Category: Massei prosecution

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Summations: More On How The Prosecution Launched Forth - And On Possible Motive

Posted by Tiziano



[Above: The two prosecutors today - click for larger image]

The TGCOM news service quoted this statement on the theory of the motive.

“Amanda Knox harbored hatred for Meredith… and so it was time for revenge rather than flirting….” According to the prosecutor Amanda wanted revenge on “that girl who was only with her English friends, and who reproached [Amanda] for her lack of cleanliness.” Thus was set under way “the calvary of Meredith.”

And this report from Umbria Journal adds details to the description posted below from Il Mattino

PM Giuliano Mignini spoke of a “unique event” of a trial which has “involved three continents”, opening his summing-up address in the trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

“A media trial in which the elements which emerged in court largely vanished,” the magistrate affirmed. “Detectives in search of notoriety, writers, bloggers, and mystery writers alternated with one another in a sort of parallel trial. But the trial is taking place only in this court room.”

Rudy Guede has been the “convitato di pietra” [literally, silent guest] in the trial of RF and AK according to Mignini. “In a way he has always been present,” the magistrate said referring to the Ivorian, already condemned to 30 years in prison by fast-track trial for complicity in the murder of Meredith Kercher with the two young people.

“Supporters of Sollecito and Knox” Mignini stressed “don’t stop at proclaiming their innocence, but they accuse him [Guede] too. They say that they were not at the crime house, but they also say the assassin is Guede. The accused wanted to create a parallel trial without his being able to defend himself.”

The PM then claimed that the breaking of a window in the bedroom of one of the Italian housemates of Knox and Meredith Kercher carried out according to the prosecution to mislead the investigations “is the special key to the event and the mystery. If it was simulated, as is evident, the authors are Knox, and Sollecito who always followed her. And the objective was to turn away suspicion.” The magistrate defined the break-in as “the nail on which the defences of the accused are hanging.”

“A nail” he averred “which has fallen down noisily and with it the the defences.” For Mignini the theft was simulated “from the inside, by someone who wanted to turn away suspicions and maybe direct them towards Rudy.”

Amanda Knox “knowingly accused an innocent man”... The reference is to Patrick Lumumba who, however, he did not expressly name, involved in the investigations of the murder of Meredith Kercher through the statements to the police of the young American and then absolved of any wrong-doing (he has actually nominated as a civil complainant against the American who is accused of defamation against him).

“Amanda” the [prosecutor] stressed “did not lift a finger while he was languishing in prison. Neither she nor her mother who was in her confidence. And what a coincidence” Mignini continued “it was a matter of a coloured person like Rudy”

 


Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #5 Defendants’ Claims Shown To Be A Mass Of Contradictions

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Perugia’s central police station]

Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports, some transcripts made of the testimony and the mobile phone records of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The first four posts were on the DNA evidence, the luminol-enhanced footprint evidence, and Raffaele Sollecito’s and Amanda Knox’s various conflicting alibis.

Now we look at the many contradictory statements of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito brought out by the prosecution.

The prosecution showed that not only are they contradicted by one another. They are contradicted by telephone and computer records, by closed-circuit TV footage, and by the corroborated testimony of several witnesses.

One question that Judge Massei and Judge Cristiana and the six members of the jury will now be asking themselves is: if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent and had nothing to hide, why did they lie so repeatedly?

Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers have had the unenviable task of trying to explain all their contradictions away.

Sollecito’s lawyers have argued that he lied out of confusion and fear. Knox’s lawyers have argued that she dramatically changed her version of events because she was hit and mistreated by the police on 5 November 2007.  Neither of these claims stood up to close scrutiny.

And the prosecution made it overwhelmingly apparent to the judges and the jury that Knox and Sollecito each lied deliberately and repeatedly to various people even before they were suspects and even before Knox was questioned on 5 November.

It was made intensely obvious that Knox and Sollecito’s versions of what they did on 1 November had very little in common with each other, especially in that part of the evening when they both claim they couldn’t remember very much because they were suffering from cannabis-induced amnesia.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that shows that cannabis can cause such dramatic amnesia. Skunk cannabis can cause extreme psychotic episodes and murders have occurred as a result. Long term use of cannabis can affect short-term memory and users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But wipe out whole chunks of an evening from anyone’s memory banks? The proof simply isn’t there.

1-A) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito told investigators that Knox and he had left the cottage on Via della Pergola at 6.00pm and that they went for a walk downtown. They passed through Piazza Grimana, Piazza Morlacchi and the main fountain in Corso Vannucci.

1-B) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Amanda Knox

Knox told investigators it was an hour earlier at 5.00pm and that they went straight to Sollecito’s apartment.

2-A) The evening of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito first claimed in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, computer expert Mr Trotta said that the film had actually been watched at around 6.30 pm.

On 5 November Sollecito told police that Knox went to meet friends at Le Chic at around 9pm and that she didn’t return until about 1am:

“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11pm. Phone records show that there was no telephone conversation at this time. Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier at 8.40pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was alone and surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am. No technical evidence of this was introduced. computer specialists have testified that his computer was not used for an eight-hour period on the night of Meredith’s murder

The Kercher’s lawyer, Franco Maresca, pointed out that credible witnesses had really shattered all of Sollecito’s alibi for the night of the murder.

2-B) The evening of 1 November according to Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox told the police that she hadn’t replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message. The police knew full well that this wasn’t true because they already had her mobile phone records that proved that she had texted him.

“After that [finding out she wasn’t required at Le Chic] I believe we relaxed in his room together, perhaps I checked my email.” But no internet activity at all was proven at Sollecito’s apartment beyond the early evening.

“One thing I do remember is that I took a shower with Raffaele and this might explain how we passed the time. In truth, I do not remember exactly what day it was, but I do remember that we had a shower and we washed ourselves for a long time. He cleaned my ears, he dried and combed my hair.”

But Sollecito made no mention of taking a shower with Amanda Knox on the night of the murder.

In Amanda Knox’s handwritten note to the police she claimed that she and Sollecito ate around 11.00pm:

“One of the things I am sure that definitely happened the night on which Meredith was murdered was that Raffaele and I ate fairly late, I think around 11 in the evening”

But Knox testified at the trial that she and Sollecito ate around 9.30pm.  “After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor.”

3) The early hours of 2 November

Both Knox and Sollecito claim that they woke up late on 2 November. However, their mobile phone records show the mobiles were turned on at approximately 6.02am. Sollecito also used his computer at 5.32am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

4) The afternoon of 2 November

At 1208pm, Amanda Knox called Filomena and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom. Knox claims that she made this call from Sollecito’s apartment.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Knox claimed that when she called Meredith’s Italian phone it “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her mobile phone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (Meredith’s WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds. There were no messages left.)

At 12.34pm Amanda and Filomena again spoke on their phones. Filomena said, “We spoke to each other for the third time and she told me that the window in my room was broken and that my room was in a mess. At this point I asked her to call the police and she told me that she already had.”

The prosecution introduced records to show that Knox and Sollecito didn’t actually call the police until 12.51pm.

In her email to friends in Seattle on 4 November, Amanda Knox says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena. Knox’s mobile phone records prove that this was untrue.

In the email, Amanda also claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later ““ after Raffaele finished calling the police at 12:55pm. But cellphone records show that Knox never ever called Filomena back at all.

Sollecito and Knox both claimed they had called the police before the postal police had turned up at the cottage and were waiting for them. Sollecito later admitted that this was not true, and that he had lied because he had believed Amanda Knox’s version of what had happened.

He said he went outside “to see if I could climb up to Meredith’s window” but could not. “I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.

He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).

The CCTV cameras in the car park record the arrival of the postal police at 12.25pm which corroborates Sollecito’s admission that he had spoken rubbish.

Knox’s email to friends in Seattle describes the decision to call the police as something implemented by herself and Sollecito, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

Knox’s mobile phone records show that she called her mother at 12:47pm, but she makes no mention of this call in her email. (This call was very extensively analysed by fellow poster Finn MacCool and he showed a fascinating progression in both Amanda’s and her mother’s recollection of that call.) 

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police ““ but Amanda made no mention of this advice from her mother in describing their decision to call the police.

Amanda Knox testified that she couldn’t even remember phoning her mother, which will be very difficult for the court to believe. Phoning her mother when it is well after midnight in Seattle to tell her mother that she thought somebody had broken into her home and that her housemate was missing seems an unlikely thing to forget.

