Category: DNA and luminol

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trial: Patrizia Stefanoni Seen Here With One Of Her Teams

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

These teams seem to professionals we know watching the case to be smart, efficient, and well-organized.

And large. The numbers involved in the various searches and analyses have been quite considerable.

They all arrived in Perugia from Rome of course. From the equivalent of Scotland Yard or the FBI.


Trial: The Morning Report By Sky New’s Nick Pisa

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the full story.

DNA from Meredith Kercher murder suspect Amanda Knox was found on the handle of a kitchen knife and Miss Kercher’s DNA was on the tip, a court has heard…

On Friday, forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni told the court how her team had recorded 460 biological traces at the crime scene.

Dr Stefanoni also said DNA traces were found on a black-handled kitchen knife recovered from Sollecito’s flat - which the court has been told is compatible with the murder weapon.

She showed photographs of the knife and pointed out the areas of the handle where Knox’s DNA was found, and the tip of the blade where Miss Kercher’s was found.

Dr Stefanoni told the court that blood tests on the knife had proved negative, and in earlier hearings the judge and jury were told that the knife had been cleaned.

DNA from Knox and Miss Kercher was also found in blood stains found in the bidet of the bathroom, the sink and on a box of cotton wool buds, the court heard.

Dr Stefanoni said the bloodstains were “slightly pink as if the result of being washed”....

The court heard how DNA from Sollecito was found on a metal clasp that had been cut away from Miss Kercher’s bra and which was found at the scene.

A blood stain found in the bedroom of flatmate Laura Romanelli was also found to have DNA from Knox and Miss Kercher.

That last line sure surprised us! But we think Nick Pisa may have intended to write Filomena Romanelli and not Laura Romanelli at that point.

Mixed-blood evidence found in either bedroom would appears to be very important new news, and even tougher for the defense teams than the mixed bathroom traces.

We remain grateful for Nick Pisa’s fast reports. The London Times, in contrast, has not posted any report on the trial for quite some time now.


Today’s Witness Patrizia Stefanoni Shakes Hands With Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Italian media have reported that the first part of Ms Stefanoni’s deposition was a sort of seminar on how to catalogue and collect forensic evidence and exhibits.

From La Nazione: “We use kits which are internationally recognized and marketed. This means that a researcher in Sydney, Australia, looking at the same tube would see the same outcome in terms of results of the DNA. For our investigation of the death of Meredith, two different special kits were used to analyze the DNA and other genetic traces.”

She then testified that 460 biological traces were collected and analyzed. And that 360-degree images of each room were taken in advance of each of the team’s search for more evidence. She excluded contamination by her operatives.

“In collecting traces of bloodstains, it is crucial for the operator not to come into contact with them, not to alter the scene, and to avoid being infected by bacteria or viruses. Therefore we use special gloves, boots, masks and coveralls.”

Ms Stefanoni’ found no biological evidence under Meredith’s short fingernails, which she found not unexpected as Meredith was apparently fighting off a knife attack and then down on her hands and knees.

It is perhaps worth recalling that Ms Stefanoni presented essentially the same evidence at the trial of Rudy Guede. Judge Micheli seems to have found it extremely credible, as it forms a large part of his report.

Judge Micheli then awarded Guede a term of 30 years in prison, and Prosecutor Mignini had only asked for 25.


The Trial Resumes: The Court Agenda For Friday And Saturday

Posted by Peter Quennell

Italian media have reported the following agenda for Friday and Saturday.

Probably all day Friday: Patrizia Stefanoni. leader of the forensic team, who will testify on the crime scene and what was found where and how it was collected.

Probably all day Saturday: Francesco Camana, who will testify on the bloody footprints revealed with luminol, and then Giuseppe Codisposti and Piero Sbardella, who will testify on the second collection of evidence and the prints found on the pillow.

We are anticipating (see our right column for dates) that there will be no court sessions next Friday and Saturday because a public holiday in Italy renders this traditionally a long weekend.

Meredith’s mother and perhaps other members of the Kercher family are expected to testify at the next session on 5 or 6 June.

And in a Seattle PI interview, Curt Knox has confirmed that Amanda Knox wants to testify at the session after that on 12 or 13 June.

Soon thereafter, all Italian courts will cease sessions for a period of some weeks during the vacation period.

The defense phase of the trial will resume in September and the trial may be over in October and the verdicts and sentences, if any, announced then.

If the verdicts are “guilty” appeals are automatic under the Italian system..


Monday, May 11, 2009

Trial: The Beast On The Footprints -  And Meredith’s House

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Barbie Nadeau’s report on last Friday and Saturday at court.

Amanda Knox’s father is interviewed. And we are quoted on Meredith’s house as follows.

The Daily Beast also discovered that administrators of one of the blogs that follows the Kercher trial, True Justice for Meredith Kercher, is considering buying the House of Horrors to make sure it isn’t forgotten. “Increasingly, Meredith’s followers seem to hope that the groundswell for Meredith evolves into something tangible.

Making an offer for the Via della Pergola house, perhaps establishing a memorial garden there, is one possible objective,” Peter Quennell, who runs the True Justice site, tells me. “Meredith is clearly coming to stand for something transcendent. She already seems an iconic presence for many followers of the case.”

In our incoming emails, compassion for Meredith is mounting higher and higher, and this flows in part from an obvious sadness that the house might revert to a student rental or grim tourist attraction.

The Kercher family have not testified about Meredith at the trial yet - that might happen in three weeks. We feel it appropriate to simply float this possibility and no more for now.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Provides More Detail On The Bloody Footprints

Posted by Peter Quennell



Click above for the report on the Seattle PI website.

1) From the prosecution testimony

Over the opposition of both defense teams, Lorenzo Rinaldi demonstrated to jurors using a precise Power Point presentation why the visible bloody footprint left on the cotton bath mat in the bathroom is attributable to Sollecito, who is on trial along with Knox for murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007….

“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…

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.

Two luminol-enhanced bare footprints were also found compatible with Knox’s right foot, Rinaldi said, one exiting her own room and another in the corridor outside Kercher’s door, facing toward the room.

All the bloody shoeprints in the room where Kercher was found were compatible with the size 11 Nike Outbreak 2 shoes believed to be Guede’s, Rinaldi said, except for one smaller, unattributed shoeprint found on the pillow that was under Kercher’s body.

Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei asked Rinaldi what size that shoe print was, he responded “37 or 38.” He then asked what size Knox wears, and Rinaldi said according to other shoes sequestered from the crime scene, she wears a 37.

A second print expert later testified that he believed the shoeprint to be that of a woman’s size 37.5 Asics tennis shoe. No Asics tennis shoes were among the 22 pairs sequestered by police from the three’s apartments.

Rinaldi’s detailed PPT described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints, 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.


2) And from the cross-examination

On cross examination, one of Knox’s defense team, Rome lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, questioned the certainty with which the prints could be considered compatible with Knox’s foot. He noted that a match with Sollecito and Guede’s footprints was excluded, but asked why the luminol print was not compared with the other two female roommates in the house.

Under cross, Rinaldi also confirmed that luminol, a substance used by forensic police to reveal non-visible traces of blood, also could react to other substances that contain iron, such as fruit juices, chlorophyll or rust, as well as bleach.

When asked what substance the print was made in, Rinaldi said he does only image analysis and such a determination would have to be made by a forensic biologist. That witness is scheduled to testify at the next hearing. Defense teams have all hired their own forensic experts to testify during their presentations.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Trial: Italian-Language Video Report On Today’s Session

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the video. It starts immediately.

Much of the focus is on Sollecito and his lawyer discussing the luminol-enhanced footprints - we hope not for the first time.

The lawyer in shirt-sleeves who stands up near the end is Mr Maresca, the Kercher family’s representative at the trial.

We are presuming that he will have a role in presenting the family’s testimonies, which may happen in three or four weeks.


Trial: At The Most Dramatic Day So Far, Bloody Footprints Seem Strong Matches To Defendants

Posted by Peter Quennell





This was a very dramatic day in court.

The footprint expert Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi [above], unit head from the Scientific Police in Rome, and Pietro Boemia were like pitbulls. The defenses were in shrill disarray,

Sollecito intervened very nervously and incredibly lamely (which did him real harm). And the judges’ eyes were glued to the presentation screen.

Click above for Nick Pisa’s lunchtime report.

Bloodstained footprints found at the house where British student Meredith Kercher was stabbed to death fit her alleged killers, a court has heard.

Forensic scientists found one imprint on a bath mat and three more in the corridor leading from Meredith’s bedroom to that of suspect Amanda Knox.

The court heard how imprints were taken of Knox, 21, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25….

Police scientist Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi told the Italian court his forensic evidence was discovered by using Luminol - a substance that turns blue in the presence of blood.

“From our investigations we were able to conclude that the footprint found on the bath mat was compatible with that of Sollecito as was one found in the corridor using Luminol,” Dr Rinaldi said.

“We also found that a naked footprint found in Knox’s bedroom and in the corridor outside, again using Luminol, was compatible with the one taken from her in prison.”

Dr Rinaldi explained to the court how microscopic point to point measurements such as ‘‘heel to toe’’ or ‘‘toe and arch width’’ were used to identify the imprints.

Subsequently Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI reported at more length:

Bloody and luminol-enhanced footprints left in the villa where Meredith Kercher was murdered are those of Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede, the director of print identity in the Rome forensic police division testified Saturday.

Over the opposition of both defense teams, Lorenzo Rinaldi demonstrated to jurors using a precise Power Point presentation why the visible bloody footprint left on the cotton bath mat in the bathroom is attributable to Sollecito, who is on trial along with Knox for murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007. Guede was convicted and sentenced to 30 years prison for his role in the crime in a separate fast-track trial last October.

“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 after the lunch break. He and Knox maintain they were at his apartment the night Kercher was killed. “They are not mine.”

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.

Two luminol-enhanced bare footprints were also found compatible with Knox’s right foot, Rinaldi said, one exiting her own room and another in the corridor outside Kercher’s door, facing toward the room.

All the bloody shoeprints in the room where Kercher was found were compatible with the size 11 Nike Outbreak 2 shoes believed to be Guede’s, Rinaldi said, except for one smaller, unattributed shoeprint found on the pillow that was under Kercher’s body.

Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei asked Rinaldi what size that shoe print was, he responded “37 or 38.” He then asked what size Knox wears, and Rinaldi said according to other shoes sequestered from the crime scene, she wears a 37. A second print expert later testified that he believed the shoeprint to be that of a woman’s size 37.5 Asics tennis shoe. No Asics tennis shoes were among the 22 pairs sequestered by police from the three’s apartments.

Rinaldi’s detailed PPT described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints, 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.

On cross examination, one of Knox’s defense team, Rome lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, questioned the certainty with which the prints could be considered compatible with Knox’s foot. He noted that a match with Sollecito and Guede’s footprints was excluded, but asked why the luminol print was not compared with the other two female roommates in the house.

