Headsup: In “Talking To Strangers” Malcom Gladwell lied to his readers with an inaccurate and venomous attack on Italian justice that gives aid to the mafia. Below is the tenth of about a dozen posts providing the ACCURATE information Gladwell should have done. Series starts here.

Category: Florence 2014+

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell





What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report By Colleen Barry Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Appeal Session #3: The Carabinieri Labs Report On The DNA On The Knife

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]

Final Update

So the court session does not even extend beyond the lunch hour. Good morning Seattle! At this moment it is still only 3:30 in the morning there. Only night owls will know what happened.

Yummi and Mason2 may have more for us, which will appear either here below this final update on in Comments.  Also Andrea Vogt and hopefully Barbie Nadeau will be filing longer reports in English. We will also check out all the Italian reporting.

Hard to see any game changers in today’s strong but undramatic testimony. The Carabinieri RIS DNA experts could not be shaken. All momentum remains with the prosecution and with the Supreme Court’s “givens” on the evidence, such as the presence of three attackers in Meredith’s room. 

The defenses seem to be giving up. They could have phoned it in. Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno didnt make any new fuss. And Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova was cut off by the lead judge several times, for trickily going off the point. He really is out of his depth in a criminal trial; at the same time often condescending.

And a seeming big slap in the face for the American defense stooge Greg Hampikian who seems to have illegally colluded with the disgraced Hellmann consultants Conti and Vecchiotti (who were not even mentioned today) when Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “Would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni responded “Of course”.

And Sollecito “wasted” his statement by whining about his life, showing no compassion for Meredith (despite his claimed visit to her grave), and not answering any of the dozens of open questions. Sollecito really needed to show he is both strong and compassionate and NOT a weakling under the thumb of Amanda - but he seems to have done quite the opposite. The family lawyer must not be too pleased.

Fifth Update

The opening of Frank Sforza’s trial in the same courthouse is postponed, apparently because new information on his campaign to poison opinion against the judiciary and his unsavory connections has been coming in.

Information will be exchanged that is gathered at this trial on mafiosos Luciano Aviello and at Aviello’s own trial for obstruction of justice which is now proceeding in the same Florence courthouse in parallel.

The findings and possible charges on the defamatory and dishonest books by Knox and Sollecito are due about now from the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors. Information gathered in those investigations could also be fed in to this process, or put aside for separate trials.

As both the AK and RS books are bulging with the standard PR talking points (some of which flowed from Frank Sforza and Doug Preston) in a sense it will be Curt Knox, the Mellases, Marriott, Sforza, Fischer and Moore who will be put under the microscope.

Fourth Update

A more detailed report on the DNA phase today from the Andrea Vogt website.

The RIS Wednesday deposited their forensic report on trace 36i, a spot of DNA identified (but not earlier tested) on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. “Cento Percento” (100 percent) said Major Berti, discussing compatibility. The RIS found that the DNA was compatible with Amanda Knox, and excluded that it was that of Sollecito, Guede or Kercher. 

The RIS expert was asked only a few questions from attorneys and the judge. The judge asked why the RIS had done two amplications of the DNA and not 3 or 4. Major Berti described that two is considered the minimum number of amplifications necessary, according to today’s forensic standards, doing less (or more) might have diminished the reliability of the results. The judge also asked about the age of the equipment used. Berti responded that the forensic kit used this time has been commercialized since 2010 and available for use since 2011. 

At one point the judge stopped a line of questioning by Knox’s Rome attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova, who was asking why the RIS described Knox’s DNA as “fluids” when a prior expert had said the trace did not come from blood.  Nencini said: That question was not put to the RIS by this court, it was not their job to determine that. The other experts’ reports are in the case files for everyone to read, he noted, adding: “We cannot put words in the mouth of this expert that were said by another expert.”


Third Update

Tweets from our main poster Yummi (Machiavelli)

32. Judge Nencini’s comments were always addressed at Dalla Vedova’s arguments, who was in fact a bit silly

31. The Judge declared the evidence phase closed. Next court dates are 25 November for prosecution argument and 26 for the defences with 16 and 17 December.

30. Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni: “of course”

29. Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs…

28. Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

27. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he remphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’

26. Sollecito mentioned the defens’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).

25. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding

24. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.

23. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

22. The Carabinieri say that there are only a few governmental laboratories which have the 17025 certificate (the Carabinieri and the Police)

21. Nencini stops Dalla Vedova, points out that scientific community is international

20. Dalla Vedova tries to elicit that the good standards are not the Italian ones.

19. The RIS obtained the ISO9001 certificate in 2008, and a more specific certificate in 2012.

18. Bongiorno asks RIS to explain why two amplifications are recommended.

17. Prosecutor Crini asks if there are criteria to distinguish which labs or which experts are more competent.

16. Speaking about their software which allows to weight probabilities of attribution.

15. They note that three alleles which are ‘alien’ were drop off in one duplicate.

14. The biologic method has a ‘consensus’ interpretation and a ‘composite’ interpretation, two ways to interpret the double result.

13. They describe the methods employed, the ‘biologic’ method and the ‘statistic’ method.

12. Absence of any male trace stands out as a feature of the sample (all contributors are females)

11. They extracted two profiles in a duplicate in agreement with experts of all parties

10. Dr Berti says the sample was a low template. They have a strategy to obtain reliable results.

9. Points out that documentation says sample 36i comes from insertion of blade in the handle.

8. Dr. Berti summarizes the recovery of sample in Vecchiotti’s lab.

7. Bongiorno says Sollecito intends to release a spontaneous declaration. He will do that after the experts testimony.

6. Berti and Barni enter the court.

5. Many law students from the Florence school for Magistrates are in court to follow the hearing.

4. Sollecito had managed to enter the courtroom from side entrance eluding photographers. Carlo Torre arrives in court.

3. Giulia Bongiorno & Raff kiss each other. Giulia, Raff & Father have a worried discussion

2. I wonder… will the court withdraw his passport?

1. Raffaele Sollecito is in courtroom. Walking in empty room, few people waiting. Hearing will start 1/2h probably


Second Update

Tweets from Patricia Thomas (AP) and Sabina Castelfranco (AP)

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - Amanda Knox and I were very carefree and isolated in our love nest.

Sabina Castelfranco “@SCastelfranco:  Sollecito says he is not the assassin he has been described as. Says Amanda was his first love

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - I have been described as an assassin. Amanda Knox was my first real love in life

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito takes stand to make statement, starts complaining about media descriptions of himself


First Update

Tweets from Barbie Nadeau

35. Nov 25 - prosecution; 26 - civil; Dec 16 - Sollectio; 17 - Knox; Jan 9 - rebuttals, 10 deliberation and verdict

34. Dec. 16, 17 closing arguments for Knox and Sollecito

33. Judge closes hearing for day, says closing arguments begin Nov 25, 26, must find December dates to conclude

32. Sollecito finishes by thanking judges for their time, judge tells him he can intervene any time during rest of appeal until they deliberate

31. Sollecito says he hates the fame, how it has hurt him, how it isn’t fair

20. Sollecito says he has a difficult time looking for work, people associate him with the murder of meredith kercher

29. Sollecito says that even on his vacation in Dominican Republic, he had to defend himself like a public figure, his life is judged by all

28. Sollecito repeats twice that he never met Rudy Guede, how nothing in original trial was based on reality.

27. Sollecito takes trip down memory lane, highlights worst parts of trial and incarceration for him, has not mentioned meredith kercher yet

26. RaffaeleSollecito - I feel a persecution. It is a nightmare, beyond all imagination.

25. RaffaeleSollecito—close to tears as he testifies to court “I am fighting every day to bring out the truth” 

24. Jury totally transfixed by sollecito declaration, can’t take their eyes off him

23. Sollecito thanks and defends his family, calls amand knox his first love

22. Judge asks for Sollecito declaration now

21. Judge asks about relevance of kit they used, how old technology was, etc.

20. Judge asks what minimum testing is for validation of DNA, RIS says “at least two”

19. Judge tells Dallavedova he cannot put words in mouth of new expert that were said by previous experts, this is fresh analysis

18. Judge clarifies that RIS was not asked to reanalyze work that has been done, but to test a sample that has not been tested.

17. Dallavedova essentially kicks goal into own net, not doing amanda knox any favors by making RIS defend methods used in original conviction

16. Dallavedova manages to get RIS expert to defend Italian methods, says they are in line with global standards, this was crux of 1st appeal

15. DallaVedova asks about international protocol, backfires slightly b/c RIS expert says he doesn’t want to dis italian methods, are valid too

14. Bongiorno hammers point that international standards in DNA must be followed ([claims]they were not for meredithkercher sample on tip of knife)

13. Jury in new appeal trial for amanda knox; sollecito look totally lost, lots of daydreaming during DNA testimony, nail biting, looking around

12. Bongiorno asks RIS expert specifics of amplification of sample with an eye to trace with meredith kercher DNA that was amplified many times

11. Prosecutor asking for clarification on how samples are tested, how RIS experts are qualified, etc.

10. RIS: DNA testing as important to exclude suspects as to confirm them, in this case no question that amandaknox DNA is on knife, others’ not

9. RIS: testifying about international standards necessary to validate DNA, how they used in their examination of this particular spot on knife

8. Sollecito listening attentively and jotting notes as RIS expert testifies about the knife

7. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife (near handle) matched definitively the DNA of amandaknox in double tests

6. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife did not match meredith kercher or rudy guede or sollecito after double testing

5. RIS: Experts tested spot “H” [?] on the knife (the spot near the handle) for both the victim meredith kercher and suspect

4. RIS: DNA analysis showed no x chromosome, i.e.: no male chromosome in sample they tested on knife

3. RIS: essential in DNA testing to double test samples to validate results

2. RIS expert: explains technical details of testing DNA, how much is needed, how it is tested

1. Judge says he wants to hear from RIS experts first and then sollecito can give his declaration


Initial Post

Well, that first shot from the court at the top sure is a surprise, and maybe bad news for Amanda Knox. Where are Sollecito’s other lawyers, Bongiorno and Maori? Presumably they are off to the side talking. .

In tweets Andrea Vogt has mentioned that she is reporting for the BBC and the Associated Press TV; reporters cannot have bigger clients or more global reach than with those two. This is from Andrea Vogt’s website.

Court is now in session. Day will begin with RIS forensic debates. Raffaele Sollecito will make a statement later in the day.

Sollecito arrived in the Florence court of appeals looking relaxed and ready to make his case before the court later in the day. His father, Francesco Sollecito, also appeared visibly happy to have his son back in arms reach, after an extended stay in the Caribbean. A large number of his friends were in the audience.

Forensic experts for the defense Walter Patumi, Carlo Torre and Sarah Gino were also in attendance in preparation for debate on the new DNA evidence tested by the RIS in Rome, specifically, trace 36i on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. RIS say the DNA profile is that of Amanda Knox. Arguments today will mostly about how it might have gotten there, with prosecutors attempting to place it in the context of the murder and defense attorneys arguing it could have been transferred during normal domestic use of the utensil.