Amanda Knox told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked. Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

The prosecution also made it obvious to the court that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, like Rudy Guede, changed their stories to fit new facts as they became known:

When Sollecito was confronted with the mobile phone records on 5 November, he immediately admitted that they hadn’t called 112 before the postal police arrived.

After initially denying it, Knox readily admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed when she found out that Sollecito had stopped providing her with an alibi.

Despite this changing of their stories to take into account the latest known facts, Knox’s and Sollecito’s versions still contained numerous contradictions. Sollecito’s final alibi contains several apparent lies, and Amanda Knox accused Diya Lumumba of killing Meredith while making no mention of Rudy Guede. 

In Conclusion

The reasons Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have given for them lying - namely false memories, confusion and fear ““ seem very unlikely to fly with the court.

Repeated evidence was introduced to show that Meredith’s other flatmates and friends all behaved radically differently, and told what were obvious truths that matched up repeatedly and resulted in not a single major contradiction. All were checked out in this careful fashion and then allowed to go on their way.

Only the defendants’ claims failed to coincide or match with everything else.

Again, and again, and again.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Newsweek’s Barbie Nadeau Has A Really Vital Piece On How The Evidence Stacks Up

Posted by Peter Quennell


And,  in short, it is ominous.

Click above for the full report. This really IS vital reading. A few key excerpts as follows.

Evidence: Rudy Guede

Who it hurts: Knox and Sollecito

Rudy Guede is the 24-year-old Ivory Coast native convicted in a fast-track trial last October for his role in Kercher’s murder. He is serving a 30-year sentence (his appeal begins on Nov. 19). Guede, who refused to testify in the Knox trial, has admitted that he was in the house when Kercher was killed. He says Kercher invited him there and that the two were making out when a stomach cramp from a bad kebab sent him to the bathroom. He was on the toilet with his iPod headphones on through four songs and, when he came out, Kercher was dying. He says he tried to save Kercher by using a towel to sop up the blood on her neck wounds, but he was scared after a man he says looked like Sollecito told him that “they’ll pin this on the black guy.” Guede fled to Germany, where he was later arrested for skipping a train fare. His feces (found in a toilet), along with his DNA and fingerprints from Kercher’s bedroom, link him to the crime scene. The sentencing judge who convicted him, though, did not see him as a lone assailant. Instead, the judge wrote in his sentencing report that he believed Guede acted with Knox and Sollecito.

Evidence: Murder dynamic

Who it hurts: Knox and Sollecito

One of the most complicated aspects of Kercher’s tragic death is how the murder itself played out. The prosecution believes that Knox, Sollecito, and Guede taunted Kercher in a sex game that quickly escalated to violence and ended in murder. Countless forensic experts, including those who performed the autopsies on Kercher’s body, have testified that more than one person killed her based on the size and location of her injuries and the fact that she didn’t fight back””no hair or skin was found under her fingernails. The defense has confused matters more: Knox’s forensic specialist testified that Kercher had been killed by only one person from the front, but Sollecito’s expert testified that Kercher had been killed by one person from behind.

Evidence: Knox’s confession

Who it hurts: Knox

On Nov. 5, 2007, Sollecito was called to the Perugia police station for questioning about Kercher’s murder. Knox testified last June that she did not want to be alone, so she accompanied him. During his interrogation, Sollecito admitted to police that he did not know for sure if Knox actually spent the night of the murder at his house, as she had told police earlier. Since Knox was at the police station, the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m., and, by 5:45 a.m., Knox had told police that she was in the house when Kercher died””and that Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the nightclub where she worked, was the assailant. She even described Kercher’s screams. She, Sollecito, and Lumumba were arrested. The next day, Knox wrote a five-page memorandum reiterating everything she said the night before. But since there was no lawyer present during her interrogation””and so far no one has produced an audiotape of the interrogation””Knox’s attorneys were able to have her verbal confession thrown out of evidence. The five-page memorandum still holds….

Evidence: Conflicting alibis

Who it hurts: Unknown

Knox maintains that she spent the night of Nov. 1, 2007, at Sollecito’s house. Sollecito did not take the stand during this trial, and his lawyer told NEWSWEEK that it was, at least in part, because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi….

So Sollecito did not take the stand in part because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi. Wow. That has to hurt.

Very much more in Barbie Nadeau’s original piece.  We recommend that you read it all.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution #4: Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis

Posted by The Machine




The Knox Alibis: How They Conflict

The first three posts on the power of the case were on the DNA evidence, the luminol-enhanced footprint evidence, and Raffaele Sollecito’s various conflicting alibis.

Now we look at the various conflicting alibis that Amanda Knox has given for the night in question. We dont yet have full transcripts and have to rely on what was reported in the UK press.

Click here for the rest


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis

Posted by The Machine



[above: Sollecito with his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno; click for a larger image]

The Sollecito Alibis: How They Conflict

The first two posts on the power of the case were on the DNA evidence, and the luminol-enhanced footprint evidence.

In this and the next post we will elaborate upon the testimony relevant to the multiple alibis given by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and the evolving circumstances in which they were given.

Following the discovery of Meredith’s body in her house, more than a dozen possible witnesses were quite expeditiously questioned: Meredith’s various English friends, her two Italian housemates, the four boys who lived downstairs, and Knox and Sollecito.

Meredith’s English friends, her two Italian housemates, and the boys downstairs fully cooperated with the police. They seemed to be telling the truth. They had one alibi each that could readily be verified. Those alibis never changed.

As a direct result they were all quickly eliminated from the investigation.

In stark contrast, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito appeared to be obfuscating. They appeared callous, impatient, arrogant, and reluctant to cooperate with the police.

These were attitudes first publicly noted as incriminating in mid 2008 by the judges at the Italian Supreme Court. Police and prosecution did not leak.

Knox and Sollecito each made three separate attempts to come up with credible alibis. All appeared desperate and semi-rehearsed. None of them made total sense or managed to get them off the hook. Neither helped the other at all. 

Today, we address Sollecito’s alibis.

The prosecution undermined them in various ways. Sollecito did not take the stand at trial to repeat any of them. His occasional interventions in the courtroom did not strengthen any of them. He made no attempt to corroborate the third alibi of Knox (that she was at his place all night) and immediately prior to arrest he said she had made him lie.

Everyone at and around trial knew of the wariness and extreme anger of the two (and their families) and how they knocked chips off one another whenever they could.

Innocent behavior? You decide. If each was not blaming the other for their plight this behavior would be unique in the history of crime.

 


Raffaele Sollecito’s first alibi

For his first alibi Raffaele Sollecito claimed, in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror, that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder. It appears that this is the alibi that Sollecito also first told the police.

As there seems to have been no party, or in any case no party they attended, it would have been difficult for Sollecito to find any witnesses, and so this alibi was quickly superceded.

Raffaele Sollecito’s second alibi

For his second alibi Sollecito now claimed that he was at his apartment throughout the night with Amanda Knox.

This alibi was contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution. According to the testimony of the scientific police from Rome, there were six separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

These included an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, and a bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s bathroom which appears to match the precise characteristics of his foot.

Sollecito’s claim that he was at his apartment the whole evening on 1 November was also undermined by Amanda Knox, who claimed in one of her own witness statements that he was also at the cottage when Meredith was killed:

Yes we were in the house. That evening we wanted to have a bit of fun. We were drunk. We asked her to join us. Diya wanted her. Raffaele and I went into another room and then I heard screams.

This alibi was also undermined by an eyewitness, Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there. And it was undermined by Sollecito himself when he moved to the third alibi below.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies.

Although Rudy Guede exercised his right to silence when he was called as a witness in the present trial, it should be noted that at his own trial last October and in the stated grounds for his appeal, he has claimed that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were both at the cottage on the night in question, and that they were responsible for Meredith’s murder.

Raffaele Sollecito’s third alibi

Sollecito was asked to return to the police station on 5 November to answer some more questions. He was at that time confronted with telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied previously.

So for his third alibi, which now cut Amanda Knox loose and implicated her, Sollecito claimed that he was at his apartment all evening, and that for part of the evening Knox was out, from 9 pm to 1 am.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies….

Amanda and I went into town at around 6pm, but I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8.30 or 9pm.

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

He goes on to say that Amanda returned to his house at around 1am and the couple went to bed, although he couldn’t remember if they had sex.

This third alibi was undercut by Amanda Knox when she took the stand and testified. She stated that she was with Sollecito at his place all night.