Under cross, Rinaldi also confirmed that luminol, a substance used by forensic police to reveal non-visible traces of blood, also could react to other substances that contain iron, such as fruit juices, chlorophyll or rust, as well as bleach.

When asked what substance the print was made in, Rinaldi said he does only image analysis and such a determination would have to be made by a forensic biologist. That witness is scheduled to testify at the next hearing. Defense teams have all hired their own forensic experts to testify during their presentations.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Trial: The Trial Agenda For Today And Tomorrow Is Physical And Forensic Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for NIck Pisa’s report.

This is some of the more telling and contentious evidence. The same evidence was not successfully rebutted Last October at the trial of Rudy Guede.

1) The items in evidence

The court is now set to hear details of how DNA was found on a knife and bloodied bra strap.

Key to the proceedings will be evidence relating to a 30cm kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat days after the murder in November 2007. Forensic experts say DNA from Meredith was discovered on the blade.

They claim Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife, which they say is compatible with the murder weapon that has never been found.

The experts will also detail how DNA from computer studies graduate Sollecito was found on a piece of bloodied bra. The material is believed to have been ripped from Meredith’s body.,,

Besides the knife, the prosecution also claims Knox’s DNA was found mixed in blood spots from Meredith found at the scene in the shower and sink.

2) The forensics team

The forensics specialists include chief of the Italian Scientific Police Unit in Rome, Patrizia Stefanoni. She was part of the Disaster Investigations Team sent to the scene of the 2004 tsunami to identify victims…

Ms Stefanoni has given evidence that her team used gloves and tweezers at all times. She insisted that, despite claims from the defence, there was “no possibility” of contamination.

Knox and Sollecito’s lawyers insist the DNA evidence is tainted as it was poorly handled. They have also pointed out how the bra fragment was only picked up six weeks after the killing during a second search of the scene.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]




Our DNA poster Nicki has been careful not to exaggerate the impact as evidence of the DNA on the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment.

She accepts that in the eyes of the court there could be question marks over the size of the sample and the fact that the tests could not be repeated.

However, as the knife appeared to have been thoroughly cleaned with bleach, some remain intrigued that any DNA at all was found.

Here is a short piece explaining why. This article by Juliet Lapidos was posted on the Slate site in November 2007. But we haven’t seen better, and it is still often referred to.

Slate 20 Nov 2007
How To Clean a Bloody Knife: Does DNA come off with soap and water?
By Juliet Lapidos NYTimes Staff Writer

Investigators in Perugia, Italy, have found new evidence linking a 20-year-old American exchange student, Amanda Knox, to the brutal stabbing death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. According to the latest reports, Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raphael Sollecito, cleaned the alleged murder weapon””an 8-inch black-handled kitchen knife””with bleach. Nevertheless, police discovered Kercher’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA by the handle. Is it possible to clean DNA off a knife?

Yes, if you know what you’re doing. Knox and Sollecito were on the right track: Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, an extremely corrosive chemical that can break the hydrogen bonds between DNA base pairs and thus degrade or “denature” a DNA sample. In fact, bleach is so effective that crime labs use a 10 percent solution (one part commercial bleach to nine parts water) to clean workspaces (PDF) so that old samples don’t contaminate fresh evidence. Likewise, when examining ancient skeletal remains (PDF), researchers first douse the remains in diluted bleach to eliminate modern DNA from the surface of bones or teeth.
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So, why did Knox and Sollecito’s bleaching gambit fail? It’s difficult to swab a knife thoroughly. Dried blood can stick to the nooks and crannies in a wood handle, to the serrated edge of a blade, or become lodged in the slit between the blade and the hilt. With help from a Q-tip, it’s possible to eliminate most stains, but what’s not visible to the naked eye might still be visible to a microscope, and sophisticated crime labs need only about 10 cells to build a DNA profile.

Bleach is perhaps the most effective DNA-remover (though evidently no methodology is failsafe), but it’s not the only option. Deoxyribonuclease enzymes, available at biological supply houses, and certain harsh chemicals, like hydrochloric acid, also degrade DNA strands. It’s even possible to wipe a knife clean of DNA-laden hair follicles, saliva, and white blood cells with generic soap and warm water. The drawback to this last method is that the tell-tale cells don’t just disappear once off the knife. They linger on sponges, in drains, and even in sink traps, where wily investigators search for trace evidence.

There appears to be a great deal more DNA evidence than merely what is on the knife, of course, and early in the trial the known luminol-evidence universe also expanded.

The court was told that AK-sized and RS-sized footprints appeared under luminol on the floor of Filomena’s room.

Nicki’s two Powerpoints on the DNA can be seen here and here and Kermit’s Powerpoint (pre the new evidence) on the luminol can be seen here.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trial: One Busy Day On The Court Agenda For The Judges And Jury

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s summary of planned events. We expect to have some shots in due course.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trial: Judges And Jury To Visit House On The 17th - What Can We Expect?

Posted by Arnold_Layne

[click for larger image]

Having seen and heard the autopsy evidence, the judges and jury will now see the actual crime scene.  What might we expect from this? 

I think this will have an emotional and lasting impact on them.  Until now, everything has been pictures and talk. Seeing the actual site of the brutal murder right after the autopsy information will cement the enormity of the crime in their minds.

For one thing, they will most likely try to reconstruct the crime in their minds.  When might Meredith have eaten mushrooms?  With whom?  What was the sequence of events in the attack?  What was visible from the park?  Where did the sexual assault take place?  The torturous stabbing?  The final thrust to the neck?

The defense will also have to present images that are more consistent with what the jurors have actually seen.  It will be much more difficult for them to create a fuzzy mental picture of someone breaking in when they have actually seen the window.

A question still for me is where the actual attack took place. 

We know it ended in the bedroom.  But why did Knox and Sollecito seemingly spend the entire night cleaning up the common areas?  And if Guede was voluntarily with Mez, why did he not use the bathroom adjacent to her room?  Why was there so little DNA evidence in Meredith’s room after such an epic struggle?

When the jurors leave this murder scene, they will be very different people.  This crime will be much more real to them, and rendering a verdict will no longer be just a civic duty. 

When they next meet in court, I have to wonder what their impression will be of a smiling, carefree Amanda Knox.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Trial: Agenda Is Closed Court For The Autopsy Report, And Maybe Testimony From Guede

Posted by Nicki

Part of the Friday court hearing will be closed for the autopsy evidence.

A just decision on the part of the Italian Court, and a due act of respect for Meredith and her grieving family. The murderers didn’t “simply” stab her. She was sadistically tortured before she was left to die in a locked-up room, without her mobile phones and thus robbed of even the slightest chance to call for help.

The medical findings that I have actually been able to get through in Judge Micheli’s report (itself toned down from the autopsy report) are truly shocking. Multiple bruises were found on the face and jaw-line - at least eight - in a clear attempt to muffle her screams. There were more bruises on her elbow and arm, all ranging from 1 to over 4 cm diameter (up to a bit less than two inches).

The genital area was also bruised, as well as her leg and her hip. Multiple bruises and scratches were found on her neck, plus four cuts on her hand. Someone DESPERATELY fighting not to be raped - and then for her life.

I can only pray that the medical examiner evidence on Friday will not reveal additional horrific details that we are not aware of from the Micheli report. All of the above is very far from suggesting a “consensual” intercourse, as the Guede defence tries to claim.

And by the same logic, the medical findings unequivocally indicate that the murder was committed by multiple aggressors. So, unless Rudy Guede is a four-armed God Vhisnu, and therefore able to silence Meredith’s screams with one hand, wave a knife to stab her neck with the other, and at the same time try to rape her, the logical conclusion is that the attack was carried out by more than one aggressor.

Perhaps the other attackers were not Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox and if they are able to prove that in Court, good for them. But so far, there are two unassailable truths: Meredith had been savagely raped and killed, and Guede sure didn’t do it alone.

The smiling portion of the trial will probably be behind us now, after this demonstration of just how depraved Meredith’s death really was.

The court will be re-opened to the public when Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi, who owns an underwear store where Knox was seen buying lingerie with Sollecito shortly after Meredith was killed, takes the stand. Point is to describe even more of what was apparently a cold and uncaring demeanor on the part of the defendants.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trial: Report From The Courtroom On Testimony Of Numerous Witnesses

Posted by stewarthome2000



[Above: left room of Conad; manager serves in deli; arch by door connects with right room]



[above: right room of Conad store; cashier is against wall to right; arch is to left of door]


Overview

Today at the trial we heard from a number of witnesses, and quite frankly I was looking forward some significant new testimony.

On the witness stand were Jovana Popovic, Alessandra Formica, Fabrizio Angeluce, Marco Quintavalle, and Rosa Natalia Guaman Fernandez De Calle.

Jovana Popovic

First up was Jovana Popovic, who is studying medicine in Perugia and who became a friend of Raffale’s after meeting him at a mutual friend’s house some months before. They were not really close, but they did go out with mutual friends together a number of times over a couple of months.

She stated that on November 1st, she passed by Raffaele’s around 5:30-5:45pm to ask if he could drive her in his car to the bus station, to pick up a suitcase that was due to arrive from Milan on a bus at midnight that evening. Since others were busy, and Raffaele had a car and it was late at night she asked him to do her this favor.

When she buzzed his door she was invited up, and Raffaele was there with Amanda. She requested the favor of him, he thought for a minute, and then he agreed to take her to the bus station at midnight.

She testified that he was a bit cold, then clarified that by saying that relative to the fun”“loving smile he always had, he seem a bit different, nothing to make a too big a deal over.

She stayed only a few minutes and left and planned to call, and she guessed they would meet in front of his place just before midnight to go get the suitcase. She recalled it was 5:30-5:45 because she had an appointment at 6:00pm about a 15-20 minute walk away and she was on time.

Not long afterwards, she was informed that the suitcase was NOT coming that night. So after her meeting which ended around 8:00pm she headed home, and decided to pass by Raffaele’s house, because it was on the way, to tell him she will not need any ride that evening. She said she rang the bell about 8:40pm, and Amanda answered and came to the door on the street.

She said that Raf was upstairs and invited Giovana up, but Giovana declined and said she just wanted to tell Raf that there was no need to go to the station but grazie anyway.

She spoke to Amanda for just a minute or so and then went on her way. That was the entire testimony. It helped both sides because on the one hand it proved AK and RS were together, and on the other hand it proves that they were in fact together at his apartment like they said.

Alessandra Formica

The next witness was Alessandra Formica. She is the person who had informed the police that she and her boyfriend, while walking back to their car after dinner, bumped into a “person of color” on her way.

Essentially she testified that she and her boyfriend had parked their car in the famous parking building across from Meredith’s house around 8:00pm. They walked out of the garage, past the house, up across the square, and through the Etruscan arch to have dinner. The place was full so they waited about 40-50 minutes and finally finished dinner around 9:30pm.