Next hearings are Nov. 25-26, with a verdict expected in mid-December.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell




Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty”. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  ” ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s “˜biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a “˜clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in “˜duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this ““ divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why DNA Test Results 6 November May Leave No Further Argument Over Knox And Sollecito Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]


The official results of the tests by the Carabinieri laboratory will be made public by Judge Nencini in court on 6 November.

The report and attachments are reported to be more than 100 pages long. Andrea Vogt has already warned that no assumptions should be made yet that we know the full story. But already for the defenses, matters do not look pretty.

    1) It sounds like the result of the DNA near the top of the blade (see images below) shows conclusively that it is another sample of Knox’s DNA. Given where the sample came from it could be blood DNA and add further proof to the notion that Knox was injured while struggling with Meredith.

    2) The low-copy-number amplification technique used was almost identical to that used by Dr Stefanoni to prove that it was Meredith’s DNA on the blade of the knife - actually that was a larger sample. Judge Massei’s court accepted this, Judge Hellmann’s consultants tried very hard to undermine it, and the Supreme Court ruled that they did not even come close.

Earlier this year, our main poster Fly By Night in a post worth re-reading explained just how conclusively the results of that first testing pointed to both Meredith and Knox.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment. As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.

In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.

However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

Dr Stefanoni’s testing of all the DNA from the crime scene was done in front of some defense observers. Those who were there saw her do nothing wrong. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

It looks as if the prosecution has now achieved a clean sweep of all of the of DNA testing. Meredith’s DNA on the lower blade of the knife seems even more conclusively a firm given, and so does Knox’s on the upper blade and the handle.

We are where we were back in 2008 before trial, where other defense lawyers might have suggested to their clients to select a trial of the short form type - the same choice that will see a somewhat penitent Guede out on work release in two years, no more.

But instead, their clients could now be facing life sentences for that bad choice.


Image: looking along the blade toward the handle, both sides of the knife




Here is an image showing the I trace in the location described in the post with credit to Iodine of PMF and the Case Wiki




Sunday, October 20, 2013

Given The Abundant Facts, What Scenario Is The Nencini Court Considering? Probably Not Unlike This

Posted by Marcello



1. The “Innocence/Framing” Campaign

It is rather sad that this case, of the violent murder of Meredith Kercher, has seen a ‘hurricane’ of noise trying to cherry-pick and disprove the more salient facts, and worse, discredit those who investigated, prosecuted and ruled on the case as well as discredit those who continue to emphasize the facts.

Over the past six years there has been a concerted effort by the defendants in this case, and primarily by their families, their “˜groupies’ and their legal consultants, to mount and continue a public relations campaign to frame the defendants as innocent of the crime of murdering Meredith Kercher. This ‘innocence’ campaign has even gone so far as to tarnish the motives of the fine justice officials involved.

The defendants themselves have continuously obfuscated and lied about the more salient facts, albeit inconsistently (their multiple versions fail to match up, and do not match the available facts). Lately Ms. Knox has done a number of (typically unconvincing) interviews, and her parents still seem too intent on defending the fantasy of their daughter’s innocence, all evidence to the contrary.

Mr. Sollecito, for his part, tweets unofficial retractions about statements he made in court. Both have distastefully profited through books that are not much more than a compilation of lies (and which do not offer matching alibis). Meanwhile the legal teams for the defendants have recently leaked “˜favorable’ results from the testing of a new sample on the presumed murder weapon in order to (again) misconstrue the evidence for the general public.

2. Media Misreporting Facilitates

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this “˜innocence campaign’ has been that far too many journalists have dishonored their professional ethics by failing to do the proper research and objectively report the facts. Journalists to this day continue to misreport the facts, leave out corroborating facts, or worse, blindly repeat the distortions or lies promoted by the campaign without proper fact-checking. By and large, journalists (mostly in the US and UK) have ‘anti-reported’ the case.

This is especially grievous given that there are multiple Court Motivations reports (a unique feature to the Italian justice system) readily available in Italian and English online, in searchable PDF format, as well as several websites like this one that have painstakingly sought to illuminate the vast amount of evidentiary facts.

Those journalists who have failed to correctly report the case, and those involved in this ‘innocence’ campaign, have repeatedly disrespected the victim, Meredith Kercher, and her family. By contrast, the Kerchers has shown great dignity throughout these years, remaining patiently quiet and consistently insisting that the truth be revealed by the Italian justice system.

The endless journalistic failures, and particularly the ‘innocence’ campaign, have also disrespected the Italian law enforcement and judicial systems. By contrast Italian law enforcement has demonstrated substantial deference to the defendants, especially when compared to the law enforcement and judicial procedures of other advanced countries. In response, numerous ‘groupies’ have exhibited pathetic jingoism by repeatedly denigrating a country of 60 million people based on rather uninformed attitudes.

And it is very likely that Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, rather than confess the truth, will continue to obfuscate or lie as much as they can, as well as disrespect the Italian Court and the Kerchers by not being present at the appeal. Their ‘innocence’ campaigns will likely continue to distort or ignore the facts. And worse, journalists and talking-head ‘experts’ will continue to report falsehoods and misrepresentations.

3. All Will Now Be To No Avail

Fortunately, none of the fabrications, ill-conceived scenarios or numerous pieces of unprofessional, sloppy journalism will ultimately matter.

This is because the Nencini Appeals Court will not be listening to any of the noise. The Appeals Court has a very specific program to follow, mandated by the Italian Supreme Court, which has already looked at this case four times (the detainment requests for Knox and Sollecito, the conviction of Rudy Guede and the annulment of the Hellmann Appeals Court ruling). The Nencini Appeals Court program includes:

    1) looking at all the case evidence noted in Judge Massei Trial Court’s Motivations report,

    2) considering the Italian Supreme Court’s Motivations report for the conviction of Rudy Guede, in which Guede was convicted of having a role in Ms. Kercher’s murder, but not the key role of fatally stabbing her, and that he acted in concert with others, and

    3) considering Ms. Knox’s voluntary “˜gift’ statement of November 6, 2007, in which she placed herself at the scene of the crime. (This statement follows an earlier verbal and written statement released to the police during a few hours of interrogation in the early hours of November 6th.)


4. Big Surfeit Of Evidence

The amount of evidentiary facts the Nencini Appeals Court will have absorbed is substantial. Unlike the Hellmann Appeals Court, they cannot cherry-pick the facts. Per the Supreme Court, they must consider all the available evidence as a whole, logically tied together like a mosaic. Significantly, one could even leave out the knife and bra clasp entirely as evidence points because:

    1) Ms. Kercher was murdered by more than one assailant. This is evident from the wounds she suffered, from the evidence in general and has been consistently maintained by three different trial judges and four different Supreme Court reports.

    2) Guede in all his various confessions has consistently hinted and ultimately confirmed the presence of Knox and Sollecito during the crime.

    3) There is no plausible scenario for the crime that involves Guede and two or more unknown assailants.

    4) All the other evidence found at the crime scene points to Sollecito and Knox being present before, during and after the crime in some fashion.

    5) Knox was at the scene of the crime by her own written admission.

    6) The break-in was staged and, by obvious implication, only Knox and Sollecito would have any interest in staging the break-in (see my earlier post listing all the problems with the break-in scenario).

There seems no rational way that the Nencini Appeals Court can logically acquit. And Judge Nencini has not ‘pre-announced’ a non-guilty verdict like Judge Hellmann did by claiming that the defendants “˜appear to be innocent’.

The only remaining questions are what kind of dynamics will the Nencini Appeals Court assign to the participants, and what kind of reasoning will the Italian Supreme Court provide, assuming Knox or Sollecito appeal to the Supreme Court.

Having already read the Massei Motivations report and supporting documentation for weeks, this will already be a highly informed judges’ panel. What scenario are they converging on? The following scenario is based on some of the most significant evidence, and overall seems largely unshakable.

5. Scenario Accounting For The Most Points

The Night Before: Halloween

1) Guede lied about meeting Ms. Kercher on Halloween. (No such meeting was corroborated by witnesses.)

2) Guede lied about his whereabouts in the early evening of November 1, 2007. (His claims of having appointments with friends were not corroborated.)

Evening Prior To Attack

3) Around 8:00 PM on November 1st, Knox left Sollecito’s place to go to work. She received Lumumba’s (her boss) text message around 8:15 PM that she was not needed at work. She responded at 8:35 PM while presumably walking back to Sollecito’s apartment. Then she turned off her phone at 8:35 PM. She was seen at Sollecito’s apartment by 8:40PM.

4) Sollecito received a call from his dad at 8:42 PM. (According to the defendant, they discussed the broken trap in the kitchen sink and how to clean the kitchen floor, and about going to Gubbio with Knox the next day. Significant about this is that the broken trap and clean-up likely happened later. See below.)

5) Sollecito turned off his cellphone at roughly 8:45 PM. (typically, neither Knox or Sollecito turned off their cellphones for the night)

6) Ms. Kercher was last seen by her friend Sophie Purton at roughly 9:00 PM going to her cottage.

7) There was no human interaction with Sollecito’s computer after 9:10 PM.

8) Knox and Sollecito were seen at piazza Grimana, by the cottage, at roughly 9:30 to 10:00 PM, by a homeless man who “˜resided’ at piazza Grimana.

9) Ms. Kercher’s phone made three short calls between 10:00 and 10:15 PM roughly, to check voicemail, a possible attempt to call a bank, and possibly an MMS message.

10) A car broke down near the gate of the cottage at 10:30 PM.

11) Knox and Sollecito were seen at piazza Grimana, by the cottage, at roughly 11:00 PM, again by the same homeless man. He noted they went several times to the railing of the piazza to look down beyond it. (The piazza overlooks the gate of the cottage.)

12) A tow truck came at approximately 11:00 PM to tow the car. The driver of the truck noted a dark-colored car parked in front of the gate of the cottage, which he noted was slightly open. At approximately 11:15 PM the tow truck left and the family in the broken down car departed the area with other friends in a second car. (Sollecito had a dark colored Audi.) No screams were heard and no one noticed Guede, Sollecito or Knox pass through the gate.

13) Sollecito’s dad sent Sollecito an SMS at 11:15PM. The message was not received by Sollecito’s cellphone until roughly 6:00 AM following morning.

The Attack Upon Meredith

14) Knox likely let Sollecito and Guede into the cottage after 11:15 PM, after the tow truck and car had left. Guede went to use the large bathroom and failed to flush his feces. The following is an assumed sequence:

15) Ms. Kercher was restrained in her room and her screams were muffled. (There was bruising on Ms. Kercher’s nose, mouth, lips and chin, suggesting her mouth was covered by one or more persons; only one scream was ever heard from the cottage; Ms. Kercher was familiar with martial arts maneuvers and likely vigorously tried to defend herself)

16) Ms. Kercher was choked and her head likely banged against the wall. (Bruises on Ms. Kercher’s neck suggest she was choked with small hands; Ms. Kercher had bruises to her scalp.)