It was also contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution: the six separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

This third alibi was also undermined by the telephone records and by the data taken from his computer.

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11 pm. The phone records showed that to the contrary, there was no telephone conversation at this time, though Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier, at 8.40 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was surfing the internet from 11 pm to 1 am. Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, testified that the last human interaction on Sollecito’s computer that evening was at 9.10 pm and the next human activity on Sollecito’s computer was at 5.32 am.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30 pm, and it was earlier testified that Meredith returned to the cottage she shared with Amanda Knox at about 9 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he had slept in until 10 am the next day. There was expert prosecution testimony that his mobile phone was actually turned on at 6.02 am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

This alibi was undermined by the eyewitness Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there.

Sollecito’s difficult situation resulting

Sollecito does not seem to have done himself any favours by exercising his right to remain silent and not to testify at the trial.

As things now stand, he does not have any credible alibi or scenario for the night of the murder. Also it would appear that he has damaged his overall credibility irreparably, by giving three alibis that differed so considerably.

Judge Paolo Micheli had in front of him much of the same evidence. He wrote, in committing Raffaele Sollecito to trial last October, that he considered the triple alibis to be a clear indication of guilt.

There seems to be no obvious reason right now why the present judges and jury would conclude differently.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #2 The Footprint Evidence

Posted by The Machine




1. Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in five parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. The first post, below, was on the formidable DNA evidence.

In this post we now elaborate the footprint evidence, some of which is easily visible and some of which is only apparent with the use of luminol.

We reported what happened in the court here and here.

Kermit in his Powerpoint series provided us with accurate prior analysis and post analysis of these flootprints and shoeprints, and Kermit also presented a Powerpoint map of the cottage.

2. About luminol

Luminol is a chemical that reacts with the microscopic particles of iron in the blood if a partial but incomplete attempt has been made to clean a bloodstain away.

The blood traces glow a bright blue quite fleetingly in the dark under luminol, just long enough to allow forensic investigators to measure and photograph it.

Luminol evidence can be among the most compelling. If bloodstains show up under luminol, but not to the naked eye, then it is almost a complete certainty that a crime-scene clean-up has been attempted.

Lorenzo Rinaldi is the director of the print-identity division of Italy’s scientific police, the Italian equivalent of Scotland Yard or the FBI. He testified that one visible and three luminol-revealed footprints and a visible shoeprint belonged to the present two defendants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. (Another shoeprint belonged to Guede, convicted last October.)

3. Evidence Against Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of Meredith’s house. . One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room. These bloody footprints were only revealed under luminol.

The fact that there was an absence of any visible bloody footprints from Meredith’s room where Meredith’s blood was to the visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared strongly indicates that some prints were successfully cleaned away altogether.

A woman’s bloody shoeprint which matched Amanda Knox’s foot size was found on a pillow under Meredith’s body. Barbie Nadeau noted the significance of this evidence on The Daily Beast website:

“When the judge asked Rinaldi the size of an unidentified bloody shoeprint found on the pillow below Kercher’s body, he responded, “Between 36 and 38.” The judge then asked Rinaldi what size shoe Knox wears. “The Skecher shoe we sequestered belonging to Amanda Knox corresponds with size 37.”

The significance of the woman’s bloody shoeprint in Meredith’s room is considerable. By itself it debunks the myth that some had propagated for a while, that Rudy Guede acted alone. The bloody shoeprint was incompatible with Meredith’s shoe size.

4. Raffaele Sollecito

Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by luminol in the hallway, and the other one was easily visible to the naked eye on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s and Knox’s shared bathroom.

Lorenzo Rinaldi excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat was the right size or shape to belong to Knox or Guede instead of Sollecito: “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.”

Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shows just how meticulous and painstakingly detailed the analysis of the bloody footprints was:

“All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement…. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot….

Rinaldi’s detailed 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 and shoeprints as well as the actual shoes and feet of Knox, Sollecito and Guede. The three suspects gave their footprints and fingerprints at police headquarters.”

Another print expert also testified that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, asked Dr. Stefanoni to confirm that other substances like bleach or fruit juice can also react to luminol.

Dr. Stefanoni acknowledged that they do, but pointed out that biologists who work regularly on crime scenes distinguish easily between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow from other reactive substances


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #1 The DNA Evidence

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, click for larger image]

1. Preamble

Nearly 200 hours over 23 days.

That is how long the prosecution took to present its voluminous case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, including time taken by the defense teams to conduct cross-examinations.

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in five parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance. The material has been reordered so that for example the DNA evidence presented at several points in the trial can all be described in one post here.

Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. All the main witnesses will be named in this series with a brief mention of who they are and their qualifications.

Two past posts that may aid in understanding the DNA testimony are Nicki’s post here and Fiori’s post here. All past DNA posts can be found in this area. 

2. The Large Double DNA Kitchen Knife

The double DNA knife is the knife that was sequestered from Sollecito’s apartment. Although there was an imprint of another knife at the scene, and one defense expert argued that there may have been yet another, it remains plausible that this is the weapon that was used to murder Meredith.

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni was the leader of the forensic team from Rome that carried out all the forensic collections at Meredith’s house.  She testified unequivocally about the knife. A small sample of Meredith’s DNA was found to be in a groove on the blade, and Amanda Knox’s DNA was found to be on the handle.

Dr. Stefanoni noted that there were peculiar diagonal scrapes on the knife blade, which suggested that the knife had been vigorously cleaned.

Both Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the scientific police, and the Kerchers’ own DNA expert, Professor Francesca Torricelli, provided independent confirmation that this forensic finding is accurate and reliable.

The defence teams’ forensic experts are not disputing that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife. Instead they are arguing that the knife was somehow contaminated for the DNA to actually be there.

Dr Stefanoni has firmly excluded this possibility of contamination in transit or in the laboratory. She testified that there hasn’t been a single instance of contamination in her laboratory for at least the last seven years, and every precaution was taken here to ensure that different traces were not mixed.

A police officer who led a search of Sollecito’s apartment added weight to the prosecution’s assertion that the double DNA knife had been cleaned with bleach. He testified that he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. 

When Raffaele Sollecito heard that the scientific police had found Meredith’s DNA on the double DNA knife in his apartment, he did not deny the possibility of the DNA being there.

Instead he made a claim about accidentally pricking Meredith’s hand whilst cooking at his apartment. “The fact that Meredith’s DNA is on my kitchen knife is because once, when we were all cooking together, I accidentally pricked her hand.’‘

However Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment and so it seems Sollecito could not have accidentally pricked her hand there whilst he was cooking. In attempting to explain the presence of Meredith’s DNA on the blade, he did so in a way easily disproved and seemed to further implicate Amanda Knox and himself.

3. Sollecito’s DNA On Meredith’s Bra Clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, and Dr. Stefanoni has excluded the possibility of any contamination.

This is the bra clasp that was collected some weeks after the first forensic collection and it was conceded that it should have been collected earlier. It was also argued that valid DNA evidence in other cases is often collected weeks or months or even years after the crime when a suspect object is unearthed.

Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno is perhaps not surprisingly claiming that this bra clasp was also contaminated in the laboratory. The problem for them is to explain precisely where such an abundant amount of Sollecito’s DNA could have come from, and how it was so firmly imprinted.

The only other instance of Sollecito’s DNA at the cottage was found on a cigarette butt in the kitchen, seemingly an unlikely source at best.

It would seem unlikely that the judges and jury will conclude that the bra clasp was contaminated in a strictly controlled laboratory where Dr. Stefanoni follows rigorous laboratory procedures.  She is an internationally renowned and very experienced forensic expert and was part of a Disaster Investigations Team which identified disaster victims via their DNA.

Alberto Intini is the head of the Italian police forensic science unit. Andrea Vogt reported as follows in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Mr Intini’s testimony about the possibility or otherwise of contamination:

“Alberto Intini maintained that the crime scene had not been contaminated and pointed out that laboratory testing revealed none of the investigators’ prints or biological traces. Mr Intini said “In fact, it is the results that tell you if it was done correctly, and I can tell you that in this investigation there was not even one trace of any of our operators.”

He also pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist. “It is possible in the abstract that there could have been contamination, but until this is proved, it does not exist.”

The prosecution demonstrated on the final full day of testimony that Meredith’s bra was actually removed with a knife some time after she had been killed.

Judge Paolo Micheli presided over the fast-track trial of Rudy Guede and committed Sollecito and Knox to trial. In looking at the identical evidence he asked “Who had a reason to come back, cut off Meredith’s bra, and move her body some time later?”