They then took a short walk in the center of the old city and then headed down to their car. As they passed the basketball courts and started down the stairs and onto the road that leads down to Via della Pergola, she noticed a man in a dark puffy jacket, walking in a hurry with his head down, and he bumped into her. She focused on his face and could state the he was a “person of color” which essentially meant a black man.

She said “excuse me” and he said nothing and just kept going quickly in a rush. She noted how rude that was (rude as in “ill mannered” not ruede-y!) That incident occurred, by her estimates and the garage ticket, around 10:00-10:30pm.

She also remarked that just near the parking building entrance there was a station wagon with a guy outside it on his mobile phone, calling for help as the car did not start. She also saw a women in the back seat with a baby seat next to her”¦baby in it or not, she could not say.

Comment. It does seem that she most likely saw Guede leaving the crime scene, at between 10:00 and 10:30pm. This also fits with one of Meredith’s stolen mobile phone picking up another cell tower at 10:13pm. If Guede took the phones, it seems to me that this helped the Knox and Sollecito defenses more than the prosecution.

Rosa Natalia Guman Fernendez de Calle

Next Rosa Natalia Guman Fernendez de Calle, an Ecuadorian woman, took the stand. She had been Sollecito’s cleaning lady. She had worked for him about 2 months and would come every Monday around 2:00 to 4:00 pm to clean his apartment. She stated that she used only Lysoform, which is a general household cleaner like Mr. Clean. She would vacuum, mop the floor, clean the bathroom and kitchen, and so on. The cleaning products were kept under the kitchen sink as in most homes, and there were usually about 5-6 different cleaning products there and other cleaning supplies.She had been told to only ever use Lysoform to clean.

The last time she cleaned the apartment went was on November 5th, and Sollecito and Knox were there then. She went under the sink to get the cleaning products, and noticed a bucket with water in it and wet mop rags. She asked why the wet rags and the bucket, and he said they had had a leak. She did say the bucket had water in it and it was clear.

When asked if she ever used bleach in his home she said absolutely not. When asked if there was bleach among the cleaning products, she said she could not say either way. The 5th of November was the last day she worked for Sollecito as he was subsequently arrested.

Marc Quintavalle

The next witness was the highlight of the day. This was Marc Quintavalle, the owner of the small grocery store located on Via Garibaldi, the street that Solliceto lived on. Comment: his testimony was very precise, almost too precise for someone who recalls a long-ago incident from memory, but here goes”¦

On November 2nd he was heading back to his grocery store after lunch. He parked his car, and noticed there were carabinieri, police, etc. on Via della Pergola. He walked past them all, stopped to get a coffee at the bar on the corner, and then headed back to work. He was told at this time there was a murder.

It was not until many days later that he was told that Sollecito, a frequent customer in his grocery store, had been arrested with his girlfriend for the murder. After some time, he had remembered the day of the murder because he encountered the police and carabinieri cars several days after.Then it hit him what had happened that morning.

He said he arrived at his shop at 7:45am to open the security doors to be open for business. His two cashiers and helpers (two women) get there at 7:30am and begin to get ready for customers before opening time.

He said as he was opening the security gate on the store, a girl was standing at the door with him waiting for the store to open. He remembers that she had a hat on, jeans, a scarf and a grey-white jacket. But most of all he remembers that she had blue, really blue eyes. He noticed because her skin was very pale.

He opened the store door and said “buon giorno” but she did not say anything in response, and she headed to the part of the store [second image at top here] where they stock cleaning products, soap, towels, and also cups, coffee, and miscellaneous household items. The cashier is also located there.

He paid her no attention, but he did see her eventually leave and head down the street in the direction of the piazza that connects to Via della Pergola. Since he was not at the cash register he did not serve her and he could not say what she bought, and he did not think to ask the cashier at that time .

Many days afterwards, he saw a picture of Amanda Knox in the paper and said to himself, “OMG that is her, that is the girl that was at my store that morning”. Having seen her various times previously in the store, he was sure that it was Knox. He confirmed that it was some months later that he went to the police to tell them what he had witnessed the morning after the murder.

The courtroom was on edge when the prosecutor asked Quintavalle to identify the person he saw that morning by looking at a picture.

He finally looked directly at Amanda in the courtroom, staring at her in the eye only a few feet away and stated, “era lei, era Knox…” - “It was her, it was Knox, she was the person I saw that morning”.

Comments: this was quite a climax of a scene. A direct eye witness testifying, without any doubt in his mind, that in effect Knox was lying about not getting up until around 10am on that morning.

Quintavalle had asked his cashiers if they remembered her or what she had bought that morning, but they did not remember anything. Quintavalle stated that detergent bleach is sold in his store for 1.09 euro per bottle and he carries only one kind (ACE), and they are all 1.09 per bottle.

Comment: if the prosecution introduces a till receipt for a 1.09 euro item sold at approximately 8:00am on November 2nd this would be very telling. So far such a receipt has not been introduced. The Police sequestered the till receipts, but have not officially released the findings. A possible problem is that many places don’t even ring up the items on the register to save the taxes and half probably go missing anyway. But overall, this was quite damning testimony.

The defense attempted to discredit Quintavalle, noting that it was all so long ago and how could anyone say in such detail who was there with any certainty? They also drilled him for supposedly violating a gag order, giving interviews for money, appearing on “Porta a porta” and so on.

Comment: that essentially washed away. I must admit he was so certain, and gave so much detail of what happened that morning after so much time had passed, it seemed like a feat of superhuman memory. But Quintavalle prides himself on his excellent memory, and now his statement is in the record.

Fabrizio Angeluce

Finally we heard from Fabrizio Angeluce, the owner of the laundromat and dry cleaners also located on Via Garibaldi.

His testimony was simple. He basically said that Raffaele came into his store on either Friday the 2nd or Monday the 5th of Nov ““ he could not remember the exact date but it was one of the two ““ and dropped off one shirt that was not exactly new, and seemed to have been washed. (Comment: For me it must have been the 5th as he was said to have dropped it off midday and we know where he was at midday on the 2nd.)

Sollecito had asked if he could dry clean the shirt as soon as possible, and get a rush service done because he needed it urgently. The witness said the shirt was brown and not exactly new. and and it seemed to have already been washed. He washed and ironed the shirt and that was it.

He decided to come to the police after he heard that Sollecito was arrested. Sollecito has claimed that he needed his shirt soon as it was the one he would wear to his graduation exam and ceremony.

Bottom line

Other days at trial I am thinking this is all looking bad for the defendants, but then after a day like today, I am thinking the defense can use these witnesses when it’s their turn at bat. Except for the testimony of Quintavalle, the other witnesses also supported some defense points.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Trial: More Testimony On Knox Acting Weird After Meredith Was Murdered (2)

Posted by Peter Quennell




Testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno

This post spills over from the post immediately below.

Translation here is by Catnip. As mentioned in today’s court report, Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased.

He investigated the 20 euro withdrawal reported on Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records. He also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

Transcript of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 177-211

Depositions of the witness Oreste Volturno

The witness, admonished pursuant to Article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

Particulars: Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno, in service with the Flying Squad, Perugia Police; born at Montegabbione (TR), 12 June 1956.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You have carried out investigations on the death of Meredith Kercher?
ANSWER: Yes.

Q: Do you remember what type of investigative tasks you carried out? First list them, then describe them.
A: In practice the first investigative task that I carried out was as regards two containers of Ace bleach that had been seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s house on 16 November 2007. Immediately after the seizure I went around the shops in the environs of Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence trying to understand from where they could have been purchased from, and for this purpose I was showing people the photograph of Raffaele Sollecito, the photograph of Amanda Knox. After a couple of days we tracked down the shop which was a Conad-Margherita shop situated right at the start of Corso Garibaldi, where both the owner and the shop assistants were to identify, from the photographs that we placed before them, [178] Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Raffaele Sollecito was a usual customer of this shop, while the girl had been seen two or three times in his company.

Q: Together with Sollecito?
A: Yes, yes, in his company. In this shop we asked also if by chance they had noticed in the days immediately prior to the murder or straight after if they remembered whether these persons had acquired this product, although they didn’t remember. I have to preface this with the shop is subdivided into two levels, one is higher up where the entrance is and the other is lower down. The one higher up is where all the products are that people take and then go straight to the cashier, while the one below is the delicatessen, cheeses, etc etc where there were two girls working, in addition to the owner, who I think I remember was called Quintavalle. One in particular, an Ecuadorian girl, at the time I recall that it was interesting, she said to us that she had a friend who was doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house and she indicated the cellular device with which we then contacted her, although as for the bleach nothing came out of it, either a person or a mention of something. We were checking that”¦

Q: What was this woman called?
A: (Kiriboga) “¦ the rest I don’t remember. It was actually through the mobile phone number that she furnished that led us to the person who was then doing the cleaning at that time, up until 5 November, the last day that she did the cleaning, and another Ecuadorian girl who was called Natalia. This one was interviewed on the record but she wasn’t able to tell us anything about this bleach. Then subsequent to this episode (Kiriboga) was also heard, she furnished us a version where she said actually that this bleach had been seen by her in Sollecito’s house and that in any case a container [179] had been said, had been bought by Raffaele Sollecito at her request. I asked her why she hadn’t mentioned it at the time that I asked her, the first day, in the days immediately after the search, that is between 16 and 19 November, and she said to me that the same questions had been asked at the firm of Counsellor Maori and that at the time she didn’t recall this fact, but after having been at Counsellor Maori’s she remembers having bought this bleach. However the investigations proceeded onwards because I asked the owner of the shop if by means of the product barcode it was possible to go back to the period in which it was handed over or sold or at the least ordered and which company was the supplier of this bleach. He told me that the company was a Ponte San Giovanni company I believe, the PAC, and I contacted the person responsible in the detergents department who was a Mr Cicognola, I think, who told me that being a product without an expiry he was not obliged by law to memorise it, that is computerise it, and so he was not able to uncover precisely the shop at which it had been sold, at the time. He furnished us information however, namely the boxes were of 18 containers each and had been consigned to Quintavalle’s shop which was a Conad-Margherita, the same label that was on the container seized at Sollecito’s house dated 1 October, 11 November and 5 November the last consignment. Another box of the same product had been consigned to another Conad-Margherita shop which is located about 50 metres further up from Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence, whose owner now I don’t remember. Until 11 October the recommended PAC price for this product was 0.85 euro, while from 11 October onwards the recommended price was 1.09 because he says that before there was a more favourable market and [180] so they had a lower price, although no one was able to rule out that in any case the product being at the old price might have been among the others and then purchased for 0.85, the price that then turned out to have been applied to the container seized from Sollecito’s house. As regards this investigation about the bleach, nothing else was done.

Q: You were in Sollecito’s house?
A: Yes, I had been on two occasions. The first occasion was on the 8th of November during a search when different types of apparel were seized, I seem to recall. On a second occasion on the 16 November”¦

Q: Let’s go in order; the 8th, did you all have footwear and gloves?
A: Yes, yes, we always have footwear and gloves because we’ve got them in the car, they’re from the office.

Q: New?
A: Yes, they’re taken from the boxes as needed from time to time.

