leaving her neck exposed to attack.

Massei paid particular attention to the paucity and lack of what can be regarded as defensive wounds on her hands by comparison with the number, distribution and diversity of the impressive wounds to her face and neck. He found this disproportion to be significant, particularly with regard to what was known about Meredith’s physicality and personality.

Meredith was slim and strong, possessing a physicality that would have allowed her to move around with agility. She liked sports, and practiced boxing and karate. In fact she had a medium belt in karate. She would, had she been able to, have fought with all her strength. How then would a single attacker have been able to change hands with a knife to strike to both sides of her neck, let alone switch from one knife to another? He would have had to release his grip on the victim to do that, unless she had wriggled free and changed position, in which case he would have to subdue her all over again, but this time, if not before, she would be ready.

Since the attack was also sexual in nature, at least initially, how could a single attacker have removed the clothes she was wearing (a sweater, jeans, knickers and shoes) and inflicted the sexual violence revealed by the vaginal swab, without, again releasing his grip? It might be suggested, as the defence did, that Meredith was already undressed when the attack began, but for this to be the case one of three possible alternative hypotheses has to be accepted.

The first is that Guede was already in the flat, uninvited, and un-noticed by Meredith, which can only mean that the break -in was genuine but un-noticed by her. The second is that Guede was there by invitation and that their relationship had proceeded by agreement to the contemplation of sexual intercourse when Meredith suddenly changed her mind, unleashing a violent reaction from Guede. The third is that, having been invited in Meredith then thought that he had left, although he had not.

Having looked at the staging we can surely rule out the first hypothesis. As to the second, it does not fit with what is known about Meredith’s personality and the relationship she had been developing with Giacomo. As to the third it is difficult to imagine that in a small flat Meredith would not have checked before securing the front door and preparing for bed.

Massei found it was highly unlikely that one person could have caused all the resulting bruises and wounds by doing the above, including cutting off and bending the hooks on the bra clasp. The actions on the bra clasp alone would necessitate someone standing behind her and using a knife to cut the straps, requiring the attention of both hands from her attacker, during which time Meredith would have had the opportunity to apply some self-defence. It has to be conceded though that this could have happened when she was concussed, though there is no persuasive physical evidence of a concussive blow, or during or after she had been mortally wounded.

Massei concluded that there was little evidence of defensive manoeuvers on Meredith’s part, which to him meant that several attackers were present, each with a distribution of tasks and roles: either holding her and preventing her from making any significant defensive reaction, or actually performing the violent actions. He concluded that the rest of the body of evidence, both circumstantial and forensic, came in full support of such a scenario. He concluded that two separate knives had been used and that one was from Sollecito”˜s bedsit.

Although, at the trial, the defence had attempted to explain a scenario whereby a single attacker might have been responsible for the injuries, that there had been multiple attackers was not a scenario with which any court, other than the first appeal court presided over by Hellmann, demurred.

 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Netflixhoax 14: Omitted - Any Mention Of Big Red Flag In Forced Closing Of Vecchiotti’s Laboratory

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



This post is one in our ongoing series.

Amazingly EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO Dr Carla Vecchiotti became quite possibly the most discredited DNA expert in the world, when news about her appalling lab conditions exploded in Italy. 

In their narrow-minded fanaticism to make Dr Mignini the most reviled prosecutor in the world - and Nick Pisa the most reviled reporter - the producers somehow left that awkward fact out of their report entirely. She and Dr Conti are given major time in the film to misrepresent key evidence. 

Netflix’s own due diligence (if any; we think not) missed all of this entirely. Now thanks to Netflix the misrepresented evidence and Vecchiotti’s discredited opinions of the Scientific Police labs are being given credence as hard fact worldwide.

KrissyG in her own excellent review of the movie summarised the conditions that led to the lab being closed down. It happened directly because the Carabinieri DNA experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti appointed for the 2013-14 Nencini appeal (which Netflix also omitted any mention of) visited the place to inspect it, and to pick up some key evidence, a DNA sample from the knife.   

They made mention of what they encountered in their report and in court testimony. That was nearly three years ago (January 2014) long before the final cut of the movie and long before the sale to Netflix was a done deal.

In our view this HAD to be yet another deliberate dishonesty. 

2. Catnip’s Translations Of Main Italian Reports Of Lab Closing

Catnip kindly provided us with these translations of some of the Italian news reports 18 months ago.

The March 2015 report from News 24

The Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza University in Rome was closed down this morning.

For some time it has been known that unhygienic conditions were the norm in the Institute and the Rector of the University has decided today, in anticipation of NAS findings, to shut down the entire mortuary.

Sapienza’s Institute did not have adequate space to accommodate the large number pf bodies and quite often they had to be spread out along the corridors.

The hygiene rules were onerous and the building inadequate. It was for this reason that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had ordered a detailed report by NAS which would have presented their findings within a few weeks.

The Rector of the University, Eugenio Gaudio, has pre-empted the PPO’s expected closure of the Institute. The closure, explains Guadio, had been necessary to prevent the raising of legal questions as regards the autopsies being carried out, which would have risked the results being no longer reliable in future.

During the NAS inspections, even cadaver remains from 1990 had been found, a serious anomaly due to, as the mortuary attendants explained, the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. Another serious problem at the Sapienza Institute is the huge disorder that reigns inside the building, where, in point of fact, cadavers are to be found out in the corridors.

The March 2015 report from Corriere.

Rome: bodies in the mortuary corridors, Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza closed

The Rector’s decision anticipates the MOSSA by the Prosecutor’s Office which has been investigating conditions at the Medico-Legal Institute of Rome’s flagship university

by Giulio De Santis

ROME ““ The University of Sapienza’s Legal Medicine Institute has been closed for health reasons. The decision has been made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

Unreliable autopsies?

The closure has been necessary to head off the raising of questions relating to future autopsy results that would have risked being unreliable. The problems discovered by the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit ““ and noted to the university administration ““ relate to, in fact, the equipment, starting with the tables, intended for carrying out autopsies, which have deteriorated during the course of time. The oldest have been in the building since the early 1980s while those acquired more recently go back to ten years ago. Even the instruments used to examine the cadavers have deteriorated and should be replaced.

Cadavers in the corridors

During the inspections, remains of cadavers preserved since 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and revealed by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in corridors due to the lack of space in which to store them. Sapienza has now promised to proceed with restoration works. There is lack of certainty though on the end point by which the Institute will become operative again. There is no compulsory time limit but the university has guaranteed a return to normality by the beginning of May.

Transferring the bodies

Contributing to the uncertainty are Sapienza’s empty coffers and the collection of funds is expected to be complicated. In the meantime, to try and minimise the impact of the closure, autopsies will be carried out at the Tor Vergata Institute directed by Professor Giovanni Arcudi. The bodies have already started to arrive in the last few days in the mortuary of that university and in some cases the work has been given to specialists from the Gemelli Polyclinic. A case file has been opened by the Prosecutor’s Office and assigned to Antonella Nespola who in October had already ordered the sequestration of the mortuary. The decision to close the Institute has been communicated to the Prosecutor’s Office, who is caught out by the choice.

The March 2015 report from RAI News.

Rome, Medico-Legal Institute closed. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating health conditions. The decision of the Sapienza University Rector Ettore Gaudio. Cadavers from 1990 found.

Cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space for storing them, serious health issues in the management of the Institute. For this reason, Sapienza’s Medico-Legal Institute has been shut down for health reasons. The decision was made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

The closure had been necessary to pre-empt questions being raised about the risk of future autopsy results being unreliable. During the inspections, cadaver remains preserved from 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever claimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of the lack of storage space.

The March 2015 report from Cronaca

Cadavers in corridors, Medico-Legal Institute in Rome closed
Rector Eugenio Gaudio’s decision: «Autopsy results at risk».
01 March 2015

There were cadavers in the corridors due to lack of space, as well as serious health issues in the management of the building. For this reason the Medico-Legal Institute at Sapienza University in Rome has been closed for health reasons.

RECTOR’S DECISION. The decision had been taken by the unicersity’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Public Prosecutor’s Office could act. At Clodio Place, the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a NAS report, where serious hygiene problems in the management of the Institute are highlighted. The closure was necessary to forestall questions being raised concerning future autopsy results which would have been at risk of being unreliable.

REMAINS OF CADAVERS FROM 1990. Inspections revealed remains of cadavers preserved from 1990. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space to store them.

The March 2015 report from Dagospia.

Sad corridors dimly lit. A room with refrigeration units from the 1980s, dozens of units occupied by the bodies of persons deceased by violent means and never recognised, never asked for, and, if foreigners, never repatriated. It’s here that, as many say, along the basement corridor it is even sadder: there’s no space inside and the cadavers are just left there, on trolleys, at times not even in mortuary bags. The smell, they say, is pungent and nauseating. To say nothing of the dissection tables and the equipment, or even the safety of the workers. Non-existent.

And so the Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation by NAS, the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit [nucleo antisofisticazione e sanità ]. Eugenio Gaudio, Rector of Sapienza University “” of which the Medico-Legal Institute is a part “” and Domenico Alessio, Director-General of the Polyclinic at Umberto I University, have pre-empted likely legal orders deciding to shut down the building.

SAPIENZA MORTUARY

It received the latest body last Wednesday a little before midnight. The others “” like that of the young man squashed on Friday night by a bus in Piazza Venezia and dying in San Giovanni Hospital “” will all be, from Thursday onwards, taken to the Gemelli Polyclinic.

A truly disconcerting situation for the largest mortuary in the Capital, the Sapienza Medico-Legal Institute. Already by October month end Public Prosecutor Antonella Nespola had sequestered six operating theatres at the Umberto I University Polyclinic, which is close to the mortuary, and also placed the Medico-Legal Institute in her sights.

And «for possible contamination, likely compromised results, the building physically falling apart, cadavers in the corridors and inadequate equipment», they explain in the mortuary. «NAS inspected the mortuary when I was not even Rector» explains Eugenio Gaudio. «We are all hopeful that the restoration works will conclude as soon as possible: within two months».

MORTUARY

Eight years a scandal led to the lose of the operating theatre at Umberto I: not only were the health and safety conditions extremely bad (blood traces everywhere, building falling apart, a back and forth of funeral agency operators who were following the relatives of the deceased), but corneas were being stolen from the bodies, which in turn ended up having to be transferred from one place to another under armed guard. But today «we’re re-opening the Polyclinic dissection room» explains Gaudio. «I’ve put in an order for autopsy tables and new and modern equipment».

And even if the Rector highlights that the decision to close «had been taken in accord with the Health Director and Director-General of the Polyclinic, with all due care and authority» in the Public Prosecutor’s Office the news of the closure, which seems to have arrived with only 24 hours’ notice, has raised a storm. Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone plays it down. But he also explains that today or at the latest tomorrow «there will be a meeting at the PPO with the top layers of management from the Polyclinic and Rector Eugenio Gaudio». And in the meantime, «for now, Gemelli will be asked to handle the immediate exigencies».

The funeral undertakers who tell of the scene from hell are describing «flies and bluebottles attracted by the odour, doors that don’t seal properly and when you go downstairs at the least you almost fall ill», as a source who works in the mortuary recalls. «But even on the first floor, where the forensic pathologists work, everything has remained stuck at 40 years ago. To say nothing of the place where the evidence is kept: all heaped up on each other, contaminated according to me unusable».

EUGENIO GAUDIO

Captain Dario Praturlon, NAS Commander in Rome who last September on delegation from the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out an inspection, explains that «we only had to check if there were health and safety irregularities: and we had found lots of them. The employers “” that is the Rector and the Polyclinic Health Director “” are obliged to fix up the building. To give the workers a safe place to work. We found none of all this». The first criminal charges are expected quite soon, although relating to previous management.


3. Lab Reopens Sans Vecchiotti

The lab has been closed for 18 months but now Corriere reports its reopening under the supervision of three prosecutors’ offices, making it all but impossible for either the lab or Vecchiotti to perpetrate further transgressions.

University’s Polyclinic takes over management of Rome’s mortuary instead of Sapienza University, while the forensic pathology department is now overseen by the three relevant Public Prosecutor’s Offices (Rome, Tivoli and Civitavecchia).


Monday, October 17, 2016

Netflixhoax 13: Omitted - How The DNA Processes And Evidence Points Were Deliberately Misrepresented

Posted by KrissyG



Above, modern Scientific Police labs in Rome; bottom, hellhole consultants labs (now closed)

1. Introduction

“Amanda Knox” by Netflix is massively misleading on the DNA. It completely ignores that Conti’s and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the First Chambers of the Supreme Court and the fraudulent pair branded as “˜intellectually dishonest’. 

Netflix presents Conti and Vechiotti as trustworthy and competent when Vechiotti’s appalling lab had already been forcibly shut down. They ignore that the pair illegally colluded with US and British DNA academics Hampikian, Budowle and Gill beholden to the defense who interfered to pervert the outcome of the appeal.

They present Knox and Sollecito as “˜exonerated’ and “˜innocent’ based in part on Vecchiotti & Conti’s misleading narrative when they were nothing of the kind.

They ignore that, in large part because of their incompetences and dishonesties, the 2011 appeal was annulled.  They ignore that the case was remitted back down to a different Appeal Court, in a different area (Florence) under a different judge (Nencini) while the 2011 judge (Hellman) was edged into retirement.

And they ignore that Italy’s best DNA experts, from the Carabinieri labs in Rome, were assigned the role of DNA analysis for the repeat appeal, as they should have been in 2011, and important confirmations were presented and barely challenged.

Here is TJMK’s series of DNA analyses and the Wiki’s giant DNA spreadsheet with a lengthy explanation of how it works. And here in Italian is the full rebuttal of all defense challenges by Dr Stefanoni, lead prosecution expert at trial and annulled appeal. 

Finally, a tip on the images below. These are movie snippets, with English subtitles included. They expand to full screen in Acrobat Reader (please download it if you dont have it) if you click on each image.

Part 2 below explains what is in the film that misleads, and Part 3 describes all that was left out.

2. What Is In The Film

In the film, Vecchiotti and Conti appear quite deeply into the film, at minute 64 of 92 minutes.  The appearance of the “˜DNA experts’ towards the end enables the film makers to reinforce the image of a great miscarriage of justice, leading up to the grand finale denouement. 


Enter Conti. Referring to the evidence of Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra, Conti introduces the audience to a key principle of DNA.  It is “˜dust spread everywhere,’ he avers.  To set the scene, we are informed that the Forensic Police (”˜Scientific Police’ in Italy) acted chaotically and that the crime scene was an absolute shambles.  We hear an audio voiceover of a supposed scientific policeman saying to another “˜this is absurd, there is unbelievable chaos everywhere’.

So there we have it.  “˜A crime scene must be completely sterile’.  We are roundly informed that this crime scene was not, based on Conti’s word for it.




Next, enter his co-partner, the other “˜independent’ expert hired by the Hellmann appeal court to evaluate the evidence concerning he DNA identified on the presumed murder weapon knife, and the bra clasp sample: Carla Vecchiotti.


Carla Vecchiotti claims that the issue of contamination of the DNA “˜was raised by the court’.  Shot moves to the scientific police as she continues, “˜ it could have been by other people’.

She then throws in a red herring.  “˜There was the DNA of two unknown males on the clasp’, which we can dispense with straight away.  In reality they were fragments of DNA, no more than 6 ““ 8 alleles, and precisely of the type of dust contamination Conti is talking about.  This effectively subverts the issue away from the strong DNA profile of Sollecito found on the clasp.




Vecchiotti then continues the theme of the film that the prosecutor Mignini was acting entirely intuitively.  “˜You can’t just make it what you want it to be’.

She claims there are “˜problems with contamination in the laboratory’, yet in court she insisted the alleged contamination was at the collection stage, and not at the laboratory.  A picture of the knife comes up.




Vecchiotti comments, “˜The Knox DNA profile is a very good one.’

Of the Kercher DNA on the blade she states, “˜It’s so small.  So scarce, the likelihood of contamination is very high.’

From this, she concludes the Kercher DNA is “˜inconclusive’.

The film makers show us the picture at least three times with “˜INCONCLUSIVE’ in bold red letters.  “˜I asked Dr Stefanoni (the forensic police chief in charge of this case) how she concluded this is the murder weapon without any other evidence?’

However, the courts upheld, and Conti and Vecchiotti themselves concurred under oath, that far from being inconclusive, it was a strong profile of Meredith, at 15 alleles.




Again, Vecchiotti repeats the lie that the laboratory was contaminated, when no such finding was upheld by any court, including Hellmann’s, by referring to Stefanoni stating she had examined fifty of Meredith’s samples at the same time, see above.  She insinuates Stefanoni overrode standards so that they would not have to close the lab up between samples.




The film then cuts to clips of US media outrage at Vecchiotti’s findings of “˜contamination’, even dragging in Donald Trump, no doubt sucking on a tic tac, with just a small cameo of Mignini for “˜balance’, stating that “˜all evidence’ needs to be looked at, implying that Mignini accepted the alleged contamination and was now trying to deflect from it onto other evidence.  The reader should bear in mind, that in fact, there was no such finding of contamination in Stefanoni’s labs.

Nor does she or her co-partner ever once in the film, and nor do the film makers mention that their report was discredited by the Chieffi Supreme court and Hellmann expunged.




Having established ““ falsely ““ that Vecchiotti and Conti had proven contamination to an unwary audience, the film then cuts to Amanda Knox claiming, “˜There is no trace of me in the murder room’.

We are shown a diagram of eight black spots of Rudy Guede’s traces and one white one for Sollecito, some distance away from the body, underneath which it was actually found.  A police mug shot of Guede appears on screen, whom Knox describes as “˜ a guy who regularly committed burglaries’.

From this we are led to believe Guede is a seasoned criminal career burglar, when as of the time, he had no convictions at all.  The film makers inform the audience it is, “˜a burglary gone wrong’, not a finding by any court, apart from the vacated Hellmann court.  The balance (at roughly six to one against, in terms of time coverage) once again is provided by Mignini who points out its unfairness, given the evidence found at the trial.




The film then cuts to Conti, who makes an astonishing confession ““ for a scientific professional expert witness and professor ““  stating, “˜What happened inside that room between Guede and Meredith, was not a job assigned to me.’

So now it is out in the open, Vecchiotti and Conti, far from protecting their professional integrity by following their ethical code, which states that they are expected to act with objectivity in their professional role and should safeguard this by recusing themselves should they feel that they have become advocates for a party, in the film do not even hide their partisanship.

Conti feels confident in this “˜documentary’, now as a global film star, to declare his advocacy for Knox and Sollecito with the above statement.




The Vecchiotti and Conti sequence of the film ends with a drawn out episode of a supercilious Conti leaning back in an attitude of condescension, no doubt aimed at Mignini, when he concludes,

“˜Cicero once said’ ““ pause ““ “˜ Any man can err, but only a fool perseveres.’

Next, the film completely ignores that his and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the next level court ““ Chieffi, Supreme Court ““ and the pair branded as “˜intellectually dishonest’.  It ignores that the case was remitted back to a completely different Appeal Court, in a completely different area, from Umbria to Tuscany, and under a completely different judge.

In the Netflix film, a diagram showing Knox’ DNA on the knife handle is admired as a strong profile.  Meredith’s DNA on the blade is highlighted as a question mark.  About three times, the viewer is shown the same diagram with the word “˜INCONCLUSIVE’ above the Meredith DNA in red letters.

The truth is, ALL of the defence experts ““ including Vecchiotti and Conti ““ accepted it was a strong DNA profile of Meredith (15-allele) so we see a blatant misrepresentation here, that rather than the confidently strong profile it is, Vecchiotti declares that it is “˜inconclusive’, and leads the viewer to believe this was because of proven contamination.

This deception is underlined by the film makers immediately galloping to the 2011 Hellman Court after the Vecchiotti & Conti interview, with wild scenes of Hellmann freeing the pair and declaring them innocent.

The connection is made: the knife DNA ““ and the bra clasp ““ is “˜contaminated’ and that is why the pair were freed.  “˜This was the only flimsy evidence,’ is the message conveyed. Thanks to the lurid and putrid imaginings of Mignini and Pisa, those kids suffered, the viewer is told.

Cue mass media bombardment by the outraged Netflix viewers, on Twitter and Facebook excoriating Pisa, mostly, and also Mignini as having botched up the whole case and ruined the lives of these two kids.

3. What Was Left Out

Part 3 is perhaps twice as long as Part 2 because Netflix lied by omission to its audience on such a grand scale. These are the areas to be covered.

  • I will look at Vecchiotti and Conti’s true track record, which is appalling. The husband of a murder victim was denied justice for a staggering NINETEEN years, as DNA investigator Vecchiotti, et al, negligently refused to investigate the DNA of the perpetrator of the murder.

  • How did Vecchiotti and Conti get appointed by Hellmann court at all? I reveal how the US contingent of pro-Amanda Knox scientists helped “˜fix’ it.

  • I will highlight the legerdemain ploys adopted by the pair in preparing their report, which predicated Hellmann freeing the pair from prison. It was a moot point henceforth as to whether they would ever return.

  • I will set out Chieffi’s and Nencini’s damning criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti in the case.  Crini points out, in the Nencini report, that Vecchiotti’s own laboratory fridge did not have a thermometer!

  • I will show how the elaborate “˜heist’ of the judicial system in springing “˜the kids’ from jail happened. A US scientist, using Boise University resources Greg Hampikian was bragging to courts in the US under oath, even as Hellmann had been expunged and Nencini had just recommenced the appeal, that, “˜I am still working on the Amanda Knox case’.

  • My analysis exposes the interconnections between US advocates Hampikian, Bruce Budowle and British forensic expert, Dr Peter Gill, with Vecchiotti and Conti, which casts grave doubt on the pair being “˜independent’ expert witnesses at all.



Vecchiotti lab

The Conti and Vecchiotti Track Record

On 21 April 2016, Carla Vechiotti, together with Pascali, Vicenza and Arberello, was found guilty in a civil suit of gross negligence in the examination of the murder of Contessa Ogliata, dating from 1991, and ordered to pay €150,000 in damages.  Vecchiotti appears to have a reputation for cutting more corners than Stirling Moss, with other cases often quoted, with which she is associated.

Recently, Conti and Vecchiotti’s laboratory in Rome was closed down due to public health issues. Contamination almost certainly occurred in their laboratory.  Rotting cadavers unclaimed by relatives, were said to have piled up in the corridors.  Stefanoni’s laboratory, which followed all the conventional standards of the day was never proven to have been contaminated.
Carla Vecchiotti’s reputation is in tatters. She has made a number of shocking errors in a couple of murder cases, she repeatedly misled the appeal court - Judge Nencini described her and Conti’s work as “misleading” and “reprehensible”.



Vecchiotti lab

The Hellmann Court (Appeal Court)

On 18 Dec 2010 at the Hellmann appeal the defences made three unusual requests, (a) to get an independent review of the DNA and (b) to bring in Alessi to challenge Guede’s testimony and (c) Aviello, a mobster.  Hellmann agreed to appoint Conti & Vecchiotti from La Sapienza University in Rome.  In the interim 16 Dec 2010, Rudy Guede was definitively convicted.

Request (a) was challenged by Comodi, saying there were many experts for both sides already.  Hellmann argued a judge did not have sufficient expertise to evaluate the experts’ opinions.  Having achieved the appointment of Conti & Vecchiotti , Conti & Vecchiotti [”˜the experts’] delivered the coup de grâce: claiming international standards were not met, contamination could not be ruled out, and that the DNA profile of Meredith could not be reliable.

The pair made the claim the DNA could have “˜come from dust’, strongly rebutted by Stefanoni, who said in that case, there should have been contamination elsewhere, not just on the bra clasp.

Contamination from the laboratory was completely ruled out, contrary to the claims made in the Netflix film, after which, “˜the experts’ moved to a stance that the contamination happened before it even got to the laboratories.  At the hearing, Conti was constantly asked what the criteria were for alleging contamination, to which he replied, “˜Anything is possible’.  As a scientist, a proper evaluation of probability was expected of him.

In their report they claimed, “˜The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.’

It transpired “˜the experts’ had decided to use the US standards of Bruce Budowle and supported by Gill, et al., that the threshold for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA should be raised to 200 picograms, from the hitherto conventional 100 picograms.

In addition, “˜the experts’ argued, the US standard of 50 RFU’s should be used in place of the then Italian standard of 30 RFU’s.  Analysis of DNA below these levels introduces a higher risk of “˜background noise’; contamination from alien sources, i.e., everyday dust, which may contain DNA fragments.

Hellmann, “˜the experts’ and the US scientists getting involved, by virtue of “˜the experts’ quoting extensively from their papers, erred in presupposing that Dr Stefanoni knew nothing about these issues.  Professor Novelli, for the state, challenged the claim that there was any contamination.  Indeed “˜the experts’ were unable to demonstrate this other than by quoting lengthy academic papers which had little to do with mundane case law and more to do with ivory towers.

Vecchiotti, born 1951 with a long CV from medical student days would have known what Italian standards were, yet tried to subvert them in retrospect.

A complaint was lodged by the prosecution about the pair being seen to openly fraternise with Sollecito’s defence team during the hearing, a strict Bar Standard “˜no, no’ for an independent expert witness.

“˜The experts’ refused to analyse a further sample of DNA found on the knife, giving the reason it was LCN, and they “˜didn’t want to make the same mistake as Stefanoni.’

Hellmann accepted “˜the experts’ findings and acquitted Knox and Sollecito declaring them innocent, aside from the calunnia for Knox, together with finding that Guede acted alone, as a “˜burglar disturbed.’

For the film makers, this defines the end of the film.

The Chieffi Court (Supreme Court)

In 2013 the next level of appeal court overturned completely Hellman’s findings.  It rebutted that the DNA sample of Meredith’s was ipso facto low quality just because it was LCN.

“˜The experts’ had claimed, relying on their US sources that LCN sampling should only be done on special projects, such as missing persons or cadaver identification, and that there was not the technology as it was “˜too innovative’.

Chieffi did not buy this, pointing to embryology studies.  He scoffed at the idea of “˜the experts’ being more expert than Professor Novelli or Dr Torricelli.  He censured Hellmann for failing to consider their equivalent expert knowledge.  Chieffi was particularly critical of “˜the experts’ refusing to test the remaining knife sample, calling their reasoning, “˜intellectually dishonest’.

On 25 March 2013, Chieffi ordered the case back to the Appeal court to consider the DNA evidence again, amongst other issues, and that the knife sample be tested.  One suspects “˜the experts’ were loath to test the sample in case it turned out be further DNA of Meredith, and this may be why Chieffi smelt a rat.

The Nencini Court (Appeal Court)

In 2014 Judge Nencini made it clear in a newspaper interview it was not within his remit to criticise “˜the experts’, but rather, to assess the legal rectitude of the Massei court decision, which Hellmann patently failed to do.  However, criticise he does. 

He directs Dr Barni, witness for the Carabinieri Lab, that “˜no US standards’ are to be quoted which C&V had done profusely. In upholding the findings of the Massei court he makes the following point in his reasoning about the DNA of the knife and bra clasp:

“”¦ The consultant holds furthermore that the most appropriate technical approach to interpret the genetic profile arising from trace 165B and to avoid subjective interpretations is to “call upon”, meaning to consider as valid, all of the alleles with RFU > 50, independently of their position or whether or not they might be stutter.

Once the complete profile is determined, given that there may also be more than two contributors to the trace, we feel that the only statistical approach that can be used adequately here is the RMNE (Random Man Not Excluded) method.

This statistical approach makes it possible to estimate the possible error due to a chance compatibility, meaning that of a person chosen randomly from the population and who by pure chance is fully compatible with the genetic characteristics of the individual represented in the trace.

The higher and nearer to 1 that probability is, the more likely it is that the profile could be the result of a random choice and thus the higher the probability of an error in the attribution of the genetic profile to a given individual. In this case, as seen in Table 5, the profile of Raffaele Sollecito is compatible at all the loci analyzed in the mixture of DNA found on Exhibit 165B.

The probability that a random individual from the population would also be compatible (the inclusion probability) [245] was calculated, and came out to be equal to 3.05592 x 10^-6, which is about 1 in 327 thousand. This computation is considered to be extremely conservative, since all of the allelic components are taken into consideration together with their frequency in the reference population.” (Pages 15-17 of the technical report submitted at the 6 September 2011 hearing before the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia.)

The same investigative method was also suggested by the consultant of the Prosecutor in relation to the interpretation of the genetic profile of the markers located on the Y chromosome of trace 165B. Here again, all alleles with RFU>50 were considered, giving the following table:



[246] On the basis of the data in the above table, applying the method of statistical calculation indicated above, Prof. Novelli estimated the probability of a chance inclusion of a random person from the population in the mixed profile, together with the chance compatibility of this random individual with the major contributor to the Y chromosome, as about 1 in 3 billion.”

He upholds that the Forensic Police, aside from some human error, acted correctly and dismissed defence claims that Stefanoni had withheld raw data, and as claimed by “˜the experts’, citing documentary proof the information had been deposited.  Nencini reinstated the convictions, 31 January 2014, and dismissed the claim of contamination.

The sample on the knife “˜the experts’ had claimed was “˜starch’ and “˜too low LCN’ was successfully tested and found to be that of Amanda Knox.  None of this is mentioned by Vecchiotti & Conti in the film and nor do the film makers point it out, leaving their audience to believe “˜the experts’ claim of “˜contamination is proven’.

A key finding was that Professors Novelli and Torricelli had already been the target of the criticisms raised specifically by Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, technical consultant for the Sollecito defense, at the first instance trial court, and thus was a matter settled (res judicata).

This is important to note, for Marasca later describes Tagliabracci in glowing terms as “˜world renowned’ when he reinstates the Hellmann findings in this matter, at the next level.  Nencini observes, “˜Finally, it is observed that Prof. Tagliabracci’s criticism is founded on an unproven and unprovable suspicion, namely that the biologist doing the work being already in possession of reference samples supposedly used the “suspect-centric” method.’

Nencini also found that the second instance [Hellman] court undervalued the fact that the tests carried out took place during the preliminary investigation [of which the Defence was notified and had the right to attend], that at the time of those tests, there were no objections concerning the sampling and laboratory activity, nor was a pre”trial hearing requested regarding the testing, all of which proves agreement with the [laboratory] procedures.



Nencini

Was There Contamination?

There were NO full male DNA profiles on the bra, apart from Sollecito and Guede’s.

Vecchiotti and Conti, significantly, in the film, try to detract from this highly incriminating scientific fact, by making reference to everyday dust fragments, as if that could possibly account for it.

The assertion by Conti in the film that “˜a crime scene must be kept sterile,’ is meaningless for there are many environmental pollutants at every crime scene.

The expert witness testimony of Professor David Balding, to the court is as follows, and who, until October 2009 was Professor in Statistical Genetics at Imperial College, London, where he still retains an affiliation as Visiting Professor. He is an editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics.

“Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.”

“They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.

That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses.  There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.

This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.” (David Balding).

“in some cases we have peaks that correspond to a fourth person.”

“The fourth person is not Guede, it seems. This mystery fourth person hasn’t been mentioned much. (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending).

“But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 16 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, as the legal threshold, so 16 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong.”

“In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.”

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI - the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

“We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisations despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia.

They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

“The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It’s more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.”

Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it. Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result.

Back in 2008 pre-trial there was an independent review of the forensic evidence.

Dr Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, reviewed Dr Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable. He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team.

“We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

So thus we have a pointer as to why Conti introduced his presentation by claiming “˜DNA is spread like dust.’

To the bottom line, then, WAS there any possibility of contamination, as Vecchiotti and Conti are now claiming in the film?

    1. Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t prove there had been any contamination. Judge Chieffi pointed this out.

    2. Conti and Vecchiotti lied to the appeal court - Judge Nencini pointed this out - and they didn’t test the DNA sample despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so.

    3. Numerous DNA experts believe the bra clasp is strong evidence - Professor Balding, Professor Novelli, Luciano Garofano, Professor Torricelli and Dr Biondo.

    4. It’s impossible that the knife was contaminated.

    5. There is no universally accepted DNA standards for collecting and testing DNA evidence. DNA protocols vary from country to country.

    6. Conti and Vecchiotti cited obscure sources, They didn’t refer to the specific guidelines of an international forensic organisation.

    7. Conti and Vecchiotti excluded contamination in the laboratory.

    8. The defence experts had no objections when the DNA evidence was tested.

    9. Vecchiotti made calamitous errors in other cases and her lab was closed down.

    10. Does anyone really believe Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of her bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?

The Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court (Final)

In the final Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court appeal, the short-form provisional 48- page reasoning from March 2015, the guilty verdicts as upheld by Massei and Nencini are overturned, and Vecchiotti & Conti”˜s report reinstalled.

“The second reason [the first reason being: The first reason challenged the violation and inobservance of the criminal law], highlights a problem of great relevance in the circumstance of the present judgment, that is the right interpretation of the scientific examination results from a perspective of respect of the evaluation standards according to article 192 of the criminal procedural code and the relevance of the genetic evaluation in the absence of repeatable amplification, as a consequence of the minimal amount of the sample and, more generally, the reliability coefficient of investigations carried out without following the regulations dictated by the international protocols, both during the collecting phase and the analysis.

Particularly, anomalies were challenged in the retrieval of the knife (item 36) and the victim’s brassiere hook, which do not exclude the possibility of contamination, as correctly outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ordered by the Perugian Court of assizes, which also notified the unreliability of the scientific data, precisely because it was not subject to a further examination.

It was also denied that the retrieved knife would have been the crime weapon.”

Thus, we see the First (Chieffi) Supreme Court Chambers directly challenged by the Fifth Chambers and the criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti swept aside, as though they had never happened.

Judges Marasca & Bruno write:

“˜In fact, no trace of Sollecito was found in the room of the murder. The only element of proof against him was represented by the DNA trace retrieved on the brassiere hook of the victim; trace of which relation with the indicted was actually denied by the Vecchiotti-Conti report, which, in this regard, had accepted the observations of the defense advisor Professor Tagliabracci, world-renowned geneticist.’

It further states:

“˜12) Also erroneous was the interpretation of the results of the genetic evidence on item 36) “¦[”¦]

14) Obvious also was the flawed reasoning on the results of the genetic investigations on the bra hook, “¦[”¦]”¦

With regard to the possible contamination of the item, the appeal judges overlooked the photographic material placed before the court, which clearly demonstrated the possible contamination, regarding the way the hook was treated, with a “hand to hand” passage carried out by persons who wore dirty latex gloves.

Furthermore, a second amplification was not carried out on the hook “¦[”¦]”¦ With regard to this, the objections by the defense and the contrary conclusions of the defense adviser professor Tagliabracci, were not considered.’