The present judges and jury might conclude differently, but Judge Micheli concluded that it would only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room to point away from themselves. He discounted Rudy Guede, who apparently went home, cleaned himself up, and then was seen out on the town.

4. Knox Blood With Meredith’s

There were five instances of Amanda Knox’s blood or DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage in Via della Pergola: the bathroom, the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom.

Amanda Knox’s blood was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Dr. Stefanoni testified that it would have been “strange” that three traces of blood with both Meredith’s and Amanda Knox’s DNA would have been left at different times.

Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek pointed out a reason why the blood stains must have been left on the night of the murder:

“Legal experts who follow this case have suggested that blood evidence cannot be dated and therefore could have been left weeks before the murder. But when Knox testified in her own defense in June, she conceded that there was no blood in the bathroom the day before the murder, effectively dating those blood stains to that night.”

Perhaps Knox had a bloody earring piercing, and maybe a drop landed on a drop of Meredith’s blood. But in three different places? Perhaps it is not surprising that the defence lawyers have not brought up the subject of the mixed DNA in the bathroom in their part of the trial.

Meredith’s blood was found on the top part of the light switch in the bathroom she shared with Amanda Knox. This suggests that it was deposited there when the light was switched on. Meredith’s blood was also found on the toilet lid. There were no DNA or other physical traces of Rudy Guede in that bathroom.

Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mixed together in a bloody footprint in the hallway of the new wing of the house.

A mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room. This seems to be compelling evidence because Knox had never claimed she entered Filomena’s room when she checked the cottage. This room was the scene of the alleged break-in, and there were glass fragments on the floor.

Meredith’s blood had been cleaned up in this room, but it was nevertheless revealed by luminol.

Barbie Nadeau concludes in a Daily Beast report that the mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood in Filomena’s room seems more incriminating than the double DNA knife:

“But perhaps more damning even than the knife was Stefanoni’s testimony that a mix of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the floor in the bedroom of a third roommate, Filomena Romanelli.”


Saturday, July 11, 2009

It Is The Jury That Ultimately Matters: How They May Be Seeing The DNA Here

Posted by Fiori



Example of well-equipped Italian DNA lab


Ciao! Posting again from Florence.

Nicki and Kermit have already done amazing work here and here in explaining the hard facts of the DNA evidence.

This post is about perceptions and about what the judges and jury might - might - now be thinking, now that those facts are presented and some of them contested.

DNA evidence is notoriously hard to present and argue before a jury. It is not only in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle that one finds problems, ambiguities and different interpretations of the validity and reliability of DNA, this is the same in many criminal trials.

Standardization of DNA testing procedures got an enormous boost by the unforeseen “accident” in the OJ Simpson’s trial, where the jury, according to all scientific authorities, failed to recognize the DNA evidence properly. Since than the overall public understanding of DNA has been increasing, and jurors and others agents have earned a familiarity with handling DNA in criminal trials. All this suggests that it is generally getting easier for jurors to understand when and how DNA is significant in a trial.

It is of great importance to underline that the jury is the crux of every case: No matter what Dr. Stefanoni knows and how she may have handled the DNA samples, it is the jury, this particular selection of individuals, which has to make sense of the testimonies, and form an understanding of what the DNA samples tells about the murder of Meredith and the possibly involvement of Amanda and Rafaelle (and Rudy). I emphasize this:

  • Jurors are not a scientific committee, and the way which a jury understands DNA differs considerably from a professional, scientific understanding of DNA

  • Jurors’ understanding of DNA is highly situational; i.e. it is heavily influenced by how, when and by whom DNA material is presented during the trial

  • Jurors build their comprehension from context, meaning that a jury does not base their understanding upon systematically selected information about DNA, but forms an opinion based upon an interrelation of scientifically based information and the circumstances of the present case

Findings from the US and UK system of justice

What characterizes jurors’ judgments of DNA material in criminal trials? It is usual to expect that the more scientifically complex a piece of evidence is, the more difficult is it for a jury to comprehend, but from studies in UK, US and Australia several other things are known:

  • Among jurors who were aware of DNA profiling evidence before their participation in the researched trials, expectations for the evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of an accused were high, and these expectations were largely confirmed by the jury members experiences of the trial itself.

  • Juror comprehension of DNA evidence is not solely dependent on the scientific complexity of the evidence. If the evidence is presented clearly in court, if the expert testimony is consistent, if the defences do not present contrary interpretations of the DNA evidence, and the case is otherwise circumstantial, then jurors seem to manage a fair understanding of the science and weight it significantly in case material.

  • The strength of the defence challenge may depend on the coherence and grounding of an alternative explanation or conclusion drawn from the DNA. Meaning: it is NOT generally so, that IF a piece of DNA evidence is NOT contradicted by the defence, then it is easier for a jury to comprehend DNA evidence. HOW a jury interprets DNA evidence depends upon the context of the PRESENTATION of the evidence.

Research into US trials reports that jurors mostly are much more skeptical toward DNA evidence than statistics gives reason for. The jurors often “incorrectly aggregate separately presented probabilities and afford probabilistic evidence less weight than would be expected [by experts]” and “their background beliefs about the possibility of laboratory errors and intentional tampering affects the weight participants afford a DNA match report.”

A juror’s interpretation of expert testimonies is highly influenced by the credibility they assign to the legal and scientific system; i.e. all the institutions involved in a trial: the police, the legal system, the forensic police, and scientific institutions in general.

The point made here is that jurors and legal systems have “historical memory” so the result of one trial influences the outcome of another:  Thus, it is possibly that the OJ Simpson case and the many faulty convictions based upon DNA “˜evidence’ has produced a overt negative attitude towards DNA in the US, which is not to be expected to be the same in Italy.

Another conclusion, also from research within the US: Cognitive errors favoring the defence were more prevalent than errors ones favoring the prosecution. This piece of research examines how jurors’ evaluates that part of the DNA testimony which involves probabilities and statistics. And as this touches upon core questions brought up in the case against Amanda and Rafaelle, I will quote in length from the paper.

    The paper, which studies the outcome of several (murder) trials - concludes that “some jurors showed susceptibility to classic (defence) fallacies in interpreting conditional probabilities, and the jurors as a group were not overwhelmed by testimony from a prosecution expert that “˜more than 99.98% of all Caucasians would be excluded’ by the DNA match.
    Most jurors accepted a defence criticism of this computation. Moreover, it appears that many jurors were inclined to agree with the defendant’s overstated argument that because dozens of men in the area might have DNA types consistent with those of the robber, the match with the defendant’s DNA was worthless. A smaller number seemed to commit what has been called the “˜prosecutor’s fallacy.’ These jurors did muddle up the proportion of the general population that would be excluded by a DNA test, and the probability that the defendant was the source of the crime-scene DNA.
    On balance, these findings do not indicate that jurors generally were unduly impressed by the prosecution’s DNA evidence. Consequently, our results challenge the legal argument that DNA evidence should be excluded because jurors are prone to overvalue such evidence.”

So, measured in relation to the expert testimony actually given in court, this research found that jurors made misunderstandings and misinterpretations biased BOTH ways. The research did not find jurors to be “˜unduly impressed’ by prosecutions experts testimony, but instead being “˜susceptible’ in favour of the defence. 

But other research indicates that some jurors are being too impressed by the DNA evidence or mislead by the statistics presented in court.

Research from UK and US, states that “a number of convictions which have relied on DNA evidence have been overturned on appeal on the basis of misdirection of the jury regarding the statistical basis of the test and its results. In particular, juries are often awe-struck by the enormous values of random occurrence ratio with which they are presented by the prosecution experts. The factual significance of these large numbers is often misunderstood and misrepresented by barristers and judges, leading to unsafe convictions.”

Then, not only the jurors, but the legal actors more widely have problems with understanding how the statistical dimensions of DNA evidence works. The point of the statistics is, that identifying the DNA markers can be misleading if identification of the suspect occurs on behalf of “˜random occurrence ratios’ ““ i.e. the suspect is identified in random by her DNA (similar to how fingerprint identification works).

Identification on behalf of DNA must relate to the demography of the area where the crime took place, as well as the family background of the suspect. Meaning that statistics can be misleading if identification is not supported by additional information (where much exists in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle). Dr. Stefanoni has repeatedly argued this point in court, explaining why Amanda’s DNA is Amanda’s, and Rafaelle’s DNA is Rafaelle’s, and not a “˜random’ person, like an unknown friend of Rudy’s.