Q: So you’d entered on the 8th?
A: We had entered the first time on the 8th and I remember that numerous items of apparel were seized, underwear, jumper”¦

Q: Was there a particular smell there on the 8th?
A: Yes, there was a smell of bleach permeating the inside of the apartment because it was sealed and we broke the seals because it had been sequestered prior.

Q: These items of clothing, where had you put them?
A: The items of clothing were pointed out to our colleagues from the Scientific Police who were taking them and putting them into paper envelopes, one by one and then they were sealed and catalogued inside a big box.

Q: So they actually also had overalls?
[181] A: Our colleagues from the Scientifica yes, we only had the footwear and gloves.

Q: And then, the second time?
A: The second time was the 16th of November although I had not gone inside the apartment because the footwear had run out and I stayed outside on the landing cataloguing the items of evidence that were being handed over to me in envelopes and I was putting them into a big box.

Q: You had gloves on, though?
A: Yes, yes, I had gloves on.

Q: Other investigative tasks?
A: One other investigative task had been carried by me personally on Ms Kercher’s credit cards, because from an account statement extract that had been faxed to us by her parents there was a 20 euro withdrawal at the IMI-San Paolo in Perugia. I contacted them, I believe around the first part of the month of December 2008, I think the 8th, the 9th or the 10th, I don’t recall now precisely, I contacted the manager of the bank, of the IMI-San Paolo in the person of Dr Farsi and I asked him if it were possible to trace back the person who had made this withdrawal or at the least verify that this withdrawal had been made. I also asked him if there were security cameras and he said to me: “Yes, there are, although the security camera only covers the bank entrance and not the ATM, but in any case the video cassettes are reset each week”, time had already passed because the account extract had been faxed to us towards the end of the month of November by the Kercher family, I did the first investigations on it on the 10th of December, or on the 8th of December, so from the 2nd of November more than a month had gone by and the recordings had already been reset multiple times. Mr Farsi examined the funds journals of all four ATMs, of the head office and the branches that there are in Perugia and responded to me by [182] letter that according to the journals there was no withdrawal of that kind neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days preceding”¦

Q: Do you recognise it?
A: Yes, it’s this one.

Q: I don’t know if it is in the evidence file, otherwise I ask for its production.

President: What is it?
A: It’s the reply of the San Paolo bank corporation as regards the investigations on the withdrawal of the 20 euro.

Defence ““ Ghirga: What date is this letter?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: 4 January 2008
A: Actually he in his letter was telling me that that 20 euro withdrawal, that sum hadn’t been done neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days immediately preceding and that practically at this point the investigations were at a standstill because there being no withdrawal there was no”¦

Q: I ask its production then.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, it’s a finding on what we have done, as everyone will recall, a question the other time to a witness and the reply was given that there were no further investigative activities. Up until today, that letter was not in the file, we want to peruse it and give our opinion tomorrow maybe.
President: Certainly. We can proceed in the meantime.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigative activities that you all had carried out and that you yourself had participated in?
A: Other investigative activities that had been carried out by me personally were activities concerning an authorization or power of attorney, a authorization of his as regards Giovinazzo, at the [183] schools attended by Sollecito.

Q: What had you found out in particular? Was it an activity integral with the investigation?
A: Yes, actually from examining the class rolls, the boy’s personal file and everything what we were looking for was not found, that is, a fact that had happened at school. Amongst other things it wasn’t possible to verify it because the class rolls from 2003, which is the last year that Raffaele Sollecito attended secondary school, every five years they’re sent for pulping and so we had arrived when they had already been pulped, for this reason this investigative task was not able to be carried out.

Q: What were you supposed to have been doing?
A: Whether there had been the wounding of a girl on the part of Raffaele Sollecito during the course of school lessons. I preface this with the headmaster of the middle school, at the time the headmaster of the middle school attended by Raffaele Sollecito, that he had also been interviewed for summary information [SI] by me personally, he provided a certain resistance, as if he wanted to hide something. This I believe I also had him”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, these are”¦
President: Maybe if you can refer to the behaviour he had displayed.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, also as to the modality, for heaven’s sake, I don’t believe it’s a prohibition that they are referring to things heard in interview, but if they are however witnesses heard in interview, then they have to be heard or not or he gives us a summary and then we hear them or else he really avoids commenting every time.
A: Counsel, I have said in summary what I have heard and [184] in my view it was omertoso {=mafia code of silence}.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: No, look that this cannot be put into the transcript!
President: Please! The parties will direct”¦
A: He was a little bit reticent.

President: Let’s avoid this, “in my opinion” introduces an evaluation and therefore he cannot express it, only the behaviour that he dsiplayed, maybe if he has answered all questions or else some question he hasn’t.
A: He has answered all questions, but in a very vague manner.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: What other things had you found out specifically?
A: We had found at the Carabinieri station in Giovinazzo, in Sollecito’s file, there was a precedent signalled by the Carabinieri station at Castellaneta, in Taranto province, relating to the year 2003 I believe, when he had been stopped together with another two boys because they were in the possession of the quantity of two and half grams net of narcotic substance, in the form of hashish.

Q: Then other things?
A: Then there were investigative tasks carried out in relation to the death of his mother. Investigations were made at the pathologist’s, at 118 [=the medical emergency number].

President: Excuse me, pertinent matters.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Well, this one about the substance”¦
[185] President: Yes, the substance yes, but he was introducing other things.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigations that you have carried out?
A: I did phone and ambient intercepts.

Q: What investigative leads emerged from the ambient and telephonic intercepts?
A: Investigative leads actually hardly any although all the activity that had been done had demonstrated that, on the part of the family, there was an intention to quicksand, to derail”¦

Intervention: It’s not possible!
President: Excuse me, excuse me everyone. If you’re able to say the facts, the specific circumstances.
A: There are several things”¦

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Those are facts though, it’s not an opinion, then if it’s true or not”¦
President: By what thing was this behaviour manifested that you are now summarising, but the summary constitutes an evaluation.
A: Actually they wanted to eliminate the personnel who were carrying out the investigations, whether professionally or physically.

President: What emerged under that aspect?
A: Menaces, political contacts, those Honourables currently in Government, like the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisana, the Honourable Mastella who were going to have to intervene to find a way to put an end to this thing and this before Cassation’s decision, then evidently, after Cassation’s decision, these [186] persons detached themselves, I don’t know, however the names were”¦

President: Cassation’s decision relating to the Re-examination Hearing?
A: Yes, to the Re-examination Hearing. These persons were named and they’re in the phone intercepts, with the records, the transcripts and everything.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You carried out other investigative tasks?
A: No.

Q: Do you recall a dossier that was acquired, was it acquired relative to everything an investigative task that had been effected?
A: Yes, the dossier had not been acquired, it had been seized and is still under seizure.

President: If you can be more precise about this thing that we know nothing about”¦ what does it concern?
A: It concerns a dossier where actually the Sollecito family, with this dossier, wanted to carry out a media attack on the investigations under way, on the Public Prosecutors who were following up on the case and everything else and it was given to the Telenorba television station and also to the Panorama newspaper, and even on this matter there are the phone intercepts that we have been talking about. Then it had been seized because a warrant writ had been made and our personnel went to the Telenorba headquarters and seized this dossier with the video-cassettes.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: And on the occasion of the publication of the images?
A: Yes, the images had been”¦ On the occasion of the publication of the images in a transmission, which now I don’t remember the name of, which had been transmitted by [187] Telenorba.

Q: Images that portrayed?
A: Portraying the body of Ms Kercher completely naked in the middle of the room and other things.

Q: No other questions.

President: The Civil Parties? No other question. The defence, please.
Defence ““ Maori: Counsellor Maori, Sollecito defence. Inspector Volturno, let’s start in order: investigation that you did in relation to the infamous bleach. You made service notes?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you tell us which ones they are?
A: There’s one for the 19th”¦

Q: Pick it up if you have it. And one from the 28th.
A: Yes.

President: You are authorised to consult your documents.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s start from the 19th; so you make this service note where you refer to the activity that you carried out a couple of days before?
A: From the 16th to the 19th, from the day the two containers had been seized to the 19th on which I make the note.

Q: Exactly. You took various people’s witness statements.
A: No, I had questioned them informally at the shop, not as for a statement.

Q: Who did you question?
A: Quintavalle, (Kiriboga) because she’s his shop assistant and the other girl whose name I don’t recall now.

Q: This Natalia.
[188] A: No, Natalia was not at the shop as a shop assistant, Natalia was the friend of (Kiriboga) who was doing the cleaning in Sollecito’s house, but she wasn’t working in the shop.

Q: You have said earlier that you had photographs of Amanda and Raffaele.
A: Exactly.

Q: And you had shown them to the persons who were to be found inside the food store?
A: Yes.

Q: So therefore both the owner and the shop assistants.
A: Yes.

Q: And you had asked if these persons had presented themselves or not inside the shop in the preceding days.
A: No, I had asked if they were customers of the shop, because I did that with all the shops in Corso Garibaldi, not only with Quintavalle, showing them the photos I was asking them if they were customers.

Q: You though say different things in your notations, not different, in the sense that you specify that you had questioned the owner, Mr Quintavalle, and he mentioned that Sollecito was one of his usual customers and that Ms Knox had come into the shop only on a couple of occasions together with the boyfriend.
A: Yes.

Q: You confirm this?
A: Certainly, it’s written in the notation.

Q: Shortly we will ask for the acquisition, the production of the two notations. Therefore in these words Mr Quintavalle made it known that Sollecito and Amanda Knox “¦ so, Amanda Knox had entered into the residence always in the company of Sollecito?
A: Yes, into the shop, on those two occasions on which she had entered she had entered always in the company of Sollecito.

Q: How come these were not annotated, an SI statement was not done?
[189] A: Because the notation is enough for me.

Q: They’re two different things.
A: Yes, but as regards the investigative tasks I informally question them and put in annotations, that’s also investigating.

Q: On that occasion, that is I’m still talking of the 19th, had (Kiriboga) been asked if she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, although given that I had asked”¦ wait, I had asked the owner and both the two assistants if they had ever seen these persons in the shop and they said to me: “yes, they’re usual customers, only that he comes more often and she’s come on a couple of occasions”. Then I asked if they had bought bleach in the days prior to the murder and nobody said to me: “no, I can’t say” and (Kiriboga) said to me: “I’m less able to say than Quintavalle because I’m located in the small goods section which is downstairs, while the bleach is on the side of the shop above under Mr Quintavalle’s supervision”.

Q: But you hadn’t asked (Kiriboga) whether she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, I hadn’t asked if she had been a maid.

Q: You then had spoken of the fact that (Kiriboga) subsequently, when interviewed, had made it known that she had in her turn been interviewed by me.
A: Yes.


Q: This statement, that I had then immediately deposited and afterward it was reviewed by my learned friend, have you read it?
A: (Kiriboga)‘s statement?

Q: My statement which I deposited.
A: No, I haven’t read it, I have mine.