In other words, the DNA evidence for the knife and the bra clasp is completely dismissed.  We see no proper rationale by Judge Marasca, just a few handfuls of abstractions along the lines of Conti’s famous, “˜Anything is possible.’

It takes on board Gill’s theories of “˜secondary’ and “˜tertiary’ transfer of DNA, when Gill himself appears to have overlooked that he himself wrote, that “˜this is highly improbable after 24 hours have passed’.

If Marasca’s rulings are considered bizarre, then light is shed when one realises that Bongiorno, for Sollecito, was given NINE times longer to present her appeal than any of the other parties, so it is fair comment to assume its reasoning is based on Bongiorno’s appeal points.

Nobody from either the Perugia or Florence prosecution teams was even present.

In addition, her 306 page appeal was appended with Gill’s advocacy report. Gill was never cross-examined.

The resuscitation of the hitherto presumed decaying corpse of Vecchiotti & Conti is remarkable, given the cadaver of their report to Hellmann was picked raw, first by the First Chambers Supreme Court (Chieffi) and then Judge Nencini.

Vecchiotti and Conti have risen like Lazarus from a car crash, shrouded in the malodorous cloth of something fishy.



Illegal intruder Hampikian

How the “˜Heist’ was pulled off.

Andrea Vogt wrote of the Marasca reasoning:  “˜In my opinion, their report is superficial at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, when even the most minimal amount of Quellenkritik is applied’.

Andrea Vogt writes an incisive analysis of the US influence on the C&V reports, which I cannot better here, so do read it for yourself.

However, I will repeat her prophecy, ironic in hindsight:

“If Knox is acquitted at the end of this month, the quiet American hand in her forensic defense will be heralded as the turnkey that made the ultimate difference in her case. But if she is convicted, there are legitimate questions to be asked about exactly what public resources were spent on this international defense.”

Vogt uncovered what appears to be a whole secret network that she was unable to penetrate through the fog of Freedom of Information law, which enabled Hampikian to claim “˜trade secrets’ as a project of Boise University, where his laboratory is based, to evade the question of, “˜Who was funding his Amanda Knox advocacy work?’

If then it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that both Meredith’s and Sollecito’s DNA is strong and background contamination ruled out by the trial courts, why then does the film revisit the discredited testimony of “˜court experts’ Vecchiotti & Conti?

We can link this back to the film makers own self-professed strong pro-Knox beliefs in her innocence.  Thus we have come full circle.

The defence managed to convince the now expunged Hellmann court to appoint “˜independent experts’; the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled that, whilst this was within Hellmann’s remit, he did not provide adequate reasoning for doing so. 

Vecchiotti & Conti, remarkably, in their report, relied heavily on US standards, thus making the straw man claim that Italy hadn’t followed them, notwithstanding their strong academic and legal background in Italy.  This therefore cannot have been due to ignorance, so we have to point to their own volition to be influenced strongly by Knox-advocates.

For example, Hampikian, funded by Boise University grants and protected by a blanket of secrecy, citing “˜trade secrets’ when journalist Andrea Vogt requested information under the Freedom of Information statutes.

In addition, Bruce Budowle, a more conservative ex-FBI forensic expert, was heavily relied upon, together with peers Gill, et al.  It was at this stage Gill may have got roped in.  His later book draws on Vecchiotti &Conti’s Hellmann’s Report.

Thus, we see a band of pro-Amanda Knox advocates determined to influence the so-called “˜independent’ experts, even when both Hampikian’s and Budowle’s reports were rejected as depositions by the courts.  Even when “˜the experts’ were spiked by the Chieffi Supreme court, Hampikian was still averring, “˜I am involved in the Amanda Knox case’.

Friends of Amanda Knox even today lovingly quote Hellmann despite his de facto ex-communication from the judiciary.  Little surprise we see the film makers eager to include Vecchiotti and Conti, who made it all possible for the birds to fly.

On the subject of Dr Peter Gill, who is widely regarded as having influenced the Fifth Chambers, via Bongiorno’s Appeal, to which his theories were attached, is now drawing on Vecchiotti and Conti as his main source, so we have a case of the experts’ racing car, as it were, driven by the man referred to devoutly by the defence as “˜the father of forensic science’.

Dr Naseer Ahmed of PMF.net was moved to comment:

““ A look at his sources show that the chapter on Meredith Kercher was directly influenced by the Conti-Vecchiotti report.

““ He argues contamination, but doesn’t prove a path of transmission.

““ He cites papers on secondary transfer of DNA, but misses the point his suggested routes, RS>door handle>investigator’s latex glove>bra clasp is tertiary transfer.

““ He argues the low cell count of Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA on the knife suggests contamination without considering that rigorous washing with household bleach might degrade it. (Yet miraculously those cells did provide a full match with Meredith’s DNA)

““ The shoe box belonging to Meredith story has been shot down.

““ He clearly has not read Inspector Gubbiotti or Finci’s testimonies, which removes all possible paths of “˜innocent transfer’.

““ Reading the actual research papers he cites, there is no way that such significant amounts of DNA could actually transfer to the bra clasp.

““ He did not review Patrizia Stefanoni’s Scientific Report or any of her notes, instead relying on the IIP translated C&V report and Hellmann decision.

““ He refers to the Meredith Kercher wiki, but never even looked at the DNA segments which would have alerted him to problems with the C&V report.

““ He may have had indirect input from Sollecito’s first DNA expert, Vincenzo Pascali, and Carla Vecchiotti, but does not seem to know of Vecchiotti’s colorful record of falsifying evidence.

Last, and worst of all, he did not refer to the Supreme Court decision annulling Hellmann even though the translation was widely available almost ten months before his book was published.

There is no way he could not have known this, since we had been in contact with him since earlier this year. It is unconscionable that he chose this route to promote his theories. Elsevier under its new ownership and editorial policies seem to have allowed any number of self-published books to be written.

If Professor Gill had written a scholarly text book it would have to be reviewed by an editorial board and sent for peer review, which might have led to professional experts critiquing and hopefully pointing out his errors.

Instead, he wrote a slim, unreviewed “˜popular’ book to promote his own theories, which, embarrassing perhaps for him, is being critiqued and torn apart by lay persons, ahem.

Misleading DNA Evidence ““ Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice, Peter Gill, Academic Press.  Quote:

Recommendation 1: The expert should provide the court with an unbiased list of all possible modes of transfer of DNA evidence (pg 20).”

The irony is not lost.



Illegal intruder Gill

My Main Sources:

Thanks to Naseer Ahmed and The Machine, for the section on “˜Contamination?’

The Machine’s analysis of 50 of the most common myths still promoted.

The Meredith Case Wiki

The Perugia Murder File Forum (Net Version)

The Nencini Sentencing Report.

The Chieffi Sentencing Report.

The Massei Report.

The Marasca-Bruno Report:

My thanks to the wonderful translators and everybody who helped me with material.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wiki Status: Harder & Harder To Claim No Evidence Or 2009 Jury Got Verdict Wrong

Posted by azoza



A rough physical equivalent of our document library

Overview

This is a progress update on the increasingly vast Meredith Wiki file library:

Remember that much of the trial was conducted behind closed doors. Italians got good reporting from the trial, often in real-time; but those of us in other countries far less-so - though the notion that any of the fairly limited English-language media mentions in 2009 influenced the Italian jury is a seriously absurd one.

So the one and only key to getting the case right is in the documents. Absent a knowledge of the documents (as in the Netflix case) conclusions become quite vacuous.

Remember that NO media outfit ever translated any of the large documents. The Italy-based foreign reporters certainly did some for their own use and for excerpting, but all the heavy lifting was done by the teams on our cluster of websites.

Remember that NO American or British lawyer ever who is fully on top of the extraordinary number of documents has attempted to argue that this was not a strong case or that points pointing to guilt were not overwhelming.

The file library is increasingly being made into something resembling a huge book with a internal strong logic for the help of the numerous intended researchers.

You can see that logic strongly at work here.

Four search approaches

Since my article last June, there have been big changes to the file library layout. We scrapped the nested box approach due to the amount and different kinds of documents.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Main_Page

Now there are four approaches to find files: (1) the master list; (2) by file type; (3) by subject matter; (4) by chronology of when file was made.

The last branch will be done when uploads are complete.

(1) The master list contains links to all the files, roughly in chronological order. Given the thousands of files (over 3800 now), the master list serves only as a reference point. You get a sense of document flow- what appeared when- by scrolling through the list.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Master_list

(2) The type pages subdivide files by main types (audio, documents, images, videos) and then further subcategories.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_type

The images category will be better filled with more files in due time. The documents category has the most subcategories with descriptions under the headings. So for instance, all court motivation reports are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_motivation_reports

All court testimony PDFs are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

All deposition and interrogation PDFs here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Depositions_and_interrogations
and police and consultant reports here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

The above are most significant, but there are many other subcategories.

(3) The by subject pages will have pages of all files, disregarding type and date, of a particular subject. So all files related to DNA on one page; all files related to the knife on one page; all pages related to Curatolo on one page. These pages will be more detailed than other pages.

(4) By chronology pages organize files by date:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_chronology

These pages are only PDFs for now. Eventually the other file types will be linked too. At the bottom of each chronology page is a link to the next section, so it’s possible to click through chronology pages without returning to the chronology menu page each time.

Important files:

Crime scene:

Crime scene photos were distributed by police in 5 volumes and can be found here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos

There are more photos in the 5 volumes than in the web page photo gallery.

A subset of these photos are in a second police document from Dec 31, 2007 done in Word. We printed it to PDF:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.pdf

Photos from this document were captured, censored and stored in this zip file, which has crime scene photos not in the webpage gallery:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.zip

Crime scene video is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_videos

We have taken great pains to keep November 2-3 crime scene video intact with sound, censoring as necessary to respect Meredith and her family. It is the most complete version available- 1 hr 20 minutes long.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-02-03-cottage.mp4

There is also video of Scientific Police (Dr. Stefanoni) at Sollecito’s apartment on November 13th:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-13-apartment-Sollecito.mp4

Police video comes from discs prepared by police, complete with menus. It’s likely the video compilations on these discs don’t show all video taken. As an example, the above video at Sollecito’s apartment seems incomplete and is cut-off at the end.

The December 2007 video of the 2nd cottage visit is complete. Police purposely distributed this video without sound.

CCTV:

We have made films of CCTV capture:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_CCTV_videos

We did this because the program and files are proprietary. We will capture photo sequences of important segments and post later.

We could not find “˜video’ for camera 7 from 00:00 to 06:00 on November 2nd. There are other cameras at the garage as well, and we are looking to find any extra footage.

DNA:

We have DNA report complete and in color:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all.pdf

so charts are now clear. Dr. Stefanoni’s DNA report references these photos here too:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-photographic-attachments-censored.pdf

Egrams in color are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-04-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-egrams.pdf

Clearer Egram prints of key traces can be found on this page, and also negative controls:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

UACV report:

As mentioned by Olleosnep, this report has not been talked about, but very important crime scene analysis report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-09-Report-Scientific-Police-UACV-Codispoti-crime-scene-analysis-censored-colored-and-charts.pdf

More UACV materials are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Presentations

Rinaldi & Boemia:

Rinaldi & Boemia presentation showing errors in Vinci report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2009-09-18-Slides-Scientific-Police-Rinaldi-Boemia-comments-on-Vinci-report.pdf

There is much Rinaldi & Boemia presentation material on that page. They also did two reports, one on footprints and a second on shoes. Those are here, with separate photo attachments:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

Conti & Vecchiotti critiques:

Dr. Stefanoni presentation showing errors in Conti Vecchiotti report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2011-09-04-Slides-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

and her written report here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-01-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Novelli report critiquing Conti Vecchiotti report is also good reading:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-03-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Novelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Torricelli has two reports. The second is an updated version of the first:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Medical consultants:

This medical consultant hearing- asked by Judge Matteini in April 2008- is very important:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/testimony/2008-04-19-Testimony-CM-evidentiary-hearing-consultants-medical-all.pdf

Related reports (all censored for disturbing content):

Autopsy:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-02-12-Report-Coroner-Lalli-autopsy-final-censored.pdf

Matteini’s consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-15-Report-Consultant-Court-Aprile-Cingolani-Ronchi-wounds-manner-of-death-censored.pdf

Mignini’s consultants (replacing Lalli):

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-24-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Bacci-Liviero-Marchionni-comments-on-Lalli.pdf

Dr. Mignini:

His case summary to the Riesame court on November 24, 2007 is important. It shows an early description of the case:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-11-24-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Knox-Sollecito.pdf

He made a case summary for Guede too in December 2007:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-12-10-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Guede.pdf

Formal charges issued in English from July 2008:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2008-07-11-Notice-Prosecutor-sending-case-to-trial-English.pdf

Final fingerprint report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-01-31-Report-Scientific-Police-fingerprints-cottage-final-censored.pdf

Court testimony:

There is much more court testimony now. Matteini, Micheli, Massei, Hellmann Nencini, but also Guede appeal court Borsini. All testimony is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

Much of Micheli is audio only, which is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_audios

Various:

This Kokomani interview with Canale 5:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Interview_videos

shows Kokomani in a good way. Court transcripts with him seem confusing, but here he is easy to follow.

This video shows unpacking of kitchen knife on February 26, 2008 in front of all consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/misc/2008-02-26-Knife-review-by-consultants.mp4

The meeting was after knife was tested for DNA, but shows the original box used.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Major Additions To Meredith Kercher Case Wiki To Provide Complete Impartial Overview in English

Posted by azoza



Image is of the very beautiful Perugia at night

Origin and mission

The impartial Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki began in 2013.

The seed was people discussing how to overcome the flawed Wikipedia article of the case. That article relied on sources like Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh and American media. In other words, biased or incomplete sources.

In May 2013, Edward McCall set up the website, with the help of volunteer editors from the Perugia Murder File community. Its mission statement was:

Were Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede responsible for the death of Meredith Kercher? This wiki style site was created by a group of volunteer editors to inform the public about the case, by providing translations of original documents and evidence presented at trial.

This continues to be the aim of the Wiki: to make available documents and translate them properly. Our interest is not selectively posting documents, like the Knox campaign has done. We want to make all the facts available, without bias or selecting. We believe all the facts support the notion that all three defendants are responsible for Meredith Kercher’s murder.

Purpose of this post

The purpose of the article here is to let people know of recent changes to the website.

The Wiki is revised when new documents and translations continue to be received. Existing webpages are tweaked when time allows. Webpages are sometimes changed so information can be better presented. Or the website structure is changed when a significant page is introduced.

For example, a new page listing a lot of evidence was added in November 2014. This page can be directly accessed from the main page. That evidence list page has links to other sections of the website, like “˜wikified’ testimony, for easier reference. More links will be added and more evidence noted as more documents become available.

Major redesigns

The website had two major redesigns earlier this year. The main page was redesigned to provide clearer “˜at a glance’ updates. We did this primarily to keep everyone up-to-date with the March 2015 Cassazione decision. The boxes on the main page also note updates to other parts of the website. Also, we added buttons so any webpage on the site can be shared on various social media.

The other major redesign has been the addition of the “˜file library’.

Completing the picture

For those long familiar with the case, source material had been seriously lacking. There have been large gaps. The Knox campaign has posted some documents, but their “˜collection’ has always been incomplete. As examples:

1) The crime scene photos start at “˜dsc016’. What about photos 1 through 15?
2) No photos of Sollecito’s place, Guede’s place, via Sperandio or elsewhere
3) They posted many Massei transcripts, but not all. They never posted the 2nd day of Knox’s testimony, or the days when the Kercher family and consultants testified.
4) Some Massei transcripts they posted had pages missing.
5) They have posted many defense consultant reports, but few prosecution consultant reports.
6) They only posted a few Hellmann transcripts, but not all.
7) They only posted one Micheli transcript, but not the others.
8) Hardly any depositions.
9) A lot of police reports are still missing.

In the past six months, we have been trying to correct this. We have set up a file library, which will be the repository of as many case-related files as can be gotten. Files will ultimately include documents, photos, videos and audio- whatever is part of the public record of this tragic case. The files are made available as links for downloading. Eventually many will also be “˜wikified’ so anyone can do a word search through the documents. And when time allows, key documents will be translated.

There are thousands of files related to this case - too many to put on one page. A single file page would take forever to scroll and would be terribly confusing. So the library is structured into subsections. The basic idea is “˜nested boxes’. Once you select a section, you “˜drill down’ through pages to get to document links. Then you click “˜back up’ to the higher levels so you can move to other sections.

Some pages have a mixture of links to documents and links to subpages. These will eventually be simplified for clarity.

Not all file library pages have been created. More pages will be required as more files come in. Once the document files (PDFs) portion is nearly complete, pages will be reviewed and the library layout will be tweaked. At that point, when we’re comfortable with all the pages and their names, links will be added to allow browsing across sections or in sequential order. This hasn’t been done yet to avoid redoing a lot of work later.

A directory tree is a strong possibility too.

The seven sections

The library has over 900 PDFs and photos scattered across 7 major sections.

The 1st section

This section Context and people is empty for now. It will have photos of Perugia, the cottage, nearby locales and pictures of the people involved in the case. We are sifting through photos and erasing duplicates. Once that’s done, this section will quickly fill out.

The 2nd section

This section 2007 Investigations has files related to police investigations in 2007, the arrest and crime scene photos and videos. As mentioned, not all crime scene photos and videos have been made public. We hope to gather as complete a collection as possible. Of course, anything showing Meredith Kercher’s body will be censored, in line with the wishes of the Kercher family, and to maintain dignity. In the past 1.5 months, we’ve gotten over 80 depositions of witnesses and other documents related to early investigations. Things like preliminary police reports and police correspondence. Here you can also find phone and prison taps.

The 3rd section

This section Arrest trials has filed related to the cautionary arrest trials. This includes the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court and the 2008 Cassazione court, presided by judges Gemelli & Gironi. Files include court hearing transcripts, motivation reports and other files pertinent to these hearings. This is missing quite a bit still, but we hope to correct that.

The 4th section

This section 2008 Investigations has files related to police investigations in 2008. While the murder was discovered on Nov 2, 2007, and arrests were made that month, the actual police investigation continued until the following year, finishing in June 2008. Files here include additional phone and prison taps, police reports from Rome and Perugia, additional depositions and other related documents.

The 5th section

This section Statements and writings contains writings and depositions of the three defendants. GKS = “Guede Knox Sollecito”.

The 6th section

This section Trials and Appeals and Reports is the largest section. We may revise or split this section further. Currently it contains all documents related to the main trials. All three defendants took part in the first main trial, the 2008 Micheli court. Micheli indicted Guede and found enough evidence against Knox and Sollecito. After the Micheli court, Guede’s trial path separated from the other two because he chose a fast-track option. So there are 3 subsections: Micheli, Guede trials and Knox + Sollecito trials. The Knox + Sollecito trials page has further subpages for the Massei court, the Hellmann appeals court, the Nencini appeals court. In this section, one can find court transcripts and reports, correspondence or depositions introduced during court proceedings. So a lot of files.

The 7th section

This section is extra material.This will contain documents, photos and videos indirectly related to the case. Things like interviews, documents on forensics, lab manuals, crime scene analyses, documentaries, related trials like the police calumnia trials, etc.

A few quick notes:

1. There are many versions of the Massei motivations report on the Internet. Most are missing two pages. Another version comes in four parts. We edited ours so this is a complete version with the “˜famous’ missing pages.

2. Similarly with the Borsini-Belardi motivation report. Many versions out there, most of them improperly OCR’ed, with sections missing. Our version is a scan version, not the OCRed one.

3. As noted before, recent additions include a lot of depositions of witnesses taken in the first week of police investigation. You can find these in the “2007 police work” page.

4. Police summaries of the crime scene surveys, and fingerprint reports, are at the bottom of that same page.

5. There’s a PDF containing a “˜5 volume’ police photo report. This PDF has photos of Via Sperandio currently not in the crime scene photos. But certainly those photos are part of the same Nov. 2007 crime scene photo survey. Anyway, you can find it in the Crime Scene page at the bottom. It’s called Photo-photographic-file-censored. We edited out pictures of the body, to preserve dignity of the victim.

6. Towards the bottom of the “2008 investigations” page, we recently added two police charts, and the first “shoeprint report” by Rinaldi & Boemia, which has more data on shoeprints. Their second report concentrated on the footprints.

7. We have the Cassazione March 2015 dispositivo. We will be posting that along with other documents shortly.

In conclusion

The file library is an ongoing thing. We hope to make real progress here, so everyone can look at all the facts of the case, not just a few picks. A bright light is needed on as much material as is possible to offer, in honor of Meredith Kercher, the victim.

When we post a new file batch, we add an update note on the Wiki home page.

The Meredith Kercher Wiki is committed to being the essential record of all publicly available documents and testimonies about the case, to benefit the general public and the media. Please circulate this widely, and check in regularly. There are more changes to come.

ADDED 12 JULY

On 2007 Investigations: Police work page
2007-11-03-Log-cellphone-KercherM-English.pdf
2007-11-03-Log-cellphone-Sollecito.pdf
2007-11-07-Log-landphone-Sollecito.pdf
2007-11-27-Police-deposition-Capezzali.pdf

On 2007 Investigations: Arrests page
2007-11-07-Prosecutor-notice-Request-to-validate-Arrest-Knox-Lumumba-Sollecito.pdf

On Arrest trials page
2008-01-21-Testimony-Bernaschi-Sollecito.pdf
2008-05-15-Motivazioni-Matteini-reconfirming-cautionary-arrest-Knox.pdf

On Arrest trials: KSL: Matteini trial page
2007-11-08-Testimony-Matteini-Knox.pdf

On Arrest trials: KS: Ricciarelli trial page
2007-11-30-Motivazioni-Ricciarelli-Arresto-Appello-Knox-Sollecito.pdf (forever missing Ricciarelli report)

On 2008 Investigations page
2008-11-08-Deposition-Monacchia.pdf

On Trials: Micheli court page
2008-09-16-Testimony-Summary-and-Rulings-Micheli.pdf (first Micheli hearing)
2008-10-27-Report-Fioravanti-Vodaphone.pdf

On Trials: KS: Massei and Cristiani trial page
2009-11-20-Closing-arguments-Mignini.pdf (forever missing)
2009-11-21-Closing-arguments-Comodi-Knox.pdf (forever missing- Comodi describes 3D reconstruction)

On Trials: KS: Hellmann and Zanetti trial page
2010-12-11-Testimony-Lawyers-Knox-Parisi-Maori-Ghirga-Vedova.pdf (missing Hellmann hearings)
2010-12-18-Testimony-Costagliola-Comodi-Perna.pdf
2011-01-22-Testimony-Lawyers.pdf
2011-03-12-Testimony-Mandarino-Pucciarini-Ciasullo-Bevilacqua-IniG-IniR.pdf
2011-03-26-Testimony-Brughini-Curatolo-Lucarelli.pdf
2011-05-21-Testimony-Napoleoni-Conti-Vecchiotti-Knox.pdf
2010-12-11-Court-doc-Zanetti-case-review.pdf

On Trials: KS: Nencini and Cicerchia trial page
2014-01-20-Testimony-Maori-Crini-Pacelli-Fabiani-Perna-Maresca-Donati-Colotti.pdf (missing Nencini hearing)

On Trials: Knox and Sollecito trials page
2015-03-30-Sentenza-Cassazione-Dispositivo-Knox-Sollecito.pdf (sentence, not motivations report)


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sollecito v Italy & Guede: My Subtitled YouTubes Of Rudy Guede’s Interview with Leosini

Posted by Eric Paroissien













Saturday, November 29, 2014

The PMF/TJMK Master Evidence List: First Of Our Projects To Make The Final Picture Whole

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



High-achiever Meredith Kercher was born less than one mile south of this famous London landmark

Building An Evidence Mountain

There are really three pictures, not just the one, still to be fully made whole.

  • That of Meredith. We believe a family site will soon add to the fine book published by Meredith’s dad.

  • That of all of the evidence the court acquired in 2009, which is the sole picture the Italian citizenry takes seriously.

  • That of the misleading campaign by the Knox and Sollecito PR shills, leaving some in the UK and US misled.

The Master Evidence List is a key part of the second picture and there are several other media-friendly pages still to come.

Click here for the rest


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Hundreds Of DNA Samples Taken And Analyses Done, Shown In Table Form

Posted by Olleosnep




1. Even Excluding DNA, There’s Massive Evidence

Contrary to foolish claims elsewhere, there’s a great deal of evidence implicating not only Guede but also Knox and Sollecito in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher. 

The bulk of the evidence is circumstantial, and encompasses different categories of evidence, such as: wounds sustained by Ms. Kercher;  ear and eye witnesses;  footprints; shoeprints; fingerprints and lack thereof; blood patterns; evidence that Ms. Kercher was moved after she died; misplaced items in her room and in the cottage; evidence of partial clean-up; cellphone records; computer evidence; evidence of staged break-in; lack of evidence of actual break-in; statements by all three defendants; lack of alibis; lies by Knox and Sollecito; etc.

A lot of the most critical evidence has been repeatedly reviewed by many different judges involved in the case, from Judge Micheli to Judge Nencini, and led to the unanimous verdict at trial now confirmed by Appeal Judge Nencini. 

2. The Massive DNA Evidence Is Equally Conclusive

We have carried nearly five dozen DNA posts previously on the Scientific Labs work in 2007-09, the discredited judges’ consultants work in 2011, and the Carabinieri Labs work in 2013.

They go to prove that some of the most damning evidence comes from the DNA traces found on hundreds of samples tested by the Forensic Genetics department of the Italian Scientific Police squadron in Rome. The department was presided over by the biologist Dr. Stefanoni at the time [seen above left with Prosecutor Comodi] who acted as the department’s principal technical director.

The results of Dr. Stefanoni’s work were collected in several reports issued by her lab during the 2008-2009 investigation and trial phases. Of these reports, two reports in particular comprise a “˜survey’ of the work performed by her lab at the time: the “Genetic Tests” report (GT), and the “Stato Avanzamento Laboratorio” report (SAL). Both reports are available on the Meredith Kercher Wiki.

These two reports are notable for highlighting the large quantity of testing done and the significant number of objects and items sampled. In addition, the reports not only look at items with blood traces, but also traces of skin cells, feces, semen, and above all, hair traces, an aspect of the evidence that has been largely glossed over in the testimony and in the motivation reports.

3. For The First Time A Complete DNA Roadmap

The DNA Spreadsheet will open using Microsoft Excel or alternatives such as the free OpenOffice. Please note the table is very wide.

In order to better understand the extent of the work and types of the tests performed, I have taken the data that can be gleaned from these two reports and placed them into a single spreadsheet, in order to create a kind of “˜database’ of the testing and analyses done.

This spreadsheet uses the GT report as a basis, followed by additional information obtainable from the SAL report.

The spreadsheet is basically a list of each sample, object and/or test done by Dr. Stefanoni’s team. These include tests done for DNA analysis, testing done for Y haplotype analysis and hair sample analysis. In the SAL report, it is shown that a few samples were tested multiple times. The list also includes some objects which were not analyzed at all, or were only analyzed up to a point.

It should be noted that there are a few difficulties with the reports. The GT report references an associated photographic report that has not been made available. The GT report is also missing a couple of pages and the descriptions of the results are at times inconsistent. Other times it can be tricky to follow exactly what tests were done. Because the report is a black and white scan of an original likely printed in color, some of the information in the tables is difficult or impossible to read. And some traces are missing result tables altogether.

The SAL report is also incomplete. The luminol samples at the cottage and all the samples taken at Guede’s apartment are missing, as are other samples. The scanned pages in the PDF are out of order, making cross-checking with the GT report tedious. The SAL report does not have all the test data indicated in the GT report. For instance, the human antibody tests noted in the GT report are not indicated in the SAL report. The data in the SAL report is often not as complete as one might think. As an example, all hair samples were logged and assigned a sample number. But those hairs that had no DNA extracted, do not have a date of when they were analyzed. Presumably they were all analyzed as a set for each item, given that the sample number is frequently numerically sequential (i.e. 47084, 47085, 47086, etc.). But it’s not possible to say with certainty when the hairs were reviewed from the report.

Nevertheless the GT and SAL reports do have significant information that is of interest to the case. Hence the spreadsheet.

4. Some Guidance For The Use Of The Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets can be useful for presenting various pieces of data together “˜at a glance’. But the real power of spreadsheets for this type of data is that rows can be sorted in order to group similar pieces of data together, allowing one to get a overview of subsets of data.

So, for instance, if one wanted to order all the rows by “˜sample number’ to see the sequence of how they were processed in the lab, one need only highlight all the rows (done by clicking on row number 5, holding down the “˜Shift key’ and paging down to the bottommost row), then go to menu option “˜Data’ and then “˜Sort’ and select the column or columns to sort by- “˜AF’ in the case.

Or perhaps one wants to sort by “˜DNA yielded’ and “˜building’ to see where someone’s DNA was found. Simply select all the rows again, select the menu option “˜Data’ and then “˜Sort’, and select the first column as “˜DNA yielded’ (or column AD), then select as the second column as “˜building (or column F).

To return to the original order, select all rows again and sort on column A.

Note that the first four rows in the spreadsheet are “˜locked’, in order to allow the column headers to be always visible.  If one wants to unlock these rows, select the whole spreadsheet by clicking on the upper left corner of the window where the column header labels and row numbers meet. Once the whole spreadsheet is selected, go to “˜View’ option and select “˜Unfreeze panes’. For Excel version 2007 and higher, click on the little arrow to the right of “˜freeze panes’ button on the menu bar, and there will be the option to unfreeze panes.

If one is handy with Access, or any other database program, it should be possible to import the spreadsheet into that database program, allowing one to perform more powerful “˜queries’.



The Rome headquarters of the Scientific Police which work closely with the FBI

5. Explanations Of Some Of The DNA Data

The data in each column was obtained directly or indirectly obtainable from the two reports by Dr. Stefanoni’s team.

1) Column “˜A’ allows one to resort rows to their original order, which is based on the order of the “˜item number’ noted in the GT report.

2) “˜Item number’ refers to the actual piece of evidence, whether an object sampled onsite or an object that was bagged and taken to the lab, as noted in the GT report.

3) “˜Original item label’ is data provided in the first pages of the GT report, as a way to tie the evidence item back to evidence markers used at the crime scene, and visible in some of the crime scene photos.

4) “˜Page in attached photo report’ indicates that there is an adjunct “˜photo report’ Dr. Stefanoni provided that has not yet been released, and likely has photos of the evidence items “˜in situ’. This information is also noted in the beginning item lists in the GT report.

5) “˜Sample date’ is based on the dates noted in the beginning list in the GT report, indicating when the evidence item was sampled or taken from the crime scene. This is sometimes difficult to read, due to the fact that the report was apparently printed in color and the black and white scan hides or obscures some text and graphics.

6) Columns F-K are location and object data, obtainable from the descriptions in the GT report, especially the first pages that provide a list of where evidence samples were obtained. I broke this data down into various categories to allow different possibilities of grouping the data.

7) “˜Sample obtained’ indicates the type of biological substance that was assumed to contain DNA. This was first obtained from the GT report, and later corrected with the data from the SAL report, which has a more consistent description of what the sample was assumed to be.

8) Columns M through AC list data either directly reported in the GT and SAL reports, or interpretable from them. Column M notes if an item was analyzed or not. In the GT report, unanalyzed items are noted in the beginning list as “˜not analyzed’ though not consistently. In the SAL report, they are noted as having 0 samples.

9) “˜Trace number’ was obtained from GT report, though on a few occasions, the actual number is not clear. Note that the number “˜starts over’ for each evidence item. Sometimes the trace number is sequential, independent of whether it is blood or hair or skin cells. Items having the most traces are those that were “˜heavily’ sampled, including Sollecito’s sneakers, the duvet, Ms. Kercher’s sweat jacket, her jeans, the kitchen knife, the kitchen sponge, etc.

10) “˜Additional trace info’ is additional information noted from both reports about a specific sample.

11) Column P “˜revealed in luminol?’ indicates with a “˜yes’ those samples obtained during luminol analysis. What often gets overlooked is that luminol analysis was performed not only at the cottage, but in Sollecito’s car, Sollecito’s apartment and Guede’s apartment. Notable here is that 14 different samples were obtained from luminol analysis at Sollecito’s apartment. While the DNA data yielded was meager, what is important is not the actual data yielded, but the number and location of samples investigated, including samples from door handles, and different locations like the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. There was certainly a suspicious amount of blood, bleach or turnip juice at Sollecito’s place!

12) “˜Date of extraction’ comes from the SAL report, though, as mentioned above, it is not consistently reported for every trace or sample analyzed. This indicates when DNA processing occurred on a sample. This column is important to look at when discussing the issue of lab contamination. If one performs a sort on this column and on the “˜sample number’ column, one can clearly see that samples were processed in batches, often a week or two weeks apart. So for instance, claims that the sample 36B happened due to contamination at the lab is really not possible, given that Ms. Kercher’s DNA was analyzed one week earlier (11/5/07 and 11/6/07) and sample 36B is the only sample to contain Ms. Kercher’s DNA from all the samples analyzed on 11/13/07. Similarly, Sollecito’s DNA and Guede’s DNA are only found once each of all the items analyzed on 12/29/07, yet the last time Sollecito’s DNA had been analyzed was on 12/17/07, 12 days earlier. So the likelihood of lab contamination seems extraordinarily small, just from the dates of when samples were analyzed.

13) “˜TMB test positive’ was originally obtained from the GT report. Again because that report is likely in color, a number of tables have either missing graphics or are missing tables altogether. Fortunately the SAL report has duplicated this data consistently.

14) “˜Human antibody test positive?’ is obtained from other tables in the GT report, almost always paired with the TMB table. In some cases where the table data is illegible, I’ve placed a “?” in front of an assumed result. Curiously, this test is not shown in the SAL report.

15) “˜Cat antibody positive?’ is from the GT report, shows that the basement apartment blood samples were all made a by cat, which Dr. Stefanoni comments on in her Massei testimony.

16) Apparently they also ran “˜dog antibody’ testing as well, as is noted in the GT report.

17) “˜DNA extraction done?’ indicates if a decision was made to extract DNA. This was inferred from the GT report. Notable here is that even with samples having cat antibodies, Dr. Stefanoni does the DNA extraction anyway to make sure no human DNA is in the sample.

18) “˜Quantity extracted’ comes from the SAL report. This refers not to the amount of DNA extracted, but specifically to the amount of liquid (50, 100 or 150 microliters) filtered through the Qiagen Bio Robot EZ1 machine. This machine actually filters or purifies the sample, removing all other biological materials like cells, bacteria, etc. leaving only actual DNA molecules which can then be processed. This extraction process is also the quantification process, where from a 50 microliter sample a certain amount of DNA is found and quantified.