From research into the working of the US and the UK legal systems, it must be clear that most of the news-reports from the US about the murder of Meredith Kercher tend to reinforce a common deficit in knowledge on how to interpret DNA evidence. A shame that.

Also worth mentioning is that the OJ Simpson trial is not the only one where “˜scientifically’ obvious DNA evidence have been disregarded by a jury; this also seen in cases where there presented a lot of other circumstantial evidence supporting the DNA material.

And that different interpretation (prosecution and defence) of DNA material does not in itself blur jurors comprehension and prevent an unanimous understanding of the significance. Contrary, controversies over DNA can serve to clarify a juror’s understanding of DNA.



Example of well-equipped Italian DNA lab

Likely differences under the Italian system of justice

These results from research into the US/UK type of legal system should be discussed in relation to the working of the Italian system. And there are, in this perspective, significant differences.

In Italy, a jury consists of 6 lay persons and 2 professional judges. It is highly likely that the participation of 2 professional judges influences how the jury perceives and discusses DNA and other complex scientific matters. The above quoted research into fallacies of comprehending DNA evidence can only support the view that it is a strength of the Italian system that professional judges are represented in the jury.

Also, the Italian trial system, where parts of evidence are presented and assessed by multiple judges in many pre-trial hearings, also marks a difference vis a vis the US system. Every (pre-) trial adds to jurors possibility to comprehend DNA material correct (”˜correct’ in relation to understanding what is actually testified in court, not “˜correct’ in relation to assessing the significance of the DNA material as evidence).

As referred to above, pre-trial experiences also influences how jurors interpret DNA testimony.

Then education, schools and general cultural education (”˜bildung’ in German), cultural habits (for example if criminal trials are broadcast or not, and if they are watched widely or not) will without doubt influence how jurors comprehend DNA evidence. And of course so will criteria used by the court for selecting the actual jury influence the outcome; for example if it was considered important that jury members demonstrated ability to understand complex scientific arguments.

Generally, European comparative test shows that primary education in Italy are in the upper middle, and Italy has very good universities and strong academic traditions, and ““ not the least - a long and proud tradition in science from Leonardo da Vinci and onwards.

These conditions will influence the jury’s assessment of DNA evidence presented in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle, and we can expect that the jury will demonstrate a fairly accurate understanding of the different testimonies from (a.o.) Dr.Stefanoni and Dr.Torre, and a fairly accurate understanding of DNA technology. Though, how the jury will make sense of the scientific facts in the actual circumstances (what it tells about who murdered Meredith) are not obvious.

Scientific references to the quoted papers are listed in my comment below.

Posted by Fiori on 07/11 at 02:30 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionComments here (7)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Now CNN Gets It All Wrong - What Will They Make of THIS In Italy?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Part one

Part two

We might given time (a lot of time!) separately list each wrong claim with a correction underneath. Our readers sure could assist us here, by creating their own lists in the Comments.

Added: These lists in the Comments below are really quite amazing. There is a great deal to be learned about the case and the contexts from taking the time to read through them.

We know for a fact (because they kindly told us) that some of the commenters are in Italy and that several are themselves Italian. And at least one is in Perugia - this site is accessed quite a few times a day from Perugia, and so the muddled CNN hatefest is already being seen there.

We wait to see if La Nazione or one of the other fine Italian newspapers takes exception to the CNN broadcast (which is seen by millions) in the way they did to the Tiimothy Egan report in the New York Times (which was read by, at most, a few thousands).

This Jane Velez-Mitchell hatefest does not originate in New York by the way! These YouTubes would and will be highly offensive to all New Yorkers, as well as to all Italian—Americans, and many, many Americans across the country.

As with all cultures, there is a fringe, and somehow CNN USA sees its new role in the US as pandering to this fringe. But they seem to take care that such red-necked radicalism does not spill over into the global broadcasts.

Well, welcome to YouTube, CNN.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: CNN Reports Defendant Claimed Questioned While On Drugs

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the report by CNN Rome’s Hada Messia.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Powerpoints #12: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right

Posted by Kermit





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

Previously in the Powerpoint series we presented visually some of the evidence that helped Judge Micheli to conclude that there was more than one perpetrator.

During most of the court sessions in May 2009, Lorenzo Rinaldi and Patrizia Stefanoni and their formidable evidence-processing teams from Rome added a lot to what we know about the forensic evidence found in the house.

Many of the images and diagrams they used appeared in the media, particularly the Italian media. It is now possible to examine even more closely what the evidence suggests about the perpetrators.

Sollecito has tough evidence against him in a number of dimensions. Added now to the woes of his defense team is the analysis of a bloody footprint that was found on a bathmat in the bathroom of Meredith and Amanda Knox.

The Powerpoint title refers to a barren tree. This reference is explained in the conclusion of the presentation. In essence, it refers to a marked tendency of perpetrators to NOT add enough incidental detail to their stories to be really convincing.

Sollecito has so far come up with many barren trees - minimalist stories in which none of them have enough incidental detail to convincingly explain evidence like this.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Trial: More On The Violent Crimes Unit’s Reconstruction Of The Violent, Prolonged Attack

Posted by Peter Quennell



Grim-faced expert witnesses from the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome enter court

1. Reconstruction Of The Attack On Meredith

Judge Massei closed the court for much of the time. No English-language reporters were there.

Nevertheless, reports in La Nazione and other Italian media described the reconstruction of the final attack on Meredith in the court with the aid of many photographs and graphics.

Giuseppe Codispoti, Director of the Analysis of Violent Crime Unit, said in his deposition that the evidence pointed to three subjects in addition to the victim being present in the room at the time.

The evidence included the many wounds on Meredith, the state of her clothing, and the locations and shapes of the bloodstains on the walls, the wardrobe, and the floor.

Wounds to Meredith’s right hand pointed to a desperate attempt to ward off one or several attackers with knives while she was being held by her other arm.

The director of the Violent Crime department, Edgardo Giobbi, told the court that when, on the day after the murder, he handed Knox (not yet a suspect) a pair of shoe covers before entering the apartment below hers, she swiveled her hips and said “oopla.” This attitude made him turn his “investigative attention” on her, he said.

This was dramatic and telling testimony, and for some in the courtroom apparently quite hard to take.

Below: One of the images used in their detailed reconstruction of the final frenzied act in Meredith’s bedroom that suggested three people had to be involved.




2. Prior Testimony That Relates

Judge Micheli summarized the same forensic evidence and concluded for purposes of convicting Rudy Guede and of sending Knox and Sollecito to trial that it did point to three people being involved.

Judge Micheli also concluded that, as part of a cover-up, Meredith was later moved from the location below (by the wardrobe and the window) to where she was found, several feet to the left (by the bed).

3. Defensive PR Reaction To This Tough Talk

In their attempt to ridicule and undermine this compelling evidence, CBS News (48 Hours) in their recent very slanted report repeatedly showed bizarre caricatures of this scene by an Italian cartoonist.

None were remotely correct. That was not, we think, CBS News’s finest hour. They have been very silent on it since.

The paid Candace Dempsey defense blog on the Seattle PI website took a shot at ridiculing the reconstruction image above.

Something rather incoherent to do with not being specific enough about the figures. But the image above was one of a number that the witnesses used.

As real crime experts in the field would all know, it was deliberately not more specific because it incorporated only the known hard evidence.

Contacts of ours in NYC associated with law enforcement are giving the reconstruction an A. It was a careful and clever bit of work.


Trial: La Nazione On Testimony About The Attack And What The Blood Traces Suggest

Posted by Peter Quennell


La Nazione is one of Perugia’s newspapers. Click above for their early report, in Italian.

1) On today’s testimony.on what the blood traces suggest

Before Meredith died, she struggled to free herself from the constraint of one of the attackers, and she brought her left hand up to her devastated neck after the fatal knife attack. This is the evidence proven by the bloodstains found on the hand of the English student and, in particular, her index finger.

This is one of the elements that helps to reconstruct the dynamics of the crime conducted by the forensics experts of the Violent Crime Unit to be presented in today’s depositions in their case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito accused of the murder and rape of their friend..

2) On the testimony scheduled to come next

The tight schedule of hearings ordered by the President of the Court, Giancarlo Massei, includes 5 and June 6 to hear the witnesses for the civil parties (lawyers Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna) who assist the victim’s family.