Q: You haven’t read it?
A: No, I’ve read mine, the one that I’ve taken from [190] (Kiriboga), I haven’t read yours.

Q: (Kiriboga) during the course of the statement says that: “the same questions that were being put by you”¦” by you the police officers, were also being put by me.
A: Yes, she says, in fact it’s written in the statement.

Q: Therefore you again confirm not having read the statement that I’ve deposited?
A: No, I haven’t read your statement. She says to me: “Counsellor Maori asked me the same questions” and I’ve put it into the statement.

Q: Very good, there’s congruency between the questions on my part first and on your part subsequently. Let’s go the second; on what relates to the bleach, you on the 16th November effected a domestic search.
A: Yes, I was present at the search but I had not entered into the apartment.

Q: Yes”¦
A: And on the 16th November the two containers of bleach were seized.

President: In the house used by Raffaele Sollecito?
A: Yes.

Defence ““ Maori: I see in the seizure record signed by you that as regards the Ace brand bleach “on the cap there was a small sticker Conad brand bearing the numbers 085”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: 85 cents.

Q: Therefore referring to the price.
A: To the price.

Q: And how was this sticker?
A: Conad ““ Margherita.

Q: But was it faded, was it old, was it new?
[191] A: This I don’t remember, there was a sticker, the price was visible and”¦

Q: Who redacted the record actually?
A: Perhaps”¦

Q: Pick it up so that at least we can see”¦
A: Yes.

Q: Go to page 3, it’s the first item of evidence, exhibit RS3.
A: Yes.

Q: Here it says: “digits ““ after the numbers 085, which you have clarified as being the purchase price ““ digits barely visible with a magnifying lens.”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: That it was faded but the amount could be read.

Q: Therefore it was an old sticker?

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No!
Defence ““ Maori: Pardon me, I am asking the questions because you Madam Prosecutor want to suggest”¦
President: Counsellor, please!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: You’re right because the no came out too loudly.
President: Here though we can’t hear even the witness, but everyone is asked to not do so.
A: 085 the sticker was barely legible.

Q: Therefore was does it mean.
A: That it was a bottle”¦

Q: You remember now this sticker that we’ve identified?
A: Yes, yes, definitely.

[192] Q: Therefore was it an old sticker or a new one?
A: Old.

Q: Therefore surely prior to the 11 October as you have indicated?
A: Definitely, but prior as a price.

Q: As a purchase as we will see. In relation to the credit card the police had received the letter of 4 January 2008, in this letter the owner, manager Paolo Farsi, tells you that it is not possible to effect a check, a check relative to the fact that there had been withdrawals with that card on 2 November at the ATM in Perugia or environs, and this thing needed to be asked of the issuing bank directly.
A: Yes, not exactly.

Q: I’m reading it here.
A: Mr Farsi says that on the 2nd November and in the days immediately following there was no withdrawal of that amount made at that bank. If we want to know something more precise it was necessary to go to the English bank issuing the credit card, which was not done because from the moment that he tells me that no withdrawal of that amount was made neither on the 2nd day nor in the preceding days I had not considered it advisable to carry out this investigation.

Q: I’ll read out what has been written in this letter: “our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that”¦”
A: I have it.

President: Yes, also to facilitate the witness’s listening. Continue Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: “Our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that the only way to find out the information for that withdrawal [193] (branch involved, date and time) is to ask for this information from the English bank issuing the card itself, seeing that each issuing bank is certainly able to retrieve all the activity performed on each of its issued cards”. Then to my question, which you have already partially replied to, seeing that the 2nd of November, it was the 2nd of November from at least from the indications that had been given to you, that an ATM withdrawal had been made from the San Paolo bank, and seeing that the San Paolo bank had said to you: “it is necessary to ask the issuing bank to be certain who had made this withdrawal” why hadn’t you felt it within your scope to ask the English bank who had made this withdrawal at what time, on what date and at which branch?
A: Because I hadn’t thought it useful, because the period before this which you have read out tells me that on the 2nd of November nor on the days immediately preceding there was no 20 euro withdrawal either at the IMI-San Paolo bank in Perugia or from the other three branches in the province of Perugia.

Q: And if this withdrawal were to have been made somewhere else, in the province of Terni, you know perfectly”¦ you’re an experienced police officer”¦
A: No because the account statement”¦

President: Wait until the question is finished.
Defence ““ Maori: You’re an experienced police officer and you well know that all the ATMs have a security camera and therefore who, and if it were to have been withdrawn effectively on that 2nd of November by means of that credit card, the person who would have made the withdrawal [194] would have surely been captured by the camera. You’d never thought of this?
A: Counsel I have already said before that the check had been made, that the camera covers the entrance to the bank and not the ATM and we had received the account extract at the end of November and the bank resets the video every week. If I need to repeat it again just tell me!

President: Don’t worry, it could also be useful to us because these are particularly technical subjects and therefore maybe sometimes”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Apart from which there’s the memory in the camera by which it is possible to effect”¦
President: Counsel we will take notice.
Defence ““ Maori: An experienced person like you would have had to effect”¦
A: In fact.

President: Let’s only ask questions please.
Defence ““ Maori: I show you now this letter from National Wide, a fax from 30 November 2007, referring, precisely, to Miss Kercher, with the reference “cash San Paolo ““ IMI, Perugia, 20 euro of the 2nd November, AT 1440”, it’s information naturally in your possession.
A: I have it too in fact it’s IMI-San Paolo Perugia, not Terni, Counsel.

Q: I never said Terni, I only said”¦
A: No, you said: “if it were to have been made at Terni”, I can tell you that for Perugia the investigations had been [195] made both at the central IMI-San Paolo office and at the three branches in the province of Perugia and the day journal of all four ATMs had no trace of this 20 euro withdrawal, neither on the 2nd nor the days before.

Q: Therefore you didn’t feel it within your scope to ask the issuing bank”¦
A: No, for me that line of enquiry had finished.

President: Counsel he has already given a reply to this, perhaps”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Maybe the face of the killer could have been found if things had proceeded differently! We take notice on this, it wasn’t done and therefore I’m not able to ask further questions on the point.
President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Investigations at Giovinazzo. You have spoken before in response to the Public Prosecutor’s question of the fact that you had investigative leads in relation to a wounding done by Sollecito at school and therefore you had gone to effect a transfer of these investigations. Had you seized the class rolls?
A: No, we had photocopied them and did authentications of various notes on various class rolls.

Q: And which were the notes in relation to Sollecito, these serious notes?
A: No, they weren’t serious notes, they were notes in relation to Sollecito that we had however photocopied because we had considered it advisable to do so.

Q: For example, “Sollecito plays with his pen notwithstanding [196] being reprimanded [196] for it”.
A: It was a note.

Q: Therefore when a person is accused of murder you”¦
President: Excuse me, Counsel, let’s avoid opinions though! Let’s stay on circumstances of fact!
Defence ““ Maori: Another note: “Sollecito is throwing paper pellets at his classmate”.
A: Another note Counsel.

Q: These are the notes that you have”¦
A: They are notes however that I had had the disposition to acquire, to verify, I had photocopied them and I had them authenticated.

Q: You hadn’t found one note that Sollecito had wounded”¦
A: No, because”¦

Q: Allow me to finish.
President: Excuse me, let’s always wait for the question to finish. Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: You hadn’t found notes that Sollecito had wounded a classmate, boy or girl?
A: No because as I have already said before the school rolls of Molfetta Middle School, Einstein High School, Via Togliatti, had been sent for pulping because every five years they are sent for pulping and we found no trace in those rolls where maybe there was this note that we were looking for, but we had not been lucky.

President: You were looking for this on the basis of what?
A: There was an investigative lead that there had occurred, an incident during Sollecito’s scholastic attendance, [197] where there had been a girl injured with scissors and we were looking for a note of the sort, but the rolls had been sent for pulping and we had not found it.


Defence ““ Maori: What does “lead” mean?
President: What were you aware of? That a girl had been injured with scissors?
A: Exactly, during Sollecito’s school attendance and we had gone to see if the class rolls, during middle school and high school, were holding a note that would have referred to this incident, but unfortunately the class rolls had been pulped.

President: It could have been anyone in the class who could have occasioned this fact, not necessarily”¦
A: No, no, we had gone to see if there were a trace of this fact.

President: And who it might have been?
A: Exactly.

President: The hypothesis was that it could have been Raffaele Sollecito.
A: And we had gone to check, but the rolls were at the pulpers and so it had not been possible to look them up.

President: You had not been able to find neither the truth of the fact nor the author?
A: Definitely.

President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Just to clarify Mr President, seeing that your curiosity is also ours”¦
President: No it was a question pertinent to the question and the answer otherwise it would not have been able to be understood, it was not a curiosity. Please.
[198] Defence ““ Maori: This investigative lead what does it mean? Someone had said to you: “there was a wounding with scissors in Sollecito’s class”?
A: There had been report of this incident and we had gone to find out about it.

Q: But what does “there had been report” mean? An informant?
A: An informant.

Q: And this informant how”¦
A: I am not obliged to discuss informants.

Q: The informant’s name no, this is true, but you are obliged to tell us in what manner this information had arrived, by phone, through a person who turned up at the Police Station and had made known that a boy or a girl had been injured, this you can say.
A: By word of mouth, an encounter on the street with a person who was aware of certain things and this fact had been mentioned to him and we had gone to find out.

Q: And you found out that Sollecito was throwing paper pellets!
A: We had found out nothing because the rolls no longer existed.

Q: And he was disrupting the lesson!
President: No, excuse me Counsel. Let’s stay solely on the questions. Please.
Defence ““ Maori: You before had made reference to ambient intercepts, quicksanding, etc”¦
A: Yes.

Q: And there was reference to a proceeding in Cassation?
A: To an appeal in Cassation.

Q: A proceeding before the Supreme Court of [199] of Cassation, therefore an appeal for Cassation. Given that neither myself, Counsel Maori, nor my learned friend, Counsel Bongiorno, were the defenders at the time of the proceedings in Cassation, I was only in on the phase on the merits, not for the proceedings in Cassation, and Counsel Bongiorno had not even been nominated for any kind of proceedings, can you explain what type of quicksanding would have been carried out by these gentlemen and then if there had been any final outcomes in relation to these intercepts?
A: I have not spoken about quicksanding, I spoke of attempts to derail and quicksand and tamper.

President: Maybe these aspects can be circumstantiated.
A: There were intercepts Mr Justice on which I am not able to refer.

President: Therefore we are directed to the contents of the intercepted conversations?
A: Exactly.

President: Following these conversations however intercepted, about which you say you are not able to refer to, were you able though to carry out investigations, from succeeding investigative activity?
A: Yes, also following these intercepts the famous seizure was made of the dossier that had been made by the Sollecito family and that had been broadcast by Telenorba and by Panorama.

Defence ““ Maori: Were criminal proceedings begun?
A: Yes, criminal proceedings were begun which however I don’t believe form part of these proceedings, they are different proceedings.