19) “˜Human DNA found during quantification’ was inferred from the GT report. It should be noted that for Dr. Stefanoni’s team, DNA analysis involved finding DNA useful for comparison. This means that Dr. Stefanoni was not looking for a sample of any human DNA, but a sample sufficiently “˜complete’ to be able to compare it with others samples. So it was likely often the case that a trace might have snippets and pieces of DNA, but these pieces were either too small or too fragmented to be useful for any profile comparisons. So “˜No’ in this column means not so much that no DNA was found at all, but that no DNA was found that could be useful for comparison.

20) “˜Decision to amplify and analyze’ was obtained from the GT report. Sometimes it is explicitly mentioned in the description of the results in the GT report. Other times, it can be inferred from the lack of tables.

21) “˜Concentrate sample with Speed VAC 110’ means that where “no human DNA was found” (i.e. when no DNA was found sufficiently complete or in sufficient amounts useful for comparison), Dr. Stefanoni decided to process the sample further in an effort to “˜bring out’ whatever DNA there might be. This was done using a “˜concentrator’, which dries the samples and vacuums them, thereby reducing sample fluid to make any DNA present more easily found by the subsequent DNA processing equipment.

22) “˜STR amplification’ is the DNA copying process whereby any DNA found is copied millions of times to obtain samples that can be adequately rendered by capillary electrophoresis. The process Dr. Stefanoni used is described specifically in the GT report for evidence items 12 and 13.

23) In some cases “˜Y chromosome amplification’ is also done. While this may be done at the same time by the same machine, I took any Y chromosome amplification to be a separate test, since per the GT report, it sometimes yielded different results. In a few cases, it is not clear from the GT report if Y chromosome amplification was done on only one sample, or on all the samples of an evidence item. In those cases, I assumed all the samples.

24) “˜Capillary electrophoresis’ is where DNA is rendered through a chemical/electrical process that tags DNA particles with fluorescence. These fluoresced particles are then read by the software of the machine and mapped onto a graph that shows DNA particles as “˜peaks’, which are an indicator of quantity of DNA found. The software of the machine then produced graphs of the peaks obtained and it is these graphs that Dr. Stefanoni and her team used for profile comparison.

25) “˜DNA yielded’ is what is indicated in the GT report and is based on Dr. Stefanoni’s comparison of the DNA profile(s) shown by capillary electrophoresis to index DNA samples she had of Sollecito, Lumumba, Guede, Knox and Ms. Kercher.

26) “˜Egram number’ is taken from the GT report.

27) The “˜sample number’ was taken from the GT and further completed by the SAL report, which has the sample numbers for all samples, whether they were analyzed for DNA or not. The sample numbers are useful for indicating what was happening at the Dr. Stefanoni’s lab. As an example, if one does a sort on column Q (Date of extraction) and column AF (sample number) one can see that between 11/5/07 and 11/6/07, there is gap of 129 samples that were likely performed for another case. The last sample analyzed on 11/5/07 was 47082, and on 11/6/07, the next sample number is 47211. So presumably her lab ran 129 additional DNA tests on samples related to other cases between these two runs. Generally the sample numbers increase sequentially by date, but there are a few exceptions. One in particular is sample 47821, which appears as the last sample on 11/23/07, though samples starting on 11/26/07, three days later, start with sample number 47711. This implies that samples were probably numbered in batches (by sticking numbered labels on tubes or bags) and not necessarily right before extraction or other machine processing was done.

28) “˜Compatibility notes’ are extra comments noted by Dr. Stefanoni in the GT report.

29) “˜Likely substance containing DNA’ is interpretable from the GT and SAL report and the results of the testing done.

30) Finally there are columns related to hair analysis. “˜Type of hair’ comes from the SAL report, and it is sometimes, but not consistently or legibly, noted in the GT report.

31) “˜Hair color’ provides a description of the hair color. Notable is that the hair description is quite consistent, with black, blonde, chestnut, light chestnut, red chestnut being the more significant categories. This is available in both the GT and SAL report and both reports match.

32) “˜Hair length;’ is obviously the length of hair analyzed. I’m not sure how this was done since the machinery used is not indicated in either report. Again, this is in both reports, and again the data matches in both reports.

33) “˜Hair width’ is the diameter of the hair in micrometers, and is available in both reports.

34) “˜Hair marrow’ is found only in the SAL report, and presumably describes the condition of the very core of the hair.

35) “˜Hair end condition’ indicates whether the end of the hair is “˜cut’, a “˜point’, frayed or otherwise.  This is found in both reports.

36) “˜Bulb phase’ relates to the particular phase of hair growth, with DNA apparently present in the hair bulb only during the initial growth phases of the hair. This too is found in both reports.

37) “˜Hair remarks’ are any comments related to hair samples.

38) Lastly, the “˜remarks’ column contains my notes on a particular sample or test, indicating discrepancies or explanations of what I was able to understand.

As noted above, the SAL report does not contain data for all the samples. Per Dr. Gino’s testimony in the Massei trial on 9/26/09, additional SAL sheets were apparently released that indicate that TMB tests were done on the luminol samples at the cottage and that these tests were negative. However it should be noted that TMB is less sensitive than luminol, so it is possible that a luminol sample could be in blood, which however is too diluted to be registered by a TMB test.




6. More Commentary On the DNA Extracted From Blood

1) DNA is only found in white blood cells, not red blood cells

2) The luminol reacts with the iron in red blood cells, not white blood cells

3) Red blood cells outnumber white blood cells by roughly 600 to 1

4) Even if DNA is found it may be not usable for comparison

So just because there is a positive luminol or TMB result does not mean that DNA can be found.

7. More Commentary On The Resulting Statistics

At the bottom of the spreadsheet are some interesting statistics, which I won’t reiterate here, except to note a few things.

a) 227 different objects or site objects were sampled/ obtained for analysis. 30 of these were not analyzed at all. From the remaining 197 objects and site objects sampled, 484 separate tests were set up for analysis, with 93 of these consisting of hair analysis. Of these 484 tests, 193 of them yield DNA data useful for comparison (40%).

b) Of the 193 tests that were “˜successful’, 100 tests yielded DNA compatible only with Ms. Kercher’s DNA (over 50%- again keep in mind their may have been other DNA but it may have been too small or too fragmented to be useful for comparison). Nine additional tests (comprising seven samples) yielded DNA compatible with Ms. Kercher’s DNA mixed with either Knox’s, Guede’s or Sollecito’s DNA. 27 tests had DNA compatible with Guede’s DNA; 18 tests had DNA compatible with Knox’s DNA; 11 more tests had DNA compatible with Sollecito’s DNA. Nine other tests yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA. 17 tests yielded DNA of unknown men and women (i.e. unmatchable by Dr. Stefanoni), and two tests were of samples obtained from Lumumba.

c) Of the nine tests yielding Ms. Kercher’s DNA mixed with others, five of these yielded DNA compatible with a mixture of Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA. They were all samples found in blood or potential blood- notably: three in the bathroom, one on the corridor floor in a luminol revealed bloody footprint, one in a luminol revealed blood stain in Romanelli’s room.

d) Returning to the discussions about contamination, it is notable that, whether the contamination occurred during site collection or in the lab, one might expect to find bits of contamination occurring here and there over 193 tests. Yet nearly all the arguments involve contamination about two samples, out of 193 tests. Over 50% of the tests that had useful DNA yielded Ms. Kercher’s DNA. If site collection, transport and/or lab procedures were so poor, one would expect to find Ms. Kercher’s DNA in other places as well. Yet very few samples have her DNA mixed with others, and conversely, very few other samples have other mixed DNA. Only nine samples have mixes of Sollecito and Knox’s DNA, eight of which were all obtained at Sollecito’s apartment or from Sollecito’s things (including a pocket knife), and one was obtained from a cigarette butt at the cottage. If contamination was so rampant, why does it occur on only two samples out of 193, (and curiously only on the two most damning samples)?

e) Continuing along the same lines, 118 samples were obtained from Sollecito’s apartment. Of these, 49 were not analyzed, (many were hairs not having bulbs in the right phase). Of the remaining 66 samples that were analyzed, only one, the one the blade of the kitchen knife, had Ms. Kercher’s DNA. And 41 yielded no usable DNA. So if there was contamination, or worse, direct framing of evidence by the lab, certainly there would be more of Ms. Kercher’s DNA amongst those 66 samples, in order to achieve an ironclad case. Yet there is only one sample out of 66 that had Ms. Kercher’s DNA.

f) Similarly, 224 tests were done on objects taken from the upper apartment. Of these 56 were not analyzed for DNA and an additional 61 that were analyzed, did not yield anything useful. Of the remaining 107 tests, only 3 had Sollecito’s DNA (a trace on the cigarette butt, and a trace on the bra clasp having Sollecito’s DNA as well as his Y chromosome.) Surely if there was rampant contamination or worse, direct framing of evidence, one would expect to find more of Sollecito’s DNA in Ms. Kercher’s room. Yet only one sample had his DNA and Y chromosome- the bra clasp.

g) Conversely, it is rather odd that Sollecito’s car was sampled in 16 locations (actually 19 samples were taken but only 16 analyzed), and none of those samples revealed his DNA. Did he ever drive his car?

8. And Finally More Commentary About The Hairs

Guede had black hair. From photos of Nov 2, 2007, Knox had blonde hair and Sollecito had chestnut to light chestnut hair. Meredith Kercher had chestnut to reddish chestnut hair.

93 hairs were found and analyzed. Seven of these were either animal hair or fibers. The remaining 86 hairs were, per the SAL report, all human. Seven of these hairs were black in color. Of the seven, six were short (4 cm or less) and one was long. Of the six short black hairs, four were found on the duvet covering Ms. Kercher, one was found on her mattress cover, and one was found on a sponge (containing fourteen other hairs) at Sollecito’s apartment. It is very likely these short black hairs were Guede’s, and if so, how it one of his hairs get on a sponge at Sollecito’s apartment.

Similarly, 21 blonde hairs were found, ranging from 4 cm to 20 cm. Of these, fifteen were found at Sollecito’s apartment, either on a sponge in the kitchen, or on a sweater. The other six were found at the cottage, with three being found on the duvet, one found inside the small bathroom sink, one found on a mop, one found on Ms. Kercher’s purse and one found on Ms. Kercher’s mattress cover.

Assuming the blonde hairs were Knox’s hair, it is difficult to imagine how they might wind up on Ms. Kercher’s purse and mattress cover.

There were four light chestnut hairs found. One, measuring 9 cm, was found on the kitchen sponge at Sollecito’s apartment. The other three light chestnut hairs were found on Ms. Kercher’s bra (2 cm), sweat jacket (7.5 cm) and the towel found under Ms. Kercher’s body (20 cm).

35 chestnut colored hairs were found, ranging from 1.5 to 30 cm in length. The vast majority were in Ms. Kercher’s bedroom. Two chestnut colored hairs (5 cm and 8 cm) were on the kitchen sponge at Sollecito’s house. It should be noted that three chestnut colored hairs yielded Ms. Kercher’s DNA, measuring 15, 18 and 23 cms.

So even from the hair evidence, it seems that hair having Knox and Sollecito’s color were on Ms. Kercher’s more intimate objects, while Guede’s and Ms. Kercher’s hair apparently were on a sponge in the kitchen at Sollecito’s apartment. In other words, an object used in a clean-up, and in a room that also had five luminol revealed samples.

Even the hair evidence points to Guede, Sollecito and Knox having acted together in the murder of Ms. Kercher.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ted “There Is No Evidence” Simon’s Tired Mantra Misinforms Americans And Provokes Italian Hard Line

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Ted Simon’s objective and accurate statements on the case against Amanda Knox (Dec 2008)

Is Ted Simon already gone?

Has Ted Simon been kicked off the Knox-Mellas team?

Ted Simon gets no mention on Knox’s website among the credits to her Italian legal and Seattle PR teams. He seems to serve zero useful purpose to anyone that we can see. One could train a parrot to repeat “there is no evidence” for a smaller fee.

Ted Simon is certainly not helping Knox to get back to Planet Earth - in January Judge Nencini awarded her another year inside, and for continuing legal incautions Knox could certainly face more time.

As he seems utterly ineffective on all fronts, maybe it was high time that Ted Simon was gone.

If so five good reasons why

A year ago, he seemingly allowed this false felony charge to be included in Knox’s book. That malicious claim could result in more prison time for Knox, and possibly open Ted Simon to a malpractice suit for zero due diligence done on her book - or at least this.

Since then, Amanda Knox has shot herself in the foot at least four more times, with no obvious legal restraint.

Knox charged ahead with the insulting and inaccurate email to Judge Nencini, the insulting and inaccurate appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, the insulting and inaccurate first response to the Nencini Report, and the insulting and inaccurate website which Knox foolishly runs.

And seven more reasons why

Our interest is for justice for Meredith and her family, for Italian justice to be seen in a fair light, and for an end to this protracted PR-driven dead-end fight, in which Ted Simon has had some hand.
 
So let us look at some other ways in which Ted Simon’s lazy mantra, a substitute for a convincing alternative scenario of the crime, gives, or at least gave, Amanda Knox false hopes and will ultimately let her down.

1. Take a look at this absurd claim by Ted Simon which millions of Americans now, large numbers of lawyers, and many TV hosts can laugh off as simply untrue.

“There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the room where Meredith Kercher was killed,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that she is innocent.” (CNN)

What exactly does that mean? Does Ted Simon even understand the scenario of the attack? This was a KNIFE attack, which does not usually see the exchange of a lot of DNA. There was the indisputable use of two knives in the attack - and Knox’s DNA is absolutely incontrovertibly on one.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

2. Meredith’s room was not fully swabbed for DNA because fingerprint dusting was the investigators’ (right) first choice. There were no fingerprints there - but there were none in Knox’s room either. Was she never there too?  Knox’s lamp was found in Meredith room, with no prints. It would not have got there without help from her. There was a Knox-size shoeprint in the room. It would not have got there without help from her.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

3. Throughout the rest of the real crime-scene, which Ted Simon would really, really like Americans to forget includes a corridor, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms as well as Meredith’s room, there is stacks of unshaken forensic evidence against Knox. Indisputably a partial cleanup occurred because some footprints in several chains had been disappeared.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

4. There is, if anything, a surfeit of possible motives (not that there is a requirement for certainty there), and certainly there is a surfeit of alibis. Knox clearly framed Patrick. She was totally unprovoked by police, and yet even after three years actually served for felony framing, she continues to perpetrate the great hoax that she was.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

5. Amanda Knox is ever more frantically claiming that Rudy Guede carried out the crime against Meredith alone, and yet there is zero question of that. Many myths spread about Guede are untrue.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

6. Raffaele Sollecito was absolutely incontrovertibly in the apartment during the attack - his own lawyers have failed to prove the print on the mat was not his. Absent Knox, it is inconceivable that Sollecito was there.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

7. Finally dozens of lawyers are saying that the extradition treaty with Italy is crystal clear. If due process to a conviction was followed - and the American Embassy in Rome monitored it and saw nothing wrong - Knox could be on a plane within weeks to pay for what was a very cruel crime.

Why does Ted Simon make no mention of that?

New mantras in light of above

Due to sudden problems with Ted Simon’s gibberish machine, we are happy to step up and provide these for free.

There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in the bathroom where there was a bloody footprint of RS and DNA of Knox,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Guede did not do the crime alone.”

There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in Filomena’s room where the breakin was staged, though there was Knox’s DNA” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Amanda Knox is framing him.”

There was no hair, fiber, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the bedroom where she slept,” attorney Theodore Simon told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “That in and of itself tells you unassailably that Knox did not even live in the flat.”

Amanda Knox is thrilled. Thrilled!! Look for them soon on your local TV.


Below: Ted Simon’s shrill and misleading statements on the strength of the case against Amanda Knox (Feb 2010).


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Final RS & AK Appeal Against Guilty Verdict May Fail: Multiple Wounds = Multiple Attackers

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Reports From Italy On Why AK & RS Appeal Failed

The Nencini Report has been released and we are seeing to its translation right now.

Meanwhile journalists in Italy have these reports which convey the very implacable, damning tone. There was nothing accidental about Meredith’s death; Knox premeditated it all along.

First report

From Il Messagero kindly translated by Miriam:.

FLORENCE -  The knife that was seized at Raffaele Sollecito house is the knife that killed Meredith Kercher, and the blow was delivered by Amanda Knox.  So writes the President of the Court of Appeal of Florence, Alessandro Nencini, in the motivation report of the sentence that was passed on Jan. 30th that saw Amanda Knox sentenced to 28 and a half years and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years.

Over 330 pages in which the court covers the appeal and explains the conviction. Starting with the knife considered “not incompatible with the wound that was carried out on Meredith Kercher. “In the present case, writes Nencini what counts is the accessibility of the weapon by the accused, it’s concrete portability from house to house, it’s compatibility with the wound, and the presence of Meredith’s DNA on the blade. All of these elements ascertained by the court lead to the conclusion that the knifed evidenced as no. 36 was one of the knifes used in the attack, and was the knife that Knox used to strike the fatal blow to Meredith’s throat.”

The court retains to have sufficient evidence of “certain reliability” of Rudy Guede (convicted to 16 years) Amanda and Raffaele in the house where Mez was killed, on the night between the 1st and November 2, 2007 in 7 Via della Pergola “in the immediate phases following the murder.” The Court then tells how she was immobilized and Mez “was not able to put up some valid resistance because she was dominated by multiple assailants and cut at the same time with the blades of several knives.”

Rejected therefore is the defense’s strategy of both of the convicted, that have always maintained that the killer was only one.: the Ivorian Rudy Guede.

Second report

Bullet points from various Italian media.

  • The big knife from Sollecito’s house held by Amanda Knox caused the fatal wound to Meredith while the other was held by Raffaele Sollecito.

  • There is strong “multiple and consistent” evidence of all three in the house immediately following the murder.  All three worked to suppress Meredith.

  • There was an escalating quarrel between Knox and Meredith leading to a progressive aggression and murder with sexual components.

  • Between Amanda and Meredith there was no mutual sympathy and Meredith harbored serious reservations about the behavior of AK.

  • The biological trace found on the bra clasp that Meredith Kercher was wearing the night she was murdered was left by Raffaele Sollecito
Third report

No especially accurate reports in English have appeared yet and the erroneous “new trial” is still surfacing. Andrea Vogt tweets that she will be posting an analysis soon.

The mischievous defense-inspired “sex game gone wrong” and “satanic theory” mantras are still widely showing up in the duped media, but are nailed hopefully finally in this new report.

Judge Nencini has closely followed and endorsed the “from all angles” Massei trial analysis, but with the inclusion of some more credible explanations from Prosecutor Crini which Judge Micheli had also espoused back in 2008.

In particular, Rudy Guede is not now highly improbably seen as the one initiating the attack on Meredith, and sex was not at all the primary driving force for the attack (the prosecution never ever said it was). Knox carried the big knife from Sollecito’s for a purpose.

The bad blood between the girls resulting from Knox’s crude, brash, very lazy, drug-oriented behavior was well known in Meredith’s circle. All of them had backed away from her, as also had her employer and the patrons in his bar.

There was a probable theft of money by Knox who was unable to account for a sum similar to what Meredith would have stashed away for the rent and that is seen as the probable spark for the explosive argument and attack.

Fourth report

Barbie Nadeau in The Daily Beast

Amanda Knox apparently did not kill Meredith Kercher in a “sex game gone wrong,” as had been previously decided by a lower court in Perugia, according to a Florentine appellate judge who released today a 337-page document explaining his decision to convict Knox and her erstwhile Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, for Kercher’s murder. Rather, the judge claims, Knox allegedly killed Kercher, her 21-year-old British roommate, because she didn’t like her.

All Italian courts require judges to explain the reasoning behind their rulings, and it likely represents the penultimate step in a seven-year case that has seen Knox and Sollecito first convicted in 2009 then acquitted in 2011 then convicted again in January 2014. Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native who was also convicted for his role in the murder back in 2008, is serving a 16-year jail sentence. He is currently eligible to apply for work furloughs from prison.

Judge Alessandro Nencini, along with a second judge and six lay jurors, were tasked with hearing a second appeal that began in September 2013 after Italy’s high court threw out the acquittal that set Knox and Sollecito free in 2011. Italy’s high court cited “inconsistencies” and “legal mistakes” and tasked Nencini’s court with hearing the appeal again. It was not a retrial per se, but rather a fresh look at the appeal process that freed Knox.

Nencini decided that the appellate court that set Knox free erred in evidentiary and legal matters. That court will now have to rule definitively on the case, using Nencini’s reasoning and whatever appeal Knox and Sollecito file for their final judgment. If the high court accepts Nencini’s verdicts, the two will be required to serve their prison sentences in Italy. Knox has vowed she will not return to Europe, but Sollecito, unless he escapes, won’t be as lucky.

The court’s explanation of its decision comes down hard on the first appellate court that overturned Knox’s guilty verdict, at times seemingly scolding them for misapplication of penal codes and for throwing out witness testimony without explanation. “It was an operation of evaluating evidence with using logic,” Nencini wrote, accusing the first appellate court of essentially throwing out testimony that allegedly proved Knox’s involvement, but keeping testimony that supposedly supported her innocence.

He used Knox’s prison diary as a prime example. “Look at the contradictions in the evaluation of the diary written in English by Amanda Knox,” he wrote, referring to a handwritten prison diary taken fromKnox’s cell as part of the investigation to determine why she accused her pub boss Patrick Lumumba of Kercher’s murder during early interrogations. “On one hand, the appellate court of Perugia completely devalued the writings when she admitted wrongdoing by accusing Patrick Lumumba. On the other side, they valued it when she defended herself.”

Nencini also ruled that there was plenty of forensic evidence tying Knox and Sollecito to the crime scene, writing “they left their tracks in the victim’s blood” more than once in the document. He accepted testimony that supported the theory that a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment was one of the primary murder weapons, and he reasoned that a second knife was also used that matched a blood stain left on Kercher’s mattress.

The first knife in question was the only hard evidence reexamined in the second appeal, and forensic experts ruled that a previously untested spot on the knife’s handle consisted of 100 percent Knox’s DNA. An earlier court heard testimony that a tiny smidgeon of DNA on the groove of the blade was Kercher’s, but the first appellate court agreed with witnesses who testified that the sample was too small to be considered a perfect match. The second appellate court not only considered the knife to be the murder weapon, it also ruled that Knox “plunged the knife into the left side of Kercher’s neck, causing the fatal wound.”

The second appellate court also reasoned that Kercher’s bra clasp, which had been cut from her body after she was killed, had Sollecito’s DNA on the tiny metal clasp. “The biological trace found on the bra clasp that Meredith Kercher was wearing when she was assassinated belonged to RaffaeleSollecito,” Nencini wrote, agreeing with the judge in the original murder conviction. “The clasp was manipulated by the accused on the night of the murder.”

The court also scoffed at certain rulings laid out by the first appellate court, saying that the court’s reasoning that it would have been easy for “a young athlete” like Rudy Guede to scale the wall and enter the apartment, was borderline racist.

Nencini also ruled that with regard to motive in the murder, it was subjective and personal. “It is not necessary for all the assailants to share the same motive.”

The court picked out small details of Knox’s presumably errant testimony, including how she told police the morning Kercher’s body was found that Kercher always locked her door “even when she takes a shower,” which was later contested by the girls’ other roommates.

Nencini also clearly believed ample forensic testimony, presented by experts examining the original autopsy, that Kercher was killed by more than one person. “”She was completely immobilized when she was murdered,” he said, reasoning that Guede could not have acted alone, and instead likely held her back as Sollecito and Knox knifed her.

The judge also pointed out incongruences in Knox’s testimony about the night of the murder, but noted problems with the other witnesses, which included a homeless man, an elderly woman who said she heard screams. Still, he ruled that Knox’s accusation of Lumumba is vital evidence against her. “It is impossible to separate the two acts,” he wrote.

Using Nencini’s reasoning, Knox’s lawyers now have the roadmap for planning their final appeal to Italy’s high court, likely later this year or in early 2015. However, this same high court threw out the acquittal in the first place, so Knox may need more than luck to walk free. If she is definitively convicted, she will likely face an extradition order to come back to Italy to serve out her sentence. There are very few legal loopholes that would allow an American citizen to escape a court decision by a country, like Italy, that shares extradition treaties with the U.S.



[Judge Massei at crime scene; report says why Knox & Sollecito appeal against his 2009 verdict has failed]




[The Supreme Court in Rome is expected later this year to confirm this outcome]


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Incriminating Bathroom Evidence: Visual Analysis shows the Footprint IS Sollecito’s

Posted by Machiavelli



[Please click on each image for a larger and more high-resolution version]

The sheer depth and width of the hard evidence

The defenses really don’t want you to know this: in both width and depth, the full panoply of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito is absolutely overwhelming.

As we remarked in our post below there are far more and far stronger evidence points than UK and US courts normally require for conviction. But only the trial panel of judges observed anything like their full array.

The 2010 Massei Trial Report (which the Nencini Appeal court validated this past January) is a SUMMARY of what was presented to the judges in the courtroom.  Those presentations in court were in turn something of a SUMMARY of the hard evidence buried in all the evidence files and the minds of witnesses.

Italian media SUMMARISED for Italians what was to be seen in the courtroom and to be read in the Massei Report. They were barely able to do even summaries for the 1/4 of all the trial hearings that were not open to the media or the public. 

UK and US media for the most part didn’t even bother to provide comprehensive summaries (the very fine on-the-spot reportings of Andrea Vogt, Barbie Nadeau and Ann Wise were the main exceptions).

So in effect people in the UK and US attempting to follow the story didnt for the most part receive even a summary of a summary of a summary!

Not one US or UK newspaper or TV network translated the Micheli Report, or the vital Massei Report, or the Supreme Court appeal, or the Supreme Court outcome - only the (mostly professional) translators on PMF dot Org did all that translation.

This post is another example of how far down - beyond even Massei - it’s possible to drill into the evidence, and see it still hold up.

Some past posts on TJMK drilled down to similar depths, on the knives, on the DNA, on the mixed-blood traces, on the phone-events, on the motives and psychologies, and so on. All that evidence too all held up.




Visual analysis of the bathroom-mat footprint

This post mainly consists of high-resolution pictures and measurements. Presented like this, the pictures and measurements largely speak for themselves, and show the real strength of the bathroom-mat footprint evidence.

You will see that as SomeAlibi previously concluded using other methods, this footprint was quite undeniably Sollecito’s.  It bears no similarity at all to Rudy Guede’s.

Please click on all images for larger versions in scalable PDF format


1 .  [Below] the bathmat and the print, with measurement reference




2 . The bathmat print and the surrounding area




3 . The bathmat print (photo from Polizia Scientifica).




4 . The bathmat print, with vertical and horizontal sizes, from Rinaldi’s report





5. The bathmat print, photo with enhanced contrast.





The photo above was modified by highly enhancing contrast.



6 . Enhanced contrast helps to spot some features





Contrast may help to highlight especially some parts of the print outline.

For example the area on the left labeled as “important area” in the picture (which was “forgotten” in the notorious photo elaborations disseminated by the ‘Friends of Amanda’ group), shows the actual left outline of the “˜big toe’ of the bathmat print.

The toe includes the area indicated in this picture (here the picture is shown again in its original colours).

7. The bathmat, with enhanced contrast





The contrasted image is showing the presence of other stains

There are other stains on the carpet (about another 10, factually situated in one half of the mat area), and also there shows a second diluted footprint (apparently from a foot of smaller size).


8. The selection of a set of red colour shades, outlined by an automatic outline generator





Shows the shape and the possible “˜outline’ of the stain

Reference measurements indicate the width of the “˜big toe’ in millimetres.

 

9 . A hand drawing of the outline (detail).





The photography above was modified

The modifications are: +28% contrast, -8% luminosity, + 20% colour saturation, from the original.

An outline has been drawn manually on the photoshop image, trying to be as faithful as possible to the actual stain.

You can notice that, apart from some minor “˜disputable’ very faint areas (such as the area between the toe and the metatarsus) there are only minimal differences between an automatically generated outline and a manually drawn one.

The shapes of the “˜big toe’ are extremely similar in both contours (images 8 and 9), in fact all meaningful features are basically identical.

We consider this manually drawn outline as good for comparison.     


10 . The complete hand-drawn outline





11 . Minor detail: small dots separated from the main stain





Observe the small red ‘dots’ in the picture above

Although we can’t draw any conclusion about their possible significance, we note the existence of these very small “˜spots’ of a faint red colour shade, separated from the big stain.

They are detected by the computer generated outline above, and that we also see as distinguishable with the naked eye thus we considered them in drawing manually the outline.

We don’t draw any conclusion about them; but because of their sensitive position (they may suggest a “˜small toe’ mark) we take note of them.

The green arrows in the picture point out their position (green circles).

12 . An image in electronically modified colours





Distribution and intensity of the colouration

As a part of the preliminary study of the stain, we also produced this image above where the computer assigned an artificial colour to an array of shades of ‘red’, thus allowing to further isolate the stain from the background for further assessments about its shape.

This picture shows the distribution and intensity of the colouration. (note: the existence of some above mentioned tiny marks is recorded by this technique too)



13 . The bathmat has a spiral-shaped relief decoration





The footprint’s toe obviously balancing on top of the relief decoration. 

We think the outline of the “˜toe’ mark of the bloody footprint is affected by the shape of the decoration, in particular the missing part of the toe on the right side, which is remarkably coincident with the margin of the decoration. 

So that on that side there is a striking correspondence between the outline of the “˜negative area’ ““ the fabric surface around the spiral, which is lower ““ and the big toe’s outline

This indicates that the outline of that mark on that side was affected by the decoration margin, thus the print there has a “˜missing part’. So the “˜crooked’ bloody area in fact follows the margin of a larger toe.

Because of such coincidence, we can logically assume that the actual shape of the big toe mark appears to be part of a big toe, with larger surface which left its print only partly because part of its surface did not have contact with the fabric, in correspondence of the “˜negative area’. 

14. The “negative area”





15. Mat decoration in relief and the toe mark







Observe above one single, unitary stain

The remarkable coincidence between the outlines of the decoration in relief and of the toe mark is shown in the picture above.

The rough contour of the print obtained through a smooth curve highlights the shape of the big toe.

Part of the relief decoration outline coincides with the toe mark outline, which shows, highlights and explains how all parts of the red toe mark, that you can see left of the relief decoration, they all belong to one single, unitary stain. 

Thus we can deduce that the “missing” area on the right of the toe is determined by the decoration, and coincides with the negative area.

16. Picture (by Kermit) showing a rough shape of the stain





Observe shape, curvature and size

This drawing by Kermit above highlights the rough shape, curvature of left margin and overall size of the big toe.


17. Rudy Guede’s sample print





Take note of this image

A copy of this picture together with one of Sollecito’s print at the same scale will be used for comparisons. 

18 . Raffaele Sollecito’s sample print





Take note of this image

A copy of this picture together with one of Guede’s print at the same scale will be used for comparisons.

19. Part of Rudy Guede’s sample print with Rinaldi’s reference measurements








20. Part of Sollecito’s sample print, with Rinaldi’s reference measurements:






21. Bringing all photographs down to the same scale





An accurate exercise of scaling was done

This was based on Rinaldi’s referenced pictures. Each one of the Rinaldi’s sample pictures has multiple measurements on several points of reference which allow a high precision determination of their scale and sizes, and thus comparison at the same scale.

In order to further increase scaling precision, the scale was calculated previously and separately for each comparative measurement in the three photos; this was done multiple times for each measurement and the average was picked in order to reduce error as for statistical measurement method.

The resulting final error in the scale is extremely small, far below a threshold of significance that could affect comparison (which was set arbitrarily at 1%, but it’s probably significantly higher, while the actual error is much lower).

In other words, the scale error that may affect your screen pictures will be definitely smaller than any possible perceivable (either significant or tolerated) difference that would be noticed or that may affect the attribution of the stain, when this is compared to the sample.     

22. The hand drawn outline is shown again here





23 . The outline (matched scale) overlapped on Sollecito’s sample footprint





The array of compatibilities with Sollecito

The bathmat stain does not seem to have major incompatibilities with Sollecito’s print; it shows rather an array of compatibilities that can be perceived visually.

One interesting feature is the shape, size and position of a ‘big toe’, that appears as a remarkable coincidence; the toe also has a kind of cleft (see 28 below) on the curvature of its left margin. Another outstanding coincidence is the curvature of the plantar arch on the left.   

24 . The same outline overlapped on Guede’s footprint





Compare with Guede’s - matched scale.

If you look at the overlapping of the stain outline (see pic 22.) with the sample of Guede’s print (see pics 17. 19.), you may notice 7 major differences, showing a failure of compatibility. Those differences are indicated by numbers (1-7) in the picture .

Each one indicates an area of major difference between the outline of the bathmat stain and the outline of Guede’s sample print. Those measurement differences are remarkably larger than those that can be detected on the overlapping with Sollecito’s sample print.

On the other hand, the compatibility between Sollecito’s print and some very peculiar aspects of the bathmat print (such as a 30mm wide and short toe) were absolutely remarkable.   

The differences between the bathmat stain and Guede’s print are :

1) Toe mark of stain is significantly SHORTER than the big toe in Guede’s sample print (a difference of about 7 millimetres). Some people may want to attempt an objection, by suggesting that such a difference may be just a consequence of the position chosen for the overlapping, that maybe the bathmat print was just positioned too low in the picture, the problem may be solved by shifting it up about 7 millimeters so as to make the tip of the bathmat toe ‘coincide’ with the tip of Guede’s print toe.

However, such objection wouldn’t work; it’s a wrong argument. In fact the only possibly correct position for overlapping the bathmat stain outline is determined by the left curvature of the ball of feet and plantar arch (the area of the picture near number 6), which is by the way the most clearly outlined part of the bathmat stain. If you shift the bathmat stain upwards, the outline will miss the match with the curvature of the left margin of the ball of the feet. You will notice that the plantar arch in this area is already very incompatible with Guede’s plantar arch. It tends to become even more incompatible the more you shift the bathmat stain outline towards the toe.

The problem has no solution, since the more you shift the stain outline upwards (in the direction of the toe) in an attempt to make it look more ‘compatible’ with the length of Guede’s toe (or with an upper margin) the more it will become incompatible with the plantar arch. In order to limit the incompatibility of the plantar arch, and in order to keep an overlapping of at least the left margin of the ball of the feet, you need to place it as shown in the picture, this is the position of ‘maximum’ compatibility between the bathmat stain and Guede’s print. Conclusion: the bathmat toe is too short.     