Testifying on the 5th should be the advisers (legal and medical forensic geneticist) while on the 6th it will be the turn of Meredith’s mother, Arline, and then her sister Stephanie and brother Lyle. They will talk about why she had chosen to study in Perugia, and the last telephone contacts before her murder.

On June 12th Amanda Knox is expected to be examined by her lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova. The enigmatic Seattle student might still decide to escape the barrage of questions at the last minute.

On the 13th the first witness will be Patrick Lumumba, the civil party up against the American for libelous slander. And then the witnesses for the defenses will commence testifying.


DNA Evidence: The Myths Start To Come Crashing Down

Posted by Nicki

[click for larger image; rule and annotations by Kermit]


The DNA evidence is proving to be as well-handled and as incriminating as DNA evidence ever is at such trials.

The last two hearings have very publicly exposed several of the key myths which have been aggressively propagated over the Internet and through other media for many months.

Let’s first speak about the double knife DNA. It has now become pretty obvious that:

  • It doesn’t match half of Italy as falsely claimed
  • It doesn’t have a 20% chance of being Meredith’s as falsely claimed
  • Stefanoni never declared herself that the DNA “was unreliable” as falsely claimed
  • The DNA has not been amplified “500 times” as falsely claimed

Patrizia Stefanoni has not stated that Meredith’s DNA was extracted 500 times from the knife sample, as some people with what seemed a google-level knowledge of molecular biology were claiming to muddy the waters.

The DNA was actually extracted 50 times from Meredith’s specimens and was used to compare it to other biological traces, including the one found on the knife. And it provided the forensic team with good samples to be compared to the traces found on the knife.

Two genetic profiles are identical and therefore belong to the same individual if a) they are in the same position, and b) they have identical shape and dimension. In this case, each peak produced in the original samples exactly corresponds to the peaks yielded by the knife sample, position, shape and dimension”¦ Say so long to the “matching half of Italy” myth!

Furthermore, Stefanoni excluded any possibility of contamination in the lab, stating that it had never once occurred in her lab for at least the last seven years, and every precaution was taken in order to exclude possibility of contamination so that different traces are not mixed. 

Contamination during the collection phase was also excluded: the forensic team that found the knife was a different one from those who searched the cottage, so how could Meredith’s DNA possibly have been “transferred to the knife”? 

Furthermore, the knife was put in a shoe box after it was bagged, and it stayed there until it reached the lab. And once again… DNA doesn’t fly, it doesn’t creep, and it sure doesnt penetrate a plastic bag!

Now let’s speak about the bra clasp.

The DNA found on the clasp has been defined as abundant and identified as belonging to Sollecito without any doubt. It should have been collected earlier in the process, but DNA evidence is often collected weeks or months after the crime when an object involved is unearthed.

The chances that it has been contaminated are at zero: the sample was found under the pillow on November 2, during the first search, and collected on December 18th when the second search took place by a different team.

During this entire time, the clasp was laying on the floor of what has been testified to have been a completely sealed crime scene. So when and how could any contamination occur?

Excluding a spontaneous migration of Sollecito “˜s DNA on the clasp from some unidentified location in the murder room or in the cottage, it could have only taken place during either the first or the second handling of the sample, so the fact that the clasp was recovered weeks later really bears no relevance.

And additionally, where could any abundant amount of Sollecito “˜s biological matter come from, if besides that on the bra clasp, the DNA corresponding to his genetic profile was only found on a cigarette butt? 

Perhaps this is why Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno is now claiming that the bra clasp was contaminated in the laboratory. She is reduced to having to claim that in effect Dr Stefanoni applies strict laboratory procedures when testing Guede”˜s or other peoples’ specimens, but somehow miserably fails when the samples belong to Sollecito and Knox.

Finally, let’s not forget that Rudy Guede’s DNA was not found “all over” the victim, but only on the right side of her bra, on the left cuff of her jumper, and inside her body. If passive transfer of DNA is so easy to happen, and if Guede is the only one who physically attacked Meredith, how comes his DNA was found only in these three places on the victim’s body?

DNA is NOT easy to transfer. Dr Stefanoni is absolutely correct when she says that “transfer of DNA must not be taken for granted nor it is easy to happen, and more likely to take place if the original trace is aqueous, not if it is dry”.

About the possibility of contamination having taken place in the lab, this is a risk that everyone working with PCR is well aware of. It is certainly not probable that it could occur every time a biological sample is tested. In fact, it is very unlikely to happen when the routine strict precautions are taken.

And there is no doubt that Dr Stefanoni was extremely cautious when handling any of these samples. 

I can see the reason for the improbable reach of the defense teams: since their clients deny any involvement, the positive DNA results “must” be contaminated - what else could they possibly say? Regarding this evidence, it is the only argument that they have available.

Finally, Dr Stefanoni has an international reputation and is considered one of the best in the field today. Questioning her credentials really makes no sense at all. But those too have come under attack.

Edited to add: On the issue of DNA transfer, from today’s hearing (La Nazione)

“The contamination theory has been discussed again today: Ms Bongiorno repeatedly asked the forensic witnesses information regarding the techniques used to collect the samples found in Meredith’s house, but PM Manuela Comodi showed the Court that contamination did not occurr by asking the forensic witnesses: “Using the same gloves, you have touched the victim’s socks after working on other samples. Could you tell me what the result of the sock analyses was?”

The witness answered:  “No foreign DNA nor genetic traces have been found”. Another demonstration that DNA passive transfer just doesn’t occur so easily.  Differently, the probabilities of obtaining a contaminated sample would be so high that DNA testing would hardly be of any use in crime investigations.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trial: Another Objective Report From ABC News

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Images above and below: the lay judges and lawyers tour the crime scene]

Rome-based Ann Wise reports.

1) More on the issue of the second knife.

With journalists unable to attend the hearing, information on what Dr. Bacci said in court today came from lawyers as they emerged from the courthouse and, as always, interpretations differed.

Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, is a firm believer in the prosecution’s theory that the murder was the result of a sex game gone wrong between all three defendants—Knox, Sollecito and Guede. He told journalists outside the courthouse that Dr. Bacci told the court that whoever attacked Kercher first tried to strangle her, and then stabbed her in the throat, possibly with two different knives.

Bacci said that the knife the prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is compatible with the largest and deepest cut in Kercher’s throat but is not compatible with another, smaller wound. This is the first time a witness for the prosecution has mentioned the possibility that more than one knife might have been used…

Maresca also told reporters that according to Dr. Bacci “injuries suggest” that Kercher had probably participated in a nonconsensual sexual act before she died.

Luca Maori, one of Sollecito’s lawyers, told journalists that based on Dr. Bacci’s conclusions, the knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon is “only abstractly compatible” with the wounds found.

2) And more on the visit by the judges, jury and lawyers to the house - sadly, extremely disarrayed, it seems..

The afternoon was the occasion for the court in its entirety—minus the two defendants, who chose not to attend—to visit the scene of the crime. A small crowd, comprised of the two judges, six jurors and their substitutes, the prosecutors and a bevy of lawyers, gathered outside the charming cottage-with-a-view on the edge of old-town Perugia. On the road just above, another crowd of journalists and photographers and some hangers-on watched as policemen activated a generator (the electricity in the house has been cut off) and opened the door to the house.

“The court looked closely at the inside and the outside of the house,” [Prosecutor] Comodi said. The court spent a good amount of time in the room where the murder took place and discussed the position of the corpse. Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer for Amanda Knox, told reporters the house “was a mess, and it was important that the jurors see this. Amanda’s clothes were thrown all over the place.”

There have been many press reports of bad forensic work and bad handling of the scene of the crime on the part of investigators, and this is expected to be an important part of the case the defense will make. The house where the crime took place has also been subjected to two break-ins in recent months, adding to the sorry state of the premises. The house is in “terrible condition,” Bongiorno said. “The mess made by the searches was compounded by the two beak-ins.”

 


Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Are The Judges And Jury Now Thinking? The Current Position Of AK And RS

Posted by Brian S


When nothing else works, the mantra again becomes “I simply don’t remember”.

Attempts have been made at various alibis, but as each of them fall flat or collide, the fall-back position becomes one of blackouts on the night.

I view this with complete disbelief.

Although I was only a teenager at the time, I can remember exactly where I was and who I was with when somebody came into the room and said JFK had been shot.

I can remember where I was and who I was with when I watched on TV as a man first walked on the moon.

I can remember the business phone conversations I had on the afternoon (UK time) the World Trade Centre came down.