Q: Do you know if the subjects have been investigated?
A: This I don’t know.

[200] Q: One other point Inspector. You in your experience have you done, not only in these proceedings but also in others, any activity directed with the prison for acquiring documents? In these proceedings you have acquired documents like memoirs, notebooks, from any of the accused?
A: No.

Q: You are certain of this?
A: I don’t remember, show me the record but I haven’t acquired”¦

Q: I’m not speaking of records, I’m speaking of”¦
A: If it was acquired there’s a record.

Q: I am speaking of whether if you have ever received from a non-commissioned officer of the Penitentiary Police a notebook, a memoir of Raffaele Sollecito’s from around the middle of the month of November 2007?
A: No.

Q: The notebook, this photocopied notebook, prison of Perugia, travel notes, which were the reflections of Raffaele Sollecito and which should have been handed over to us lawyers, were photocopied inside prison and they were handed over by whoever.
A: To me?

Q: Can you confirm this circumstance or not?
A: I’m telling you no.

President: Excuse me, Counsel. He has already twice replied no.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s formalise his negative response in a more forceful manner, and then we will see in the course of the proceedings if his declarations are truthful or not. I ask its acquisition, or rather I would like to produce therefore I ask acquisition into the documents of the court file of the two annotations of the 19 November 2007, [201] of the 28 November 2007 of Inspector Volturno, as well as a copy of Raffaele Sollecito’s class rolls from Molfetta High’s third class, as well as a copy of the San Paolo corporation letter of 4 January 2008, signed by the manager Paolo Farsi.
A: Sorry for interrupting, those photocopies are from the Giovinazzo middle school, not from Molfetta High.

Q: Yes, from the middle school.
President: So they’re from the middle school?
A: Yes, from the middle school because as I’ve been saying those from the high school”¦

President: And how come, do they have a different practice?
A: They have a different archival philosophy.

President: On these requests? But the Public Prosecutor had asked for the production of the San Paolo corporation letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: But why are we always making triplicate productions, we have already produced it.
Defence ““ Maori: It’s your letter.
President: The Public Prosecutor has produced the letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Then it’s Public Prosecutor production.
President: Yes, it’s Public Prosecutor production and the others are Raffaele Sollecito Defence productions.

Notice is taken that, given the absence of opposition, they are to be acquired for the purposes of utilisability.


Defence ““ Bongiorno
[202] Q: Counsel Bongiorno. Respecting the three politicians to which you have made reference to in the ambient intercepts, you have carried out subsequent investigations yourself personally, or did others, to see if these politicians had committed breaches, were they enrolled on the notification of crime register; or were they politicians, these three to which you have referred, mentioned in the ambit of conversations, and then that’s it, finished?
A: Mentioned in the ambit of conversations as persons to be looked at.

Q: Have you investigated if then effectively these politicians had been contacted, had they pressured Cassation?
A: No.

Q: Respecting instead the Telenorba thing”¦

President: Excuse me Counsel, you hadn’t investigated or else there were no”¦
A: No, I hadn’t investigated, they only emerged from the intercepts as persons who”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Because then confusion is created, in the intercepts there are these names, those that I have understood and he has confirmed to me, then they haven’t followed through on investigations on these matters and that’s it, finished. Instead the fact of Telenorba is a fact on which investigations do exist or don’t they.
A: There are investigations, the dossier had been seized.

Q: Who’s following up on the investigations?
A: Bari I think.

Q: The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bari?
A: Yes.

Q: With respect to these investigations, do you know what outcome they’ve reached?
A: No.

Q: When were they begun?
A: I think after the seizure of the dossier, of the [203] video cassettes, of the materials.

President: Therefore what period are we in?
A: This I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Do you know if case archivation was requested, or of remand to trial? You don’t know anything about this?
A: No, I don’t know.

Q: That is you at that point, in terms of jurisdictional competency as to what was relating to the Telenorba matter, Bari was dealing with it. Is this the idea?
A: Definitely.

Q: And so then you don’t know what”¦
A: No.

Q: No other questions.


Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Counsel Dalla Vedova for Ms Knox. I wanted two clarifications, the first in relation to the activity that you had carried out in dealing with the Marco Quintavalle matter.
A: Yes.

Q: You have said that you had asked the manager of the commercial enterprise if he had ever seen the two accused.
A: Exactly.

Q: Exactly what was the response?
A: He said that Sollecito was a usual customer while Amanda Knox had been seen on a couple of occasions in company with Sollecito.

Q: You asked this question of the other managers?
A: Yes, I went round all the shops in the street, but the others hadn’t recognised them.

Q: In Corso Garibaldi?
[204] A: Yes. The only other one who had recognised Sollecito’s photo was the other Conad above his place, where he had been seen one or two times, rarely however.

Q: And Amanda?
A: No, Amanda no.

Q: You carried out other investigations in the surrounding zones or just in Corso Garibaldi?
A: Corso Garibaldi and surrounding zones but I did not”¦

Q: But still all business concerns?
A: Yes, business concerns that had that product on sale, the famous bleach that then had been seized, it was done due to that.

Q: Therefore only business concerns that were selling this product, not in general?
A: Exactly, no.

Q: In relation to another activity where you appear to have participated in, that is the 16 November search of Sollecito’s house, in the objects collected there appear the entire contents of the topmost drawer of the kitchen cupboard, specifically 6 spoons, 4 knives, 5 (..) , 2 ladles, 1 breadknife with serrated edge 35 cm in length in total. You are aware that there already had been, a seizure had been made from that same drawer of another knife?
A: This no because I had gone back to work on 7 November and the day after I did the first search in Sollecito’s house where the clothing and intimate apparel were seized and then the second time, the 16th, the one that you are referring to, I participated in the search but I didn’t enter inside the house and they were bringing me the envelopes that I was putting into a big box about which I’m not able to tell you what there was in the envelopes, I can see from the subsequent record.

Q: I wanted to know whether you had already been ordered on a seizure”¦
[205] A: No, because I had come back to work on the 7th and that day when that seizure was done I wasn’t there.

Q: Because it appears that”¦
A: The seizure of that knife that you are talking about had been done when I was still not back at work, I came back on the 7th.

Q: However you knew that already”¦
A: No, I became aware gradually that investigations were going forward but I did not know that.

Q: Therefore when did you come to know of it? On the 16th you had gone at 16:30”¦
A: Yes.

Q: At 16:30 you already knew that in the case in hand Dr Chiacchiera and his assistants had already organised the seizure of a single knife on the 6th November.
A: I on the 16th knew what we had seized that day, not what had been seized prior because given that there were multiple apartments and a whole flood of”¦

Q: No, I was not asking you if you knew.
A: No, I didn’t know.

Q: I was asking if you knew if there had been a seizure already done at that house.
A: No I didn’t know, I came to know about it subsequently.

Q: Therefore after your one?
A: After.

Q: All the same you are aware that there exists a seized 31 cm knife with a 17cm blade retrieved from the same drawer?
A: If it’s that one in the kitchen yes.

Q: You know today.
A: No, not today, I knew about it before but in any case not on the date you’re saying, subsequently.

[206] Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You are aware of an article appearing in Panorama recently on the case containing an interview with members of the Sollecito family.
A: No, I am not aware of this.

Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Let’s go back for a moment to the bleach. You have perfectly described the investigations that you did, including on the items, the various items that had been sent from PAC 2000 to the two shops in Corso Garibaldi, therefore I won’t go back to that because I imagine the Court has understood perfectly. You have also said that the bleach found, one of the two?
A: Yes.

Q: One of the two containers found in Sollecito’s house had”¦ you can repeat it, a sticker?
A: The Conad-Margherita sticker with the price.

Q: With the price?
A: 0.85.

Q: Which therefore corresponded according to your investigations to what item?
A: To a consignment of bleach to one or other shop before the 11th of October.

Q: And had they been sold out before the 11th?
A: No, usually the shopkeeper puts an order in for a new box when he sees they are getting close to finishing.

Q: When was the subsequent reorder?
A: The subsequent consignment was the 5th of November and from the 11th of October the PAC-recommended price was €1.09, while up until the 11th of October it was €0.85.

[207] Q: When you had spoken of an old sticker what did you mean?
A: That it was a bit worn on top.

Q: And that the price was old?
A: No, the price was legible, with the magnifying lens you could in fact read it was corresponding to the price that was in force prior to the 11th of October.

Q: When you had interviewed Raffaele Sollecito’s cleaning lady”¦
A: (Kiriboga) or Natalia?

Q: The one you had asked”¦ let’s put it this way: what questions did you ask both of them as regards the bleach?
A: If they had ever used bleach inside Sollecito’s residence.

Q: And what had they replied?
A: Natalia, who is the one who actually did the last cleaning, up to Monday 5th”¦

Defence ““ Maori: Can we have the other two answer directly when they are heard?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: There is no prohibition on this because they are on the witness list.
Defence ““ Maori: I ask for the contents of the declarations!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Yes, but they are on the witness list therefore there is no prohibition, the important thing is that the main witnesses are then heard.
Defence ““Maori: No, the member of the Prosecutor’s Office cannot answer on this.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No, I can refer to it [208] then, why not?

President: Excuse me, everybody”¦.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: We’re arguing a point of procedure, but you can mention the main things that were said to you and have been said to you.

President: Therefore you had interviewed”¦
A: Yes, both the two girls who were doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Natalia, who was the one who had actually done the cleaning until 5 November 2007, had said that she had never used bleach because Raffaele Sollecito asked her to use Lysoform, that is she was using Lysoform inside Sollecito’s house, Viakal and other products but never bleach and she didn’t remember seeing the two containers under the sink. While (Kiriboga), when she was interviewed, subsequent to the meeting at the Maori law firm, said that a container had been used by her to wash the floor rags and for this reason she had asked Sollecito to buy some bleach, he went out and came back with another container which was likewise Ace bleach, same as the first, and with which she then washed those rags and remembered well that under the sink there were two containers, one half full and the other full.

Q: And this washing when would it go back to?
A: So then (Kiriboga) told us she had been working as a cleaning lady at Sollecito’s house until the end of September, then due to the state of her pregnancy she sent her friend.

Q: And how had you found these containers when you had seized them?
[209] A: One was half full and the other was full.

Q: Therefore the woman, let’s repeat this again one more time, the woman who instead did the cleaning subsequently?
A: Subsequently to this she said she had never seen the two containers in the house.


Civil party ““ Maresca: Counsel Maresca for the Kercher family. Inspector a clarification if you can tell us the people who were placed under telephone intercepts.
A: So then there was Francesco Sollecito, Vanessa Sollecito”¦

Q: Tell us also the”¦
A: Francesco Sollecito is the father, Vanessa Sollecito is the sister, then there was Francesco Sollecito’s current wife, Marisa Papagni, then there was the uncle, Giuseppe Sollecito, then there were still more people forming part of the family but I don’t remember the names.

Q: These phone intercepts were all carried out by you?
A: Yes, by me and by my colleagues.