2) Toe mark of stain is TOO WIDE (30 mm). It is much wider (30 mm) than Guede’s toe.  The number 2. indicates the protruding mark at the upper right, the mark which Giulia Bongiorno desperately insisted on calling a “second toe” mark. In fact, not only would the mark miss completely any hypothetical Guede’s ‘second toe’ in any possible position of the print; also you may notice (highlighted by pics 8. and 9.) how it is not a “mark” itself, but actually it just part of the same area which is entirely continuous in shape and coloration with the rest of the toe mark, and - the most remarkable feature - its right outline is coincident with the outline of the spiral-shaped relief decoration, so that you can reasonably conclude that it is determined by that (the missing area at the lower right of the ‘big toe’ is determined by the existence of the “negative area” of the bathmat decoration).

Conclusion: the bathmat stain has a wider toe mark, however one likes to call it (“big toe”, or “big toe + second toe”) that fails to match any possible part of Guede’s print. The bathmat print is clearly different and incompatible with Guede’s print. It simply cannot be overlapped to any part of Guede’s sample print. Such area is a very significant difference that points outright to incompatibility between the stain and Guede’s print.

3) The toe mark is larger also in the area located at the lower portion of the toe. The toe of the bathmat print in fact has a ‘right margin’ which actually has some additional small marks, small drops protruding towards the right, like droplets maybe produced by the wet cotton fibres of the part in relief which protrude towards the right. This tends to suggest the toe area of the stain may in fact be considered wider: the object that produced it was definitely wider than 22mm, in this area of the toe as well. So also a look at this area confirms that the bathmat stain is wider than 22-23 mm (more towards 30 mm) not just when measured at the upper corner (number 2.) but also at its “lower” parts; here, the small marks caused by the liquid suggest that a larger surface has squeezed liquid from some fabric threads leaving some trace also on the lower area.

4) Bigger incompatibility of Guede on the metatarsus front outline. This area is the front outline of metatarsus: the stain is almost 1cm shorter than Guede’s metatarsus. This happens when you chose the overlapping so as to make the left outline and plantar arch (6.) of metatarsus coincide, as in the picture. Sollecito’s sample print also shows some difference from the stain in this area (pic. 23.) but the difference between the stain and Sollecito’s print is significantly smaller than what you can see in Guede’s print.   

5) There are NO SMALL TOES in the bathmat stain. Small toes are completely absent from the bathmat stain (while the tiny blood marks around the stain don’t coincide with their expected position if it was Guede’s print). Such lack of small toes is a peculiarity of the bathmat print. This is a remarkable difference from Guede’s print, and at the same time, a considerable analogy with Sollecito’s print. In fact one outstanding feature of Guede’s print is the evidence that Guede places a big load of weight on his small toes while instead Sollecito has a posture with a weight distribution with the contrary tendency, and obviously he almost does not touch the ground with his small toes.

Thus, Guede’s small toes are all very well pressed on the ground and thus, we can reasonably infer they are somehow naturally likely to get wet if he steps on any wet surface, and anyway they should get wet for sure if the foot is immersed in water or washed (the foot that left the bathmat print must have been immersed in bloody water). The murderer supposedly washed his foot then stepped on the bathmat. In order to attribute the print to Guede we should assume that Guede “forgot” to touch the carpet with his small toes (while instead he puts a lot of weight on them) or that he managed to not rinse them.

6) The outline of the stain has a PLANTAR ARCH that COINCIDES, by curvature and angle, with the plantar arch in Sollecito’s print, while instead it is very different from the plantar arch of Guede’s print. 

7) The stain is larger than Guede’s print metatarsus as visible in the right area of the stain. The difference is rather significant, almost half a centimetre, that is bigger than the difference with Sollecito’s print which instead coincides for a trait. This difference cannot be “solved” in any way since, even if one wanted to claim that the scale is wrong and that the stain should be sized down, this would make the toe, already too short (as in 1.) become even shorter.

If instead the toe length is adjusted the metatarsus becomes even less compatible with Guede. We recall that Massei found that Guede’s feet had a print overall more slender than Sollecito’s. 

25 . Other features:





Curvatures of plantar arch are very different

The plantar arch curvature, highlighted in two different drawings (the second highlights also the upper outline “hunches”);  the plantar arches in the two sample prints of Sollecito and Guede are shown below. The curvatures of plantar arch are very different.

26. The outline curvature generates different angles





Sollecito’s and Guede’s plantar arch curvatures have very different angles. Also the left outline of metatarsus maintains a different curvature. Sollecito’s outline has an angle (see outline tangent) intersecting the toe (the metatarsus has a “bunion”); in Guede’s print there is basically no intersection, the outline and the toe form almost a straight line.

27 . Plantar arch curvature angle differs between Sollecito and Guede




If you consider the vertical axis of the sample footprint, and its orthogonal line, you may notice how the plantar arch curvatures of the two prints accomplish different angles: the two angles are VERY different, not just three or four degrees.

The (too) narrow angle of Sollecito’s plantar arch probably has a relation with the protruding outline and angle seen in pic 26., and seems related to a hallux valgus (which Guede does not have). 

28 . The “cleft” on the left side of the stain





The “cleft” on the left side

This has a correspondence with one sample print, not so with the other.

29 . Table of metric comparison (by SomeAlibi)





SomeAlibi’s post of a year ago

Comparison of measurements and analysis of correspondence degree of bathmat print, with both Guede’s and Sollecito’s sample prints.


Monday, February 03, 2014

Authors Of “Math On Trial” Bring The Explanations Of The Hard DNA Evidence Up To Date

Posted by Peter Quennell




The important new book in question Math On Trial is by mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez who is Leila’s daughter.

This article by Leila Schneps appeared in yesterday’s edition of The Independent and explains why the Nencini court has not ruled out any of the DNA evidence.

It’s not right to say there is “˜no evidence’ in the case against Amanda Knox. There’s plenty

The DNA alone is enough to raise questions

The verdict handed down yesterday at the new appeal trial for Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, accused of the murder of British citizen Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, may come as a surprise to those whose view of the case has been affected by an international media blitz based on the oft-repeated claim “There is no evidence”.  Many believe that Rudy Guede, convicted in October 2008 for participating in the murder, acted alone.

There is, however, copious evidence to consider: the DNA alone is enough to raise questions. Leaving aside much of it, let’s focus for a moment on three key pieces of DNA evidence and present them from both sides, just as the jury may have heard them spoken of in court.

First ““ the bra clasp.

The part of the victim’s bra containing the hooks had been ripped or slashed from the rest of her bra.  Not immediately collected on that first day after the murder, it remained in the room in a sealed house for six weeks before being sent to the lab in December. There, it was tested and found to contain a large sample of Meredith’s DNA, together with a smaller but clearly visible contribution from Sollecito. The defence objections: firstly, between the two searches, objects in the crime room had been moved around, and indeed the bra clasp was found about a metre away from its original position.

Secondly, apart from “˜alleles’ - genetic traces -  of Meredith and Sollecito on the clasp, there were a few unidentifiable extra ones. Putting these two facts together, the defence pointed out that Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp could have been a consequence of a careless police technician stepping on Sollecito’s DNA elsewhere in the flat and then entering the room and stepping on the bra clasp, even though no DNA of Sollecito was found anywhere else in the house except on a single cigarette butt in the ashtray.

Second ““ the mixed stain.

Although not visible to the naked eye, the chemical Luminol which flashes blue on contact with blood revealed a spot in the room of the flatmate whose window had been smashed and room rifled.  Swabbing the spot produced a mixture of Amanda and Meredith’s DNA. This is a clear proof that the murderer entered that bedroom after the murder, as someone must have brought Meredith’s blood into the room, contradicting the defence theory that Rudy Guede broke into the house and then committed the murder.

The usual defence explanation for mixed DNA stains in the bathroom and corridor, namely that the house would have been coated in Amanda’s DNA given that she lived there, does not necessarily apply to a flatmate’s bedroom. It is much harder to leave traces of DNA than is commonly conceived, and hardly any of Amanda’s DNA was found in her own room - where she surely spent a lot more time than in her flatmate’s.

Lastly ““ the knife.

Days after the murder, a large kitchen knife was seized in Raffaele’s flat, where Meredith had never set foot. Police geneticist, Patrizia Stefanoni, swabbed spots on the blade of the knife and on the handle in the knife’s first DNA Test.  One spot in particular attracted her attention: a visible scratch on the flat of the blade.  The swab taken from this scratch yielded a positive ID for Meredith Kercher.

By the third trial, when a new attempt was made to collect DNA from the knife (which had been swabbed again during the appeal trial, though no tests were then conducted) there was no match to Meredith ““ a result welcomed by Knox’s defence team, though it did not in fact impact on the findings of the first trial.

Stefanoni’s test ““ she only conducted the first - came under strong fire in the courtroom. Two independent expert witnesses called in for the appeal against Knox and Sollecito’s original 2009 conviction stated that she had not worked in conformity with standard international protocol.  Indeed, standard protocol for DNA testing involves three steps: first determining how much DNA is in a sample, secondly amplification, which reproduces the sample millions of times, and thirdly electrophoresis which produces the familiar DNA graphs showing peaks in the location of an individual’s alleles.  Under cross-examination, Stefanoni explained that quantification had given a result of “too low” as the machine she used that day was not the most sensitive one in the lab.

Knowing that samples undetectable by the machine can still be sufficient to yield positive results, she chose to continue with testing. At the second stage of testing, amplification, a sample will normally be split into two or more pieces in order to run independent tests.  But knowing that the sample was small, Stefanoni feared that cutting it in two would yield no result at all, and chose to amplify the entire sample in one unrepeatable test.  The end result was a perfect match to Meredith Kercher.

Knox’s supporters have claimed since the beginning that the accusations levied against her are based on the Italian justice system’s hatred of a pretty, American girl who likes parties and having sex. And whilst both parties protest their innocence , Thursday’s decision shows that there is real evidence against her and Sollecito, that cannot be ignored.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Continuing Enormous Strength Of The Evidence Which Defenses Seem To Have Abysmally Failed To Shake

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above Judge Massei at Meredith’s house with panel-of-judges members early 2009]


What this Florence appeal is REALLY about

There is much confusion on this, sowed by various at-distance commentators who don’t read the Italian press or the excellent English-language reporters right there on the spot.

This is NOT a re-trial. This is a FIRST appeal by Sollecito and Knox against the guilty verdicts and sentences Judge Massei awarded them late in 2009. It is being repeated since their defense teams helped to bend the first (Hellmann court) iteration of the first appeal two years ago.

Since the end of 2009 they have been provisionally guilty of murder and other crimes, subject to final ratification by the Supreme Court, which has not yet occurred. Judge Hellmann decided to let them out and travel worldwide. Many think his decision on this was legally weak.

Was there prime-face justification for this appeal?

Under US and UK law many lawyers and judges think the judicial process could have stopped right there in the US and UK, because the grounds for appeal the defenses came up with in 2010 were essentially innuendo about DNA and little else.

But the pro-defendant Italian system unlike almost any other in the world allows appeals if any are filed to automatically go forward. So the bent, stretched-out and illegally wide-scope Hellmann appeal of 2011 was the first result.

Appointed apparently in illegal circumstances to replace the highly-qualified Judge Chiari (the lead-judge for criminal appeals, who then resigned) Judge Hellmann was ill-qualified at best - he was not a criminal judge and had handled only one other murder trial before, which he got wrong.

The annulment of the first first-appeal

The Supreme Court very rarely completely annuls any trial or appeal. But in this case in March 2013 it did just that, on a large number of grounds.

The 2013-2014 Nencini appeal court in Florence starts with the early-2010 Massei report plus new guidelines from the Supreme Court. Nothing else floated since early 2010 counts.

This case seems to break all records ever for (1) defamatory and dishonest PR; (2) dirty tricks, many illegal, by the defense; (3) dishonesty by those accused in two defamatory books and multiple statements to the press; and (4) greed and blood money while the process still goes on.

Contempt of court trials and investigations have commenced to push back, Amanda Knox is particularly at risk because her book contains false accusations of crimes (again) and she defies the Supreme Court in not paying Mr Lumumba his damages though she destroyed his business. 

Suggested Reading: Part One

Sooner or later (no necessarily now) read all the must-read posts in this group here, all the open questions for Sollecito in this group here, and all the open questions for Amanda Knox in this group here.

1. Getting up to speed on the 2008 RS and AK charges

Our four-part summary of Judge Micheli’s report is the best thing to read (scroll down) especially Micheli’s argument that ONLY Knox had any reason to re-arrange the crime scene - she lived there and needed to point evidence away from herself.

Also read Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s many mutually contradictory attempts to provide one alibi for both.

2. Getting up to speed on the 2009 RS and AK trial

The prosecution performed brilliantly and left the defenses despondent and out-classed (paving the way for more dirty tricks in 2010-13) and we were told that two defense lawyers nearly walked off.

To get a flavor of how badly the defenses did, read this post and this post on Knox’s absolutely disastrous stint on the stand. From there the defense portion of the trial really went downhill.

To get a flavor of how well the prosecution did read about the damning reconstruction (known about in all of Italy but not widely elsewhere) described here and here.

3. Getting up to speed on the Massei 2010 Report

The most vital read of all is the short-form version of the Massei Report by Skeptical Bystander and a team on PMF dot Org. If you have no time to read any posts, make sure to read that.

The other vital reads, not here but on the new “The Murder Of Meredith Kercher Wiki”, are the overview of the evidence and the chart of evidence synopsis.

We had a large number of posts starting in 2010 checking out whether in all details the Massei Report got it right. Read this first take.

4. Getting up to speed on the crime-scene scenario

Vital to understanding the Massei court’s crime-scene scenario which Prosecutor Crini espouses, wade through this excellent reconstruction of the crime in a long Powerpoint by our lawyer James Raper with the Powerpoint whizz Kermit.

About Part Two

The next part of our most-recommended reading from 2010 to 2014 will follow after the verdict to help correct the ill-informed debate over whether Knox goes back to jail.

It hardens the case and in our view leaves no holes for RS and AK to wiggle through. We will point the post to those arguments that anyone tries to raise.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Strong Proof That Raffaele Sollecito Also Stabbed Meredith Kercher Causing The Lesser Wound.

Posted by Ergon



Sollecito’s “pocket knife” is a Spiderco Delica4 Emerson Opener made for killing people

Overview

This picks up from from my previous post just below on the large knife that overwhelming evidence shows was wielded by Amanda Knox. 

Sometime around Thursday, January 30, 2014, Judge Nencini of the Florence Appeals Court will be delivering the verdict of the court in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, at which time all arguments regarding the knives, staged burglary, DNA and forensics, false accusation, wonky alibis, and reliability of witnesses will be rendered moot.

There will be nothing left but an argument about the legality of the process, and not the evidence, presented by the defenses if they choose to at some point in the fall of 2014 before Cassazione, the Supreme Court in Rome.

But, until then, we are left with the indelible image of Raffaele Sollecito’s defense attorney Giulia Bongiorno a few days ago flailing with two knives in court, arguing (1) the kitchen knife doesn’t fit the major wound, and (2) there’s a missing knife, which she suggested was a pocket knife wielded by Rudy Guede.

In part I, I proved that the imprint of the knife on the mattress sheet matched the kitchen knife, in shape and dimensions. We have already seen in other articles here on TJMK, that there is a definitive match with Knox and Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the murder weapon, and now we know it was transported to the cottage, to leave its mirror image on the bed.

Here, in part II, is a recap of Massei on the knives and wounds inflicted on Meredith Kercher, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound.

Also we will have Frank Sfarzo and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds. And it will try to address what happened to the missing knife that inflicted the lesser wound on Meredith, and who might have wielded it.





Closeup of the stabbing end of the Spiderco knife shown at the top


Deliberate false claims

One of the many myths surrounding this case was that investigators had no reason to seize the kitchen knife from Sollecito’s flat, and when I showed the photos from Conti’s lab, with the deep scratches on it, that it may have been altered in some way, and denying that was where some of Meredith’s DNA might have been trapped. IIP even posted an out of focus picture some time back to prove that point.

Here is Frank Sforza on the late and unlamented Perugia Shock.‘ANY KNIFE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WOUND’

End of a Myth

Frank Sfarzo, Sept. 19, 2009

Quote: “It was introduced in the room, it was taken out of the box with all precautions, it was shown to them like a relic. They could have a look at it from a distance, and see, or believe to have seen, the groove into which the biological material of Meredith was found.” And:

“Amanda Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova brought him (independent expert Professor Cingolani) to say something very clear about the main one: any single-edge knife is compatible with Meredith’s larger wound.”

Here is Bruce Fischer on the error-ridden Injustice In Perugia.

Quote: “The knife was a common kitchen knife retrieved from the kitchen of Raffaele Sollecito. The knife was chosen from the drawer because it looked clean. (Editorial note: it was also, deeply scratched and nicked)

No blood was on the blade.

No DNA was on the blade.

The knife doesn’t match most of the wounds on Meredith.

The knife doesn’t match the bloody imprint left on the bed.

The photographic evidence shows that Raffaele’s kitchen knife is to (sic) large to match the bloody imprint on the bed.

At 4 cm from the tip the knife blade is 2.2 cm wide, while the injury (i.e. the small wound) is 1.5 cm wide. Raffaele’s kitchen knife could not have caused the wounds. The knife blade is also too long to have inflicted the large wound.” (Ed. note: Here they are conflating the dimensions of the lesser wound with the knife that inflicted the major wound, to cause confusion)

This is typical of the dishonesty of Bruce Fischer, who was only parroting what the defense experts had been saying in Massei’s court.

Fischer’s source was these posts from the now discredited Frank Sfarzo: Knife doesn’t match wounds and Knife doesn’t match imprint on bed.



An image of Sollecito’s 2004 model Brian Tighe knife specifically made for killing people

From the Massei Report

This is from the excellent PMF translation.

P. 99: The witness (investigator) recognized it when shown Exhibit 36 as that same knife (pages 176 and 177, hearing on February 28, 2009). He remembered that in the drawer there were other knives, but he collected what was later indicated as Exhibit 36. It had the following dimensions: blade 17 cm. and handle of dark colour 14 cm. He recalled that in Sollecito’s bedroom they found another knife whose total length was 18cm, with an 8cm. blade.” (This would be his Brian Tighe pocket knife, the Spyderco flick knife was seized from his person when he was arrested)

P.135: The stab wound corresponding to the injuries on the right side of the neck was indicated as being a little wound of very small dimensions with a very small path. The path of the wound is 4cm long and only 1.5cm wide. The blade used to make this wound must have had a width of 1.5cm at 4cm from the point. This blade only entered 4cm into the neck “because it encountered the angle of the jaw” (page 33 of the transcripts).

P.147: Professor Vinci testified at the hearing of August 18, 2009. He considered the subject of the “bloody stains” found on the undersheet in Meredith Kercher’s room. In relation to these stains, on the basis of graphics given in the report dated June 30, 2009, he asserted that the knifeprint found on the undersheet in Meredith’s bedroom could have been made either by an 11.3cm knife blade, or by a 9.6cm knife blade together with a mark 1.7cm long left by the handle of the same knife. In either case, the blade could not be wider than 1.3/1.4 cm. (Ahem)

P. 154: Prof Cingolani: He clarified that irregularities present on the blade, on the edge of the blade, could have created the rippling in the wounds.

P. 157: the examination of the wound on the right part of the neck, which had absolutely incompatible dimensions: 1.5cm long and 0.4cm wide with a depth of 4cm.

p.164: she was therefore struck on the right latero-cervical region with a single-edged blade which produced a wound with dimensions of 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a penetrating depth of 4cm: an action not relevant in determining the cause of death but intended, as before, to subdue Meredith Kercher’s resistance.

p.166: the width of the (kitchen knife) proximal third [blade one third of the distance from the handle] is 3cm.

p166: Along the edge, there was evidence of irregularities in the form of thin ridges at 2.2cm and at 11.4cm from the tip.

p. 167: The experts and consultants who were examined during the course of the trial, taking into examination the various wounds present on the neck, excluded the compatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 and the wound inflicted on the right latero-cervical and having the following dimensions: 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a depth of 4cm in an oblique upwards direction. They in fact showed that the confiscated knife, at a distance of 4cm from the tip, has a width of approximately 3cm and thus almost double the 1.5cm width of the wound, a width thus incompatible with the dimensions of the blade of this knife.

p.172-3: In relation to the above, the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36 is held to be unacceptable, though this knife is incompatible with the 4cm-deep wound, as we have seen. Nor does this conclusion contrast with the circumstances illustrated by Sollecito Defence consultant Professor Vinci in his report relating to the “šanalyses of the haematic stained shapes discovered on the mattress cover in Meredith Kercher’s room”›.

p.175: The reconstruction offered by Professor Vinci certainly appears suggestive. Some doubt remains in the reconstruction of the dimensions of the knife derived in relation from the marks found on the bed sheet. If these marks indeed derived from the knife placed on the bed sheet, then they should in fact have been more abundant, and should have outlined the shape of the knife with greater precision, for the following reason: the knife, if it was placed on the bed sheet, was placed there immediately after it had been used to strike Meredith; therefore, the fresh and abundant bloodstains present on the blade should have been imprinted onto the bed sheet in a more evident and copious way than is actually appreciable. It cannot in any case remain unobserved that, if one of the knives used had a blade length of 11.3cm, or else 9.6 cm ““ according to what was indicated by Professor Vinci in the conclusions to his report ““ the argumentation set forth to sustain the incompatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 would not, on this alone, have any foundation.”

For the record, here are the paragraphs from the English translation of the Massei Report where Patricia Stefanoni describes the streaks and scratches on the double DNA knife and locations where samples were taken.

Judge Massei (on pg. 196) wrote about forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni:

“She specified that trace B had been taken from a point on the face of the blade; she added that no biological trace was visible to the naked eye. However [she added that] “under considerable lighting, a series of streaks were visible to the naked eye. These streaks ran parallel to the upper part of the blade, therefore, more or less, they were parallel to this side [of the blade] and towards the point they went downward and, therefore, they followed the shape of the point. These streaks, anomalies in the metal, were visible to the naked eye under intense lighting” (page 95 of the transcript). Still in regard to the visibility of these streaks, she specified that they were “visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible”.

The samples taken from the handle, in the points indicated with the letters A, D, F were taken in order to verify the possible presence of DNA by the person who grasped that knife. In particular, for sample “A”, a particular point had been chosen, “in which there’s the hand-guard” (page 95) and therefore, in all likelihood, the point where there was the most friction between the hand that grasped the knife and the handle. This sample yielded the result of Amanda Knox’s genetic profile.

The other samples yielded negative results, except the one taken from the blade, from the “scratches and streaks visible under good lighting, by changing the angle of the lighting with regards to the blade” that yielded the genetic profile of the victim (page 96 hearing May 22, 2009).”

And now we know: Dottora Patrizia Stefanoni got it right.

And some disagreement amongst the experts: p.291-2: Professor Cingolani had in fact noted and declared the following: “in the second lesion, the one that is 2 centimetres deep and 1.5 centimetres wide from corner to corner, the only thing that we are tempted to do, [albeit] in an absolutely amateurish/unprofessional way, because we only have photographs available, is to measure, assuming that only the tip entered, how wide the blade is [at a point] 2 centimetres from its tip: it is precisely 1.5 centimetres wide!



A closeup with measurements of Sollecito’s Brian Tighe knife made for killing people

My own investigation

Here is my initial close examination first posted on PMF dot Net last summer.

Ergon   Post subject: INVESTIGATION OF THE KNIVES USED IN THE MURDER Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:42 am

Investigation into the death of Meredith Kercher-THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED

The murder of Meredith Kercher was particularly bloody and brutal. Reading through Massei, pages 109- SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF THE FORENSIC RESULTS through to 158-173, THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED we are reminded of the brutality with which the attack took place, the sexual assault by more than one person, the restraining, the defensive wounds on Meredith’s hands, the torture by more than one knife, restraining by a hand over the mouth when she screamed, (even while she bled to death) and two major knife wounds, one to the left of the throat, the other, to the right. Massei rightly concludes, as did the Supreme Court, that more than one attacker was involved, and, per Massei, there was more than one knife used in the attack. The defense experts tried to draw attention away from the kitchen knife, but, reading through Massei again, I saw how they dropped clues to what the dimensions of the second knife might have been.

We know that Raffaele Sollecito had a fetish for violent porn, that he had an expensive collection of knives, and his many alibis for the night in question have been thrown out by the court. From my studies of criminal psychology, from reading both Amanda and Raffaele’s books and watching videos of their court appearances and television interviews, their psychopathology seem apparent not only to my eyes, but even to the general public that must have looked at them and decided their story somehow did not ring true, and refused to buy their books. There are indeed certain neurological deficits apparent in their demeanor that renowned German neurologist Dr. Gerhard Roth postulates shows up as a ‘dark patch’ in brain scans of all those who display criminal behaviour, and even, “The second type is the mentally disturbed criminal who looks at his world as threatening. A wrong look, one false move, he can explode and become a killer,” he said.

I was shown videos of the crime scene, and able to observe the wounds in Meredith’s neck. The scenes of the room in which the murder took place and, the neck wound, were truly horrifying to me, and showed the extent of the attack. Those images still sit in the mind, but also, cause me to want to get to the bottom of this mystery, hence, my work on the case.

I believe, observing the photos I already posted in the Evidence Files that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon that struck the fatal blow that night. I also believe, reading the pathologist’s report, that the blade that was stuck in Meredith’s neck, in the right latero-cervical area to a depth of 4 cms, was Raffaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe pocket knife, photo also in the evidence files. Yes, no DNA or blood was sampled from it, but that only indicates it was successfully cleaned that night. My reading of Sollecito’s pathology is that he would not want to dispose of the knife he used, it being very expensive and also as an extension of his fetishistic ego. One other thing I asked to look at: The high resolution photos I posted of the bed show the outline and dimensions of two knives. I believe that both images are of the kitchen knife that struck Meredith in the left latero-cervical to cause a cut of 8-9 cms in depth, and a length of 8 cms (p. 167)

There are two exhibits of the mattress cover, one marked “J” and the other, “O”, both displaying the approximate size and dimensions of the kitchen knife, which I will explain when I post the photos. The first, “J”, has more blood because I believe the knife was placed there first and wicked on to the sheet, causing the distorted splotch at the end. By the time it was moved to its final position by the purse, “O”, it retained just enough blood to leave a clearer, indelible impression.

It was a butchery.”

One last point: Rep. 33A/B/C/D were four samples taken from a black-handled folding knife. It tested negative for blood, but, in one sample, the DNA profile matched a mix of Knox and Sollecito. The other samples were negative. Stefanoni: pp. 103-104

Looking at the images produced by my illustrator, and taking the average of the two estimates of the wound depth, 2 and 4 cms, one arrives at a blade width of 1.5 cms at 3 cms length from the tip of Raphaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe collectors knife, on which, coincidentally, both Amanda Knox and Sollecito’s DNA was found.

Conclusion:

Raffaele Sollecito stabbed Meredith Kercher, causing the lesser wound. And my personal opinion? It was with the Brian Tighe knife, and somehow both he and Amanda Knox got their DNA on it around the same time that night.


Monday, January 27, 2014

An Investigation Into The Large Knife Provides Further Proof That This Was THE Knife

Posted by Ergon


Overview

This is the first report of an investigation (the second part follows soon) of the kitchen knife used in the murder of Meredith Kercher, RIP.

Specifically its compatibility with the imprint of a bloody knife found by police investigators on her bed under-sheet which as you will see here seems possible to prove.

Two other recent posts also concentrated on aspects of the knife as strong proof: (1) proof of both Knox and Kercher DNA and (2) proof from the throat wounds.

  • Reference files are from very high definition crime scene photos not in general circulation.

  • Grateful thanks to the volunteers of the Meredith Kercher community who assisted in this production


Florence Court of Appeals

This is our poster Machiavelli, tweeting from the Florence courtroom on November 26, 2013:

“(Prosecutor Alessandro) Crini stated that this kitchen knife was compatible with the knife print on Meredith’s bed sheet”.

And this is from the defense summing up on January 09, 2014:

Bongiorno: “It’s too big, not the murder weapon.”

“Bongiorno shows a picture with an envisioned “knife” (pocket knife belonging to Guede?) together with the print on the bed sheet.”

“Nobody brings a “small blow with a big knife” “You don’t use half of a big knife” (she says)


Genesis of an investigation:

To recap: evidence was been presented at the Massei court of the first instance, which accepted that the kitchen knife, containing both Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade (trace B) and Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle (trace A) was the weapon that struck the fatal blow to Meredith Kercher’s throat.

At some point after the attack, the perpetrator, Amanda Knox, puts it down on the bed, leaving “hematic stains” (bloody imprints) on the mattress.

The court concludes the shape of the imprints are compatible with the kitchen knife. It also concludes, based on the size of a lesser wound that a second, smaller knife caused the wound on the other side of the neck, and, the impossibility of accepting that a single weapon inflicted both wounds.

This is what it boils down to now, as we come to the final arguments of this case on January 30, with a decision to be handed down by the court later in the day:

  • Was the kitchen knife found in Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen the murder weapon that killed Meredith Kercher on November 01, 2007?

  • Did the killer leave behind proof in the form of bloody imprints on the under sheet covering Meredith’s bed?

  • And is the defense trying to divert attention away from it, even though the image on the bed fits the dimensions of the kitchen knife?

  • And pointing to a second knife, not ever found?

This article (to be followed by part II) was prepared to offer answers to these questions.

Methods used

As someone with a keen interest in photography, I know we see things in photographs that are not always apparent to the naked eye.

Where before we had all been misled by low definition photographs released by the defense to obscure incriminating details, I was able to obtain and view the high definition photographs shown here that proved that indeed, the bed imprints matched the seized kitchen knife, exhibit 36.

These photographs, first posted at Perugia Murder File Evidence Files have been circulating for some time, with members trying to match the knife to the bed imprints, but not, in my opinion, being able to match it exactly.

First, note that the killer placed a knife on two separate locations on the bed, marked by reference cards “J”, and “O”. (Reference photos below.)

I discarded “J”, because there was too much blood there to form an accurate measurement.  The killer lifted the knife and then placed it at “O”, which gave a better image, but even then, did not match exactly. Still, it was clear the images looked like a kitchen, and not, a pocket knife as alleged by the defense.

Looking at the reference photo, I saw a double image of a knife blade at “O”. (see where there’s a curved edge of the blade? That’s what convinced me there might be a double image there)

Conclusion reached

My opinion is the knife shifted slightly when it was placed there, hence the double image, which now made a perfect match with the kitchen knife, in both instances (see reference photos).

So I got a professional illustrator and other skilled people people to do the scale drawings and produce the video you see above which seems to provide conclusive proof the murder knife was placed on the bed.

Reference photos:




Image 1 above (click for larger image): Bed II (Image J and O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 2 above (click for larger image): Knife II (Image O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 3 above (click for larger image): FOTO5BIS (Conti-Vecchiotti lab, Mar. 22, 2011)




Image 4 above (click for larger image): Knife-Bed-Vector-AllScales (To prove the scales used to match the images)




Image 5 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-lower-hi (The knife’s first resting position at “O”)




Image 6 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-upper-hi (The knife’s final resting position at “O”)


Next steps

There are only four more days left till the Florence Appeals Court under Judge Nencini issues its verdict.  It must of course consider ALL the evidence, of which there is a preponderance that indeed suggests the verdict will, as would be proper, be guilty as charged.

Part II will be ready ASAP. It will be a recap of Massei on the knife, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound. Also will have Frank Sfarzo’s misdirection and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds.

Happy as always to do my share for justice for Meredith Kercher.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Appeal Session #4: Today Lead Prosecutor Alessandro Crini Summarises The Prosecution’s Case

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Overview

This is the report on the first day of Prosecutor Crnini summarizing the entire case.

This was not attempted at such length at the 2011 Hellman appeal and that panel of judges was perhaps not ever fully in the picture. The second day of the presentation is reported on here. 

Real-Time Report

Good reporting on the court today

Andrea Vogt has posted an objective report here and Barbie Nadeau an objective report here.  We will post excerpts from both and other sources after the appeal session on Tuesday is done.

Warning about AP’s Colleen Barry

The Associated Press’s Colleen Barry is once again filing highly biased reports from the court. This is an appeal by Knox and Sollecito AGAINST a guilty verdict (by Judge Massei) and not an appeal by the prosecution to “reinstate” a guilty verdict. Get a grip.

Final post from the court today

It is 5:30 pm in Italy. Judge Nencini has declared today’s session at an end and he has allowed the prosecution to resume its presentation tomorrow. Prosecutor Crini has about 1/3 of his presentation on the evidence still to come.

Tweets from main poster Yummi

Yummi has warned us that the wireless internet bandwidth inside and just outside the courtroom gets overloaded late in the day as the reporters get busy on their reports.  Yummi does have a way around this but it involves leaving the courtroom when key arguments might be made and walking some distance away. So there might be some slight delays.

[More pending; Dr Crini has alerted that his presentation will be in 16 chapters]

51. [Judge] Nencini suggests to interrupt and go on tomorrow with following prosecution’s points. New schedule.

50. Chapter 11. is DNA. Crini says we may have evidence enough by now anyway

49. Crini censures Hellmann-Zanetti’s reasoning about calunnia (why not indicate the real culprit?). Says H-Z committed ‘physical violence’ on trial file

48. Knox’s calunnia is a strategy protracted over time says Crini

47. Dreamlike component in Knox’s statement, fish blood, are devices needed to surround a calunnia strategy

46. Knox needed to put some additional content into the ‘calunnia’, says Crini, or wouldn’t be believed, so she puts in pieces of truth

45. Knox spoke about a scream an a sexual violence before anyone knew. Sollecito said nothing was stolen before they knew.

44. Points out Sollecito says Romanelli’s door was wide open; Knox doesn’t notice theft. Crini highlights the ‘combination’ of inconsistencies

43. Knox thinks locked door is normal; does not flush toilet when finds feces; does not notice blood before having a shower; thinks blood is ok

42. Notes Knox’s statements are inconsistent and ommisive before her interrogation.

41. Crini speaks about Knox’s declarations. Interested in the timings. Says too much was repeated to be coerced.

40. Crini speaks about chapter 9, the statements of Sollecito. His call to her sister. His alert was late but even so preceded the postals arrive

39. Bathmat print and luminol prints were chapter 7. of Crini’s argument; 8. is the staging of theft.

38. The most significant stain may be the one in Romanelli’s room, says Crini.

37. Speaking of a female’s print left in luminol, Crini sounds outraged, saying other substances is vague unsubstantiated conjecture [eg it was blood not bleach]

36. Guede’s sentencing was not well calibrated says Crini. But a Guede alone scenario is not tenable

35. Does it make sense for Guede to leave there the evidence of (putative) theft, and clean footprints?

34. The unitary sense made by elements like the bloody print, is a cleanup. Considers the lone-perp scenario: inconsistent

33. Crini: starts talking about the isolated bloody print; calls it a ‘talking element’. Why is that print alone?

32. Suspects are only ones with a ‘logistic’ capability and an interest to ‘clean’ the murder scene. They aimed at ‘diminishing’ the evidence mass

31. Knox’s lamp was the only light in her room.

30. Crini: the perp(s) organized a rather complex plan to clean up and ‘sidetrack’ at the murder scene.

29. Still to be determined if calunnia was “occasional” due to pressure, or “aggravated” [sidetracking]; Crini saya a ‘depistaggio reale’ (sidetracking) occurred

28. Crini: suspects’ statements are extremely interesting: RS’s statements; AK’s e-mail, internet statements, [Knox’s] memoriale

27. Crini: a most fertile chapter of analysis is the ‘post-factum’ actions and behaviors of defendants

26. Crini has unfolded five chapters. Says he has a total of sixteen

25. Quintavalle, details of his testimony and woman’s description are exceptional indicators of accuracy.

34. Crini: it is unlikely that Quintavalle got it wrong. Because of contextual elements.

23. It is incorrect to dismiss a witness a priori because late. But for reasons totally different. Sometimes late is symptom of reliability.

22. Wants to deal with the issue of the fact that he came forward late, urged by an acquaintance

21. Crini: fifth argument is Quintavalle. He says he is sure about his testimony. Is a different kind of witness

20. Crini accepts both alternatives on time of death, after 23.15 or before 22.30 (but seems to prefer the earlier one)

19. Crini: Do not overestimate importance of timings that are not anchored accurately or cannot be proven

18. Crini: timeline is marginal to the case. All unproven timings to be taken cautiously.

17. Crini starts fourth theme: timings. Says they are very vague, except the tow truck

16. Crini: Curatolo is no ‘super-witness’, but can contribute to helping the court to draw their scenario

15. Curatolo saw a couple discussing and this memory is very specific, peculiar

14. Curatolo did not confuse night with Halloween, because it was big party in piazza the previous night, and because it did not rain

13. Crini: the court saw Aviello, shows what top [level] of unreliability is; the SC suspected so unreliable that calunnia elements had to be assessed

12. Crini: many trials could not exist if drug addicted testimonies were dismissed

11. Crini: the H-Z court assessed Curatolo a priori based on him as a person, stemming from questions of the court itself

10. Crini about Curatolo, describes Piazza Grimana; he was an habitual presence of the piazza, proven reliable in other cases

9. Crini: computer records and alibi point to Sollecito being not at home but on murder scene

8. Crini cites the log files of Fastweb: no internet activity, only automatic connections.

7. Crini: failure of computer alibi is evidence against, not just lack of confirmation.

6. Nencini notes prosecution did not ask to interrogate Sollecito. Crini cites D’Ambrosio’s computer expert report. No interaction before 5am

5. Sollecito gave computer alibi days later, and words his statement in the singular form.

4. Crini: first theme he deals with is presence of crime scene; alibi, if it’s false it is evidence no matter why false (cite from Guede trial)

3. Crini attacks the method of logic reasoning of annulled appeal: parceling out evidence, parrots aspects of civil procedure

2. Crini: Supreme Court censure was against the foundations of appeal , all parts not just some errors; appeal was ‘razed to ground’.

1. Crini: this appeal is unusual, not because of the case but for the course followed. Usually appeals are narrow, this SC annulment is not.

Tweets by Andrea Vogt

3. At Crini’s side in amandaknox appeal today is veteran Florentine prosecutor Tindari Baglione. Before this, he was in Cassazione.

2. Prosecutor Crini in Florence: don’t repeat error of Perugia appeal. Consider evidence wholly, including Curatolo.

1. Will prosecutors ask life sentences in amandaknox appeal today? Will Sollecito’s presence in court benefit him? Verdict January 10.

First post

This is the prosecution’s day. Sollecito is reported as being in court but low-key.

Various reporting notes the significant presence of Dr Tindari Baglione, formerly with the Supreme Court, about whom we posted on in September as follows:

The new Prosecutor General of Tuscany (Florence’s region) Dr Tindari Baglione, the chief prosecutor of Tuscany’s appeal court, is selecting the prosecutors for the appeal. He arrived in Florence in May of this year. He is said to be formidably unbending. He recently imposed tough sentences on 27 people for the environmental damage caused by illegal work in Mugello on the high speed rail link between Florence and Bologna.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell





What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Crime-Scene Clean-Up: How Rudy Guede’s Diary Provides Even More Proof That It Happened

Posted by pat az





This post is crossposted from my own place. Here is one of my previous crime scene analyses on TJMK.

Rudy Guede was ultimately declared convicted by the Supreme Court in 2010 of participating in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher.

The prosecution claims the two other participants are Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito are currently appealing their conviction of the same crime.

The case against the three of them involves a suspected clean up of the hallway in the apartment after the crime. Meredith’s blood was found in the bathroom, and half a footprint in her blood was found on the bathroom mat. However, there was no visible blood between Meredith’s bedroom and the bathroom.

The only visible blood in the hallway were faint partial shoe prints that led directly out the front door of the apartment.

After the murder was discovered, the media reported almost daily on developments in the case. The day of the murder, the press reported on the blood found in the bathroom and the bedroom.

But until police used luminol at the apartment on December 18th, the media didn’t report on any significant blood found in the hallway.  Between November 2nd and December 18th, only one person stated that significant amounts of blood had been in the hallway.

Rudy Guede.

Rudy Guede actually wrote about it in his diary between Nov 20th and Dec 6th, after being captured in Germany.






The police arrived at the apartment on November 2nd. According to media reports, the blood they spotted immediately was only in the bathroom and Meredith’s bedroom.  When the scene was more closely examined, after the discovery of the body, police found visible blood patterns on the floor left by Guede’s left shoe as he left the apartment.

None of the people who arrived in the apartment on the afternoon of November 2nd reported seeing them; these footprints are not in any of the stories of the events of Nov 2nd told by Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito. So, while these prints were visible, they were not substantially obvious.

On December 18th 2007 investigators applied Luminol in the hallway and other bedrooms. This forensic chemical is used to detect blood which has been cleaned away. The Luminol revealed several footprints in the hallway between the bedrooms of Knox and Meredith. Example below. Some of these footprints were leading towards Meredith’s door.



They also discovered prints in Filomena’s room which contained Meredith’s DNA and Amanda Knox’s DNA. They also revealed a footprint in Amanda Knox’s bedroom. (The defense unsuccessfully contested the investigator’s conclusions that these prints were made with blood).

On November 19 2007, an international arrest warrant was issued for Rudy Guede. He was arrested in Germany on November 20th. Guede remained in Germany until his extradition on December 3rd.

During his stay in jail in Germany, Guede wrote a long statement that was published and translated. Guede’s writings are similar to to Knox’s jail writings in many ways - they both try to write out their own detailed version of events, while pointing blame elsewhere. 

But Guede’s comments may in fact be confirmation of a clean-up after the murder of Meredith Kercher (emphasis added):

I am asking myself how is it possible that Amanda could have slept in all that mess, and took a shower with all that blood in the bathroom and corridor? (Guede, Germany Diary, P21)

The police did not find evidence of any other blood until December 18th, AFTER Guede returned from Germany. As indicated above, the luminol revealed multiple footprints in the hallway, in Knox’s bedroom, and in Filomena’s bedroom. The image below shows these results in blue. Guede’s partial footprints are shown in red.






The conclusion is inescapable: Guede knew there would be significant evidence of blood in the hallway, before the police themselves found that evidence.

How did Guede know there would be more blood found in the hallway, before the police found that evidence on December 18th? And why wasn’t that blood there on the morning of November 2nd?

The courts believe the blood in the hallway was cleaned after the murder of Meredith Kercher. And the Micheli and Massei courts believed only one person had the motivation to hide this evidence: Amanda Knox.

Here is a summary of Judge Micheli’s October 2008 indictment finding.

In Judge Massei’s December 2009 trial finding for the original conviction of Knox and Sollecito, he also writes about the clean-up that the judges believed to have happened:

Further confirmation is constituted by the fact that, after Meredith’s murder, it is clear that some traces were definitely eliminated, a cleaning activity was certainly carried out. In fact, the bare foot which, stained with blood, left its footprint on the sky-blue mat in the bathroom, could only have reached that mat by taking steps which should have left other footprints on the floor, also marked out in blood just like (in fact, most likely, with even more [blood], since they were created before the footprint printed on the mat) the one found on the mat itself. Of such other very visible footprints of a bloody bare foot, on the contrary, there is no trace. (Massei, Dec 09; PMF translation)

In defense of Guede, Knox, and Sollecito, some might try to claim that Guede heard about blood in the hallway in the news. Rudy Guede was arrested 18 days following the murder of Meredith Kercher. During that time he had access to read the news and watch reports.

I have searched for articles in the period between November 2nd and December 18 which mention blood. All of the articles I have found so far discuss blood in the bedroom or the bathroom. One or two discuss footprints leading to the front door.

None of them discuss blood in the hallway that would justify a statement from Guede of “tutto quel sangue nel bagno e sul corridoghe” (all that blood in the bathroom and in the corridor)

Guede himself said he went between the bedroom and the bathroom, so may have tracked blood into the bathroom and therefore known blood would be found in the hallway.

Even that knowledge however confirms a clean-up, as there was not a trail of blood between the bathroom and Meredith’s room that justifies the footprint on the bathmat and blood found in the bathroom.

I have my own questions as a result of Guede’s knowledge of blood in the hallway:

Could the attack have started in the hallway? Could the first blood shed have been on the hallway tiles?

The prosecution and courts argue that Amanda Knox had a role in the attack and murder. Knox and her supporters are very adamant that there is no trace of Knox in Meredith’s bedroom. While the courts argue otherwise, could Knox’s role have been limited to the hallway?

Sadly, we may never know the full truth of what happened on the evening of November 1st, 2007.

My timeline of media reports on blood

  • Nov 2nd: Meredith Kercher found. Blood found in bathroom.
  • Nov 5th: Police analyzing traces of blood from apartment below.
  • Nov 5th:  A “trail of blood” is on the inside handle of the door to the apartment.
  • Nov 7th: reports of Amanda Knox’s statements, includes finding blood in the bathroom.
  • Nov 14th: Police use of Luminol at Sollectio’s house. First reports on the knife seized by police from Sollecito’s house.
  • Nov 19th: Analysis of blood in bedroom (pillow, bra, etc).
  • Nov 22nd: Guede’s prints in blood.
  • Nov 27th: Amanda Knox’s blood on bathroom tap.
  • Nov 28th: Blood in bathroom.
  • Dec 5th: Reports of Guede’s letter to father: “there was so much blood”.

My timeline of main events involving Guede

  • Nov 2nd, 2am ““ 4:30 am: Guede seen by witnesses at Domus nightclub.
  • Nov 3: Guede leaves Perugia for Germany
  • Nov 11: Guede’s cell phone tracked in Milan (Corriere)
  • Nov 12: Newspaper reports a 4th suspect.
  • Nov 19: Guede identified as suspect in newspapers
  • Nov 19: Guede skype conversation with friend.
  • Nov 20: Patrick released from prison.
  • Nov 20: Guede arrested while trying to return to italy on train in Germany.
  • Nov 21: Guede interrogated by German police; Guede admits to being at apartment, blames an italian man for murder.
  • Nov 20-Dec 5: Guede writes diary in German prison.
  • Dec 3:  Germany grants Guede’s extradition back to Italy.
  • Dec 6: Guede returns to Perugia.
  • Dec 7: Guede interrogated by Magistrate.
  • Dec 14: Guede ordered to remain in prison.
  • Dec 17: Knox is questioned by Mignini.
  • Dec 18: Police use luminol in apartment and find footprints in hallway and in Filomena’s bedroom.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report By Colleen Barry Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Appeal Session #3: The Carabinieri Labs Report On The DNA On The Knife

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]

Final Update

So the court session does not even extend beyond the lunch hour. Good morning Seattle! At this moment it is still only 3:30 in the morning there. Only night owls will know what happened.

Yummi and Mason2 may have more for us, which will appear either here below this final update on in Comments.  Also Andrea Vogt and hopefully Barbie Nadeau will be filing longer reports in English. We will also check out all the Italian reporting.

Hard to see any game changers in today’s strong but undramatic testimony. The Carabinieri RIS DNA experts could not be shaken. All momentum remains with the prosecution and with the Supreme Court’s “givens” on the evidence, such as the presence of three attackers in Meredith’s room. 

The defenses seem to be giving up. They could have phoned it in. Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno didnt make any new fuss. And Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova was cut off by the lead judge several times, for trickily going off the point. He really is out of his depth in a criminal trial; at the same time often condescending.

And a seeming big slap in the face for the American defense stooge Greg Hampikian who seems to have illegally colluded with the disgraced Hellmann consultants Conti and Vecchiotti (who were not even mentioned today) when Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “Would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni responded “Of course”.

And Sollecito “wasted” his statement by whining about his life, showing no compassion for Meredith (despite his claimed visit to her grave), and not answering any of the dozens of open questions. Sollecito really needed to show he is both strong and compassionate and NOT a weakling under the thumb of Amanda - but he seems to have done quite the opposite. The family lawyer must not be too pleased.

Fifth Update

The opening of Frank Sforza’s trial in the same courthouse is postponed, apparently because new information on his campaign to poison opinion against the judiciary and his unsavory connections has been coming in.

Information will be exchanged that is gathered at this trial on mafiosos Luciano Aviello and at Aviello’s own trial for obstruction of justice which is now proceeding in the same Florence courthouse in parallel.

The findings and possible charges on the defamatory and dishonest books by Knox and Sollecito are due about now from the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors. Information gathered in those investigations could also be fed in to this process, or put aside for separate trials.

As both the AK and RS books are bulging with the standard PR talking points (some of which flowed from Frank Sforza and Doug Preston) in a sense it will be Curt Knox, the Mellases, Marriott, Sforza, Fischer and Moore who will be put under the microscope.

Fourth Update

A more detailed report on the DNA phase today from the Andrea Vogt website.

The RIS Wednesday deposited their forensic report on trace 36i, a spot of DNA identified (but not earlier tested) on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. “Cento Percento” (100 percent) said Major Berti, discussing compatibility. The RIS found that the DNA was compatible with Amanda Knox, and excluded that it was that of Sollecito, Guede or Kercher. 

The RIS expert was asked only a few questions from attorneys and the judge. The judge asked why the RIS had done two amplications of the DNA and not 3 or 4. Major Berti described that two is considered the minimum number of amplifications necessary, according to today’s forensic standards, doing less (or more) might have diminished the reliability of the results. The judge also asked about the age of the equipment used. Berti responded that the forensic kit used this time has been commercialized since 2010 and available for use since 2011. 

At one point the judge stopped a line of questioning by Knox’s Rome attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova, who was asking why the RIS described Knox’s DNA as “fluids” when a prior expert had said the trace did not come from blood.  Nencini said: That question was not put to the RIS by this court, it was not their job to determine that. The other experts’ reports are in the case files for everyone to read, he noted, adding: “We cannot put words in the mouth of this expert that were said by another expert.”


Third Update

Tweets from our main poster Yummi (Machiavelli)

32. Judge Nencini’s comments were always addressed at Dalla Vedova’s arguments, who was in fact a bit silly

31. The Judge declared the evidence phase closed. Next court dates are 25 November for prosecution argument and 26 for the defences with 16 and 17 December.

30. Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni: “of course”

29. Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs…

28. Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

27. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he remphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’

26. Sollecito mentioned the defens’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).

25. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding

24. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.

23. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

22. The Carabinieri say that there are only a few governmental laboratories which have the 17025 certificate (the Carabinieri and the Police)

21. Nencini stops Dalla Vedova, points out that scientific community is international

20. Dalla Vedova tries to elicit that the good standards are not the Italian ones.

19. The RIS obtained the ISO9001 certificate in 2008, and a more specific certificate in 2012.

18. Bongiorno asks RIS to explain why two amplifications are recommended.

17. Prosecutor Crini asks if there are criteria to distinguish which labs or which experts are more competent.

16. Speaking about their software which allows to weight probabilities of attribution.

15. They note that three alleles which are ‘alien’ were drop off in one duplicate.

14. The biologic method has a ‘consensus’ interpretation and a ‘composite’ interpretation, two ways to interpret the double result.

13. They describe the methods employed, the ‘biologic’ method and the ‘statistic’ method.

12. Absence of any male trace stands out as a feature of the sample (all contributors are females)

11. They extracted two profiles in a duplicate in agreement with experts of all parties

10. Dr Berti says the sample was a low template. They have a strategy to obtain reliable results.

9. Points out that documentation says sample 36i comes from insertion of blade in the handle.

8. Dr. Berti summarizes the recovery of sample in Vecchiotti’s lab.

7. Bongiorno says Sollecito intends to release a spontaneous declaration. He will do that after the experts testimony.

6. Berti and Barni enter the court.

5. Many law students from the Florence school for Magistrates are in court to follow the hearing.

4. Sollecito had managed to enter the courtroom from side entrance eluding photographers. Carlo Torre arrives in court.

3. Giulia Bongiorno & Raff kiss each other. Giulia, Raff & Father have a worried discussion

2. I wonder… will the court withdraw his passport?

1. Raffaele Sollecito is in courtroom. Walking in empty room, few people waiting. Hearing will start 1/2h probably


Second Update

Tweets from Patricia Thomas (AP) and Sabina Castelfranco (AP)

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - Amanda Knox and I were very carefree and isolated in our love nest.

Sabina Castelfranco “@SCastelfranco:  Sollecito says he is not the assassin he has been described as. Says Amanda was his first love

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - I have been described as an assassin. Amanda Knox was my first real love in life

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito takes stand to make statement, starts complaining about media descriptions of himself


First Update

Tweets from Barbie Nadeau

35. Nov 25 - prosecution; 26 - civil; Dec 16 - Sollectio; 17 - Knox; Jan 9 - rebuttals, 10 deliberation and verdict

34. Dec. 16, 17 closing arguments for Knox and Sollecito

33. Judge closes hearing for day, says closing arguments begin Nov 25, 26, must find December dates to conclude

32. Sollecito finishes by thanking judges for their time, judge tells him he can intervene any time during rest of appeal until they deliberate

31. Sollecito says he hates the fame, how it has hurt him, how it isn’t fair

20. Sollecito says he has a difficult time looking for work, people associate him with the murder of meredith kercher

29. Sollecito says that even on his vacation in Dominican Republic, he had to defend himself like a public figure, his life is judged by all

28. Sollecito repeats twice that he never met Rudy Guede, how nothing in original trial was based on reality.

27. Sollecito takes trip down memory lane, highlights worst parts of trial and incarceration for him, has not mentioned meredith kercher yet

26. RaffaeleSollecito - I feel a persecution. It is a nightmare, beyond all imagination.

25. RaffaeleSollecito—close to tears as he testifies to court “I am fighting every day to bring out the truth” 

24. Jury totally transfixed by sollecito declaration, can’t take their eyes off him

23. Sollecito thanks and defends his family, calls amand knox his first love

22. Judge asks for Sollecito declaration now

21. Judge asks about relevance of kit they used, how old technology was, etc.

20. Judge asks what minimum testing is for validation of DNA, RIS says “at least two”

19. Judge tells Dallavedova he cannot put words in mouth of new expert that were said by previous experts, this is fresh analysis

18. Judge clarifies that RIS was not asked to reanalyze work that has been done, but to test a sample that has not been tested.

17. Dallavedova essentially kicks goal into own net, not doing amanda knox any favors by making RIS defend methods used in original conviction

16. Dallavedova manages to get RIS expert to defend Italian methods, says they are in line with global standards, this was crux of 1st appeal

15. DallaVedova asks about international protocol, backfires slightly b/c RIS expert says he doesn’t want to dis italian methods, are valid too

14. Bongiorno hammers point that international standards in DNA must be followed ([claims]they were not for meredithkercher sample on tip of knife)

13. Jury in new appeal trial for amanda knox; sollecito look totally lost, lots of daydreaming during DNA testimony, nail biting, looking around

12. Bongiorno asks RIS expert specifics of amplification of sample with an eye to trace with meredith kercher DNA that was amplified many times

11. Prosecutor asking for clarification on how samples are tested, how RIS experts are qualified, etc.

10. RIS: DNA testing as important to exclude suspects as to confirm them, in this case no question that amandaknox DNA is on knife, others’ not

9. RIS: testifying about international standards necessary to validate DNA, how they used in their examination of this particular spot on knife

8. Sollecito listening attentively and jotting notes as RIS expert testifies about the knife

7. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife (near handle) matched definitively the DNA of amandaknox in double tests

6. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife did not match meredith kercher or rudy guede or sollecito after double testing

5. RIS: Experts tested spot “H” [?] on the knife (the spot near the handle) for both the victim meredith kercher and suspect

4. RIS: DNA analysis showed no x chromosome, i.e.: no male chromosome in sample they tested on knife

3. RIS: essential in DNA testing to double test samples to validate results

2. RIS expert: explains technical details of testing DNA, how much is needed, how it is tested

1. Judge says he wants to hear from RIS experts first and then sollecito can give his declaration


Initial Post

Well, that first shot from the court at the top sure is a surprise, and maybe bad news for Amanda Knox. Where are Sollecito’s other lawyers, Bongiorno and Maori? Presumably they are off to the side talking. .

In tweets Andrea Vogt has mentioned that she is reporting for the BBC and the Associated Press TV; reporters cannot have bigger clients or more global reach than with those two. This is from Andrea Vogt’s website.

Court is now in session. Day will begin with RIS forensic debates. Raffaele Sollecito will make a statement later in the day.

Sollecito arrived in the Florence court of appeals looking relaxed and ready to make his case before the court later in the day. His father, Francesco Sollecito, also appeared visibly happy to have his son back in arms reach, after an extended stay in the Caribbean. A large number of his friends were in the audience.

Forensic experts for the defense Walter Patumi, Carlo Torre and Sarah Gino were also in attendance in preparation for debate on the new DNA evidence tested by the RIS in Rome, specifically, trace 36i on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. RIS say the DNA profile is that of Amanda Knox. Arguments today will mostly about how it might have gotten there, with prosecutors attempting to place it in the context of the murder and defense attorneys arguing it could have been transferred during normal domestic use of the utensil.

Next hearings are Nov. 25-26, with a verdict expected in mid-December.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell




Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty”. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  ” ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s “˜biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a “˜clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in “˜duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this ““ divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why DNA Test Results 6 November May Leave No Further Argument Over Knox And Sollecito Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]


The official results of the tests by the Carabinieri laboratory will be made public by Judge Nencini in court on 6 November.

The report and attachments are reported to be more than 100 pages long. Andrea Vogt has already warned that no assumptions should be made yet that we know the full story. But already for the defenses, matters do not look pretty.

    1) It sounds like the result of the DNA near the top of the blade (see images below) shows conclusively that it is another sample of Knox’s DNA. Given where the sample came from it could be blood DNA and add further proof to the notion that Knox was injured while struggling with Meredith.

    2) The low-copy-number amplification technique used was almost identical to that used by Dr Stefanoni to prove that it was Meredith’s DNA on the blade of the knife - actually that was a larger sample. Judge Massei’s court accepted this, Judge Hellmann’s consultants tried very hard to undermine it, and the Supreme Court ruled that they did not even come close.

Earlier this year, our main poster Fly By Night in a post worth re-reading explained just how conclusively the results of that first testing pointed to both Meredith and Knox.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment. As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.

In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.

However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

Dr Stefanoni’s testing of all the DNA from the crime scene was done in front of some defense observers. Those who were there saw her do nothing wrong. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

It looks as if the prosecution has now achieved a clean sweep of all of the of DNA testing. Meredith’s DNA on the lower blade of the knife seems even more conclusively a firm given, and so does Knox’s on the upper blade and the handle.

We are where we were back in 2008 before trial, where other defense lawyers might have suggested to their clients to select a trial of the short form type - the same choice that will see a somewhat penitent Guede out on work release in two years, no more.

But instead, their clients could now be facing life sentences for that bad choice.


Image: looking along the blade toward the handle, both sides of the knife




Here is an image showing the I trace in the location described in the post with credit to Iodine of PMF and the Case Wiki




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Meredith Case Wiki: A Highly Objective Summation Of The Case From Original Docs And Transcripts

Posted by James Raper





Some of our readers may not have noticed the new link to The Meredith Case Wiki to be found in the left hand column of this front page. I had not noticed it myself until recently.

This is an important link to a new website that is now a vital additional resource for those interested in understanding this case.

The website - The Murder of Meredith Kercher - is run by Edward McCall, with the assistance of other contributors, and TJMK is pleased to acknowledge and promote its distinctive and concise approach to presenting the facts of the case.

The site is modelled on the format of a page from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia.  As with a Wiki page it is easily navigable. The data presented under the various headings is the consequence of much research but it still remains a work in progress. Wherever possible the material used is referenced in footnotes.

It starts on the Main page with a Mission Statement and an Introduction to the case. It then considers the evidence and has a good section entitled Myths Debunked.

The reader can easily access significant court documents: the Massei Report, the Hellmann Report, the Galati Appeal and the Supreme Court of Cassation Motivations Report. There is an accessibly summary of the Matteini and Micheli Reports.

In particular, for the researcher, there is a most welcome section entitled Court Transcripts. Here can be found transcripts of witness testimony from the Massei and Hellmann trials, experts reports, and the various writings and testimony of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. At least that is to be the hope ultimately as there exist a good number of gaps at present.

Already some of the witness statements have been translated from Italian to English but there are a number of transcripts still to be translated. If there are any translators who would wish to help, please contact us and we shall be pleased to put your name forward.

McCall wishes to acknowledge the massive contribution made by True Justice for Meredith Kercher. TJMK has perforce grown organically and exponentially over the years and has accumulated a breadth and wealth of data, in-depth analysis and informed comment on the case which is unsurpassed on the internet, or indeed anywhere.

It will continue to do so and report developments until the conclusion of all aspects of the case.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Carabineri Labs Might Prove Fourth And Conclusive Scenario For The Mixed DNA Samples In The House

Posted by Peter Quennell





Lab work is believed to have continued today in the absence of the defense observers, and will continue on and off through to October 30th.

The defense observers may not have a further role at the laboratory. Most or all of the analysis leading to firm attributions of the DNA will be done by the Carabinieri team electronically.

It is that final attribution that the defenses are widely rumored to be so terrified of. That Knox’s DNA is there seems a given. The cliffhanger is whether Meredith’s DNA is there also.

Another possible mixed trace. If so it would be the sixth one.

Judge Massei did not arrive at a full scenario for how the five mixed blood traces at the crime scene could have been created. He described what was found by crime scene investigators and moved on.

After the 2009 Massei trial some further analysis was conducted. 

With great help from Luciano Garofano’s DNA chapter in Darkness Descending and Barbie Nadeau’s and Andrea Vogt’s excellent reporting, we posted a comprehensive update mid-2011.

The locations of the five mixed traces at the crime scene are as follows.

1. Bathroom near Meredith’s room:

  • On the drain of the bidet
  • On the Q-tip box located at the ledge of the sink
  • On the edge of the sink

Elsewhere in the apartment:

  • In a luminol-enhanced bare footprint in the hallway outside Kercher’s room
  • In a luminol-enhanced spot found in Filomena Romanelli’s room

Three sources for Knox’s blood have long been suggested: some bleeding from her ear, some bleeding from a possible nosebleed, some bleeding from the open scrape on her neck. .

All three of them could theoretically have been inflicted by Meredith as she struggled with the trio to save her life. None seem to explain why there were repeated MIXED traces.

That has remained a huge puzzle. But now we are looking at a fourth scenario: that Knox cut her hand with the top end of the blade as she stabbed at Meredith’s neck.

That could explain once and for all where Amanda Knox’s blood came from AND why it was mixed with Meredith’s blood. It happened right there.


[Click for larger image. Handle as from the blade direction. Sample is apparently from gap on sharp side.]


DNA Tests: Umbria24 Reporter Francesca Marruco Provides A Balanced Overview Of Possible Prospects

Posted by ziaK





It may be that today or any day this week a definitive analysis of the seeming mixed DNA sample appears from an authoritative source.

Perugia-based Francesca Marruco did a lot of careful balanced reporting from Perugia early in the case. She has excellent official sources. She suggests in this report that the world might have to wait for the last day in October (deadline for the labs to report their analysis) or 6 November (next scheduled court session) for the official bottom line.

This is my translation. I am Italy-based also.

Kercher trial: unconfirmed reports on Amanda’s DNA: The experts will lodge their report [their truth] on the 30th [October]

By Francesca Marruco

The “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife could have come from the American woman, however the data could lend itself to contrary interpretations. The sentence could arrive before 30 November.

In order to obtain the definitive results of the analyses that the carabinieri of the RIS in Rome are carrying out on the “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife which is considered to be the weapon with which Meredith Kercher was murdered, we will have to wait until 30 October - the day on which the experts appointed by the Assise Appeal Court of Florence will lodge their conclusions. Already on Friday, the day on which the analyses were begun in the experts’ laboratories, uncomfirmed reports began to be leaked concerning the origins of that tiny quantity of DNA.

These leaks would like to ascribe it [the DNA] to Amanda Knox, the American student who was initially convicted and subsequently acquitted for the homicide of her flatmate, Meredith. But there is, as yet, neither certainty nor officiality, and - as this long case has taught us - even in the presence of officiality, opposing interpretations may be formed. If, in fact, as is being rumoured, those tiny biological particles did actually belong to Amanda Knox, this information could be interpreted in many ways.

Opposing interpretations - The defence would hasten to say that since Amanda had spent time in Raffaele Sollecito’s house - where the knife was discovered - there would be nothing strange if her DNA were to be on the blade. Just as - and this, at least, has been clearly seen - Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle of the weapon. Its presence could be explained by any banal procedure in the kitchen.

And indeed, Knox’s own defence has always maintained that the highly-contested trace “H” - the other trace identified on the blade, and which according to some is Meredith’s DNA - is nothing more than potato starch.  Thus, Amanda would seemingly have left her trace on the knife while peeling potatoes.

Traces - It is very clear, however, that the Prosecution could claim that precisely that presence of Amanda’s DNA on the blade of the knife could be proof that Knox touched it. To peel potatoes, or to kill her flatmate Meredith, as the Prosecution holds? If it is confirmed, one can bet that the data [found by the RIS] will give rise to an “earthquake” and it will fall to the judges of the Florentine court to clear up the resuting debris.

On the other hand, they might decide not to consider it [the data] any more than the other elements [of evidence], since it effectively lends itself to a multiplicity of [possible] interpretations which cannot be confirmed at this point in time. Certainly, if that trace were that of the victim, Meredith Kercher, the proceedings might take a different direction, since there would then be two [traces] at that point, and not just one trace of the victim’s DNA which would have ended up on the blade of a knife which she never touched during her lifetime.

The certainties, or rather, the conclusions, of the experts will be lodged on 30 October. It is the 6th of November, however, which has been appointed for the hearing during which these results will be discussed before the Court and the parties.

Towards the verdict - Raffaele Sollecito may also be present in court on that date, as he announced via his lawyers, Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. Sollecito intends to make various spontaneous declarations in order to affirm once again his non-involvement in the barbarious murder of Meredith Kercher, for which only Rudy Hermann Guede is currently in jail, with a sentence of 16 years in prison which has been confirmed[by the Supreme Court]. 

After the hearing in which the results of the tests entrusted to the Rome RIS will be discussed, it is very probable that the trial will travel rapidly towards sentencing - the fifth sentence pronounced by an Italian court with regard to Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The Court President [leading judge], Alessandro Nencini, said during the first hearing that “this is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness. Over and above the media circus, is Court’s desire to give all parties the most space possible for discussion, because there was a very significant sentence/conviction originally.”

By November -  For this reason, “in order to obtain every possible factor for the matter we are trying here, the Court orders that the trace should be examined by the staff of the RIS in Rome”. The Florence Court’s sentence could thus arrive by the end of November, or at the latest by the end of the year. It is very unlikely that Amanda Knox will decide to be present at any of the hearings, and probably she will await the verdict in Seattle.

Perhaps the final word shall never be pronounced on the most Press-covered trial in Italian legal history. After this latest sentence, in fact, nothing prevents anyone from making further appeals to the Supreme Court.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one.

This has allowed for an extremely small court and prison system relative to the size of the population. These principles are now being adopted by of all places New York city.

At its apex is the very well-trained well-funded well-equipped national force, the Carabinieri, about which, in response to a claim that was stupid even by Sollecito’s standards, our main poster Yummi remarked:

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Quite possibly the police force with the highest popularity rating in the world. In a recent email about the Carabinieri, Yummi also added the following:

The Carabinieri are a very peculiar police corps. They are indeed a police corps, yet also are formally military; in fact, they have military battalions (elsewhere) and under all points of view they are an extreme elite-corps. As militariy they don’t answer directly to the government but to the President; and from their facilities, you may infer they are a pretty well-trained police force.

They have the popular respect that the US’s FBI would probably like to have. (The two forces do co-operate very closely, and in fact they permanently exchange officers to work on their numerous common cases.)

The only relationship prior to these lab tests of the Carabinieri to Meredith’s case was that Raffaele Sollecito’s sister Vanessa once worked there.

She lost her job for some seriously foolish moves and her appeal to get back in to the Carabinieri was a failure.

So. The Carabinieri. Of possible real significance now in Meredith’s case?

The Carabinieri report directly to the President of the Republic. The President is also the ultimate head of the justice system, deliberately so as set out in the constitution to keep murky politics at bay. He also is wildely popular.

Judge Nencini may be signaling that he wants Italy’s most respected institutions on the side of his verdict. And no more murky politics.











Friday, October 11, 2013

The Carabinieri Laboratories In North-Central Rome Where Now Two Different Samples Need Attribution

Posted by Peter Quennell




Third update

Italy-based freelance reporter Andrea Vogt has tweeted the following: Leaks suggest DNA on knife shows knox genetic profile, but there is another profile being studied. Too early to interpret

Second update

Excellent comment on PMF by the poster Hugo which explains how the balance hasn’t changed.

The song remains the same. The republic contends that Amanda Knox used that knife to murder Meredith Kercher. The knife has yielded the DNA of just two people: Knox, in a position which indicates that she was gripping it, and Meredith, in a position which indicates that she was stabbed with it.

The defence can easily claim that Knox’s trace results from normal culinary use (although Stefanoni said the handprint indicated an atypical stabbing grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the blunt edge of the blade, and not a normal culinary cutting grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the sharp edge).

The problem is Meredith’s DNA at the sharp end. ‘Independent court-appointed expert’ Carla Vecchiotti admitted on the stand that this could not have arisen from laboratory contamination.