Because I can remember those “surreal” conversations, I can recall all the details of a work project in which I was involved in the days immediately preceding and following. I can even remember the pub lunch I had on the Sunday before, and the content of the casual conversations I had with colleagues after we finished the weekend portion of that same project. That was nearly eight years ago.

I can remember all of the details of some of the more traumatic or major events which have occurred in my own life.

I just can’t believe that RS and Ak can’t remember what they did the night Meredith was killed - even if they really are innocent, and didn’t find out about the murder until the next day.

Traumatic and other major events “fix the memory” pretty well forever. I can still remember much of my first day at school.

If AK and RS were “so far out of it” they can’t remember what they did on November 1st, then they can no more remember they didn’t kill Meredith than they can remember that they did.

Many people, even those innocent, may be tempted to “create a simple alibi” when first interviewed by the police. Especially if they have to admit to something like “we spent the night at home smoking cannabis” or they spent the night with the partner of their best friend.

And then in face of any contrary, damning facts, they usually suddenly grow a brain.

Let’s walk through what happened inb this case.

At their very first questioning, on the day after the murder, RS and AK said they wandered around town and then went to a party.

Within 3 days the police knew this wasn’t true, because of a trace on Raffaele’s phone movements. And so on November 5th, they called him back in to explain the anomaly.

They didn’t request Amanda’s attendance as well but she went along with Raffaele anyway.

It’s at this time that most innocent people will admit that they had lied earlier, as they don’t want to dig themselves in any deeper. They make their excuses now, and admit to what they were really doing.

Raffaele did now tell the police that his earlier story “was a load of rubbish he made up because he didn’t realise the inconsistencies in what Amanda had said”.

But he now said that he was home alone, doing things on his computer from sometime around 9:00pm when “Amanda went out to meet friends at Le Chic”. And that she didn’t come back until sometime around 1:00am.

As Amanda had conveniently made herself available at the police station with Raffaele, the investigators now asked her for her version of the evening too.

Faced with the removal of Raffaele’s alibi for her, and his saying that she went out to Le Chic (plus the admittedly misunderstood text message “see you later”) she now came up with the story “Patrick killed Meredith, and I was in the kitchen, with my hands over my ears”.

Over the following days, Amanda slowly withdrew from her accusation against Patrick and, following witness evidence which proved he was at Le Chic, came up with the third story that “Raffaele may say I went out, but that’s wrong. I did spend the evening with him.”

Unfortunately for her, Raffaele continued to maintain his story that he was home alone on his computer, and that Amanda went out, right through the stages of his appeals up to the appeal made to the Supreme Court last March, where he claimed that “the evidence against Amanda is being arbitrarily used against me on the erroneous assumption that we spent the evening together”.

To this day, Raffaele has not changed this assertion, nor provided any new version for the trial.

Currently, the judges and jury will know of the claims that Amanda says she was at home all evening with Raffaele. And that Raffaele says that he was at home alone and Amanda went out at around 9:00pm.

The judges and jury will understand that their current stories are conflicting, and that one or both can’t be true.

Two prongs of Raffaele’s alibi have already failed.

1) Evidence at the pre-trial proved that the mobile-phone tower which picked up the aborted call to Meredith’s bank proved nothing about the location of Meredith’s phones at the time the call happened.

2) Evidence already presented at the trial has proven that Raffaele did not use his computer past 9:10pm on the night Meredith was killed, and that statements made by both Amanda and Raffaele that they didn’t rise until approximately 10:30am the following morning have also been demonstrated as untrue. One or both of them played music on the computer at approximately 5:30am.

The evidence produced to date hasn’t proven that AK and RS killed Meredith, but it’s proven beyond any doubt that both AK and RS have been lying, and that their stories for the time in question don’t match.

Whatever else they may say now at the trial, can the judges and jury (or we the public) actually be expected to believe it?

Who will believe Raffaele now if he changes his story, for example to say that, yes, he really was at home with Amanda, and not on his computer that evening? That he’s now changed his mind, and actually Amanda didn’t go out to meet friends at Le Chic?

Why should anyone believe a word he says? Who could believe he’s suddenly recovered his memory and not just invented another story to fit with the changed circumstances in which he finds himself?

His credibility looks to be toast.

And who will believe another word from Amanda, if the external enquiry concludes that the police really didn’t hit her, and she is faced with a second charge of slander?

Remember Mignini acted instantly to ask for that inquiry when Amanda made her accusation in court. Assuming that tapes and records of her interview exist, and he knows full well what they will reveal.

Her credibility too looks to be toast. 

So. What now? More statement somersaults? More mental fog?

Enjoy the show, judges, and jury.


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.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trial: Wrap-Up On The Testimony For This Week From Officers Who Questioned Knox

Posted by Nicki




1.Monica Napoleoni

Today’s hearing resumed with the deposition of Ms Monica Napoleoni, the head of Perugia’s homicide squad, which had been halted yesterday.

Some of her statements were extremely touching and sad. For example, she reported on the text messages that were found on Meredith’s phone from her parents who, having heard on the news broadcasts that a British student had been murdered in Perugia, wanted to make sure that their daughter was fine. [A heartfelt comment on this by reader TT on the post below this one]

Ms Napoleoni also described what she saw when she entered the murder room and leaned over Meredith’s lifeless body. She reported that Meredith body had been cut about so ferociously that it was very hard for her to even look at the wounds.

Ms Napoleoni also talked about a female shoe print that was found next to the pillow near Meredith’s body, a footprint of a size compatible with Knox’s.

During cross-examination, Sollecito’s defense showed Ms Napoleoni pictures of the cottage rooms taken while the search by the Flying Squad and Scientific Police was taking place. She pointed out that shoe covers and gloves were always being worn by everybody present.

In one instance on December18th when the bra clasp was found and sequestered “whole overalls were used by everyone, since the scientific police were at work”.

Ms Monica Napoleoni confirmed the impartial handling of Knox on the night of 5-6 November which she briefly witnessed, and also confirmed that she witnessed “Knox”˜s gymnast show” and improper behaviour of the couple during the course of investigating such a tragic event.

2. Rita Ficarra

Ms Rita Ficarra, the officer in charge of the Perugia Flying Squad, reported about the night between November 5 and 6, when the two defendants were interrogated and later arrested in the wee hours of November 6th.

Knox turned up at the police station, although she hadn’t been asked to, “because Sollecito had been requested to be interviewed and she was accompanying him” Ms Ficarra said.

She was not required to stay, and could have gone home any time.

“I encountered her in the waiting room doing splits, cartwheels and bridges. She was showing off her gymnastic capabilities”. Ms Ficarra added that she reproached Amanda, and asked her to quit her inapt behaviour, as in addition to her gymnast show, Knox kept French-kissing, stroking and hugging Sollecito.

Ms Ficarra felt that was very inappropriate behaviour to be going on in a police station while waiting to be heard concerning a gruesome murder.  “Everybody else was terrified” Ms Ficarra said “except for Amanda and Raffaele, who seemed indifferent, were smirking, and kept on French kissing.”

Ms Ficarra then described Knox’s interrogation and the false accusations against Patrick Lumumba.

Ms Ficarra testified that when Knox was asked about Mr Lumumba”˜s text message to her on the night from his bar, “she started crying and wrapping her hands around her head, she started shaking it, and then she said: it was him”¦Patrick killed her”.

At this point, Ms Ficarra said “I stopped the interrogation and informed the judicial authorities”. Ms Ficarra stressed that “Amanda was never mistreated” and that “she had a chance to rest, go the bathroom, and eat”.  She insisted on writing out and signing statements both then and after being warned of her rights. She declined to have a lawyer present. 

Ms Ficarra’s deposition continued: “After Knox was notified of her arrest ““ in English - she asked for a pen and paper, saying: I’ll give you a present”. Ms Ficarra added “Knox asked me to read what she was going to write before she was taken to jail, because she wanted me to have a clear idea about what had happened”.

Ms Ficarra maintained that “Knox was never subjected to threats or violence…. she was treated firmly, but with cordiality”.

3. Knox and Sollecito

As Andrea Vogt reported, Knox and Sollecito both made impromptu declarations during today’s trial session.

Knox made a very brief statement in Italian, claiming “They did offer me drinks and food, but they started treating me as a person only after I made those declarations”. She did not elaborate any further.

Sollecito’s declaration took more time. He claimed that during his interrogation on the evening of November 5, he asked to make a phone call to his father but was denied it. He then asked for permission to call a lawyer, but he was not allowed to do so. He did not report any mistreatment or any physical or psychological abuse from the police.