Q: They were all authorized with the relative writ obviously?
A: Yes, they weren’t only telephonic, they were also ambient.

Q: You have mentioned earlier about attempted pressuring of political personages etc. Can you tell us the names of these political personages?
A: Yes, I have already said them before”¦

Q: And then they became the object of intercepts themselves, that is I’ll frame the question like this, did you also intercept the phone call of the political personage or else was it just as matter of choice?
A: No, it was a matter of choice, phone [210] calls to these people had not been intercepted and in any case the politicians were the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisano and the Honourable Mastella.

Q: Do you remember”¦
A: Persons who were named by them as possible”¦

Q: When you say “by them”, by everybody or by some members in particular?
A: By some members of the family, above all by the father and the sister.

Q: Do you remember if the lawsuits by the Kercher family for the Telenorba incident and for the Panorama incident had been filed at Perugia or at Bari?
A: This I don’t remember, in any case I know that Bari is proceeding as regards concerning the seizure of the material broadcast by Telenorba.

Q: Thank you.


President
Q: But the two people who were working at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, you took their witness statements [the SIs]?
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore those circumstances you were referring to them on the basis”¦
A: Yes, of the SIs.

Q: The house in use by Raffaele Sollecito how big is it? If you remember?
A: So then I seem to recall that it gives out onto a landing on the ground floor, there is the front door, there’s the kitchen on the right, a room used as a kitchen, then there is the bathroom immediately to the left of the front door, then stairs go up and there’s the bedroom upstairs.

Q: Therefore it covers these environments?
A: Yes.

[211] Q: And you before have hinted at the presence of the odour of bleach when”¦
A: Yes, when you go in there’s the kitchen and you could smell the odour of bleach.

Q: Where was it, was there a place where there was more”¦
A: Yes, the kitchen because there’s the tiled floor and given that the apartment was placed under sequestration and sealed when I went for the first time on the 8th of November to do the search this bleach odour was still permeating the inside.

Q: And the bleach in the kitchen environment?
A: In the kitchen environment.

Q: Although the kitchen was tiled.
A: It was tiled.

Q: The other environments instead, what type of flooring was there?
A: Look I think there might have been parquetry in the bedroom but I’m not sure.

Q: Very well, you may go.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?

Posted by Brian S




1. Where We Stand

Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January he made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining key areas of the report so that we too may decide on the rationales.

2. The Final Position Of The Body

Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.

This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.

Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.

Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.

Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.

Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.

Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.

He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.

Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.

Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.

Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.

Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?

It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.

The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.

Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.

In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.

But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?

Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Understanding Micheli #3: How Damning Is The DNA Evidence Coming Up?

Posted by Nicki





Probable answer? Pretty damning.

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales.

The trial to establish the truth about the murder of Meredith continues next Friday. As we’ve reported, various human witnesses have already been heard from: the Postal Police who discovered Meredith’s body, Meredith’s two Italian roommates, and her seven British friends.

Coming up soon is a more silent witness, one very important to both the prosecution and the two defenses: the DNA evidence.

Specifically the DNA belonging to Meredith, Knox, Sollecito, and Guede which was found at the scene of the crime, and on the suspected murder weapon found, apparently hidden, in Raffaele Sollecito’s house.

Traces of Meredith’s DNA have been found on a knife compatible with the wounds that caused her death. Amanda Knox “˜s genetic material was identified on the knife handle. DNA belonging to Sollecito has been found on the clasp of the victim’s bra. And more DNA showing Rudy Guede’s genetic profile was found on the victim’s body and elsewhere in the house.

In summary, the biological sources and locations where DNA belonging to the three defendants was found are these:

  • Guede’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found inside Meredith, on toilet paper, on the right side of Meredith’s bra, mixed with Meredith’s DNA on the her purse zip, and on the left cuff of Meredith’s light blue sweater
  • Sollecito’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, mixed with Meredith’s DNA, and on one cigarette butt found in the kitchen
  • Knox’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on the knife sheath, and close to the blade junction. It was not possible to ascertain both the haematic and epithelial source of Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade, due to the scarcity of the sample. But Judge Micheli noted that reasonable doubt persist that blood could have been present also.
  • Other significant biological traces belonging to Meredith - for example, DNA originating from the blood-trace footprints revealed by luminol found in Filomena’s bedroom, as already reported at trial.

Claims of contamination and “poor matches” of the DNA samples were raised by the Sollecito and Knox defenses, although not by Guede’s. The DNA expert Dr. Stefanoni’s arguments in reply to the defenses’ claims are summarized in Judge Micheli”˜s report.
 
Dr Stefanoni reported that the locus ascribable to Meredith and identified on the knife blade shows readings of 41 and 28 RFU. Conventionally, RFU values lower than 50 can be defined as low. But she maintained that the profile matched Meredith’s by explaining that there is no immediate correlation between the height of the peaks obtained by electropherogram and expressed in RFU, and the reliability of the biological investigation.

In fact “even if statistically - in most cases - the RFU data is directly proportional to the possibility of a certain interpretation of the analysis result, on the other side many cases of high peaks of difficult interpretation exist (because of background noises), as well as low peaks that are objectively unquestionable, hence the need to proceed to the examination of data that is apparently scarce, but that mustn’t be considered unreliable per se.”

*The use of multiplex PCR and fluorescent dye technology in the automated detection and analysis of short tandem repeat loci provides not only qualitative information about the profile - i.e. which alleles are present - but can provide also quantitative information on the relative intensities of the bands, and is therefore a measure of the amount of amplified DNA.”

So if on one side Dr Stefanoni admits that the RFU readings are low, on the other her experience suggests that many cases of unquestionable matches exist showing readings lower than 50 RFU, and this appears to be the case with Meredith’s DNA sample on the knife.

Contamination in the laboratory is categorically excluded by Dr Stefanoni. The samples were processed with maximum care in order to avoid any contamination during lab procedures. Contamination during the collection phase is excluded by Judge Micheli, as the samples were collected by different officers at different times in different places (example Via della Pergola at 9:40am on Nov 6. 2007, and Sollecito’s apartment at 10:00am, on the same day, by a different ILE team).

As for Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra clasp, the match is unquestionable, according to the lab reports. Samples from crime scenes very often contain genetic material from more than one person (e.g. Rudy Guede’s DNA has been identified in a mixture with the victim’s DNA in a few places), and well-known recommendations and protocols exist in order to de-convolute mixed samples into single genetic profiles.

So if the lab reports indicate that unquestionable biological evidence of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp, at the present time we have no reason to believe that these recommendations weren’t followed and that therefore the reports are not to be trusted.

As to cells “flying around” depositing themselves ““ and their DNA content - here and there around the murder scene, there have been some imaginative theories advanced, to say the least.

The reality though is that although epithelial cells do shed, they don’t sprout little wings to flock to one precise spot, nor grow feet to crawl and concentrate on a piece of evidence. There needs to be some kind of pressure on a surface in order to deposit the amount of biological material necessary to yield a reliable PCR analysis result. A simple brushing will not do. 

As a matter of fact, Dr Stefanoni agreed with Guede’s defense that Guede”˜s genetic material found on the left sleeve of Meredith’s blouse was minimal; and this was because the DNA found there belonged to the victim and was not a mixture. In the situation where there is a clear disproportion between quantitative data of two DNA’s coexisting in a biological trace, the PCR will amplify the most abundant DNA.

As agreed by Dr. Stefanoni and Guede’s defense, the conclusion here was that on the left sleeve there was plenty of Meredith’s DNA but very little of Guede’s. (This was used by his defense to deny that Guede had exerted violence on Meredith’s wrist).

After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defenses, Judge Micheli provided reasons why he rejected the contamination claims and ruled that all the biological traces identified as reflecting Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA are admissible as evidence. He arrived at the conclusion that the DNA evidence is sound and, considered along with the non-biological proof, he decided there was more than enough evidence to order Knox and Sollecito to stand trial. 

Regarding the biological significance of the traces, we are now looking forward to hearing the Knox and Sollecito defenses’ counter-arguments.  But as we understand it now, the DNA evidence for the trio having all been involved in the murder seems pretty damning.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory

Posted by Brian S


And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.

First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.

Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.

Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.

Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:

Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)

Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi

The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.

The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.

Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.

They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.

Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.

On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.

The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.

Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.

Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.

Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.

This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.

Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.

It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.

Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.

So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.

He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.

He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.

Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:

[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]

1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.

2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.

He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?

She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.

3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.

But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.

This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.

4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.

This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.

Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Powerpoints #10: The DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack

Posted by Nicki





We now show in this second Powerpoint presentation what a tough mole to whack that one might be.

We have already covered here the basics of DNA evidence.

That presentation covers the definitions of valid and invalid DNA samples, how contamination might occur, who collected and analyzed the Perugia samples, and how the samples will have been stored.

DNA analysis has been done on the various luminol-enhanced footprints in the house that Kermit analyzed for us.

Also on the knife found hidden in Sollecito’s apartment, and on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house.

And quite possibly on other items, too.

Here’s defense lawyer Theodore Simon in the recent NBC Dateline documentary:

Theodore Simon thinks the prosecutors evidence made public so far is daunting. The defense could argue a faked robbery, and a moved body, and contamination, but eventually it could become like whack-a-mole and all of their arguments could lose force.

Theodore ain’t the only one. New York lawyers following the case reckon the odds of defense arguments losing traction because there are just too many evidentiary moles to be whacked down are already high.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial that all of the many DNA samples might be too small, or too contaminated, or less than 100 percent of a match.

Nothing seems to stand out in the Perugia DNA process to suggest a major failing at any point. And if there was one, only scientific evidence in proof of this will influence the court, and innuendo will really go nowhere.

Further presentations will build on this one when the precise DNA samples being challenged become known.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Powerpoints #7: DNA Evidence - A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject Here

Posted by Nicki




If you can’t see the Powerpoints as intended, please install the latest version of the Powerpoint Viewer which is downloadable here

This is a short sharp presentation of how criminal DNA analysis works.

It is widely known that DNA analysis has been done on the luminol-enhanced footprints that Kermit analyzed for us yesterday.

Also on the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment, on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house. And possibly on other items too.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial in December that the DNA samples might be too small, or might be too contaminated, or might be less than 100 percent of a match.

In two respects, this may not change matters very much.

  • First, there will be many other areas of evidence to be considered at the trial. Alibis, eye-witness accounts, the autopsy, defendant behavior and psychology, computers, and cell-phones, all will factor in.
  • And second, DNA analysis is hard to challenge on the grounds the defenses seem to be suggesting. DNA analysis is a pretty precise science. It does not result in percentages of match of the samples - either they match or they don’t match.

And the provisional perception is this: many DO match.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

This is Judge Paolo Micheli explaining his sentencing of Rudy Guede on 28 October:

[Judge] Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker….  adding that while footprints there [in the house] might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

Will the judges and jury in the Knox and Sollecito trial early next year reach the same conclusion? It does look probable.

This Powerpoint is a hypothesis about six of those footprints. There seems to have been some sort of clean-up to try to hide them.

But they were revealed by luminol on the floor of the house. An analysis of evidence already in the public domain (there may be more) does point to the presence of three pairs of feet.

A sole-perpetrator theory of the crime might just be viable with two pairs of feet. But it is hard to see how a lone-perpetrator theory can hold up if there were three pairs of feet.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Powerpoints #5: A Graphical Tour Of The Crime Scene Itself

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

Now this is a walk-through of the inside of the fateful house.  This tour of the scene of the crime includes shots of each room of the house, and the police investigators’ evidence markers, with some explanations of what they refer to.

Items seen here and the autopsy and luminol evidence left Judge Paolo Micheli very convinced that this crime involved several perpetrators, and not just the one.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wow! Ground Really Disappearing From Under Knox-Sollecito Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Paolo Micheli has now been interviewed by Messaggero Umbria, a newspaper published in Perugia.

The judge really seems to have arrived at a very clear conception of how the cruel, senseless deed took place.  Observe in particular these findings below.

All of them are devastating to the talking-points of Friends Of Amanda recently parroted in dozens of news outlets.

Three attackers were present

I took the opposite approach to that of the defence teams. The lawyers claimed that there was no proof of conspiracy between the three because they didn’t know each other and Kokomani’s testimony wasn’t reliable. They also said that it would have been impossible for them to have organised the crime since they had previous commitments which then fell through. My starting point was the three’s presence in the room where the crime was committed.

DNA on the bra clasp was RS’s

I don’t believe [the bra clasp] was contaminated. The dna either came from outside or it was in the room. It’s not possible that Raffaele Sollecito’s dna was in that room. He had no reason to go there.

No contamination of the knife DNA

It’s true that Amanda’s dna was also on another knife found at Sollecito’s home but there can’t have been contamination. I checked both the objects seized from the cottage in via della Pergola and Sollecito’s apartment in corso Garibaldi. Only once, on Nov6 last year, were objects taken from both locations on the same day and the officers who entered the two buildings were not the same.

Guede was not unknown to other two

The fact that there were no calls [with Rudy] is easy to explain; since Oct27, Rudy hasn’t had a mobile phone. It was taken off him by the police. One of the couple knew Rudy. Meeting people in Perugia is easy, it could have been a chance meeting too.

There was definitely sexual assault

There are some doubts about the dynamics and the position of the victim’s body when she was stabbed. These are however not sufficent to repudiate the hypothesis of sexual assault…. Sexual assault is also an “˜invasion’ of the body as was described in the autopsy. It is certain that the rapist pulled the victim’s top up. Some blood had also run down onto the trousers. It’s therefore plausible to think that whoever violated the victim put their hand down her trousers.

Why there was no rape

Why didnt they complete a rape?] Because she screamed. Also with a knife at her throat and being held down it’s likely that she shouted out. There is a witness, Nara Capezzali, who said she woke up and was shocked by this scream.

Meredith was restrained while taunted

On the victim’s right-hand there was one small cut, a few milimetres long, in between two fingers. On the left-hand, there were four clearly visible cuts. Also the tip of the finger had blood on it. This indicates that the victim’s right-hand was being held as she tried to defend herself with the left. After the fatal stab, she put her hands on the wound.

That last remark really drives home the true horror of Meredith’s incredibly cruel last few minutes. Someone was ferociously slashing away at Meredith like a maniac with a knife. And then did nothing at all to save her.

Walked out on her while she was still alive, clutching her neck to stop the life-blood flowing out of her.

After months of murky semi-silence from police and prosecutors, now the sentencing dossier quoted below and this interview seem like a fire-hose of information.

Is the judge signaling to the defense that a long-form trial will not work to their advantage? That they should simply cave now? Plead guilty, and hope?

And if they don’t, how on earth can they fight THIS sad, sick, depraved stuff?


Judge Micheli’s First Statement - The 10,000 Pages Start To Talk

Posted by Peter Quennell




Judge Micheli’s dossier. This below is from London’s Daily Telegraph. Click above for the full story.

In a dossier on the high-profile case, Judge Paolo Micheli said the 21 year-old’s murder was more likely spontaneous rather than pre-planned.

The judge, however, appeared to agree with prosecution claims the Leeds University student was murdered by more than one person.

He said that footprints in the flat showed there was more than one attacker in Miss Kercher’s flat on the night she was killed.

The revelations came after the Italian judge rejected one of her accused killer’s applications for bail…

Judge Micheli said he feared the two suspects could flee the country or commit another murder.

[Meredith’s] semi-naked body was found in the whitewashed cottage she shared with Miss Knox and two other students on November 2 last year.

She had been stabbed in the neck three times, and sustained more than 40 other injuries.

The judge attached weight to a kitchen knife found in Mr Sollecito’s flat which allegedly carried traces of Miss Knox’s DNA on the handle and Miss Kercher’s DNA on the blade.

He also said there were inconsistencies in Mr Sollecito’s accounts of where he was that night.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told the court last week that Miss Kercher was killed when all three suspects tried to force her to participate in “a perverse group sex game”.

Judge Paolo Micheli has a terrific reputation as a judge, He did not of course devote only last Tuesday to reviewing the case.  That has been a full-time job for him for several months now. In particular, he will have read the 10,000 pages of evidence the police and prosecutor have submitted. Almost certainly again and again.

The partial evidence already out here is pretty telling to those who have worked so hard to put it all together.  And the 30-year sentence Judge Micheli handed down to Rudy Guede on Tuesday suggests just how overwhelming the full body of evidence must be. How it must really hang together.

And how it must evoke the intense agony of the final moments of Meredith Kercher, as she was seemingly tortured to death amid laughter and taunts. What is actually in those 10,000 pages will soon be common knowledge, by way of both the Knox/Sollecito trial in December and the Guede appeal thereafter.

Tick tick tick..


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Devastating New Information On What Was Probably The Killers’ Weapon

Posted by The Machine

[click for larger image]

This above is the suspect knife found in Sollecito’s apartment.

Kermit analyzed this shot to obtain the precise measurements. As Kermit remarks in the caption, this is no potato peeler, as absurdly claimed by the defense.

It appears that the knife has Amanda’s DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and it was cleaned with bleach and then placed in a cutlery drawer at Raffaele’s apartment.

This has now been independently confirmed by forensic scientists Patrizia Stefanoni and Renato Biondo,

On the box in which the knife was sent to the forensic police were the words “˜Balestra’.” says Luciano Ghirga. (”¦d) Amanda’s defence has focused on the small amount of Amanda’s dna (on the handle) and Meredith’s (on the blade) on the presumed murder weapon found at Raffaele’s house. The prosecution is certain the knife was cleaned with bleach.

However, the knife is said to have been kept in a box for bags, wallets or shoes, before it was sent to the forensic police, upon which was written the name of the famous stylist from Trieste. A box which in turn, was kept at Sollecito’s appartment. Anything could have been in that box previously; personal objects, ornaments, Amanda’s things. And so contamination in this case too, is more than likely…

You can read more of the CU translation on Damian’s blog

There has been a concerted effort by Amanda Knox’s supporters in particular to discredit the work of the forensic scientists, claiming that their work was shoddy and the results were not reliable. However, Renato Biondo, completely refuted these allegations:

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.

When Raffaele Sollecito was informed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade of the knife that was hidden in a shoe box at his apartment. He very tellingly did not argue that Meredith’s DNA couldn’t be on the blade. Instead, he lied about accidentally pricking Merdith while cooking:

The fact there is Meredith’s DNA on the kitchen knife is because once when we were all cooking together I accidentally pricked her hand. I apologised immediately and she said it was not a problem.

It’s important to point out that Meredith had never been to Raffaele’s apartment. So where did Raffaele accidentally prick Meredith with the knife? There’s another important question that needs answering: Who does the knife belong to? The two Italian housemates, Filomena and Laura, categorically denied that the knife was from their kitchen.

According to Vanity Fair (May 2008), the knife came from the cottage:

And, as Amanda informed her parents during a jail visit, she has no idea how that large knife managed to migrate from her own kitchen to her boyfriend’s house.

Does the double DNA knife found hidden in a shoe box at Raffaele’s apartment actually belong to Amanda Knox? If the is answer is yes, why did she take it to Raffaele’s apartment?

There’s another question that needs to be answered: Why wasn’t Raffaele’s DNA on the knife? It was, after all, found at his apartment.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Key Media Reports: 3 November 2007 Kate Mansey Interview

Posted by Administrator

Published in the Sunday Mirror 4/11/2007

MURDERED IN ITALY. MEREDITH, 21
Friend tells how he broke down door
Kate Mansey In Perugia, Italy 4/11/2007

A friend of murdered British student Meredith Kercher told last night how he discovered her body in her blood-spattered bedroom.

Raffaele Sollecito, 23, relived the horror of finding the body of the pretty brunette who died when her killer broke into her home and cut her throat as she lay in her bed.

“It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.

“My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

Meredith, 21, who had been studying in Perugia, Italy since August, was murdered the day after a Halloween fancy dress party at the city’s British-themed Merlin Pub on Wednesday.

On Thursday she posted happy snaps of herself in fancy dress on the internet and in the evening had returned home alone after watching a film at a friend’s house.

But her flatmates - two Italian girls and one American - had all stayed out for the night, so the gruesome discovery wasn’t made until the next day.

Raffaele had spent the night at his own house on the other side of the city with his girlfriend, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 22.

He said: “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.

“The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

As Amanda, from Washington DC, stepped into house [sic B] she could tell there was something terribly wrong.

Raffaele said: “When she arrived the front door was wide open. She thought it was weird, but thought maybe someone was in the house and had left it ajar.

“But when she went into the bathroom she saw spots of blood all over the bath and sink. That’s when she started getting really afraid and ran back to my place because she didn’t want to go into the house alone. So I agreed to go back with her. When we walked in together, I knew straight away it was wrong. It was really eerily silent and the bathroom was speckled with blood like someone had flicked it around, just little spots.

“We went into the bedroom of Philomena (another flatmate who was away) and it had been ransacked, like someone had been looking for something. But when we tried Meredith’s room, the door was locked. She never normally locked her bedroom door and that really made us frightened.”

Their panic grew as they desperately banged on her door.

Raffaele said: “I tried to knock it down. I thought maybe she was ill… I made a dent, but I wasn’t strong enough on my own so I called the police.”

When police arrived they knocked the door down straightaway and Raffaele followed them into the room.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “It was hard to tell it was Meredith at first but Amanda started crying and screaming. I dragged her away because I didn’t want her to see it, it was so horrible.

“It seems her killer came through the window because it was smashed and there was glass all over the place. It was so sinister because other parts of the house were just as normal.”

Raffaele, a computer science student, said Meredith had recently started seeing an Italian neighbour called Giacamo [sic B] who lived in the apartment beneath the girls.

He said: “Meredith was always smiling and happy. She was really popular and it’s horrible that someone would want to hurt her.”


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