Professor Christopher Halkides’ suggestion that the contamination occurred during collection, because Stefano Gubbiotti acquired Meredith’s ‘aerosol DNA’ on his clothing, when he was supposedly in the house the same day, almost a week after the murder, and thus transferred the DNA from his clothing to his fingers to his evidence-handling gloves to the knife when he took it from Finzi’s envelope and re-packaged it in a stationery box at the Questura, is self-evidently absurd, fanciful, fictional and completely outwith the realms of actual forensic science.

And it’s not in evidence anyway, so it’s not an option open to the court.

Plus the objection to low copy number DNA is an American superstition not recognised in Europe. Unusually, it’s a scientific area where the US lags well behind. So you get hillbillies like Bruce Budowle grumbling, ‘Cain’t rightly say what that there newfangled LCN is, but ah reckon ah’m agin it.’ You’ll recall that a British appeal court has found that Bruce Budowle hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about and also that, like Halkides, he tends to cite sources that don’t actually say what he says they say.

Knox is there on the hilt of the knife. And M is there near the point of the blade, and she’s trying to tell us something.

First update

The gap between the blade and handle of the knife was apparently widened to obtain the sample for the test. Sollecito lawyer Maori has claimed it is Amanda Knox’s. It is apparently adjacent to her previous trace.

If that is the case, the strength of the DNA evidence (which is very strong) remains unchanged. Dr Stefanoni identified Exhibit 36 on the blade as a strong trace of Merediith’s DNA. This was supported by various experts.

No contamination of that trace has ever been proved - or even a convincing contamination scenario put forward - and the video on top of the post below shows how the DNA charts for the sample and for Meredith totally match.

First post

Human DNA is widely reported in Italy to have been established from the sample never before tested on the large knife.

We may have to wait on an announcement from Judge Nencini in Florence as to whose DNA it is. That may not happen today.

These labs in the Carabinieri barracks are not far from the center of Rome. They are very well know to Italians because (images at bottom) “RIS” the Italian version of the show “CSI” is set there.



















Thursday, October 10, 2013

Testing Of The DNA Sample Starts Today Though Possibly No Results Announced Before 6 November

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. ViaDellaPergola’s video

That video from 2010 illustrates how the existing positive tests described in the Massei Report were crystal-clear; subsequently Hellmann, Zanetti, Conti and Vecchiotti (all now being investigated) so muddied the water.

2. From our short-form Massei Report

This is from Part Three of the four-part abbreviation of the Massei Report done by Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team in mid-2011.

Exhibit 36: The double DNA Knife

Exhibit 36 is a 31 cm long knife with a 17 cm blade and a dark handle.  It was seized from the kitchen cutlery drawer at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, located at 110 Corso Garibaldi in Perugia, on 6 November, 2007 when Chief Inspector Armando Finzi was ordered to perform a search of Sollecito’s residence.  This exhibit is important because “Sample 36b” taken from a scratch on the knife blade yielded Meredith Kercher’s biological profile.

After putting on gloves and shoe coverings, Finzi and his team entered the home.  They noted a strong smell of bleach.  Opening the cutlery drawer, they saw a big, “extremely clean” knife.  In Sollecito’s bedroom they found a second knife.  The knives were bagged and sealed.[106]

Exhibit 36 was carried back to the police station, where it was placed in a box for shipping to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome.  Dr. Stefanoni was the recipient of the box containing the knife in Rome.  All parties testified that standard procedures were followed to avoid the risk of contamination.

On 4 November, 2007, Meredith’s roommates Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Amanda Knox had been taken by the police to look at the knives in their kitchen at the apartment in Via della Pergola.  Personnel from the Questura reported Amanda’s “severe and intense emotional crisis, unlike [the reaction of] the other two girls”.[292]  This behavior was contrasted to Amanda’s behavior at Police headquarters two days earlier:

“This circumstance appears significant both in its own right and also when one considers that Amanda had never previously shown signs of any particular distress and emotional involvement (in the Police headquarters, on the afternoon of November 2, Meredith’s English girlfriends, Robyn Carmel and Amy Frost in particular, according to their declarations, had been surprised by the behaviour of Amanda, who did not show emotions).”[292]

Investigators’ attention was alerted to the Exhibit 36 knife because of Amanda’s inconsistent behavior.  Later, police overheard a jail conversation between Knox and her parents on 17 November, when Knox said, “I am very, I am very worried about this thing with the knife ... because there is a knife of Raffaele’s ...”.[292]

Exhibit 36 thus became a central piece of trial evidence.  The debate would subsequently be focused on two issues: The compatibility of the knife with the large stab wound in Meredith’s neck; and the reliability of the DNA analysis.

Considering the first of these points, although the knife blade is 17 cm long, the depth of the larger wound is just 8 cm .  This “discrepancy” was the basis of defense efforts to discredit the knife as a murder weapon. The compatibility of the Exhibit 36 knife and the larger of Kercher’s wounds is addressed by Professor Bacci (see p. 121 of the Massei report).    Professor Norelli maintains that “it is not said that a blade is always embedded (plunged into) the target right up to the handle; the blade may also go (in) only to a certain portion of its length, and not right up to its end”.[126] 

It is noted that the movements of the victim may have played a part in determining the depth of the cuts.  “If I insert a centimeter of the blade into the victim and the victim suddenly moves towards me, how much of the blade will be driven inside the body surface area is absolutely unpredictable and depends on the action of both”.[129]  Alternatively, the blade of the knife might have met an obstacle. The cutting action is described on p. 146 and again starting on p. 152.

Defense witness Dr. Patumi disputed the compatibility of the wounds with said knife, arguing that a blade of 17 cm length could not have caused a cut 8 cm deep; see p. 156-157.  However, the Court rejected “the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36”, holding this thesis to be “unacceptable” .[172]

Regarding the second point ““ that of the DNA analysis ““ Dr. Stefanoni was the responsible expert at the crime lab in Rome. Although no biological traces were visible to the naked eye on the face of knife blade, Dr. Stefanoni perceived scratches - “anomalies in the metal’ - on the blade when rotating the blade under strong lighting.  The streaks were:

“... visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible.”[196]

Sample 36b was taken from one of these points on the blade.  The genetic profile of Meredith Kercher was identified from this sample. Stefanoni presented charts to the court, showing the DNA profile: she noted “that the peaks were a bit low, but that without doubt were still within the range that is considered useful for testing a specimen (page 108). Although of a much lower quantity of DNA, the profiles were nonetheless very present and, by making a comparison with Meredith’s profile, Dr. Torricelli reported that “šwe find all the alleles, and we find them to be equal to those obtained from the swab taken, from the sample taken from the wound. Therefore in this case too, without doubt”› -she continued- “šalthough we are confronted with a sample that contains very little DNA, it nonetheless contains the DNA of only one person and is therefore comparable to Meredith’s; with regard to this knife, I would say I have no doubt in interpreting it: specimen A with Amanda’s profile and specimen B with the profile, compatible with that of Meredith.”[231-32] However, the amount of DNA was small and it was all used up in order to run a single test.

The defense objected that it was impossible to evaluate whether the actual nature of Sample 36b specimen: 

“.. when we have a small amount of DNA we talk about low copy number DNA, and that when this type of DNA is present, we are indeed able to carry out our amplification and obtain a profile, but we must remember that we may have lost one of the alleles, we may have an allelic imbalance ... it becomes very difficult to distinguish from a real allele, so that when working on ...  small quantities of genetic material, it is necessary to be very cautious in interpreting the results.”[237]

To this point, Dr. Stefanoni argued that it is preferable “to know to whom a biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that specimen, without attributing it to anyone.”[288]

Furthermore, it was argued by the defense that the quantity of DNA was too low to be able to perform the tests and consider the results reliable.  Given a low amount of DNA, the risk of contamination is high - particularly given the very numerous number of samples being analyzed.
 
The court rejected the possibility of contamination because no anomalies were ever identified in the Polizia Scientifica’s analytical process. The Prosecutor pointed out that all tests had been carried out in the presence of a lawyer/consultant for the defense - who had raised no objections during the testing.  The possibility of contamination during the collection of evidence was rejected based on a detailed consideration of the collection process.

Thus, the DNA from Meredith which was found on that knife cannot be traced back to any contamination occurring in the house in which it was found, or to the method of acquisition of the knife on the part of Finzi, or even to the collection and dispatch methods used by Gubbiotti. In addition, as has been said, that such contamination could have been carried out by the laboratory is also ruled out.[266]

In addition, Dr. Stefanoni testified that she did have the biological profile of the defendants, but did not employ them while interpreting the electrophoresis diagrams. Nevertheless, the Massei report judges that:

“... the main criticisms advanced by the defense concerned precisely this very small DNA quantity, and it raised the question of the reliability of the result obtained.”[288]

To this central point, Dr. Stefanoni:

“Regarding the too low quantity of DNA, Dr. Stefanoni declared, as has been seen, that even in the case of a particularly scanty amount of material, the analysis and evaluation should be performed, and she added that, if the data that emerges is absolutely readable and interpretable and the correct laboratory practice was followed, the result is reliable and there is no reason to repeat the test.

“It does not follow ... that the data is unusable and unreliable as a consequence of a lack of repetition due to a lack of further quantities of DNA. It is necessary, instead, to take account of the data that emerges from such a specimen and to check for the ““ possible ““ presence of other elements, both circumstantial and inherent to the data itself that, despite the lack of repetition of the analysis, could allow an evaluation of the reliability of the analysis and of its outcome.”[289]

The court concluded that the biological profile that resulted from the 36B DNA analysis ...

“... gave a biological profile attributable to the person who was mortally wounded with that very knife: a result, therefore, that was entirely reasonable and consistent with the event; [it was] certainly not explainable as a mere coincidence, and it must be ruled out ““according to what has already been observed in this regard - that it could have originated from contamination or from the use of a suspect-centric method.”,[290] and that

“”¦. it should therefore be affirmed that the analysis of trace 36B, which detected the presence DNA attributable to Meredith, appears to be completely reliable.”[293]


3. TJMK posts on the latest DNA science

1. Poster Fy By Night:  The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

2. The Machine A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Extremely Rattled

4. Sollecito tries to wind back the “pricked” claim

Our lawyer SomeAlibi recently explained how.

5. Andrea Vogt posts possible scenarios.

Scroll down to UPDATE OCT. 9, 2013 An excellent weighting of the possibilities.

The DNA could be Meredith’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. It could be Rudy Guede’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. Or it could be neither (or untestable) which would nt neccessarily affect the outcome. .


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Appeal Session #1(B) Detailed Report On Enquiries The Court Has Okayed

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above the two co-judges with lead judge Allessandro Nencini reading the case history]

Translation From The Umbria24 website

Meredith, war of requests in the first hearing of the 2nd Appeal

The court has order a new test on the I trace and on the hearing of the witness Luciano Aviello. Rejected all other requests

By Francesca Marruco

After a little over 2 hours in its counsel chambers the Florence Court of Appeals has decided to ordered a new test on the (I) trace evidence of the knife seized in Raffaele Solecitto’s apartment, the weapon presumed to have been used in the murder.

The Court has also decided to hear the witness Luciano Aviello and rejected all the other requests of renewal of investigations presented by the defense. The Court returns on Friday with Aviello and the provision of the task of the new genetic analysis to the Carabinieri del Ris of Rome.

[The appeal] started this morning in the maxi courtroom no. 32 of the Florence Justice Courthouse, the new trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, after the annulment of the acquittal by the Supreme court. Present in the courtroom was only Patrick Lumumba.

Absent, as expected, were the two accused Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

- 9:00 Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele,  says he is tranquil about the outcome of the new trial. Responding to the journalists, he specified “The statement of the Supreme Court is compromised by errors committed because the judges did not have full assess to all of the proceedings, as they themselves specified,”

- 9:45 The defense of Knox and Sollecito have asked for the exclusion of the Patrick Lumumba (civil) part because the conviction of Amanda for calunnia has already been passed into final sentence.

This request was opposed by the General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, and the lawyer of Lumumba. For them the plaintiff’s civil right is legitimate, as the Supreme Court, has asked to re valuate the penalty, in order to obtain the impunity.

The Court retired in counsel chambers to decide and announced it wanted to decide today on the reopening of the investigation.

- 10:15 The court rejects the request of the defense of Knox and Sollecitto to exclude the civil part of Patrick Lumumba, because the Court specifies that, among other things, the offense was not assessed in the totality by the first court.

- 10.50 The President of Court of Appeals, Allessandro Nencini, is initiating the introductory report. Starting from the day of Meredith’s homicide. The judge traveled trough the most important passages of the three Courts. Speaking of the (I) trace, isolated by the consultants of the second Court on the knife (considered the weapon of the crime by the first Court) President Nencini said:” It necessary to underline that the independent consultants had found another trace but it was not analyzed”.

- 11:15 The President of the Court Nencini, at the end of the introductory report, said: ” This is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness, beyond the spectacularization, there is the willingness of the Court to give all of the possible space for debate to all of the parties, because in origin there was a important verdict and the actions for which we proceed are of undeniable seriousness”

- 11.25 Raffaele Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Buongiorno was the first to take the floor.

“Sollecito’s defense does not ignore the motivations of the Cassazione, and we are in favor of any kind of verification that the Court will order, with the following caveats. This proceeding has always been based on two types of evidences, the testimonial and technical.  We request that during this proceeding, we hope to be the last one, that the Court during the next hearings will concentrate only on the truly reliable evidences, putting aside the ones that are not nullified by the fact that it is a media proceeding.

Many witness have said things because they have read them or heard to them. So the proceeding was reopened,but not to collect this type of guesswork. We do not want to inflate this proceeding with new conjectures. We request to examine in depth the crime seen, as pointed out by the Cassazione.  In the crime scene room there are copious traces of two of the four presumably present persons, Rudy Guede that admitted to have been there, and none of the two indicted, except on the hook of the victim’s bra.

When the Prosecutor asserts that there are no traces because Amanda and Raffaele cleaned them, we think that it is impossible. For this reason we request to have a evaluation done in order to verify if it is possible to clean selectively”. “The Cassazione mistake has been that it didn’t noticed the entry in the crime scene room before the bra hook was found , so we request the acquisition of two reports. 

We want to understand if in a sealed place it is possible to get evidence even after the admission by the police of other searches .  We do not request to get the hook and to say that it is contaminated, I want to know if in that environment it was possible to collect some genuine evidences, because on the crime scene there were not ten traces of Raffaele but only that one”. 

A subordinate request by Giulia Buongiorno requests that experts , new ones or the ones of the second trial, will read the electropherograms.  Buongiorno requests even the analysis of both of Meredith Kercher cell phones that she consider the “black box” of the crime and that ” was never analyzed deep enough except from the Corte d’Assise di Perugia” The defense requests also the analysis of the presumed sperm trace on Meredith’s pillowcase.

- 12.15   Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Della Vedova takes the floor and lifts up right away an exception to the Constitution.  “Are we today able to judge on matters that happened six years ago? Can a person be under proceeding for life? Are we sure that Amanda Knox is an accused as all the others. It is right for an indefinite postponement of this proceeding? For all of this I insist that the Court evaluate the constitutionality”

- 13.00 Kercher family’s lawyer produced a letter written by the family members of Meredith that read “We are confident that the evidences will be reexamined and all the requests of more evidences will be granted, in a way that all the unanswered questions well be clarified and that the Court can decide on future way of action in this tragic case. The past six years have been the most difficult of our lifes and we want find an end and remember Meredith as the girl that she really was rather than remember the horror associated with her”.

-14.00 The General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini says he is against the request of the defense to hear anew from some witnesses, including Rudy Hermann Guede. The same judgment Crini used for the major part of the requests of the opening introductory presented by the defense. In conclusion, he asked for the the addition of the evaluation of the “I” trace, isolated by the independent experts, but never analyzed because it was believed to be a Low Copy Number. Furthermore the prosecutor asks that the witness Aviello be reheard.

-15:00 The lawyers of the civil part that represent the Kercher family adheres to the request of the General Prosecutor Crini, opposing the requests of the defense.  ” I ““ said the lawyer Francesco Maresca believe that one attempts to dress, with a new dress, evidence that are strong, resistant, and robust from the sentence of the first court and that where minimized by the second court. For example, the witness Capezzali.

Also there are newly dressed certain requests that are obsolete, that have already been done. Like the one of selective cleaning. In the bathroom next to the room of the crime, there were many mixed traces of DNA of Amanda and blood of Meredith. And if the genetic profile of Sollecito, besides the bra hook,  is present only mixed with that of, Amanda on a cigarette butt,  that was found; then how did it migrate, only that one,  from the cigarette butt to the bra hook”?

- 15:10 The defense of Raffaele Sollecito adheres to the request to analyze the “I” trace, but opposes that hearing the witness Luciano Aviello. Buongiorno also pointed out that it is not true that the independent experts of the second court decided automatically to not analyze certain traces, but did so in the presence of the defense experts Stefanoni and Novelli and those of the defense.  Carlo Dalla Vedova, for Knox defense said that Avelio will be heard only to demonstrate that the Police uses two different weights. Like when Avelio said he knew where the crime weapon was.

- 15.30 The Court retires in council chamber and announced that will not come out before 17.30

Thereafter the court convened again and the decisions were as outlined in the post below this one. Almost all of what the defense had argued - each of them a stretch if you know the full circumstances - was denied. 

And the two main requests from the prosecution - that Aviello be put back on the stand and the large knife be retested - were accepted. Ourcomes of these may or may not add to the strength of the prosecution’s case, but seem to offer no prospects of joy for the defenses.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Questions For Sollecito: Why So Many Contradictory Explanations Of How DNA Got On The Knife?

Posted by SomeAlibi





It is no secret (except seemingly to him) that Sollecito’s book and web postings will once again land him in court.

This trial will be separate from the main appeal though the prosecution office will be the same. It will be for alleged contempt of the court in serially mis-stating the evidence and accusing many officials of crimes in an attempt to get public opinion to lean heavily on the courts. 

The Amanda Knox brigade has been trying that too, and look at how well that is working out!

Here is one seemingly perfect example of how Sollecito (finally responding to the pressures and pleas of his discombobulated lawyers?) may be trying to wind things back. You will recall that news of the discovery of a large knife in his kitchen drawer with Meredith’s DNA on it was related to Sollecito while he was in his prison cell, just over two weeks after the murder.

As much as the news initially panicked him, shortly thereafter on November 18th, 2007, he seemed relieved to have realised how Meredith’s DNA could have come to be on his kitchen knife after a session of, in his written words, “thinking and remembering”. He wrote in his diary:

The fact that there is Meredithʹs DNA on the kitchen knife is because on one occasion, while we were cooking together, I, while moving around at home {and} handling the knife, pricked her hand, and I apologized at once but she was not hurt {lei non si era fatta niente}. So the only real explanation for that kitchen knife is this one.

And that was it: Raffaele had “fortunately” remembered how he had “pricked” Meredith’s hand and that explained the DNA. He remembered it in precise detail - thank heavens for that!

The problem for Raffaele was that he didn’t know at this stage that the DNA was in a microscopic groove on the blade and not on the tip. The story made no sense. Worse, he was also flatly contradicted by the flatmates, the friends and even Amanda: he had never been cooking with Meredith and his story was therefore impossible as well as implausible. And since he was a murder suspect, the memories and all their specificity which would have given him an alibi for the DNA, became highly suspicious.

Unfortunately, Raffaele chose to remain silent thereafter and never testified, as was his right, at his trials.

Subsequently there were many months of Team Knox-Sollecito denying that Raffaele meant Meredith, in contradiction of all plain logic when reading the simple words in his diary. No, said the online apologists, in fact he meant Amanda’s hand and in some way he had thought that maybe Meredith’s DNA had been on Amanda and could have transferred. It wasn’t his fault that his theory was wrong, it was just an honest memory of being with Amanda and nothing suspicious at all.

On Twitter on September 22nd, Raffaele decided, probably unwittingly as is his wont, to blow that theory up. He was asked about the diary entry by Twitter user MK @santamariaxx and responded thus:

He replied as in the image above.

So, he didn’t really mean Amanda at all (thank-you for all the wasted hours of excuse making for Raffaele to those protagonists of that particular theory), but now we learn it was a false memory about Meredith that never happened.

But let’s unpick this because it’s far from a single mis-remembered sentence or action. This was a contemporaneous diary entry made barely two or three weeks after such a cooking event could have happened and it was a multi-faceted event with multiple actions. He was clear and precise about what happened in detail. Now, he is quite clear the whole thing never happened:

    1. He said he was cooking together with Meredith - but that never happened

    2. He recalled himself “moving about” during the cooking session - but that never happened

    3. He remembered the location “at home” - but was never there in this context

    4. He remembered putting a knife that he was holding into / onto Meredith’s hand - but that never happened

    5. He remembered actively apologizing to Meredith for that clumsy act - but that never happened

    6. He remembered the act of them examining Meredith’s hand and mutually discovering that she had not been hurt - but that never happened

    7. He remembered that this was the real explanation of the kitchen knife - but it never happened

Sollecito was on his own in a cell, not under interrogation, and spending time “thinking and remembering” on November 18th. What he remembered, in detail, was a multi-part sequence of events with a girl who had been murdered barely two weeks before. He remembered the minutiae of what happened and its sequence when he believed he needed to provide an alibi for the identification of the DNA on his knife.

None of Amanda Knox’s vagueness about these memories - they were particular and specific in the finest detail. So fine and specific that when he was caught out that this could not have happened, those details looked highly like someone seeking to convince precisely because of the particularity of the details. It was in the time-honoured form: “no, no - it definitely happened, because I specifically remember”..... 7 distinct and separate memories and the sequence in which they occured.

But all those things never happened according to Raffaele Sollecito in 2013.

Knox and Sollecito have never stopped the self-serving lies and flat contradictions of themselves. Not now, even after all this time, even after one them is permanently stained as, at a minimum, a convicted liar who criminally tried to frame a man for murder. Sollecito, “not hiding” in his secret location, can’t stop either. Little good it will do either of them. Finally, justice is coming and the lies will be at end. I’d almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn’t then and remains now, an inveterate liar without the honour to face justice in the country of his birth.


Friday, August 09, 2013

How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

  • According to multiple witnesses at the police station, Knox said she was the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. Knox wasn’t in a position to have seen anything when the door was kicked in.

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement”¦. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr Finzi testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.


Monday, August 05, 2013

A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Rattled

Posted by The Machine


F
[Above: DNA professional Professor David Balding; at bottom, DNA amateurs Barras and Halkides]


The Supreme Court has already shown strong disdain for the myriad dirty tricks of the defense forces, and legal action is building against them (see our post next week).

That the defense forces in this context attempt to put out even more misleading information seems a sure sign that their backs are to the wall, and that they will risk anything to again tilt the playing field. 

Colin Barras

“Software says Amanda Knox’s DNA wasn’t at crime scene”  This highly misleading header appeared above an article by Colin Barras on the New Scientist website last month.

It should be pointed out that Colin Barras isn’t a DNA expert. He has never been involved in a forensic investigation. He has never provided expert testimony in a court case. He is simply a freelance British science writer with degrees in geology, palaeobiology and palaentology - the palaentology of Jurassic sea urchins.

Barras explains in his article that Professor David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, has developed new software for interpreting Low Template DNA evidence.

This is true. However, Barras then goes on to make the following claim:

Using the software on data from Knox’s trial suggests that it was very unlikely that her DNA was at the crime scene.

In fact Professor Balding and his software suggested nothing of the sort. Professor Balding was referring specifically to an incomplete DNA profile on Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp which has never been at much issue.

He did not refer to all the other DNA evidence that was collected at the crime scene and presented as evidence in court.

It’s important to clarify what this crime scene actually is, because the defense forces of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito constantly move the goalposts in relation to this case depending on who they are talking about.

When they talk about the evidence against Knox and Sollecito, their version of the crime scene is strictly limited to Meredith’s room. When they discuss the evidence against Guede, their version of the crime scene includes other rooms in the cottage i.e. the other bathroom and the hallway. And when they discuss the collection of the DNA evidence, their version of the crime scene suddenly includes the flat downstairs, even though no crime was committed there.

According to Wikipedia “A crime scene is a location where a crime took place (or another location where evidence of the crime may be found), and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators (CSIs) or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists.”

The Scientific Police from Rome and the Forensic Police from Perugia clearly regarded most of the cottage as a crime scene. The Forensic Police from Perugia catalogued potential evidence by placing letters and numbers in different rooms in the cottage. (The Massei report, p200).

The Scientific Police then collected DNA and forensic evidence from Meredith’s room, Amanda Knox’s room, the hallway, the kitchen, the blood-spattered bathroom, the other bathroom which was used by Filomena and Laura and Filomena’s room where the break-in was allegedly staged. That’s a total of seven rooms.

And the Scientific Police didn’t actually claim at the trial that the incomplete profile on the bra clasp belonged to Amanda Knox. It was Sollecito’s forensic expert Professor Vinci who claimed that Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra. His findings were presented in court at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in 2008.

So Colin Barras has used a straw-man argument. He has completely ignored the six pieces of DNA evidence that place Amanda Knox at the crime scene on the night of the murder.

According to the prosecution’s experts, Amanda Knox’s blood was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mixed together in a bare bloody footprint which was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found on the floor in Filomena’s room.

Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of Sollecito’s kitchen knife and a number of forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Greg Hampikian and Elizabeth Johnson - have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory. Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

The knife is still in evidence and remains compelling evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Ominously for Knox and Sollecito, the Supreme Court explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

The burden of proof is on the person who asserts contamination, not the person who denies it.

In other words, if the defence lawyers claim the DNA evidence was contaminated, they must describe the specific place and time where it could have plausibly occurred.

Nobody has ever proved that the bra clasp and knife evidence were contaminated and it’s difficult to see how the defence lawyers’s experts are going to do this at the new appeal.

Chris Halkides

Chris Halkides is one of Amanda Knox’s most effusive supporters. He has pontificated extensively about the case on his blog View from Wilimington and on other Internet websites.

On 30 July, he was finally prompted to post an interview with Professor Balding done some months previously. I suspect Halkides had been very keen to interview Professor Balding after reading Colin Barras’ article on the New Scientist website; but was holding back on posting it because it went against his own claims.

Indeed,  his interview has turned out to be quite a slap in the face for the Friends of Amanda and Colin Barras, because Professor Balding categorically described the DNA evidence against Sollecito to Halkidis as “strong”.

It’s worth summarising Professor Balding’s impressive academic record which for this case is topnotch, perhaps the best .

He is currently the Chair of Statistical Genetics at University College in London. He has a first-class honours degree and a PhD in Mathematics. And he has written many journal articles and co-authored a number of books on a range of topics.

This is apparently the whole of Chris Halkides’ interview with Professor Balding:

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013

An interview with David Balding

Part 36 in the Knox/Sollecito case

Professor David Balding recently published an analysis of the bra clasp DNA.  It may be helpful to explain some terms found in this article.  John Butler (Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing) defines the likelihood ratio (LR) as “The ratio of the probabilities of the same event under different hypotheses, and he explains that the prosecution’s hypothesis is usually the numerator, and the defense’s hypothesis is usually the denominator.  A ban is a unit of expressing the weight of evidence (WoE).  This scale is logarithmic; a likelihood ratio of three bans is equal to one thousand.  Some months ago Dr. Balding was kind enough to answer some of my questions about this work.

Does Raffaele Sollecito¹s DNA fall into the category of low template DNA, and if so, should two separate amplifications have been run?

There’s no strict definition of “low-template” but broadly yes the peaks associated with Sollecito are low (but not those associated with Kercher, they are high).  Conti-Vecchiotti discuss a threshold of 50 rfu below which a peak should not be relied on; in the UK, that threshold was used in the past but nowadays as techniques have improved the threshold is often lower, 25 or 30. 

However that doesn’t matter here as all the peaks associated with Sollecito are well above 50: there is a 65, a 70 and a 98, all the 26 other peaks are above 100.  So it is not extremely low template - many low-template cases are successfully prosecuted in the UK even when some peaks fall below the threshold and so are discounted.  In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.

Replication is generally a good thing and is nowadays done in most cases in my experience, but not all - one problem is that replication splits the sample and so can increase the chance of not getting a usable result.  But although replication is desirable it is not essential.  (In a sense there already is replication, because each of the 15 loci is an independent test.) 

This is all a matter of weight of evidence, which Conti-Vecchiotti paid no attention to: if you measure the weight of evidence properly, that accounts for the extra assurance that comes from replication and gives a stronger result (or conversely gives a weaker result if there is not replication).  But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 15 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, so 15 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong even allowing for the additional uncertainty due to non-replication.

Are there contributors other than Raffaele Sollecito and Meredith Kercher to the autosomal profiles?  If so, how does the presence of this additional DNA affect the bra clasp as evidence?

Yes, Conti-Vecchiotti identified a further 12 above-threshold peaks at alleles that could not have come from Sollecito or Kercher.  They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.  That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses. 

There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.  This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.

Are there contributors to the Y-STR profile other than Raffaele Sollecito?  If so, how does the presence of this DNA affect our interpretation of the bra clasp as evidence?

I haven’t looked closely at the Y evidence - there seems no need for it because the autosomal evidence is overwhelming for the presence of DNA from Sollecito.  But from a look at Conti-Vecchiotti, it seems to back up the conclusion from the autosomal profiles: Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.

The bra clasp was collected about 47 days after the murder, and it was found in a different location from where it was initially observed.  In the interim many people entered the cottage and items from her room were removed.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence?

The only worry would be if somehow DNA from Sollecito was brought into the room and deposited on item 165B.  I don’t know enough about what happened to say if that was likely but I’d guess that people walking in and out of the room etc would be unlikely to do that.

The clasp was collected with gloves that were not clean, not with disposable tweezers (videos here and here).  The glove was handled by more than one person.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence? If not, should the clasp be given less weight as evidence because of them?

Same comment - the only concern is if any of this could have transferred DNA from Sollecito onto item 165B.

Would you care to comment on the storage of the clasp after the forensic police tested it?

I know nothing about it.

Did you analyze the electronic data files?  Did you examine the laboratory¹s own protocols and machine logs?

I have only seen the epgs for the autosomal DNA profiles of 165B.  There is an unclear version of them in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, but Prof Vecchiotti kindly provided me with a clean set.

Did you examine the negative controls?

No

Fellow main poster Stilicho highlighted the most important conclusions from this interview on the PMF Forum where the quality of the DNA discussion is very informed.

The interview contains a few things that have been vigorously denied by the FOA:

The 50 RFU level is not sacred or inviolable.

It is improbable that Sollecito’s DNA got there by secondary transfer or by contamination.

The likelihood that the DNA on the bra clasp is Sollecito’s DNA is “overwhelming”.

...the interview doesn’t contain anything not already known to both sides but it contains several key elements that are not accepted by both sides.

Chris Halkides asked two-part leading questions and didn’t get the answers that would be needed to continue to falsely assert that Sollecito’s DNA is not abundant on the clasp or that, if it was there, it likely got there by some other route.

All the other inferences about environmental contamination are irrelevant to Balding’s main point: it is Sollecito’s DNA on that clasp and it didn’t get there by accident.

Final Thoughts

Some credit must go to Chris Halkides for finally posting the interview with Professor Balding even though it categorically said the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong. I’m not sure he’ll be invited to any FOA events in the future.

Shame though on Colin Barras, for writing such a misleading article, and for using a straw man argument to highly misrepresent the DNA evidence against Amanda Knox which was then deliberately fed to the Italian media.

He completely ignored the six pieces of evidence that place her at the crime scene on the night of the murder. He also completely ignored the most important of Professor Balding’s findings.  ie that the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong.

This finding implicates Knox and places her at the crime scene when Meredith was killed, and makes a mockery of Barras’s headline that suggested otherwise.


[Below: the wannabe crime-scene DNA experts Colin Barras, left, and Chris Halkides, right]


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How The Clean-Up And The Locked Door Contribute To The Very Strong Case For Guilt

Posted by James Raper





On the 30th September the appeals of Amanda Knox and Raffele Sollecito against the convictions they received at the first instance trial will resume, this time in Florence.

This follows the annulment by the Supreme Court of the acquittal verdicts rendered by the Appeal Court presided over by Judge Pratillo Hellmann. There is one conviction not under appeal. This is Knox’s conviction for calunnia, which is now definite.

They are therefore both currently convicted of murder and sexual assault, and a number of lesser charges, amongst which there is the simulation of a burglary “to ensure impunity for themselves from the felonies of murder and sexual assault, attempting to attribute the responsibility for them to persons unknown who penetrated the apartment to this end”.

There is one activity, for which there is evidence, with which they were not charged (perhaps either because it was redundant or not a criminal offence) though this was likewise to ensure impunity for themselves.

This is the partial clean up at the cottage and it is this with which I intend to deal. I want to highlight salient observations which have been under discussion here and elsewhere and some of which may be well known to readers, but perhaps some not, or have been forgotten about. Once again, in many cases, I am merely a conduit for the observations of others, not least the first instance trial judge Giancarlo Massei.

So let”˜s consider the observations and in doing so we can also throw some more light on the lone wolf theory.

1. Take a look at the bloody footprint

This is, of course, the bloody footprint on the bathmat in the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s room. 





The heel of the right foot, if it had blood on it, is missing from where it should be on the tiled floor. It is difficult to imagine, given that the imprint of the foot on the mat is contiguous with the edge of the mat, that there was not at least some blood on the remainder of the foot such that there must have been at least some blood deposited on the floor.

Just as difficult to imagine that casual shuffling about on the bathmat would have removed the blood so as to render it “invisible” to the use of luminol.

Of equal relevance is that there were no connecting bloody footprints.  Why not?

The defences have an improbable theory -  that Guede, despite his homicidal rage, was smart enough to hop about on his left foot with a clean shoe on, and the other bare but covered in blood, and that having by this means entered the bathroom and washed his bloody right foot, disastrously leaving his (supposed) imprint there in the process, he then returned to Meredith’s bedroom inadvertently standing in blood with his left shoe and leaving with a trail of bloody left shoe prints -  in which case the exercise of washing his foot was entirely in vain, on two counts, after all that careful hopping around.

Neither is it entirely clear why his right shoe came off in the first place.

It is far more probable that the inevitable bloody prints were deliberately and carefully removed. The reason for doing this was not just to conceal who would have made them (the print on the bathmat was, after all, left in situ) but, from a visual perspective, to conceal any blood that might be noticeable and alarming to anyone approaching Meredith’s room. Guede’s bloody shoeprints in the corridor were visible but only on close inspection.

2. Take a look at the bathroom door

Specifically the internal (hinge) side of the bathroom door. Take a look at this photograph.





We see a long streak of dried blood.  Clearly the blood has flowed some distance under the influence of gravity and we can see that it looks slightly diluted, with red corpuscles gathering towards the tip of the streak. A drip of that size does not appear from nowhere.

Indeed it is difficult to imagine how the blood got there unless it was part of a larger area of blood which most likely was on the face of the door and which was swiped to the right and over the edge of the face of the door. The cloth or towel used to do this was wet accounting for the slight dilution and length of the streak.

3. Take a look at Meredith’s door

It is interesting, is it not, that there is blood on the inside but not on the outside? The outside:





And the inside:





It is difficult to see how and why Guede touched the inside handle with a bloody hand (was it shut and if so, why?) and then closed the door to lock it without leaving a trace on the outside face of the door. Possibly he might have changed hands. The answer might also be that he visited the bathroom to wash his hand as well as his foot, save that none of his DNA was recovered from the spots and streaks of diluted blood in the washbasin, whereas Knox’s DNA was. All the more surprising given that Guede shed his DNA in Meredith’s room.

We see some blood on the edge of the door which again might be the remnant of a trace on the outside face.

4.  Take a look at Amanda Knox’s lamp.

This was found inside Meredith’s room behind the door. Meredith also had a similar lamp which was resting on it’s base on the floor by her bedside table.

The presence and location of Knox’s lamp is obviously suspicious. Had Meredith borrowed Amanda’s lamp because her own was not working, then it would not have been in the position it was found but on or more likely knocked over and lying beside the bedside table since the violence appears to have been concentrated in that area of the room. 

Had Meredith’s lamp been on the bedside table then likewise it too would most likely have been knocked over in her life and death struggle with her sole assailant (there are blood streaks on the wall just above) and it would not have ended up sitting upright on it’s base.

Both lamps were probably used to check the floor of Meredith’s room after the event and Knox’s lamp was probably sitting upright until it was knocked over by the door being forced open.

This is Meredith’s lamp by the bedside table.





And this is Knox’s lamp by the foot of the bed.




5. Take a look at what luminol revealed

We can state with confidence that luminol (extremely sensitive to and typically used to identify blood that has been wiped or washed away) discovered :-

(a) three bare footprint attributable to Knox, one in her bedroom and two in the corridor, and

(b) two instances of the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox, one in Filomena’s bedroom and one in the corridor.

(c) a footprint attributed to Sollecito in the corridor.

I have covered a number of elements strongly suggesting that there was at least a partial clean up, not of “invisible DNA” as the Groupies like to mock, but of what would have probably in some cases have been noticeable deposits of blood that would have attracted the eye of anyone entering the cottage and which would certainly have alarmed the observer as being difficult to explain.

Spots of and footprints in blood, not just in the bathroom but outside it, a locked bedroom door with blood on it, and a bathroom door with blood on it’s face.

We can include Knox as one such observer given her e-mail account of having allegedly stopped by the cottage to have a shower and collect some clothing before the discovery of the body. Such physical evidence - had it not been removed - would not have sat easy with that account, however dizzy and naïve Knox presents herself. One can envisage Knox thinking “sorted” - that her story would now work perfectly.

Even so, there were elements that were overlooked, such as Knox’s blood on the washbasin faucet and blood generally in the small bathroom, but a door can be closed and at least these were elements amenable to some form of explanation from her perspective, whether or not convincing, as occurred in the e-mail.

Incidentally in addition to the mixed traces in the small bathroom, Meredith’s blood was found on the light switch and a cotton bud box.  I have a hard time imagining what Guede would have wanted with the cotton bud box, less so Amanda given her blood on the faucet, ear piercings and a scratch on her throat. Knox, when asked during her trial, could not recall having switched on the light during her alleged visit to the cottage.




6. Take a look at the items on Knox’s bed

Massei concluded that it was likely that it was Knox who carried out the clean up, which if correct might explain why it was not central to her thinking to dispose of the bathmat with Sollecito’s bloody footprint on it!

Knox was seen by Quintavalle at his store at 7.45 am on the 2nd November, thereby destroying her alibi. He described her as pale faced, exhausted looking, with pale blue eyes. He also added, and he would not have known this from photographs in the newspapers, that she was wearing blue jeans, a grey coat and a scarf, with a hat or cap of some sort.

We can see from the crime scene picture of Knox’s bedroom below, that such items (minus hat or cap) appear to be lying on her bed.





Sollecito did not accompany Knox to the store but this would be because he was known to Quintavalle whereas he was unfamiliar with her. He may however have accompanied Knox to the cottage and/or have acted as look out for her when she was there.

7. Some conclusions

I have included “The locked room” in the title because of a poster’s observation regarding Guede’s bloody left shoeprints exiting Meredith’s room. There is the simple observation that these footprints are going one way only and not towards the small bathroom.  But they do not even turn to face Meredith’s door, and again hard to imagine that this could be so if it was Guede who locked her door!

We can rule out Guede as having been involved in any aspect of the clean up precisely because of that trail of footprints and other evidence of his presence left behind.

Now that the travesty of the Hellmann acquittals has been truly exposed Knox and Sollecito face an impossible uphill task.

The clean up and the locked door are just two of many elements in this case which combine together and corroborate each other in a manner that enables us to see the truth beyond a reasonable doubt.


Saturday, June 08, 2013

Questions For Sollecito: Can You Realistically Account For The Hard Evidence On The Bathroom Mat?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[From one of many analyses published in Italy (this was in Il Messagero) of hard evidence against RS]

Your legal future and the book

In the next few months you are expected to face two different courts in Florence.

One will be a new appeal in Meredith’s case in place of the illegal appeal annulled in March by the Supreme Court, and one will decide if you attempted serious obstruction of justice in ascribing many crimes to the officers of the Perugia court. One claim your own father Francesco on Italian national TV has already said was false.

The last thing you need is two prosecutions demonstrating that you invented unrealistic straw man after straw man to throw off the legal process by illegal means, by encouraging pressure on the court from an inflamed and ill-informed public.

And yet your book appears to us to contain at least a hundred straw men. Less-so but similarly in the book by Knox. This definition of a straw man is from the Wikipedia website.

A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position. This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged, emotional issues.

The straw man of the bloody footprint on the mat

Let us start this series of questions to you with the bloody bathmat footprint, and how you characterized it at different points in your book as part of your attempted proof that Guede acting alone did the crime.

Here is the full extent of your straw-man attempt to prove that that print was actually from Rudy Guede’s foot.

(a) [Page X11] The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes.  Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon.  Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here

(b) [page 23] Amanda went ahead with her shower, only to notice a small bloodstain on one of the washbasin taps. It looked like menstrual blood. Was Meredith, who shared the bathroom with her, having some sort of problem? It was unlike her to leave things less than immaculate. Maybe she’d run out to a pharmacy. Then again, it was just one small stain; perhaps she missed it.

(c) [Page 79]  When my defense team examined the official paperwork, they noticed that the analysis of the footprints””including extensive inquiry into the length and shape of the foot likely to have produced them””had been conducted by two members of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome, working not in their official capacity but as private consultants charging thousands of euros to Mignini’s office. One of the analysts, Lorenzo Rinaldi, was a physicist, not a specialist in anatomy, and the other, Pietro Boemia, was a fingerprint technician with no further scientific credentials. That begged the question: if Mignini’s office felt it needed to contract the job out to private consultants, why wouldn’t it go to people with more pertinent qualifications? The whole thing stank.

(d) [page 192]  We didn’t bother to ask for a review of the footprint analysis by Rinaldi and Boemia because we had demonstrated some elementary measuring errors and felt confident that would suffice.

And how this collapses when compared with hard facts

(1) Our main poster the Machine described at the time how the prosecution and their witnesses did a terrific job on this evidence at trial in May 2009, and how your defense had virtually no comeback at all.

Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by luminol in the hallway, and the other one was easily visible to the naked eye on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s and Knox’s shared bathroom.

Lorenzo Rinaldi excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat was the right size or shape to belong to Knox or Guede instead of Sollecito: “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.”

Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shows just how meticulous and painstakingly detailed the analysis of the bloody footprints was:

“All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement”¦. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot”¦.

Rinaldi’s detailed Powerpoint described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints and shoeprints as well as the actual shoes and feet of Knox, Sollecito and Guede. The three suspects gave their footprints and fingerprints at police headquarters.”

Another print expert also testified that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, asked Dr. Stefanoni to confirm that other substances like bleach or fruit juice can also react to luminol.

Dr. Stefanoni acknowledged that they do, but pointed out that biologists who work regularly on crime scenes distinguish easily between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow from other reactive substances.



(2) Our main poster Kermit in effect recreated a version of the Powerpoints which Dr Rinaldi walked the court through, in these Powerpoints here.

You will see they are detailed and very precise, and it is your footprint and not Guede’s footprint which remorselessly emerges on the bathroom mat.

After viewing the damning nature of those slides, read at the end what Kermit concludes: You WERE present at the scene of the crime. You might not have had murderous intent, or wielded the fatal blow, but you and your bare foot were there. 


(3) Our main poster SomeAlibi, a trial lawyer, recently warned here that even ONE piece of evidence if firm and inexplicable enough could be enough for a jury to decide to put you away.

There are at least four pieces of evidence that tie you to the scene of the crime: those two footprints, your still-unexplained DNA on Meredith’s bra, and sworn eye-witness testimony of Rudy Guede that he saw you there.

That is in addition to dozens of other evidence points which include cellphone evidence, computer evidence, myriad alibis, an admission that you lied, and another eyewitness account.

SomeAlibi then goes even beyond Kermit in his analysis to show how definitive the identification of YOUR footprint was. See his chart here which leaves zero room for any doubt. He comments on it as follows:

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.



(4) That Rudy Guede had attacked Meredith alone needs proof your own defense lawyers miserably failed to provide at trial, and did the opposite of at the annulled appeal.

At the annulled appeal they put the erratic jailbirds Alessi and Aviello on the stand, in a desperate attempt to explain who were the THREE perps that the crime scene recreation and autopsy had decisively demonstrated attacked Meredith. 


(5) Accordingly your point (a) above is false in every respect.  Guede was NOT quickly identified, precisely because Knox fingered Patrick only. Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her.

Guede had zero proven history of break-ins and petty crimes, and Judge Micheli became angry at such unfounded claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks after an extended stay up north.

His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise in fact was how few traces of him were found.  The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.

From Meredith’s wounds, it was evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?

Guede’s shoeprints in blood exit Meredith’s room and lead straight to the front door. There is no evidence at all that he removed his shoe, for whatever reason, and somehow left only ONE footprint several yards from Meredith’s room. .

And all this together with the footprints in blood outside the door matching the feet of both yourself and Knox is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).


(6) Our main poster Sara posted on our Sollecito Book page that you made a false claim in your point (b) above about the obviousness of the bathroom blood stains.

Raffaele tries to underplay the presence of blood in the bathroom by claiming that the print on the bathmat was hardly visible or distinguishable as blood.  Even in his interview with Katie Couric he claimed that it was not obvious that the stain on the bathmat was blood.

The problem? Amanda in her email during the initial days of the investigation says “it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom.it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet”

When Knox herself admits that she knew it was blood on the bathmat, why is Sollecito claiming otherwise?



(7) Our main poster Vivianna posted this correction on our Sollecito Book page in response to your claim (c) that the government experts were hired guns - and the wrong ones.

The reality, according to Judge Massei, is quite different. [the experts were:]

1. Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi (Engineer, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT - Esperti Ricerca Tracce)

2. Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia of the ERT in Rome

And their tasks involved analyzing both shoeprints and footprints

Sollecito forgets to mention that their first consultancy report, with regard to a footprint left by a Nike shoe, was actually favorable to him.  Unlike a previous analysis which had attributed the shoeprint to him, this team of experts correctly attributed it to Guede. 

However, since the second consultancy task resulted in an identification of a footprint with Sollecito’s, the experts are clearly “out to get him” like everyone else involved in the investigation. It doesn’t seem to occur to Sollecito that if that had been the case, they wouldn’t have bothered to correct the previous consultant’s work on the shoeprints.

Your fate going forward from the above

You have as Americans say opened a real can of worms here. A prosecutor’s delight. At both the trials you will face in Florence, the prosecutions will surely raise all of these questions and more, and then ask:

WHY did you need to create a straw man? You were clearly there; why, and what did you do?


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Welcome To New Arrivals #1: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by Some Alibi



[Merediths window is seen on the top floor of the house in the lower foreground]

Welcome To Common Sense

This briefing was first posted with slightly different opening paras at the start of the annulled Hellmann appeal. New arrivals often tell us this helped them the most.

If you’ve come to this website because of the Amanda Knox book and interview, then welcome.  Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The Knox book and interview seriously cherrypick the case, and perhaps haven’t helped you at all.

On the Internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito; and you will find people who are passionate in their support of an exceptionally talented girl who died, of a fine justice system previously untainted by PR, and of the prosecution’s very strong case.

Click here for the rest


Monday, April 08, 2013

Experienced Trial Lawyer: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Courts Need For Guilt

Posted by SomeAlibi




The false claim “there is no evidence”

Some amateur supporters of Knox and Sollecito have committed thousands of hours online to try and blur and obfuscate the facts of the case in front of the general public.

Their goal is simple: to create an overwhelming meme that there is “no evidence” against the accused, and thereby try to create a groundswell of support. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and Ted Simon have all made this “no evidence” claim many times.

At least some some of the media have eagerly swallowed it.

The amateur PR flunkies make up myriad alternate versions of what created single points of evidence, often xenophobic scare stories designed to trigger emotional reactions, which they hope will be repeated often enough to become accepted as “the truth”.

And where things get really tricky, another time honored tactic is to go on at great length about irrelevant details, essentially to filibuster, in the hope that general observers will lose patience with trying to work it all out.

But time and again we have shown there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Evidence is the raw stuff of criminal cases. Let me speak here as a lawyer. Do you know how many evidence points are required to prove Guilt? One evidence point if it is definitive.

A definitive evidence point

If you’re new to this case or undecided, what is an easy example of ONE definitive evidence item that might stand alone? Might quickly, simply, and overwhelmingly convince you to invest more time into understanding the real evidence, not that distorted by the PR campaign?

In fact we have quite a choice. See the footprint which was second on that list.

Now see the table above. I recommend the use of this table of measurement to avoid the lengthy back and forward of narrative argument which so lends itself to obscuring the truth. I would like to present you with this single table of measurements to give you pause to question whether this line that there is “no evidence” is really true or whether it might be a crafted deception.

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.

If you were the prosecution, or indeed the jury, and you saw these measurements of Raffaele’s foot versus the print, what would you think? Answer the question for yourself based on the evidence admitted to court.

Then, if you compare further, exactly how plausible do you find it that the measurements of the bloody imprint are Rudy Guede’s instead?

Not only are some of the individual measurements of Rudy’s imprint as much as 30% too small, but the relative proportions of length and breadth measurements are entirely wrong as well, both undershooting and overshooting by a large margin (70% to 150%).

Conclusions that must follow

Presented with those numbers, would you consider those measurements of Rudy Guede’s right foot to show any credible correlation to those of the footprint on the mat?

Supporters of the two have tried frantically to create smoke screen around this - the wrong technique was used they say (ruled not so by the court) / they are the wrong measurements (all 32 of them? that Raffaele’s are matching exactly or within a millimetre but Rudy’s are out by as much as -30% to +50%...?).

The severity of the impact on the defence is such that there was even a distorted photoshopped version circulated by online supporters of Raffaele and Amanda until they were caught out early on in coverage. But it is hopeless, because these are pure measurement taken against a scale that was presented in court and the data sits before you.

Have a look at the measurements and understand this was evidence presented in court. Whose foot do you think was in that bathroom that night? Rudy Guede? Or was it Raffaele Sollecito on twelve counts of measurement?

And if you find for the latter, you must consider very seriously what that tells you both about the idea there is “no evidence” in this case and who was in the cottage that night…


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

Posted by Fly By Night



[Above: images of typical modern analysis DNA facilities similar to Dr Stefanoni’s in Rome]


The Galati appeal to Cassation comes down very strongly against the work and conclusions of the appeal court’s DNA consultants Vecchiotti and Conti.

Dr. Galati argues that the consultancy should never have happened at appeal level, that its methods were slipshod and out of date, that its conclusions were mainly innuendo that left the prosecution case untouched, and that the consultants should not have refused to test a remaining sample from the large knife collected at Sollecito’s place.

In July 2011, about the midpoint of the appeal trial, I took strong issue with the C&V science and essentially mirrored in advance what Dr. Galati would argue to Cassation nearly a year later. Many other TJMK posters including our legal posters James Raper and Cardiol took issue with legal and other aspects.

With a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd level (first appeal level) outcome scheduled for early next week, it’s the perfect time to re-examine the role of DNA in that outcome against the latest science. I want to include some excellent observations from our contributing poster “Thoughtful” as expressed in her recently published book Math on Trial.

I’ll start off with an overview of the science of DNA analysis and describe recent developments in analysis approaches, techniques and capabilities.  Incidentally, one of my resources for this information is a chapter in “DNA Electrophoresis Protocols for Forensic Genetics” published shortly after the Hellmann verdict for the first appeal (circa early 2012); a chapter in which Carla Vecchiotti is cited as providing technical assistance.

Given Vecchiotti’s involvement in recent academic publications we can be certain that at the time of the Hellmann verdict Vecchiotti was well aware of the rapidly evolving and improving nature of DNA testing procedures and capabilities.  And in contrast to her courtroom allegations that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques, Vecchiotti has recently contributed to sources claiming that today’s critical challenge is to develop general guidelines for DNA evaluation and promulgate clear and universal laboratory practices while recognizing that a multitude of labs exist, each with its own specific protocols and personnel.

We will return to the Conti-Vecchiotti report shortly, but first let’s have a quick look at the history and state-of-the-art of DNA analysis.


Brief History of DNA Testing

The literature reveals that the USA has never been at the forefront of forensic DNA analysis.  The first court cases to successfully employ DNA “fingerprinting” techniques occurred in England during the mid 1980s.  A case involving a double rape/homicide of teenage girls in 1986 turned out to be prophetic in that it involved the first use of DNA to exonerate an innocent suspect and also was the first to apply DNA “databases”, issues which still give rise to disputes nearly 30 years later.

Over time, a variety of procedures were developed to extract DNA from biological samples but all worked on the same basic principle of breaching individual cell walls, removing the protein surrounding the DNA, isolating the DNA, and finishing with the purification and quantification of the DNA.

An important milestone in DNA fingerprinting was the development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1985.  The PCR quickly became an important analytical method for forensic samples because of its sensitivity, specificity, rapid analysis, and ease of automation.  PCR amplification technology permitted the analysis of forensic samples with low quantities (less than 1 ng) of extracted DNA, unlike earlier methods that required at least 50 ng.

While PCR was far more sensitive than earlier procedures, problems with mixed DNA samples and DNA degradation led to the use of genetic markers known as Short Tandem Repeats (STR). STR analyses were fast and reactions could be multiplexed permitting multiple loci to be amplified in a single run.

In 1997 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in the USA launched an effort to establish a set of 13 core STR loci for use within a national DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).  Similar sets of STR markers had already been selected by the European Union and elsewhere but, in general, a DNA profile obtained using 12 or more STR loci was found to yield a composite genotype frequency of less than 1 in a quadrillion.  This high degree of accuracy results from the hereditary nature of STR distribution and enables a very powerful method for biological identifications.

STR typing of extracted DNA has traditionally been very sensitive to the quantity of input DNA with ideal levels ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng.  Either too little or too much DNA could produce imbalanced amplification results resulting in incomprehensible outcomes.  The STR process is further complicated by “stutter” in the interpretation of multiple contributor DNA samples.  Stutter is an artifact of the PCR process that produces “false alleles” one repeat shorter than a primary allele.

In recent years DNA analysis techniques have evolved rapidly as equipment manufacturers upgrade STR systems to tolerate even the smallest of samples and samples that have been highly degraded.  The improved sensitivity of today’s STR kits along with the development of new strategies for the amplification of low levels of DNA now allows samples which previously could not be analyzed to produce viable results.

Low-level DNA samples often contain mixtures of DNA, which has complicated the detection and interpretation process due to stochastic sampling effects that include peak imbalance, enhanced stutter, allele loss (allele drop-out), and un-attributable alleles (allele drop-in).  With this in mind, strict guidelines have been developed including a careful determination of analytical thresholds and the use of replicate analyses in a profile to properly interpret low-level mixed-DNA samples.  More importantly, new analytical techniques such as laser micro-dissection and fluorescence in-situ hybridization have been developed enabling the identification, capture, and amplification of DNA from individual cells prior to “electrophoresis”, eliminating the problem of mixed profiles altogether.

In addition to today’s far more precise DNA analysis machines and methods there are also compelling arguments for the use of statistical or probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process to augment traditional “consensus allele” electropherogram evaluation approaches.  In short, the efforts of both scientists and statisticians are now creating powerful next generation approaches to DNA analyses as we progress through a second decade of highly successful STR typing methodologies.


Logic and Science on Trial

In my 2011 report I challenged Carla Vecchiotti’s contention that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques.  Vecchiotti herself has conceded to the challenge through her contributions to publications that clearly describe a need to develop generally accepted guidelines for DNA evaluation and to create clear and universal laboratory practices that can be accepted by the diverse population of analytical labs currently operating under divergent operational protocols, all under the direction of professional and expert personnel.

In her excellent and recently published Math on Trial book, contributing poster “Thoughtful” accurately describes how DNA analysis expert Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni proceeded in her laboratory analysis of a small DNA sample found on the blade of a knife confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Not having what she felt was a sufficient sample to divide for replication of her analysis Dr. Stefanoni took the chance of running her entire sample in a single run.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment.  As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.  In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.  However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

In the first appeal trial, Judge Hellmann was thus presented with exceptionally compelling evidence that Meredith’s DNA was in fact found on the alleged murder weapon that had been confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Astonishingly, Hellmann rejected this evidence on an expressed assumption of non-compliance with testing techniques established by international scientific community standards; compliance standards that Vecchioti herself admits do not exist via recent academic and scientific publications as discussed above.

As “Thoughtful” carefully explains in Math on Trial, Hellmann’s faulty reasoning in excluding the knife evidence did not end there.  Hellmann provided Vecchiotti and Conti with an opportunity to retest any remaining DNA on the knife if they felt it was warranted.  Vecchiotti and Conti declined to perform any retests on the basis that that only a few cells might still exist on the knife, thus invalidating any potential results according to a false assumption that “international testing standards” somehow prohibited such low-level DNA tests even though, as outlined in the DNA discussion above, single-cell DNA analysis had at that time already become an acceptable possibility and Vecchiotti knew it.

Hellmann, however, accepted Vecchiotti and Conti’s reasoning by essentially stating that repeating an “invalid” DNA analysis procedure twice can do nothing towards resolving a DNA identification problem because two wrongs do not make a right.  In Math on Trial, “Thoughtful” artfully explains the complete failure of logic of Hellmann’s line of reasoning.  Hellmann claims that running an experiment independently two separate times and obtaining the same result each time can do absolutely nothing towards increasing the assurance of reliability for an event.

However, “Thoughtful” describes how successfully repeating Stefanoni’s low-level DNA analysis technique could easily carry a probabilistic result from a “not beyond a reasonable doubt” percentage range to a highly convincing 98.5% or higher probability.  “Thoughtful’s” arguments in Math on Trial are completely in line with today’s efforts to embed statistical and probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process for a much higher precision and accuracy standard.


Conclusions

In 2011 I concluded that Vecchiotti and Conti’s expert report findings actually boiled down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the small sample (Low Copy Number ““ LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.

In 2013, on the eve of the Court of Cassation ruling on the first appeal outcomes of the Meredith Kercher murder trial, it appears to me that all issues related to DNA analysis and contamination have been powerfully addressed by both the prosecution and “best available science” considerations. 

The errors in Judge Hellmann’s logic and reasoning that set Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free have been shown to be plentiful and astounding, as evidenced by the few DNA related examples that have been examined in this report.  In light of all of the above and the powerful legal arguments raised by the Galati appeal to Cassation, it seems that there can be no other option than to send this appeal outcome back for a thorough lower court re-evaluation.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA In Meredith’s Room Could Be Definitive Proof Of Guilt For New Appeal Jury

Posted by James Raper





Have you followed our series on the hapless independent DNA consultants Conti and Vecchiotti?  And our series on the hapless appeal judges Hellmann and Zanetti?

And our series on their formidable nemesis, Umbria’s Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati? Who may very well convince the Supreme Court to throw out all of their work?

This post explains why their work probably deserves to be thrown out as it applies to Sollecito’s DNA in Meredith’s room, which still lacks an alternative non-damning explanation for it being there, and which could see him back serving his term in Capanne or Terni Prison before too long. 

I want to start this analysis with the following verbatim quote taken from John Follain’s Death In Perugia.

“Comodi asked Vecchiotti about the alleged contamination of the bra clasp: “Is it possible for [Raffaele’s] DNA to end up only on the bra clasp?”

“Possible”, Vecchiotti said.

Comodi insisted: “Probable?”

“Probable”, Vecchiotti retorted.

Anyone who has read the Conti-Vecchiotti Report will be amazed by Vecchiotti’s above reply under cross-examination by Prosecutor Comodi. This for the simple reason that the said report did not at all evaluate the “probability” of any contamination of the bra clasp. It merely did not rule out contamination.

The Conti-Vecchiotti report with regard to the bra clasp: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the exhibit.”

On any level of understanding, if one can not rule something out then that makes it possible. But it certainly does not make it probable.

Worse was to come, with the conclusion of Hellmann-Zanetti, that contamination was probable. This though was not so surprising in as much as Hellmann-Zanetti had already indicated in their reasoning underlying the need for an independent report that they would accept the independent experts’ conclusions.

Which they did, apparently accepting Vecchiotti’s above statement on oath as definitive and which, as we can see, they appear to subsequently improve on, since the circumstances referred to below were not mentioned in the Conti-Vecchiotti Report.  From Hellmann-Zanetti:

In the opinion of this Court contamination did not occur during the successive phases of treatment of the exhibit in the laboratory of the Scientific Police, but even before it’s collection by the Scientific Police.

Note that (1)  the suggestion is that contamination occurred when there was no video recording (thus permitting free speculation), (2) the word “probably” is omitted here seemingly making it a definite occurrence, and (3) “even before” does not exclude contamination when the Scientific Police were there, but the circumstances described below make it, in the opinion of Hellmann-Zanetti, even more probable, it seems. Again from Hellmann-Zanetti:

..it is certain that between the first search by the scientific police, directly after the discovery of the crime, and the second search by the police, on the 18th December, the house at villa della Pergola was the object of several other searches directed towards seeking other possible elements useful for the investigation, during which the house was turned topsy-turvy, as is clearly documented by the photographs projected by the defence of the accused, but actually made by the Scientific Police. And, understandably these searches were made without the precautions that accompany the investigations of the Scientific Police, in the conviction that at that point the exhibits that needed to undergo scientific analysis had already been collected. In this context it is probable that the DNA hypothetically belonging to Raffaele Sollecito may have been transported by others into the room and precisely onto the bra clasp”¦”¦”¦..the fact that [this] is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants”¦”¦..

So Hellmann-Zanetti are talking about the ordinary police investigators being primarily responsible.

As the Vecchiotti quote at the beginning of this post is not put in any context, it is impossible for me to know whether she was referring to the Scientific Police as seen in their videos or whether she was alluding to other recorded searches, say, by the ordinary police, but which were not on video.

What we know of the police searches is as follows. From the Massei trial sentencing report:

While forensic activity was still in progress (Note: it having been going on since the 2nd) “the house was accessed on November 4th 2007 involving, accompanied by staff from the Perugia Police Headquarters, the three occupants and housemates of the victim.

The days of November 6 and 7 were taken up by the search activity of personnel from the police headquarters of Perugia”¦.on November 6” (Note: the day after conclusion of the Scientific Police activity) “no-one entered Meredith’s room other than the three performing the search. On November 7 there was another entry into the house “for the problem of the washing machine, to collect the clothes; but I (Napoleoni) know that they did not go into the other rooms…..

They wore gloves and shoe covers….

Massei also records that Profazio stated that whilst he was aware from Stefanoni that the bra clasp had not been collected, nevertheless he had not seen it on the 6th and 7th.

As we know, the Scientific Police returned to the house on the 18th December specifically for the purpose of collecting the bra clasp (the first thing they did) and using luminol, and in addition to this being on video the defence lawyers were watching the live recording outside. It was observed by the defence lawyers at that stage that the mattress was in the living room and that articles had been moved around (topsy-turvy) in her bedroom.

From the above it might be reasonable to conclude that it was not only the Scientific Police who took the photographs but that it was predominantly they who had already moved items around and taking - it not having been demonstrated to the contrary (because not on video) - such precautions appropriate to their field of expertise (or at least such as may be determined from the videos).

However the point is, of course, what entitles Vecchiotti and Hellmann-Zanetti to talk about probable contamination at all?

Incidentally, pause here to notice that Hellmann-Zanetti give no credence to environmental contamination, in the sense of DNA floating around on specks of dust, by virtue of not mentioning this at all.

It would seem that the notion that a speck of dust, with Sollecito’s DNA attached, floated into the room and landed bang on a tiny hook, somehow adhering to it, is improbable to even them. It is transfer by manipulation (  tertiary transfer, about which more later) - basically that someone must have stepped on or touched the bra clasp or hook - about which they are talking and as a result of which they deem contamination to have probably occurred.

Without that probability -  that is if it remained only a possibility - then the case for direct transfer (directly from the owner of the DNA to an object), rather than tertiary transfer (where the DNA is collected after direct transfer and transferred to another object), would not be undermined as the more probable scenario. This is because, in this context, no-one can rule out possibility, ” possibility” being firmly rooted in the abstract.

What Hellmann-Zanetti think entitles them to talk about the probability of contamination are, and as it transpires only are, the precautions which they say were not followed in collecting and handling the exhibit and for which they suppose the non-scientific police were most likely responsible.

Compliance with these, they say, “guarantees” the reliability of the result. They refer to the Do’s and Do Not’s of successful crime scene management as listed by Conti-Vecchiotti and taken from guidelines from the Louisiana State Crime Police Laboratory, from the U.S Department of Justice, and more relevantly from Evidence Manuals from the New Jersey State Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.


There is a predominance of American references but they do also refer to the Good Practice Manual for Crime Scene Management promoted by ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). From Hellmann-Zanetti -

Regarding above all the identification of a genetic profile in an exhibit, it is important that the entire procedure be followed with complete observance of the rules dictated by the scientific community, which are not, to be sure, juridical rules (it is not a law of the State, as Dr. Stefanoni observed), but which do represent a guarantee of the reliability of the result. And since these rules also contain precautions necessary in order to avoid possible contamination, one can understand that the respect of these precautions cannot simply be assumed, but must be proven by anyone who bases his accusations on this result.

Rules and guidelines are not quite the same thing, still less are there standardised guidelines dictated by the scientific community, but let’s not be pernickety. What compliance with the guidelines does, of course, is reduce the risk (the “possibility” and yes, if there are elements supporting it, “the probability”) of contamination, not guarantee that there is not contamination. As any expert in the field will concede, contamination is always possible.

Conti-Vecchiotti listed, apparently, some 54 examples of breach of the aforesaid guidelines. Significant among these (because we know of them and the most was made of them) are the following listed by Follain in his book Death In Perugia-

1. The team failed to put on new gloves after bagging each sample ( probably, as with 2 below, accounting for the great majority of the examples, and Stefanoni admitted this did not happen every time).

2. Items were handled by more than one person without changing gloves (again, as above, admitted).

3. There was a smudge on one of the fingertips of one of the gloves which touched the clasp, so the glove was dirty.

4. The officer who picked up Meredith’s bra clasp passed it to a colleague before placing it back on the floor and then bagging it.

5. Stefanoni’s gloves were smudged with blood and split over her left index when she picked up a sample ( this need not detain us since it is an irrelevant and highly speculative and prejudicial observation, if not entirely erroneous, based on what can be seen from the video).

6. The officer filming the police video walked in and out of Meredith’s room without changing his shoe covers.

7. No security corridor was created for internal access with anti - contamination criteria between the various environments.

8. The initial position of discovery on the floor of the clasp was not the same after 46 days.

The idea of a security corridor which, given the confines of the cottage, and particularly the access to Meredith’s room, would mean, for instance, placing planks on the floor, is a good one, and obviously not followed in this instance though not actually a specific recommendation (though it can be inferred) in any of the guidelines referred to by Conti-Vecchiotti. It would have reduced the risk of carrying DNA into Meredith’s room on the soles of shoe covers.

The alleged breaches were not, of course, outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report. They were only mentioned in oral evidence accompanying the showing of the crime scene video in court.

Hellmann-Zanetti, in their report, mention two specific cases only, 3 and 8 above. In respect of “the smudge” they acknowledge, interestingly, that there is an unresolved issue of interpretation as to whether this is a shadow or prior staining! But why even posit a prior staining when it is obvious that the operative had to finger the fabric of the clasp (which was “dirty”) in order to pick the clasp up and show it to the camera? What was the dirt and what was the meaning of this in the context of a transfer of Sollecito’s DNA to the hook? They neither discuss not evaluate. They simply accept Conti-Vecchiotti’s observations as being pertinent and damning without question.

In contrast to Hellmann-Zanetti Massei does discuss and evaluate the probability and the logistics of contamination, with regard to the bra clasp. In fact he spends quite a bit of time on the subject. But before turning to that, let’s have a brief look at the subject of DNA transfer and then remember what Stefanoni (as quoted by Massei) says on the subject.

Primary transfer might occur between a subject (such as myself) and an object. I touch or sneeze over it. Secondary transfer could occur if the said object was moved and “placed” against yet another object so that my DNA is transferred from the first to the second object. Tertiary transfer could occur if someone touched my DNA on the first object and then touched the second object. There are three steps there but one can imagine scenarios with four or perhaps more such steps but with the inherent limitation that the quantity of DNA being transferred is going to reduce with each such step.

It is obvious that when the prosecution produce DNA evidence they are going to argue primary transfer by the accused and just as equally obvious that the defence are going to try and argue contamination, i.e that the presence of their client’s DNA is the product of secondary or tertiary transfer.

Stefafanoni said that secondary or tertiary does not happen unless (1) the DNA is in a substance which is still fresh and reasonably watery after primary transfer, not dried, and/or (2) there would have to be more than mere touch but friction, or at least pressure, as well. Whilst there could be isolated exceptions in practice this makes a lot of sense to me as a layman but in addition I also note that she was not contradicted, at the trial, by any of the defence experts, nor has she been contradicted by Conti-Vecchiotti in their report.


Returning to Massei.

Sollecito was at the cottage 3 or 4 times prior to the murder though on each occasion with Knox. It is thus possible that he left his DNA somewhere there. There is no evidence that he was ever in Meredith’s room before the murder. Thus, if he was not involved in the murder, one must hypothesize that his DNA from somewhere else in the cottage was transferred into Meredith’s room and onto the bra clasp by someone other than him.

Apart from the clasp there was only one other place where his DNA was to be found, mixed with Knox’s DNA, which was on a cigarette stub in an ashtray sitting on a table in the kitchen. From Massei, my numbering:

(1) Certainly, it can be observed that every single place in the house was not tested, and one might think that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA might have been located in some other places. One can consider the possibility that his DNA from some other place that was not found was transferred onto the bra clasp, but this would have to have been done by someone manipulating the object.

(2) But simple contact between objects does not transfer DNA. Amanda’s and Raffaele’s DNA were both found on the cigarette stub, not just one of them, transferred by the other. It is also important that the bra was the one that Meredith was actually wearing, and the clasp was found under the pillow which was under Meredith”¦”¦. At this point it should also be mentioned that the piece of bra was (then)  found under a small rug in Meredith’s room [which protected it] “¦”¦”¦.

(3) It is also observed that the small rug did not show itself to be a good transmitter of DNA. Underneath it there was a sock, and analysis proved that on this sock there were only DNA traces of Meredith. Also the circumstance by which DNA was found on the (tiny) hooks - so on a more limited and rather less absorbent surface than the material attached to them - tends to exclude that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA could have landed on the hooks, precisely on the hooks, by contamination or by transfer from some other unspecified object.

(4). “¦”¦.any transfer of DNA from the surface of the rug under which the small piece of bra was found would imply that between the two objects there was more than simple contact, touching of each other, but an actual pressure exercised on the rug under which the piece of bra lay. This hypothesis was set aside after Dr. Stefanoni reported “¦”¦.. the deformation of one of the hooks was the same. Vice versa, if some pressure had been exerted on top of it, if in one of the police activities someone had stepped on it—then that deformation would not have remained identical; but the small piece of material and the hooks and eyes had the same form, the exact same type of deformation “¦”¦.. she additionally stated that, having seen the small piece of bra in the early hours of November 3rd rather quickly, the images of it taken on that occasion allowed her a more prolonged and attentive observation, enabling her to declare that the deformation had remained unmodified and unchanged, as did the side on which it was set on the floor.

(5) Objects were moved, necessarily moved, but every object that was in a room, if it was not actually taken away, remained in the same room, without ever moving to another room, or being taken out of the room and then back in. The only parts of the house through which operators from the various places all passed were thus the living room and corridor. One might thus assume that some DNA of Raffaele Sollecito that had been left somewhere in the living room or corridor was moved, and ended up on the hooks. Such a movement of DNA and its subsequent repositioning on the hooks would have had to occur either because one of the technicians walking on the floor on which the DNA was lying hit it with his foot or stepped on it, causing it to end up on the hooks, or because by stepping on them, he impressed onto them the DNA caught underneath the shoe-cover he had on in that moment.

But these possibilities cannot be considered as concretely plausible: to believe that, moving around the house, the DNA could have been kicked or stepped on by one of the technicians, who in that case would have been moving about, and to believe that this DNA, instead of just sticking to the place it had been kicked or stepped on by (probably the shoe, or rather, the shoe-cover), having already been moved once from its original position, would then move again and end up on the hooks, seems like a totally improbable and risky hypothesis.

(6) “¦..and more importantly, none of the operators, after having touched some object which might have had Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA on it, then touched the hooks of the small piece of bra so as to make even hypothetically possible a transfer of DNA (from the object containing Sollecito’s DNA to the gloves, from the gloves to the hooks). In fact, none of the operators during the search of November 6th and 7th even took note of that little piece of bra, and thus in particular no one picked it up.” [Note that this observation is a direct contradiction of the unproven suspicion that this had in fact occurred - Massei had, of course, also watched the crime scene videos, seen the relevant clip and heard the argument.]

(7) Movement of objects, in particular of clothing, may have induced the movement of other objects, and this is what the Court considers to have occurred with respect to the piece of bra which was seen on the floor of Meredith’s room on November 2nd-3rd and left there. Deputy Commissioner Napoleoni, referring to the search of November 6th, has declared that she recalled the presence of a bluish rug; one can thus conclude that this rug was looked at during the search and entered into contact with the operators making the search, and like other objects, was moved from its original position, but always remaining on the floor of the room; during this movement it must have covered up the piece of bra (which was on the floor of the same room and yet was not noted during the search), thus determining by its own motion the accompanying motion of the small piece of bra, making it end up where it was then found during the inspection of December 18th: under the rug, together with a sock, in the same room, Meredith’s room, where it had already been seen. So it underwent a change of position that is, thus, irrelevant to the assertion of contamination.

Now, whatever one makes of Massei’s observations, he has at least considered, on a plausible level, the dynamics of secondary and tertiary transfer, generally and in this case - unlike either Hellmann-Zanetti or Conti-Vecchiotti. Furthermore, and in consequence, he concluded that contamination was simply not probable.

We should also recall the following words with regard to second and tertiary transfer, in the quote from Hellmann-Zanetti above”¦”¦”¦”¦”the fact that this is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants”¦.”

What studies? Unfortunately Hellmann-Zanetti do not elaborate on these studies, and the proof therein allegedly contained, nor can we see them cited in the Conti-Vecchiotti report!

This leads me to the suspicion that Hellmann-Zanetti are trying to pull the wool over our eyes here. Yes, certainly secondary and tertiary transfer is not an unusual occurrence but the circumstances as to when this is likely, or not, is not discussed, let alone evaluated. It seems to me that this is not unimportant and the omission is surprising.

What Conto-Vecchiotti actually say about the subject in their report is mind-boggingly amateurish, trite and misleading. So much so that one doubts that they are really experts.

The relevant section about contamination (such as it is) in Conti-Vecchiotti is under the heading “Notes On Inspection And Collection Techniques”. Reading this I note, in the second paragraph, being in, it would seem, Conti-Vecchiotti’s own words:

The starting point is always Locard’s Principle according to which two objects which come into contact with each other exchange material in different forms. Equally the same principle scientifically supports the possibility of contamination and alteration [of the scene] on the part of anyone else, investigators included, who comes into contact with the scene.


Far from being just a starting point Locard’s Principle seems to be all that Conti and Vecchiotti know about the transfer of DNA.

For what it is worth Edmond Locard established an early crime lab in 1910 ( being a fan of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories) and wrote many articles as a result. However he never actually wrote any words approximating to “with contact there is an exchange of material” (which is not exactly a law of physics in the same manner as the laws of motion are) nor did he mention anything concerning a principle.

What he did write was “It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially given the intensity of the crime, without leaving traces of his presence.”  Sherlock Holmes would have said the same.

Incidentally it is science that supports a principle, and not the other way around. I would have expected Conti-Vecchiotti to know that.

I have surfed the internet for articles on the subject of tertiary transfer and there does seem to be “a lack of published data on the topic”, to quote one site I found.

Furthermore if they existed one might expect to find that they are referred to by the scientists in the FOA camp, but again I do not see these or that those that are referred to, eg by Halkides, add anything to what has already been discussed above.

Which leaves the “probability” element of contamination undemonstrated. Whatever the opportunities for contamination that there may have been arising from breach of guidelines (contentious in some if not all cases) these remain hypothetical whilst the probability of contamination remains undemonstrated.

But for Hellmann-Zanetti, conveniently, there is no need to demonstrate anything, because of the following:

Now, Prof. Novelli and also the Prosecutor stated that it is not sufficient to assert that the result comes from contamination; it is incumbent on one who asserts contamination to prove its origin.

However, this argument cannot be accepted, insomuch as it ends up by treating the possibility of contamination as an exception to the civil code on the juridical level. Thus, one cannot state: I proved that the genetic profile is yours, now you prove that the DNA was not left on the exhibit by direct contact, but by contamination. No, one can’t operate this way.

In the context of a trial, as is well known, it falls to the PM who represents the prosecution before the court (the terminology is used in Art. 125 of the implementing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure), to prove the viability of all the elements on which it is based, and thus, when one of these elements is completed by a scientific element represented by the result of an analytic procedure, the task is also to prove that the result was obtained using a procedure which guarantees the purity [genuinità ] of the exhibit from the moment of collection right through the analysis.

“¦”¦.. when there is no proof that these precautions guaranteeing that the result is not the fruit of contamination were respected, it is absolutely not necessary to also prove the specific origin of the contamination.

The use of the word “absolutely” is interesting, as if this was the last word on the matter, and any evaluation is to be declined.

Now I sense the presence of a premise which is already a conclusion. This being that because there are (as Hellmann-Zanetti hold) breaches of guidelines, then the DNA result is unreliable for that reason.

As it happens, this is exactly what Conti-Vecchiotti say. But as it stands this is an unargued proposition. For this to be a valid deduction “for that reason” should be explained by the inclusion of another premise which we can at least accept as true - “A breach entails that the possibility of contamination cannot be excluded”. Then we can formulate a simple deduction, though it would be unsound until we can answer the question “Does the possibility of contamination render the result unreliable?”

A scientist may explain what “unreliable” means to him. But I want to answer the question in juridical terms, and this can be done quite simply.

Any element of evidence in juridical proceedings is weighed only by the probability that it represents the truth. The possibility that it does, or it does not, is simply to be discarded as having no weight either way. Accordingly, for the purpose of the argument, and for any proceedings in court, it cannot be accepted that the possibility of contamination renders the result unreliable. Whether it is unreliable or not has to be looked at in a different way, according to the balance of probabilities.

Getting back to the quote, I would say that both Hellmann-Zanetti and Novelli are right, and they are also both wrong.

Hellmann-Zanetti are of course right in that the burden of proof remains with the prosecution with regard to all elements.

And the way Prof. Novelli puts it is somewhat incorrect, but only because he is a scientist and not a lawyer.

That the burden of proof remains with the prosecution does not alleviate the defence of any burden with regard to an issue such as contamination.

There is also an issue to be discussed as to whether the burden on the prosecution is to demonstrate non-contamination beyond a reasonable doubt or merely that contamination is not probable.

Let’s start with whether there is any burden on the defence.

There is a general principle to which even criminal proceedings are subject. “Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat.”  My Latin is not great but roughly translated “the onus of proof is on he who says it, not he who denies it.”

Dr Galati, in his Supreme Court Appeal Submissions, puts it this way (more forcibly than I would) -

In other words, if a piece of circumstantial evidence must be certain in itself, and if therefore even scientific proof must be immune to any alternative-explanation hypothesis, this does not alter the fact that this hypothesis ought to be based on reasonable elements and not merely abstract hypothetical ones. And if the refutation of a scientific piece of evidence passes via the affirmation of a circumstance of fact (being the contamination of an exhibit), that circumstance must be specifically proved, not being deducible from generic (and otherwise unshareable) considerations about the operative methodology followed by the Scientific Police, absent demonstration that the methods used would have produced, in the concrete, the assumed contamination.

I do not myself think it is realistic for the defence to have to prove a specific contamination path from point A to point B. That would be unrealistic. But certainly if the issue of contamination is to be raised the defence must go beyond an abstract hypothetical explanation that in the event, as is the case here, is devoid of known origins for the contamination. (Save for the trace on the cigarette stub, so that if that was the source there would be Knox’s DNA mixed in with Sollecito’s on the clasp). Otherwise how is the prosecution to respond? With what level of proof?

Should it be beyond reasonable doubt? How Hellmann-Zanetti would wish! “Beyond reasonable doubt” is the standard to be applied to the prosecution’s case in its entirety, to any attribution of culpability for the crime to the accused. It is not parcelled out to each and every element.

The correct standard to apply to an element such as contamination (as it is for any piece of circumstantial evidence) is “the balance of probability having regard to other elements”. The alleged breaches of crime management guidelines are in themselves only circumstantial, requiring, for any weight to be attached to them, corroborative or supporting elements as to which, as I see it, there are none. So the correct question is: Is contamination probable or not? (This is not to exclude that there may sometimes, somewhat rarely, be circumstances where it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt)

So we are back to probability again. It is a battle (if at all)  of probabilities and we must not confuse what is possible with what is probable, however much our eyes are opened to what is possible.

That it is such, is tacitly acknowledged by Hellmann-Zanetti when they argue that Sollecito’s DNA being on the bra hook but not on the fabric of the clasp is improbable. My response to that would be to say that it is far more probable than that there was contamination of the hook.

The absence of any argument as to probability may have been a thought that popped into Vecchiotti’s head when she retorted “probable” (feeling a bit sick about the answer afterwards I hope). However that she could make that assertion does not fill one with much confidence when considering that she also maintains that there were errors in Stefanoni’s interpretation of the electropherogram result, even whilst accepting that Sollecito”˜s profile was there, not least because his Y chromosome was as well.

Don’t expect Conti and Vecchiotti to be re-invited if there is any replay of the appeal trial.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

DNA Proof 40 Years After A Cowardly Murder Shuts Down A Fact-Fogging Campaign For The Murderer

Posted by The Machine



[Above: the murder victim Michael Gregsten and Valerie Storie who survived]

Relevance to Meredith’s case

You maybe thought journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities campaigning on behalf of someone who evidence strongly suggested was guilty was peculiar to Meredith’s case?

Think again. Exactly the same thing has happened more than a few times. This is one. The UK’s notorious A6 murder of 1961.

On the evening of 22 August 1961, Michael Gregsten, a government scientist, and his girlfriend Valerie Storrie, a laboratory assistant, were sitting in his car next to a cornfield in Berkshire, just west of London, when a masked gunman tapped on the car window. He demanded Gregsten’s wallet and Storie’s handbag.

He then forced Gregsten to drive 60 miles to Deadman’s Hill at Clophill in Bedfordshire where he shot the scientist twice in the head, killing him instantly. Next, he raped and shot Ms Storie five times. She survived the attack, but was left paralysed from the waist down.



[Above: Convicted murderer James Hanratty and his campaigning father]

Trial and evidence

James Hanratty, a petty thief, was arrested after cartridge cases from the murder weapon were found in a London hotel where he stayed the night before the murder. Valerie Storie picked out Hanratty at an identity parade from her hospital bed and she also made a voice identification of him. 

At the trial at Bedford Assizes, James Henratty changed his original alibi that he was staying with friends in Liverpool on the day of the murder and said that he had gone to Rhyl, in north Wales, and stayed two nights in a boarding house. The jury didn’t believe him and James Hanratty was found guilty of murdering Michael Gregsten.

The families of the victims (one dead, one crippled for life) expressed relief that a unanimous verdict was reached.

Hanratty was hanged at Bedford Prison on 4 April 1962. The day before he was hanged, he told his family: “I’m dying tomorrow but I’m innocent. Clear my name.” 

The pressure for an appeal

After James Hanratty was hanged, his father launched a campaign to clear his name. A number of high-profile public figures lent their support to the campaign, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and prominent politicians David Steel and Norman Fowler.

In 1971, a hundred MPs signed a petition demanding a public inquiry. The Conservative government refused to open such an inquiry.

Three years later the Labour Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, commissioned a report from Lewis Hawser QC who sat in secret and came to the conclusion Hanratty was guilty.

In 1999, the case was sent back to the Court of Appeal. In March 2001, Hanratty’s body was exhumed and DNA tests were carried on it to see whether his DNA matched DNA traces found on Valerie Short’s knickers and her handkerchief that was found wrapped around the gun.

DNA tests confirm a right verdict

Forensic scientists from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) found that there was a perfect match and concluded that the DNA found on these exhibits was 2.5 million times more likely to belong to Hanratty than anyone else.

A report from the Daily Mail.

James Hanratty was guilty of the notorious A6 murder for which he was hanged, sensational scientific evidence has revealed. A DNA sample taken from his exhumed body has been matched by forensic experts to two samples from the crime scene.

They now believe that there is only a 1-in-2.5million chance Hanratty was innocent.  The results of the tests, released to Hanratty’s defence team, are a crushing blow to campaigners who have insisted he was not guilty.

In 2002, James Hanratty’s conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeal and a bid to take the case to the House of Lords was rejected. Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, who with two colleagues - Lord Justice Mantell and Mr Justice Leveson - considered the posthumous appeal, said the DNA evidence established Hanratty’s guilt “beyond doubt”.

Lord Woolf for the Supreme Court on 10 May 2002:

We have already stressed the importance of looking at a case such as this in the round. The grounds of appeal are of differing significance and although we have dealt with them individually it is also necessary to consider them collectively in asking ourselves the critical question is the conviction of James Hanratty of murder unsafe either on procedural or evidential grounds?

As to the evidential issues they all ultimately relate to the single issue which dominated the trial and this appeal, the identity of the killer. In our judgment for reasons we have explained the DNA evidence establishes beyond doubt that James Hanratty was the murderer.

The DNA evidence made what was a strong case even stronger. Equally the strength of the evidence overall pointing to the guilt of the appellant supports our conclusion as to the DNA.



[Above: journalist campaigners Paul Foot and Bob Woffinden]

The 40-year media campaign

Forty years of excruciating hell for the families and friends of the victims, one dead, one crippled for life .

Investigative journalists such as Bob Woffinden and Paul Foot wrote articles and books about the case, stubbornly certain that James Hanratty was innocent and that the case was a miscarriage of justice.

Paul Foot was a highly-respected campaigning journalist who worked for Private Eye, the Daily Mirror and The Guardian. However, his reasons for believing that James Hanratty was innocent were flimsy to the say the least.

From the BBC obituary for Paul Foot:

Beyond his obvious triumphs, Foot sometimes got it terribly wrong.

The Hanratty affair is a case in point. Twenty-five-year-old James Hanratty was hanged in 1962, after being found guilty of killing scientist Michael Gregsten and raping and shooting his mistress Valerie Storie.

Foot’s interest began in 1966 and, for the next 34 years, he consistently and eloquently demanded justice for Hanratty.

The case was finally reopened in 2000 and, after Hanratty’s body was exhumed, so DNA samples could be scraped from his bones, his guilt was proved beyond doubt.

The main crux of his argument for innocence was that James Hanratty was in Liverpool and Rhyl on the day of the murder. There were no positive identifications of Hanratty, just a couple of people who claimed that they had seen a man who looked like him.



[Above: John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Hanratty’s parents]

A report of John Lennon’s involvement.

On Side One of John & Yoko’s “Live Jam” album (recorded on 15th December 1969) Yoko can be heard to shout “Britain, you killed Hanratty you murderer!”, she then chants Hanratty’s name throughout the opening bars of Don’t Worry Kyoko.

As the [1960s] progressed, the view that Hanratty had in fact been the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice began to gather momentum, another man was even seen to confess to the murder on British Television in 1967. Together with Hanratty’s parents, John and Yoko discussed the idea of making a film to back the campaign for an enquiry and this was announced at an Apple press conference on December 10th 1969.

The one and only public screening of the 40-minute colour result was eventually shown in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London on 17th February 1972.

29 years later DNA evidence from the exhumed body of Hanratty was said to prove that he DID commit the murder, although it has been argued that the retained evidence may have been cross contaminated in storage.

Supporters of James Hanratty have come out with the predictable excuse that the DNA evidence must have been contaminated. However, the forensic scientists who worked in the case said this highly unlikely and pointed out that they had found no other DNA profiles on the two exhibits.

Implications for PR campaigns

The DNA tests carried out by the FFS that finally provided definitive proof that James Hanratty killed Michael Gregsten and raped and shot Valerie Storie more or less stopped the bandwagon dead in its tracks.

But there had been for decades almost fanatical and very vociferous support for someone who’d been unanimously convicted of murder, many of whom stood to gain, though it didnt have too much effect except to have the case looked at and found solid twice.

James Hanratty’s supporters claimed that he had no motive, that the police framed him, and that the DNA evidence was contaminated by the government’s experts. NONE of this was proved. Unless there is actual proof of dastardly plots and contamination, these claims against the authorities are unfruitful and unfair.

The most important lesson to be learnt from the A6 murder case is that a bandwagon of journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities being absolutely convinced of someone’s innocence does not make him or her innocent in fact.

Even intelligent and well-intentioned people like Paul Foot and David Steel can mistakenly believe a killer is innocent and shrug off the pain the victims’ families must feel.

Implications for Curt Knox’s campaign

There are a number of parallels to the campaign against justice for Meredith. The families of the victims for one were put through years of hell, the real evidence was wildly distorted, and many good justice professionals and reporters were impugned. .

Hopefully the judges at the Italian Supreme Court will order a new appeal trial early next year, and the new tests the prosecution requested at the appeal on the remaining sample from the large knife can now be carried out.

Professor Novelli testified that it is possible to extract, amplify and attribute DNA with just 10-15 picograms of DNA using cutting-edge technology.  Conti and Vecchiotti extracted approximately 100 picograms of DNA from the blade of the knife.

Sollecito seemed to know there could be incriminating DNA evidence on that knife, and Knox had an extreme reaction not yet accounted for in an innocent way when she was shown a drawer full of knives.

There is enough DNA for more than one test. If Meredith’s DNA is indeed identified once again, the already strong case against Knox and Sollecito can be closed once and for all. And Curt Knox’s PR will be gone.


[Below: the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf]


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ominous Development For Sollecito And Knox: A DNA Conviction Based On A Tiny Sample Of DNA

Posted by The Machine



[Burgess, image below, murdered Yolande Waddington and, above, Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams]


There is a HUGE dagger hanging over Sollecito and Knox. A UK case resolved this week indicates why.

New tests on the DNA sample on the large knife found in Sollecito’s house which the independent DNA experts refused to do, and the judges failed to re-order despite a strong prosecution request, could result in Knox and Sollecito being ultimately convicted and secure Knox’s extradition to serve out her term.

Lawyers consider it a dead certainty that the Supreme Court will order those tests -  that is if they dont throw out the entire Hellman/Zanetti judgment for illegal scope, or throw out the DNA report for illegally having been ordered in the first place.


(1) Summary of the UK case

David Burgess this week was convicted in Reading of murdering Yolande Waddington, 17, some 46 years after the crime was committed, thanks to all the advances in DNA technology. Back then, he was already convicted of killing Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams.

Burgess is the latest person in Britain to have been finally found guilty of murder years after his crime was committed. Nat Fraser, Gary Dobson and David Norris had been convicted of murder this year after evading justice for a number of years.

In September 2010, Thames Valley Police reviewed the case and with advances in DNA techniques finally gathered the evidence which resulted in Burgess being convicted of Yolande Waddington’s murder.

Forensic experts obtained a partial DNA profile from the blood samples using a new technique called MiniFiler. It differs from previous methods as it can obtain information from smaller pieces of DNA. This is ideal for older cases where samples have degraded over time.

According to the manufacturer’s website

[The MiniFiler kit] increases your ability to obtain DNA results from compromised samples that previously would have yielded limited or no genetic data. This means cold cases can come off the shelf for re-analysis and new, challenging samples have a better chance of delivering interpretable results.

When David Burgess attacked Yolande, he left blood on a number of Yolande’s items, including her hair band and comb. Tests showed the chances of the DNA found on the comb and hair band not being Burgess’s were not more than one in a billion.


[Below: David Burgess then and now who had taunted the police a year ago to “prove it”]




(2) Here are the implications for RS and AK

It puts the 46-day delay (caused by the defenses) in retrieving the bra clasp into perspective.

It’s not the first case of somebody being convicted of murder decades after the crime took place on the strength of DNA evidence. Ronald Castree was convicted of murdering Lesley Molseed 32 years later.

It also highlights the arrogant negligence of the DNA consultants Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti who had refused to carry out ordered test on the knife for flimsy reasons (“the technology is experimental” when it wasn’t) that no US or UK court would have accepted. They had been specifically instructed to do the tests if possible by Judge Hellmann.

At trial in 2009 it was accepted that Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen. There still is no argument about that.

And a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano - had all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade.

Even Greg Hampikian, a forensic expert who argues Knox is innocent, concedes that Meredith’s DNA was definitely found on the blade.

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife a long six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. Contamination couldn’t possibly have occurred in the laboratory after so long a gap.

At the appeal, Professor Guiseppe Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories that now have the latest accepted technology to carry out a new test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The fact that Judge Hellmann denied the prosecution the opportunity to present evidence to the contrary was a violation of the procedure code. Italian law states the following:

If new evidence about a point is admitted, evidence a contrario proposed by the opposing party must always be admitted too.

Dr Giovanni Galati has now argued in his appeal to the Supreme Court that Judge Hellmann should have allowed a new test to be performed because the technology is NOT experimental but cutting edge. Summary here:

The second [point concerns] the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

As remarked at the top, if the entire judgment or the DNA report are not thrown out for illegal scope, Judge Hellman’s refusal to allow the prosecution’s request to allow a new test on the knife will be the main reason why his verdict will be revoked.

Under Italian law RS and AK still stand accused until the Supreme Court signs off. Anyone who is concerned with the truth and justice and what Meredith stood for and the good name of Italy will want to know whether the remaining DNA on the knife is Meredith’s.

If Meredith’s DNA is identified on the knife it should make conviction and extradition a slam dunk..


[Below: ViaDellaPergola’s video first posted 18 months ago and still relevant]


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

UK High Court Convicts Two After 18 Years When Defense DNA Contamination Claims Lose Traction

Posted by The Machine



Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a jury at the Old Bailey.

There are some parallels between this case and the Meredith Kercher case: the police were accused of making a catalogue of errors and the defence lawyers claim forensic evidence was contaminated.

Gary Dobson was acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1996. However, the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal. The case against David Norris collapsed before it reached court.

It’s heartening that Dobson and Norris have been finally brought to justice. Forensic scientists used advanced techniques which were not available to the original investigators to recover bloodstains, clothing fibres and a single hair belonging to Stephen Lawrence from the clothes of the suspects.

Rosalyn Hammond from LGC Forensics explaining in today’s Telegraph:

Their convictions come after a five-week trial during which forensic evidence linking the two to the murder was shown to the jury.

The discovery of the fibres, blood and hair on the clothing was the evidence upon which the trial was based. A spot of Stephen’s blood was found on the collar of Dobson’s jacket, while hairs belonging to Stephen were found on Norris’ trousers.  As well as the blood spot, fibres from Stephen’s clothing were found on clothing taken from the homes of Dobson and Norris.

At one point in the 1990s Dobson contacted the Metropolitan Police to ask for the return of his clothes. But, after considering his request, Scotland Yard declined. Even today the force retains the clothing of all of the suspects so that they can be tested as forensic techniques develop.

A further criticism could be laid at the door of the scientists who failed to discover the blood spot in the 1990s.  But experts pointed out that even if it had been discovered then, it would have been useless as DNA testing had not yet developed enough to be able to clarify that such a small stain was blood belonging to Stephen Lawrence.

The tiny stain found on Dobson’s jacket is believed, by forensic experts, to be the smallest piece of forensic evidence upon which a trial has ever been mounted.

The decision to base the prosecution against Dobson on such a small piece of evidence was a risk, however. After his conviction was quashed, the current law allows only one further attempt at prosecution. It meant that if he was found not guilty, Dobson could never have been charged again.

The Italian Supreme Court should order another appeal trial on the grounds that the court consultants Vecchiotti and Conti failed to carry out a newly available test on the knife. That was despite the fact they were specifically instructed in their initial instructions to do so.

Also that Judge Hellman late in the appeal arbitrarily denied the prosecution request for precisely that test of the DNA without any good reason.

The prosecution grounds for their appeal to the Italian Supreme Court due this month are expected to repeat this request and we can see no grounds that could allow the Supreme Court to deny it. There are a number of laboratories that have the technology to carry out a test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The requested test on the knife should go ahead.



Monday, October 24, 2011

The Casey Anthony And Sollecito/Knox Outcomes Spark A New Discussion Of The CSI Effect

Posted by Peter Quennell



That seems a good explanation of the so-called CSI effect in the Fox Kansas City video above.

Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

The graph at bottom (which we’d like to see updated) showed how the US Feds are still winning juries over and maintaining amazingly high conviction rates.  And at state level and lower, judges and lawyers are also taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

The jury is still out on what really swayed the Perugia appeal jury. Their sentencing report is due out in the New Year. They sure didnt look at very much except for a small fraction of the DNA.

Which leaves us with a big question. How did Judge Hellman brief his jury? Did he warn against the CSI Effect? We’re told this might be his first DNA case, so Cassation will surely look closely at that.




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]


It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.

Now the drama moves to Rome.

Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.

At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.

    1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues

    2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.

    3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.

    4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.

    5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.

Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court. 

With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.

Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.

KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?

By John Follain in Perugia.

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 “” the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.

As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.

“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.

The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.

Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.

Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed “” the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.

Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat “” and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.

Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.

The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.

She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.

He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.

Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.

When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.

A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and “” at that time of year “” strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”

I was told she had been reading “” in Italian “” the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.

This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him “” she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway “” but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried “” collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed “” a neighbour heard her “” and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.

Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.

The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”

The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.

The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence “” the kitchen knife and the bra clasp “” proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.

The two experts “” Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome “” said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.

Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.

Knox’s family “” her mother, father, stepfather and friends “” had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.

With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there “” so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.

Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.

The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome “” Italy’s highest court “” which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia “” and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.

Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.

Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”

A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.

But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.

Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”

But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”

The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.

The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.

“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards “” the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.

For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.

“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police “” it’s their job.”

“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”

“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.

“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.

It is not over for the Kerchers.

Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal “” on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.

Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.

Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.

This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial “” a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.

In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.


Friday, October 07, 2011

US And UK Media: Make RS & AK Answer The HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS Of Open Questions

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





It seems Judge Hellman has begun sweating.

Maybe Judge Hellman already sees as much of the Italian public and commentators do that he’ll have a REALLY tough time answering all the open questions in his December sentencing report as he is required to.

Constitutional requirement of Ministry of Justice never met?

That so many questions exist but are not generally even known about, especially in the US and UK, is because a key requirement of the usually very careful Italian justice system seems to have been (illegally) ignored.

The key requirement is built into the justice system by the Italian constitution. It is that trial and appeal sentencing reports MUST be made available to the maximum extent, so that the general public (usually only the Italian public) can readily check on the legitimacy of trial outcomes.

Italy is the only country in the world that has that public check and balance on trials.  Under that requirement, if it existed in the US, Barry Scheck of the US’s Innocence Project would likely find that most of the travesties of justice his team uncovers would never have happened in the first place.

Here is how things are meant to work. 

Back when the Micheli Report on the Rudy Guede sentence was released in January 2009 with Judge Micheli’s reasons for remitting Knox and Sollecito to trial it was released in THREE formats.

    1) It was released digitally (in a Word Doc) to the media with the one requirement that it not be posted in full. We translated most of our copy and posted an extensive summary (scroll down) in English in four parts (three by Brian and one by Nikki) in September 2009.

    2) It was released in printed document form by the Ministry of Justice in Rome and anyone in Italy could buy a copy.

    3) It was also posted on the website of the Ministry of Justice in text and Acrobat document format. It appears that this Internet version was checked out by hundreds of thousands and quite possibly even by millions.

Now when the Ministry of Justice in Rome released the Massei sentencing report for Knox and Sollecito (links at top of this page) in March 2010, they released it in only ONE format.

The Ministry of Justice released it ONLY on paper, and it was obtainable ONLY by the press and by those in the general public who managed to figure out how to buy a copy of the book-sized document from the Ministry.

To our knowledge the Ministry of Justice never ever posted the required Internet version.

The effect of this serious and seemingly illegal shortfall by the Rome Ministry has been that even in Italy few people have ever read the Massei Report. The number of Italian readers might be only in the hundreds and at most in the low thousands. Way, way less than ever read Micheli.

As a result only very few people in Italy may have ever realized how powerful, logically complete and conclusive that report is. Probably few or no peers of the lay judges in Perugia have ever read it. The most important document in the entire case is essentially unread.

In August 2010 a PMF team finished translating the Massei Report and made available the Masssei report in English in Acrobat format on the PMF forum and on TJMK.

In June 2011 Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team posted a Massei summary in text on TJMK and PMF.

This English language version has been downloaded close to 30,000 times and there are many people in the US and UK who are very well informed on the conclusions.  Every lawyer we know who has read the report has agreed that it arrived at the right conclusions. Many say and several do right here in these posts (scroll down) that the case would have been way more than enough for a US or UK conviction.

A slam dunk in effect. Evidence overkill.

But few of the busy people in the US and UK media have read the Massei Report and no one in the media to our knowledge has extensively analyzed or quoted from it. None of the books out so far go into the Massei Report in depth.

WHY did the Italian Ministry of Justice fail to fully distribute the Massei Report, and in particular not post it on their website? And is the Supreme Court of Cassation aware of this huge shortfall in its distribution?

This is such a serious mistake that our Italian lawyers believe that the Supreme Court or even the President of the Republic of Italy if he is petitioned could throw out the entire Hellman proceedings, verdict and sentence.

The hundreds and hundreds of open questions

Arising from the Massei Report are literally hundreds of questions for the released defendants and their teams. They have been around since early 2010. The defense teams and PR campaign have never ever tried to answer these questions, or for that matter to produce a convincing alternative scenario that hangs together implicating Guede but not Knox or Sollecito.

Here are four lists of the many, many outstanding questions.

Here from the Daily Beast are those ten questions with the Beast’s annotations showing how they are STILL unanswered:

1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of Nov. 1, 2007, and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be? This question was never addressed fully in the appellate process except when Giulia Bongiorno for Sollecito said that perhaps the cat stepped on the phone and turned it on. At that time the prosecutor Manuela Comodi quipped, “I’ve got a dog and he has never done that.”

2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it? Even if this mixed blood drop is contentious in its genetic makeup (all blood or blood mixed with DNA), the appellate court was shown a picture of a drop of blood attributed entirely to Knox on the faucet.

3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?

4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on Nov. 5, 2007? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?

5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace? Much of the crime scene has since been determined to have suffered from sloppy investigative work, meaning the absence of fingerprints in any room of the house may be due to that rather than any sort of cleanup.

6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was minuscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?

7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to Nov. 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?

8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstance? Your supporters say Rudy Guede was the lone killer. Do you agree? Or do you think there are still others out there who were involved in your roommate’s murder?

9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. In your appellate hearing you said you lost faith in justice and the police. Now that you are out, what do you really think of the system that has both convicted and acquitted you?

10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your (initial) trial (in which you were convicted)? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on Dec. 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher”? Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you? You have said on many occasions during the appellate trial that you did not kill her and you have never hurt anyone. This question has been addressed with your denials. What about the rest?

Judge Hellman may be able to answer all of these unanswered questions AS HE MUST under Italian law in his sentencing report. He cannot simply address points defense raised about small parts of it. He must be able to explain the totality of the evidence or his report risks being thrown out by Cassation and a retrial at the first appeal level ordered.

Possibly Judge Hellman might be able to achieve this. But why do we seriously doubt it?


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