17) Ms. Kercher’s jeans may have been partially removed to restrain her legs and feet. (There were few bruises to Ms. Kerchers legs and feet, including no signs of ligature. This suggests her legs were immobilized in some other fashion.)

18) Guede held Ms. Kercher’s left wrist, leaving DNA traces on Ms. Kercher’s sweatshirt.

19) Guede likely held Ms. Kercher’s left thigh, brusing it, and left his DNA traces inside her.

20) Ms. Kercher’s sweatshirt was removed and two layers of shirts she had on were rolled up to her neck.

21) Guede left DNA traces on Ms. Kercher’s bra.

22) At least three different types of shoe prints were left on the floor in Ms. Kercher’s room on postcards, papers and the pillowcase. None of these matched Ms. Kercher’s shoes found in her room.

23) A witness heard a man and woman yelling from the direction of the cottage.

24) Ms. Kercher was pricked and stabbed with a small knife in the right side of her neck.

25) Ms. Kercher likely freed her right hand and sustained small cuts. She may have punched Knox in the nose or mouth.

26) Ms. Kercher likely freed her left hand and sustained small cuts. She may have grabbed Knox’s hair, while perhaps ripping off an earring from Knox. (Crime scene photos show blonde hair strands in Ms. Kercher’s left hand)

27) Ms. Kercher was able to scream at the top of her lungs. Two witnesses heard the scream. One witness believed it was around 11:30 PM when she heard it.

28) Ms. Kercher was pricked on her neck and chin with a knife. She was stabbed on the left side of her neck with a large knife. Her neck was roughly 16” off the floor, as suggested by a blood spray pattern on the wardrobe door close to where she was found.

29) A bloody shoeprint fitting Knox’s shoe size was left on the pillowcase. Shoeprints matching Guede’s shoes were also found on the pillowcase.

Right After The Attack

30) Guede may have gone to the bathroom to get two towels to staunch the blood. Guede confessed to this, though no DNA traces of his are found on the towels. Guede’s bloody shoeprints were found around Ms. Kercher’s body, and his bloody hand print was found on the pillow.

31) At this point, Knox may have gone to the small bathroom to check a wound. Knox left traces of her blood mixed with Ms. Kercher’s blood in the bidet, edge of the sink and Q-tip box in the small bathroom. Knox left an additional blood trace on the faucet.

32) Guede handled Ms. Kercher’s purse, leaving DNA traces of himself and Ms. Kercher, likely with Ms. Kercher’s blood. (Traces of Guede’s DNA was found on the zipper of the purse. Because the trace contains blood it was likely left after Ms. Kercher started bleeding.)

33) Guede left bloody shoeprints leading straight down the corridor and out of the cottage.

34) A witness heard someone running on the metal stair of the car park shortly after she heard the scream.

35) The same witness also heard running footsteps on the cottage pebble driveway at roughly the same time.

36) The boyfriend of another witness was bumped into by someone “˜with dark skin’ running up the stone stairs, though the time is unclear.

37) Another witness heard people running in the street that wraps behind the car park.

38) Sollecito likely tossed Ms. Kercher’s cellphones from his car into a nearby garden 1 km away from the cottage at around midnight.

39) Guede was seen at the Domus night club around 2 AM.

Evidence, Manipulated Or Overlooked

Likely sometime later during the night Sollecito and Knox returned to the cottage to eliminate evidence and frame Guede for the crime. In so doing:

40) Sollecito left a partial bloody footprint on the bathmat.

41) Sollecito left his DNA on Ms. Kercher’s bra clasp after removing the bra. (Given blood patterns on the bra, the bra may have been removed after Ms. Kercher had died and certainly after she had been stabbed on the left side)

42) Sollecito left one, possibly two, bloody footprints in the corridor.

43) Knox left two bloody footprints in the corridor. One of these contained her blood as well as Ms. Kercher’s blood. (Knox likely bled during or after the assault and may have stepped in her own blood)

44) Knox left a trace of her blood mixed with Ms. Kercher’s blood on the floor in Romanelli’s room.

45) Knox likely threw Romanelli’s clothes on the floor. She likely used an inordinately large rock to break the window with the outer shutters closed. She likely placed some of the broken glass on the window sill to fake a break-in. (Romanelli and the Postal Police found glass on top of Romanelli’s clothes and laptop, suggesting the room was ransacked and then the window was broken.)

46) Knox, perhaps inadvertently, left a piece of window glass in Ms. Kercher’s room.

47) Knox left a bloody footprint in her room.

48) Knox likely left her only room lamp in Ms. Kercher’s room by accident. (The lamp was found on the floor, by Ms. Kercher’s bed, and it may have been used to exam the bloodied floor around Ms. Kercher’s body to remove evidence, such as perhaps an earring and/or hair.)

49) Knox likely wiped away all her fingerprints throughout the entire house (While a number of fingerprints were found in the cottage and verified belonging to the three other flatmates, no fingerprints were found that could be matched to Knox, not in her room or elsewhere- except for one, on a glass in the kitchen.)

50) Knox and/or Sollecito repositioned Ms. Kercher’s body and covered it with the duvet. (Crime scene photos show from the streaks of blood that Ms. Kercher’s body was moved. There were masses of long hair mixed with blood on the floor, suggesting someone had yanked Ms. Kercher by her hair.)

51) They likely took Ms. Kercher’s wallet, closed her bedroom door and locked it.

Back At Sollecito’s Place

52) Sollecito and Knox returned to Sollecito’s place to clean up. They brought back the large knife and cleaned it with steel wool, and also tried to scrape away build-up/rust by the handle. (The knife was found at Sollecito’s place, with DNA traces of Knox on the handle and by the handle/blade joint, with a DNA trace of Ms. Kercher on the blade, with scratches on the blade and pockets of cleaned stainless steel by the handle.)

53) Sollecito likely disconnected the trap of his kitchen sink, perhaps to clean it. (The trap pipe was found disconnected.)

54) Sollecito and Knox likely used bleach to clean the floor of any blood. (Police observed a strong smell of bleach when entering Sollecito’s apartment.)

55) Sollecito and Knox apparently took a shower. (Knox has recounted a number of “˜ear cleaning’ and ‘shower’ stories.)

56) Sollecito likely put blood stained clothes and shoes into one or more garbage bags and drove in the night to dump them somewhere.

57) Sollecito used his computer at around 5:30 AM and turned on his cellphone at around 6AM.

Events On The Next Morning

58) Knox was seen at a nearby store at around 7:45 AM, just as the store was opening. She was noticed going to the cleaning products section, wearing clothes that were ultimately found on her bed at the cottage.

59) Knox may have traveled back and forth from the cottage with a mop and/or garbage bags. (In her different versions, both verbal and written, she talks about ‘having to fetch a mop from the cottage’.)

60) Knox turned on her cellphone around noon.

The Police At The House

61) Knox and Sollecito were discovered at the cottage by the Postal Police at around 12:30 PM.

62) Knox told the Postal Police that Ms. Kercher sometimes kept her door closed. (This was later contradicted by Romanelli, who insisted Ms. Kercher’s door be broken down.)

63) Knox called her mother in a panic at roughly 12:45 PM. Knox would later forget this phone call in her testimony and in her book.

64) Sollecito called the Carabinieri at around 12:50 PM, confirming nothing was stolen in Romanelli’s room, though he could not have possibly known this for certain.

65) When Ms. Kercher’s door was broken down, at around 1:15 PM, Sollecito and Knox were not with the group that broke the door down, and were not able to see inside the room.

66) Knox panicked when it seemed that Guede’s feces had been flushed by accident.

Later That Same Day

67) At the police station, Knox yelled out that Ms. Kercher “˜bled to death’.

68) At the police station, Knox inveighed against “˜those bastards’ after being fingerprinted, though it’s unclear whether she meant some other killers (and if so, why the plural), or the police.

One Day Later

69) On November 3, 2007, Sollecito lied to a reporter about how the discovery of Ms. Kercher’s body happened, recounting that Knox was the first to discover the body, and that he ‘saw blood everywhere’ even though he could not have seen into the room.

Two Days Later

70) On November 4, 2007, Knox emailed a narrative of the events from her point of view.

71) During the autopsy of November 4th, the prosecutor was convinced by the number and manner of the injuries on Ms. Kercher’s body that there had to be more than one assailant.

72) On November 4, 2007, Knox broke down when police showed her and the other roommates the knives in the silverware drawer at her cottage, to determine if any knives were missing. Knox had to be escorted outside to calm down.

73) Knox would later confess to her parents her concern about the knife at Sollecito’s apartment.

Three Days Later

74) On November 5, 2007, Sollecito failed to back up Knox and changed his alibi when confronted with cellphone records. He maintained Knox left his apartment from roughly 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Four Days Later

75) On November 6, 2007, following Sollecito’s interrogation, Knox blamed Lumumba for the murder, first verbally, then in one written statement, then in a second statement that she offered voluntarily without coercion.

76) Knox failed to make an official retraction of her blaming Lumumba for the murder.

And Subsequentially

77) When first contacted by his friend via Skype, Guede spoke of a man with a knife who was shorter than he, and who had chestnut colored hair (like Sollecito). He also thought Knox was arguing with Ms. Kercher.

78) When Guede was arrested, Sollecito was concerned that Guede might say strange things about him. (If Sollecito was innocent, why be concerned about Guede?)

79) In their multiple “˜confessions’, both Knox and Guede cite Ms. Kercher’s “˜terrible screams’.

80) In court, as a response for finding Ms. Kercher’s DNA on the knife, Sollecito made up a story of pricking Ms. Kercher’s hand while cooking and subsequently apologizing to her about it. But Ms. Kercher had never been to his apartment. Sollecito recently retracted this story on Twitter.

81) Guede eventually confirmed that Sollecito and Knox were with him on the night of the murder.

Some Further Considerations

Ms. Kercher was not promiscuous and had scruples about watering the marijuana plants of the boys residing on the ground floor of the cottage. She had never expressed any interest in Guede to any of her closest friends. Similarly, Guede had never expressed any interest to any of his friends or acquaintances regarding Ms. Kercher.

Some 40+ wounds were found on Ms Kercher’s body. Despite being physically active and knowing martial arts maneuvers, she had few defensive wounds, mostly on the right hand.

She had bruising on her back, her left thigh, lower right leg, both elbows and wrists, the neck, the nose and mouth. She had two significant stab wounds of differing size on opposite sides of the neck, as well as various cuts on face, neck, hands.

No ligature marks were found on her ankles or wrists. She was therefore assaulted by multiple attackers. And as the evidence and trial reports have repeatedly indicated, the attackers were Knox, Sollecito and Guede, with Guede not responsible for the fatal wound.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Carabineri Labs Might Prove Fourth And Conclusive Scenario For The Mixed DNA Samples In The House

Posted by Peter Quennell





Lab work is believed to have continued today in the absence of the defense observers, and will continue on and off through to October 30th.

The defense observers may not have a further role at the laboratory. Most or all of the analysis leading to firm attributions of the DNA will be done by the Carabinieri team electronically.

It is that final attribution that the defenses are widely rumored to be so terrified of. That Knox’s DNA is there seems a given. The cliffhanger is whether Meredith’s DNA is there also.

Another possible mixed trace. If so it would be the sixth one.

Judge Massei did not arrive at a full scenario for how the five mixed blood traces at the crime scene could have been created. He described what was found by crime scene investigators and moved on.

After the 2009 Massei trial some further analysis was conducted. 

With great help from Luciano Garofano’s DNA chapter in Darkness Descending and Barbie Nadeau’s and Andrea Vogt’s excellent reporting, we posted a comprehensive update mid-2011.

The locations of the five mixed traces at the crime scene are as follows.

1. Bathroom near Meredith’s room:

  • On the drain of the bidet
  • On the Q-tip box located at the ledge of the sink
  • On the edge of the sink

Elsewhere in the apartment:

  • In a luminol-enhanced bare footprint in the hallway outside Kercher’s room
  • In a luminol-enhanced spot found in Filomena Romanelli’s room

Three sources for Knox’s blood have long been suggested: some bleeding from her ear, some bleeding from a possible nosebleed, some bleeding from the open scrape on her neck. .

All three of them could theoretically have been inflicted by Meredith as she struggled with the trio to save her life. None seem to explain why there were repeated MIXED traces.

That has remained a huge puzzle. But now we are looking at a fourth scenario: that Knox cut her hand with the top end of the blade as she stabbed at Meredith’s neck.

That could explain once and for all where Amanda Knox’s blood came from AND why it was mixed with Meredith’s blood. It happened right there.


[Click for larger image. Handle as from the blade direction. Sample is apparently from gap on sharp side.]


DNA Tests: Umbria24 Reporter Francesca Marruco Provides A Balanced Overview Of Possible Prospects

Posted by ziaK





It may be that today or any day this week a definitive analysis of the seeming mixed DNA sample appears from an authoritative source.

Perugia-based Francesca Marruco did a lot of careful balanced reporting from Perugia early in the case. She has excellent official sources. She suggests in this report that the world might have to wait for the last day in October (deadline for the labs to report their analysis) or 6 November (next scheduled court session) for the official bottom line.

This is my translation. I am Italy-based also.

Kercher trial: unconfirmed reports on Amanda’s DNA: The experts will lodge their report [their truth] on the 30th [October]

By Francesca Marruco

The “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife could have come from the American woman, however the data could lend itself to contrary interpretations. The sentence could arrive before 30 November.

In order to obtain the definitive results of the analyses that the carabinieri of the RIS in Rome are carrying out on the “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife which is considered to be the weapon with which Meredith Kercher was murdered, we will have to wait until 30 October - the day on which the experts appointed by the Assise Appeal Court of Florence will lodge their conclusions. Already on Friday, the day on which the analyses were begun in the experts’ laboratories, uncomfirmed reports began to be leaked concerning the origins of that tiny quantity of DNA.

These leaks would like to ascribe it [the DNA] to Amanda Knox, the American student who was initially convicted and subsequently acquitted for the homicide of her flatmate, Meredith. But there is, as yet, neither certainty nor officiality, and - as this long case has taught us - even in the presence of officiality, opposing interpretations may be formed. If, in fact, as is being rumoured, those tiny biological particles did actually belong to Amanda Knox, this information could be interpreted in many ways.

Opposing interpretations - The defence would hasten to say that since Amanda had spent time in Raffaele Sollecito’s house - where the knife was discovered - there would be nothing strange if her DNA were to be on the blade. Just as - and this, at least, has been clearly seen - Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle of the weapon. Its presence could be explained by any banal procedure in the kitchen.

And indeed, Knox’s own defence has always maintained that the highly-contested trace “H” - the other trace identified on the blade, and which according to some is Meredith’s DNA - is nothing more than potato starch.  Thus, Amanda would seemingly have left her trace on the knife while peeling potatoes.

Traces - It is very clear, however, that the Prosecution could claim that precisely that presence of Amanda’s DNA on the blade of the knife could be proof that Knox touched it. To peel potatoes, or to kill her flatmate Meredith, as the Prosecution holds? If it is confirmed, one can bet that the data [found by the RIS] will give rise to an “earthquake” and it will fall to the judges of the Florentine court to clear up the resuting debris.

On the other hand, they might decide not to consider it [the data] any more than the other elements [of evidence], since it effectively lends itself to a multiplicity of [possible] interpretations which cannot be confirmed at this point in time. Certainly, if that trace were that of the victim, Meredith Kercher, the proceedings might take a different direction, since there would then be two [traces] at that point, and not just one trace of the victim’s DNA which would have ended up on the blade of a knife which she never touched during her lifetime.

The certainties, or rather, the conclusions, of the experts will be lodged on 30 October. It is the 6th of November, however, which has been appointed for the hearing during which these results will be discussed before the Court and the parties.

Towards the verdict - Raffaele Sollecito may also be present in court on that date, as he announced via his lawyers, Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. Sollecito intends to make various spontaneous declarations in order to affirm once again his non-involvement in the barbarious murder of Meredith Kercher, for which only Rudy Hermann Guede is currently in jail, with a sentence of 16 years in prison which has been confirmed[by the Supreme Court]. 

After the hearing in which the results of the tests entrusted to the Rome RIS will be discussed, it is very probable that the trial will travel rapidly towards sentencing - the fifth sentence pronounced by an Italian court with regard to Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The Court President [leading judge], Alessandro Nencini, said during the first hearing that “this is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness. Over and above the media circus, is Court’s desire to give all parties the most space possible for discussion, because there was a very significant sentence/conviction originally.”

By November -  For this reason, “in order to obtain every possible factor for the matter we are trying here, the Court orders that the trace should be examined by the staff of the RIS in Rome”. The Florence Court’s sentence could thus arrive by the end of November, or at the latest by the end of the year. It is very unlikely that Amanda Knox will decide to be present at any of the hearings, and probably she will await the verdict in Seattle.

Perhaps the final word shall never be pronounced on the most Press-covered trial in Italian legal history. After this latest sentence, in fact, nothing prevents anyone from making further appeals to the Supreme Court.

Posted by ziaK on 10/14 at 07:02 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Evidence & WitnessesDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Comments here (3)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one.

This has allowed for an extremely small court and prison system relative to the size of the population. These principles are now being adopted by of all places New York city.

At its apex is the very well-trained well-funded well-equipped national force, the Carabinieri, about which, in response to a claim that was stupid even by Sollecito’s standards, our main poster Yummi remarked:

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Quite possibly the police force with the highest popularity rating in the world. In a recent email about the Carabinieri, Yummi also added the following:

The Carabinieri are a very peculiar police corps. They are indeed a police corps, yet also are formally military; in fact, they have military battalions (elsewhere) and under all points of view they are an extreme elite-corps. As militariy they don’t answer directly to the government but to the President; and from their facilities, you may infer they are a pretty well-trained police force.

They have the popular respect that the US’s FBI would probably like to have. (The two forces do co-operate very closely, and in fact they permanently exchange officers to work on their numerous common cases.)

The only relationship prior to these lab tests of the Carabinieri to Meredith’s case was that Raffaele Sollecito’s sister Vanessa once worked there.

She lost her job for some seriously foolish moves and her appeal to get back in to the Carabinieri was a failure.

So. The Carabinieri. Of possible real significance now in Meredith’s case?

The Carabinieri report directly to the President of the Republic. The President is also the ultimate head of the justice system, deliberately so as set out in the constitution to keep murky politics at bay. He also is wildely popular.

Judge Nencini may be signaling that he wants Italy’s most respected institutions on the side of his verdict. And no more murky politics.











Friday, October 11, 2013

The Carabinieri Laboratories In North-Central Rome Where Now Two Different Samples Need Attribution

Posted by Peter Quennell




Third update

Italy-based freelance reporter Andrea Vogt has tweeted the following: Leaks suggest DNA on knife shows knox genetic profile, but there is another profile being studied. Too early to interpret

Second update

Excellent comment on PMF by the poster Hugo which explains how the balance hasn’t changed.

The song remains the same. The republic contends that Amanda Knox used that knife to murder Meredith Kercher. The knife has yielded the DNA of just two people: Knox, in a position which indicates that she was gripping it, and Meredith, in a position which indicates that she was stabbed with it.

The defence can easily claim that Knox’s trace results from normal culinary use (although Stefanoni said the handprint indicated an atypical stabbing grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the blunt edge of the blade, and not a normal culinary cutting grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the sharp edge).

The problem is Meredith’s DNA at the sharp end. ‘Independent court-appointed expert’ Carla Vecchiotti admitted on the stand that this could not have arisen from laboratory contamination.

Professor Christopher Halkides’ suggestion that the contamination occurred during collection, because Stefano Gubbiotti acquired Meredith’s ‘aerosol DNA’ on his clothing, when he was supposedly in the house the same day, almost a week after the murder, and thus transferred the DNA from his clothing to his fingers to his evidence-handling gloves to the knife when he took it from Finzi’s envelope and re-packaged it in a stationery box at the Questura, is self-evidently absurd, fanciful, fictional and completely outwith the realms of actual forensic science.

And it’s not in evidence anyway, so it’s not an option open to the court.

Plus the objection to low copy number DNA is an American superstition not recognised in Europe. Unusually, it’s a scientific area where the US lags well behind. So you get hillbillies like Bruce Budowle grumbling, ‘Cain’t rightly say what that there newfangled LCN is, but ah reckon ah’m agin it.’ You’ll recall that a British appeal court has found that Bruce Budowle hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about and also that, like Halkides, he tends to cite sources that don’t actually say what he says they say.

Knox is there on the hilt of the knife. And M is there near the point of the blade, and she’s trying to tell us something.

First update

The gap between the blade and handle of the knife was apparently widened to obtain the sample for the test. Sollecito lawyer Maori has claimed it is Amanda Knox’s. It is apparently adjacent to her previous trace.

If that is the case, the strength of the DNA evidence (which is very strong) remains unchanged. Dr Stefanoni identified Exhibit 36 on the blade as a strong trace of Merediith’s DNA. This was supported by various experts.

No contamination of that trace has ever been proved - or even a convincing contamination scenario put forward - and the video on top of the post below shows how the DNA charts for the sample and for Meredith totally match.

First post

Human DNA is widely reported in Italy to have been established from the sample never before tested on the large knife.

We may have to wait on an announcement from Judge Nencini in Florence as to whose DNA it is. That may not happen today.

These labs in the Carabinieri barracks are not far from the center of Rome. They are very well know to Italians because (images at bottom) “RIS” the Italian version of the show “CSI” is set there.



















Thursday, October 10, 2013

Testing Of The DNA Sample Starts Today Though Possibly No Results Announced Before 6 November

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. ViaDellaPergola’s video

That video from 2010 illustrates how the existing positive tests described in the Massei Report were crystal-clear; subsequently Hellmann, Zanetti, Conti and Vecchiotti (all now being investigated) so muddied the water.

2. From our short-form Massei Report

This is from Part Three of the four-part abbreviation of the Massei Report done by Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team in mid-2011.

Exhibit 36: The double DNA Knife

Exhibit 36 is a 31 cm long knife with a 17 cm blade and a dark handle.  It was seized from the kitchen cutlery drawer at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, located at 110 Corso Garibaldi in Perugia, on 6 November, 2007 when Chief Inspector Armando Finzi was ordered to perform a search of Sollecito’s residence.  This exhibit is important because “Sample 36b” taken from a scratch on the knife blade yielded Meredith Kercher’s biological profile.

After putting on gloves and shoe coverings, Finzi and his team entered the home.  They noted a strong smell of bleach.  Opening the cutlery drawer, they saw a big, “extremely clean” knife.  In Sollecito’s bedroom they found a second knife.  The knives were bagged and sealed.[106]

Exhibit 36 was carried back to the police station, where it was placed in a box for shipping to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome.  Dr. Stefanoni was the recipient of the box containing the knife in Rome.  All parties testified that standard procedures were followed to avoid the risk of contamination.

On 4 November, 2007, Meredith’s roommates Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Amanda Knox had been taken by the police to look at the knives in their kitchen at the apartment in Via della Pergola.  Personnel from the Questura reported Amanda’s “severe and intense emotional crisis, unlike [the reaction of] the other two girls”.[292]  This behavior was contrasted to Amanda’s behavior at Police headquarters two days earlier:

“This circumstance appears significant both in its own right and also when one considers that Amanda had never previously shown signs of any particular distress and emotional involvement (in the Police headquarters, on the afternoon of November 2, Meredith’s English girlfriends, Robyn Carmel and Amy Frost in particular, according to their declarations, had been surprised by the behaviour of Amanda, who did not show emotions).”[292]

Investigators’ attention was alerted to the Exhibit 36 knife because of Amanda’s inconsistent behavior.  Later, police overheard a jail conversation between Knox and her parents on 17 November, when Knox said, “I am very, I am very worried about this thing with the knife ... because there is a knife of Raffaele’s ...”.[292]

Exhibit 36 thus became a central piece of trial evidence.  The debate would subsequently be focused on two issues: The compatibility of the knife with the large stab wound in Meredith’s neck; and the reliability of the DNA analysis.

Considering the first of these points, although the knife blade is 17 cm long, the depth of the larger wound is just 8 cm .  This “discrepancy” was the basis of defense efforts to discredit the knife as a murder weapon. The compatibility of the Exhibit 36 knife and the larger of Kercher’s wounds is addressed by Professor Bacci (see p. 121 of the Massei report).    Professor Norelli maintains that “it is not said that a blade is always embedded (plunged into) the target right up to the handle; the blade may also go (in) only to a certain portion of its length, and not right up to its end”.[126] 

It is noted that the movements of the victim may have played a part in determining the depth of the cuts.  “If I insert a centimeter of the blade into the victim and the victim suddenly moves towards me, how much of the blade will be driven inside the body surface area is absolutely unpredictable and depends on the action of both”.[129]  Alternatively, the blade of the knife might have met an obstacle. The cutting action is described on p. 146 and again starting on p. 152.

Defense witness Dr. Patumi disputed the compatibility of the wounds with said knife, arguing that a blade of 17 cm length could not have caused a cut 8 cm deep; see p. 156-157.  However, the Court rejected “the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36”, holding this thesis to be “unacceptable” .[172]

Regarding the second point ““ that of the DNA analysis ““ Dr. Stefanoni was the responsible expert at the crime lab in Rome. Although no biological traces were visible to the naked eye on the face of knife blade, Dr. Stefanoni perceived scratches - “anomalies in the metal’ - on the blade when rotating the blade under strong lighting.  The streaks were:

“... visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible.”[196]

Sample 36b was taken from one of these points on the blade.  The genetic profile of Meredith Kercher was identified from this sample. Stefanoni presented charts to the court, showing the DNA profile: she noted “that the peaks were a bit low, but that without doubt were still within the range that is considered useful for testing a specimen (page 108). Although of a much lower quantity of DNA, the profiles were nonetheless very present and, by making a comparison with Meredith’s profile, Dr. Torricelli reported that “šwe find all the alleles, and we find them to be equal to those obtained from the swab taken, from the sample taken from the wound. Therefore in this case too, without doubt”› -she continued- “šalthough we are confronted with a sample that contains very little DNA, it nonetheless contains the DNA of only one person and is therefore comparable to Meredith’s; with regard to this knife, I would say I have no doubt in interpreting it: specimen A with Amanda’s profile and specimen B with the profile, compatible with that of Meredith.”[231-32] However, the amount of DNA was small and it was all used up in order to run a single test.

The defense objected that it was impossible to evaluate whether the actual nature of Sample 36b specimen: 

“.. when we have a small amount of DNA we talk about low copy number DNA, and that when this type of DNA is present, we are indeed able to carry out our amplification and obtain a profile, but we must remember that we may have lost one of the alleles, we may have an allelic imbalance ... it becomes very difficult to distinguish from a real allele, so that when working on ...  small quantities of genetic material, it is necessary to be very cautious in interpreting the results.”[237]

To this point, Dr. Stefanoni argued that it is preferable “to know to whom a biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that specimen, without attributing it to anyone.”[288]

Furthermore, it was argued by the defense that the quantity of DNA was too low to be able to perform the tests and consider the results reliable.  Given a low amount of DNA, the risk of contamination is high - particularly given the very numerous number of samples being analyzed.
 
The court rejected the possibility of contamination because no anomalies were ever identified in the Polizia Scientifica’s analytical process. The Prosecutor pointed out that all tests had been carried out in the presence of a lawyer/consultant for the defense - who had raised no objections during the testing.  The possibility of contamination during the collection of evidence was rejected based on a detailed consideration of the collection process.

Thus, the DNA from Meredith which was found on that knife cannot be traced back to any contamination occurring in the house in which it was found, or to the method of acquisition of the knife on the part of Finzi, or even to the collection and dispatch methods used by Gubbiotti. In addition, as has been said, that such contamination could have been carried out by the laboratory is also ruled out.[266]

In addition, Dr. Stefanoni testified that she did have the biological profile of the defendants, but did not employ them while interpreting the electrophoresis diagrams. Nevertheless, the Massei report judges that:

“... the main criticisms advanced by the defense concerned precisely this very small DNA quantity, and it raised the question of the reliability of the result obtained.”[288]

To this central point, Dr. Stefanoni:

“Regarding the too low quantity of DNA, Dr. Stefanoni declared, as has been seen, that even in the case of a particularly scanty amount of material, the analysis and evaluation should be performed, and she added that, if the data that emerges is absolutely readable and interpretable and the correct laboratory practice was followed, the result is reliable and there is no reason to repeat the test.

“It does not follow ... that the data is unusable and unreliable as a consequence of a lack of repetition due to a lack of further quantities of DNA. It is necessary, instead, to take account of the data that emerges from such a specimen and to check for the ““ possible ““ presence of other elements, both circumstantial and inherent to the data itself that, despite the lack of repetition of the analysis, could allow an evaluation of the reliability of the analysis and of its outcome.”[289]

The court concluded that the biological profile that resulted from the 36B DNA analysis ...

“... gave a biological profile attributable to the person who was mortally wounded with that very knife: a result, therefore, that was entirely reasonable and consistent with the event; [it was] certainly not explainable as a mere coincidence, and it must be ruled out ““according to what has already been observed in this regard - that it could have originated from contamination or from the use of a suspect-centric method.”,[290] and that

“”¦. it should therefore be affirmed that the analysis of trace 36B, which detected the presence DNA attributable to Meredith, appears to be completely reliable.”[293]


3. TJMK posts on the latest DNA science

1. Poster Fy By Night:  The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

2. The Machine A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Extremely Rattled

4. Sollecito tries to wind back the “pricked” claim

Our lawyer SomeAlibi recently explained how.

5. Andrea Vogt posts possible scenarios.

Scroll down to UPDATE OCT. 9, 2013 An excellent weighting of the possibilities.

The DNA could be Meredith’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. It could be Rudy Guede’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. Or it could be neither (or untestable) which would nt neccessarily affect the outcome. .


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dr Mignini Pushes Back Against His Demonizers Trying To Ascribe Non-Existant “Satanic Theory”

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Preston left, Spezi center, and George Clooney who is at legal risk for his option on their defamatory book]

1. Dr Mignini’s Published Statement

To the editor of Florence Corriere

Dear Director,

I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.

I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi ““ a person accused in the Narducci case ““ did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today ““ published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
 
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding “˜lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).

Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point.  Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.

Mr. Spezi’s text says: “”¦ a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case”¦”.

This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.

Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event ““ which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia ““ had developed and taken place.

I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.

Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.

In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.

The purpose ““ quite overt ““ of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.

The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.

Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.

Kind regards

Giuliano Mignini

2. Context: The Mafia Playbook Adherents

As we have often d previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two.

When not using dynamite, as they often did in the past, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination of witnesses, judges prosecutors and police.

The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.

How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial).

And now Mario Spezi, obviously a real glutton for punishment, once again piles on. Spezi has had incessant run-ins with the Italian law - and now he seems to have entered some kind of self-immolation end-game.

With Doug Preston, Spezi published several editions of their Monster of Florence scenario. These are widely discredited in Italy, not least because they are such obvious attempts to apply lipstick to a pig (half of the text is about an obviously red-handed and very very scared Preston trying to prove he did not actually melt down under interrogation for his probable felony interference in a case.)

Spezi has been charged with interfering with and hampering both the Monster of Florence investigations and the related investigation (which involved Dr Mignini) into the Narducci drowning - a clear murder (the body was found bound and another substituted) though a nefarious group worked very hard to deny that. (They were all charged as well, and the Supreme Court has recently confirmed the correctness of that.)

In recent weeks the Supreme Court has given a firm order for both prosecutions against Spezi to go ahead. How Spezi stays out of prison if he is found guilty is anyone’s guess. Doug Preston came up with a calamity of an explanation for the arrest of Frank Sforza for domestic violence, but presumably his assistance wont be sought this time around. 

So in face of impending prison Spezi really watches his tongue, right?

No, in fact in a move bizarre even by his own standards, Spezi on 29 September published a surreal “interview” with Amanda Knox in Florence Corriere. It once again repeats the felony claim that the prosecution charged Knox and Sollecito in the first place based only on some “satanic theory”.

The Perugia prosecution has never never NEVER claimed that. The Florence prosecutor has already moved into felony-investigation mode (this could cost Spezi more years in prison) and on 3 October Florence Corriere published this correction below by the defamed prosecution (translation is by Yummi).

This unequivocal statement (far from the first but the most prominent) has its own legal status. It is a clear legal warning to the likes of Chris Mellas and Bruce Fischer that if they sustain the libel they are at risk of felony charges also.

The statement has already had a strong ripple effect in Italy. Many former allies - some of them not very savory - now feel that Spezi has lied to and betrayed them for his own ends.


Friday, October 04, 2013

Appeal Session #2: Witness Luciano Aviello And Knife Test Arrangement Main Biz In Court

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above and below: complete with heliport, the Carabinieri investigation service (RIS) in north Rome]

1. Explanation

These court updates came in during the day. The first is at the bottom of the post.

2. Court updates

Update #6

Did the prosecution just set the mother of all traps for the wrong-doers here? Quite possibly. Their amused equanimity at the testimony of Aviello may be explainable in this way. 

1) Today, Aviello compounded his perjury by repeating it in court under oath, right when his own trial for perjury is just starting out. What is not to like about that?

2) Today the prosecution had no way to introduce the obvious rebuttal witnesses, aka the cellmates of Aviello in his former prison up north. At his own perjury trial they can do that while Aviello has to sit helpless watching them for days selling him out.

3) And today the prosecution could hardly cross-examine Giulia Bongiorno, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, and Francesco Sollecito (see the post below this one) who Aviello in 2011 pointed the finger at, because this trial is not about them.

But at the Aviello perjury trial just now starting, Giulia Bongiorno, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, and Francesco Sollecito can all be made to testify under oath, and they would enjoy no protections.

Aviello seemingly blowing it in court today may in fact turn out to be the defenses’ worst nightmare. 

Update #5

From our main poster Mason2 in the court

Court was very brief this morning. The letter Giulia Bongiorno received from Aviello in jail in 2010 was produced. She and Carlo della Vedova went to visit him in jail and he said his brother was responsible for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

He had been living in Perugia at the time of the murder and in Via della Pergola. Later he gave testimony to Prosecutor Comodi in July 2011 in 73 pages of which half a page was relevant.

At that time he accused Bongiorno of promising money in the sum of 158000 euro which would cover cost of the sex change surgery in exchange for his assistance.

He accused his brother and said he knew where the knife used in the murder was together with the house keys. In 2010 he said they were buried behind a rock near the house.

This morning Luciano Aviello is Lucia Aviello and looks very much a mature woman. She again accuses her brother. She confirmed her testimony of the 1st Appeal trial but said she had been threatened by Prosecutor Comodi who would prevent the surgery he was seeking at that time.

Judge Nencini and the panel of judges surely cannot believe this person.

The next stage of the testing the sample I 36 found in 2011 will be urgently anticipated.

Update #4

The prosecution and Kercher lawyer Maresca seem unconcerned. Remember that Aviello was heavily built up as one of Sollecito’s “super witnesses” back in 2011 along with Mario Alessi. The prosecution always thought he was a flake.

Today Aviello said nothing credible to help Sollecito or Knox. Not such a super-witness for them any more. The prosecution has other ways of advancing the investigations summarised iin the post below this one.

Giuia Bongiorno seems concerned, as she ought to be. She produced a 2010 letter showing that Aviello first contacted her, not the other way around. Still, that doesnt prove that she made no nefarious offers for the zombie story suddenly revived.

Update #3

More detailed reports to come from the courtroom soon.

La Nazione reports that the court wass adjourned rather abruptly after this surreal testimony. Aviello first objected to cameras, but then said one should be focused only on him. He said something about a seance telling him what happened.

Update #2

Judge Nencini reads out the details of Aviello’s present status (he is back in prison and facing a perjury trial). Aviello gets on the stand wearing women’s clothes (he is on the way to a sex change operation).

He reverts to his first story going back to 2010 - that his brother (now conveniently dead) and one other killed Meredith in the course of an artwork burglary in the wrong house - which he had already recanted in Perugia in 2011.

Now he is saying there were no bribes offered although other witnesses from his previous prison near Turin had testified that there were.

Sounds like he might have been got at, there is far too much against him for this return to the original story to work. Including that police tried to find the keys and knife that he said were buried, but there proved nothing there.

The screws will be tightened at his own trial. Lets hope at least we get a photo of Aviello today. We still dont know what he looks like.

Update #1

Mason2 and Yummi in court both report that two Carabinieri DNA scientists have been appointed to conduct tests on the knife. Their names are Major Andrea Berti and Captain Filippo Barni.

The first testing of the knife will start at 2:00 pm on 10 October at the headquarters lab of the Carabinieri in Rome, a lab with an excellent reputation separate from that of the Scientific Police which has not been a part of the case before.

If the scientific officers find nothing that can be tested they are to inform the court immediately. November 6 and 7 were assigned to discussion of the knife but November 7 has been removed from the court’s calendar.

Initial post

If many media are present in court today it will be a surprise. Florence takes scarce time for most of them to get to and this session surely wont last a full day.

If Aviello doesnt talk or takes off at a tangent or reverts to his original tale the porsecution have other witnesses which they may wheel our here or at his own parallel trial.



Tomorrow Could See The Beginning Of The End Of The Rampaging “Public Relations” Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell





Tomorrow the court probably wont touch directly on issues of Sollecito’s and Knox’s innocence or guilt.

Instead the court under a Supreme Court requirement will get into the myriad dirty tricks of the defenses, why such campaigns had to be run if the accused perps had no blame, how the mafia is infiltrating its way in, and maybe some hard evidence of real crimes.

The three shown above are of course defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Judge Hellmann, and Francesco, Sollecito’s dad.

Bongiorno may have offered bribes for false testimony, tame judge Hellmann may have attempted to cover up evidence of crimes (those bribes), and Papa Doc may have been over-eager to get his son out of prison by any means fair or foul.

Except for Luciano Aviello’s photo, which has never yet appeared on the web, as he had that protection as a jailhouse snitch, we have had a pretty comprehensive series of posts about him starting back in June 2010. These seven are perhaps the most key.


Note that NOBODY knows exactly what the prosecution has up its sleeves. The FOA wannabees still don’t realize what a huge jump the prosecution has on them. It plays its cards very close to the chest.

Going back a very long time the prosecution appear to have set a number of traps. Back in 2010 it knew Hellmann’s presence at the appeal had been quietly organized by the defense. It knew that the Supreme Court understood that Guede could not have killed Meredith on his own.

And it knew that Aviello was a walking time-bomb and knew how to set him off.  And all of the three above seem to have unwittingly walked into that trap.

Of course there is no way that the court closes the book on Aviello tomorrow, because his own trial in Florence under the same prosecutor’s office is still going on. There is immense pressure on Aviello to come clean and not end up inside yet again.

All three above could be called to give testimony at his trial. And he could pave the way to all three facing trials of their own.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Appeal Session #1(B) Detailed Report On Enquiries The Court Has Okayed

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above the two co-judges with lead judge Allessandro Nencini reading the case history]

Explanation

The previous post listed what has already been agreed to by the court to guide the appeal. This report which only became available later describes what had been the prosecution and defense requests.

Translation From The Umbria24 website

Meredith, war of requests in the first hearing of the 2nd Appeal

The court has order a new test on the I trace and on the hearing of the witness Luciano Aviello. Rejected all other requests

By Francesca Marruco

After a little over 2 hours in counsel chambers the Florence Court of Appeals has decided to order a new test on the trace evidence of the knife seized in Raffaele Solecitto’s apartment, the weapon presumed to have been used in the murder.

The Court has also decided to hear the witness Luciano Aviello but rejected all the other requests for renewal of investigations presented by the defense. The Court resumes on Friday with Aviello and the assignment of the task of the new genetic analysis to the Carabinieri del Ris of Rome.

[The appeal] this morning in the maxi courtroom no. 32 of the Florence Justice Courthouse, commenced the new appeal for the murder of Meredith Kercher, after the annulment of the acquittal by the Supreme Court.

Present in the courtroom was only Patrick Lumumba. Absent, as expected, were the two appellants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

- 9:00 Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele, says he is tranquil about the outcome of the new trial. Responding to journalists, he specified “The statement of the Supreme Court is compromised by errors committed because the judges did not have full access to all of the proceedings, as they themselves indicated.”

- 9:45 The defense of Knox and Sollecito have asked for the exclusion of the Patrick Lumumba (civil) party because the conviction of Amanda for calunnia has already been passed into final sentence.

This request was opposed by the General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, and the lawyer of Lumumba. For them the plaintiff’s civil right is legitimate, as the Supreme Court has asked this court to re-evaluate the penalty in light of the finalized sentence of Knox.

The Court retired to counsel chambers to decide, announcing it wanted to decide today on any reopening of the investigation.

- 10:15 The court rejects the request of the defense of Knox and Sollecitto to exclude the civil party Patrick Lumumba, because the Court specifies that, among other things, the offense was not assessed in totality by the trial court.

- 10.50 The President of the Court of Appeals, Allessandro Nencini, is initiating his introductory report, starting from the day of Meredith’s homicide. The judge travels trough the most important passages of the three Courts. Speaking of the trace, secured by the consultants of the second [Hellman] Court, on the knife (considered the weapon of the crime by the first Court) President Nencini said: “It is necessary to underline that the independent consultants had found another trace; but it was not analyzed”.

- 11:15 The President of the Court, Judge Nencini, at the end of the introductory report, said: ” This is an appeal for matters of undeniable seriousness beyond the media spectacularization. Thus the Court is willing to give all possible space for debate to all of the parties, because originally there was a solid verdict, and the actions on which we proceed are of undeniable seriousness”

- 11.25 Raffaele Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Buongiorno was the first to take the floor.

]Bongiorno:] Sollecito’s defense does not ignore the motivations of Cassazione, and we are in favor of any kind of verification that the Court will order, with the following caveats. This proceeding has always been based on two types of evidence, the testimonial and the technical.  We request that during this proceeding, which we hope to be the last one, that the Court during the next hearings will concentrate only on the truly reliable evidences, putting aside those that are nullified by media conjecture.

Many witness have said things because they have read them or heard them. The proceeding was reopened, but not to collect this type of guesswork. We do not want to inflate this proceeding with new conjectures. We request to examine in depth the crime observed, as emphasized by Cassazione.  In the crime scene room there are copious traces of two of the four claimed present persons, the victim and Rudy Guede who admitted to having been there, and none of the two appelants except on the hook of the victim’s bra.

When the Prosecutor asserts that there are no traces because Amanda and Raffaele cleaned them, we think that this is impossible. For this reason we request to have a evaluation done in order to verify if it is possible to clean selectively…  A Cassazione mistake was that it didn’t notice the entry into the crime scene room before the bra hook was found, so we request the acquisition of two reports [on that].

We want to understand if in a sealed place it is possible to get firm evidence even after the admission by the police of other searches.  We do not request to simply take the hook and to say that it is contaminated, we want to know if in that environment it was possible to collect some genuine evidence, because at the crime scene there were not ten traces of Raffaele but only that one”.

 

A subordinate request by Giulia Buongiorno is that experts, new experts or the ones at the Hellman appeal, will read the electropherograms.  Buongiorno requests the analysis of both of Meredith Kercher’s cell phones that she consider the “black box” of the crime and that they “were never analyzed deep enough by the Corte d’Assise di Perugia” The defense requests also analysis of the presumed sperm trace on Meredith’s pillowcase.

- 12.15   Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Della Vedova takes the floor and raises right away an exception to the judge’s stipulations.  “Are we today able to judge on matters that happened six years ago? Can a person be under proceeding for life? Are we sure that Amanda Knox is an accused like all the others? Is it right, the indefinite delay of this proceeding? For all of this I insist that the Court evaluate the constitutionality.”

- 13.00 The Kercher family’s lawyer produced a letter written by the family members of Meredith that read “We are confident that the evidences will be reexamined and all the requests of more evidences will be granted, in a way that all the unanswered questions will be clarified and that the Court can decide on a future way of action in this tragic case. The past six years have been the most difficult of our lives and we want to find an end and remember Meredith as the girl that she really was rather than remember the horror associated with her”.

-14.00 The General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini says he is against the request of the defense to hear anew from some witnesses, including Rudy Hermann Guede. The same argument Crini voiced for the majority of the requests of the opening introduction presented by the defense. In conclusion, he asked for the the addition of the evaluation of the “I” trace, isolated by the independent experts, but never analyzed because they claimed it was believed to be Low Copy Number. Furthermore the prosecutor asks that the witness Aviello be reheard.

-15:00 The lawyers of the civil part that represent the Kercher family support the request of the General Prosecutor Crini, and opposed the requests of the defense. The lawyer Francesco Maresca said he believes that the defense attempts to frame with a new “dress” evidence that is strong, resistant, and robust, from the findings of the trial court, and that were minimized by the first appeal court. For example, the witness Capezzali.

Also there are newly framed certain requests that are obsolete, that have already been actioned. Like that of the selective cleaning. In the bathroom next to the room of the crime, there were many mixed traces of DNA of Amanda and the blood of Meredith. And the genetic profile of Sollecito, besides on the bra hook, was present only mixed with that of Amanda on a cigarette butt, then how did it migrate, only that one, from the cigarette butt to the bra hook?

- 15:10 The defense of Raffaele Sollecito maintains the request to analyze the “I” trace, but opposes hearing from the witness Luciano Aviello. Buongiorno also pointed out that it is not true that the independent experts of the second court decided automatically to not analyze certain traces, but did so in the presence of the prosecution experts Stefanoni and Novelli and those of the defense.  Carlo Dalla Vedova, for the Knox defense, said that Avelio should be heard only to demonstrate that the police uses him two different ways. Like when Avelio said he knew where the crime weapon was.

- 15.30 The Court retired in council chamber and announced that will not come out before 17.30


Conclusion

Thereafter the court convened again and the decisions were as outlined in our post below this one. Almost all of what the defense had argued for - each of them a stretch if you know the full circumstances - was denied. 

And the two main requests from the prosecution - that Aviello be put back on the stand, and the large knife be retested - were accepted. Ourcomes of these may or may not add to the strength of the prosecution’s case, but seem to offer no prospects of joy for the defenses.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Appeal Session #1 (A) Judges And Lay Judges Address The Biz Of Procedures And Enquiry Scope

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Reporters Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau are live-tweeting from court and our main poster Mason2 is periodically reporting

Update #10

Finally for now a commentary on Mason2’s interview with Dr Mignini in the Update #9 just below and how he saw the attack happening.

That as we understand it has always been his humane bedrock position on why the attack on Meredith happened and became so vicious. A hazing with sexual humiliation that at the end of 15 minutes resulted in someone (probably Knox as the other two so clearly resent her) pushing in the knife.

Dr Mignini seems to believe one or other came so close to their confessing something like the above, in exchange for a manslaughter or limited responsibility charge. It is something Meredith’s family might have understood, not the rabid hatred of Meredith explanation that they so feared.

But then early in 2008 the families and lawyers and wannabees started their demonizing of Dr Mignini and falsely claiming that he had called the attack “satanic” which he never did. Not once. Five years after Guede’s trial in late 2008, where they too could have gone for the short form trial and reduced sentences, here we all still are.

Millions of dollars and hundreds of defamed people and some soured international relations later. And the perps maybe looking at a total of 30 years and other trials to come. 

The “profiler” John Douglas in his wildly inaccurate but influential account wrongly used the term “satanic” a dozen times. Nina Burleigh in her silly book was another who babbled on about religion as a root cause of the prosecution.

But as Knox and Sollecito themselves have both written, the reason the attack was initiated was possibly quite simple.  An argument over noise, or drugs in the house, or Meredith missing her rent money, or Meredith replacing Amanda at Le Chic.

Add to the mix drugs (maybe the deadly skunk marijuana), and/or mental illness, and/or group dynamics. And poor Meredith died. How right the prosecution at trial was.

Update #9

This is Mason2 reporting again from the courtroom.

First day over and the tweets tell it all. This new Judge Nencini is determined to keep things in check. The defence had a whole lot of requests this morning. Giulia Buongiorno has to impress Dr Sollecito to earn her fee to pay for her pant suit.

I did feel a bit sorry for him today, he looks a refined man and is a very polite person.

The new DNA found on the knife during the 1st Appeal will be tested, and the Court will hear from Aviello on Friday.

I will be there and with my own wi fi. Many journalists are not going to attend this friday and will probably wait until or if Raffaele arrives or just come for the finale.

Am very pleased to say i had the first interview with Patrick Lumbumba and his lawyer Carlo Pacelli. Patrick is sweet and has a gorgeous face and smile.

I shook his hand and said, Patrick i wish you the very best, but i have only one question and it is DID AMANDA PAY YOU THE MONEY SHE WAS ORDERED TO PAY and he said no i did not receive a cent.

He was later interviewed by the media outside, and they asked, what would you say to Amanda right now, and he replied IF YOU ARE INNOCENT YOU WOULD GET ON A PLANE AND BE PRESENT HERE.

Then i saw my opportunity to speak to Dr Mignini the Prosecutor from the original trial in 2009. He was gracious enough to give me about 10 minutes of his time, and he was hoping for the testing of the new dna on the knife.

He is also convinced that these young people probably would never commit a crime like this on their own. Certainly Rudy and even Raff. But the combination of the drugs and the promise of sex with Amanda and a cocktail of drugs and alcohol…

In these circumstances, he believes people are capable of anything.

Speaking with Giulio Gori from Il Fiorentino, he wanted to know my opinion of guilty or not guilty, and i said you first, and he said he had doubts. He meant like many of the young ones here they wonder why they would do it.

Even Dr Mignini told me his 2 female assistants, who also worked on the Supreme Court matter and support him, privately have their doubts,

I will be back in Court on friday. Meanwhile i am going to act like a tourist and eat at Il Latini and look at the sights here.

Update #8

Court is back is session and Judge Nencini announces the scope of the appeal, with a proviso that he may add more items later.

Judge Nencini rejects most of what the defenses requested earlier, and there seems little to bring them comfort. He agrees to the prosecution’s requests to have Aviello testify again (see update #4; so that was not Dalla Vedova, who must surely not like this) and to re-examine the large knife.

Having Aviello testify again (already scheduled for this Friday) was probably unavoidable, as the cutting-off of his testimony by Judge Hellmann in 2011 was a real red flag to Cassation that something nefarious may have been going on. They sharply commented on it.

Remember Aviello was Sollecito’s witness intended to prove that the 2 or 3 accepted by Cassation as having committed the attack on Meredith were actually his missing brother and one other. After he was released from prison near Genoa he moved to Ferrara, where he is safely back in prison for killing a dog as an extortion threat.

The Knox and Sollecito teams sure set themselves a trap. They seem to have a real knack for not doing their due diligence. Bongiorno threatened to sue him for claiming bribes were offered by the Sollecitos, but never did. Oddly, Raffaele in his book said he sent Aviello an embroidered handkerchief. Seems doubtful that that would buy Aviello’s silence.

This is huge for the prosecution. On Friday we could see more proof emerge that in 2011 something nefarious WAS going on.

Update #7

So far no joy for the absent Amanda Knox. Judge Nencini at the start of the proceedings remarked in sharp language on her absence and that of Sollecito from the court. If he prefers them to be present (the presence of Sollecito is promised by his father for end-October) then arrest warrants could be issued.

Under the US and UK systems they would have been required to appear personally, and locked up again if they remained on the lam.  Patrick Lumumba’s fiery lawyer protested their absence, arguing that this is a clear indicator of guilt.

Amanda Knox has yet another contempt of court problem. She is a deadbeat. She has not paid the E24,000 in damages awarded to Patrick and due since last March, when Cassation confirmed it. And yet she says publicly that she has been paying many other bills out of her blood-money.

Update #6

Lawyer TomM, a main poster here, makes a skeptical observation on PMF about a request from Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno.

Re “@BLNadeau: Back to bongiorno, rebuttal round.. Says she wants to take knife apart for further tests”. Is she nuts? There is no upside for the defense in this request; the possibilities range from finding nothing to finding a sufficient quantity of material to do multiple tests to both identify it as blood and have clear DNA profiles. In the latter case, I see no credible way of the defense explaining this as resulting from contamination.

Update #5

The judges and lay judges move into private session to decide on the requests made for scope.

Remember Italian lay judges must all have diplomas or degrees (one of these lay judges is in fact a judge by profession) and they will have read a great deal already, including the Micheli and Massei Reports and the recent report of the Supreme Court which annulled Hellmann (who is now also under investigation).

Through the lead judge they can ask questions and are expected to pursue lines of enquiry. As Alan Dershowitz and other American lawyers have noted, Italian juries leave in the dust many or most American juries.   

Update #4

Showing how they are clutching at straws, a Knox lawyer today asked to hear more from witness Aviello. Really?! Aviello was the colorful mafioso witness that at the Hellmann appeal in 2011 claimed that the Sollecito family offered bribes to inmates in his prison for false testimony.

Aviello is already on trial for perjury in the same courthouse in Florence (busy place; Frank Sforza will go on trial there too) and Aviello could inflict real damage on the Sollecto lawyers, especially Bongiorno, if bribes are again asserted.

Maybe this signals the long-anticipated Knox-Sollecito separation. Sollecito before and at the 2009 trial undercut Knox in many small ways, and to try to stop this, Knox wrote him love-letters, and finally made a public appeal (denied) to talk privately with him.

Update #3

Barbie Nadeau reports that Judge Nencini is tough as nails on the lawyers, and has a deep baritone voice like a singer. You can see his image and a brief history in this post.

The foolishly dishonest and disrespectful Knox & Sollecito media campaigns seem to have assurred them one of the toughest judges and one of the toughest prosecutors in Italy. Both have special protected status, as they each conduct trials against the mafia.

And pouring gasoline on the bonfire, the tin-eared media campaigns have organized for wednesday in the US Congress this catastrophe. No wonder Amanda Knox is too chilled to appear in Florence, and Sollecito is sitting in a known mafia hideout in the Caribbean.

Update #2

Nothing seems encouraging here for the defenses. As the Supreme Court instructed, the appeal’s scope will be similar to that of a US or UK appeal. No fishing expedition, no CSI Effect. The only difference will be in the presence of lay judges, in effect a jury, of 6 women and 2 men. 

Andrea Vogt reports that Prosecutor Crini is requesting that additional DNA testing be done on the large knife using newer, more sensitive instrumentation. The first test of that same sample by Dr Stefanoni showed a strong correlation with the DNA of Meredith. The DNA consultancy at the annulled Hellmann appeal which tried to discredit that is considered by the Supreme Court to have been deliberately flawed and today the prosecutor confirmed that.

Andrea Vogt also reports that Prosecutor Crini cautioned against re-hearing any evidence just because there are controversial interpretations of trial facts. He emphasized that the Supreme Court did not discredit any of the evidence, the Hellmann annullment happened because of poor jurisprudence and very flawed logic.

Update #1

The first report from the court by our main poster Mason2:

Hello, I am writing during the break as no wifi for my computer. I will fix this by end of the week.

The Court opened with the President reading the case overview. All the events of the night of the murder of Meredith, and then the reasoning of the Supreme Court.

The media is there, i spoke to the Fox news reporter and The Daily Telegraph London.

The most gracious and kind to me were the two reporters from Porta a Porta. Dr Vittoriana Abate and her colleague. I noticed her file was marked in very large letters in pink MEREDITH.

First a letter was read by Avv Maresca from the Kercher family.

The reading of the case file took a long time.

Who is present is Dr Sollecito who has said Raff will attend later probably 23 - 24 October dates. He is very polite to the media.

Patrick Lamumba and his lawyer Carlo Pacelli arrived about 11.30am and took their place behind Avv, Maresca for the Kercher family.

The arguments commence with Bongiorno in an extremely forceful and very strong voice at times almost shouting at the Judges her argument.

First point was the little bra clasp. She said she believed that the Supreme Court was mistaken and fell down on this point.

She asked for a fresh examination of the clasp as she says there is other dna on it and she spent a lot of time going over what she described as the failure of the Scientific Police to examine the crime scene and preserve it.

She spent a lot of time arguing about the 46 days it was lying in the room. It was not collected from its original place as photos proved. She is trying to create reasonable doubt.

Avv Maori also addressed the court.

Then spoke Avv Della Vedova who argued very strongly but not like Bongiorno i heard him start with the long long process and referred to poor Amanda. He was conveying what this process is doing to her.

He hopes and prays that this time she will be acquitted once again and that will be the end of it.

Ghiriga was speaking just before lunch break and reiterating their argument for Amanda to be found not guilty.

I counted 5 lady judges on the panel.

It was possible to tweet this morning @kgadalof

Dear Ms Bongiorno, the only reason it took 46 days was because Dr Stefanoni and her people were waiting for the defenses to arrange to come along. They delayed and delayed - and now you complain about her?!!

Dear Dr Dalla Vedova: the only reason the process is taking so long is because defense lawyers played dirty tricks to get the terrific Judge Chiari replaced by the incompetent Judge Hellmann who bent the annulled appeal.

First post today

We will have our own more detailed reports from the court later in the day. More images to come also.

First tweets from Andrea Vogt (read from the bottom up):

* #amandaknox trial suspended for 30 minutes, prosecution to make arguments at 13:15.

* #amandaknox atty CDV: That this trial could go on “infinitely” goes against constitutional rights. Can a person be on trial for life?

* Atty Maori: Sollecito defense wants forensic tests done on Kercher’s pillow and rock used to break window. #amandaknox

* Bongiorno: Crime scene conditions prohibited proper evidence gathering. Bra clasp should be thrown out. #amandaknox

* Atty Bongiorno for Sollecito defense: the reliable evidence points to Rudy Guede: “The assassin always leaves a trace.”

* Court rules Lumumba may stay and be a part of #amandaknox appeal trial.

* Patrick Lumumba speaking to press: #amandaknox should be here, but she is afraid, because she knows she has a responsibility.





Appeal Session #1: Images Outside And Inside The Court

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

a href=“http://truejustice.org/ee/images/perugia/frontpage103/10368.pdf” target=“_”>




























Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 09/30 at 01:30 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Comments here (6)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Florence Appeal Court Monday And Friday This Week: What We Might Expect

Posted by Peter Quennell



You are wondering how that short video relates?

Well, it shows the life and death by mafia car-bomb in Sicily of a very brave anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. The lead prosecutor in the Florence court will be the formidable Dr Alessandro Crini who is also an anti-mafia prosecutor.

It was his thankless job to help to take down those who did the car-bombing, and notably those who supplied the dynamite. You wont find any shots of Dr Crini online (not yet) because those few who sign up to pursue the mafia (of which Dr Mignini is one) have a lot of protections to keep them safe and alive.

One of those protections is to not usually publicize how they look. There are many others in reserve. If the rabid Knox & Sollecito band set out to lie about and defame Dr Crini, doing the mafia’s handiwork, be assured it will be at their great peril. There will be no messing about.

The Florence court will meet on these dates: September 30; October 4, 23, 24; and November 6, 7, 25, and 26.  There is a meticulous factsheet here.  The Italy-based American reporter Andrea Vogt has announced that she will be reporting live from the Florence court. Last Wednesday, she posted this heads-up on what to expect. 

What to expect in court as the Knox and Sollecito appeal begins Monday? As she has repeatedly told interviewers leading up to her trial, Amanda Knox will not be traveling to Italy to attend. Though reportedly traveling in the Caribbean, Raffaele Sollecito is expected to be present for his trial, according to comments his father made to the Italian news agency ANSA on Wednesday. The parents of Meredith Kercher, who have struggled with health issues, are unlikely to attend.

Presiding judge Nencini, known for his no-nonsense “get on with business” style, is expected to make a decision Monday on whether or not to open up the trial for new arguments. Defense attorneys have submitted two documents and want debate reopened. The prosecution is hoping to keep the scope more limited.  They support the Cassation’s suggestion to do new forensic testing of a low copy number DNA trace highlighted (but not further analyzed) by the independent experts appointed during the first appeal. For more on the logistics of the trial, skip down to Sept. 18 update

Today Sunday 29 September Andrea Vogt has another report (via the same link). This is an excerpt; the report is worth reading in full.

Now with a government crisis looming and Italy’s biggest story unfolding in Rome, will anybody be there? Lawyers for sure. Sollecito? Probably not until a later hearing. And a number of the 300+ journalists court officials were expecting in Florence are being redirected to the capital for a more pressing story: the possible imminent collapse of the current government.  Don’t expect even that to stop the untouchable judicial arm from carrying out its duties. And from my early glimpse of things, Florence has a very different way of doing business than provincial Perugia.

Please also scroll down on that site to the second part of the 25 September report: “Side Show: Monster of Florence Twist”.

We will soon post at length on the development described there. But in essence what it means is that the Supreme Court has now assured that those meddlers who set in motion the horrific demonization of Dr Giuttari and Dr Mignini to throw the Monster of Florence and Narducci and Meredith Kercher cases will get their just deserts.

The incessant bungling meddlers and mafia enablers Mario Spezi and Frank Sforza seem certain to go down, and their handmaiden Doug Preston seems to have a big target on his back.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/29 at 02:20 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Comments here (14)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Judge Nencini’s Guidelines Authorize Televising Of The Florence Appeal Live In Real Time

Posted by True North



[Research room in the Palace of Justice which can double as a room for the press]


The Florence Courts are renowned for acting with speed and decisiveness.

No surprise then that Judge Nencini has issued the court guidelines for this appeal (remember, this is not a second trial).

There will be regulated access to the courtroom and observers must be in court by 9:00 am. No phone contacts or tweets from the court to the outside world will be allowed.

A pressroom will be set up, as in Perugia, where most of the reporters preferred to sit so that they could use their computers and phones, and come and go when they wished.

And three fixed TV cameras will provide a broadcast-quality live feed from the court in Italian. This feed will be balanced against the needs of an orderly fair trial, and the feed could be turned off now and then.

In Perugia in 2009 and 2011 there were CCTV cameras in the court but the quality of the feed to the pressroom was low and when reporters captured some of it on videocam the resultant videos were somewhat murky as you can see on some YouTubes of the trial.

The huge new high-tech palace of justice was designed with TV feeds in mind.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breaking News From Italy-Based Andrea Vogt On The Aviello And Knox/Sollecito Court Actions

Posted by Peter Quennell



[A Florence courtroom similar in size to courtroom 32 which is assigned for the appeal]


Andrea Vogt kindly provides these details on the Knox/Sollecito appeal, the Aviello trial, and the increasingly desperate Knox and Sollecito PR.

1) Knox And Sollecito Appeal

In the first hearing on September 30, the court will decide on a fixed schedule as well whether or not to accept any defense evidence requests, such as new DNA testing or witness statements. The prosecution has also made two additional requests to the court: 1) request for another forensic review of knife to see if a small third trace that was never tested before can be examined. Experts in the first appeal deemed it low copy number and rejected requests to test it. 2) request to hear testimony from Luciano Aviello.

All our past posts on the Florence appeal can be found here and all our past posts on the DNA can be found here. 

The defenses are said to have filed monsters of requests for wide scope - a virtual retrial with the defenses in prosecution mode - complete with bizarre argumentation against the rulings of Cassation. None of the defense lawyers have ever won a case before Cassation. This sure seems like a losing move as Cassation is insisting on tight focus.

2) Luciano Aviello Trial

At the heart of Aviello’s trial in Florence are likely to be the revelations by inmate Alexander Illicet from Serbia Montenegro, who testified that Aviello had agreed to pin the murder on his brother in exchange for 158,000 Euros ““ money Aviello desperately needed to pay for a sex change. Aviello himself later took back statements he made on the stand, saying he had been bribed.

The backstory to the potentially very explosive Aviello trial can be found here.  If he cracks under pressure (as expected), he may spill the beans on the Sollecito family, on the defense lawyers Maori and Bongiorno. and on the judges Hellmann and Zanetti,

Potentially all could face prison. No family goes in for bribing of judges and witnesses (along with numerous other dirty tricks) if their little pride-and-joy is truly innocent.

3) Erratic Knox PR

Knox recently was featured in a number of print exclusives to the very U.K. tabloids her family blamed for sensationalizing her case at the outset. She then did her own exclusive video interview in Seattle to the same Italian columnist [used by Sollecito].

Knox, Sollecito, and Oggi are all already being investigated for contempt of court, as explained in all these past posts. For such charges, depending on the seriousness (and serial, seemingly unstoppable false accusations of crimes is pretty serious), prison sentences if found guilty might amount to ten years. That would be on top of any new sentence out of the Florence appeal which this time is likely to be 30 years.

Planet Earth to Amanda Knox: Smart move #1 could be to put aggravators David Marriott and Chris Mellas on the back burnder.


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