4. A comment on this.

It should be noted that when Sollecito asked for a lawyer’s assistance, he had not yet even become a suspect. His status was still that of a “person knowledgeable about the facts” who is not legally entitled to insist on a lawyer being present. 

Not an actual suspect. Simply a person who could possibly yield useful information to the investigators. So why would someone who is being heard as a “helper” be so concerned about getting a lawyer? If he really had nothing to hide?

The next trial dates are March 13 and 14, 20 and 21, and 27 and 28.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trial: Andrea Vogt Reports More Of The Details Introduced Friday

Posted by Peter Quennell




Introduction

Click above for the full report. From Andrea Vogt, a highly objective reporter, one of only two or three Italian-speaking American reporters actually attending the trial.

1) Knox at the police stationz: Officer Profazio and Officer Napoleoni

Giacinto Profazio, who supervised the investigation, said he had to tell the suspects at one point [at the police station] that it was inappropriate for Knox to sit on Raffaele Sollecito’s lap.

The couple was kissing, making faces and acting increasingly annoyed at investigators’ questions, said Monica Napoleoni, the head of Perugia’s homicide squad… “I took particular notice of their behavior because it seemed impossible that these two kids were there kissing when the cadaver of their friend had just been found,” Napoleoni said.

Police also emphatically defended their handling of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, refuting allegations that Knox and Sollecito were mistreated during questioning in November 2007.

Investigators were firm, she testified during the six-week-old murder trial, but “absolutely” did not use violence—a claim Knox has made.

“She was given a drink more than once,” Napoleoni said. “She was given a hot chamomile tea; she was offered breakfast. Amanda was treated well.”...


2) And at Meredith’s house and Sollecito’s apartment: Officer Napoleoni and Officer Chiacchiera

Police and defense lawyers clashed over key forensic points, including whether or not the crime scene was contaminated, how the murder weapon was identified, luminol-enhanced footprints compatible with those of Knox and Sollecito, Knox and Kercher’s blood found in the bathroom, and most contentiously, Kercher’s bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA on it.

Both Napoleoni and Marco Chiacchiera, the first investigating officer to arrive, said the crime scene didn’t jibe with the lone burglar theory put forth by the suspects. For example, the room had been messed up before the window had been broken, Chiacchiera said.

The 10-pound rock found inside the room would have been difficult to throw from the ground, more than 10 feet below, he said.

“The fact that this girl was semi-nude with a wound of that type, in a pool of blood in her own room with the door locked, and then with the rock and window like that—well, progressively, the analysis of all the investigative elements made us suspicious,” Chiacchiera said.

Investigators’ suspicions deepened once phone records arrived, he said, because there was a void of calls from 8:30 in the evening until the next morning on both their phones. In months prior, records showed phone activity until late in the night. In addition, Sollecito had told police his father had called him at 11 p.m., but phone records showed no such call….

Even the smallest details became points of [defense] contention, such as why investigators took into evidence the Manga comics Sollecito kept near his bed, which Chiacchiera described as “a cross between pornography and horror,” but took no notice of a nearby Harry Potter novel.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Trial: Highlights Of The Testimony On 6 February And 7 February

Posted by Peter Quennell


These seem to have been the most significant and dramatic happenings in the courtroom on Friday and Saturday.

This was the first part of the prosecution’s case to be presented, and so the first of the prosecution witnesses were testifying and were being cross-examined by the defense lawyers.

In the defense part of the trial coming up, the defense counsel will present their own witnesses to try to rebut this testimony, and then the prosecutors will cross-examine their witnesses.

So none of this can be considered cast in stone, then. But it looks quite a tough case so far. The defenses seem to have their work cut out for them.

Reports in the Italian media were considerably more detailed than in the UK media, though coverage there was good too. It looked in both countries to be pretty objective.

Americans are as usual the most ill-informed or mis-informed on this tragic case. With one or two fine exceptions, the US media continues to fall short.

Translations here from Italian to English are mostly by our own team. 

  • Judge Massei admitted into evidence the uncoerced written admission of Amanda Knox that she was present at the scene during the murder of Meredith.

  • In a surprise statement to the court, Sollecito claimed that “I barely knew Meredith, I didn’t know Guede at all” and that he began a close relationship with Knox only on 24 October, days before the murder.

  • The communication police testified on the lines of the Micheli report on how Meredith’s two mobile phones were found in Signora Lana’s garden and retained at the police station.

  • Mr Bartolozzi, whose agency oversees internet activity in Italy, said an examination of Sollecito’s computer had indicated that contrary to his claim there had been no activity on it between 9.10pm and 5.32am.

  • The communication police seem to have found Knox and Sollecito embarrassed and surprised when they arrived, and they were apparently encountered with a bucket and a mop.

  • Sollecito’s claim to have already called the Carabinieri to come to the house when the communication police officers arrived seems to have been misleading.

  • The communication police noticed that there was a washing machine in operation and they could hear the noise of the centrifuge. Soon after, the mobile-squad police found that the machine had finished its work a few minutes earlier, and the clothes were still warm.

  • Filomena testified that the washing machine was still warm when she returned to the cottage and that it contained some of Meredith’s clothes.

  • Filomena said of Knox “She told me: ‘It’s very odd. I’ve just come back to the house and the door is open. I had a shower but there’s blood everywhere. I’m going to get Raff. Meredith is nowhere to be seen. Oh God, maybe something’s happened to her, something tragic’.”

  • Filomena said she replied “But Amanda. I don’t understand. Explain to me, because there’s something odd. The door’s open. You take a shower. There’s blood. But where’s Meredith?... The door’s open. I go in. There’s blood. I take a shower? I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think that that’s normal.”

  • To the communication police, the break-in via Filomena’s bedroom window appeared to have been faked, as there was window glass on top of some disarrayed clothes, valuable items had been left in the room, and luminol had revealed Knox-sized and Sollecito-sized footprints on the floor.
  • Filomena testified that her first instinct on returning to the apartment had been to go to her room. Her clothes were on the floor and her cupboard was open, but none of her jewellery was missing, nor were her designer sunglasses and handbags.

  • Filomena said there was glass on top of the pile of clothes. Her laptop was among the clothes.“I remember that in lifting the computer I realised that I was picking up bits of glass because there were bits of glass on top and it was all covered with glass.”

  • Filomena testified that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith started off well and they bonded immediately.  “They were of the same age, they had interests in common, and both spoke English.” Then the relationship seemed to deteriorate.

  • Filomena said that Kercher was involved with a “very kind” young man, Giacomo Silenzi, who lived in an apartment downstairs and who she said “courted her very sweetly…. Meredith never brought men home ““ the only people who came to the house were two of her English girlfriends.”

  • Filomena contradicted Knox on whether Meredith was in the habit of locking herself in her bedroom, according to Filomena, Meredith never did, whether inside or outside.

  • Filomena testified that Knox and Sollecito just cuddled at the scene while everyone else was in tears and she said she was bewildered by Knox’s behavior. Another witness testified that Knox may have cried.

  • Filomena examined the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and said she had never seen that knife in Via della Pergola. She was unaware of any dinner or lunch that Meredith had attended at Sollecito’s apartment which could explain her DNA on that knife.

  • Filomena said she saw Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox exchanging a note at the police station.

  • Luca Altieri said “With the police we decided to break into the room - I don’t know exactly where Amanda and Raffaele were at that time, but I can tell you, they were not in a position to see inside the room.”

  • Inspector Bastianelli described having made everyone exit the house after the door to Meredith’s room had been opened. And of then having stood for about half a minute at the door of the room, facing into the room without entering it, and concluding that Meredith was already dead.

  • But according to Luca Altieri, Inspector Bastianelli seemed to enter into Meredith’s room a little and incline toward Meredith on the floor [this has been modified, as Italian reports say he did not claim the inspector touched the duvet.]

  • Paola Grande confirmed not having seen the inspector entering the room, but hearing him subsequently confirm that the person under the bedcover was dead, that there was a lot of blood, and that the victim had struggled because there were bloodied prints on the wall.

  • The police were curious as to why Knox’s lamp was in Meredith’s room, especially as there was no other light source in Knox’s room.



This next Friday, Meredith’s English friends will be heard in court. And Meredith’s former boyfriend Giacomo Silenzi is expected to tell the court about his relationship with Meredith.

And now rescheduled for next Saturday are Giacomo Silenzi, Stefano Bonassi and Daniele Ceppitelli.


Page 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >