Category: The two knives

Friday, May 11, 2018

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

1. Post Overview

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

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

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

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

2. All Our Powerpoints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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

Posted by KrissyG



Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments

1. Post Overview

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

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

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

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

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

2. Chief IP Misleader Hampikian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment by Ergon

Examples of typical dishonesty from Greg Hampikian in this article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Who Manages Or Crosschecks Hampikian?

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

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

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



4. Ten Quick Facts About Barry Scheck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. So The Bottom Line On Scheck Is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. IP Does Indeed Do Some Good Work

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

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

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


 

7. But Things Do Go Badly Wrong.

The Medill Innocence Project Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Daily Beast in 2014:

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

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

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

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

More from the report in the Daily Beast.

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

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

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

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


The IP Role

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

The State prosecutor, Alvarez, said at the time:

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

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

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

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

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

The Bombshell Twist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Ciolino Hits Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. My Conclusion About This Above

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

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

9. Tip For IP Contributors

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


Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

Posted by James Raper

Our YouTube whiz DelPergola’s video of November 2010

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

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

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

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

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

The significant elements in the examination were described as follows :

A fine pattern of petechiae on the internal eyelid conjunctive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


—————————————


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


—————————————————-


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


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



This post is one in our ongoing series.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The March 2015 report from News 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

The March 2015 report from Corriere.

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

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

by Giulio De Santis

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

Unreliable autopsies?

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

Cadavers in the corridors

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

Transferring the bodies

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

The March 2015 report from RAI News.

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

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

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

The March 2015 report from Cronaca

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

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

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

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

The March 2015 report from Dagospia.

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

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

SAPIENZA MORTUARY

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

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

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

MORTUARY

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

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

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

EUGENIO GAUDIO

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


3. Lab Reopens Sans Vecchiotti

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

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


Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

Posted by azoza



A rough physical equivalent of our document library

Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can see that logic strongly at work here.

Four search approaches

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Main_Page

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

The last branch will be done when uploads are complete.

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Master_list

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_type

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_motivation_reports

All court testimony PDFs are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

All deposition and interrogation PDFs here:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

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

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

(4) By chronology pages organize files by date:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_chronology

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

Important files:

Crime scene:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos

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

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

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

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

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

Crime scene video is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCTV:

We have made films of CCTV capture:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_CCTV_videos

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

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

DNA:

We have DNA report complete and in color:

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

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

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

Egrams in color are here:

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

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

UACV report:

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

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

More UACV materials are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Presentations

Rinaldi & Boemia:

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

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

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

Conti & Vecchiotti critiques:

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

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

and her written report here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medical consultants:

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

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

Related reports (all censored for disturbing content):

Autopsy:

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

Matteini’s consultants:

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

Mignini’s consultants (replacing Lalli):

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

Dr. Mignini:

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

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

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

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

Formal charges issued in English from July 2008:

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

Final fingerprint report:

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

Court testimony:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

Much of Micheli is audio only, which is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_audios

Various:

This Kokomani interview with Canale 5:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Interview_videos

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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

Posted by azoza



Image is of the very beautiful Perugia at night

Origin and mission

The impartial Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki began in 2013.

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

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

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

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

Purpose of this post

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

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

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

Major redesigns

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

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

Completing the picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

A directory tree is a strong possibility too.

The seven sections

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

The 1st section

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

The 2nd section

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

The 3rd section

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

The 4th section

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

The 5th section

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

The 6th section

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

The 7th section

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

A few quick notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion

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

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

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

ADDED 12 JULY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chambers May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #1

Posted by Cardiol MD



The Italian Supreme Court is in the background

1. How Overload Can Overwhelm The Checks And Balances

The Italian Supreme Court (SCC) has 396 Judges in Rome and elsewhere.

Because of the enormous pro-defendant tilt in the system, the SCC hears about 80,000 appeals a year - more than all other Supreme Courts in the rest of Europe combined.

The SCC operates in panels, typically of 5 justices; that scales to about 4 appeals/panel/workweek, or about 1 appeal/panel/workday. A huge workload impinging on carefulness and promoting distraction and exhaustion.

Even with a law-clerk infrastructure, and the most ingenious exploitation of human concentrated-attention-span, highly questionable outcomes such as that for Meredith’s case would seem inevitable.

The four SCC judges panels (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015) which have ruled on various issues arising as Meredith’s murder case inched its way through the Italian legal system have been composed of different judge-combinations, with different skills, different knowledge, different education, and different experiences.

In many cases high-tech issues are an integral part of the evidence before the courts. This requires the enlistment of expert opinions because the judges may not be versant in the relevant high-tech issues. All sides, the defence, the prosecution, other interested parties, and even the judges, can cherry-pick experts for hire, who often use brazen sophistry to persuade the judges in the experts’ favour.

These facts may help to explain if not justify the unexpected conclusion of this current SCC judges panel which is now drafting the Motivazione.

2. Circumstantial Evidence And The Italian Requirement For Certainty

Near the start of the 2015 SCC hearings Judge Bruno, one of the 5 members of the Marasca SCC-Panel, was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

As we await this particular Motivazione intended to explain its decision, we will review the Massei Motivazione, the Nencini Motivazione, and the several past SCC rulings to establish what do constitute the certainties - of which in fact as Italian law defines them there is actually a large number.

In order to be classified as Circumstantial Evidence in Italian Law an evidentiary circumstance or fact must be true to the level of being a certainty. Note that this rule does not supersede BARD, it applies only to the the acceptance of individual items of evidence as circumstantial, so it can mislead and confuse authors and readers.

As will be noted below, under this Italian requirement the unverifiable RS/AK broken water-pipe story can not be classified as pro-defense Circumstantial Evidence. Therefore it cannot legally be argued as corroboration of the excuses of Knox & Sollecito, including their mop claims.

Sollecito’s father, Dr. Francesco Sollecito, did say that RS had mentioned the alleged-leak of Nov. 1st, 2007, in the father’s 221 seconds, 20:42:56 call of Nov.1st, 2007.  Hellmann/Zanetti bought into this story, discussing it in their Motivazione.

AK is quoted by Nencini as referring to the alleged-leak in her testimony, but neither Galati nor the 2013 Hellmann/Zanetti-annulling SCC panel mentioned the alleged-leak. All seemed aware that there was no certainty.

3. An Explanation Of Why This Will Matter So Much In Future

In 2013 the SCC itself annulled most of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict in part because there was an obvious parceling-out of the pieces of circumstantial evidence and a lack of assessment of each piece of circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti had failed to check whether the possible flaws and lacks in the logical value of each single piece of evidence could be resolved by cross-checking them and taking in account the whole.

Have the SCC judges themselves now made this same mistake? It is especially at this level that informed legal analysis in Italy of the pending SCC Motivazione will concentrate, future books on the case will concentrate, and the final degree of legitimacy will be established.

Given the peculiarity that the case was not referred back down to Florence for adjustment, worries at this level especially could be driving the very obvious nervousness of all of the defense counsels, shushing and restraining their clients in the presumed hope that the SCC judges really can square the circle and achieve legitimacy.

4. Certainties And Certainly-Nots In The Circumstantial Evidence

1. Fracture Of Hyoid Bone?

The SCC-Panel for Guede’s Sentencing (English Translation) wrote on Pages 4-5:

c) The body presented a very large number of bruising and superficial wounds ““ around 43 counting those caused by her falling ““ some due to a pointed and cutting weapon, others to strong pressure: on the limbs, the mouth, the nose, the left cheek, and some superficial grazing on the lower neck, a wound on the left hand, several superficial knife wounds or defence wounds on the palm and thumb of the right hand, bruises on the right elbow and forearm, ecchymosis on the lower limbs, on the front and inside of the left thigh, on the middle part of the right leg, and a deep knife wound which completely cut through the upper right thyroid artery fracturing the hyoid bone, a wound which caused a great deal of bleeding from the vessels of both lungs.

This caused a haemorrhagic shock and asphyxiation by the presence of blood in the respiratory passages, an exitus [decease] placed at around 23:00 of Nov. 1 by the forensic pathologist.

The emphases are mine. The knife cut through the hyoid bone rather than fractured it (in the English version it should say that it severed the hyoid bone; this is a translation issue). A Certainly-Not then.

The wound certainly did not cause any bleeding at all from the vessels of either lung; this is not a translation issue. This is a factual error in the original Italian Sentencing Report. A Certainly-Not then.

(This shows how the SCC-Panel Reports are not infallible. Unfortunately the Marasca Panel will have to dredge-up some past, fallible SCC-Panel Reports in order to explain its own reasoning.)

2. Two Knives?

Massei Translation p377: “There must necessarily have been [405] two knives at the scene of the crime.”

Certainly! There were 2 major, penetrating knife-wounds into Meredith’s neck; one entering on the left-side, and one entering on the right-side, which was made by a pocket-knife of the size Sollecito customarily carried. The latter wound could not have been made by whatever knife entered on the left-side. Therefore 2 knives were Certainly used.

3. Single Blow?

Massei Translation p 371 “”¦a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone”¦”

Certainly Not.

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted”, “did not”¦. have elements of certainty to establish” it was “stopped by the jawbone.” Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “near” the jawbone. Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone or hyoid bone would halt the knife in this case, they would just roll with the blow, depending on the angle of attack.

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife. When your pet gnaws on a non-living cow-bone, neither the bone nor your pet’s teeth can bend; both your pet’s teeth and the bone can be broken, and the bone gets scratches on it because it is still softer than the teeth, but your pet’s teeth do not get scratches on them, because they are harder even than the non-living bone.

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action. Any implication in the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade, is a mistaken implication.

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot mark a harder substance. [To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would certainly not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

4. SMS Message?

It is Certain that at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007 Amanda Knox’s mobile-phone received the SMS sent to her by Patrick Lumumba, which let her off from having to go to work at the “šLe Chic? pub on the evening of 1 November.

Remember that mobile-phones are equivalent to convicts’ ankle-monitor bracelets, their use creates with Certainty a record of the Times of cell-phone activities, the Location of the corresponding transmitter-cell, and hence the general location of the mobile-phone, especially Ruling-Out particular Locations e.g. Proving whether the carrier of the phone was in or out of the range of their home transmitter-cell. Call Verbal-Content is not publicly available.

Here the mobile-phone Record proves that Knox’s mobile-phone was Certainly-Not in Sollecito’s lodging-house at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007:

At the time of reception, Knox’s phone connected to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, whose signal does not reach Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Amanda Knox’s mobile phone, and therefore Knox herself, was therefore far [i.e. absent] from Corso Garibaldi 30 when the SMS reached her, as she was walking in an area which was shown to be served by the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell.

This point of her route could correspond to Via U. Rocchi, to Piazza Cavallotti, to Piazza IV Novembre, bearing in mind that Lumumba’s pub is located in Via Alessi, and that Amanda Knox would have had to travel along the above-mentioned roads and the piazza in order to reach the pub.

Knox was therefore Certainly Not at Sollecito’s Corso Garibaldi Lodging at that time, contrary to the allegation that she was, and Knox Certainly-Could have been at her Cottage.

5. SMS Reply?

At 20.35.48 on Nov.1st, 2007, Amanda Knox Certainly sent an SMS in reply to Patrick, at No. 338-7195723; the message was sent when her on Nov.1st, 2007 mobile phone was in Corso Garibaldi 30 or in the immediate neighbourhood. The cell used, in fact, was that of Via Berardi sector 7 - no other [use] was shown for the day of 1.11.07, noting that Amanda declared during hearings that she had switched her mobile phone off once she had returned 323 to Raffaele’s house, claiming she was more than happy she did not have to go to work and could spend the evening with her boyfriend.

(Knox may also have been LESS than happy that Lumumba preferred Meredith instead of Knox as an employee. This was perhaps humiliating enough to Knox for Knox to decide that the time to cut Meredith down-to-size was now.)

6. Bomb Threat?

Massei Translation page 25: On “the evening of November 1, 2007 at around 10:00 pm, someone called and warned Elisabetta Lana not to use the toilet of her dwelling because it contained a bomb which could explode. Mrs. Lana immediately notified the police of this phone call; and they came to the house but did not find anything….”

This call was Certainly received, the Police Certainly came to Mrs. Lana’s home, presumably not long after 10: pm on the evening of November 1, 2007 (Time & Duration of Police presence apparently not publicly-available).

The Courts must know those times accurately and precisely; reasonably assuming them to be after Meredith’s murder, and near the time of the Phone-Dump (Otherwise, the necessary combination of coincidences is too implausible).

It is most likely that the visible, and possibly audible, presence of Police triggered the panicked disposal of the Cell-Phones down the steep slope that falls sharply into the valley below.

There is no need to invoke any awareness by the phone-dumper[s] of the reason(the hoax-call) that the Police were near Mrs. Lana’s residence.

So if the killers saw flashing police-lights, or any other sign of police near Mrs. Lana’s place, that sign could be enough to explain panic phone-dumping - then and there (not considering whether the phones were switched-on or switched-off).

According to John Follain the slope is heavily overgrown with trees and bushes, an ideal place to dispose of evidence. If the phones had fallen just a few yards further, they would certainly have gone over the edge of the cliff, down into a 50m gully, straight into a thick scrub of nettles, and probably been lost forever”¦.

7. Phone Dialings?

There were four dialings on Meredith’s mobile phones after her arrival home on the evening of 1 November ‘07:

    i. 20:56 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to Meredith’s mother’s home in England.

  ii. 21:58 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to mobile phone’s answering service, voicemail “˜901’.

  iii. 22:00 hours on 1 November 07, dial to Meredith’s London bank “˜ABBEY’.

  iv. 22:13:29 hours (9 seconds) on 1 November 07, attempted internet connection. Connection consistent with being attempted from cottage, but inconsistent with being attempted from Mrs.Lana’s.

These dialings are Certain with regard to Existence, Timings, and Location.

Massei Translation, page 331, attributes the above 4 dialings to Meredith absent-mindedly playing with the mobile phone in her hand, and her phone may well have still been in her hand when her attackers surprised her.

8. Phone Location?

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 22:13:29 hours on 1 November 07? Yes. Certainly.

9. A Tow Truck?

At about 22:30 hours Car broken-down nearby. Tow-Truck called-for.

At about 23:00 hours Tow-Truck arrives to load car.

At about 23:13 hours Tow-Truck leaves with loaded car.

These events Certainly occurred, but those times are approximate.

10. Francesco Called?

@23:41:11 RS’s father attempts phone-call but makes no oral contact. Father leaves message which is not received until 06:02:59 on 2.11.07.

This 23:41:11 call was attempted during the very time-frame of the attack on Meredith, her murder, and the flight of her killers with her mobile telephones. Meredith’s Phone[s] were removed from her cottage by about Midnight, less than 20 minutes after this attempted call.

These phone calls are Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

11. Phone Location?

For 2.11.07 the first record is that of MKP - [0]0:10: 31, (i.e. Very early in the a.m. 10 minutes and 31 seconds after midnight) “when it has been established as an incontrovertible fact that Meredith’s English mobile phone was no longer in Via della Pergola, the mobile phone having received the contact under the coverage from Wind signal [cell] ..25622, which is incompatible with the cottage.”

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 00:10: 31, 2.11.07? No!

Therefore Meredith’s English mobile phone had been removed from her cottage between 10.13.39 p.m. on 1.11.07 (more likely about 11.13 p.m.  when tow-truck departed) and 0:10:31 on 2:11:07; about 10 ½ minutes after midnight ““ say Meredith’s Phone[s] Removed By About Midnight, allowing for the time-elapse before being dumped near Mrs. Lana’s place. (Hellmann falsified this time-span on page 14 of his report, stating it to be more than 10 hours after midnight rather than about 10 ½ minutes after midnight.)

12. Phones Stolen?

At some time before Meredith’s attackers fled, they had seized her mobile telephones, probably near the beginning of the attack, having started their attack with a pre-emptive strike to intimidate Meredith, remove all hope, surround her, display knives, seal all possible escape-routes, and remove any possibility of phone-calling for help.

Immediately after Meredith’s scream her attackers had silenced her with the fatal stabbing, and then fled immediately.

They fled with her already-seized but still switched-on mobile telephones, probably without locking anything, including Meredith’s door.

Their over-riding and 1st imperative was not-to-be-caught-at-the-crime-scene.

See item 6. above.

13. Crimescene Meddling?

Having accomplished the Phone-Dump, Meredith’s killers next re-model the crime-scene, minimising the evidences of their identities, cleaning-up the evidences that it was “˜an inside job’, and simulating the appearances that it was “˜an outside job’.

One should bear in mind that these killers should have still been overwhelmed by their having actually committed a crime beyond their wildest imaginings.

Their panic impaired their thinking, and their ignorance, immaturity, inexperience, lack of technical resources and their arrogance precluded their selecting deceptions more effective against knowledgeable, experienced professional crime-investigators with a large fund of resources. They probably think that throwing the stone from inside Filomena’s room was a brilliant deception.

They wish it had never happened.

They wish they could make it unhappen (Hellmann/Zanetti got close to fulfilling this wish, but got themselves unhappened by Cassation)

They wish they could prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They cannot prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They may be able to postpone its discovery, but not longer than the inevitable return of the cottage-mates, later that day.

They believe that the person who “˜discovers’ a murder may become 1st-suspect.

They may be able to manouevre others-than-themselves into being the ones that make the discovery ““ quite a wily aim.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that:

Meredith’s killers seized her mobile telephones, and that

Her killers did not switch-off these mobile telephones, and that.

Her killers threw the telephones into an apparent ravine, landing in Mrs.Lana’s garden, and that

This phone-dump was accomplished before 00:10: 31, 2.11.07, and that

Amanda Knox caused:

    i. the English phone to ring at 12:07:12 (16 seconds) and be discovered by Mrs.Lana’s daughter only because it rang , and

    ii. the other phone, registered to Filomena Romanelli, to ring, very briefly, at 12:11:02 (3 seconds) and,

    iii. the English phone to ring again, also very briefly, at 12:11:54 (4 seconds), after being brought into Mrs.Lana’s house. 6. Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

In the opinion of the Court of Assizes (Massei Translation p.325), Amanda Knox’s call to Meredith’s phone was

...the first indispensible step before putting the [348] planned staging into action. The lack of a reply, since the poor girl was obviously already dead, gave a reason for reassurance about the fact that the young woman’s phone had not somehow been retrieved, [and] was therefore safe in the spot where it had been thrown, which, according to the expectations [in the minds] of the murderers was a precipice or some other inaccessible spot, rather than in the garden of a villa located barely outside the city, where the vegetation concealed it from view.

Knox may well have expected that she was safe from phone-discovery, but these calls turned out to be the very instrument of a phone-discovery.

Had Knox not made these obfuscatory stabs, in the time-frame she made them Meredith’s phone would not have rung when it did ring and would therefore not have been discovered by Mrs. Lana’s daughter when she did discover it.

14. Phone Switched On?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following:

00:10:31; duration and caller unspecified, but Wind signal [cell] incompatible with cottage, but compatible with Mrs. Lana’s place.

Therefore, Meredith’s mobile cell-phone had already been taken away from the cottage by her killers. It is not possible to determine from this phone-record whether the phone was switched on or off, but this phone was discovered at Mrs. Lana’s place because it was ringing, and therefore was “on”.

12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Knox’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made by Knox’s phone towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

Three more phone-calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

15. Francesco SMS Received?

At 06:02:59 Raffaele Sollecito received the SMS from his father allegedly wishing Raffaelle a good night; from the evidence of the mobile phone record printouts of Dr. Francesco Sollecito, it was shown that the sending of the message occurred at, as has been said, 23:41:11 of 1.11.07. This was the last SMS sent from that mobile phone during the whole day of 1.11.07

3+ Hours after receiving his father’s message from 23:41:11 of 1.11.07:

At 09:24 Raffaele Sollecito received a phone call from his father lasting 248 seconds]

At this time RS’s consiousness would be dominated by his guilty knowledge, and probably far-advanced in the accomplishment of the 3rd imperative.

Did RS and father spend 4+ minutes discussing the weather?

This is the first father/son opportunity to formulate the two-pronged water-leak story.

Although AK had already been to the hardware store 2 hours before, they may well not have known the potential DNA problems with the knife, the need to scrub it vigorously, to clean-out, and repair the drain-pipes under the sink, and the need to return the knife to RS’s kitchen drawer.

As it turned-out, Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

They probably did not know that incriminating stains could be invisible, but can be revealed by Luminol.

16. Francesco Calls Received?

At 09:29 another call was received lasting 38 seconds

At 09:30 (duration unspecified?) the father called Raffaele; the call connected to the Vial Belardi sector 7 cell.(the best server cell for Corso Garibaldi 30).]

These two calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations, were probably spent dotting “˜i’s, crossing “˜t’s, and exchanging options, such as enlisting sister Vanessa’s skills and contacts.

17. More Calls Later?

Another 2+ Hours later:

At 12:07:12 (duration of 16 seconds) Amanda calls the English phone number 00447841131571belonging to Meredith Kercher. The mobile phone connects to the cell at [346] Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (the signal from this cell is picked up at Sollecito’s house)

At 12.08.44 (lasted 68 seconds) Amanda calls Romanelli Filomena on number 347-1073006; the mobile phone connects to the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell (which covers Sollecito’s house)

Discovery will be inevitable when Filomena eventually arrives-back at the cottage.

AK/RS have accepted that they have to “˜stand-pat’ with their efforts so-far to accomplish not-to-be-the-“discoverers”-of-Meredith’s-body.

Amanda did not say a word in this phone-call to Filomena about Amanda’s phone call to Meredith, thereby withholding information that should have led Amanda to initiate discovery of Meredith’s body, and help Amanda to manouevre someone other than Amanda into being the one who “˜discovers’ Meredith’s body.

At 12:11:02 (3 seconds) the Vodafone number 348-4673711 belonging to Meredith (this is the one [i.e. SIM card] registered to Romanelli Filomena) is called and its answering service is activated (cell used: Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector3)

18. Yet More Calls?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following 5 calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations:

    i. 12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Amanda’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

    ii. 12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

    iii. 12:12:35 (lasting 36 seconds) Romanelli Filomena calls Amanda Knox (No. 348-4673590); Amanda receives the call connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 (still at Raffaele’s house)

    iv. 12:20:44 (lasting 65 seconds) Romanelli F. calls Amanda, who receives the call connecting to the cell in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (good for Corso Garibaldi 30)

    v. 12:34:56 (48 seconds): Filomena calls Amanda who receives it from the cottage on Via della Pergola 7 (the cell used is that on Piazza Lupattelli sector 7. As mentioned, Raffaele also used the same cell when he called the service centre at 12:35 hours to recharge [the credit of] his mobile phone)
19. RS Phone Location?

At 12:35: Raffaele’s mobile phone contacted a service centre for a phone [credit] recharge (the cell used was that of Piazza Lupattelli sector 7, which gives coverage to the little house on Via della Pergola 7. The signal in question does not reach Corso Garibaldi 30, which instead is served by the signal from Piazza Lupattelli sector 8)

At 12:38: Vodafone sent R.Sollecito a message of confirmation of phone [credit] recharge (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, good for Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:40: incoming call from RS’s father’s mobile phone (lasting 67 seconds; connection through Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, compatible with the Sollecito’s presence near the little house)]

At 12:47:23 (duration of 88 seconds): Amanda calls the American (USA) number 00120069326457, using the cell on Piazza Lupatetlli sector 7; the phone call takes place prior to the one which, at 12.51.40, Raffaele Sollecito will make to “š112?, connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1, which gives coverage to Via della Pergola 7]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 1st call, acknowledges making the call, and purports, now, to recall its substance, providing the reader with her version of what was said.

At 13:24:18 (duration of 162 seconds): Amanda calls the same American number which corresponds to the home of her mother, Mrs Edda Mellas, using the same cell. It is obvious that the young woman is inside the cottage, where by this point, several minutes earlier, the Postal Police had shown up, [347] represented by Inspector Battistelli and Assistant Marzi, who were engaged in the task of tracking down Filomena Romanelli, who was the owner of the Vodafone phonecard contained in the mobile phone found earlier in the garden of the villa on Via Sperandio]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 2nd call either, she acknowledges making the call, and provides the reader with her current version of what was said.

20. More Phone Locations?

At 12:50:34 outgoing call directed at mobile phone 347-1323774 belonging to Vanessa Sollecito, sister of the defendant; duration 39 seconds. Connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell 320

At 12:51:40 Raffaele Sollecito called “š112? to inform the Carabinieri of the presumed theft in Romanelli’s room (duration 169 seconds; connection to Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell, which covers Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:54: a second call by Raffaele to “š112? (57 sec.; connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Sollecito calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

21. More Phone Locations?

At 13:17:10 (lasting 1 second) to Meredith’s phone: the cell used was located in the same place, sector 7

At 13:27:32 (duration of 26 seconds): Amanda calls the American number 0012069319350, still using the cell at Piazza Lupattelli sector 7.

At 13:29:00 (duration of 296 seconds) Amanda receives [a call] from No. 075/54247561 (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

22. Another Phone Location?

At 13:40:12: incoming call from his father to RS (94 sec.; Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell)

Another Sollecito call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

23. More Knox Calls?

At 13:48:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to AK’s mother’s number

At 13:58:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to her mother’s number

The above item is a faithful translation from the Massei Motivazione section on Amanda Knox’s mobile phone traffic, but is listed out-of-time-sequence; the assigned-time is probably a “˜typo’ ““ “13:48:33” is much more likely correct.

Two more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

24. Francesco Call?

14:33: Sollecito’s father called Sollecito for 21 seconds (as above)]

Do RS and father exchange more caveats in their call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations?

25. More Knox Locations?

At 14:46:14 (102 seconds) Amanda receives a call from the German number 494154794034, most likely belonging to her aunt Doroty Craft

Call to Meredith’s phone at 15:13:43 (5 seconds) cell not indicated.

At 15:31:51 (1 second): Knox receives an SMS sent from the number 389/1531078; at this point the cell being used is the one on Via Cappuccinelli 5/A sector 2, where the Questura [police headquarters] is located.

Two more Knox-related calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

In the hours that followed the [mobile phone record] printouts show that the answering service of Amanda’s number 348-4673590 was activated due to a lack of signal coverage.

Massei Translation p.324:

Finally, the analyses of the [phone record] printouts highlight that the first phone call made by Amanda on the day of 2 November was to Meredith Kercher’s English number.

The American student called her English flatmate even before contacting Romanelli Filomena to whom she intended to express, as she testified in court, her fears about the strange things she had seen in the cottage, which she had returned to at about 11 o’clock in order to shower in preparation for the excursion to Gubbio which she and Raffaele had planned.

It is strange that Amanda did not say a word to Filomena about the phone call to their flatmate, when the call, not having been answered, would normally have caused anxiety and posed some questions as to why Meredith did not answer the phone at such an advanced hour of the day.

26. Sollecito Locations?

At 17:01: RS’s father called RS for 164 seconds; cell used is that of Via Cappucinelli 5/A sector 2, corresponding to the location of the Perugia Police Station

At 17:42: RS’s father called RS for 97 seconds (as above).

With regard to Raffaele Sollecito’s landline home phone (No. 075-9660789)

The above 2 calls presumably covered final agreements on the Father/son stories.

For the entire day of 1 November and then of 2 November, Raffaele Sollecito’s fixed line was not affected by any calls, either incoming or outgoing.


This series continues here.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Questons For Knox: Adding A Dozen More To The Several Hundred Knox So Far Avoided

Posted by Chimera



Knox during a pause in questioning at trial; her answers destroyed many Italians’ trust

1. State Of Play On The Questions Front

Sollecito and his father Francesco actually take questions without 99% of them being agreed-on in advance. 

They evade a lot and lose a little but they also gain some points, unlike a seemingly terrified Knox and a seemingly terrified PR who now seem stuck in tongue-tied and consistently-losing modes.

In Italy last night on the much-watched crime show Porta a Porta Francesco Sollecito had to go along with the official reconstruction of the prolonged pack attack on Meredith which rules out any lone wolf though he again maintained that Raffaele was not there.

Not by any means does TJMK give Sollecito a pass. He WAS there at the attack, the evidence is very strong. And we do have many dozens of pending questions waiting for him to respond.

But the truly evasive one is Amanda Knox. Previously helped by the fawning arm of the American press.

2. Pending Questions We Have Already Asked

These are ordered chronologically with the first questions, by Kermit in mid trial in 2009,  at the bottom of the list.

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Ted Simon Gone? With Legal And Financial Woes Will The Other Paid Help Stay

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why Does Book Smear Others On Drug Use, Mischaracterize Your Own?

Click here for: Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Why Claim Rudy Guede Did It Alone When So Much Proof Against?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: How Do You Explain That Numerous Psychologists Now Observe You Skeptically?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why So Many False Claims In Accounts Of Your Visit To The House?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Why The Huge Lie About Your ZERO Academic Intentions In Europe?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Do You Think “False Memories Kassin” Framing Italians Yet Again Will Help?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Did You Undergo An Illegal Interrogation By Mignini Or Did You Try To Frame Him?

Click here for: Questions For Knox: Diane Sawyer, How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

Click here for: Questions For Sollecito And Knox and Enablers: Several Hundred On The Hard Evidence

Click here for: Questions For Knox: The Questions That Drew Griffin On CNN Tonight SHOULD Have Asked

Click here for: Questions For AK And RS From Barbie Nadeau As Knox Slander Trial Starts

Click here for: Questions For Knox: (Powerpoints #11) 150 Hard Questions That You Incessantly Avoid

3. My Own Dozen Questions More

I have mentioned before my belief that Meredith Kercher’s attack and possibly death was premeditated, at least on the part of Amanda Knox.  Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, while accomplices, and also liable, did not plan this out.

Below is my own list of a dozen more hard questions Knox should be asked. This post focuses on questions that point towards forethought and premeditation.  And no, crying, having a fit, and refusing to answer just won’t do it.  An open challenge to not answer in a Hellmann-court-type wail.

1. Keeping the ‘‘See you later’’ Text to Patrick

You kept the message that you sent to Lumumba, which you wrote in Italian.  The literal translation from English implies that you actually intend to meet, rather than the English one that means a parting of ways.  As a language student, this common expression was likely one of the first things you learned, if you didn’t know already.

At your voluntary questioning, of November 5th/6th, you give that message to the police, and claim it as proof that you left Raffaele’s apartment to meet him.  The police didn’t force this knowledge from you, rather you volunteered it after Raffaele withdrew your alibi.  Patrick was falsely arrested, due entirely to your statements, and that message.

I considered, and rejected the idea that you might have kept the message in case Patrick might have wondered why you didn’t show.  If that were the case, you would have kept his message not to come in, and not your response.

Here is the 2009 trial video, the relevant part starts at about the 7:30 mark.  At the 10:30 mark, she talks about the message. At 12:15, she says she doesn’t know how to delete sent messages.

Question for Knox: Why did you keep Patrick’s message, if not to use later as a backup plan?

2. The Lack of Videotaping for the ‘‘Interrogation’‘

You and your supporters in the U.S. frequently complain that your November 5th/6th ‘‘interrogation’’ was never recorded.  You claim that if there was such a record, it would corroborate your claims, and prove you were beaten/smacked around/tortured.  A video would go both ways: it could either prove police brutality and misconduct, or it could definitively prove a suspect or witness was lying.

Until that night, you claim nearly 50 hours of interrogation (see December 2013 email to Judge Nencini), yet none of it was recorded.  Odd, if you were the suspect all along.  Witness summaries routinely are not, but suspect interrogations almost always are, if only to cover the police officer’(s) butt(s).

That night, when you said you witnessed a crime you did not report (Patrick attacking Meredith), your legal status changed from a witness to a possible suspect.  You were given a miranda warning, but still continued to talk.

At this point with your new status, the police would have wanted to videotape or audio record any questionings.  And if they had, any claims of the ‘‘police beat me’’ would have been very easy to refute.  So, by staying away from the camera, it actually creates at least a bit of ambiguity, and gives some wiggle room, should you decide to make complaints later.  It turns an open-and-shut matter into your-word-against-theirs where you lose.

Question for Knox: Did the police ever ask to videotape any of your ‘‘questionings’‘?  And if so, why did you refuse?

3. Transporting Raffaele’s Knife to Your Apartment

You and Raffaele were charged in addition to murder and sexual assault, with transport of a weapon, namely, a knife to your apartment and back.  Despite all the denials of your lawyers, it had Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and your DNA on the hilt (the infamous ‘‘double DNA knife’‘).  Most spontaneous violent crimes involve objects in the immediate area, such as the room, whereas this knife was taken from another location and brought to the crime scene.  Frankly, it reeks of pre-planning.

I considered, and rejected the argument of needing protection.  Knox never claimed she felt unsafe walking around Perugia, heck she sleeps with random people there.  If she did feel afraid at times, many women just clench keys in their fists, for something like that.

Even more disturbing, (as you admit you are a CSI fan) the knife was brought back to Raffaele’s apartment, cleaned with bleach, and put back.  Had the bleach actually destroyed all the DNA—it tends to miss DNA in cracks and grooves—it would have implicated Raffaele only, being his knife, and would not implicate you.  Rather than throw it away, like a ‘‘smart’’ killer would do, it is put back, where it is fairly easy to be found.

Question for Knox: Why did you bring the knife from Raffaele’s apartment, if not to use against someone?

Question for Knox: Why was the knife returned to Raffaele’s kitchen?  Were you hoping (as a fallback), that it might lead to him alone?

4. The Staged Break-In

You finally admitted, after long denying, that you staged an April Fool’s Day prank on April 1st, 2007, by simulating a burglary against a housemate.  You found it funny, while others found it disturbing.  However, in order to do such a prank, you needed to think in advance about how you wanted things to look. In short, this had to be planned out.

Well, the November 1st ‘‘break-in’’ at your apartment when Meredith was killed, was ruled by the courts to be a staged burglary.  There are just too many holes in your story, and in the crime scene, to believe it was legitimate.

But what is not clear, is whether the killers staged the burglary as a panicked response to Meredith’s death, or whether some of the details were worked out ahead of time.  And you had, as a prank, done this before.

I considered, and rejected the claim that it was a real burglary.  However, Judges Micheli, Massei, Nencini and the Court of Cassation disagree, and they can summarize it better.

Question for Knox: Did you think of simulating a break in at your home BEFORE or AFTER Meredith was murdered?

5. Rudy Guede’s Involvement

FoAK has long smeared Guede as a drifter, drug dealer, orphan, burglar, and many other things.  There was one bit of truth there: Guede had broken into at least one place, prior to Meredith’s death, although he had not been charged at the time.  He recently got his jail time extended though, as a result of this.

Interestingly, while you claim to not know Guede, your book seems to include a lot of detail about him.  You knew he was interested you.  You say he had done a break in, and you had staged a break in.  You allege his was done in Perugia, while your prank was far away, in Seattle, where no police were involved.  And let’s be frank: men say dumb things to impress women.  What an interesting person to bring along.

Question for Knox: Did you know about Guede’s prior break in BEFORE or AFTER Meredith was murdered?

6. Turning Off the Cellphones (you and Raffaele)

It is now common knowledge that most cellphones contain GPS that can track the movement of a user.  Police know this, and can often track suspects’ movements this way.  Smart people looking to avoid police attention have figured this out, and can turn their cell phones off (or leave them at home), to make their movements more ‘‘anonymous’‘.

Even smarter police have now figured out that people know, and can now find out if turning off phones is routine, or just a one time thing.  Jodi Arias was caught out this way.  Thomasdinh (Dinh) Bowman was caught out this way. See this.

You and Raffaele had never turned off your cellphones, but chose to (and together) the evening before Meredith was killed.

You gave multiple excuses. (1) Sollecito says in his book it was so you could fool around undisturbed.  (2) You say in your book it was so you wouldn’t receive a message from Patrick if he changed his mind and wanted you to work.  (3) You said in your December 2007 questioning with Mignini that it was done to preserve the charge in your phone.  (4) At trial, your lawyers disputed that the phones were shut off?

Question for Knox: Why did you and Raffele turn off your phones the night Meredith died, if not to cover your movements?

7. Ditching Meredith’s Phones

Meredith’s phones, both her English and Italian phones, were found well away from the home.  While it is normal to have a cell phone, very few people have more than one, and other than a friend, family member, or roommate, who would know this?  Meredith’s attackers took them both, and rather try to sell them or use them, dumped them.

Police have speculated that this was done to divert attention, and to give out false leads.  However, this amount of thought in a ‘‘hurried and rushed’’ crime seems very much out of place.  The unexpected consequence is that it helped narrow the focus.

I considered, and rejected the idea that they were part of an actual robbery.  A killer who seems to know so much about evidence, and about cell phone evidence, would take them, knowing the GPS would help track his movements.  Really, what smart killer would take a mobile ‘‘ankle bracelet’’ with him?

Question for Knox: Why did you take Meredith’s phones, if not to throw off the police investigation?

8. Keeping Frederico Martini’s Number in Your Phone

It is now well known, even if not reported at the time, that Frederico Martini (a.k.a. the ‘‘Cristiano’’ in your book), was a drug dealer you met on the train to Perugia.  You ditched your sister, Deanna, to be with him.  And since then, he had been supplying you with free drugs in return for sex.

It is also well known that you gave Frederico’s number to police, probably trying to divert attention from yourself once again, and that he ended up serving time for drug dealing.

You have enough sense to turn your cell phone off prior to phones (see sections 1, 6, and 7), so you clearly knew that phones can provide serious evidence against you.  If you truly were worried about the police searching your phone, you could have deleted his number, changed a digit or 2, changed the name, or otherwise hidden that information.

The police weren’t concerned with drugs, only with catching a killer. 

Question for Knox: Why did you keep Freddy’s number, and then give it to police, other than just another diversion tactic?

9. The Lamp From Your Room on Meredith’s Floor

The lamp from your room, the only source of light in your room, was found on the floor in Meredith’s room.  This would seem odd, as Meredith had two lamps of her own, and your room would be left dark.  Police have speculated that the lamp was used during the clean-up, and then forgotten.

This demonstrates a lot of control, as rather than grabbing an available lamp from Meredith’s room (if it were needed for cleanup), the killers would have moved outside the bedroom, grabbed a lamp from another room and brought it back.

It further demonstrates control, as there was no bloody footprints into your room.  Therefore, the killer must have cleaned his or her feet, then gone into your room to grab the lamp.  And that lamp was found wiped off prints, so whoever took it had the foresight to make sure their own weren’t on it, but had Meredith’s lamp been used, finding it wiped clean would have been a dead give away.

All of this smacks of planning, and had the lamp not been forgotten in the locked room, we would never have known any of this.

Question for Knox: Why was your lamp found on Meredith’s floor, if not to clean or search for evidence?

10. Gloves Used for Cleanup?

The police went through the house.  Although they did not test everything, very few fingerprints were found at all in the house, and only one belonging to Knox, on a glass.  Of course, it raises the question of why any random burglar or killer would do that, and points to someone who is there regularly—a resident.

Such an undertaking would have taken a long time, again, pointing to a resident of the building.  And while a sock or a cloth may be used a few times, it seems extremely impractical to use for any length of time.  That leads another obvious suggestion: gloves.

However, Perugia was still warm.  Amanda, (in that God-awful interview with Simon Hattenstone), said that she could sunbathe in October.  Even if she had them in her luggage, they would probably take time to find.  She was not known for wearing gloves as a fashion accessory.

Given her living habits, it is extremely unlikely she had her own cleaning gloves, and Laura and Filomena never reported such things missing.  Nor did anyone else.  So, where would they come from?

Question for Knox: Did you purchase (or steal) gloves prior to Meredith’s death?

11. Clothes and Supplies

You were seen in Quintavalle’s shop first thing in the morning on November 2nd, even if your lawyers contest it.  He claims you were looking in the cleaning section, but then left.  Strange, as you are not much of a cleaner, however he has no reason to lie.  You also claim that you were not ‘‘missing’’ any clothes, even though Filomena mentions a sweater you were wearing but has not been recovered.

It is also known that you have made many cash withdrawls in the month of October, with seemingly little to spend on.  Police and the media have speculated drugs, but with absolutely no paper trail, there is no way to know for sure how much was spent on what.

Question for Knox: Did you purchase any cleaning supplies, or extra clothes, either before or after Meredith’s murder?

12. Concerning The Gubbio Trip

You have travelled to many places, sure, but hadn’t really gone anywhere after settling in Perugia.  Yes, you had given serious thought to ditching the town, even buying a ticket to China.  Since meeting Raffaele, you two had kept in a relatively small area.  Therefore, the trip planned to Gubbio, for the day after Meredith was killed, seems somewhat out of place.

I may very well be wrong, but was this the first road trip you had taken with him?  You hadn’t packed anything, and you left your house (after the shower) without taking anything.  You apparently also didn’t notice Filomena’s broken window in front of you.

Question for Knox: Was the Gubbio trip for real, or was this a staged cover?


Saturday, November 29, 2014

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

Building An Evidence Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the rest


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Analysis #3 Of Testimony Of Dr Chiacchiera, Organized Crime Section: Contradictions Between RS & AK

Posted by Cardiol MD




1. Overview Of This Series

In 2007 Dr Chiacchiera was the Director of the Organized Crime Section and the Deputy Director of the Flying Squad.

He was one of the most senior and experienced law enforcement officers to testify at the trial. His testimony and his cross examination by the defenses occupied a lot of time of the court late in February 2009. He covered the following ground.

(1) He found Knox and Sollecito uncooperative when he asked them questions.

(2) Saw evidence contradicting any lone burglar theory and indicating that the “break-In” to Romanelli’s room was faked.

(3) Phone records and the police investigation into the accused phone activity the night of the murder.

(4) Discovery of pornographic magazines at Sollecito’s house.

(5) Details of how the large knife, Exhibit 36, was collected from Sollecito’s and the evidence that it is the murder knife.

Dr Chiacchiera was submitted to cross-examination on the above 5 items by 4 Attorneys for the Defence of Knox and Sollecito, by 2 Civil Party Attorneys, and to Re-examination by the Prosecution. He had a gruelling time as a witness.

All the translation is by the ever-dedicated main poster ZiaK. This series is highlighting some key portions. Here is the full 50-page transcript which will be posted in the trial testimony area of McCall’s great Wiki.

(GCM=Giancarlo Massei; MC=Manuela Comodi; MaCh=Marco Chiacchiera; GB=Giulia Bongiorno; DD=Donatella Donati; CP=Carlo Pacelli; LG=Luciano Ghirga; CDV=Carlo Dalla Vedova; FM=Francesco Maresca)

Continuation of Dr Chiacchiera’s Evidence-in-Chief:

MaCh: It emerged that normally Sollecito kept his cellphones, and also Amanda Knox, they kept their cellphones on until a late hour, evening, [sic] there is no telephone traffic from 20:40 hours. A thing of this “¦

{Witness begins Testimony re cellphones and is interrupted}

MC: But did this emerge from the declarations or did it emerge from the analysis of the [phone] records in the preceding days?

{Examiner interrupts witness with good Q re source of telephone-usage information}

MaCh: It emerged from the analysis of the [phone] records in the preceding days.

{Witness answers clearly}

GCM: Excuse me. Let me understand. In other words you say: the cellphone was switched off and there was no telephone traffic, these are two different things.

{Court asks good clarifying Q}

MaCh: I’m saying, Mr President. Two things. The first, normally Sollecito’s telephone and the telephone of Amanda, were switched on until the late hours. The fatal evening, they were switched off from 20:42 hours until “¦ one [of the phones] from 20:42 onwards and the other from about 20:50 onwards. One. Two, the traffic “¦

{Witness is Answering Court's Q in 2 parts. When he gets to his part #2, Court interrupts}

GCM: Before going on to “Two”, excuse me: “normally” ““ what does that mean? You had “¦

{Court is asking good Q re witness's Part #1, but is interrupted}

MaCh: We had done a comparative analysis of the telephone traffic of that evening with the telephone traffic of the preceding evenings. Shall we say the habits ...

{Witness interrupts Court with narrative response, and is also interrupted}

GCM: And so the “normally” emerges from this?

{Court interrupts witness's response with good Q}

MC: How many evenings? If you recall, or not?

{Examiner asks witness relevant Q, adding redundant Q}

MaCh: Months, no “¦ honestly, I don’t remember how many [evenings], but months.

{Witness stumbles, seeming uncertain re 'evenings' vs 'months'}

MC: I mean to say, not “¦

{Examiner preambles re her redundant Q but is interrupted}

MaCh: Not three days, no. The telephone traffic habits were evaluated. [This is point] one. [Point] Two, the element that emerged, that contradicted the declarations, I can’t report on the declarations but I can report on the element that contradicted [sic. i.e. provided the contradiction], that in effect no telephone call had arrived at 23:00 hours, as had been declared: on the phone line that was declared to have received that “¦ the recipient of that very phone-call. Another element: no interaction with the computer emerged, unlike what was declared. So there were a few objective elements of comparison from the analysis and from the technical checks that contradicted what had previously been revealed.

{Witness interrupts Examiner with narrative response to Examiner's Q, witness indicating contradiction between suspects' declarations and objective records of telephone and computer activity}

MC: For Amanda Knox, were there incongruities of this type?

{Examiner asks if incongruities/contradictions existed for Amanda Knox}

MaCh: Yes, there were incongruities because Amanda Knox was, how to say, contradicted by Sollectio, and then she contradicted herself, if I may “¦

{Witness answers affirmatively, amplifying applicability both to Sollecito & Knox, but is interrupted}

GB: President, if we continue in this way, then we might as well do the old [trial] procedure.

{Giulia Bongiorno, Sollecito's lawyer interjects, objecting-subjectively to Court, but submitting no legal basis for her objection}

GCM: Excuse me, please.

{Court seems to politely rule GB out-of-order}

MaCh: The elements, these are [sic], Mr President, I don’t know how to do.

{Witness communicates uncertainty to Court}

MC: But it is so difficult, however.

{Examiner chimes-in apparently commiserating with her witness's uncertainty}

MaCh: Mr President, I really don’t know what to do.

{Witness seems to repeat statement addressed to Court, who possibly interrupts}}

GCM: Excuse me”¦

{Court seems to begin response to Witness, but is possibly interrupted}

MaCh: If I have to describe the investigation activity “¦

{Witness may be interrupting Court or is continuing Witness's unfinished statement to Court}

MC: He’s not referring to declarations.

{Examiner chimes-in with his opinion re Witness's reference to Defendants' contradictions/incongruities - GB's interjection seems to have side-tracked court procedure}

GCM: Regarding these declarations, you can report on this [sic. i.e. in this instance?], and with regard to Raffaele Sollecito, you reported ““ citing the telephone traffic and citing the use of the computer. There now, and this is one point. With regard to Amanda Knox, you cannot report the declarations. But you may, however, say ““ following these declarations ““ what type of investigations you carried out, and the outcome of these. So, following the declarations given by Amanda Knox, did you do similar investigations, as [those you did] for Sollecito Raffaele on the [phone] records? Or was there nothing to do, except to “¦?

{Court rules on subject of testimony re Defendants' declarations, seeming to rule admissibility of Sollecito's declarations re telephone traffic and computer usage, but inadmissibility of Knox's declarations. Court does seem to permit description of investigations that followed Knox's declarations, without describing Knox's actual declarations, and Court asks whether phone-record investigations similar to those done for Sollecito were done for Knox.}

MaCh: Mr President, all the necessary checks were made, but in that immediate moment the most important element “¦ that is to say, in [this] place [NdT: i.e. “in this Court”], in this moment, in this place, that is to say, when they were “¦ I said [that] when the arrests were made, I don’t, I don’t know how to do, however, the incongruity of the declarations with the facts that we had found, and with the declarations that Sollecito had previously given us, [this] was the most important element. I don’t know if I have managed to “¦

{Witness seemingly responding to Court that he doesn't know how to deal with the declarations, is interrupted.}

GCM: No, excuse me (overlapping voices). So, with regard to Raffaele Sollecito, we have
understood these checking activities were carried out on the declarations made, the verification activities carried out, and [that’s all] very well. With regard to Amanda Knox, if you also carried out “¦ maybe there were no objective elements for possible checking, there were no “¦ or else, there were activities carried out of “¦

{Court, interrupting over witness's testimony, seems to be explaining his Q to witness, but is interrupted by witness}

MaCh: Later, there emerged a series of further elements.

{Witness interrupts with statement re unspecified further elements}

GCM: Not evaluations on the congruity, incongruity, likelihood, these are evaluations and will be done, there you go, comparably. I’m thinking of the [phone] records, of the use, if she had given indications on the basis of which [you] could carry out investigative activity “¦

{Court seems to want evidence in Knox's phone records justifying further investigation.}

Here ends the Testimony Of Dr Chiacchiera covering the relevant Phone Records, elicited by the Prosecution.

Next comes the Testimony Of Dr Chiacchiera elicited by the Prosecution, covering Discovery of pornographic magazines at Sollecito’s house, Details of how the large knife, Exhibit 36, was collected from Sollecito’s and the evidence that it is the murder knife


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Analysis #2 Of Testimony Of Dr Chiacchiera, Organized Crime Section: Discounting Any Lone Wolf

Posted by Cardiol MD



Dr Chiacchiera (talking) with his team explaining reason for charges in another case

Overview Of This Series

In 2007 Dr Chiacchiera was the Director of the Organized Crime Section and the Deputy Director of the Flying Squad.

He was one of the most senior and experienced law enforcement officers to testify at the trial.  His testimony and his cross examination by the defenses occupied a lot of time of the court late in February 2009. He covered the following ground.

    (1) He found Knox and Sollecito uncooperative when he asked them questions.

    (2) Saw evidence contradicting any lone burglar theory and indicating that the “break-In” to Romanelli’s room was faked.

    (3) Phone records and the police investigation into the accused phone activity the night of the murder.

    (4) Discovery of pornographic magazines at Sollecito’s house.

    (5) Details of how the large knife, Exhibit 36, was collected from Sollecito’s and the evidence that it is the murder knife.

All the translation is by the ever-dedicated main poster ZiaK. This series is highlighting some key portions. Here is the full 50-page transcript which will be posted in the trial testimony area of McCall’s great Wiki.

This post continues analysis of the evidence that the lone burglar/lone wolf theory was not credible to those that were first on the crime scene and that the “break-In” to Filomena Romanelli’s room was to them obviously faked.

(GCM=Giancarlo Massei; MC=Manuela Comodi; MaCh=Marco Chiacchiera; GB=Giulia Bongiorno; DD=Donatella Donati; CP=Carlo Pacelli; LG=Luciano Ghirga; CDV=Carlo Dalla Vedova; FM=Francesco Maresca)

Public Prosecutor Comodi [MC] Leads Testimony

Judge Massei [GCM}:  Excuse me a moment, just to give some guidelines, but of the evaluations that the witness is expressing, obviously it’s not that they can be taken account of, however we will acquire them [for the trial files] in order to understand the investigation activities, the appropriateness of the investigations that were carried out, directed in one way or in another, there you go. However, maybe, “¦ there you go, yes, maybe if we can manage to keep with the bare essentials this will help everybody.

{Court proceedings seem to have been diverted into a free-for-all colloquy, with multiple participants chiming-in, and creating confusion. Court-President, GCM, now politely intervenes, apparently trying to restore order, ruling that the professional evaluations made by the witness, testified-to by the witness, should be admitted for the trial files. The appropriateness of the witness's evaluations can be dealt with separately and later.}

Manuela Comodi [MC}:  Well, in short, they were called “¦ they are the only ones who can describe the whole progression of the investigations - Dr Profazio and Dr Chiacciera ““ because they are directors, they are the only ones who will come to describe for me, thus, what was the progression of the investigations. Clearly, in order to pass from one investigative act to another rather than “¦ and the choice of the subsequent investigative acts. It’s clear that they have to describe, in order to make a complete reasoning, even the lines of thought that, as Dr Chiacchiera said, it sometimes happens that they make. However, one point: apart from the break-in, apart from the broken window, there are “¦ did you acquire further elements that corroborated the idea that there had been a burglary? Nothing from Romanelli’s room had been carried off? Valuable things had been taken?

{Examiner acknowledges Court's admonition, argues importance of her witness's testimony, and segués into triple-Q addressed to witness re elements corroborating idea of burglary.}

Dr Chiacchiera [MaCh]:  This ... in fact, in the progress ...

{Witness begins to answer, but is interrupted by Examiner}

MC:  Was a declaration/complaint of theft made then, with a list of the things taken?

{Examiner interrupts witness with new double-Q}

MaCh:  In the logical progression, if I may in some way still, in summary, say what “¦.

{Witness begins narrative response but is interrupted by Court}

GCM:  Say the objective facts, if you have “¦.

{Court interrupts witness, beginning to admonish him to respond by testifying to objective facts, but is itself interrupted by witness}

MaCh:  Nothing disappeared, so a burglar would have had difficulty “¦

{Witness answers 3rd Q of Examiner's above triple Q, but then launches into a narrative beginning: "so…", but Court interrupts}

GCM:  Excuse me, nothing had disappeared? Before all else, what thing .... you knew what things were in that room that did not disappear?

{Court interrupts, questioning basis for witness's statement that "Nothing disappeared"}

MaCh:  Yes, because, shall we say, the investigation elements that then subsequently emerged, allowed us to deduce that from Romanelli’s room absolutely nothing disappeared. There was a complete mess/chaos, but nothing disappeared from Romanelli’s room. And this is another element to [lead us] to obviously deduce that the desired hypothesis of a burglar and of a theft was objectively “¦ But then the burglar does not [sic] close the door and throw away the key. The burglar does not cover the victim. The burglar “¦

{Witness answers Court's Q, with narrative explanation including reference to "the key", and Court interrupts}

GCM:  Excuse me. They key. What is this detail about the key? What is it?

{Court asks Q simple Q re "the key" - with apparent transcriptional error: "They key"}

MaCh:  There was no key.

{Witness answers Court's Q}

GCM:  There was no key where?

{Court asks simple Q}

MaCh:  Those who entered into the inside of the house first found the door closed. A closed door that then aroused the suspicions and that then gave concern and then it was decided to “¦ to break [it] down.

{Witness responds to Court's Q with narrative explanation}

GCM:  Excuse me, on [sic] Romanelli’s room there was no key?

{Court asks another simple Q}

MaCh:  No, I’m talking of Meredith’s room, Mr President; Meredith’s room was locked by key.
This is another “¦ how to say, the investigative deductions that we drew from these details that emerged, also from the declarations that we gathered.

{Witness responds to Court's Q, and informatively amplifies A}

MC:  Was it normal that Meredith closed herself [sic. i.e. her room] by key?

{Examiner asks witness a simple Q}

MaCh:  No.

{Witness gives simple A}

MC:  And did you find the key of Meredith’s room?

{Examiner asks witness a simple Q}

MaCh:  No.

{Witness gives simple A}

MC:  So it was closed by key, but there was no key inside?

{Examiner summarises witness's testimony re key and poses a simple Q}

MaCh:  But there was no key inside, so that it was necessary to break down the door in order to enter. Also the almost inexplicable detail of the presence of two cellphones in a garden of a house, doesn’t tend to favour the thesis of someone who enters and who accidentally, so to speak, finds a person and then kills them, because [he] is forced to kill them because they have seen [his] face.

{Witness responds to Q in form of confirming-repetition and amplifies A in expanded narrative-form}

MC:  But is via Sperandio far from via della Pergola?

{Examiner poses vague Q re proximity of 2 streets}

MaCh:  No. And there we tried to deduce. And via Sperandio, as I said earlier, Doctoressa, is not far from the house. We discussed [this] to understand why these telephones went and ended up there “¦

{Witness answers simply, and respectfully, introducing " the house" on one of the streets, seguéing into subject of the mobile telephones and is interrupted by the Court}

GCM:  Excuse me. When you say it is not far from the house, can you specify at what distance? How one reaches it?

{The Court's interruption is also vague, with double-Q, referring to an unspecified "it"}

MaCh:  Not far from the house means that, by following a route that any Perugian knows, Mr President, one passes through a park and one arrives, let’s say, near the gateway of Porta Sant’Angelo. So for this reason, as the crow flies, how much would it be, but less [sic] “¦ three hundred, four hundred metres. But to reach it by foot from via della Pergola to via Sperandio I think that it doesn’t take more than 5, [or] 7 minutes.

{Witness responds to Court in explanatory narrative form

MC: But do you have to pass by via Garibaldi?

{Examiner asks simple Q}

MaCh:  Yes. But you can also pass through the park ““ there’s a park that then comes out right in front.

{Witness answers Q, and amplifies his response}

MC:  Of the villa?

{Examiner seeks clarification of witness's response}

MaCh:  In front of the villa, at the entry to the villa. Looking from the street that crosses with the provincial [road], the one that, shall we say, borders the villa, whoever is looking at it, I repeat, I ““ who am 44 years old, am Perugian ““ I did not know that there was a garden behind there.

{Witness clarifies his response, amplifying further}

MC:  And how far away is via Sperandio from via Garibaldi, corso Garibaldi?

{Examiner asks apparently simple Q}

MaCh:  it’s parallel. It’s very close, very very close. It’s 200 metres away, as the crow flies. I think even much less, because they are almost parallel, let’s say. Even that is something that in some way made us understand that there was an interest in getting rid of those cellphones, clearly, by whoever did that thing there.

{Witness gives detailed response;
See: "Just seeing police could panic the killers into instant dumping of the telephones, without even needing to know why the police were where the police were (There is no need to invoke any awareness by the phone-dumper[s] of the reason the Police were near Mrs. Lana's place - the hoax-call.). So if the killers saw flashing police-lights, or any other sign of police near Mrs. Lana's place, that sign could be enough to explain panic phone-dumping - then and there (not considering whether the phones were switched-on or switched-off)." In TJMK: "Updating Our Scenarios And Timelines #2: An Integrated Comparison Of The Timing of the Phone-Events." 6/28/2013}

MC:  When you arrived for the first time in via della Pergola, did you enter the room of the crime?

{Examiner asks simple Q}

MaCh:  Immediately, no. I went in afterwards, when Dr Mignini also arrived; and later with Dr Lalli. Then I had, how to say, occasionally entered when the crime-scene inspection of the Forensic Police, of the colleagues arrived from Rome, was already begun, so late. I didn’t stop long inside the house, I say the truth, also because the measures/orders that I issued immediately were those, yes, of deducing, [of] drawing out all the investigative elements that might emerge in the immediate surroundings [and/or immediately after the facts] to seek to immediately direct the investigation activity, but also to “freeze” [sic. i.e. to solidify, or to make concrete] another aspect, which was that of hearing/questioning all the people who might tell us details on Meredith’s stay in Perugia, in general, but above all on her final hours, on her visits/visitors, everything about those who Meredith had known in some way and “¦ This was the thing that we considered logical to do precisely in relation to this, to these first investigative deductions that we drew from the [above]-described crime-scene.

{Witness gives detailed narrative reply}

MC:  And so that same day you were present when they began to hear/question…

{Examiner begins preamble to presumed Q, but is interrupted}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness interrupts Examiner with witness's answer to assumed Q}

MC:  “¦ the people [who were] acquainted with the facts.

{Examiner completes interrupted Q-in-the-form-of-a-statement, which omits Q-mark}

MaCh:  I was present. I did not participate personally in the examination [of witnesses], but I was present, in the sense that both with [my] colleague Profazio and with [my] other colleague from the central operative service”¦

{Witness responds with narrative description of circumstances, but is interrupted}

MC:  from Rome.

{Examiner interrupts with her assumed next part of witness's response}

MaCh:  from Rome. We began to put the pieces together, excuse my [use of] the expression; that is to say all the “¦ all the elements that emerged from the examination of witnesses, were checked, were gradually verified/cross-checked.  Both with cross-checks that enlarged the group of witnesses, of the people to be heard/questioned, and with the checking of the alibis of many people, [as well as] with a technical activity that was carried out.

{Witness confirms Examiner's assumption, and completes his narrative description of circumstances}

MC:  That is to say?

{Examiner enquires as to witness's reference to indefinite "technical activity"}

MaCh:  A technical activity. A bugging activity was carried out. There was also an activity carried out also for the cross-checking of the phone [activity] printouts. There was an activity to understand also the cross-checking of the [phone] cells. There was a very wide-range activity carried out. Without excluding, I repeat, all also [sic] ... shall we say, the minor hypotheses. For example, the news arrived of a Maghrebi who had been in a rush to wash his own clothes in a launderette, not too far from the scene of the crime. This piece of information was excluded for a very simple reason, because from the first results of the investigative inquiries, he had arrived there in the early afternoon, but instead, in the early afternoon of the day before her death, Meredith was still alive [sic]. Because from the witness examinations we had determined that the last person who had seen her alive, saw her in the late afternoon. After which, we also did another series of checks relative to the one [sic] that there was a strange telephone call that the people who found the cellphones in the famous villa, the beautiful one on via Sperandio, had received in the evening. However, we had, how to say, understood that it was a case of a boy who had made a call from Terni and of a strange coincidence, but absolutely irrelevant for the investigation activity. Indeed, we made checks on all the hospitals in order to evaluate, to check, whether maybe there were [patients] who had presented blade/cutting wounds that in some way might have been compatible with a wound, let’s say, or at any rate with a reaction by the victim. Only one had presented, it was a [person] from Foligno who, [while] cutting salami, had cut their hand during the trip back from an away-game with Foligno ““ he was a football fan. Nothing else. So no investigative hypothesis was rejected. It was, obviously, because this is how it is done, and thus I believe that it is logic, we began to discuss/think in a certain way, because we had deduced from all this scen, another series of further elements, that is to say that the person “¦.

{Witness responds with prolonged narrative re "technical activity" and seems to pause}

MC:  Speak. Don’t be afraid to say it.

{Examiner urges witness to continue}

MaCh:  No, no. I’m not afraid.

{Witness argues with Examiner}

MC:  That is, let’s say, when was it that the investigations turned to, [started] to focus on today’s defendants?

{Examiner asks simple Q}

MaCh:  When on the evening of “¦ they did not focus on today’s defendants, that is to say, progressively the analysis of the investigative elements made us “¦ made us start, even us, to suspect. Because going into a house, finding a [sic] door of Meredith’s room closed, a [sic] door of the apartment opened, faeces in the toilet [bowl], while I take a shower, a series of bloody prints”¦

{Witness responds in narrative form and is interrupted}

MC:  However the faeces were in which of the two bathrooms?

{Examiner interrupts witness with clarifying Q}

MaCh:  Of the bathrooms. Me, if I take a shower in a bathroom where there are faeces, instinctively I flush the toilet, in short.

{Witness makes non-responsive subjective statement and is interrupted}

MC:  Yes, but the faeces were in the other bathroom.

{Examiner engages witness in argument}

MaCh:  Yes, yes, I understood. However, in short, in some way it comes instinctively, no?, to flush the toilet? The fact is that “¦.

{Witness joins argument and is interrupted}

GCM:  Excuse me, do you know how many bathrooms there were in the house?

{Court interrupts argument with simple Q}

MaCh:  Two.

{Witness ignores actual Q and responds with answer to assumed follow-up Q}

GCM:  Two bathrooms. Excuse me, please. Do you know that a shower was taken?

{Court asks another simple Q, using vernacular ref. to whether a person used the shower, rather than that the the shower device was taken away.}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness answers Court's actual Q}

GCM:  How do you know?

{Court asks simple follow-on Q}

MaCh:  I know because it is a thing that I cannot, I believe, report because it was “¦.

{Witness seems to answer in non-responsive, subjective narrative form, and is interrupted}

GCM:  But you checked”¦?

{Court seeks objective answer to his simple Q}

MaCh:  I am trying to be very very careful.

{Witness hints that he has reasons for apparent evasion}

Giulia Bongiorno [GB]:  Mr President, we are talking of nothing.

{Sollecito's lawyer chimes in with distracting comment}

GCM:  Excuse me, Attorney.

{Court appears to admonish GCM not to chime-in without specified legal-objection}

MaCh:  Well, the main point [is] that very slowly we began to understand that there were strong inconsistencies in the revelations that were made. And there were behaviours that on the part of above all, indeed exclusively, of Sollecito and Knox, appeared to us as [being], at the very least, particular. Behaviours both immediately after the event ““ a sort of impatience/irritability shown [with regard to] the investigation activity that we were carrying out, and obviously we could not but ask [NdT: i.e. “we had to ask”] those who were close to Meredith [about] elements that we considered useful, even necessary, in order to continue the investigation activity.

{Witness launches into apparent justification for his evasiveness}

MC:  Excuse me if I interrupt you. I’ll just make a few precise questions, thus: you checked, let’s say, let’s call them alibis, even if it’s a term that’s very so [sic] from American TV films, but in any case [it’s] understandable”¦ Did you check the alibis of the people closest, let’s say, to Meredith?

{Examiner, after preamble, asks relatively simple Q}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness answers Q as phrased}

MC:  In particular, did you check the alibis of the young men from the [apartment on] the floor below?

{Examiner asks simple Q}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness answers Q as phrased}

MC:  Results?

{Examiner poses Q in casual form}

MaCh:  Positive for them, in the sense that they were at home, in their own home, that is to say their respective houses, because they were here for reasons of study, so they were not present in Perugia during the days when “¦

{Witness responds with allusive casual A, begins to amplify, but is interrupted}

MC:  Because they had left for “¦

{Examiner interrupts with suggestion for next part of witness's response}

MaCh:  Yes, for the All Souls’ Day long-weekend, let’s call it that.

{Withess reacts to Examiner's suggestion by stating reason for upcoming week-end absence, but not stating week-end destination}

MC:  Did you check the alibi of Mezzetti and of Romanelli?

{Examiner asks double Q}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness answers for both Qs}

MC:  Results?

{Examiner poses Q in casual form}

MaCh:  The result in this case also [is that] Mezzetti and Romanelli were not there, so “¦

{Witness gives clear Answer, apparently begins explanation, but is interrupted}

GCM:  Excuse me, can you say what checks you did?

{Court interrupts witness's testimony to ask Q re witness's method}

MaCh:  We carried out a whole series of checks that brought us to evaluate, establish, that these persons were not present in the premises that evening.

{Witness ignores Court's Q as phrased and answers anticipated next Q}

MC:  Let’s say, I imagine that you heard/questioned them.

{Examiner makes statement-in-form-of-Q with ?-mark omitted}

MaCh:  Yes.

{Witness answers presumed Q}

MC:  Did they tell you where they were that evening, what they did that evening”¦?

{Examiner seems to interrupt and asks double-Q}

MaCh:  And in effect, we assessed/considered that “¦

{Witness ignores Q-as-phrased and is apparently interrupted}

MC:  And you ascertained that in effect “¦

{Examiner apparently interrupts A and continues his interrupted multiple Q}

MaCh:  That it was true what they had told us. I can report on the circumstance.

{Witness seems to continue his interrupted answer and offers to expand his narrative.
Q &A cycle is confused and confusing because of repeated multiple Qs, instead of orderly single Q & A}

MC:  Did you check the alibi of Amanda Knox and of Raffaele Sollecito? Was there a comparison between the declarations of Amanda Knox and of Raffaele Sollecito with regard to the night of the murder, and what you were able to compare, shall we say, objectively, through the other declarations, through the phone records?

{Examiner asks multiple Qs}

MaCh:  Through the phone records and through the checks [that were], shall we say, objective, it was found that what Sollecito had declared was not truthful because there was a phone call that was never received [i.e. answered] by Sollecito at 23:00 hours. Because it turned out that there was no interaction with the computer, but I believe that this “¦ as declared [sic]. But above all there was an absolute incongruity of the “¦.

{Witness summarizing findings wrt phone records, is interrupted}

GCM:  There now. Excuse me. Maybe we will not ask the question in these terms: following the declarations, on which you cannot report, that you got from and that were given by Amanda Knox and Sollecito Raffaele, what type of investigations you carried out”¦

{Court interrupts to restrict Qs but is interrupted}

MaCh:  We carried out ...

{Witness interrupts Court's interruption and is interrupted}

GCM:  ... and the outcome of these investigations. There now. This is where we’re at.

{Court completes it's interruption, seeming to believe he has made himself clear, but confusion still reigns}

MaCh:  Well, in summary ...

{Witness begins a summary, but is interrupted}

GCM:  Following the declarations given by them, you had “¦ With regard to Sollecito Raffaele, what did you do and what [information] emerged?

{Court interrupts witness with double-Q}

MaCh:  It emerged that, unlike “¦

{Witness begins to answer Court's 2nd Q, but Court interrupts}

GCM:  What did you do, first?

{Court repeats1st Q}

MaCh:  We did an analysis of the telephone traffic, and from the analysis of the telephone traffic it emerged that Sollecito had absolutely not received/answered the 23:00 hours phone call as he had declared. From the analysis of the telephone traffic, there then emerged a very strange detail, in the sense that the cellphones “¦

{Witness answers 1st Q, begins answering 2nd Q, and is interrupted by Sollecito's lawyer}

GB:  (overlapping voices) “¦ continue with the opinions/judgements, with all the opinions/judgements.

{Sollecito's lawyer seems to demand comprehensive testimony}

GCM:  That which emerged.

{Court makes seemingly cryptic statement which is probably a Q relating to witness's interrupted A to Court's 2nd Q above: "It emerged that, unlike "¦" }

MaCh:  A detail/particular emerged ... unlike what “¦. (overlapped voices).

{Witness resumes testimony but is interrupted, multiple voices are heard}

GCM:  Excuse me. What emerged?

{Court asks witness to clarify what witness was saying}
_____________________________________________

Here ends the Analysis of the Evidence #2, discussing that the lone burglar theory is not credible, and that “Break-In” to Romanelli’s room was faked.

The next Post:  Analysis of the Evidence #3, will Analyse the Phone records and the police investigation into the accused phone activity the night of the murder.

 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Final RS & AK Appeal Against Guilty Verdict May Fail: Multiple Wounds = Multiple Attackers

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Reports From Italy On Why AK & RS Appeal Failed

The Nencini Report has been released and we are seeing to its translation right now.

Meanwhile journalists in Italy have these reports which convey the very implacable, damning tone. There was nothing accidental about Meredith’s death; Knox premeditated it all along.

First report

From Il Messagero kindly translated by Miriam:.

FLORENCE -  The knife that was seized at Raffaele Sollecito house is the knife that killed Meredith Kercher, and the blow was delivered by Amanda Knox.  So writes the President of the Court of Appeal of Florence, Alessandro Nencini, in the motivation report of the sentence that was passed on Jan. 30th that saw Amanda Knox sentenced to 28 and a half years and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years.

Over 330 pages in which the court covers the appeal and explains the conviction. Starting with the knife considered “not incompatible with the wound that was carried out on Meredith Kercher. “In the present case, writes Nencini what counts is the accessibility of the weapon by the accused, it’s concrete portability from house to house, it’s compatibility with the wound, and the presence of Meredith’s DNA on the blade. All of these elements ascertained by the court lead to the conclusion that the knifed evidenced as no. 36 was one of the knifes used in the attack, and was the knife that Knox used to strike the fatal blow to Meredith’s throat.”

The court retains to have sufficient evidence of “certain reliability” of Rudy Guede (convicted to 16 years) Amanda and Raffaele in the house where Mez was killed, on the night between the 1st and November 2, 2007 in 7 Via della Pergola “in the immediate phases following the murder.” The Court then tells how she was immobilized and Mez “was not able to put up some valid resistance because she was dominated by multiple assailants and cut at the same time with the blades of several knives.”

Rejected therefore is the defense’s strategy of both of the convicted, that have always maintained that the killer was only one.: the Ivorian Rudy Guede.

Second report

Bullet points from various Italian media.

  • The big knife from Sollecito’s house held by Amanda Knox caused the fatal wound to Meredith while the other was held by Raffaele Sollecito.

  • There is strong “multiple and consistent” evidence of all three in the house immediately following the murder.  All three worked to suppress Meredith.

  • There was an escalating quarrel between Knox and Meredith leading to a progressive aggression and murder with sexual components.

  • Between Amanda and Meredith there was no mutual sympathy and Meredith harbored serious reservations about the behavior of AK.

  • The biological trace found on the bra clasp that Meredith Kercher was wearing the night she was murdered was left by Raffaele Sollecito
Third report

No especially accurate reports in English have appeared yet and the erroneous “new trial” is still surfacing. Andrea Vogt tweets that she will be posting an analysis soon.

The mischievous defense-inspired “sex game gone wrong” and “satanic theory” mantras are still widely showing up in the duped media, but are nailed hopefully finally in this new report.

Judge Nencini has closely followed and endorsed the “from all angles” Massei trial analysis, but with the inclusion of some more credible explanations from Prosecutor Crini which Judge Micheli had also espoused back in 2008.

In particular, Rudy Guede is not now highly improbably seen as the one initiating the attack on Meredith, and sex was not at all the primary driving force for the attack (the prosecution never ever said it was). Knox carried the big knife from Sollecito’s for a purpose.

The bad blood between the girls resulting from Knox’s crude, brash, very lazy, drug-oriented behavior was well known in Meredith’s circle. All of them had backed away from her, as also had her employer and the patrons in his bar.

There was a probable theft of money by Knox who was unable to account for a sum similar to what Meredith would have stashed away for the rent and that is seen as the probable spark for the explosive argument and attack.

Fourth report

Barbie Nadeau in The Daily Beast

Amanda Knox apparently did not kill Meredith Kercher in a “sex game gone wrong,” as had been previously decided by a lower court in Perugia, according to a Florentine appellate judge who released today a 337-page document explaining his decision to convict Knox and her erstwhile Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, for Kercher’s murder. Rather, the judge claims, Knox allegedly killed Kercher, her 21-year-old British roommate, because she didn’t like her.

All Italian courts require judges to explain the reasoning behind their rulings, and it likely represents the penultimate step in a seven-year case that has seen Knox and Sollecito first convicted in 2009 then acquitted in 2011 then convicted again in January 2014. Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native who was also convicted for his role in the murder back in 2008, is serving a 16-year jail sentence. He is currently eligible to apply for work furloughs from prison.

Judge Alessandro Nencini, along with a second judge and six lay jurors, were tasked with hearing a second appeal that began in September 2013 after Italy’s high court threw out the acquittal that set Knox and Sollecito free in 2011. Italy’s high court cited “inconsistencies” and “legal mistakes” and tasked Nencini’s court with hearing the appeal again. It was not a retrial per se, but rather a fresh look at the appeal process that freed Knox.

Nencini decided that the appellate court that set Knox free erred in evidentiary and legal matters. That court will now have to rule definitively on the case, using Nencini’s reasoning and whatever appeal Knox and Sollecito file for their final judgment. If the high court accepts Nencini’s verdicts, the two will be required to serve their prison sentences in Italy. Knox has vowed she will not return to Europe, but Sollecito, unless he escapes, won’t be as lucky.

The court’s explanation of its decision comes down hard on the first appellate court that overturned Knox’s guilty verdict, at times seemingly scolding them for misapplication of penal codes and for throwing out witness testimony without explanation. “It was an operation of evaluating evidence with using logic,” Nencini wrote, accusing the first appellate court of essentially throwing out testimony that allegedly proved Knox’s involvement, but keeping testimony that supposedly supported her innocence.

He used Knox’s prison diary as a prime example. “Look at the contradictions in the evaluation of the diary written in English by Amanda Knox,” he wrote, referring to a handwritten prison diary taken fromKnox’s cell as part of the investigation to determine why she accused her pub boss Patrick Lumumba of Kercher’s murder during early interrogations. “On one hand, the appellate court of Perugia completely devalued the writings when she admitted wrongdoing by accusing Patrick Lumumba. On the other side, they valued it when she defended herself.”

Nencini also ruled that there was plenty of forensic evidence tying Knox and Sollecito to the crime scene, writing “they left their tracks in the victim’s blood” more than once in the document. He accepted testimony that supported the theory that a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment was one of the primary murder weapons, and he reasoned that a second knife was also used that matched a blood stain left on Kercher’s mattress.

The first knife in question was the only hard evidence reexamined in the second appeal, and forensic experts ruled that a previously untested spot on the knife’s handle consisted of 100 percent Knox’s DNA. An earlier court heard testimony that a tiny smidgeon of DNA on the groove of the blade was Kercher’s, but the first appellate court agreed with witnesses who testified that the sample was too small to be considered a perfect match. The second appellate court not only considered the knife to be the murder weapon, it also ruled that Knox “plunged the knife into the left side of Kercher’s neck, causing the fatal wound.”

The second appellate court also reasoned that Kercher’s bra clasp, which had been cut from her body after she was killed, had Sollecito’s DNA on the tiny metal clasp. “The biological trace found on the bra clasp that Meredith Kercher was wearing when she was assassinated belonged to RaffaeleSollecito,” Nencini wrote, agreeing with the judge in the original murder conviction. “The clasp was manipulated by the accused on the night of the murder.”

The court also scoffed at certain rulings laid out by the first appellate court, saying that the court’s reasoning that it would have been easy for “a young athlete” like Rudy Guede to scale the wall and enter the apartment, was borderline racist.

Nencini also ruled that with regard to motive in the murder, it was subjective and personal. “It is not necessary for all the assailants to share the same motive.”

The court picked out small details of Knox’s presumably errant testimony, including how she told police the morning Kercher’s body was found that Kercher always locked her door “even when she takes a shower,” which was later contested by the girls’ other roommates.

Nencini also clearly believed ample forensic testimony, presented by experts examining the original autopsy, that Kercher was killed by more than one person. “”She was completely immobilized when she was murdered,” he said, reasoning that Guede could not have acted alone, and instead likely held her back as Sollecito and Knox knifed her.

The judge also pointed out incongruences in Knox’s testimony about the night of the murder, but noted problems with the other witnesses, which included a homeless man, an elderly woman who said she heard screams. Still, he ruled that Knox’s accusation of Lumumba is vital evidence against her. “It is impossible to separate the two acts,” he wrote.

Using Nencini’s reasoning, Knox’s lawyers now have the roadmap for planning their final appeal to Italy’s high court, likely later this year or in early 2015. However, this same high court threw out the acquittal in the first place, so Knox may need more than luck to walk free. If she is definitively convicted, she will likely face an extradition order to come back to Italy to serve out her sentence. There are very few legal loopholes that would allow an American citizen to escape a court decision by a country, like Italy, that shares extradition treaties with the U.S.



[Judge Massei at crime scene; report says why Knox & Sollecito appeal against his 2009 verdict has failed]




[The Supreme Court in Rome is expected later this year to confirm this outcome]


Monday, February 03, 2014

Authors Of “Math On Trial” Bring The Explanations Of The Hard DNA Evidence Up To Date

Posted by Peter Quennell




The important new book in question Math On Trial is by mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez who is Leila’s daughter.

This article by Leila Schneps appeared in yesterday’s edition of The Independent and explains why the Nencini court has not ruled out any of the DNA evidence.

It’s not right to say there is “˜no evidence’ in the case against Amanda Knox. There’s plenty

The DNA alone is enough to raise questions

The verdict handed down yesterday at the new appeal trial for Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, accused of the murder of British citizen Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, may come as a surprise to those whose view of the case has been affected by an international media blitz based on the oft-repeated claim “There is no evidence”.  Many believe that Rudy Guede, convicted in October 2008 for participating in the murder, acted alone.

There is, however, copious evidence to consider: the DNA alone is enough to raise questions. Leaving aside much of it, let’s focus for a moment on three key pieces of DNA evidence and present them from both sides, just as the jury may have heard them spoken of in court.

First ““ the bra clasp.

The part of the victim’s bra containing the hooks had been ripped or slashed from the rest of her bra.  Not immediately collected on that first day after the murder, it remained in the room in a sealed house for six weeks before being sent to the lab in December. There, it was tested and found to contain a large sample of Meredith’s DNA, together with a smaller but clearly visible contribution from Sollecito. The defence objections: firstly, between the two searches, objects in the crime room had been moved around, and indeed the bra clasp was found about a metre away from its original position.

Secondly, apart from “˜alleles’ - genetic traces -  of Meredith and Sollecito on the clasp, there were a few unidentifiable extra ones. Putting these two facts together, the defence pointed out that Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp could have been a consequence of a careless police technician stepping on Sollecito’s DNA elsewhere in the flat and then entering the room and stepping on the bra clasp, even though no DNA of Sollecito was found anywhere else in the house except on a single cigarette butt in the ashtray.

Second ““ the mixed stain.

Although not visible to the naked eye, the chemical Luminol which flashes blue on contact with blood revealed a spot in the room of the flatmate whose window had been smashed and room rifled.  Swabbing the spot produced a mixture of Amanda and Meredith’s DNA. This is a clear proof that the murderer entered that bedroom after the murder, as someone must have brought Meredith’s blood into the room, contradicting the defence theory that Rudy Guede broke into the house and then committed the murder.

The usual defence explanation for mixed DNA stains in the bathroom and corridor, namely that the house would have been coated in Amanda’s DNA given that she lived there, does not necessarily apply to a flatmate’s bedroom. It is much harder to leave traces of DNA than is commonly conceived, and hardly any of Amanda’s DNA was found in her own room - where she surely spent a lot more time than in her flatmate’s.

Lastly ““ the knife.

Days after the murder, a large kitchen knife was seized in Raffaele’s flat, where Meredith had never set foot. Police geneticist, Patrizia Stefanoni, swabbed spots on the blade of the knife and on the handle in the knife’s first DNA Test.  One spot in particular attracted her attention: a visible scratch on the flat of the blade.  The swab taken from this scratch yielded a positive ID for Meredith Kercher.

By the third trial, when a new attempt was made to collect DNA from the knife (which had been swabbed again during the appeal trial, though no tests were then conducted) there was no match to Meredith ““ a result welcomed by Knox’s defence team, though it did not in fact impact on the findings of the first trial.

Stefanoni’s test ““ she only conducted the first - came under strong fire in the courtroom. Two independent expert witnesses called in for the appeal against Knox and Sollecito’s original 2009 conviction stated that she had not worked in conformity with standard international protocol.  Indeed, standard protocol for DNA testing involves three steps: first determining how much DNA is in a sample, secondly amplification, which reproduces the sample millions of times, and thirdly electrophoresis which produces the familiar DNA graphs showing peaks in the location of an individual’s alleles.  Under cross-examination, Stefanoni explained that quantification had given a result of “too low” as the machine she used that day was not the most sensitive one in the lab.

Knowing that samples undetectable by the machine can still be sufficient to yield positive results, she chose to continue with testing. At the second stage of testing, amplification, a sample will normally be split into two or more pieces in order to run independent tests.  But knowing that the sample was small, Stefanoni feared that cutting it in two would yield no result at all, and chose to amplify the entire sample in one unrepeatable test.  The end result was a perfect match to Meredith Kercher.

Knox’s supporters have claimed since the beginning that the accusations levied against her are based on the Italian justice system’s hatred of a pretty, American girl who likes parties and having sex. And whilst both parties protest their innocence , Thursday’s decision shows that there is real evidence against her and Sollecito, that cannot be ignored.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Continuing Enormous Strength Of The Evidence Which Defenses Seem To Have Abysmally Failed To Shake

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above Judge Massei at Meredith’s house with panel-of-judges members early 2009]


What this Florence appeal is REALLY about

There is much confusion on this, sowed by various at-distance commentators who don’t read the Italian press or the excellent English-language reporters right there on the spot.

This is NOT a re-trial. This is a FIRST appeal by Sollecito and Knox against the guilty verdicts and sentences Judge Massei awarded them late in 2009. It is being repeated since their defense teams helped to bend the first (Hellmann court) iteration of the first appeal two years ago.

Since the end of 2009 they have been provisionally guilty of murder and other crimes, subject to final ratification by the Supreme Court, which has not yet occurred. Judge Hellmann decided to let them out and travel worldwide. Many think his decision on this was legally weak.

Was there prime-face justification for this appeal?

Under US and UK law many lawyers and judges think the judicial process could have stopped right there in the US and UK, because the grounds for appeal the defenses came up with in 2010 were essentially innuendo about DNA and little else.

But the pro-defendant Italian system unlike almost any other in the world allows appeals if any are filed to automatically go forward. So the bent, stretched-out and illegally wide-scope Hellmann appeal of 2011 was the first result.

Appointed apparently in illegal circumstances to replace the highly-qualified Judge Chiari (the lead-judge for criminal appeals, who then resigned) Judge Hellmann was ill-qualified at best - he was not a criminal judge and had handled only one other murder trial before, which he got wrong.

The annulment of the first first-appeal

The Supreme Court very rarely completely annuls any trial or appeal. But in this case in March 2013 it did just that, on a large number of grounds.

The 2013-2014 Nencini appeal court in Florence starts with the early-2010 Massei report plus new guidelines from the Supreme Court. Nothing else floated since early 2010 counts.

This case seems to break all records ever for (1) defamatory and dishonest PR; (2) dirty tricks, many illegal, by the defense; (3) dishonesty by those accused in two defamatory books and multiple statements to the press; and (4) greed and blood money while the process still goes on.

Contempt of court trials and investigations have commenced to push back, Amanda Knox is particularly at risk because her book contains false accusations of crimes (again) and she defies the Supreme Court in not paying Mr Lumumba his damages though she destroyed his business. 

Suggested Reading: Part One

Sooner or later (no necessarily now) read all the must-read posts in this group here, all the open questions for Sollecito in this group here, and all the open questions for Amanda Knox in this group here.

1. Getting up to speed on the 2008 RS and AK charges

Our four-part summary of Judge Micheli’s report is the best thing to read (scroll down) especially Micheli’s argument that ONLY Knox had any reason to re-arrange the crime scene - she lived there and needed to point evidence away from herself.

Also read Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s many mutually contradictory attempts to provide one alibi for both.

2. Getting up to speed on the 2009 RS and AK trial

The prosecution performed brilliantly and left the defenses despondent and out-classed (paving the way for more dirty tricks in 2010-13) and we were told that two defense lawyers nearly walked off.

To get a flavor of how badly the defenses did, read this post and this post on Knox’s absolutely disastrous stint on the stand. From there the defense portion of the trial really went downhill.

To get a flavor of how well the prosecution did read about the damning reconstruction (known about in all of Italy but not widely elsewhere) described here and here.

3. Getting up to speed on the Massei 2010 Report

The most vital read of all is the short-form version of the Massei Report by Skeptical Bystander and a team on PMF dot Org. If you have no time to read any posts, make sure to read that.

The other vital reads, not here but on the new “The Murder Of Meredith Kercher Wiki”, are the overview of the evidence and the chart of evidence synopsis.

We had a large number of posts starting in 2010 checking out whether in all details the Massei Report got it right. Read this first take.

4. Getting up to speed on the crime-scene scenario

Vital to understanding the Massei court’s crime-scene scenario which Prosecutor Crini espouses, wade through this excellent reconstruction of the crime in a long Powerpoint by our lawyer James Raper with the Powerpoint whizz Kermit.

About Part Two

The next part of our most-recommended reading from 2010 to 2014 will follow after the verdict to help correct the ill-informed debate over whether Knox goes back to jail.

It hardens the case and in our view leaves no holes for RS and AK to wiggle through. We will point the post to those arguments that anyone tries to raise.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Strong Proof That Raffaele Sollecito Also Stabbed Meredith Kercher Causing The Lesser Wound.

Posted by Ergon



Sollecito’s “pocket knife” is a Spiderco Delica4 Emerson Opener made for killing people

Overview

This picks up from from my previous post just below on the large knife that overwhelming evidence shows was wielded by Amanda Knox. 

Sometime around Thursday, January 30, 2014, Judge Nencini of the Florence Appeals Court will be delivering the verdict of the court in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, at which time all arguments regarding the knives, staged burglary, DNA and forensics, false accusation, wonky alibis, and reliability of witnesses will be rendered moot.

There will be nothing left but an argument about the legality of the process, and not the evidence, presented by the defenses if they choose to at some point in the fall of 2014 before Cassazione, the Supreme Court in Rome.

But, until then, we are left with the indelible image of Raffaele Sollecito’s defense attorney Giulia Bongiorno a few days ago flailing with two knives in court, arguing (1) the kitchen knife doesn’t fit the major wound, and (2) there’s a missing knife, which she suggested was a pocket knife wielded by Rudy Guede.

In part I, I proved that the imprint of the knife on the mattress sheet matched the kitchen knife, in shape and dimensions. We have already seen in other articles here on TJMK, that there is a definitive match with Knox and Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the murder weapon, and now we know it was transported to the cottage, to leave its mirror image on the bed.

Here, in part II, is a recap of Massei on the knives and wounds inflicted on Meredith Kercher, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound.

Also we will have Frank Sfarzo and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds. And it will try to address what happened to the missing knife that inflicted the lesser wound on Meredith, and who might have wielded it.





Closeup of the stabbing end of the Spiderco knife shown at the top


Deliberate false claims

One of the many myths surrounding this case was that investigators had no reason to seize the kitchen knife from Sollecito’s flat, and when I showed the photos from Conti’s lab, with the deep scratches on it, that it may have been altered in some way, and denying that was where some of Meredith’s DNA might have been trapped. IIP even posted an out of focus picture some time back to prove that point.

Here is Frank Sforza on the late and unlamented Perugia Shock.‘ANY KNIFE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WOUND’

End of a Myth

Frank Sfarzo, Sept. 19, 2009

Quote: “It was introduced in the room, it was taken out of the box with all precautions, it was shown to them like a relic. They could have a look at it from a distance, and see, or believe to have seen, the groove into which the biological material of Meredith was found.” And:

“Amanda Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova brought him (independent expert Professor Cingolani) to say something very clear about the main one: any single-edge knife is compatible with Meredith’s larger wound.”

Here is Bruce Fischer on the error-ridden Injustice In Perugia.

Quote: “The knife was a common kitchen knife retrieved from the kitchen of Raffaele Sollecito. The knife was chosen from the drawer because it looked clean. (Editorial note: it was also, deeply scratched and nicked)

No blood was on the blade.

No DNA was on the blade.

The knife doesn’t match most of the wounds on Meredith.

The knife doesn’t match the bloody imprint left on the bed.

The photographic evidence shows that Raffaele’s kitchen knife is to (sic) large to match the bloody imprint on the bed.

At 4 cm from the tip the knife blade is 2.2 cm wide, while the injury (i.e. the small wound) is 1.5 cm wide. Raffaele’s kitchen knife could not have caused the wounds. The knife blade is also too long to have inflicted the large wound.” (Ed. note: Here they are conflating the dimensions of the lesser wound with the knife that inflicted the major wound, to cause confusion)

This is typical of the dishonesty of Bruce Fischer, who was only parroting what the defense experts had been saying in Massei’s court.

Fischer’s source was these posts from the now discredited Frank Sfarzo: Knife doesn’t match wounds and Knife doesn’t match imprint on bed.



An image of Sollecito’s 2004 model Brian Tighe knife specifically made for killing people

From the Massei Report

This is from the excellent PMF translation.

P. 99: The witness (investigator) recognized it when shown Exhibit 36 as that same knife (pages 176 and 177, hearing on February 28, 2009). He remembered that in the drawer there were other knives, but he collected what was later indicated as Exhibit 36. It had the following dimensions: blade 17 cm. and handle of dark colour 14 cm. He recalled that in Sollecito’s bedroom they found another knife whose total length was 18cm, with an 8cm. blade.” (This would be his Brian Tighe pocket knife, the Spyderco flick knife was seized from his person when he was arrested)

P.135: The stab wound corresponding to the injuries on the right side of the neck was indicated as being a little wound of very small dimensions with a very small path. The path of the wound is 4cm long and only 1.5cm wide. The blade used to make this wound must have had a width of 1.5cm at 4cm from the point. This blade only entered 4cm into the neck “because it encountered the angle of the jaw” (page 33 of the transcripts).

P.147: Professor Vinci testified at the hearing of August 18, 2009. He considered the subject of the “bloody stains” found on the undersheet in Meredith Kercher’s room. In relation to these stains, on the basis of graphics given in the report dated June 30, 2009, he asserted that the knifeprint found on the undersheet in Meredith’s bedroom could have been made either by an 11.3cm knife blade, or by a 9.6cm knife blade together with a mark 1.7cm long left by the handle of the same knife. In either case, the blade could not be wider than 1.3/1.4 cm. (Ahem)

P. 154: Prof Cingolani: He clarified that irregularities present on the blade, on the edge of the blade, could have created the rippling in the wounds.

P. 157: the examination of the wound on the right part of the neck, which had absolutely incompatible dimensions: 1.5cm long and 0.4cm wide with a depth of 4cm.

p.164: she was therefore struck on the right latero-cervical region with a single-edged blade which produced a wound with dimensions of 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a penetrating depth of 4cm: an action not relevant in determining the cause of death but intended, as before, to subdue Meredith Kercher’s resistance.

p.166: the width of the (kitchen knife) proximal third [blade one third of the distance from the handle] is 3cm.

p166: Along the edge, there was evidence of irregularities in the form of thin ridges at 2.2cm and at 11.4cm from the tip.

p. 167: The experts and consultants who were examined during the course of the trial, taking into examination the various wounds present on the neck, excluded the compatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 and the wound inflicted on the right latero-cervical and having the following dimensions: 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a depth of 4cm in an oblique upwards direction. They in fact showed that the confiscated knife, at a distance of 4cm from the tip, has a width of approximately 3cm and thus almost double the 1.5cm width of the wound, a width thus incompatible with the dimensions of the blade of this knife.

p.172-3: In relation to the above, the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36 is held to be unacceptable, though this knife is incompatible with the 4cm-deep wound, as we have seen. Nor does this conclusion contrast with the circumstances illustrated by Sollecito Defence consultant Professor Vinci in his report relating to the “šanalyses of the haematic stained shapes discovered on the mattress cover in Meredith Kercher’s room”›.

p.175: The reconstruction offered by Professor Vinci certainly appears suggestive. Some doubt remains in the reconstruction of the dimensions of the knife derived in relation from the marks found on the bed sheet. If these marks indeed derived from the knife placed on the bed sheet, then they should in fact have been more abundant, and should have outlined the shape of the knife with greater precision, for the following reason: the knife, if it was placed on the bed sheet, was placed there immediately after it had been used to strike Meredith; therefore, the fresh and abundant bloodstains present on the blade should have been imprinted onto the bed sheet in a more evident and copious way than is actually appreciable. It cannot in any case remain unobserved that, if one of the knives used had a blade length of 11.3cm, or else 9.6 cm ““ according to what was indicated by Professor Vinci in the conclusions to his report ““ the argumentation set forth to sustain the incompatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 would not, on this alone, have any foundation.”

For the record, here are the paragraphs from the English translation of the Massei Report where Patricia Stefanoni describes the streaks and scratches on the double DNA knife and locations where samples were taken.

Judge Massei (on pg. 196) wrote about forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni:

“She specified that trace B had been taken from a point on the face of the blade; she added that no biological trace was visible to the naked eye. However [she added that] “under considerable lighting, a series of streaks were visible to the naked eye. These streaks ran parallel to the upper part of the blade, therefore, more or less, they were parallel to this side [of the blade] and towards the point they went downward and, therefore, they followed the shape of the point. These streaks, anomalies in the metal, were visible to the naked eye under intense lighting” (page 95 of the transcript). Still in regard to the visibility of these streaks, she specified that they were “visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible”.

The samples taken from the handle, in the points indicated with the letters A, D, F were taken in order to verify the possible presence of DNA by the person who grasped that knife. In particular, for sample “A”, a particular point had been chosen, “in which there’s the hand-guard” (page 95) and therefore, in all likelihood, the point where there was the most friction between the hand that grasped the knife and the handle. This sample yielded the result of Amanda Knox’s genetic profile.

The other samples yielded negative results, except the one taken from the blade, from the “scratches and streaks visible under good lighting, by changing the angle of the lighting with regards to the blade” that yielded the genetic profile of the victim (page 96 hearing May 22, 2009).”

And now we know: Dottora Patrizia Stefanoni got it right.

And some disagreement amongst the experts: p.291-2: Professor Cingolani had in fact noted and declared the following: “in the second lesion, the one that is 2 centimetres deep and 1.5 centimetres wide from corner to corner, the only thing that we are tempted to do, [albeit] in an absolutely amateurish/unprofessional way, because we only have photographs available, is to measure, assuming that only the tip entered, how wide the blade is [at a point] 2 centimetres from its tip: it is precisely 1.5 centimetres wide!



A closeup with measurements of Sollecito’s Brian Tighe knife made for killing people

My own investigation

Here is my initial close examination first posted on PMF dot Net last summer.

Ergon   Post subject: INVESTIGATION OF THE KNIVES USED IN THE MURDER Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:42 am

Investigation into the death of Meredith Kercher-THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED

The murder of Meredith Kercher was particularly bloody and brutal. Reading through Massei, pages 109- SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF THE FORENSIC RESULTS through to 158-173, THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED we are reminded of the brutality with which the attack took place, the sexual assault by more than one person, the restraining, the defensive wounds on Meredith’s hands, the torture by more than one knife, restraining by a hand over the mouth when she screamed, (even while she bled to death) and two major knife wounds, one to the left of the throat, the other, to the right. Massei rightly concludes, as did the Supreme Court, that more than one attacker was involved, and, per Massei, there was more than one knife used in the attack. The defense experts tried to draw attention away from the kitchen knife, but, reading through Massei again, I saw how they dropped clues to what the dimensions of the second knife might have been.

We know that Raffaele Sollecito had a fetish for violent porn, that he had an expensive collection of knives, and his many alibis for the night in question have been thrown out by the court. From my studies of criminal psychology, from reading both Amanda and Raffaele’s books and watching videos of their court appearances and television interviews, their psychopathology seem apparent not only to my eyes, but even to the general public that must have looked at them and decided their story somehow did not ring true, and refused to buy their books. There are indeed certain neurological deficits apparent in their demeanor that renowned German neurologist Dr. Gerhard Roth postulates shows up as a ‘dark patch’ in brain scans of all those who display criminal behaviour, and even, “The second type is the mentally disturbed criminal who looks at his world as threatening. A wrong look, one false move, he can explode and become a killer,” he said.

I was shown videos of the crime scene, and able to observe the wounds in Meredith’s neck. The scenes of the room in which the murder took place and, the neck wound, were truly horrifying to me, and showed the extent of the attack. Those images still sit in the mind, but also, cause me to want to get to the bottom of this mystery, hence, my work on the case.

I believe, observing the photos I already posted in the Evidence Files that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon that struck the fatal blow that night. I also believe, reading the pathologist’s report, that the blade that was stuck in Meredith’s neck, in the right latero-cervical area to a depth of 4 cms, was Raffaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe pocket knife, photo also in the evidence files. Yes, no DNA or blood was sampled from it, but that only indicates it was successfully cleaned that night. My reading of Sollecito’s pathology is that he would not want to dispose of the knife he used, it being very expensive and also as an extension of his fetishistic ego. One other thing I asked to look at: The high resolution photos I posted of the bed show the outline and dimensions of two knives. I believe that both images are of the kitchen knife that struck Meredith in the left latero-cervical to cause a cut of 8-9 cms in depth, and a length of 8 cms (p. 167)

There are two exhibits of the mattress cover, one marked “J” and the other, “O”, both displaying the approximate size and dimensions of the kitchen knife, which I will explain when I post the photos. The first, “J”, has more blood because I believe the knife was placed there first and wicked on to the sheet, causing the distorted splotch at the end. By the time it was moved to its final position by the purse, “O”, it retained just enough blood to leave a clearer, indelible impression.

It was a butchery.”

One last point: Rep. 33A/B/C/D were four samples taken from a black-handled folding knife. It tested negative for blood, but, in one sample, the DNA profile matched a mix of Knox and Sollecito. The other samples were negative. Stefanoni: pp. 103-104

Looking at the images produced by my illustrator, and taking the average of the two estimates of the wound depth, 2 and 4 cms, one arrives at a blade width of 1.5 cms at 3 cms length from the tip of Raphaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe collectors knife, on which, coincidentally, both Amanda Knox and Sollecito’s DNA was found.

Conclusion:

Raffaele Sollecito stabbed Meredith Kercher, causing the lesser wound. And my personal opinion? It was with the Brian Tighe knife, and somehow both he and Amanda Knox got their DNA on it around the same time that night.


Monday, January 27, 2014

An Investigation Into The Large Knife Provides Further Proof That This Was THE Knife

Posted by Ergon


Overview

This is the first report of an investigation (the second part follows soon) of the kitchen knife used in the murder of Meredith Kercher, RIP.

Specifically its compatibility with the imprint of a bloody knife found by police investigators on her bed under-sheet which as you will see here seems possible to prove.

Two other recent posts also concentrated on aspects of the knife as strong proof: (1) proof of both Knox and Kercher DNA and (2) proof from the throat wounds.

  • Reference files are from very high definition crime scene photos not in general circulation.

  • Grateful thanks to the volunteers of the Meredith Kercher community who assisted in this production


Florence Court of Appeals

This is our poster Machiavelli, tweeting from the Florence courtroom on November 26, 2013:

“(Prosecutor Alessandro) Crini stated that this kitchen knife was compatible with the knife print on Meredith’s bed sheet”.

And this is from the defense summing up on January 09, 2014:

Bongiorno: “It’s too big, not the murder weapon.”

“Bongiorno shows a picture with an envisioned “knife” (pocket knife belonging to Guede?) together with the print on the bed sheet.”

“Nobody brings a “small blow with a big knife” “You don’t use half of a big knife” (she says)


Genesis of an investigation:

To recap: evidence was been presented at the Massei court of the first instance, which accepted that the kitchen knife, containing both Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade (trace B) and Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle (trace A) was the weapon that struck the fatal blow to Meredith Kercher’s throat.

At some point after the attack, the perpetrator, Amanda Knox, puts it down on the bed, leaving “hematic stains” (bloody imprints) on the mattress.

The court concludes the shape of the imprints are compatible with the kitchen knife. It also concludes, based on the size of a lesser wound that a second, smaller knife caused the wound on the other side of the neck, and, the impossibility of accepting that a single weapon inflicted both wounds.

This is what it boils down to now, as we come to the final arguments of this case on January 30, with a decision to be handed down by the court later in the day:

  • Was the kitchen knife found in Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen the murder weapon that killed Meredith Kercher on November 01, 2007?

  • Did the killer leave behind proof in the form of bloody imprints on the under sheet covering Meredith’s bed?

  • And is the defense trying to divert attention away from it, even though the image on the bed fits the dimensions of the kitchen knife?

  • And pointing to a second knife, not ever found?

This article (to be followed by part II) was prepared to offer answers to these questions.

Methods used

As someone with a keen interest in photography, I know we see things in photographs that are not always apparent to the naked eye.

Where before we had all been misled by low definition photographs released by the defense to obscure incriminating details, I was able to obtain and view the high definition photographs shown here that proved that indeed, the bed imprints matched the seized kitchen knife, exhibit 36.

These photographs, first posted at Perugia Murder File Evidence Files have been circulating for some time, with members trying to match the knife to the bed imprints, but not, in my opinion, being able to match it exactly.

First, note that the killer placed a knife on two separate locations on the bed, marked by reference cards “J”, and “O”. (Reference photos below.)

I discarded “J”, because there was too much blood there to form an accurate measurement.  The killer lifted the knife and then placed it at “O”, which gave a better image, but even then, did not match exactly. Still, it was clear the images looked like a kitchen, and not, a pocket knife as alleged by the defense.

Looking at the reference photo, I saw a double image of a knife blade at “O”. (see where there’s a curved edge of the blade? That’s what convinced me there might be a double image there)

Conclusion reached

My opinion is the knife shifted slightly when it was placed there, hence the double image, which now made a perfect match with the kitchen knife, in both instances (see reference photos).

So I got a professional illustrator and other skilled people people to do the scale drawings and produce the video you see above which seems to provide conclusive proof the murder knife was placed on the bed.

Reference photos:




Image 1 above (click for larger image): Bed II (Image J and O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 2 above (click for larger image): Knife II (Image O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)




Image 3 above (click for larger image): FOTO5BIS (Conti-Vecchiotti lab, Mar. 22, 2011)




Image 4 above (click for larger image): Knife-Bed-Vector-AllScales (To prove the scales used to match the images)




Image 5 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-lower-hi (The knife’s first resting position at “O”)




Image 6 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-upper-hi (The knife’s final resting position at “O”)


Next steps

There are only four more days left till the Florence Appeals Court under Judge Nencini issues its verdict.  It must of course consider ALL the evidence, of which there is a preponderance that indeed suggests the verdict will, as would be proper, be guilty as charged.

Part II will be ready ASAP. It will be a recap of Massei on the knife, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound. Also will have Frank Sfarzo’s misdirection and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds.

Happy as always to do my share for justice for Meredith Kercher.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Appeal Session #9: Sollecito Team Concludes, Prosecutor Crini Rebutts Defenses’ Claims

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Sun hits the facade of of one of the most modern courtrooms in Europe]

5. Andre Vogt’s Excellent Post-Court Reporting In The Week

From Amanda Knox’s fugitive fears: she’s right to be worried

Sources close to defence lawyers confide that they, too, fear it may not go their way.

It didn’t help that Knox ignored her lawyers’ pleas to travel from Seattle and attend court in Florence - she sent an email instead - nor that she repeatedly requested to meet the Kerchers, only to be sternly rebutted by their lawyer, who suggested she act more like a defendant.

Then she started a new blog and began blithely responding to comments ““ most recently posting an admission that she had once faked a break-in as an April Fool’s prank before she left for Italy (a staged burglary is a key part of the case against her).

Have the wheels come off Knox’s public relations machine now that she’s safe in Seattle? She may need them again soon, because this appeal differs radically from the first one in 2011 which resulted in her acquittal, but which was harshly criticised and eventually annulled by Italy’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

There are three good reasons why this trial is different ““ and why Knox has reason to be nervous:

First, her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have distanced his defence from Knox’s.  “He may have brushed her hair and cleaned her ears, but he would not have killed for the love of Amanda,” his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told jurors in closing arguments earlier this month. “Turn off Amanda,” she said. “Raffaele is not Amanda’s other half.”

Second, the uncompromising Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has stayed away from Florence. Without him in court as a convenient villain, the “innocent American abroad being railroaded by a rogue prosecutor” narrative no longer holds water. The Florentine prosecutor, Alessandro Crini, has distanced the state’s case from the always controversial kitchen knife that may or may not have been the murder weapon. He’s also given less credence to the “˜sex game gone wrong’ theory that was central to the prosecution case in the first trial. Instead he’s considered all the evidence as a whole. There might have been a fight about missing money and hygiene, he said, but motive doesn’t matter: murders happen all the time for banal reasons. And convictions happen on much less evidence.

Third, the strict Florence judge, Alessandro Nencini, has curbed all antics by lawyers, public and media. There are no perp walks with popping flashbulbs this time. However the appeal ends, no one can argue that this trial wasn’t professionally managed.

4. Tweets by freelance reporter Andrea Vogt

14. Sollecito defense on bra clasp: For us, the condition of the room and conduct of the forensic police tells us there was contamination.

13. Judge interrupted Sollecito lawyer with a booming “No!” saying wiretapped conversations of Sollecito family not to be discussed this trial.

12. Maresca: Whatever you decide, we believe justice will be done & all elements considered in depth. We will serenely accept your decision.

11. Kercher attorney Maresca: Perugians reacted angrily to amanda knox acquittal because it was scandalous: acquittal was decided in advance.

10. Fabbiani, attorney for Meredith’s brother, urges court to look beyond motive. Perna for her sister: one person alone did not kill Meredith.

9. Lumumba attorney Pacelli concludes with this phrase to the jury: “Convict liar Amanda, the diabolical slanderer.”

8. Presiding Judge Nencini has cut Pacelli’s amanda knox monologue short. Says going off track. Pacelli promises to finish in 5 min.

7. Lumumba’s attorney Pacelli is delivering a vitriolic rebuttal on amandaknox - mixing his unbridled contempt w/her own statements.

6. Prosecutor asks (in case of conviction) cautionary measures so defendants can’t flee. Options are: passport, house arrest or arrest.

5. Prosecutor Crini: a lack of motive does not equal proof of innocence.

4. Trial back in session after “pausa caffe” during which Sollecito and his accusers were in tiny court coffee bar at same time. Only in Italy!

3. Sollecito attorney: The only things certain are the death of Meredith Kercher and the presence of Rudy Guede in the house that night.

2. Sollecito attorney: This case is an anomaly. Various judges interpreted facts differently over the years. There’s reasonable doubt.

1. In court, Sollecito attorney Maori contesting prosecutor’s arguments point by point. Knife, bathmat, alibi, witnesses. Afternoon rebuttals.

3. Tweets by our main poster Machiavelli

[At this point Machiavelli signed off]

62. Crini: Nencini asks the clerk’s officer to write down formally the exact terms of prosecution request to issue cautionary measures [if verdict guilty]

61. Crini says his conclusions are unchanged. Prosecution suggests arrest decrees are issued immediately if defendant(s) is(are) guilty

60. Crini points out the crime and motive originate from group dynamic.

59. Crini: Bongiorno had pointed out that anyway Sollecito should be accounted only for what he had done (implicit: not what Knox did)

58. Crini: The excessive and too quick reaction to a situation of rising argument is typical of group reaction.

57. Crini: Argument about cleaning was also reported by Meredith to her father John Kercher

56. Crini: Massive rejection of English [girls] testimonies is “weak” on the part of defence; tensions and dislikes in the house are recorded on paper

55. Crini: Movite cannot be assessed preliminarily as if it was a piece of evidence to be discussed

54. Crini: if you need to prove a crime, it is opportune to detect a motive, but a motive is only a plausible conjecture not basis for deduction

53. Crini: Bongiorno called all English girls ‘unreliable’ (because English, maybe coached by lawyers etc.)

52. Crini calls ‘amusing’ Bongiorno comparing her client with captain Schettino

51. Crini: Some thoughts about the motive.

50. Crini: It makes no sense to say the large kitchen knife is ‘incompatible’ with the big wound.

49. Crini: To the court: can you imagine a ‘surgical operation’ with a small knife producing a wound with clear margins on a live struggling victim?

48. Crini: it is difficult to produce an 8x8 cm large wound with a small 8cm long knife, it would produce at best a wound with irregular margin

47. Crini: The blade hypothesized by defence from the bed sheet stain is anyway larger; these are anyway conjectures. Datum is compatibility

46. Crini: thinking you can preemptively deduce the size of the blade from bed sheet stain is ‘unrealistic’

45. Crini: The “double knife theory” is based on the small size of the right wound, experts point to a likely much smaller knife with thin blade.

44. Crini: no defence wounds, no fight bruises, nothing under nails, bruises indicate forced restraint of victim; how she was immobilized

43. Crini: Massei court did not decide about attribution of pillowcase shoeprints, Crini objects Vinci’s finding, thinks prints are too small

42. Crini: Knox defence: says when Guede leaves palm print on pillowcase leaves a signature

41. Crini: Bongiorno called the murder scene “flooded” with Guede’s DNA. Crini points out his traces in room indicating he had free hands (no weapon)

40. Crini: The defences also dealt thoroughly with the use of the knife, wounds, blade size

39. Crini: The dynamic of the crime. Maori attributed all traces to Rudy Gede alone

38. Crini: All alleles of the victim were found in a scratch on the knife blade. Human DNA is normally not on knife blades

37. Crini: Vecchiotti admitted there was a scratch on the blade

36. Crini: The same defence experts did not object to the attribution Y haplotype of Guede found in the victim’s vagina

35. Crini: Calls Vecchiotti’s reasoning on bra clasp “a priori”, dismissed for reasons totally general and vague. Doesn’t read Y haplot. and X together

34. Crini: Points out a passage where Vecchiotti’s report misquotes police findings inserting the word “only”, built a strawman

33. Crini says let’s look at the Conti-Vecchiotti report, to see what it says, if you can subscribe with the report.

32. Crini: Tagliabracci in 2008 objected to quotes of prof. Gill calling them “too recent”

31. Crini: Objections referred to Low Copy Number are obsolete, and also partly undermined by the RIS report

30. Crini: Calls “embarassing” Bongiorno when alleges the police was wrong in attributing stains to cat’s blood

29. Crini: Disproves Bongiorno’s allegation that the clasp was stepped over.

28. Crini: Novelli rules out there was contamination in laboratory, as well as tertiary transfer in situ.

27. Crini is “pleased” the defence did not attempt to allege laboratory DNA contamination. Points out findings by Novelli

26. Crini: report says had there been internet surfing or writing activity, this would have resulted as obvious.

25. Crini cites arguments about computer expert reports, hearings of 14 Mar 2009 and Dec 2010 say further investigation is unnecessary

24. Crini: Maori omits to quote pieces of Curatolo’s testimony.

23. Crini will deal with Maori’s “theory of alibi” only very briefly

22. Crini says defence arguments on bathmat print are conjectures. Rinaldi is actually same person who correctly attributed shoeprint

21. Crini: Bathmat print: compatibility assessment can be done on what is measurable

20. Crini: Guede knew the hous and apartments, would have chosen logical entries and logical behaviour, Crini calls burglary theory ‘not credible’

19. Crini: alleged small wounds on Guede’s hand, inconsistent with absence of his blood on scene

18. Crini: Talks about Bongiorno’s criticism to staged burglary scenario - the scenario of Guede already inside apartment

17. Crini says police report timings, records of CCTV video camera and phone calls are ‘consistent’

16. Crini does not see corroboration of alleged 7-minute late clock error of CCTV. The 13.29 call was from Carabinieri HQ and don’t change anthg

15. Crini tris to “strain” the timing of police arival to favor the defence, to see if scenario fits. Considers possible CCTV time error

14. Crini: Sollecito calls Carabinieri too late, also because last phone call to Romaneli was at 12.38

13. Crini: Call to Sollecito’s sister, and then Sollecito’s call to Carabinieri at 12.51-45. Crini: this timing is late independently from Battistelli

12. Crini: Battistelli arrives on foot about 10 minutes eariler than postal police car

11. Crini wants to look better at some arguments about Sollecito’s declarations to postal police. Battistelli recalls 12.35 consistent with CCTV

10. Crini talks about Sollecito ‘sidetracking’, talking about statements to postal police

9. Crini: Knox’s Calunnia also contains details that have external corroboration and she could not have deduced from simple burglary scenario

8. Crini: A Calunnia is itself incriminating (require strong defence explanation), but Knox’s Calunnia also contains furth incrimiating details

7. Crini: Knox maintained her calunnia against Patrick over a period of several days. Crini points out the logicality of Cassazione argument.

6. Crini: Knox statements: ‘Patrick had sex with Meredith’ and ‘there was a loud scream’ were new elements, unrelated to known facts and not retracted

5. Crini: On calunnia, Crini points out that there was an argumentation about Knox defence about usability of Knox’s statement. argument is wrong

4. Crini: Theoretically all defense points could be replied to, Knox’s Calunnia, Sollecito statements to police, the staged theft, the mat print; DNA evidence

3. Crini says he will talk briefly only about a few selected points, without repeating himself, and without discussing old arguments again

2. [After the break] Prosecutor General Crini begins to reply.

1. [After the break] Sollecito entering the court, asked what he expect, says “no comment”

2. Tweets by reporter Barbie Latza Nadeau

44. Judge especially hard on Sollecito sub lawyer, reprimanding her for introducing new arguments when she is only supposed to be refuting.

43. Sollecito sub lawyer argues no DNA from Meredith Kercher on bra clasp w/Sollecito’s DNA, failing to mention she was wearing the bra..

42. Six years of Kercher trials and some lawyers still pronounce the K in Knox.. “ka-nox” as Sollecito’s sub lawyer just did.

41. Kercher lawyers finished, now Sollecito lawyers up for rebuttal, but both his principal lawyers had to leave early.

40. Kercher atty Maresca: Perugians reacted angrily to Amanda Knox acquittal because it was scandalous: acquittal was decided in advance.

39. Kercher lawyers ask court to consider all the previous testimony they say proves more than one person killed Meredith Kercher.

38. Lumumba lawyer says his client has not received any of the €22k he is owed by Amanda Knox even though the slander conviction is final.

37. Judge reprimands Lumumba lawyer for veering off course, he is only to discuss slander aspect of case, not murder itself.

36. Lumumba’s atty Pacelli is delivering a vitriolic rebuttal on Amanda Knox - mixing his unbridled contempt w/her own statements.

35. Lumumba keeps referring to Amanda Knox as “the American”, says she had a penchant for drugs, alcohol, sex.

34. Lumumba lawyer calls Amanda Knox a “diabolical slanderer” “¦

33. Lumumba lawyer says Amanda Knox substituted Patrick for Rudy Guede.

32. Court back in session with Lumumba lawyer up. Sollecito back in court after break.

31. Prosecutor Crini: a lack of motive does not equal proof of innocence. Amanda Knox

30. Prosecutor focused on knife, says traces of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox are valid.

29. Sollecito staring at prosecutor as he delivers rebuttal, jury taking notes, judge listening intently, journalists trying to stay awake.

28. Prosecutor in new Amanda Knox appeal says motive in murder is never simple and clear, like murder itself is complex.

27. MeredithKercher lawyer says her brother and sister plan to come for verdict Jan 30.

26. Prosecutor just referred to Amanda Knox as “la nostra Knox” as he tries to refute defense arguments.

25. Trial back in session after “pausa caffe” during which Sollecito and his accusers were in tiny court coffee bar at same time.

24. Prosecutor making brief rebuttal, pushing Sollecito and Amanda Knox back together after Sollecito lawyer clearly tried to separate them

23. Sollecito just told group of reporters he was not sure if he would come for verdict.

22. Sollecito lawyer finished. Judge asks lawyers how much time they need for rebuttals. 15 minute

21. Sollecito lawyer says his client is not guilty. Does not mention Amanda Knox in final moments of closing arguments.

20. Sollecito atty: This case is an anomaly. Various judges interpreted facts differently over the years. There’s reasonable doubt.

19. Sollecito lawyer tells the court they can only accept that Meredith Kercher was murdered and that Rudy Guede is the lone killer.

18. Sollecito lawyer G Bongiorno has just arrived in court with three male assistants.

17. Sollecito lawyer says Sollecito was never with Guede, Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox. Says testimony that they were was false.

16. Sollecito lawyer working to discredit witnesses. Says store owner who says he saw

15. Judge in response to Sollecito lawyer asking if jury is tired: if we are tired now we will have to kill ourselves by the end of the day.

14. Sollecito in court today. Will he come for verdict on 30th?

13. Sollecito lawyer lays out why homeless man in park who testified he saw Amanda Knox and Sollecito arguing night of murder is unreliable.

12. Patrick Lumumba also absent from court today.

11. Judge in Amanda Knox new appeal rarely looks at Sollecito lawyer, writing notes, scrolling tablet, but minimal eye contact.

10. Sollecito lawyer on mass media tangent, says the “super witnesses” for prosecution in earlier trials were all for show.

9. Judge in Amanda Knox 2nd appeal asks for clarification on hard to follow techie evidence.

8. Sollecito lawyer showing computer records for Raf’s computer access, says access was human, not automated. Jury squinting at slides.

7. Sollecito lawyer moves on to Raf’s computer, how computers belonging to Amanda Knox, Meredith Kercher were all “accidentally” destroyed.

6. Sollecito lawyer back on break in. Frequent reference to Guede “the real assassin”. No mention of Amanda Knox at all yet.

5. Sollecito lawyer focusing on staged break in.

4. Sollecito lawyer G Bongiorno not in court this morning.

3. Sollecito lawyer Maori says luminal also picks up fruit juice, not just blood. Judge taking notes.

2. Sollecito lawyer showing slides of famous footprint on bathroom rug in Meredith Kercher blood.

1. Sollecito lawyer now summing up in Florence, then rebuttals. Verdict expected Jan 30.

1. Tweets by reporter for La Nazione

46. Lawyer Colotti (Sollecito) : “In a process based on circumstantial evidence motive is the glue of the whole thing.”

45. Lawyer Colotti (Sollecito defense) begins.

44. Sollecito defense : “The Meredith’s bra clasp was contaminated as evidence “

43. Sollecito defense : “It was Rudy Guede who entered through the window after breaking the glass “

42. Sollecito defense : “There was no misdirection in statements of Sollecito “

41. Now it’s up to the defense again, Sollecito team begin their final responses

40. Lawyer Maresca (Kerchers) : “On the blade there are traces of the victim “”

39. Lawyer Maresca (Kerchers) : “Hellmann appeal, the acquittal was a pre-cooked judgment”

38. Lawyer Francesco Maresca (Kercher family) begins

37. Lawyer Perna (Kerchers) “Wounds on the body victim compatible with the knife found at Sollecito’s house “

36. Lawyer Perna (Kercher family) begins

35. Lawyer Vieri Fabiani , one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, the Kercher family

34. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Judges, sentence the liar Amanda , the devilish slanderer “

33. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Meredith could not stand Amanda”

32. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Amanda is on Lumumba’s mind constantly “

31. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “Amanda hoped Lumumba slander would not be discovered “

30. Lawyer Pacelli (Lumumba) : “the defense of Amanda was rancorous and non-existent “

29. Lawyer Carlo Pacelli (for the plaintiff Lumumba) begins.

28. Crini: “If Sollecito and Knox are condemned then precautionary measures should be decided to ensure execution of the sentence”

27. Crini: “There were tensions in the house for reasons of hygiene ”

26. Crini: “The absence of sure motive is not a defensive threshold “

25. Crini : “At the scene there was no contamination “

24. Crini : the prosecutor carries on his indictment reaffirming the validity of the clues

23. Crini : the prosecutor continues rebuttal,  the Tuscany Attorney General Dr Tindari Baglione enters the court

22. Crini : “Slander of Lumumba in itself is an important element “

21. Crini : the Prosecutor General starts his rebuttal

20. Sollecito’s father::”That’s understandable , too much stress”

19. Sollecito :”I do not know if I’ll be in the courtroom on the day of judgment

18. This ends the argument of Maori (defense of Sollecito )

17. Maori: “The only possible verdict is an acquittal”# meredithnazione

16. Maori: “In the various processes motive , time, and the murder weapon changed ontinuously”

15. Maori: “The witnesses who say that Raffaele and Rudy knew each other, said things false”

14. Maori:”The witness Quintavalle for many days after the murder of Amanda did not speak”

13. Maori: “The witness Quintavalle speaks thirteen months after the fact”

12. Maori: “The witness Curatolo is unreliable , wrong date and report things that are false”

11. Maori: “Some witnesses have had access to financial sinecures”

10. Maori: “The witnesses are characters created by the mass media”

9. Maori: “At 21.26 Sollecito opened from his PC the cartooon Naruto”

8. Maori: “At 21.10 there was interaction Sollecito with his pc”

7. Maori: “Analysis of the computer shows that Sollecito ‘s alibi is true”

6. Maori: “No simulation , glass window broken by a stone from the outside. No glass outside”

5. Maori:”No simulation of theft. Blinds on window with broken glass were not closed”

4. Maori: “The bloody footprint on the bath mat is not Sollecito’s foot”

3. Maori: “Meredith was killed at 21”

2. Maori: “The kitchen knife is the murder weapon . Wounds are not compatible”

1. The hearing begins : now it’s up to the lawyer Maori



[Below: previous image of Attorney General Dr Tindari Baglione who is in court to hear Dr Crini]


Saturday, January 18, 2014

False Claims In Bongiorno’s Summation: That The Wound “Proved” Sollecito’s Big Knife Was Not The One

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





In defense summation on 9 January, nobody who really knows the case (such as Judge Nencini) would have bought many of Giulia Bongiorno’s outlandish arguments.

The post below this one illustrates how Bongiorno in about half her arguments tried to demonize and mischaracterize all of Perugia, as if somehow Perugia itself had become the real villain in forcing a rush to judgment and wrong conclusion. In fact Perugia took a huge hit from Meredith’s murder but has acted gracefully and competently ever since. 

This post by several of us after discussion in Comments is the first of two on Bongiorno’s claims about the large knife. The second one will follow next week by Ergon.

There is no question in our minds but that this IS the murder weapon. It was proved convincingly by way of the DNA tests done by the Scientific Police and Carabinieri. Here we prove it by way of human physiology and the autopsy.

Waving two knives with a manic expression, Bongiorno claimed that the the large knife in evidence was far too large for the wound in question - and anyway, anyone intent on murder would have easily pushed the large knife right through so there was no intent of murder anyway. Bongiorno dismissed the possibility that hyoid bone could have somehow stopped the blade, prevented it from penetrating, as the bone is not resistant enough.

The surface location of the hyoid Bone is shown in the Illustration above; its front is only a few millimeters below the skin: The hyoid bone is loop-shaped like a C, open at the back; this Hyoid loop encloses part of the airway:


The hyoid bone curves around the upper airway at the base of the tongue, and is also called the tongue-bone or the lingual-bone. It is located between the mouth and the larynx; therefore during inhalation air passes through the hyoid loop before it passes through the larynx, and during exhalation air passes through the larynx before it passes through the hyoid loop.

The hyoid is an integral factor in the swallowing, breathing, and phonation mechanisms. If transected in such a way as to connect its part of the airway directly to the atmosphere, as it was in this case, swallowing, breathing, and phonation will be seriously impaired, as they were in this case.

The coexistent bleeding from the also-transected Right Superior Thyroid Artery accelerated Meredith’s death, more by the drowning-effect of inhalation of the blood into her lungs, than by the loss of circulating-blood alone.

Both the hyoid bone and the jawbone are mobile, which is why we can chew, swallow, talk, smile laugh, and sing, the way that we do, each of us in our own unique way.

The Massei Prosecution Reconstruction depicted the killers making cuts obliquely from behind.

The fatal cut started on the Left, but crossed the midline to the Right.

Both the Right Superior Thyroid Artery, and the nearby Hyoid Bone, were severed but from Massei, it is not precisely clear where the hyoid loop was severed, and it seems that the cut did not include the midline skin; The Florence Appellate Court will have access to the relevant records.

Here is why the hyoid could not have damaged any knife:

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot even scratch a harder substance.

[To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

As pointed-out recently on TJMK, some confusion has arisen, caused by a quotation in the Massei Report, where on p371is written: “”¦a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone”¦”

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted by” did not mean it was stopped-by the jawbone:

Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “at” the jawbone.

Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone would halt the knife in this case, the jaw would just roll with the strike, depending on the angle of attack. [The force was not even enough to mark the jawbone itself!]

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife.

When your pet gnaws on a non-living cow-bone, neither the bone nor your pet’s teeth can bend; both your pet’s teeth and the bone can be broken or dislocated, and the bone gets scratches on it because it is still softer than the teeth, but your pet’s teeth do not get scratches on them, because they are harder even than the non-living bone.

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action.

[Look at your own kitchen carving knife. It probably has no marks caused by striking chicken thigh bones. It will have fine parallel scratches created in the manufacturing process.]

Any implication-in, or inference-from the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade is a figment of an uninformed imagination.

The kitchen-knife, found in Sollecito’s apartment, with Meredith’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s DNA on the handle, is the weapon that killed Meredith.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

With Sollecito’s First Plea For Mitigation Seen As A Flop, His Behavior Seems Extremely Suspect

Posted by Peter Quennell



Sollecito headed for Dominican Republic, but stopped pending court okay

1. Post Overview

A week ago Prosecutor Crini had begun a two-day summary of the state’s case so stark and implacable that it had two effects on Sollecito.

He stayed in his hotel on the second day; and he then took off like a rabbit for some destination initially unknown and repeatedly lied-about by his father (see Part 3 below).

One of his lawyers (accidentally?) broke the secret. Sollecito had flown to the Dominican Republic. Where he just happens to have some really unsavory relatives. 

2. High Drama In The Nencini Court

Sollecito has not ever taken the witness stand.

And given the minefield his foolish book and media claims amount to, don’t hold your breath expecting otherwise soon. However, last month Sollecito did use the Italian accuseds’ privilege of making an impromptu plea to the judges.

He was not under oath and not subject to cross-examination by the prosecutors. He did not address the copious evidence, and was seen as attempting to humanize himself to perhaps get some years knocked off a final sentence.

As always, Knox forces were left confused, thinking he had somehow helped both of them. But Sollecito repeatedly drew attention to his being an Italian and in effect to Knox and Guede not being Italians, thus once again separating himself from Knox on lines Barbie Nadeau also described here..

Our main poster Yummi was in the court and reported in part as follows:

One of the woman judges kept staring elsewhere and almost never watched Sollecito all the time he was talking. Sollecito’s speech itself was actually not that exciting. It was so overt that he was focused on portraying himself as a person who is so good and cannot hurt anyone, not the bad guy described in the media.  The real and only topic of Sollecito’s statement was himself, who he is, his “true” personality, he begged them to look at what a good and suffering a boy he is…

And believe me, Sollecito was just whiny. For a big part of his speech he was just putting distance between who he is today and the person he was when he was 20 years old. He talked about the impossibility of finding a job (the job he would like to have in a corporation, obviously, not just any job) and wanted the judge to project to his condition from that of young Italians who can’t hope to see a future.

Then 10 days ago the skilled senior prosecutor Dr Alessandro Crini fired back, and effectively demolished Sollecito’s premature statement. As we reported, Dr Crini took nearly two days to do that.

Sollecito was again in court on the first day, but was seemingly unable to face Dr Crini’s onslaught on the second day. He remained holed up at his hotel.

Although Dr Crini settled on a lowest-common-denominator motive - a Lord of the Flies flare-up which had escalated into mob violence and the fatal stab to Meredith - his recounting of the evidence and associated behavior of the pack was comprehensive and very hard. Translated from Cronaca:

Meredith was treated “as if she was an animal.” In this way Dr Crini defined the dynamics of the murder of Meredith Kercher during his indictment.

According to Dr Crini, the attack escalated to the point where the attackers felt they “needed to get rid of a girl they had abused”. While Rudy Guede sexually abused Meredith Kercher, supine on the floor of her room, Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, according to the reconstruction, were at each side of the body of the victim.

“The mouth and neck of the victim were contained in a fierce way to avoid Meredith going berserk and screaming, and when Meredith did in fact manage to scream, she received the final fierce stab to the throat.” Two knives were used in the crime at the house in Via della Pergola on the night between 1 and 2 November 2007”...

Dr Crini referring to the bra clasp of the victim, said that “the presence of the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito is quite certain” and explained at length why there was no “possibility of contamination”.

Amanda Knox was at the scene of the crime, according to the identification made “‹”‹by the scientific police in Meredith’s room of an imprint of a shoe (female size 36-38 according to the results of the analysis)... On the pillowcase, the center of gravity of this bloody history, were found a palmprint of Rudy Guede and this print of the shoe.”




3. High Drama Right After End Of Court

Dr Francesco Sollecito was reported as being shocked by the unrelenting tone of the indictment. However, Sollecito’s plight is not nearly as bad as the ever-stubborn Amanda Knox’s.

Knox has already served three years and was fined heavily for obstruction of justice. She could face another year for that if it is found to have been aggravating. And as the post below mentions, she could face as many as three more charges for aggravating obstruction of justice. 

Sollecito in contrast has respected the court by actually showing up, and, unlike Knox, has lately shown restraint in accusing his accusers.

However, the day after Dr Crini ‘s startlingly powerful summary of the case against him, it looked like Sollecito was hastily taking off out of Italy for somewhere. 

La Nazione reported that police at Florence Airport had held back a fully loaded Air France flight to Paris while they checked with the prosecution that he was indeed allowed to leave the country.  La Nazione said the prosecutors have some concern that he might skip and not come back, but he did voluntarily come back previously from the Dominican Republic, and his family has always ensured some presence in court.

But next TGCom24 reported that Sollecito’s father had claimed that Sollecito had already gone home to Bisceglie, although he is a free citizen still in possession of a passport and can travel anywhere if he wishes.

But then TGCom24 reported that he had indeed flown to Paris, but had turned around and come straight back again, to stay with family friends.  And that on 8 December he will sit his final exams in computer science at the University of Verona.

However, soon after that La Nazione reported that Sollecito’s father had been contradicted by his lawyers, and his erratic son had slipped through his fingers and flown “for his work” back to the Dominican Republic. Translation by Jools:

1 December 2013 ““ SCOOP. Denials, lies, game by the defenders. But in the end it’s up to the lawyer Luca Maori to admit: “Raffaele Sollecito returned to Santo Domingo, as anticipated on Friday by La Nazione”

He embarked from Florence’s Peretola Airport and made a stop-over in Paris, from where he then flew to the Caribbean island where he spent the last few months that preceded the start of the new appeals process. “But there is nothing strange - minimizes the lawyer - Raffaele went back to pick up the things he left there, will be back in ten days for the final exams and to await the judgment. With anxiety, but self-assured.”

No escape, just a normal “work” trip. Permissible, since there is no measure that prevents the accused to leave Italy. But the departure of Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox (already sheltered in the U.S.) caused some sneering. And even the agents of the Border Police, when they saw him in front of the [departure] gate, made a phone call to the Procura to be sure whether the journey in the midst of the appeal process was really “normal.”

IN FACT. Sollecito ‘s father, in an understandable effort to defend his already too overexposed son, slipped on the so-called banana peel, placing the young man within a few hours in various locations, but never in the true destination across the ocean: in Verona, preparing for the final exam in computer science in regard to the thesis, or in Paris, but just for a flash-stay from which he was back the day after. At Christmas, maintained the father, Raffaele will return from abroad. Maybe for the last break before the final rush of the Mark II process, which, according to calculations by the Assize Court of Appeal, could be concluded on January 15.

Meanwhile, the hearing on 16 December is for the remaining civil parties, then double date for the defence, (December 17 and January 9) and hearing on the 10 dedicated to counter-argument. With Sollecito in the courtroom, assures the lawyer.

Nothing strange?! Doctor Sollecito lying repeatedly, instead of explaining to the media where Raffaele went, and why he went there, and why it was a huge secret, was VERY strange.

It should have official minds very seriously wondering why. WHAT did Raffaele have to do so secretly in the Dominican Republic - where his notorious mafia relatives from Montreal occupy a town there?



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.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




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




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Meredith Case Wiki: A Highly Objective Summation Of The Case From Original Docs And Transcripts

Posted by James Raper





Some of our readers may not have noticed the new link to The Meredith Case Wiki to be found in the left hand column of this front page. I had not noticed it myself until recently.

This is an important link to a new website that is now a vital additional resource for those interested in understanding this case.

The website - The Murder of Meredith Kercher - is run by Edward McCall, with the assistance of other contributors, and TJMK is pleased to acknowledge and promote its distinctive and concise approach to presenting the facts of the case.

The site is modelled on the format of a page from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia.  As with a Wiki page it is easily navigable. The data presented under the various headings is the consequence of much research but it still remains a work in progress. Wherever possible the material used is referenced in footnotes.

It starts on the Main page with a Mission Statement and an Introduction to the case. It then considers the evidence and has a good section entitled Myths Debunked.

The reader can easily access significant court documents: the Massei Report, the Hellmann Report, the Galati Appeal and the Supreme Court of Cassation Motivations Report. There is an accessibly summary of the Matteini and Micheli Reports.

In particular, for the researcher, there is a most welcome section entitled Court Transcripts. Here can be found transcripts of witness testimony from the Massei and Hellmann trials, experts reports, and the various writings and testimony of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. At least that is to be the hope ultimately as there exist a good number of gaps at present.

Already some of the witness statements have been translated from Italian to English but there are a number of transcripts still to be translated. If there are any translators who would wish to help, please contact us and we shall be pleased to put your name forward.

McCall wishes to acknowledge the massive contribution made by True Justice for Meredith Kercher. TJMK has perforce grown organically and exponentially over the years and has accumulated a breadth and wealth of data, in-depth analysis and informed comment on the case which is unsurpassed on the internet, or indeed anywhere.

It will continue to do so and report developments until the conclusion of all aspects of the case.


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. .


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Why Claim Rudy Guede Did It Alone When So Much Proof Against?

Posted by Marcello




1. Problems Of Your “Guede did it alone” Mantra

Your attempts to frame Guede for the entire attack sound racist, and they fly in the face of a multitude of hard facts.

Why are you and your more untethered supporters arguing to the media that Rudy Guede alone attacked Meredith (he could not have), that he was a drifter (he wasnt), a burglar (he wasnt), and drug dealer (he wasnt), and that his DNA traces are “all over Meredith’s room” (they werent)?

There are surprisingly few DNA traces of Guede in there, and outside Meredith’s door there is only evidence of (1) his prior use of the south bathroom, and (2) his shoeprints headed straight for the front door.

There is zero evidence that Rudy Guede was ever in the shared bathroom (the one with Sollectio’s bloody footprint on the bathmat) and zero evidence he was in Filomena’s room (the one with the broken window and the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox). 

2. Evidence Against You Is Far, Far Stronger

Explain if you can about Sollecito’s bloody footprint. Explain if you can about the evidence of cleanup. Explain this and this about your multiple contradictory alibis.

Explain if you can why YOUR own witnesses Alessi and Aviello were such disasters for your side in court. Explain your cell phone actions (or non-actions) and the timing and content of your phone calls, and your computer actions (or non actions).

Explain why in Sollecito’s book he claims he sent several emails throughout the night; but there zero records of such emails with his email provider. Explain why both Sollecito and Knox framed Dr Mignini.

There are three compelling reasons above all why the Massei court and the Supreme Court will remain totally unbending on the point that Guede did NOT attack Meredith alone, and that it had to be a pack attack on Meredith.

  • One is the full day of closed court testimony at trial by crime-scene experts from Rome who accounted for every point of evidence in Meredith’s room with a depiction of a 15 minute pack attack involving three people. This seriously upset the jury and your own defense was left essentially speechless.

  • One is the prosecution’s video shown in closed court during Summations of the recreation of the attack on Meredith, which accounted for every point of evidence with a 15 minute pack attack involving three people.  This seriously upset the jury and your own defense was left essentially speechless
  • .
  • One is that the entry of an attacker via Filomena’s room is so absolutely unbelievable. Your own defense always knew this, and barely tried to make that sale (hence the witnesses Alessi and Aviello).

There are seven other routes for a burglar to enter the house, all of them faster and quieter and five of them darker. You can see five in these images below: two via the east windows, three up onto the balcony and into the house via the louvre door or the kitchen window.

All seven routes would be obvious to any burglar, long before he walked all the way around the base of the house to beneath Filomena’s window (which he did several times in your scenario). 

3. The Numerous Questions From Which You Hide

On or after 6 November you have both promised to appear in the appeal court in Florence. You are apparently too nervous to face cross-examination under oath, but you have said you intend to try to explain things.

    1) Rudy Guede had been to the apartment at least twice already on prior occasions and knew the boys who lived in the lower story. Why did Guede choose to NOT break-in to the lower story where he knew (or could ascertain) that all four boys were away on holiday, and therefore could break-in and rummage with some certainty of not getting caught?

    2) Why did Guede choose to break-in to the upper story of the villa when he surely knew Knox and Kercher would be staying at the villa for the holidays and could have returned at any time to “catch him in-the-act”?

    3) Why did Guede not check the cottage to make sure no one was there before attempting the break-in? Surely he would have verified that no one was present by circling the cottage and checking if any lights were on in the windows.

    4) If Guede did circle the cottage to make sure no one was there before attempting the break-in, why would he then choose the most visible and more difficult path of entry through a second story window, as opposed to the more hidden and easier path of break-in at the back of the villa, which he would have noticed while circling the villa?

    5) Why would Guede choose to break-in through a second story window that was highly exposed to the headlights of passing cars on the street as well as exposed to night lighting from the carpark?

    6) Ms. Romanelli testified that she had nearly closed the exterior shutters. Assuming her memory is correct, there is no way a burglar could easily verify if the windows were latched and if the inner scuri were latched to the window panes, which would make access to the window latch impractical unless one was armed with a core drill or an ax. Why would Guede, who was certainly familiar with such windows, choose to attempt the break-in through a window that he could not easily verify would allow him quick access?

    7) Assuming the shutters were closed, Guede would have to climb up the wall and open the shutters before smashing the window with the rock. The night of the murder, the grass was wet from rain the previous day. Why was there no evidence of disturbed grass or mud on the walls?

    8) Guede had Nike sneakers, not rock climbing shoes. How did he manage the climb up the wall with that type of footwear?

    9) If the shutters were closed, or somewhat closed, how did Guede manage to lift himself up to the sill with only an inch of sill available to grab onto?

    10) Assuming Guede opened the shutters, how did Guede verify if the inner scuri where not latched to the window panes, which would prevent access to the window latch? There was no light inside Ms. Romanelli’s room to reveal that the scuri were ajar.

    11) Assuming Guede managed to check that the inner scuro behind the right-hand window was not latched, how did he manage to break the glass with a 9 lb rock with one hand while hanging on to the sill with the other?

    12) Assuming Guede managed check that the right-hand inner scuro was not latched, how did he break the glass with the rock without having glass shards fly into his face?

    13) If Guede climbed down to the lob the 9 lb rock at the window from 3 meters below, how would he do so to avoid glass shards raining down on him?

    14) If Guede climbed down to the lob the rock at the window from below, why would he choose a 9 lb 20 cm wide rock to lob up to a window 3 meters above him, with little chance of striking the window in the correct fashion?

    15) If Guede climbed down again and climbed back up to the carpark (up a steep slope with slippery wet grass and weeds) to lob the 9 lb 20 cm wide rock from the car park, why is there no evidence of this second climb down on the walls?

    16) Why did Guede choose a 9 lb 20 cm wide rock to throw from the car park, given that a large, heavy rock would be difficult to lob with any precision? Especially considering that the width of the glass in the window pane is only 28 cm wide, surely anyone, experienced or not, would have chosen a smaller, lighter rock to throw with greater precision.

    17) If Guede lobbed a 9 lb 20 cm rock from the car park, such a lob would require some velocity and therefore force. Guede would have been roughly 11-12 feet away from the window, in order for the lob to clear the wood railing at the carpark. If the rock was thrown with some velocity, why is the upper 1/2 of the glass in the window pane intact, without any fracture cracks at all?

    18) If Guede lobbed a 9 lb 20 cm rock from the car park, such a lob would require some velocity and therefore force. Why is there so little damage to the scuro the rock hit, so little damage to the terrazzo flooring impacted by the rock, and so little damage to the rock itself, which surely would have fractured more on impact with a hard terrazzo floor?

    19) Why was there no evidence of glass shards found in the grass below the window?

    20) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, climbed down and up to the car park to throw the rock, then climbed back down and up again to the window, how does he manage to hoist himself onto the sill without cutting himself on the glass that was found on the sill?

    21) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, hoisted himself onto the sill, tapped the glass with a 9 lb rock to lightly break the glass in a manner more consistent with how the window was broken, why did he throw the rock into the room, rather than let it fall into the grass below?

    22) Why was no dirt, grass, muddy shoeprints or similar trace evidence found on the window sill?

    23) Why was no dirt, grass, muddy shoeprints or similar trace evidence found in Romanelli’s room?

    24) If Guede climbed the wall to open the shutters, climbed down and up to the car park to throw the rock, then climbed back down and up again to the window again, hoisted himself onto the sill without cutting himself on the glass that was found on the sill, unlatched the window and stepped inside Filomena’s room, how did he manage to get glass on top of Romanelli’s clothing that was found under the window sill?

    25) Why would Guede, who would have spent a good 10 minutes trying to break and enter with the climbing up and down from the carpark, waste valuable time throwing clothes from the closet? Why not simply open the closet doors and rifle through the clothes without creating more of mess?

    26) Why did he disregard Romanelli’s laptop, which was in plain view?

    27) Why did Guede check the closet before checking the drawers of the nightstand, where surely more valuable objects like jewelry would be found?

    28) Why were none of the other rooms disturbed during the break-in?

    29) Assuming Ms. Kercher arrived to the cottage after Guede’s break-in, presumably when Guede was in the bathroom, why did she not notice the break-in, call the police and run out of the cottage?

    30) Assuming Guede was in the bathroom when Ms. Kercher returned, why go to the extent of attacking Ms. Kercher in her room rather than try to sneak out the front door, or through the window he had just broken, to avoid if not identification, at least more serious criminal charges?

    31) Assuming Ms. Kercher was at the cottage while Guede broke-in, why did she not call the police the moment she heard the rock crash through the glass, loudly thud to the terrazzo floor and investigate what was happening in Romanelli’s room while Guede was climbing back down from the car park and climbing back up to the window?

    32) Assuming Ms. Kercher was at the cottage while Guede broke-in, Guede could have been on the sill already because he had tapped the glass with the 9 lb rock to break it. Therefore perhaps Guede was already partially inside Romanelli’s room when he was discovered by Ms. Kercher. In this case Guede follows Ms. Kercher to her room in an attempt to dissuade her from calling the police and the assault ensues. But then, if this scenario is correct, when does Guede have time to rifle through Romanelli’s clothing and effects?

    33) Why is there a luminol revealed footprint in Romanelli’s room that has mixed traces of Knox’s and Kercher’s DNA ?

    34) Why does this footprint not match Guede’s foot size?

    35) If multiple attackers were required to restain Ms. Kercher, holding her limbs while brandishing two knives and committing sexual violence, then who else was with Guede and why no traces of this 4th (or more) person(s) were found, either in shoeprints, footprints, fingerprints, DNA or otherwise?

    36) If Guede and others were involved in the assault, why has Guede not acknolwedged them, and instead consistently hinted that, and finally admitting that Sollecito and Knox were with him during the assault?

    37) If Guede and others were involved in the assault, why do the other shoeprints, footprints, DNA traces and fingerprints all point to Knox and Sollecito being present during the assault, in one way or another?


4. Italy Is Not Buying The Racist Mantra

If your racist mantra remains “the black guy did it alone” and “Italians are corrupt and stupid” you need to PROVE that. If you cannot answer all of these questions above, this will deservedly cook you.

You could be facing 30 years with the “mitigating factors” canceled and the new penalties you will incur for your dishonest books and PR campaigns.


[Five easier ways in: 3 via balcony (note two drainpipes, window grid below), 2 via side windows]










Wednesday, October 02, 2013

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

Translation From The Umbria24 website

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

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

By Francesca Marruco

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

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

[The appeal] started this morning in the maxi courtroom no. 32 of the Florence Justice Courthouse, the new trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, after the annulment of the acquittal by the Supreme court. Present in the courtroom was only Patrick Lumumba.

Absent, as expected, were the two accused Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

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

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

This request was opposed by the General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, and the lawyer of Lumumba. For them the plaintiff’s civil right is legitimate, as the Supreme Court, has asked to re valuate the penalty, in order to obtain the impunity.

The Court retired in counsel chambers to decide and announced it wanted to decide today on the reopening of the investigation.

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

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

- 11:15 The President of the Court Nencini, at the end of the introductory report, said: ” This is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness, beyond the spectacularization, there is the willingness of the Court to give all of the possible space for debate to all of the parties, because in origin there was a important verdict and the actions for which we proceed are of undeniable seriousness”

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

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

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

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

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

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

- 12.15   Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Della Vedova takes the floor and lifts up right away an exception to the Constitution.  “Are we today able to judge on matters that happened six years ago? Can a person be under proceeding for life? Are we sure that Amanda Knox is an accused as all the others. It is right for an indefinite postponement of this proceeding? For all of this I insist that the Court evaluate the constitutionality”

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

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

-15:00 The lawyers of the civil part that represent the Kercher family adheres to the request of the General Prosecutor Crini, opposing the requests of the defense.  ” I ““ said the lawyer Francesco Maresca believe that one attempts to dress, with a new dress, evidence that are strong, resistant, and robust from the sentence of the first court and that where minimized by the second court. For example, the witness Capezzali.

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, June 08, 2013

Questions For Sollecito: Can You Realistically Account For The Hard Evidence On The Bathroom Mat?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[From one of many analyses published in Italy (this was in Il Messagero) of hard evidence against RS]

Your legal future and the book

In the next few months you are expected to face two different courts in Florence.

One will be a new appeal in Meredith’s case in place of the illegal appeal annulled in March by the Supreme Court, and one will decide if you attempted serious obstruction of justice in ascribing many crimes to the officers of the Perugia court. One claim your own father Francesco on Italian national TV has already said was false.

The last thing you need is two prosecutions demonstrating that you invented unrealistic straw man after straw man to throw off the legal process by illegal means, by encouraging pressure on the court from an inflamed and ill-informed public.

And yet your book appears to us to contain at least a hundred straw men. Less-so but similarly in the book by Knox. This definition of a straw man is from the Wikipedia website.

A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position. This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged, emotional issues.

The straw man of the bloody footprint on the mat

Let us start this series of questions to you with the bloody bathmat footprint, and how you characterized it at different points in your book as part of your attempted proof that Guede acting alone did the crime.

Here is the full extent of your straw-man attempt to prove that that print was actually from Rudy Guede’s foot.

(a) [Page X11] The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes.  Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon.  Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here

(b) [page 23] Amanda went ahead with her shower, only to notice a small bloodstain on one of the washbasin taps. It looked like menstrual blood. Was Meredith, who shared the bathroom with her, having some sort of problem? It was unlike her to leave things less than immaculate. Maybe she’d run out to a pharmacy. Then again, it was just one small stain; perhaps she missed it.

(c) [Page 79]  When my defense team examined the official paperwork, they noticed that the analysis of the footprints””including extensive inquiry into the length and shape of the foot likely to have produced them””had been conducted by two members of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome, working not in their official capacity but as private consultants charging thousands of euros to Mignini’s office. One of the analysts, Lorenzo Rinaldi, was a physicist, not a specialist in anatomy, and the other, Pietro Boemia, was a fingerprint technician with no further scientific credentials. That begged the question: if Mignini’s office felt it needed to contract the job out to private consultants, why wouldn’t it go to people with more pertinent qualifications? The whole thing stank.

(d) [page 192]  We didn’t bother to ask for a review of the footprint analysis by Rinaldi and Boemia because we had demonstrated some elementary measuring errors and felt confident that would suffice.

And how this collapses when compared with hard facts

(1) Our main poster the Machine described at the time how the prosecution and their witnesses did a terrific job on this evidence at trial in May 2009, and how your defense had virtually no comeback at all.

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

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

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

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

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

Rinaldi’s detailed Powerpoint described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints and shoeprints as well as the actual shoes and feet of Knox, Sollecito and Guede. The three suspects gave their footprints and fingerprints at police headquarters.”

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

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

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



(2) Our main poster Kermit in effect recreated a version of the Powerpoints which Dr Rinaldi walked the court through, in these Powerpoints here.

You will see they are detailed and very precise, and it is your footprint and not Guede’s footprint which remorselessly emerges on the bathroom mat.

After viewing the damning nature of those slides, read at the end what Kermit concludes: You WERE present at the scene of the crime. You might not have had murderous intent, or wielded the fatal blow, but you and your bare foot were there. 


(3) Our main poster SomeAlibi, a trial lawyer, recently warned here that even ONE piece of evidence if firm and inexplicable enough could be enough for a jury to decide to put you away.

There are at least four pieces of evidence that tie you to the scene of the crime: those two footprints, your still-unexplained DNA on Meredith’s bra, and sworn eye-witness testimony of Rudy Guede that he saw you there.

That is in addition to dozens of other evidence points which include cellphone evidence, computer evidence, myriad alibis, an admission that you lied, and another eyewitness account.

SomeAlibi then goes even beyond Kermit in his analysis to show how definitive the identification of YOUR footprint was. See his chart here which leaves zero room for any doubt. He comments on it as follows:

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.



(4) That Rudy Guede had attacked Meredith alone needs proof your own defense lawyers miserably failed to provide at trial, and did the opposite of at the annulled appeal.

At the annulled appeal they put the erratic jailbirds Alessi and Aviello on the stand, in a desperate attempt to explain who were the THREE perps that the crime scene recreation and autopsy had decisively demonstrated attacked Meredith. 


(5) Accordingly your point (a) above is false in every respect.  Guede was NOT quickly identified, precisely because Knox fingered Patrick only. Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her.

Guede had zero proven history of break-ins and petty crimes, and Judge Micheli became angry at such unfounded claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks after an extended stay up north.

His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise in fact was how few traces of him were found.  The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.

From Meredith’s wounds, it was evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?

Guede’s shoeprints in blood exit Meredith’s room and lead straight to the front door. There is no evidence at all that he removed his shoe, for whatever reason, and somehow left only ONE footprint several yards from Meredith’s room. .

And all this together with the footprints in blood outside the door matching the feet of both yourself and Knox is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).


(6) Our main poster Sara posted on our Sollecito Book page that you made a false claim in your point (b) above about the obviousness of the bathroom blood stains.

Raffaele tries to underplay the presence of blood in the bathroom by claiming that the print on the bathmat was hardly visible or distinguishable as blood.  Even in his interview with Katie Couric he claimed that it was not obvious that the stain on the bathmat was blood.

The problem? Amanda in her email during the initial days of the investigation says “it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom.it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet”

When Knox herself admits that she knew it was blood on the bathmat, why is Sollecito claiming otherwise?



(7) Our main poster Vivianna posted this correction on our Sollecito Book page in response to your claim (c) that the government experts were hired guns - and the wrong ones.

The reality, according to Judge Massei, is quite different. [the experts were:]

1. Dr Lorenzo Rinaldi (Engineer, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT - Esperti Ricerca Tracce)

2. Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia of the ERT in Rome

And their tasks involved analyzing both shoeprints and footprints

Sollecito forgets to mention that their first consultancy report, with regard to a footprint left by a Nike shoe, was actually favorable to him.  Unlike a previous analysis which had attributed the shoeprint to him, this team of experts correctly attributed it to Guede. 

However, since the second consultancy task resulted in an identification of a footprint with Sollecito’s, the experts are clearly “out to get him” like everyone else involved in the investigation. It doesn’t seem to occur to Sollecito that if that had been the case, they wouldn’t have bothered to correct the previous consultant’s work on the shoeprints.

Your fate going forward from the above

You have as Americans say opened a real can of worms here. A prosecutor’s delight. At both the trials you will face in Florence, the prosecutions will surely raise all of these questions and more, and then ask:

WHY did you need to create a straw man? You were clearly there; why, and what did you do?


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Welcome To New Arrivals #1: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by Some Alibi



[Merediths window is seen on the top floor of the house in the lower foreground]

Welcome To Common Sense

This briefing was first posted with slightly different opening paras at the start of the annulled Hellmann appeal. New arrivals often tell us this helped them the most.

If you’ve come to this website because of the Amanda Knox book and interview, then welcome.  Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The Knox book and interview seriously cherrypick the case, and perhaps haven’t helped you at all.

On the Internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito; and you will find people who are passionate in their support of an exceptionally talented girl who died, of a fine justice system previously untainted by PR, and of the prosecution’s very strong case.

Click here for the rest


Monday, April 08, 2013

Experienced Trial Lawyer: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Courts Need For Guilt

Posted by SomeAlibi




The false claim “there is no evidence”

Some amateur supporters of Knox and Sollecito have committed thousands of hours online to try and blur and obfuscate the facts of the case in front of the general public.

Their goal is simple: to create an overwhelming meme that there is “no evidence” against the accused, and thereby try to create a groundswell of support. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and Ted Simon have all made this “no evidence” claim many times.

At least some some of the media have eagerly swallowed it.

The amateur PR flunkies make up myriad alternate versions of what created single points of evidence, often xenophobic scare stories designed to trigger emotional reactions, which they hope will be repeated often enough to become accepted as “the truth”.

And where things get really tricky, another time honored tactic is to go on at great length about irrelevant details, essentially to filibuster, in the hope that general observers will lose patience with trying to work it all out.

But time and again we have shown there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Evidence is the raw stuff of criminal cases. Let me speak here as a lawyer. Do you know how many evidence points are required to prove Guilt? One evidence point if it is definitive.

A definitive evidence point

If you’re new to this case or undecided, what is an easy example of ONE definitive evidence item that might stand alone? Might quickly, simply, and overwhelmingly convince you to invest more time into understanding the real evidence, not that distorted by the PR campaign?

In fact we have quite a choice. See the footprint which was second on that list.

Now see the table above. I recommend the use of this table of measurement to avoid the lengthy back and forward of narrative argument which so lends itself to obscuring the truth. I would like to present you with this single table of measurements to give you pause to question whether this line that there is “no evidence” is really true or whether it might be a crafted deception.

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.

If you were the prosecution, or indeed the jury, and you saw these measurements of Raffaele’s foot versus the print, what would you think? Answer the question for yourself based on the evidence admitted to court.

Then, if you compare further, exactly how plausible do you find it that the measurements of the bloody imprint are Rudy Guede’s instead?

Not only are some of the individual measurements of Rudy’s imprint as much as 30% too small, but the relative proportions of length and breadth measurements are entirely wrong as well, both undershooting and overshooting by a large margin (70% to 150%).

Conclusions that must follow

Presented with those numbers, would you consider those measurements of Rudy Guede’s right foot to show any credible correlation to those of the footprint on the mat?

Supporters of the two have tried frantically to create smoke screen around this - the wrong technique was used they say (ruled not so by the court) / they are the wrong measurements (all 32 of them? that Raffaele’s are matching exactly or within a millimetre but Rudy’s are out by as much as -30% to +50%...?).

The severity of the impact on the defence is such that there was even a distorted photoshopped version circulated by online supporters of Raffaele and Amanda until they were caught out early on in coverage. But it is hopeless, because these are pure measurement taken against a scale that was presented in court and the data sits before you.

Have a look at the measurements and understand this was evidence presented in court. Whose foot do you think was in that bathroom that night? Rudy Guede? Or was it Raffaele Sollecito on twelve counts of measurement?

And if you find for the latter, you must consider very seriously what that tells you both about the idea there is “no evidence” in this case and who was in the cottage that night…


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

Posted by Fly By Night



[Above: images of typical modern analysis DNA facilities similar to Dr Stefanoni’s in Rome]


The Galati appeal to Cassation comes down very strongly against the work and conclusions of the appeal court’s DNA consultants Vecchiotti and Conti.

Dr. Galati argues that the consultancy should never have happened at appeal level, that its methods were slipshod and out of date, that its conclusions were mainly innuendo that left the prosecution case untouched, and that the consultants should not have refused to test a remaining sample from the large knife collected at Sollecito’s place.

In July 2011, about the midpoint of the appeal trial, I took strong issue with the C&V science and essentially mirrored in advance what Dr. Galati would argue to Cassation nearly a year later. Many other TJMK posters including our legal posters James Raper and Cardiol took issue with legal and other aspects.

With a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd level (first appeal level) outcome scheduled for early next week, it’s the perfect time to re-examine the role of DNA in that outcome against the latest science. I want to include some excellent observations from our contributing poster “Thoughtful” as expressed in her recently published book Math on Trial.

I’ll start off with an overview of the science of DNA analysis and describe recent developments in analysis approaches, techniques and capabilities.  Incidentally, one of my resources for this information is a chapter in “DNA Electrophoresis Protocols for Forensic Genetics” published shortly after the Hellmann verdict for the first appeal (circa early 2012); a chapter in which Carla Vecchiotti is cited as providing technical assistance.

Given Vecchiotti’s involvement in recent academic publications we can be certain that at the time of the Hellmann verdict Vecchiotti was well aware of the rapidly evolving and improving nature of DNA testing procedures and capabilities.  And in contrast to her courtroom allegations that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques, Vecchiotti has recently contributed to sources claiming that today’s critical challenge is to develop general guidelines for DNA evaluation and promulgate clear and universal laboratory practices while recognizing that a multitude of labs exist, each with its own specific protocols and personnel.

We will return to the Conti-Vecchiotti report shortly, but first let’s have a quick look at the history and state-of-the-art of DNA analysis.


Brief History of DNA Testing

The literature reveals that the USA has never been at the forefront of forensic DNA analysis.  The first court cases to successfully employ DNA “fingerprinting” techniques occurred in England during the mid 1980s.  A case involving a double rape/homicide of teenage girls in 1986 turned out to be prophetic in that it involved the first use of DNA to exonerate an innocent suspect and also was the first to apply DNA “databases”, issues which still give rise to disputes nearly 30 years later.

Over time, a variety of procedures were developed to extract DNA from biological samples but all worked on the same basic principle of breaching individual cell walls, removing the protein surrounding the DNA, isolating the DNA, and finishing with the purification and quantification of the DNA.

An important milestone in DNA fingerprinting was the development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1985.  The PCR quickly became an important analytical method for forensic samples because of its sensitivity, specificity, rapid analysis, and ease of automation.  PCR amplification technology permitted the analysis of forensic samples with low quantities (less than 1 ng) of extracted DNA, unlike earlier methods that required at least 50 ng.

While PCR was far more sensitive than earlier procedures, problems with mixed DNA samples and DNA degradation led to the use of genetic markers known as Short Tandem Repeats (STR). STR analyses were fast and reactions could be multiplexed permitting multiple loci to be amplified in a single run.

In 1997 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in the USA launched an effort to establish a set of 13 core STR loci for use within a national DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).  Similar sets of STR markers had already been selected by the European Union and elsewhere but, in general, a DNA profile obtained using 12 or more STR loci was found to yield a composite genotype frequency of less than 1 in a quadrillion.  This high degree of accuracy results from the hereditary nature of STR distribution and enables a very powerful method for biological identifications.

STR typing of extracted DNA has traditionally been very sensitive to the quantity of input DNA with ideal levels ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng.  Either too little or too much DNA could produce imbalanced amplification results resulting in incomprehensible outcomes.  The STR process is further complicated by “stutter” in the interpretation of multiple contributor DNA samples.  Stutter is an artifact of the PCR process that produces “false alleles” one repeat shorter than a primary allele.

In recent years DNA analysis techniques have evolved rapidly as equipment manufacturers upgrade STR systems to tolerate even the smallest of samples and samples that have been highly degraded.  The improved sensitivity of today’s STR kits along with the development of new strategies for the amplification of low levels of DNA now allows samples which previously could not be analyzed to produce viable results.

Low-level DNA samples often contain mixtures of DNA, which has complicated the detection and interpretation process due to stochastic sampling effects that include peak imbalance, enhanced stutter, allele loss (allele drop-out), and un-attributable alleles (allele drop-in).  With this in mind, strict guidelines have been developed including a careful determination of analytical thresholds and the use of replicate analyses in a profile to properly interpret low-level mixed-DNA samples.  More importantly, new analytical techniques such as laser micro-dissection and fluorescence in-situ hybridization have been developed enabling the identification, capture, and amplification of DNA from individual cells prior to “electrophoresis”, eliminating the problem of mixed profiles altogether.

In addition to today’s far more precise DNA analysis machines and methods there are also compelling arguments for the use of statistical or probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process to augment traditional “consensus allele” electropherogram evaluation approaches.  In short, the efforts of both scientists and statisticians are now creating powerful next generation approaches to DNA analyses as we progress through a second decade of highly successful STR typing methodologies.


Logic and Science on Trial

In my 2011 report I challenged Carla Vecchiotti’s contention that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques.  Vecchiotti herself has conceded to the challenge through her contributions to publications that clearly describe a need to develop generally accepted guidelines for DNA evaluation and to create clear and universal laboratory practices that can be accepted by the diverse population of analytical labs currently operating under divergent operational protocols, all under the direction of professional and expert personnel.

In her excellent and recently published Math on Trial book, contributing poster “Thoughtful” accurately describes how DNA analysis expert Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni proceeded in her laboratory analysis of a small DNA sample found on the blade of a knife confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Not having what she felt was a sufficient sample to divide for replication of her analysis Dr. Stefanoni took the chance of running her entire sample in a single run.

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

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment.  As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.  In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.  However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

In the first appeal trial, Judge Hellmann was thus presented with exceptionally compelling evidence that Meredith’s DNA was in fact found on the alleged murder weapon that had been confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Astonishingly, Hellmann rejected this evidence on an expressed assumption of non-compliance with testing techniques established by international scientific community standards; compliance standards that Vecchioti herself admits do not exist via recent academic and scientific publications as discussed above.

As “Thoughtful” carefully explains in Math on Trial, Hellmann’s faulty reasoning in excluding the knife evidence did not end there.  Hellmann provided Vecchiotti and Conti with an opportunity to retest any remaining DNA on the knife if they felt it was warranted.  Vecchiotti and Conti declined to perform any retests on the basis that that only a few cells might still exist on the knife, thus invalidating any potential results according to a false assumption that “international testing standards” somehow prohibited such low-level DNA tests even though, as outlined in the DNA discussion above, single-cell DNA analysis had at that time already become an acceptable possibility and Vecchiotti knew it.

Hellmann, however, accepted Vecchiotti and Conti’s reasoning by essentially stating that repeating an “invalid” DNA analysis procedure twice can do nothing towards resolving a DNA identification problem because two wrongs do not make a right.  In Math on Trial, “Thoughtful” artfully explains the complete failure of logic of Hellmann’s line of reasoning.  Hellmann claims that running an experiment independently two separate times and obtaining the same result each time can do absolutely nothing towards increasing the assurance of reliability for an event.

However, “Thoughtful” describes how successfully repeating Stefanoni’s low-level DNA analysis technique could easily carry a probabilistic result from a “not beyond a reasonable doubt” percentage range to a highly convincing 98.5% or higher probability.  “Thoughtful’s” arguments in Math on Trial are completely in line with today’s efforts to embed statistical and probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process for a much higher precision and accuracy standard.


Conclusions

In 2011 I concluded that Vecchiotti and Conti’s expert report findings actually boiled down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the small sample (Low Copy Number ““ LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.

In 2013, on the eve of the Court of Cassation ruling on the first appeal outcomes of the Meredith Kercher murder trial, it appears to me that all issues related to DNA analysis and contamination have been powerfully addressed by both the prosecution and “best available science” considerations. 

The errors in Judge Hellmann’s logic and reasoning that set Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free have been shown to be plentiful and astounding, as evidenced by the few DNA related examples that have been examined in this report.  In light of all of the above and the powerful legal arguments raised by the Galati appeal to Cassation, it seems that there can be no other option than to send this appeal outcome back for a thorough lower court re-evaluation.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Disarray And Decay In The Pro-Knox Parade: Bruce Fischer’s Epidemic Of Malicious Claims

Posted by The Machine




The Knox supporters’ leader-of-the-parade spirals up

Back in October 2008, in our first long post ever on Meredith’s case, Skeptical Bystander highlighted the crazed pro-Knox attack sharks that were starting to appear on Candace Dempsey’s blog.

Psychologists warned us that a competitive leader-of-the-parade spiral was wittingly or unwittingly being encouraged by the Curt Knox/David Mariott/Anne Bremner campaign, and that this could be far from the worst we’d see.

Sure enough, late in 2008, Frank Sforza (timidly posting anonymously as “Frank Sfarzo”) did a u-turn on his blog Perugia Shock from nicely supporting Meredith and the prosecution to angrily supporting Amanda Knox and vilifying the prosecution and pro-Meredith sympathizers. (A u-turn for which he now pays dear.)

At a West Seattle Knox fundraiser in January 2009 a really angry Paul Ciolino wowed the crowd with red meat. He attempted to leapfrog all the other pro-Knox hotheads with a vicious personal attack on the prosecution. Ciolino sounded so crazed that even Amanda Knox’s defense lawyers had to distance themselves from him.

Soon after, Doug Preston, long a timid sniper safe on the other side of the Atlantic from Italy, published his angry, error-ridden Monster of Florence with its surreal Afterword on Meredith’s case.

From that point on, slamming the Italian police and police experts and prosecution without any restraint (for which there has been zero parallel in US or UK legal history) became a cowardly passion across the Atlantic which any ill-informed hothead could play. The Italian MP Rocco Girlanda next leaped to the head of the parade with easy access to Knox in prison, and some of his slobberings were so bizarre that even the Knox-Mellases for once thought to check that supporter out.

Fischer attempts to elbow his way to the front

First mention of “Bruce Fisher of New York” on Perugia Murder File was in a comment by myself on 7 March 2010. Even back then, Fischer had a whole handful of basic facts about the case wrong but heeded no advice.

Fischer arrived after the 2009 Massei trial was done, and from that time on he tried to absolutely dominate the pro-Knox parade. His fundamental effort is to muddy the water on the hard evidence and inflame American public against Italy and its cops, court, and ustice officials.

Such inflammatory actions are in fact illegal under Italian law and especially so when very senior justice officials are falsely accused of crimes.

Fischer wrote a joke of a book, the very worst on the case. He has posted endless badly-written posts on his own websites and forums, with no correction when they proved wrong.

He also posted endless badly-written posts on other blogs and group blogs like Technorati (evicted), Gather (evicted) and Ground Report, with no correction when they proved wrong. And he posted dozens of videos on Youtubes with no correction when they proved wrong.

Fischer set out to hijack the Amanda Knox Wikipedia page, which to knowledgeable Italians now looks absolutely bizarre. He recruited a raft-full of confused and uncurious nitwits like Steve Moore, Nigel Scott, Ron Hendry, David Anderson, Saul Kassin, and Michael Wiesner.

All of them are now lesser people than they once were.

Fischer is clearly a clinically deeply angry man (he has in his past little education, a disaster of a career, several bankruptcies, and a house repossession) so not unexpectedly most of Fischer’s prolific output has been in the form of vicious personal rants.

Revealed 18 months ago to be merely Bruce Fischer, a shop assistant in a mall store on the far outskirts of Chicago, with not a single honorable accomplishment to his name, he chilled somewhat. But his personal rants all still remain online, and so does his epidemic of wrong claims.

Lately he has been trying frenetically to shore up the edifice of the seemingly unstable Frank Sforza. Sforza is now on the run from the American law and facing several trials in Italy; Sforza’s own site has fled behind the scenes.

This first post in the series nails 20 of Fischer’s malicious claims intended to inflame public opinion against the police and prosecution which he has long pushed hard on his websites and other websites and forums.

Bruce Fischer on Amanda Knox’s interrogation

On his website under the heading The Illegal Interrogation of Amanda Knox, Bruce Fisher gives what appears to be a very detailed eyewitness account of what happened to Amanda Knox when she was questioned at the police station on 5 November 2007.

The problem is Bruce Fischer wasn’t actually present when Knox was questioned and he doesn’t know what happened. His account is repeatedly contradicted by numerous witnesses who were actually present. These witnesses include Amanda Knox’s interpreter, Anna Donnino, numerous police officers from different units from Perugia and Rome and Amanda Knox.


Malicious Claim 1: Amanda Knox repeatedly told the truth

Bruce Fischer’s claim that Amanda Knox repeatedly told the truth is complete and utter nonsense. Even a simpleton could understand that Amanda Knox’s repeated claims that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith are not true and that it’s not possible for her to be in two different places - Sollecito’s apartment and the cottage on Via della Pergola - at the same time.

Judge Micheli, who presided over Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial and sent Knox and Sollecito to trial, noted that they had given multiple alibis and had lied in attempt to cover for each other.  The mobile phone records, the data recovered from Sollecito’s computer and the corroborative eyewitness testimony provide irrefutable proof that she lied repeatedly.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85).

Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, conceded that she had given conflicting accounts to the police:

All of the lawyers have imposed on Amanda the gravity of her situation, and the gravity of accusing other people. They have all told her that she needs to tell the truth because there have been differences in the statements.

According to Anna Donnino, her interpreter, she denied responding to a text message from Lumumba.

She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.


Malicious Claim 2: The interrogation of Amanda Knox was illegal

No court in Italy has ever ruled that any of Amanda Knox’s questioning on 5 and 6 November 2007 was illegal. This explains why Bruce Fischer is unable to support his claim with any reference to a court ruling.


Malicious Claim 3: Amanda Knox was told Diya Lumumba killed Meredith and she did not give Patrick’s name to the police. His name was suggested to her.

According to the corroborative testimony of multiple witnesses, including her interpreter Anna Donnino, Amanda Knox voluntarily and spontaneously accused Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith.

After hearing and weighing up the testimony of these witnesses and Amanda Knox, Judge Massei stated that it couldn’t be claimed that “Amanda Knox was persuaded by the investigators to accuse Diya Lumumba aka Patrick, by means of various pressing requests which she could not resist.” (The Massei report, page 388.)

He noted that there had been “no corroboration of the pressing requests which Amanda was seemingly subjected to in order to accuse Diya Lumumba of the crime committed to the detriment of Meredith.” (389).

Judge Massei concluded that Knox had freely accused Diya Lumumba of Meredith’s murder.


Malicious Claim 4: Amanda Knox was slapped on the back of the head.

All the witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at the trial that she wasn’t hit. Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, distanced himself from these allegations:

There were pressures from the police, but we never said she was hit.


Malicious Claim 5: This abuse went on for hours until Amanda was finally broken.

Leaving aside Fischer’s unsubstantiated claim that Amanda Knox was abused for hours, she was questioned for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes on 5 November 2007. According to Barbie Nadeau Amanda Knox’s questioning started at about 11.00pm:

Since Knox was at the police station, the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m.

Knox questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect and made her first witness statement. She wasn’t actively questioned again that night. Mignini later witnessed another statement but no questions were asked.


Malicious Claim 6: Amanda Knox was suffering from extreme exhaustion with no food or water.

A number of witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, testified that Knox was given something to eat and drink. Even Amanda Knox admitted this was the case in court.

Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been ‘treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.’ (Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009).

Also from Richard Owens in The Times.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

John Follain in his meticulous book Death in Perugia also reports that Knox was given food and drink during her questioning:

During the questioning, detectives repeatedly went to fetch her a snack, water, and hot drinks including camomile tea. (Death in Perugia, Kindle edition, page 134).



Malicious Claim 7: The Italian Supreme Court stated that the interrogation was illegal because Amanda did not have an attorney present.

The Italian Supreme Court has never stated that Amanda Knox’s questioning on 5 November 2007 was illegal. Bruce Fischer eventually admitted this was not true on PMF.net

When it comes to the admissibility of the written statements, you are technically correct. The interrogation itself was never ruled illegal.

However, he still hasn’t corrected this Malicious Claim on his website.


Malicious Claim 8: Sollecito couldn’t support Knox’s alibi because he was sleeping.

Bruce Fisher’s claim that Sollecito was only speaking about when he was sleeping is completely contradicted by Sollecito’s witness statement:

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

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner. (Aislinn Simpson, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2007).

Police said Raffaele Sollecito had continued to claim he was not present on the evening of the murder. He said: “I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think. (The Times, 7 November 2007).

At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

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


Malicious Claim 9: Amanda Knox gave in to the interrogators demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision.

Contrary to Bruce Fisher’s claims that Knox described an imaginary dream or vision, Amanda Knox makes no mention of an imaginary dream or vision in her two witness statements. She categorically states that she met Diya Lumumba at Piazza Grimana and that they went to the cottage on Via della Pergola. In her first witness statement, she claims that Lumumba killed Meredith.

Bruce Fischer on the double DNA knife


Malicious Claim 10: No other knives were taken from Raffaele’s apartment.

Fischer makes yet another demonstrably Malicious Claim. He clearly hasn’t read the Massei report in its entirety because Judge Massei discusses a jack-knife that was 18cm long with an 8cm blade at some length and the results of the DNA tests that were carried out on it:

He (Armando Finzi) recalled they found another knife whose total length was 18cm, with an 8cm. blade… (106).

On the jack”‘knife, 4 samples were taken, with negative results where blood-derived substances had been looked for; on the fourth sample, which involved the handle, the genetic profile was found to be of Sollecito plus Knox…

Four samples were taken from the jack-knife and only one yielded a positive genetic result: the sample taken from the belt clip. The trace did not turn out to be blood and it yielded a mixed genetic result: Sollecito plus Knox. To confirm the presence of result the Y profile of Sollecito. (194).

Andrea Vogt reported that another knife was taken into evidence in article for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A small knife was taken into evidence from Sollecito’s bedroom, along with other items.  (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 February 2009).


Malicious Claim 11: The knife was chosen from the drawer because it looked clean.

Fischer is desperately trying to discredit the police investigation by dismissively and falsely claiming that the knife was chosen because it simply looked clean. Armando Finzi was the police officer who bagged the knife. He testified that he thought it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound on Meredith’s neck. Andrea Vogt explained this in the same article:

Armando Finzi, an assistant in the Perugia police department’s organized crimes unit, first discovered the knife in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer. He said the first thing he noticed upon entering the place was a “strong smell of bleach.” He opened the drawer and saw “very shiny and clean” knife lying on top of the silverware tray.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him. With gloved hands, he placed the knife in a new police envelope, taped it shut with Scotch tape, then placed it inside a folder, he said. There were smaller and bigger knives in the drawer, but no others were taken into evidence from the kitchen, he said.

(Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 February 2009).


Malicious Claim 12: No DNA was on the blade.

Bruce Fischer’s bizarre claim that there was no DNA on the blade is contradicted by numerous DNA experts. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, Professor Francesca Torricelli, former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano and Professor Novelli have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

Even Greg Hampikian and Elizabeth Johnson’s letter confirm that the DNA on the blade of the knife was consistent with Meredith’s DNA. Carla Vecchiotti also acknowledged that there was a complete DNA profile on the knife, but claimed it was unreliable because it should have been tested two or three times.

After categorically stating that there was no DNA on the blade, Fischer goes on to claim that the DNA on the blade came from the laboratory. However, Dr Stefanoni analyzed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory. In court, Carla Vecchiotti accepted that six days was sufficient to avoid contamination.


Malicious Claim 13: No additional testing will ever be available.

Professor Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories with cutting-edge technology that could have carried out a test on the remaining DNA on the knife. (Galati-Costaglio Appeal, UK Version, page 26).


Malicious Claim 14: No control tests were done

John Follain points out in Death in Perugia that the control tests had been filed with another judge:

The tests had been filed with an earlier test, and Judge Pratillo Hellmann later admitted them as evidence. (Death in Perugia, Kindle Edition, page 409).

Forensic scientists Professor Novelli and Emiliano Giardina specifically who were consultants for the prosecution stated in an article in an Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotiano that the negative control were performed and these tests excluded the possibility that Meredith’s bra clasp was contaminated in the laboratory.

Bruce Fischer on the bra clasp


Malicious Claim 15: They (the Scientific Police officers) pass it (the bra clasp) around with contaminated gloves.

How could Bruce Fischer possibly know that these gloves were contaminated? He is not a forensic scientist. He didn’t quote any DNA tests on the gloves. There is no evidence that these gloves were contaminated and predictably Fischer provides no scientific findings to support his assertion.

Bruce Fischer on the Luminol footprints


Malicious Claim 16: None of the bare footprints detected with luminol tested positive for Meredith’s DNA.

Bruce Fischer gets his facts wrong for the umpteenth time and proves that he’s ignorant of the facts concerning the DNA evidence. The Luminol footprint in the corridor contained Meredith’s DNA. This information is contained in the Massei report:

Amanda (with her feet stained with Meredith’s blood for having been present in her room when she was killed) had gone into Romanelli’s room and into her [own] room leaving traces [which were highlighted] by Luminol, some of which (one in the corridor, the L8, and one, the L2, in Romanelli’s room) were mixed, that is, constituted of a biological trace attributable to [both] Meredith and Amanda”¦ (380).


Malicious Claim 17: “Yet the court concluded Amanda purchased bleach anyway.”

Judge Massei made no such claim. On the contrary, he argued that the fluorescence given off by Luminol was due to the presence of blood, not bleach (284).

To support his argument that bleach had not been used to clean the cottage, he pointed out no-one entering the house had not noticed any smell of bleach (283) and noted that if bleach had been used to clean the house, many traces would have been highlighted by the Luminol (284).


Malicious Claim 18: Quintavalle states that he only saw the side of Amanda’s face.

This claim is completely untrue. Galati pointed out in his appeal that Quintavalle’s own witness statement contradicts this claim:

A further observation on which the CAA bases its assessment of unreliability (thus, of low reliability) appears completely arbitrary, because contradicted by the statements of the witness. Quintavalle would have seen the young woman out of the corner of the eye and never from the front.

From the examination of the statements made by Quintavalle in the first instance trial completely different facts emerge because Quintavalle affirms what was referred to by the Court of Assizes on p. 71, when the young woman was still outside the store (cf. transcripts of the hearing 21 March 2009, p. 72) adding: “this young woman when she came inside, I looked at her to greet her; I mean I saw her at a distance of one metre, 70-80 cm”.  (Galati-Costaglio Appeal, UK Version, page 39).


Malicious Claim 19: “He (Curatolo) said Amanda and Raffaele were chattering from about 9:30 pm to right before midnight on the basketball court near the cottage.”

Antonio Curatolo clarified in court that he didn’t watch Knox and Sollecito the whole time in Piazza on the night of the murder. Barbie Nadeau reported that he saw them on a couple of occasions:

...he (Curatolo) placed Amanda and Raffaele there, testifying that the two stood at the gate and watched the house around 9:30pm and again at around 10:30pm on November 1.  (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, Kindle edition, page 116).


Malicious Claim 20: “During closing arguments, after all of his different theories had fallen apart, Mignini told the jury: “There is no motive.”

Mignini never told the jury that “there is no motive”. Barbie Nadeau pointed out that the prosecutors had changed their theory, but only rather slightly:

The prosecution lawyers began their case in January 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. When it came time for closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred” A sex attack was still involved.


The Knox supporters’ leader-of-the-parade spirals down

Only 20 Malicious Claims are taken apart above but there are at least several hundred more. When you consider the sheer number of Malicious Claims that Fischer has made and how much these claims differ from the actual hard truths, you cannot trust anything he says.

And yet many of Fischer’s Malicious Claims have been unquestioningly widely accepted as fact, and have been repeated by many in the media. For example, Journalist Nathaniel Rich stated that Sollecito claimed that Knox could not have left his apartment for several hours while he was sleeping. A key Fischer claim.

More of Nathaniel Rich’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Steve Moore’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Saul Kassin’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Michael Wiesner’s parotting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here. 

The credibility of Bruce Fischer and his disastrous leadership of the Knox parade have been completely shot to pieces. Any journalists who use Bruce Fischer as a source in the future should hang their heads in shame.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Much Or How Little To Blame Rudy Guede? The Defenses’ Immense Headache Coming Up

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Photo by Andrea Vogt as in December 2010 Supreme Court decides that Rudy Guede didnt act alone]


On a scale of 0% to 100% how much of the blame for the crime against Meredith has been heaped on Rudy Guede?

Well, it sure varies.

In trial court and first-appeal court it was never ever 100%. Seemingly very scared of the harm Guede could do to their clients, if they provoked him into telling all, defense lawyers have acted consistently since 2008 and more-so since December 2010 as if they walk on eggshells around him.

In fact among the defendants and their teams only ONCE was Guede ever blamed 100%. 

Sollecito’s bizarrely-titled Honor Bound 2012 book, the factually unchecked one which now is causing him and his defense team so much trouble, was the first instance ever among those accused to try to blame Guede for the crime 100%.

Our next post will look at the categoric claims against Guede in that book. Meanwhile, here, let us start at the beginning.

Commencing from when they were arrested, Amanda Knox pointed decisively at a black man, but of course she pointed at the wrong one: Patrick Lumumba. Make that 0%. Not long after they were arrested, Knox and Sollecito were strongly questioning the role of one another. So 100% against each other, but still a zero against Mr Guede.

In his messages from Germany Guede blamed two hasty intruders though he had no choice but to say he was there. Perhaps 33% at this point.  After Guede was captured, Sollecito implied that they were at the crime scene together because he was worried that Guede would implicate him. Make that 50%.

At Guede’s short-form trial In October 2008, Judge Micheli blamed Guede 33% too. In sending Knox and Sollecito to full trial he dismissed the lone wolf theory (never really to be revived in court again) and he tentatively believed the evidence pointed to their being equally guilty.

In fact Judge Micheli tentatively blamed Knox for instigating both the attack on Meredith and the rearrangement of the crime scene.  In effect he allocated 50% of the blame to Amanda Knox and 25% each to Guede and Sollecito. 

Throughout trial in 2009 the Knox and Sollecito defense teams seemed to take great care not ever to blame Guede 100%, perhaps because (for murky reasons not made public) Rudy Guede had refused to testify against their clients.

Judge Massei assigned Guede 33% of the blame as he concluded that Guede had initiated the attack but that Knox and Sollecito had wielded the knives and that one of them had struck the final blow. 

During trial and thereafter, the defense lawyers for the three were often on Italian TV and as our main poster the Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria exhaustively charted in a four-part series, each “gently” blamed the other two.

We can assume that is either 33% or 50% but never more than that.

On February 24. 2011, in the Supreme Court report, on its rejection of Guede’s final appeal of his sentence for involvement in killing Meredith, blamed Rudy Guede and two others equally. Some 33% of the blame each.

The Supreme Court relied upon three facts: the physical evidence of Guede’s presence at the flat, Guede’s actual admission of his presence, and Guede’s implicit admission of shared-guilt in his documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 (“I was scared that they would say I was the only guilty person”).

In a nutshell, the situation at the start of the Sollecito and Knox appeal before Judges Hellmann and Zanetti in 2011 was this:

  • The Supreme Court had decided that Rudy Guede acting ALONE could not have attacked Meredith with several knives over an estimated 15 minutes, left so little physical evidence upon her, staged the break-in via the absurd route of Filomena’s window while leaving zero DNA in her room, placed Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, engineered several traces of Knox’s and Sollecito’s footprints outside the room, and placed the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox in several different locations outside Meredith’s locked door.
  • But there remains zero evidence that perps two and three which the physical evidence strongly pointed to were anyone other than Knox and Sollecito. There’s really not one speck of hard evidence to the contrary. Defenses somewhat desperately tried to engineer some at first appeal from the seemingly perjured testimony of jailbirds Alessi and Aviello and some smoke-blowing over the DNA testing, but in terms of HARD evidence came up empty-handed. Alessi did a meltdown on the stand, while Aviello turned completely cuckoo, and Judges Hellmann and Zanetti had to invent arguments frantically to dig Knox and Sollecito out of that hole.

I have done a series of posts (to be read from the bottom upward) on the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome covering many other aspects of their strange arguments.

Back in late 2010 some of us at TJMK were impressed at the alacrity with which Judge Hellman selected Conti and Vecchiotti.

We were thinking that “he had already thought it all out” [we seem to have got that-much right], and that he was “being prudently responsive to the legal and political pressures bearing down on him, and knows the ruling also calls the defendants’ bluff.”

I had posted that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito seemed to be trying to exclude evidence that they themselves tried to destroy, essentially on the grounds that their destructive attempts failed to destroy all of it, and left behind only some of it.  Their argument had boiled down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.

It was my opinion that because it was the defendants’ deliberate conduct that nearly succeeded in extinguishing all their DNA, any US and UK courts would admit this highly relevant evidence, and let the participants duke out its fairness, in open court, in front of a jury.

I had thought that was what the Massei Court had already done, and was what the Hellmann/Zanetti court was then doing. The Hellmann/Zanetti court was doing that - but that was not all it was doing, as we now know and regret.

I had believed that the defendants would bitterly regret their petition for such DNA Expert-Opinion Review.  We should know in March 2013 if they regret it at all, let alone “˜bitterly’. So far they may not, but Sollecito’s current venture into special-pleading journalism in his book seems likely to accelerate their journey to a bitter and regretted destiny.

We were less impressed with how Judge Zanetti started the appeal hearings.

To his eternal discredit Judge Zenetti uttered words to the effect that “the only thing that is “˜certain’ in Meredith’s case is that Meredith is dead.” Nothing else. In effect, illegally promising a whole new trial at appeal level - very much frowned on by the Supreme Court.

Unless the word “˜thing’ is a mistranslation, that is not the only thing that was already certain in Meredith’s Case; Many Things were then certain in her case. 

For example, it is certain that the first-ever documented references to Meredith’s scream just before she was killed had already come both from the mouth of Amanda Knox herself, and from the hand of Amanda Knox, in the case of her contemporaneous personal hand-written notes.

Guede, himself, had certainly already made a documented reference to Meredith’s scream.

It was also certain that Guede had made documented references to his actual presence when Meredith screamed.

Some of these already-certain facts inconveniently undermined Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s already-assumed conclusions, so they then proceeded in-turn to undermine the “˜reliability’ of those facts, e.g. “˜it is not certain that the scream was Meredith’s scream; it could have been someone-else’s scream’; or even Amanda’s scream?

The Massei court had exhaustively presented the evidence from all sources in their conclusion that Knox and Sollecito were the ones who shared Guede’s guilt. But Hellmann/Zanetti then contradicted ALL the previous finders-of-fact with regard to Guede, essentially using five ploys in arguing:

  • That Guede was Unreliable: “for example, in the questioning before the Prosecutor, he denies being known by the nickname of Baron, “¦.so as to result in a version completely incompatible with the reality of the facts as perceived and heard…” [Is that ever giving birth to a mouse?], and
  • That the Supreme Court had “held Rudy Guede to be an Unreliable person”, and
  • That “therefore, among the evidence against the two accused, the testimony given at the hearing of June 27, 2011 by Rudy Guede cannot be included because it is Unreliable, nor can the contents of the letter written by him and sent to his lawyers”, and
  • That concerning Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 “”¦ the contents of the chat between Rudy Guede and his friend Giacomo Benedetti on the day of November 19,  2007,  also listened to by the Police,  can be considered in favour of the two accused”, because “he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance,”
  • And that “So, in the course of that chat with his friend….. Rudy Guede does not indicate in any way Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as the perpetrators…..” and “.....he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance….. he being…. certainly the perpetrator….. of the crimes carried out in via della Pergola, that if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also participated, that he would at that moment have revealed this to his friend.”

So, summarising Hellmann and Zanetti, they have absurdly argued a contradiction:

  • Because of Guedes notoriously unreliability, the public evidence in which he did accuse Knox and Sollecito cannot be considered as evidence of their guilt, but
  • In spite of Guede’s notorious unreliability, because Guede did not accuse Knox and Sollecito in a private conversation this must be considered as conclusive evidence of their innocence.

We are not the audience to which Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti to the Supreme Court is directed. Most of us probably have some difficulty with its legalese, translated into English, so bear with it.

Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti refers to Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 as follows:

The Hellmann/Zanetti court, “has”¦ made “¦. completely anomalous use of the Skype call, accepting it for the time of Kercher’s death, but not for other circumstances which are also extremely relevant for judgment purposes, but which have been totally ignored.

In fact, in the call, Guede recounts having heard Meredith complaining about her missing money and of her intention of asking Ms Knox, with whom she had quarrelled, for an explanation (p. 10 of the call [transcript]), of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (p. 18), then of having seen Meredith look, still in vain, for her missing money in Amanda’s room (pp. 18-19 of the call [transcript]), and of having heard a girl enter the house, who could have been one of the roommates, thus Amanda (p. 11 of the call [transcript]), while the Ivorian found himself in the bathroom, just before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have caused him [59] to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the girl’s ingress (p 12 of the call [transcript])”... .

The Court has, in practice, without reason thrown the responsibility onto Guede for throwing the rock and clambering in (see pp 121-122 of the appealed judgment): in the same Skype call, Guede, however, repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room during the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola on that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call [transcript]). Not only that: Rudy Guede also said that he was at Knox’s many times”› (pp 88 of the call [transcript]).

If the Court held the Ivorian citizen to be sincere in the tele-conversation with his friend Benedetti, then why not also believe him when he denies having broken in, or when he recounts Meredith having it out with Amanda, or when he says that he had been at the latter’s place many times”›?

Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court argues that the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal judgment, apart from being manifestly illogical, is manifestly contradictory with respect to the contents of the case file referred to (Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code). Here is what it says about their tortured interpretations of Rudy Guede.

And in the Skype call with Benedetti, intercepted unbeknownst to him, there emerge circumstances that confirm Guede’s court declarations. The Court takes the Skype call with his friend Benedetti into examination, valuing it “šin favour of the two accused”› both for what it does not say and also for what it does say, and this it does building from one, not only unexplained, datum but which would have taken little to deny: since Rudy was outside of Italy, he was in some sense safe”› and thus could well have been able to tell the whole truth (p 40 of the judgment).

Not in the least does the Court depart from the presupposition that in this call Rudy would have been telling the truth and, because in this call he would not have named the current defendants, these have got nothing to do with the homicide. The Court does not explain, though, that even in this call Rudy was tending to downplay his responsibility and, if he had named his co-participants, that would have easily allowed, by means of investigations and subsequent interviews, the bringing out of his causal contribution and of his responsibility.

[91] Of the things said in this Skype call, the Court seems at one moment to want to value the chronological datum from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM to affirm that this would therefore have been the time of death of Meredith; successively, though the appeal judges, following the principle of plausible hypothesis, in relation to the outgoing calls on the victim’s English handset, have moved it to 10:15 PM, but they have not altered the reliability of the time indicated by Guede.

In truth, during the course of the conversation, Rudy recounts having heard Meredith complain about the missing money and of her intention to ask Knox, with whom she had argued, for an explanation (p 10 of the call); of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (see p 18); of having seen her search, again in vain, for the missing money in Amanda’s room (pp 18 and 19 of the call) and of having heard a girl enter the house ““ who must have been one of the flatmates, thus Amanda (p 11 of the call), ““ while he was in the bathroom, a little before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have induced him to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the ingress of the girl (p 12 of the call).

And also, on the subject of the break-in in Romanelli’s room ““ thrown without explanation onto Guede’s back (see the judgment being appealed from, at pp 121 and 122) ““ can remarks by the Ivorian citizen be found in the transcription of the intercept. Guede repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room for the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call).

If the [Appeal Court] had held as reliable what Rudy narrated in the Skype call relating to the time in which Meredith was killed, it supplies no reason at all, on the other hand, for why it does not believe him as well when he denies [92] having committed the break-in or when he recounts the quarrel of Meredith with Amanda.”

None of this changes my own beliefs that there are even many more things in evidence that are “˜beyond any reasonable doubt’.  For example:

  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Meredith was restrained by hands other than the knife-wielding hand(s); and that Meredith was restrained by the hands of two, or three persons as she was killed.
  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were taken to clean away smears made by Meredith’s blood in the place where she was killed, and tracks of Meredith’s blood transferred by her killers to other places.
  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were also taken to simulate a break-in that never-was.

In the next post, we examine Dr Galati’s appeal further and the strident claims against Guede made in Sollecito’s own book which contradict some of the positions of HIS OWN LAWYERS. Note that Dr Galati has argued in the appeal that it was ILLEGAL for Hellmann and Zanetti not to have taken the Supreme Court’s ruling on three perps fully into account and having innored it or brushed past it. 

Verrrry tough situation for defense counsel to be in.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]


It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.

Now the drama moves to Rome.

Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.

At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.

    1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues

    2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.

    3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.

    4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.

    5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.

Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court. 

With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.

Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.

KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?

By John Follain in Perugia.

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 “” the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.

As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.

“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.

The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.

Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.

Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed “” the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.

Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat “” and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.

Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.

The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.

She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.

He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.

Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.

When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.

A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and “” at that time of year “” strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”

I was told she had been reading “” in Italian “” the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.

This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him “” she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway “” but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried “” collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed “” a neighbour heard her “” and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.

Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.

The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”

The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.

The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence “” the kitchen knife and the bra clasp “” proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.

The two experts “” Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome “” said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.

Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.

Knox’s family “” her mother, father, stepfather and friends “” had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.

With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there “” so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.

Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.

The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome “” Italy’s highest court “” which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia “” and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.

Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.

Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”

A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.

But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.

Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”

But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”

The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.

The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.

“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards “” the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.

For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.

“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police “” it’s their job.”

“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”

“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.

“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.

It is not over for the Kerchers.

Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal “” on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.

Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.

Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.

This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial “” a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.

In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fifteenth Appeal Session: Prosecutor Manuela Comodi Starkly Explains All The Forensic Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is a translation of key parts of a detailed report from the AGI news service - the excellent reporter is not named.

On Ms Comodi’s opening remarks to the court.

In Perugia the hearing of the appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, in the first instance [at trial] convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher, has resumed. This morning, the prosecutor Manuela Comodi began her part of the indictment.

“Regardless of the scientific evidence, your decision can only be the confirmation of the decision at first instance [at trial],” the prosecutor said. During the day the prosecution will make its request for a tougher sentence for the ex-lovers who are present in the courtroom next to their defence teams.

Ms Comodi on the strength of the forensic evidence.

“Quite apart from all the scientific evidence, the outcome of this process can only be at least the confirmation of the conviction of first degree”...The prosecutor judge then began to attack the independent expert report on the traces of DNA ordered by the Court.

“That ploy may have led you to believe you do not trust the results for the knife proposed as the murder weapon and the hook of the bra worn by the victim when she was killed. Those conclusions are strongly challenged by the prosecution.” Then Comodi talked of “the awkward performance of experts who have betrayed your trust… [with] their absolute inadequacy and incompetence.”

She then mentioned the lack of experience in the field of the experts appointed by the Court. “Would you trust your daughter’s wedding to a cook who knows all the recipes but has never cooked?”. In the initial phase of her indictment the prosecutor also mentioned the process carried out in England to indict Danilo Restivo…

The Guardian has a good report on how Danilo Restivo was caught in part by incriminating DNA some TEN YEARS after his crime.

And Ms Comodi on the DNA on the knife and bra clasp.

“Who wielded the knife [that killed Meredith Kercher] was Amanda Knox.” The prosecutor said in court, mimicking the way according to the defense reconstruction that knife was contested by the murderer of Meredith.

“They will tell you, She used it at some other time while staying at Sollecito’s house, but Amanda’s DNA was found in the wrong place for normal use. Give it a try, you will see that in cutting bread or meat the hand rests on the back, not there.”

“Starch on the knife? It could come from the powder present on the “vast majority” of rubber gloves used by personnel involved in investigations.” The prosecutor was recalling the words of a senior advisor to the defense of Amanda Knox, according to whom the starch was derived from the cutting of food such as potatoes and is a sign of lack of washing of the blade on which should have been found traces of blood of the victim if it was used for the crime….

“Talc is present on most sterile disposable gloves, such as those used by the scientific and the Flying Squad in Perugia. It is totally unfounded, the thesis of the non-washing of the knife.”

“The hook of the bra collected 46 days after being found missing? What of the DNA of Elisa Claps [in the Danilo Restivo case] analyzed after nearly 20 years? There is no way this could be contamination because Sollecito had not since been in the house.

Here is a very strong report from Il Mattino which after mirroring the AGI report above adds this:

“In addition to the knife and the bra hook there are other tracks that connect the presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to the crime scene” said the prosecutor in her indictment.

“Traces of the mixed blood of Meredith and Amanda have been found in the bathroom, where there was an imprint of a foot of Raffaele Sollecito in Meredith’s blood. Footprints of Raffaele and Amanda in Meredith’s blood were found using Luminol in the hallway and the room of Amanda.”

The prosecutor pointed out that under the bed, in Meredith’s room, the lamp of Amanda was found. In Meredith’s room there already was one lamp. Amanda’s lamp was there “because they had to find something to take away, maybe a bracelet or a ring that Amanda might have lost.”

And the prosecution concluded by asking for life sentences and some solitary confinement for Sollecito and Knox as the crime was “aggravated - carried out for trivial reasons” and asking for the exclusion of the mitigating factors that Judge Massei had allowed.

Some of the Italian media reports carried headlines quoting Ms Comodi saying “They killed her for nothing”.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 2 Of A Summary In 4 Parts

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





The full Massei Report can be found here. Continuing on with our summary:

4. Morning of November 2

Accounts of the events of the morning of 2 Nov do not agree. According to Knox’s statement, she and Sollecito slept until around 10-10:30 am.[67] After a while, she decided to go back to her house to take a shower and change her clothes, and to fetch a mop to clear up some water from a leaking pipe in Sollecito’s kitchen.[65] Her intention was that when she returned they would leave for a planned trip to the nearby town of Gubbio.[70]

When she arrived at her apartment, she was surprised to see that the front door was open. She entered the house, leaving the door open in case it had been deliberately left ajar by one of her flatmates, who might have gone out briefly, to get some cigarettes for example. She then went to her own room, undressed and went into the bathroom that she shared with Meredith. She took out her earrings and cleaned her ears - a regular necessity because the piercing in one ear had become infected. She noticed drops of blood in the sink, and thought this strange but continued to take a shower. Getting out, and not having remembered her towel, she decided to use the bath mat to shuffle into her own room. At that moment, she noticed the blood stain on the mat but thought it might be from some menstrual problem that hadn’t been cleaned up.[70]

Having returned the bathmat, she put her earrings back on, brushed her teeth, dressed in clean clothes and then went in the other bathroom (the one used by Romanelli and Mezzetti) and dried her hair with their hairdryer. She then noticed that there were feces in the toilet, which was strange as Romanelli and Mezzetti were very clean. She left her apartment, locking the front door, and went back to Sollecito’s, where they made breakfast and she told him what she had seen.[70]

In contrast to this account, forensic examination of Sollecito’s computer showed that it had been used for about half an hour from 5:32am to listen to music. After this, he turned on his mobile phone and, at 6:02 am,  received an SMS message which had been sent to him by his father the previous evening when the phone was switched off. Phone records also confirmed a call made at 9:30am to Sollecito by his father. There was no mention of any of this activity in Amanda’s statement.[82]

According to the testimony of Marco Quintavalle, the owner of a small supermarket, he opened his shop at 7:45am on the morning of November 2 and almost immediately a young woman, whom he identified as Amanda Knox, went into the store department that had groceries, detergents and toilet paper on sale. He saw her leave again but did not know if she bought anything. Quintaville did not present this information to the police until some months after the crime and explained that, although he had previously been questioned about the morning after the murder, he had not been specifically asked about Knox. Another of the shop’s employees stated that she had not seen Knox in the store.[83-84]

The court highlighted the discrepancies between Knox’s account and the evidence of the computer and phone records and the testimony of the shop owner. It also doubted the credibility of Knox going back home to change her clothes, take a shower and fetch the mop to dry the floor. Since Knox and Sollecito had planned a trip to Gubbio that morning, she could well have brought the clothes with her that would be needed. It was also noted that Knox had already showered and washed her hair at Sollecito’s house, the previous evening: there was no obvious need for her to repeat those actions and, if there were such a need, there was no reason why she couldn’t do so at Sollecito’s. Fetching the mop to dry the floor was also deemed to be scarcely credible, considering that Sollecito employed a cleaner and, in any case, everything needed to clean up some water was already there.[85]

What is certain is that, around midday, Knox called Filomena Romanelli to say she had arrived at the apartment and had found the door open: she had taken a shower and it had seemed to her that there was some blood in the apartment. She said that she was going to Sollecito’s place but did not know the whereabouts of Meredith. Romanelli rang Knox back and Knox (now at Sollecito’s) told her that the window in Romanelli’s room was broken, everything was in a mess, and that she should come back home.[30]

Knox and Sollecito went back together to the house in Via della Pergola. According to their accounts, they looked in Romanelli’s room where there had apparently been a burglary, and checked the other rooms, but found nothing missing. They were worried that Meredith’s door to her room was locked and, when she was called, there was no answer. Sollecito made an attempt to force open Meredith’s door (described by the court as a ‘timid’ attempt, given that it was easily forced open later).[31] After that, they left the house, partly to look at the broken window from the outside.

Earlier that morning, two mobile phones had been discovered in the garden of a house located in Via Sperandio, a short distance from 7 Via della Pergola (the shortest route would be distance of about 5-7 minutes on foot, according to one witness).[25] The owner of the house had contacted the Communcations Police with regard to a telephoned bomb threat which she had received and then discovered the two phones. One of the phones was registered to Romanelli (although both were in fact Meredith’s phones - one given to her by Romanelli for use in italy).[26][30]

The Communications Police traced Romanelli’s address and arrived at the girls’ apartment some time between 12:30pm and 1pm. Outside the house, they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito ““ who said that they were waiting for the carabinieri, whom they had called because they had been away for the night and had come back to find the entrance door open and then a window broken.[28]

Romanelli, her friend Paola Grande and their boyfriends, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri arrived around 1pm.[28] Romanelli made a quick check of her room, discovering that, although it was in a complete mess with the windowpane broken and clothes thrown around the floor, nothing was missing.[31] Nonetheless, she was concerned that the front door had been found open, bloodstains had been found in the small bathroom, and there was no news of Meredith. Furthermore, Meredith’s bedroom door was locked.[31]

The significance of this fact subsequently became a point of disagreement, with Knox saying that even when she went to the bathroom for a shower Meredith always locked the door to her room (the fact that she said this being confirmed by Zaroli and Altieri). Romanelli, on the other hand, said she was aware of only one occasion when the door had been locked and this was when Meredith had returned to England for a few days.[31]

The Massei report notes Knox’s apparent lack of concern at the locked door, both in the presence of the Communications Police and in her earlier telephone conversation with Romanelli. This was at odds with an email that Knox sent to her friends and family a few days after the murder (November 4, 2007) in which the locked door acquired a central importance and Knox described herself as “panicking” when she first discovered it.  Massei concludes that panic at the locked door would be a logical reaction if Knox had been uninvolved in the murder, but according to Romanelli and the Communications Police, there was no such panic.

Knox and Sollecito, in fact remained in the living room, some distance away from Meredith’s room, while Romanelli and her friends were so concerned that they decided to force the door open. One of Romanelli’s friends broke down the door and the bloody body of Meredith Kercher was found.[32] The Communications Police sealed the area and called the Carabinieri, who arrived a short time later.[33]

5. Pathology: Injuries, time and cause of death and Conclusions

Massei observes that the injuries Meredith Kercher sustained were the subject of intense analysis and speculation in the courtroom, yet his summary and conclusions are clear and concise.  Many of Meredith’s injuries appear to have been caused by the actions of restraining, whereas some were obviously inflicted by a knife or knives and showed great diversity in both dimensions and overall harmfulness.  Massei found that one point was particularly significant: the knife wounds from the attack to Meredith’s neck came from both the right and the left sides.[371]

Massei believes Meredith’s injuries lie at the heart of the debate over the single attacker versus the multiple attacker scenarios.  The hypothesis of a single attacker requires that the single attacker continually modify their actions, first by exercising a strong restraining pressure on her, producing significant bruising, and then for some reason switching to life threatening actions with a knife, thereby changing the very nature of the attack from that of subjugation to that of intimidation with a deadly weapon, and finally to extreme violence by striking first from the right penetrating to a depth of 4cm (1.5 inches) and then from the left to a depth of 8cm (3 inches) into the neck.[371]

Massei describes the first knife blow coming from the right by saying that it was apparently halted from going any deeper by hitting the jawbone. The Court considered that this blow was an effort to force Meredith to submit to an action against her will. The Court also considered that the penetrating knife wound from the left was preceded by the action of running the knife over the surface of the skin on the same part of Meredith’s neck, just a few centimeters below the eventual strike zone where the serious, deeper second wound was inflicted.[371]

What surprised Massei about Meredith’s wounds was that in spite of all the changes in approach during the attack she somehow remained in the same vulnerable position, leaving the same part of her neck fully exposed to an attacker.  If this were a solo attacker then this person released a firm restraining grip on Meredith to somehow bring a knife into play, then striking her first from the right and then switching the knife-holding hand to somehow float a knife in an intimidating manner across her neck on the left, before finally stabbing her in that same location on the left with a final debilitating blow.[371-372]

Massei concludes that throughout the attack Meredith remained virtually motionless, and he cites the almost nonexistence of defensive wounds on other parts of her body in comparison to the number, distribution, and diversity of impressive bruises and wounds to her face and neck.  Massei finds this disproportion to be a significant factor, particularly when considering Meredith’s physical and personality characteristics.[370,371]

Meredith’s physical build was described as being slim and strong; possessing a physique that would have permitted her to move with agility.  In addition, Meredith was described as being athletic and one who practised football, karate, and boxing.[369]  Therefore, the court found it unlikely that only one person performed the attack against her, and inevitable that several people had acted together against Meredith; a group who forcibly restrained Meredith in movement so that she could not defend herself in any way nor shield herself with her hands in order to avoid the repeated attacks to her neck.[371]

Meredith’s defensive wounds were found to be minimal and consisted of a 0.6cm (quarter inch) long superficial slice on the palm of her right hand showing only a trace of blood and another 0.6cm (quarter inch) slice on the second finger of her left hand, along with several highly superficial cuts to the fingertip of the index finger.  Massei finds this remarkable considering that the normal and instantaneous human reaction to that first violent knife stab to the neck would have been to protect the area of attack, along with a strong desire to escape even if it meant receiving a blow to another part of the body.  However, Meredith remained in the same standing position while continuously offering her exposed neck to the actions of the person(s) striking her, with the peculiar distinction of striking first from the right and then from the left.  Massei believes that a scenario as such seemed inexplicable, unless one accepts the presence of more than one attacker who, as a group, forcibly restrained the athletic Meredith’s movements while intimidating and striking her from multiple angles.[369]

Massei also believes that evidence demonstrated Meredith was still dressed and awake when the attack began on her and that the violence against her could not have taken place as it did if Meredith were lying on her bed.  Massei concludes that Meredith was sober and fully conscious since no traces indicating either the use of drugs or the abuse of alcohol were found; all of which, if present, might have contributed an inability to firmly resist an attack.[369]

Furthermore, Massei finds it impossible to imagine a scenario in which a single person could have removed the clothes that Meredith was wearing (shoes, pants and underwear) while inflicting the sexual violence revealed by the vaginal swab.  Massei finds it highly unlikely that one person could have caused all of the resulting bruises and wounds cited above in addition to removing her sweatshirt, pulling up her shirt, and bending her bra hooks by force before finally tearing and cutting the bra. The actions on the bra alone, during which a small piece of material with hooks was cut off and thrown to the floor, were necessarily conducted from behind Meredith and required the attention of both hands of an attacker, and thus Meredith would have had her own hands free to attempt actions of self-defense.[370]

Massei concludes there was very little evidence of any defensive maneuvers on the part of Meredith, which to him was a strong indication that several attackers were present, each with a distribution of tasks and roles: either holding Meredith and preventing her from any significant defensive reaction, or actually performing the violent actions.  Massei concludes that the rest of the body of evidence came in full support of such a scenario, recalling that a biological trace of Rudy was found on one of the cuffs of Meredith’s sweatshirt indicating a gripping in order to prevent any reaction.  In drawing together all of the elements mentioned above, both circumstantial and forensic, Massei concludes that the diverse morphology of the injuries, their number, and their distribution mandated that the violence against Meredith was performed by multiple attackers.[370-371]

Summary of pathology findings

Massei describes the significant injuries discovered during the post-mortem examination and states that there were no noticeable injuries in the chest or abdomen areas, two areas of slight bruising on one elbow, small wounds on the hands indicative of a minimal defensive response, very slight bruising on the front of the left thigh, minor bruising on the front middle of the right leg, and a slight area of bruising just below the top of the head.[111-112]

Massei cites compelling evidence of recent sexual activity having the characteristics of non-cooperation on the part of the female participant.  Non-spermatic biological material belonging to Rudy Guede was discovered during the course of a gynecological examination of the corpse. This, in conjunction with a distinct pattern of abrasions, was interpreted by the court as being strong evidence of sexual violence.[157-158]

The head and neck injuries were the most significant and included small spots inside the eyelids indicative of asphyxiation, a bruise to the cheek possibly caused by a knife point, bruising on the nostrils and trauma to the lips suggestive of silencing or suffocation efforts, biting injuries to the tongue, bruising and abrasions on the lower jaw indicative of a hard compression by hand, and neck swelling and hemorrhaging with pools of blood left inside the lungs as a result of two significant knife wounds.[111]

Dr. Lalli, the Perugia Coroner, who performed the autopsy on Meredith at the morgue of the Perugia Polyclinic, reported that the hyoid bone, located at the back of the tongue muscle had been “severed”.[145: Professor Torri quotes Dr. Lalli’s comment]

The most significant wounds Meredith sustained were inflicted by knife-stabs and thrusts occurring very quickly from the right and from the left, severing the right superior thyroid artery and the hyoid bone.[139] The largest of these was inflicted by a knife high on the left side of the neck near the jawbone which penetrated to a depth of 8cm (3 inches).[111]

Another significant knife wound, 4cm (1.5 inches) deep, was noted on the right side of the neck, above which were found superficial parallel scratches.  The wound from the right crossed the path, inside the neck, of the wound from the left. The Court concluded that these knife wounds were made by single-bladed, pointed cutting tools and that Meredith’s injuries might be consistent with a virtually infinite number of instruments, provided they had a blade with only one sharpened edge that was not serrated.[111-113]

The Court held that it is self evident that should one conclude during forensic pathology investigations that a knife is not compatible with any of the wounds inflicted on the victim, it would be pointless to give that knife further consideration, including DNA testing.[166]

The experts and consultants who were examined during the course of the trial, taking into examination the various wounds present on the neck, did exclude the compatibility of Raffaele’s knife with the smaller stab wound inflicted on the right side of the neck, and the Court agreed.  However, the Court did not agree with arguments that the knife confiscated from Raffaele’s flat was incompatible with the deep wound on the left.  The Court concurred with expert testimony proclaiming that the knife presented by the prosecution as the murder weapon, with the DNA of both Meredith and Amanda on it (ie the “double DNA knife”), is clearly compatible with the large fatal neck wound.[169-173]






Cause of death

The Court found that the death of Meredith Kercher was asphyxia caused by the neck-wound which severed both the hyoid bone and the right superior thyroid artery. The severing of the hyoid bone opened Meredith’s airway directly through the skin to the atmosphere, and the severed right superior thyroid artery was the main source of the blood which asphyxiated her when she then inhaled blood directly through her severed airway down into her lungs.[162]

Time of death

In order to preserve the crime scene, a thorough examination of the corpse was not performed until approximately 11 hours after the body was discovered.  Relying upon the criterion of body temperature and the influences of various other factors such as blood loss, the corpse being covered with a duvet, and other environmental conditions the time of death was initially placed approximately between 8:00 pm November 1, 2007 and 04:00 am November 2, 2007.  An intermediate value for such a time range is considered of value, and the actual time of death was suggested by the coroner as being approximately 11.00 pm on November 1, 2007.  The combined criteria of temperature, hypostatic stains, and rigor mortis all supported this range for the time of death, but for a variety of reasons were unable to accurately define a more narrow time of death range.[113-116]

Massei notes that the state of digestion of Meredith’s stomach contents provided significant additional information towards establishing a more accurate estimate for the time of death.  Meredith’s stomach contents included apple, cheese, and floury fragments of the apple crumble she ate while visiting friends, which had not yet entered into her the small intestine.  In addition, a piece of mushroom was also found in Meredith’s esophagus.  This could not have been consumed during the meal with friends, which did not include mushrooms, since it was in a different less digested state.[115, 178-179]

Testimony during the trial established that an emptying of the stomach into the small intestine under typical conditions starts between two and four hours after the start of a meal.  A complicating factor is that Meredith apparently ate additional food at home after her earlier meal which, according to statements made by the British friends of Meredith, occurred sometime between 6 pm and 8 pm.  Nevertheless, it becomes possible to propose a time of death as being 3 to 4 hours beyond the time frame of the initial eating event: therefore, this could reasonably range between 9pm (around the time she arrived home) and midnight of November 1, 2007.  This timeframe remains consistent with all other indicators.  It is important to note that the beginning of the attack would have been a moment of tremendous stress for Meredith that may have arrested her digestive process. However, Massei notes that this, like many other variables concerning the behavior of the digestive tract, remains in the realm of speculation.[178-179]

The various consultants and experts heard in court regarding the time of death all emphasized the difficulty of establishing a precise time.  Regarding time of death, there can be no doubt that Massei relied upon the evaluations of a variety of evidentiary sources, including the consideration that Meredith would not have been able to make any vocalizations following the final fatal stab wound to her neck, which lends importance to witness statements regarding when they may have heard a scream on the night of the murder.  However, the Court concluded that testimony regarding the pathology alone made it possible to suggest that the time of death that was, in fact, within a range of tens-of-minutes either before or after 10:50 pm November 1, 2007.[131]

6. Forensic investigation

The forensic evidence included the analysis of DNA in various samples taken, of footprints revealed by Luminol, and of foot prints and shoe prints.

Meredith Kercher

The fatal wound was swabbed in order to obtain the profile of her DNA for comparison with other samples. [190] One of two swabs of her vagina produced genetic material, the DNA of the Y chromosome of Rudy Guede. [189] Samples taken from under her fingernails yielded only her own DNA. The court noted that her finger nails were very short and probably would not inflict significant scratches on an attacker. [190]

Rudy Guede’s Y chromosome was also found mixed with Meredith’s blood on Meredith’s handbag and on the left cuff of her sweatshirt.[192]

The Small Bathroom

Blood was found in seven locations in the small bathroom that Knox shared with Meredith. [192]

“¢ The Door Frame: blood was found on the right, inside door frame containing Meredith’s DNA. [192]
“¢ The Light Switch Plate: Meredith’s blood was also found on the light switch. [192]
“¢ The Sink: Blood was found in two places. There was dried blood near the faucet that had the DNA of Knox. [192] A streak from the left part of the sink toward the drain containing Meredith’s blood mixed with DNA of Knox.[192]
“¢ The Bidet: Meredith’s blood was found mixed with the DNA of Knox.[192]
“¢ The Toilet Lid: Meredith’s blood.[192]
“¢ Q-tip Box: Meredith’s blood mixed with DNA of Knox.[192]
“¢ The Bathmat: Three samples taken from the bathmat yielded Meredith’s blood.[192] The bloodstains on the bathmat were studied and compared with footprints taken of the right foot from Knox, Sollecito, and Guede, and found to be that of Sollecito. [351-355]

The Large Bathroom

Toilet paper and faeces were found in the toilet. Testing the toilet paper found the DNA of Rudy Guede.[192]

Traces Revealed by Luminol

Various surfaces were sprayed with Luminol, which fluoresces brightly when applied to blood. The fluorescence was then swabbed and tested for DNA. Nine traces were found; two were Meredith’s, three were Knox, and two were mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox.[281-286]

“¢ Romanelli’s Bedroom: One sample of Meredith, and one of Meredith’s blood mixed with DNA of Knox.[282]
“¢ Hallway: Three footprints matching, based on measurements, Knox’ right foot were found, two facing the exit, and one oriented toward the doorway of Meredith’s room.[247]
“¢ Knox’ Bedroom: Footprint of Amanda Knox’ right foot, also identified by measurements.[247]

Shoeprints

Shoeprints made in Meredith’s blood and visible to the naked eye led from Meredith’s bedroom to the exit, becoming fainter toward the exit. [193] These were determined to be incompatible with Sollecito’s shoe size 9, and to be compatible with a Nike Outbreak 2, size 11.[334-336]

Although the shoes were never found, a box for Nike Outbreak 2, size 11 was found in Guede’s apartment.[334]

A left shoe print was found on Meredith’s pillow, estimated to be between size 36 and 38.[342]

Knox wears a size 37.[343] A defense expert made a comparison of the sole pattern with Guede’s right shoe, and argued that the print could have been made by him. The court noted the conflicting theories without expressing a specific opinion,[343-344] and noted that Knox seemed to have been moving about the scene in her bare feet.[344]

Other Evidence

“¢ A small trail of drops of Meredith’s blood from the small bathroom to the kitchen/living room.[193]
“¢ A cigarette butt found in the kitchen had mixed DNA of Sollecito and Knox.[197]
“¢ A jack knife belonging to Sollecito was found to have the DNA of Sollecito and Knox, but no blood.[195]

The Court’s Analysis:

The defense did not contest the mixed DNA test results, but instead argued that they were irrelevant: that mixed DNA would be expected since Meredith and Knox lived in the same house and shared the small bathroom. [378] They suggested that Knox’s DNA could be exfoliated skin cells. Dr. Stefanoni (for the prosecution) testified that exfoliated skin cells are keratinized and contain no DNA. [202]

The court concluded that Knox’ DNA became mixed with Meredith’s blood from vigorous scrubbing of the hands and feet, and that this is how the mixed DNA sampled came to be found in the sink and the bidet.[279]

DNA testing cannot, by itself, determine when biological material has been deposited, or in the case of mixed DNA, which was deposited first or whether it was simultaneous. [211] However, the court noted that Knox told the court in her answer to questioning that the bathroom was clean when she left the house on the afternoon of November 1.[278]

The court concluded that Meredith’s killers had gotten blood on their hands and elsewhere on their bodies, and that they needed to clean off the blood. Accordingly, they tracked blood on their feet to the small bathroom, where Meredith’s blood was transferred to the doorframe and light switch plate when they turned the light on in order to use the bathroom.[279] Sollecito tracked Meredith’s blood into the bathroom, leaving a partial print of his right foot in blood.[379]

Knox was not wounded.[280] The trace of her blood on the tap was different in appearance from the mixed DNA samples, and was explained by her as having come from her own ear having been pierced. [280] The mixed trace in the sink and the bidet appeared to have been diluted with water, constituting a single trace placed there by Knox when she was cleaning Meredith’s blood from her hands and feet.[378]

The defense experts did not specifically attack the accuracy of the findings on the trace evidence revealed by Luminol.[285] Dr. Gino noted that a generic test for blood was negative on the sample, and that the DNA test was low copy number. She also noted that substances other than blood can cause Luminol to fluoresce.[282]

The court observed that there was an abundant quantity of Meredith’s blood on the floor of the bedroom to be tracked around the house.[279] The fact that DNA testing revealed the presence of genetic material in the samples indicates the presence of biological material that reacts with Luminol. The court said that attributing the fluorescence to fruit juice, rust, bleach, vegetables, etc. could not explain the presence of reactive trace in so many parts of the house, whereas the walking in blood and subsequent cleanup easily accounts for the findings.[283-285]

The defense’s “low copy number remark” was rejected because Dr. Stefanoni had testified that the sample had been processed according to standards and procedures necessary for international quality certification, and noted that the certification was granted by the international certifying body in 2009; the quality certificate was an acknowledgement of what already existed, and had already been done.[285]  Further, the court noted that the criticisms of Dr. Gino and Dr. Tagliabracci were hypothetical, and all concerned specific findings and a small portion of the specimens.[285]

The footprint on the bathmat was partial, missing the heel. [339] Based on the dimensions of the big toe, the plantar arch, and the shape and location of various “bumps”, Inspectors Rinaldi and Boemia concluded that the print was made in Meredith’s blood by Sollecito’s right foot, that it was consistent with Sollecito’s wider foot and inconsistent with Guede’s longer, narrower foot, and well as being inconsistent with Knox.[339-342]

The measurements from the bathmat: big toe”“33mm wide, 39mm long. Metatarsus”“99mm wide, 55mm long. [339]

Footprints taken with printer’s ink resulted: Big Toe—Sollecito: 30mm wide, 37mm long. [339] Guede: 23mm wide, 43mm long. Knox: 22mm wide, 41.8mm long.[339] Metatarsus”“Sollecito: 99mm wide[339]

Rinaldi and Boemia used the so-called L.M. Robbins grid, which is marked in centimeters, lining the vertical axis with right-hand outline of the foot, and the horizontal axis with the tip of the big toe. [340] By comparing the samples with the bathmat, they concluded that the shape of Guede’s plantar arch and the alignment of his “bumps” could not be reconciled with the print on the bathmat, whereas Sollecito’s bumps align consistently between his sample and the bathmat. [340-341] The primary distinctions between Guede’s right foot and Sollecito’s are: the width of the big toe, the shape of the metatarsus, differences in the plantar arch, and the shape of the left side of the foot.[341]

Professor Vinci, Sollecito’s expert attempted to show that the foot print was actually that of Guede. He argued that the morphology of Sollecito’s foot was such that his second toe made no contact with the paper, but that a portion of the mark on the right side of the big toe print on the bathmat is actually from the second toe. He thus measured the big toe print as being 24.8 mm wide.[352]

The court rejected this theory. It noted that the photograph appeared to show the opposite of what was claimed, i.e., it showed the blood had been deposited as a single unit on a decorative flourish of the mat. Moreover, the court noted that, by comparison, Guede’s foot is generally longer and more tapered, and that the second toe print falls quite far from the big. [354] Finally, the court discounted the idea that Guede had ever been in his bare feet that evening. The visible shoe prints clearly showed that he walked directly from Meredith’s room, down the hallway, and out the door.[379]

Part Three is here.


The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 3 Of A Summary In 4 Parts

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





The full Massei Report can be found here. Continuing on with our summary:

7. Double DNA knife and bra strap

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]






Exhibit 165 (Bra clasp)

Exhibit 165 is a small piece of material with hooks from Meredith Kercher’s bra.  The Polizia Scientifica discovered Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA on this so-called “bra clasp”.

Dr. Stefanoni and her team began evidence collection at via della Pergola 7 on November 2, 2007.  Additional searches were conducted of Sollecito’s Audi A3, Sollecito’s flat at Corso Garibaldi 110 (November 13), Patrick Diya’s pub “Le Chic” (November 14),  and Rudy Guede’s studio (November 20).  There was a further search at via della Pergola 7 on December 18. 

Meredith’s bra (missing its clasp) was collected on November 2, 2007, in the first search, along with other items (towels, sheets, toilet paper, underwear, etc.).  The bra was found at the foot of the victim in poor condition: torn off of Meredith’s body with cuts at the back.  The bra is Exhibit 59.

The missing bra clasp was one object of the December 18 search.  The search process - including measures taken to ensure against contamination - is described in detail on pp. 204-06 of the Massei report.  However, it is noted that the bra clasp was picked up about 1.5 meters away from its original position as seen in photographs taken on November 2-3.

Small blood drops were clearly visible on the bra clasp material.  The bra clasp revealed a mixture of DNA belonging to the victim and to Sollecito.  According to Dr. Stefanoni the quantity of DNA was not low. 

On trace B, from the clasp, a mixed genetic profile was found: the victim plus Sollecito and that result was further confirmed by the Y profile of Raffaele Sollecito, also found on the hooks.[197]

The Polizia Scientifica’s mixed trace DNA analysis is described in detail in Massei on pp. 206-11. 

The defense raised the issue of the Polizia Scientifica using a “suspect-centric”methodology that might bias the DNA analysis and its interpretation.  Dr. Stefanoni’s remarks are summarized in Massei:

“With reference then to the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and the fact that his profile was already present and available to her when she interpreted the collected samples, including the one relating to the hooks, she stated that the data was present as historical fact, but that she did not have it, have it available before her at the moment in which she was interpreting the technical data, nor was she otherwise consulting this biological profile.”[226]

Given the delay in collecting the bra clasp and the fact that the bra clasp had been moved on the floor of Meredith’s room, the essential question before the court is presented as follows:

“Was ... the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito, which, according to Dr. Stefanoni, was found on the bra clasp, a consequence of an act of Raffaele Sollecito carried out directly on the bra which Meredith was wearing on the night that she was killed, or on the contrary, could it have had a different origin, so that this DNA could have ended up on the bra clasp without Raffaele Sollecito having ever touched the bra directly, and its clasp in particular?”[266]

The court observes that Meredith’s door was closed and locked on the morning of November 2; that’s how Sollecito and Amanda testify to have found it and that’s how the Postal Police saw it when they arrived.  When the door was finally broken down and opened:

Raffaele Sollecito remained at a distance, far enough—as has been said—that he could not even have been able to look into the room; furthermore, it does not appear that he entered the room at any later time; in fact, as has been seen, the contrary has been shown: once the door was broken down, everyone was ordered to leave the house and Raffaele Sollecito did not enter into the cottage again, much less into Meredith’s room.[268]

Therefore the court rejects this hypothesis for the “placing” of Sollecito’s DNA in Meredith’s room.  Furthermore, there is no reasonable suggestion that Sollecito could have placed his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp in the prior week after meeting Amanda for the first time.  Sollecito’s DNA was only found in one other location in the house: on a cigarette stub, mixed with that of Amanda Knox. 

8. The staged break-in

The Massei Report examined the evidence surrounding the broken window and disarray in Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom in order to determine whether a real break-in had occurred or the appearance of one had been staged.

When she first returned to the apartment,  Romanelli had made a quick check of her room and ascertained that, even though it was in a complete mess with the left-side [as seen from inside the room] windowpane broken and a big rock on the floor, nothing was in fact missing.[31] The court noted that when Romanelli had left the house, on November 1, she said she had pulled the external shutters towards the interior of her room, although she did not think that she had actually closed them completely. Because they were old and the wood had swelled a bit, they rubbed on the windowsill so, to pull them towards the room, it was necessary to use some force. But, once they had been pulled in, they remained well closed by the pressure of the swelled wood against the windowsill.[48]

Based on Romanelli’s testimony, the court rejected the assumption made by a defense expert witness that the external shutters were left completely open. In fact they were not even completely open on the day following the murder, according to witnesses on November 2.[50]
The initial assumption was that the window had been broken with a rock thrown from the outside (and such a rock was indeed found in the room). However, to have broken the glass of the window without shattering the external shutters, it would have been first necessary for a burglar to open these shutters. The court considered whether some sort of instrument could have been used to open them from the outside, but noted the failure to find any suitable instrument and doubted what type of instrument could be used to this end. This led them to assume that the wall would have to be scaled a first time in order to open the external shutters, so that the burglar could then aim a rock at the window. [48-49]

He would then have had to return underneath the window for a second climb, and balance on his knees or feet on the outside part of the windowsill, while reaching through the broken glass to unlatch the window. The court noted that the window must necessarily have been latched since, otherwise, there would have been no need to throw a rock at all, but just to open the external shutters and climb inside. [49] The burglar would also need to rely on the fact that the external shutters themselves were not actually latched, and also that the internal wooden shutters had not been fastened (otherwise it would have been impossible to open them from the outside).[49]

The court decided that this scenario appears totally unlikely, given the effort involved: going twice underneath the window, going back to throw the stone and scaling the wall twice. Especially so, taking into account the uncertainty of success (having to count on the two favourable circumstances indicated above), with a repetition of movements and behaviours, all of which could easily be seen by anyone who happened to be passing by on the street or actually coming into the house.

Next, the court noted that the double climb necessary to reach the height of three and a half metres would surely have left some kind of trace or imprint on the wall, particularly at the points on the wall that the burglar would have used to support his feet, especially as the earth below the window, on that early November evening, was very wet.[50] In fact, investigators had examined both the wall and all of the vegetation underneath the window, and noted that there were no traces on the wall of earth, or grass, or any streaks at all, and none of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled.[142] Furthermore, it was observed that a nail that was part-way up the wall, remained intact. The court deemed it very unlikely, given the position of that nail and its characteristics, that a climber would not cause it to fall or bend.[50]

The next fact to consider was that the pieces of glass from the broken pane were distributed in a homogeneous manner on the inside and outside parts of the windowsill, without any displacement being noted or any piece of glass being found on the ground underneath the window. A prosecution expert witness stated that this tends to exclude the possibility that the rock was thrown from outside the house. Also, a climber, in leaning his hands and then his feet or knees on the windowsill, would have caused at least some piece of glass to fall, and he would have been obliged to shift some pieces of glass in order to avoid being wounded by them. Instead, no piece of glass was found under the window, and no sign of any wound was seen on the pieces of glass found in the room. It can moreover be observed that the presence of many pieces of glass on the outside part of the windowsill increases the probability of finding some small pieces of glass on the ground underneath, since there seems to be no reason that so many pieces of glass would all stop just at the edge of the windowsill without any of them flying beyond the edge and falling down to the garden below.[51,52]

These inconsistencies in the break-in theory can, however, be explained if one supposes that the rock was thrown from the inside of the room, with the two external shutters pulled inwards so that they blocked the pieces of glass from falling to the ground below. Once the glass had been broken from inside, the rock was set down at some place in the room, and the external shutters were pushed towards the outside, being thus opened from within the room.[51]

A further indication that the ‘break-in’ was staged was deduced from photos of the scene, taken by investigators. The appearance is that the goal was to create obvious disorder in Romanelli’s room, but does not appear to be the result of true searching for the kind of valuable objects that might tempt a burglar. The drawers of the little dresser next to the bed were not even opened; the objects on the shelves appear not to have been touched at all; piles of clothes seem to have been thrown down from the closet but it does not seem that there was any serious search inside the closet, in which some clothes and some boxes remained in place without showing any signs of an actual search for valuable items that might have been there. It does not appear that the boxes on the table were opened in a search for valuable items. Indeed, no valuable item was taken, or even set aside to be taken, by the ‘burglar’.

Based on all this evidence, the court concluded that the disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constituted an artificial representation created in order to misdirect the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.

Part Four is here.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: How Motive For The Crime Is Addressed By Judge Massei

Posted by James Raper





The Massei Report in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder. Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence. Since this pointed to a sex attack he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak.

Micheli, the judge who committed Amanda and Raffaele to stand trial, was more certain in his mind as to the roles played by these three. He said that there was “an agreed plan”, “to satisfy sexual instincts” with “murderous intent” and that effectively Amanda was the instigator and catalyst.

Motive is largely an area of speculation but it is surely possible to draw inferences from what we know?  As Micheli did.  The Appeal Court and ultimately The Supreme Court of Cassation may well adopt the same reasoning and conclusion ““ maybe go further.

And there were, to my mind, undoubtedly many factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address. I have always been interested in the possible dynamics of just how these three came to murder poor Meredith. Pro-Knox campaigners once made much of “No Motive”. Now not so much because the issue draws people in to a discussion of the evidence and of Amanda’s personality.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” ( my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the Cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies. The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate, knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Proven at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them. It is as if the Judge ( well the jury really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be.

What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial. A theft just prior to the murder significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaelle and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder. It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved : not premeditation to murder but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous ” let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not have access to trial records. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses to whom we can refer. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her. She gave evidence that the rent being due very soon she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony. I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so that would, as I have said, been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie and that the bank records corroborate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money.

I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money or Meredith”˜s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. And the credit cards. Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that a call was placed to her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede. Why? I have to concede that there is no single obvious reason and that it may be more likely than not that the call was entirely unintentional.

But if, as may seem likely, the credit cards were kept with her handbag, and the money in her bedroom drawer, then on discovering that her money was missing she may have called her bank in a funk only to remember that the cards were safe and that no money could be withdrawn from her account.

The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc. What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room.

Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better. His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have ie no point denying that he was there or that he had sexual contact with Meredith : his biological traces had been left behind, and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money not in the circumstances referred to in his statement but because Meredith has already discovered the theft and worked out who has had it and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive. Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

Although Micheli thought Guede was a liar from start to finish, he did not discount the possibility that Guede was essentially telling the truth about the money. Guede expanded upon this at his appeal, telling the court that Amanda and Meredith had an argument and then a fight over it. It is a thread that runs through all his accounts from his Skype chat and initial statements in Germany to his final appeal.

Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration at Amanda’s and Raffaele’s trial. Although he was called to give evidence he did not do so. Now his “evidence” and the findings and conclusion of the courts which processed his case come in to play in the appeal of Amanda and Raffaele.

When were the money and credit cards stolen?

I have to accept that as to the money at any rate a theft prior to the murder is critical to sustain the following hypothesis. The credit cards were in any event probably taken after the attack on Meredith.

According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there as was Filomena.  Filomena left first, followed by Meredith to spend the evening with her friends, and Amanda and Raffaele left some time afterwards.

So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money any time after Meredith left and before she returned at about 9.30pm - the day of her murder. Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money apart from the obvious one of profit?

There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained during questioning that their confusion and hesitancy was due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs. Mignini says that they were both part of a drugs crowd.

Because her own financial circumstances were deteriorating and to fund her own rent contribution?  She was probably about to be sacked at Le Chic where she was considered by Lumumba to be flirty and unreliable and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked and trusted by all whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane. 

But maybe Amanda just also wanted to get her own back on Meredith.

Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other.

Here are some quotes from Darkness Descending.

Filomena ““ “At first they got on very well. But then things began to take a different course. Amanda never cleaned the house so we had to institute a rota “¦.then she (Amanda) would bring strangers home”¦.Meredith said she was not interested in boys, she was here to study”.

“Meredith was too polite to confront Amanda, but she did confide in her pal, Robyn Butterworth. Robyn winced in disbelief when Meredith said that the pair had quarreled because Knox often failed to flush the toilet, even when menstruating. Filomena began noticing that Amanda could be odd, even mildly anti-social.”

It seems that Amanda did not like it when she was not the centre of attention. It was observed that, comically if irritatingly, she would sing loudly if conversation started to pass her by and when playing her guitar would often strum the same chord over and over again.

On the evening of Halloween Amanda texted Meredith enquiring as to whether they could meet up. But Meredith had other arrangements. Meredith appeared to be having a good time whereas Amanda was not.

Indeed there has been much speculation that Amanda has always had deep seated psychological problems and that just after several weeks in Perugia her fragile and damaged ego was tipping towards free fall.


With Meredith’s money both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba and she was supposed to turn up that evening for work but perhaps she no longer cared all that much for the consequences if she did not.

Again I speculate that she, with or without Raffaele,  met Guede at some time -  perhaps before she was due at work, perhaps after she learnt that she was not required by Lumumba -  discussed Meredith’s “availability” and agreed to meet up again on the basketball court at Grimana Square.

The notion that Amanda and Guede hardly knew each other seems implausible to me. We know that they met at a party at the boys’ flat at the cottage. Guede was friends with one of those boys and was invited there on a number of occasions. He was an ever present on the basketball court in Grimana Square which was located just outside the College Amanda and Meredith attended, and just metres from the cottage. He was known to have fancied Amanda and Amanda was always aware of male interest.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards? Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening. However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money whilst she was out. Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money was missing and would put 2 and 2 together.  What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it but logic has it’s way and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia uncomfortable for Meredith. Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith. Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here. Amanda may have fantasized that Meredith would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome I leave you to judge, but the hypothesis is that they were starting to think and behave irrationally and that this was exacerbated by the use of drugs.

In the event there came a point when neither Amanda nor Raffaele had any other commitments anyway. They got to the basketball court. They waited for Guede.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court the evening of the 1st November. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second lay witness. He was not precise about times but thought that they were on the basketball court between 9.30pm and 10pm and may have left around 11.00 ““ 11.30pm and then returned just before midnight. In any event he testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over. What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this?  Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why? There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present around 11.00pm. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We, of course, cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele between the time of them leaving the cottage and their departure from the basketball court to return to the cottage. It has to be speculation but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before leaving the basketball court does not look like a co-incidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money.

It is my opinion that at the cottage Amanda came off worse initially: that she got caught in the face by a blow and suffered a nose bleed.
Stefanoni and Garofano both say that there was an abundant amount (relatively speaking) of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom washbasin, and to a lesser extent the bidet.  Whereas most of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom was mixed with Meredith’s, the blood on the washbasin tap was Amanda’s alone. Both of a quality and quantity to discount menstrual (from washed knickers) or bleeding from ear piercing. Their conclusion was that Amanda bled fairly profusely though perhaps briefly at some stage.

Possibly Amanda may have cut her feet on glass in Filomena’s bedroom but if so it’s difficult to see how blood from that ends up as a blob on the basin tap and in the sink and cut feet are painful to walk on and she did not display any awkwardness on her feet the next day.

Amanda’s blood may have come from a nick by a blade to her hands. I think the nick would be obvious the next day .If so, she was not hiding it. She was photographed the next day outside the cottage waving her hands under the noses of a coterie of vigilant cops.

She might have got a bloody nose during the attack in Meredith’s bedroom save that there is no evidence of her blood there.

On the other hand if she got into a tussle with Meredith (say in the corridor outside their rooms and where there was little room for other than the two to be engaged) and was fended off with a reflex blow that accidently or otherwise connected with her nose, Amanda’s natural reaction would be to disengage immediately and head for the bathroom sink and staunch the flow of blood.

A nose bleed need not take too long to staunch especially if not serious and there is no cut (certainly none being visible the next day).  Just stuff some tissue up the offending nostril. A nose bleed is not necessarily something of which there would be any sign the next day.

Raffaelle fusses around her whilst Rudy briefly plays peacemaker. But Amanda is boiling. As furious with Raffaelle and Guede as she is with Meredith. She eggs Guede on and pushes him towards Meredith.  Raffaele proudly produces his flicknife, latent sadistic instincts surfacing.

Is a scene like this played out inside the cottage or outside? I think of the strange but sadly discredited tale told by Kokomani.

In any event motive is satiated and the coil, having been tensed, is sprung for the pre-planned, but now extremely violent, hazing of poor Meredith.

I am also thinking here of Mignini’s “crescendo of violence” and where a point is reached where anything goes ““ where there is (from their warped perspectives) almost an inevitability or justification for their behaviour. A “Meredith definitely needs teaching a lesson now!” attitude.

Psychology is part of motive and there is much speculation particularly with regard to Amanda and Raffaele. They have both been in prison for well over three years now and during this time psychological assessments will certainly have been carried out.

Based on specific incidents and and general patterns of behaviour, speech and language, and demeanour, some preliminary conclusions will have been reached correlated with the facts of the crime.

If their convictions are upheld these assessments may be relevant to sentence in so far as they shed light on mitigation and motive.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Precise And Accurate Italian Wikipedia Article On Meredith’s Case, Now Translated Into English

Posted by Tom M and Skeptical Bystander


A recent post on TJMK by Gwaendar refers to Wikipedia and the current effort by the Fictitious Friends of Amanda to make her the focus of an article that has so far been devoted to the Murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Eclectic Chapbook blog often comments on the case. It has called this effort “tragically misguided and possibly somewhat demented,” describing it as an instance of “the Enchanted Glen Phenomenon, which is a psychological space wherein normal laws do not apply and all rules are magically suspended. “

We have now examined and translated the Italian Wikipedia article which was written in a space where the normal laws certainly are applied and no rules have been suspended. 

The main reporting and the voluminous records of the trial and the appeal are of course all in Italian, and Italians on the whole have a far better grasp of events and the legal context than do most observers in the US and the UK. Because there is so much source material, and so little misleading reporting, it would seem that If any Wikipedia in any language in the world is going to describe the case correctly, it will be the Italian one.

This translation below of most of the Italian Wikipedia article is not word-for-word, but it is intended to convey the substance of the Italian article as it would have been if originally written in English. 

The index, the sections on books and movie, and the citations were omitted.

The murder of Meredith Kercher, an English student in Italy enrolled in the Erasmus program at the University of Perugia, occurred during the night of November 1, 2007.  Meredith was found lifeless, with her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with other students in Perugia.  The cause of death was hemorrhage due to bleeding from a wound to the neck caused by a sharp object used as a weapon.

Two men and a woman were convicted as a result, of murder, sexual violence and theft.

Biography

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was born December 28, 1985 in Southwark, London, lived in Coulsdon, and was a student at the University of Leeds, where she was pursuing a degree in European Studies. She enrolled in the Erasmus program, and had arrived in Italy in September 2007 to complete her degree in European Studies.

Details and circumstances of the murder

Kercher was murdered at night between 1 and 2 November 2007, in the apartment she shared with three other young women, two Italian and an American, who were away that night. Based on the first examination of the autopsy, the pathologist who handled the case ruled that the death occurred between 22:00 and midnight on that day.

The following morning an elderly woman living near Via della Pergola where Meredith’s body was found, alarmed by the discovery of two abandoned mobile phones, called the police. From information obtained from one of two mobile phones the Postal Police of Perugia sent agents to the house of Meredith Kercher.  On their arrival the police found Amanda Knox (Seattle, USA, July 9, 1987), Meredith Kercher’s flatmate, and her Italian friend, Raffaele Sollecito (Giovinazzo, March 26, 1984), with whom she had recently started a relationship, outside the house.

The two young people said they were awaiting the arrival of the police; when asked why, they said they had found a window broken, the door open, and suspected a theft. Later, these claims were questioned by investigators, given that the Police Post arrived at the house on Via della Pergola at 12:35 and telephone calls to the Police were not made not until 12:51 and 12:54.  Entering, the Police found the bedroom of Meredith Kercher locked and decided to break down the door. Upon entering, they found a number of bloodstains, the room in disarray, and a foot sticking out from under the duvet which had covered the bed.

The Convicted:

The three convicted at the first stage are:

  • Raffaele Sollecito, who was born in Giovinazzo (BA), a university student of 23 years at the time of the murder;
  • Amanda Knox, a student originally from Seattle, U.S., 20, who had a relationship with Sollecito at the time of the crime;
  • Rudy Hermann Guede, born December 26, 1986 in the Ivory Coast, was arrested in Germany on November 20 and extradited to Italy on December 6, 2007.  At his lawyers’ request, Guede received from the court at a preliminary hearing an order granting expedited trial.

Knox and Guede were detained in Capanne prison, a 20-minute drive from Perugia. Sollecito, after also being held in Capanne, was transferred in early 2008 to the Vocabolo Sabbione prison in Terni.

The case also, initially, erroneously involved Patrick Lumumba, owner of the restaurant where Amanda Knox worked; her statement placed him at the crime scene on the night of the crime. The charges were later proved unfounded and demonstrated the unreliability of Knox as a witness. Implicating the Congolese man was also an incorrect translation of a text message sent to him in English by Knox (‘see you later’, which rather than a generic “Ci vidiamo,” was translated literally as “we will see each other later”[“ci vidiamo dopo”].

Thus, police thought that the two had an appointment for the evening of the crime). Patrick Lumumba was ultimately released and all charges against him were dropped.  Following the unjust detention lasting 14 days, Lumumba was awarded € 8000 as compensation, but this was deemed inadequate by his lawyer, who threatened to sue.

The Sentences

Knox, Sollecito and Guede were sentenced respectively to 26, 25 and 16 years in prison. Rudi Hermann Guede opted for an abbreviated trial and his conviction for complicity in murder and sexual violence was made final by the Court of Cassation, First Criminal Division, on December 16, 2010. For the other two participants, the case is on appeal. The decisions reconstruct in detail the manner and circumstances of the murder, a motive defined “violent, sexual, erotic.”

The conviction in the first trial of Sollecito and Knox, issued by the Court of Assizes of Perugia, is based on numerous expert opinions, objective evidence and testimony.

According to the reconstruction regarding Knox and Sollecito, on the evening of November 1, 2007, they met in piazza Grimana, where they had occasionally met Guede, an acquaintance of Knox, who decided to join them for the evening. They decided to go to Knox’s house, to which her roommate Meredith Kercher, after an evening with her English friends, had just returned. Kercher’s bedroom door was presumably ajar, and upon entering the house the three defendants immediately noticed her presence.

Going directly to another part of the house, Knox and Sollecito made love.  Guede, shortly after, went to the bathroom, where he left organic residues in the water of the toilet, as found in the investigation. According to the reconstruction, Guede left the bathroom, probably excited by the sounds of Sollecito and Knox making love, noted again the door ajar at Kercher’s room, and decided to approach. Then he entered Kercher’s room; but after her refusal, he became violent, attempting to rape her.

Kercher’s cries led Knox and Sollecito to go to her room, where they joined Guede’s criminal action, finding it an “exciting situation.” While the Guede violated Kercher, Knox and Sollecito tried to immobilize her: to do this Sollecito and Knox wielded knives to threaten the victim. The analysis shows that the knife wounds by Sollecito were probably quite small, while Knox wielded a kitchen knife, later found, and on which were found genetic traces of her mixed with those of Kercher.

The situation then deteriorated, partly because of the screams and resistance of Kercher: Knox then, with the kitchen knife, struck the victim in the neck, causing fatal injuries. The three defendants, shortly after the murder, fled with Kercher’s phones, fearing that if someone called her and got no response, they would be suspicious and the crime would be discovered: the cell phone was ultimately found in an embankment a few hundred meters from Kercher’s house.

Then they headed in different directions: Guede to a nightclub, Knox and Sollecito to the latter’s flat. The next morning Knox and Sollecito tried to clean up the crime scene and clean up their tracks; then they broke a window in the house to stage a mock burglary, hoping to throw the investigation off course.

Guede’s Supposed Confession

In March 2010 rumors spread of an alleged confession by Rudy Guede. The facts are as follows: it seems that Guede had revealed his complicity, with a friend, in killing Kercher, to Mario Alessi, an inmate housed in the same prison, a character already known to police and media for the murder of little Tommaso Onofri, Guede had invited Kercher to go to a party, she refused, and subsequently the friend of Guede tried to rape her. According to Alessi, Guede tried to come to Kercher’s aid, and Guede’s friend rebuked him, saying that he should just strike the final blow to end the girl’s misery, which is what Guede did.

Then Guede and his friend met again by chance in a nightclub, and Guede’s friend gave him money to flee to Germany, where he was at the time of the extradition and return to Italy for arrest. This reconstruction, which would completely exonerate Knox and Sollecito, was found by investigators to be totally unfounded.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open Questions: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by SomeAlibi


Welcome

If you’ve come to this website because of the Lifetime movie of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, then welcome. 

Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The movie you’ve just watched is equivocal on that matter and perhaps didn’t help you at all.

On the internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and you will find people who are passionate in their support of the prosecution. 

My own arrival

Placing my own cards on the table here: as a twenty-plus year practising trial lawyer, I am firmly a part of that latter camp.  But it wasn’t always that way.

It was information ““ evidence ““ that changed my views. What became very clear to me, early on, was that very few people in the English-speaking world are aware of anywhere near all of the evidence in this case.

I had thought I had grasped the core of the case, but I did not.  The case is deep and complex and like many criminal cases, the complete facts behind it have been only sketchily reported in the media.  The movie you may have just watched only skirts the real reasons the jury convicted.

The unanimous jury

I am sure that we all agree that no jury, in any murder case, given the awesome responsibility of adjudicating on (young) people’s lives for a multi-decade period of imprisonment, condemns people lightly.

It should be a matter of logic that the evidence presented against the accused must have been deep and satisfied the 6 lay jurors and 2 judges on the case for them to pronounce that huge judgement. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be the possibility of a mistrial, but clearly the evidence presented must have been substantial.

In this, we’ve already hit the first problem.  Some supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will tell you there’s no evidence against them. 

This is patently silly.  No jury ever convicts people and sends them to prison for 24 plus years without being quite convinced of the case against them.  Miscarriages of justice do happen, but the idea that there is “no evidence” can be summarily dismissed. 

The only question is whether the evidence is sufficient, true and accurate.

The voluminous evidence

So is the evidence enough to convict beyond a reasonable doubt?  The six lay jurors and two professional judges thought so, clearly.  What you realise, when you come to the facts of the case, is that the evidence is based not around a single key event but on multiple points. 

It can be astonishing to realise that the case is based not only on DNA evidence but also on cellphone evidence and computer records and further yet on multiple conflicting and contradicting versions of what happened that night from the mouths of the accused, not to mention falsely accusing an innocent man of responsibility for murder causing his incarceration. 

The wealth of evidence is actually extremely unusual. It goes way beyond the quite similar Scott Peterson case.

The Massei Sentencing Report

What is absolutely new to the English speaking legal world is that the reasoning for the conviction can be read in an extremely detailed 440+ page report online.  Bilingual posters at the Perugia Murder File Forum many of whom who are also key posters at TJMK translated the entire document into English over several months last year. 

It was my privilege to play an extremely small part in that work.  People from four different continents with backgrounds in forensic science, law, academia and a host of other disciplines participated. 

You can read an effective executive summary by clicking on the Massei Report link at top here and reading the conclusions from page 388 onwards:

The Knox PR campaign

If you are new to this case, you will likely be shocked how much evidence there is against the convicted parties.  Amanda Knox’s family have spent over $1m and involved a professional PR agency called Gogerty Marriot to suggest otherwise in the English-speaking media. 

You might wonder why an innocent person needs a million dollar PR campaign on their part.  Make yourself a coffee and read the conclusions of the judge’s report. It will take you about 15 minutes.  Up until you read this report, almost everything you watch, hear and read is PR spin and is quite deliberately positioned to make you believe there is no case.

When you complete it,  I believe you will have a very different take. That 15 minutes could change your ideas about everything you thought you knew about the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Now for a quick tour of the evidence.


Some of the points of evidence

Consider as you read it what is your own possible explanation for each of the following:

  • the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito on Meredith’s bra-clasp in her locked bedroom;

  • the almost-entire naked footprint of Raffaele on a bathmat that in *no way* fits that of the other male in this case ““ Rudy Guede;

  • the fact that Raffaele’s own father blew their alibi that they were together in Raffaele’s flat at the time of the killing with indisputable telephone records;

  • the DNA of Meredith Kercher on the knife in Raffaele’s flat which Raffaele himself sought to explain as having been from accidentally “pricking” Meredith’s hand in his written diary despite the fact Meredith had never been to his flat (confirmed by Amanda Knox);

  • the correlation of where Meredith’s phones were found to the location of Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guedes’s flats;

  • the computer records which show that no-one was at Raffaele’s computer during the time of the murder despite him claiming he was using that computer;

  • Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s in five different places just feet from Meredith’s body;

  • the utterly inexplicable computer records the morning after the murder starting at 5.32 am and including multiple file creations and interactions thereafter all during a time that Raffaele and Amanda insist they were asleep until 10.30am;

  • the separate witnesses who testified on oath that Amanda and Raffaele were at the square 40 metres from the girls’ cottage on the evening of the murder and the fact that Amanda was seen at a convenience store at 7.45am the next morning, again while she said she was in bed;

  • the accusation of a completely innocent man by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that when Amanda Knox rang Meredith’s mobile telephones, ostensibly to check on the “missing” Meredith, she did so for just three seconds - registering the call but making no effort to allow the phone to be answered in the real world

  • the knife-fetish of Raffaele Sollecito and his formal disciplinary punishment for watching animal porn at his university ““ so far from the wholesome image portrayed;

  • the fact that claimed multi-year kick-boxer Raffaele apparently couldn’t break down a flimsy door to Meredith’s room when he and Amanda were at the flat the morning after the murder but the first people in the flat with the police who weren’t martial artists could;

  • the extensive hard drug use of Sollecito as told on by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that Amanda knew details of the body and the wounds despite not being in line of sight of the body when it was discovered;

  • the lies of Knox on the witness stand in July 2009 about how their drug intake that night (“one joint”) is totally contradicted by Sollecito’s own contemporaneous diary;

  • the fact that after a late evening’s questioning, Knox wrote a 2,900 word email home which painstakingly details what she said happened that evening and the morning after that looks *highly* like someone committing to memory, at 3.30 in the morning, an extensive alibi;

  • the fact that both Amanda and Raffaele both said they would give up smoking dope for life in their prison diaries despite having apparently nothing to regret;

  • the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested, Raffaele Sollecito didn’t celebrate the “true” perpetrator being arrested (which surely would have seen him released) but worried in his diary that a man whom he said he didn’t know would “make up strange things” about him despite him just being one person in a city of over 160,000 people;

  • the fact that both an occupant of the cottage and the police instantly recognised the cottage had not been burgled but had been the subject of a staged break-in where glass was *on top* of apparently disturbed clothes;

  • that Knox and Sollecito both suggested each other might have committed the crime and Sollecito TO THIS DATE does not agree Knox stayed in his flat all the night in question;

  • the bizarre behaviour of both of them for days after the crime;

  • the fact that cellphone records show Knox did not stay in Sollecito’s flat but had left the flat at a time which is completely coincidental with Guede’s corroborated presence near the girl’s flat earlier in the evening;

  • the fact that Amanda Knox’s table lamp was found in the locked room of Meredith Kercher in a position that suggested it had been used to examine for fine details of the murder scene in a clean up;

  • the unbelievable series of changing stories made up by the defendants after their versions became challenged; Knox’s inexplicable reaction to being shown the knife drawer at the girl’s cottage where she ended up physically shaking and hitting her head.


In conclusion

This list is not exhaustive. It goes”¦ on”¦ and on”¦ and on”¦ And yet, those supporting Knox will tell you that’s all made up, all coincidental. 

Really?  Does the weight of all that evidence sound made up to you?

If so, it must be the most over-rigged criminal case in the history of crime.  Unlikely beyond all and any reasonable doubt.

The judge’s report explains why the jury found the defendants guilty. I truly expect you will be astonished at the amount of evidence if all you’ve done is watched a film or read a few press reports. 

For any questions thereafter, please join us and post them on truejustice.org or perugiamuderfile.org .  You’ll find here a host of good people who are all working on a totally volunteer basis in memory of the only victim of this crime.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher. RIP.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten Examples Of How The Former Campus Cop Steve Moore Serially Mischaracterizes The Case

Posted by The Machine




1. The Chronic Chest-Thumper

A couple of weeks ago Steve Moore was frogmarched out of his workplace on the campus of Pepperdine University and told not to come back.

Although Pepperdine apparently offered him a deal for his resignation, he refused, and so he probably departed with only the minimal severance entitlements in his contract. Now he is suing Pepperdine, presumably to see if he can get a little bit more. 

Steve Moore has been rather plaintively claiming since the firing that he did nothing wrong, except to avidly support the innocence of Amanda Knox in his own time. No mention of his confused take on the case or of Pepperdine’s exchange students in Italy who must rely on the police Moore delights in trashing.

We suspect that a lot of things about his confused, hurtful and ebullient campaign reached the front office of Pepperdine University and its Law School, and that some or many of these things may come out in the open when Steve Moore’s suit goes to court. Our next post will contemplate what some of these things may be.


2. Moore Adrift On Hard Facts

It’s not a secret at all to those involved in handling the case in Perugia and Rome (where Moore is much ridiculed) and presumably now at Pepperdine (which has a very good law school, one capable of correctly absorbing the Massei report) is how Steve Moore is serially unable to get the facts right.

His media interviews have followed the very familiar PR script. The presenter or journalist begins by really talking up Steve Moore’s 25-year career with the FBI as one of the FBI’s really big stars! Then going to to emphasize how Steve Moore has REALLY done his homework on this case! On the NBC Today Show, for example, it was claimed that Steve Moore has studied “every iota of evidence”! Reporter Linda Byron stated on Seattle’s King 5 TV that he had obtained the trial transcripts and the police and autopsy records! And Moore had all of them translated into English!

The intended message is clear: Steve Moore is an exceptionally credible professional expert in all the relevant fields! He knows this case inside out because he has researched it absolutely meticulously!

In this piece, we will compare just a few of the many claims that Steve Moore has made - here in interviews with Frank Shiers on Seattle’s Kiro FM Radio, with Ann Curry on the NBC Today Show, with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, and with Monique Ming Laven on Seattle’s Kiro 7 TV - with the real facts, as described in the Massei report and the witness testimony from the trial.

3. Ten Of The Oft Repeated Lies By Moore


Frequent Moore Lie 1: The large knife doesn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

Steve Moore has repeatedly claimed in interviews with for example Frank Shiers, Ann Curry and Monique Laven that the double DNA knife doesn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

Untrue. Prosecution experts, multiple defence experts and Judge Massei in his report have all agreed that the double DNA knife DID match the large wound on Meredith’s neck.

On these matters, the considerations already made must be recalled, which led this Court to evaluate the outcome of the genetic investigation as reliable, and this knife as absolutely compatible with the most serious wound. (The Massei report, page 375).

Barbie Nadeau reported directly from the courtroom in Perugia that multiple witnesses for the defence, including Dr. Carlo Torre, conceded that the double DNA knife was compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck.

“According to multiple witnesses for the defense, the knife is compatible with at least one of the three wounds on Kercher’s neck, but it was likely too large for the other two.” (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek).

He (Dr. Carlo Torre, defence expert) conceded that a third larger wound could have been made with the knife, but said it was more likely it was made by twisting a smaller knife. (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast).

For someone who has allegedly “studied every iota of evidence”, it seems that Steve Moore is doing nothing more than regurgitating a familiar FOA myth that has long been completely debunked.

He clearly hasn’t studied every iota of evidence. Very far from it.

Monique Ming Laven had a copy of the English translation of the Massei report. Warning bells should have gone off in her head as soon as Moore claimed the double DNA knife didn’t match the large wound on Meredith’s neck, and yet she didn’t challenge him.


Frequent Moore Lie 2: They want you to believe that Amanda Knox inflicted all three wounds on Meredith’s neck

Moore stated in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that “they” claimed that Knox caused all three wounds on Meredith’s neck.

“What they’re having you, what they want you to believe is that in the middle of a life and death struggle, holding a girl who is fighting for her life. Amanda stabbing someone for the first time in her life, takes two stabs with a very small knife, throws it away and says give me the other one” (5.48 -  6.05)

Untrue. Neither the judges and jury nor the prosecution have ever claimed that Amanda Knox inflicted all three wounds on Meredith’s neck:

“Elements which lead one to consider that the 4cm in depth wound was inflicted by Raffaele Sollecito with the pocket knife that he was always carrying around with him, and was inflicted immediately after having cut the bra…” (The Massei report, page 374).

The following extract is from Mignini’s timeline, which was presented at the trial on 20 November 2009 by the prosecutors:

23.30 ...At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other however a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:40 ...The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

The timeline presented by the prosecutors during their summation was published in Il Messagero and other Italian newspapers. It was translated by main poster Tiziano and our other Italian speakers and posted on PMF and TJMK here.


Frequent Moore Lie 3: Meredith had no defensive wounds on her hands

Steve Moore told Frank Shiers on Kiro FM that Meredith had no defensive wounds on her hands.

Untrue. Moore clearly hadn’t read the autopsy report, or its summary in the Massei Report.

“They consist also in some tiny defensive wounds: one on the palm of her [396] right hand of a length of .6cm showing a tiny amount of blood; another on the ulnar surface of the first phalange of the second finger of the left hand, also of length .6cm; another on the fingertip of the first finger with a superficial wound of .3cm, and another tiny wound corresponding to the fourth radius.” (The Massei report, pages 369-370).


Frequent Moore Lie 4: Rudy left his hair and fluid samples on Meredith’s body.

Steve Moore has made this claim in interviews with Frank Shiers and George Stephanopoulos.

Untrue. Rudy Guede did not leave any hair or fluid samples on Meredith’s body. There is no mention of Rudy Guede leaving his hair or fluid samples on Meredith’s body in either the Micheli report or the Massei report.

Steve Moore is simply making things up or relying on false information.


Frequent Moore Lie 5: Amanda and Raffaele didn’t step in blood and that can’t be avoided

In his interview with Frank Shiers, Steve Moore claimed that Knox and Sollecito didn’t step in Meredith’s blood.

Untrue. The Massei report completely contradicts this claim. It notes that Amanda Knox stepped in Meredith’s blood and tracked the blood with her feet into her own room, the corridor, and Filomena’s room:

Even the traces highlighted by Luminol therefore show the existence of evidence against Amanda, making [the Court] consider that she, having been barefoot in the room where Meredith was killed and having thus stained her feet, had left the traces highlighted by Luminol (which could have resisted the subsequent action of cleaning, on which more will follow) and found in the various parts of the house which she went to for the reasons shown above (her own room, the corridor, Romanelli’s room). (The Massei report, page 382).

Judge Massei attributed the visible bloody footprint on the bathroom mat to Raffaele Sollecito and categorically ruled out the possibility that it could have belonged to Rudy Guede:

“Also from this viewpoint it must be excluded that the print left on the sky-blue mat in the little bathroom could be attributable to Rudy.  A footprint that, for what has been observed in the relevant chapter [of this report] and for the reasons just outlined, must be attributed to Raffaele Sollecito…” (The Massei report, page 379).

The bare bloody footprint in the corridor, referred in the Massei report as trace 2, was attributed to Raffaele Sollecito:

In this particular case, they lead to an opinion of probable identity with one subject (Sollecito with respect to trace 2, Amanda Knox with respect to traces 1 and 7) and to the demonstrated exclusion of the other two. (The Massei report, page 349).


Frequent Moore Lie 6: None of the luminol prints or stains contained Meredith’s DNA

Steve Moore told Frank Shiers that Meredith’s DNA wasn’t found in any of the luminol prints or stains.

Untrue. Meredith’s DNA was found in the luminol traces in the corridor and in Filomena’s room.

Amanda (with her feet stained with Meredith’s blood for having been present in her room when she was killed) had gone into Romanelli’s room and into her [own] room leaving traces [which were highlighted] by Luminol, some of which (one in the corridor, the L8, and one, the L2, in Romanelli’s room) were mixed, that is, constituted of a biological trace attributable to [both] Meredith and Amanda…” (The Massei report, page 380).


Frequent Moore Lie 7: The prosecutor through fierce interrogation coerced Amanda into implicating someone else in the case

Steve Moore has made this claim on a number of occasions

Untrue. The prosecutor wasn’t even present when Amanda Knox first accused Diya Lumumba.

Dr Mignini was called to the police station after she had ALREADY admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed and after she had ALREADY made her false and malicious accusation against Lumumba.

Her implication of Lumumba was triggered by sight of a phone message she had denied. She had an interpreter with her at all times, and she had a lawyer present at all times after her status moved to that of a self-proclaimed witness.

Her own lawyers never ever claimed the interrogation was anything out of the ordinary (Italian law requires that lawyers report real claims of abuse), or that for a suspect she was treated less than kindly.

They never filed any complaint, contributing to her calunnia conviction, and making her situation at her slander trial in Florence in November one that is dire and untenable. 


Frequent Moore Lie 8: Amanda Knox wasn’t given food or drinks when she was questioned by the police.

Steve Moore claimed on the Today Show and ABC News that Amanda Knox wasn’t given food or drinks when she was questioned.

Untrue. Monica Napoleoni testified that Amanda Knox was given things to eat and drink.

“Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been “treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.” (Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009).

Amanda Knox even herself confirmed during her testimony at the trial that she was given something to eat and drink.


Frequent Moore Lie 9: Amanda Knox was interrogated in Italian on 5 November 2007

Steve Moore stated in his interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that Amanda Knox was interrogated in Italian, a language he says she barely knew, on 5 November 2007.

Untrue. Interpreters were present at all sesions on 2, 3, 4 and 5 November and their names appear in the records Knox signed. Knox was provided with an interpreter, Anna Donnino, on 5 November 2007, who translated all the police officers’ questions into English for her and translated her answers back.

In Amanda Knox’s own testimony on the stand in June 2009, she even referred to this interpreter - she claimed the interpreter seemed to give her some advice at one point.


Frequent Moore Lie 10: Amanda Knox recanted her accusation against Diya Lumumba as soon as she got some food

Steve Moore has made this claim in numerous interviews and articles.

Untrue. Amanda Knox didn’t retract her accusation as soon as she got some food at all. In fact, she reiterated her allegation in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007 which was admitted in evidence:

[Amanda] herself, furthermore, in the statement of 6 November 2007 (admitted into   evidence ex. articles 234 and 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code and which was mentioned above) wrote, among other things, the following: I stand by my - accusatory - statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick…in these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer…”.

This statement, as specified in the report on it of 6 November 2007 at 2:00pm, by the Police Chief Inspector, Rita Ficarra, was drawn up, following the notification of the detention measure, by Amanda Knox, who “requested blank papers in order to produce a written statement to hand over” to the same Ficarra. (The Massei report, page 389).

The Massei court took note of the fact that Amanda Knox didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Diya Lumumba during the whole of the time he was kept in prison. Later courts noted that she told her mother she felt bad about it.

4. Verdict On Steve Moore

He is either an incompetemt or a phoney. Either way he is not to be trusted.

His various surfacings smack of a Walter Mitty character making things up as he goes along, with an expression and a tone of voice that suggests he is thinking “Yes, folks, this REALLY is all about ME.” 

He will save Knox! He will save Knox! Come what may!

Steve Moore has never ever addressed the numerous smoking-gun issues, like Knox’s and Sollecito’s many lies before and after 5 November 2007. It seems that perhaps he’s not even aware of them - he certainly seems to think Amanda Knox only lied on 5 November 2007.

Italian authorities worked hard and professionally in Perugia and Rome to get this case right. If he is ever to speak up again with any credibility at all, Steve Moore needs to read and actually understand the Massei report in its entirety.

It’s unforgivable for him to get so many facts wrong on so many occasions in front of large audiences, and then use those wrong facts to make multiple highly unprofessional accusations against the authorities in Perugia and Rome.

He would never have got away with this about a US case. He would have been held in contempt of court for trying to poison the jury pool.

And the journalists who get to interview him REALLY should have alarm bells going off when he comes out with his many fictions.

It was very remiss of Monique Ming Laven and Ann Curry not to challenge Moore over any of his false claims, such as the double DNA knife being incompatible with the large wound on Meredith’s neck. George Stephanopolous did at least make some small attempt to push back.

Steve Moore is not only oblivious to many facts about the case.

He seems totally oblivious to the real hurt that his cowardly, dishonest, self-serving campaign from across the Atlantic is inflicting on Meredith’s family and her friends.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Why The Media Are Wrong To Rely On Amanda Knox’s Family For Impartial and Accurate Information

Posted by The Machine


1 False claim-making endemic in support of Knox

In many posts we have been addressing the myriad false claims of Knox & family that, lies that now number up in the hundreds.

And here are 150 questions for the two perpetrators posted by our great Powerpoint creator, Kermit, just prior to their conviction. If reporters had sought answers to all of those, they might have once and for all nailed down the truth from the two, and made clear what REALLY happened.

Edda Mellas is already charged along with Curt Knox with making things up, in that pending case about slandering Amanda Knox’s interrogators. And as Finn MacCool seems to have got all the facts right in this post on Amanda Knox’s calls with Edda Mellas, it seems surprising that she is not also charged with perjury.

It’s a great pity that not more media people have put aside their emotions, and actually analyzed the numerous wild claims that come pouring out of Edda Mellas. The fact that so many professional journalists have given her a free pass and never challenged, cross-checked, or probed her claims is especially shameful.

Why has Edda Mellas been able to make so many false claims in the media without being challenged? 

One primary reason according to the Daily Beast is because journalists are required to give certain guarantees about positive coverage in order to gain any access to Amanda Knox’s family: “Of the handful of American journalists in Perugia in late 2007 and early 2008, none got access to the Knox family without certain guarantees about positive coverage.”

And another reason why Edda Mellas has been able to get away with repeatedly propagating the same core false claims is that the journalists in the US who have interviewed Edda Mellas are almost completely ignorant of the basic facts of the case. They haven’t bothered to find out enough about the case to be in a position to challenge what she says.

In fact any journalist - in fact, anyone interested in the case - can check the veracity of her claims against the official court documents, including the Micheli Sentencing Report of January 2009 (summarised on TJMK in English) and the Massei Sentencing Report of March 2010 (very soon available on PMF and TJMK in English).

And they can check the claims against the objective reporting of the various respected Rome-based journalists who speak fluent Italian and who actually attended the trial - the only Rome-based English-language reporter who has ever filed biased reports was Peter Popham, who seemed reflexively anti-Italy, and who was withdrawn two years ago.

2. Numerous False Knox-Family Claims

This analysis focuses on the claims that Edda Mellas has made in interviews with Larry King on CNN, Chris Wragge on CBS, Linda Byron on King 5, and The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone. There are other videos and text interviews that we could have drawn examples from.

We start with Edda Mellas on CNN’s Larry King Live.

Edda Mellas and Curt Knox appeared on Larry King Live shortly after the verdict last December. You can see them in the videos above and below. The timing here corresponds to the time counter at bottom-left of the video.


False claim 1 “The prosecution had changed the motive four times during the trial. and at the end they finally had to say we don’t have a motive but it doesn’t matter.” (minute 4.22 above)

Barbie Nadeau pointed out that the prosecutors had changed their theory, but only rather slightly:

“The prosecution lawyers began their case in January 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. When it came time for closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred” A sex attack was still involved.

Prosecutor Mignini also suggested that a hards drug like cocaine might have been involved, and certainly never said that they didn’t have a motive. Co-Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said that she didn’t know precisely what the motive was, but certainly never claimed that there was none.


False claim 2:  “He (Rudy Guede) all of a sudden had money that he didn’t have earlier in the day” (minute 3.22 above)

Edda Mellas is plucking “facts” out thin air with this claim. No evidence was presented at any court hearing that showed that Rudy Guede suddenly had money that he didn’t have earlier in the day on 1 November 2007.


False claim 3:  “There is no murder weapon.” (minute 4.32 above)

Judge Massei indicates in the sentencing report that Amanda Knox’s judges concluded that the double DNA knife, the larger of the two indicated by Meredith’s autopsy, is indeed the murder weapon.

It is totally compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck, and according to a number of independent forensic experts, it contained Meredith’s DNA on the blade..

 


False claim 4:  “The Italian Supreme Court found the interrogation illegal” (minute 7.54 above)

Though this claim has been repeated in different ways, the Italian Supreme Court has NEVER ruled that Amanda Knox’s interrogation either as a witness or a suspect was illegal. In the suspect interview, she had both a lawyer and interpreter present.


False claim 5:  “They admit to the fact they really have no physical evidence” (minute 7.54 above)

As it took the prosecutors four or five months to present it, they have never admitted that they have no physical evidence. The stop-start-stop nature of the defense phase of the trial showed how very telling the evidence was.


False claim 6:  “They believe Meredith was killed at about 9.30pm” on Larry King Live (minute 0.54 here)

The prosecutors didn’t claim this at the trial. According to Mignini’s timeline, which he used when presenting his scenario for what happened to the judges and jury at trial, Meredith was killed at about 11.50pm.


False claim 7:  Amanda Knox didn’t know Rudy Guede (minute 1.02 here)

Unbelievably, Edda Mellas claimed that Amanda Knox didn’t know Rudy Guede despite the fact that Amanda Knox testified IN COURT that she had met Rudy Guede on several occasions.

Here’s the actual court transcript:

Carlo Pacelli (CP), Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer: In what circumstances did you meet him (Rudy)?

Amanda Knox (AK): I was in the center, near the church. It was during an evening when I met the guys that lived underneath in the apartment underneath us, and while I was mingling with them, they introduced me to Rudy.

CP: So it was on the occasion of a party at the house of the neighbors downstairs?

AK: Yes. What we did is, they introduced me to him downtown just to say “This is Rudy, this is Amanda”, and then I spent most of my time with Meredith, but we all went back to the house together.

CP: Did you also know him, or at least see him, in the pub “Le Chic”, Rudy?

AK: I think I saw him there once.

CP: Listen, this party at the neighbors, it took place in the second half of October? What period, end of October? 2007?

AK: I think it was more in the middle of October.


False claim 8:  Rudy Guede’s DNA was in Meredith’s purse (minute 3.16 here

Edda Mellas’s claim that Rudy Guede’s DNA was in Meredith’s purse is completely untrue. According to the Micheli report, which was made available to the public in January 2008, Guede’s DNA was found on the zip of Meredith’s purse and not inside it.


False claim 9:  “Even the Italian Supreme Court ruled that her rights were repeatedly violated.” (minute 5:32 above

The Italian Supreme Court has NEVER ruled that Amanda Knox’s rights were repeatedly violated. Not even her own lawyers claimed that, and no complaint was ever lodged.

The first of Knox’s two written statements couldn’t be used against her simply because she wasn’t represented by a lawyer when she made it - and she volunteered that statement, in a seeming state of panic, when she was told Sollecito was no longer supporting her alibi..

We continue next with Edda Mellas making claims in an interview for the CBS Early Show.

Whilen Edda Mellas was in Perugia, she was interviewed by CBS’s Chris Wragge. (Embedding of this CBS video YouTube on sites like TJMK is disabled, which suggests that CBS might be worried that the claims made were wrong and they should have been challenged on-air.) 


False claim 10:  The double DNA knife is incompatible with the wounds on Meredith’s body. (minute 0.16 above)

In the interview Edda Mellas made the following claim: “The knife they think is the murder weapon is way too big and demonstrated how it had to have been a much smaller knife that caused all the wounds.”

Edda Mellas’s claim above is simply not true.

Barbie Nadeau reported directly from the courtroom in Perugia that multiple witnesses for the defence, including Dr. Carlo Torre, conceded that the double DNA knife was compatible with the deep puncture wound in Meredith’s neck.

“According to multiple witnesses for the defense, the knife is compatible with at least one of the three wounds on Kercher’s neck, but it was likely too large for the other two.” (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek).

“He (Dr. Carlo Torre) conceded that a third larger wound could have been made with the knife, but said it was more likely it was made by twisting a smaller knife.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast).

Judge Massei categorically states in the judges’ sentencing report that the double DNA knife was compatible with the large wound on Meredith’s neck.


False claim 11:  Meredith’s room was so tiny, there wasn’t enough room for four people in some kind of tussle. (minute 0.27 above)

In the same interview with Chris Wragge, Edda Mellas asserts that there couldn’t have been an attack on Meredith involving three assailants.

“The space available this crime happened is so tiny you can’t have had four people in that room in some kind of tussle.”

The Violent Crimes Unit itself used detailed images at the trial to show that there was more than enough room for an attack involving three attackers.


False claim 12:  There is no evidence of Amanda Knox at the actual crime scene. (minute 2.06 above)

“Its the fact at the actual crime scene there is no physical evidence of Amanda; not a hair, not a fingerprint, not a nothing.”

The crime scene involves the whole cottage and it isn’t limited to Meredith’s room. Knox and Sollecito were both CONVICTED of staging the break-in and tampering with the crime scene.

Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence actually placing Amanda Knox in Meredith’s room on the night of the murder: the double DNA knife, and the blood she tracked into the bathroom, the hallway, Filomena’s room, and her own room.

According to two imprint experts, there was a woman’s bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith’s body which matched Knox’s foot size.

Even Sollecito’s forensic consultant, Professor Vinci, claimed that he had found Amanda Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.


False claim 13:  “The DNA is so insignificant. It’s this tiny spot. It’s not blood.” (minute 2.16 above)

Three independent DNA experts -  Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, and Professor Francesca Torricelli - confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was definitely on the blade of the double DNA.

The DNA charts themselves show a clear and unmistakable match. Edda Mellas doesn’t seem to understand that DNA evidence almost always involves only microscopic traces of DNA.

Dr. Stefanoni testified at the trial that the DNA on the blade could indeed have come from Meredith’s blood.

We continue next with Edda Mellas in an Interview with Linda Byron on Seattle TV station King 5.


False claim 14:  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito maintained the same story (minute 3.17)

Edda Mellas claimed in this interview with Linda Byron that Amanda Knox had maintained the same story for over a year when she was asked whether her daughter had lied.

In another interview with Linda Byron in November 2009, Edda Mellas bizarrely claimed that Amanda Knox hadn’t changed her story. KING 5 Investigator Linda Byron asked her: “Did she change her story?”

Edda Mellas responded: “No, no. For this whole year they have maintained the story - what they did that night. They stayed at Raffaele’s, they made dinner, they watched a movie. That’s it, that’s the story.”

Edda Mellas’s statement that Amanda Knox didn’t change her story and that she and Sollecito maintained the same story is yet another incorrect and misleading claim.

Knox and Sollecito both gave three different alibis. The posts on their alibis are linked-to up at the top here. Knox gave at least three different times for when she and Sollecito had dinner on the night of the murder.

Knox gave different reasons for writing her handwritten confession, and she gave different accounts of seeing the blood in the bathroom which contradict each other.

And most devastating of all, Sollecito stopped providing Knox with an alibi on 5 November 2007.

Sollecito is STILL nearly three years later refusing to corroborate her alibi. He clearly hasn’t maintained that Knox was with him at his apartment - actually he claimed that she went out for four hours.


False claim 15 : Amanda Knox wasn’t provided with an interpreter (minute 2.37)

Edda Mellas made this false claim, which has been widely propagated by Knox groupies, in an interview with Linda Byron on King5.

It’s not difficult to prove that this claim is completely false. Knox’s interpreter on 5 November 2007, Anna Donninio, even testified at the trial. And Amanda Knox herself spoke about her interpreter when she gave testimony at the trial.

We continue next with the claims of Edda Mellas on ABC TV.


False claim 16:  “Amanda Knox is incredibly honest” (minute 11.25)

In an interview with ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas Edda Mellas claimed that her daughter is “incredibly honest”.

And Edda Mellas told The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone that “Amanda doesn’t know how to lie.”

In fact, Amanda Knox’s mobile phone records, data recovered from Sollecito’s computer, and corroborative testimony of numerous witnesses, provide irrefutable proof that Amanda Knox has lied - again and again.

For example, her lies about him directly led to Diya Lumumba, an innocent man, spending two weeks in prison - even though as recorded in prison she told her mother Edda Mellas that her claims were not true. .


False claim 17 : Amanda Knox could have left Italy, but she chose to stay and help the police.

In an earlier interview with Larry King in October 2009, Edda Mellas told him that Amanda Knox could have left Italy, but she chose to stay and help the police:

“After the murder, Mellas said, friends and family told Knox to leave Italy—to either come home or stay with relatives in Germany—but Knox refused because she wanted to help find the killer and prove that she had nothing to do with it.”

“Many people asked her to leave, but she said no. ‘I’m going to stay. I’m going to try and help. I’m going to try and finish school,’ ” Mellas said.”

Edda Mellas’s claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself, in the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007:

“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”

And along with one of Meredith’s friends who walked home with Meredith on the night, the police told Amanda Knox pretty promptly that as her status was (then) a primary witness, she was not to go anywhere.

The fact that Knox did stay was of little help to the investigation - in fact, she seemed to work hard to derail it - and one of her main concerns at the time, a pretty callous one, was whether she would be staying or moving out of the house and getting a rent refund.


False claim 18:  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of the murder (BBC Radio)

In an interview with BBC Radio after the verdict, Edda Mellas apparently stated that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of the murder.

This is despite the fact that both Knox and Sollecito had both themselves actually claimed they had smoked cannabis. The prosecution believed they might have been on a hard drug like cocaine, which also seems the general belief around Perugia.


3. And Some Conclusions

The fact that Edda Mellas has been able to propagate so many wrong claims in the media for so long without being challenged seems to speaks volumes about the naivety and unprofessionalism of her interviewers, and of the media organisations they work for.

As they usually do,  ABC News, CBS News, CNN, King 5, and other media outlets should have interviewed objective crime-case professionals, who don’t have a vested interest in the case.

Instead they have relied again and again on Amanda Knox’s mother and other family members as primary sources.

Amanda Knox is not an innocent political prisoner who was railroaded in some Third World country for some very murky reason. She was unanimously convicted after a lengthy trial at which the evidence was absolutely overwhelming. 

As the Christian Longo and Scott Peterson cases that we posted on below go to prove, seemingly quite normal people commit horrific murders. Probably the vast majority of murders are committed by people who to many seemed normal.

It seems downright perverse that some of the journalists who have interviewed Edda Mellas treat Amanda Knox as a victim, and with cloying sympathy ask “How is Amanda doing?”  They wouldn’t dream of asking Charles Manson’s mum how the Manson girls are doing.

It is time for the sake of the truth, the legitimacy of the verdict, the relations between the US and Italy, and the peace of mind of Meredith’s family and friends, that from now on they hold Edda Mellas’s feet to the fire..


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Chilling Killing Propensities Of Sollecito’s Various Knives

Posted by SomeAlibi



[click for larger image]

The few rather puerile websites trying to make the case that Knox and Sollecito were framed all have this one thing in common.

They are all of them a mile or more wide on the facts of the evidence - but only a millimeter or so deep.

Time and again on some point of evidence TJMK and PMF have gone far, far deeper than they have - and from then on, on that particular point, deafening silence is quite usual. Here is one very good example, on TJMK, highly incriminating in itself, and highly suggestive of when and how Edda Mellas first realised her daughter was guilty.

On that point of hard evidence, almost enough to incriminate Amanda all by itself, there has never been any real comeback. The PR campaign’s Wizard of Oz moves on. 

Now we advance another in-depth analysis. This time it focuses on the really deadly nature of Sollecito’s various knives, and we’ll await the comeback if any with interest.

In effect, the deniers’ argument made is that Sollecito is not a collector or an aficionado, just a young man who might need to cut an apple with a pocket-knife. And he’s certainly not a hardcore knife collector, collecting fantasy-wish-list knives.

Carrying a pocket-knife above a certain size in public is illegal in Italy. But ignoring that technicality for a minute, let’s examine the knives of Raffaele Sollecito which were impounded during his arrest. Three knives, moving up in degrees of interest, not counting the very large knife prosecution witnesses identified as the murder weapon.

Knife Three

Take a look at the image up the top here. This knife actually hung above Sollecito’s bed.

It is a replica combat knife. The heavy t-bar protection is designed to protect the hand of the knife-user from slipping onto the blade when being used to stab another person, as well as to protect the user against another blade.

Blood grooves exist for only one purpose - as they imply, they are there for when one stabs someone deeply with the knife: they allow the blood to run out down the grooves. This breaks the seal and suction of the enclosing wound around the blade which makes the knife far easier to withdraw

That knife is specifically designed for stabbing people as well as cutting sentries’ throats etc. The female arm in the picture is Amanda’s by the way (you can find the zoomed-out version showing all of Amanda in the PMF gallery), as it was taken when she was being shown the knife in court.

She must have recognized it, of course, since it was from Raffaele’s bedroom, and would have been a rather noticeable discussion piece within view whenever Knox was in the room or laying on the bed.

Many teenagers and young adults put the objects of their highest interest and infatuation, from bands to film-stars, on their walls. Raffaele chose to put a knife designed for killing people on his wall.

It would be a lurking and incongruous presence on a small student-sized bedroom wall in the minds of the vast majority of people. The question of Raffaele’s degree of attraction to knives such that he actively chose to mount a replica combat knife on his bedroom wall doesn’t appear to need much further discussion.

And yet, it’s actually only less than a third of the equation as it was only a replica. Now let’s turn to two real knives - his so-proclaimed pocket knives - which Raffaele confirmed in his own words that he carried on him every day for years, and which tell a more subtle and deeper story.

First, consider what is the meaning of a pocket knife to you.

The phrase “˜pocket knife’ has been translated from the Italian from the transcripts / press coverage. For many, including myself, this will have conjured a mental image of a Swiss Army type knife or a simple blade and indeed this is the prevalent definition of a conventional pocket knife.

Let’s actually have a look at Raffaele’s “pocket knives” courtesy of pictures posted by poster Jools on PMF. These knives were impounded, one from the apartment and one, unbelievably, from Raffaele’s person at the Questura.

In the case of the latter, even Raffaele saw this as a devastating “own-goal” as we can read from his diary entry of 7 November 2007; “I’m not even able to offer guilt, given my deep fu**ing stupidity for the fact that I smoke cannabis I even forget what I have eaten and also for that I carry behind a knife to nock the tables and the trees and I carry it so often that I brought it also to the police headquarters.”

Knife Two



[click for larger image]

This is a 2.9 inch blade drop point, near spear point knife. At first glance (apart from the mark on the clip which should be ignored and was benign), the deniers camp might say “Well, look at it - it’s just a pocket knife even if it looks a bit sharp and so on ““ look, it’s even got a cute clip for the pocket, like on a pen.”

Let’s start there. The clip is actually a reversible one ““ it can be taken off and re-screwed to the knife to the user’s side / orientation of preference. This is already a proper knife rather than a cheap shop pick-up.

More obviously, the half-serrated edge to the blade for cutting is an active design (and purchase) feature.

Third, the “˜grind’ on the top the blade shows an aesthetic sensibility to the design but also serves a functional purpose for a cutting or stabbing use in terms of reducing friction.

Fourth, the serrations or (quite aggressive) “˜jimping’ on the top of the handle, just behind the blade are there to provide thumb grip.

Quite a lot of design features on this knife for a casual “pocket knife” one might think.

Which leaves us with the odd bar code thing at the top edge of the blade and the indistinct logo on the blade. Let’s see what that logo is with a little enhancing;



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“˜Brian Tighe Design’. Brian Tighe?? Google sets us straight on who he is.

“You’d need a calculator to count the number of custom knife-makers who have jumped into the tactical fray over the past five years. You can tally the cream of the crop on two hands, being sure to earmark one of those digits for knifemaker Brian Tighe. In a matter of just a couple of years Tighe (pronounced “Tie”) has risen from the rank and file of edged weapons artisans to the rarefied air of the top 10 elite.”

A look at Tighe’s site shows that his own company’s knives sell for 500 dollars and up. He is a globally feted knife designer whose wait list for his knives was as high as seven years at one point.

So the design of the knife here is actually that of a noted master knife maker. Almost something one might collect, one might say. As loaded as Papa Doc Sollecito is, did Raffaele really spend over 500 dollars on such a knife?

Well no, actually, he didnt need to. This is a Columbia River Knife & Tool produced 811x series knife bearing Brian Tighe’s name. CRKT are a dedicated knife company who specialise in working with the world’s leading knife designers and producing the knives for a bigger market but still as proper aficionado pieces.

At this level of knife, there are extensive magazine, web and “˜user’ reviews. Knives like this are tested for resilience and sharpness including things like edge-on paper-cut tests where paper is cut through just like a razor from the side of a piece of paper held by one hand.

Such a knife is able to catch the edge of the paper and then slice straight through the width of the paper side-on without any tension in the paper. That’s what a knife like this is capable of. A “pocket knife” to me sounds like something picked up for 10 or 20 euro. The current model that replaced Raffaele’s now out-of-series model sells for about $80 at retail. Here’s the actual 2004 model that Raffaele had i.e. the same as the one above;



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Worth looking at that for a second or two… Oh the bar code? It’s not a bar code, it a rectangular thumb stud you flick the knife open with. When you do, the knife goes to a locked position unlike many “pocket-knives”. In English speaking knife circles, these knives are not generally referred to as pocket-knives but are called “Tactical Knives” which are a cross-over of usage knives for outdoors / cutting etc but also for personal “protection”.

So, in addition to the wall-mounted replica combat knife, one of Raffaele’s daily carries (see diary / testimony) was a designer thumb-flicked locking tactical knife with jimping, top blade grind, switchable clip and a razor sharp edge costing about 80 bucks. That you can only carry in your pocket. Illegally. Some apple-cutter.

Let’s take a look now at the most worrying knife of all…

Knife One

At first glimpse, this “pocket knife” looks quite martial arts like, given the hole and the weird top edge of the blade and the spider logo.



[click for larger image]

The logo marks this as a Spyderco knife ““ a large premium knife manufacturer of tactical and many other types of knives. This particular model is a Delica4 Emerson Opener retailing for about $109.95rrp. Of particular note about this knife is the hole and the top edge. The hole, a Spyderco feature, allows a thumb to flick the blade open very quickly. This knife is about speed.

But actually the thumb hole is not the real speed feature ““ that is reserved for the top edge curl.

This is a truly specialist feature known as an Emerson Opener or “wave”. The idea is that the curl in metal catches on the edge of a pocket edge on drawing the knife and opens it immediately (see videos below).

This is a speciality feature licensed from Emerson knives ““ Emerson being another feted “˜name’ knife designer. The wave is only present on two of Spyderco’s 330 knives listed on their website ““ the Delica and the ¾ inch larger sister knife the Endura (“the best self defence knife in the world” according to one enthusiastic teenager on youtube). That’s how specialist it is.

The job of the wave feature is to provide the fastest opening knife in the world bar none ““ faster than a flick or spring knife in fact. This video (many similar to be found) gives a rather disturbing insight into what the real attraction of owning this knife is to a hardcore knife knut like Raffaele; (remember when you watch this for the first time that the knife is closed inside that pocket and also enable the sound on the embedded player below by clicking off the mute)

If I thought my son had a penknife, but then actually saw him with this, we would be having a very long chat..

“Enough!” the deniers say?! “You’ve still got it in for Raffaele haven’t you?” they say?! Despite the replica combat knife on the bedroom wall, the designer Brian Tighe Design CRKT drop-point and the Spyderco Delica4 with wave design)?  “You’ve used prejudicial phrases like “hardcore knife knut” haven’t you?” they say?!

Sorry, but don’t look at me. They’re not my words.

They’re the words of Spyderco itself on its own webpage. See here and below. 



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Raffaele was out to impress Amanda and by his own admission both obsessive about her and a hardcore stoner. He also thought knives - proper knives with exclusive features by name knife designers not pocket knives were fascinating.

As with all of this case and any case, you REALLY need to look at the detailed evidence.

The overwhelming prevalence of skin-deep level of analysis / downplaying of this case by much of the deniers camp will lend and always has lent itself to people dismissing serious evidence as inconsequential based on their lack of understanding of what actually is in question.

The “mere pocket-knife” impression of Raffaele’s interest in knives is a clear case in hand. Raffaele’s father testified in court that his son carried a pen-knife. Some pen-knives or pocket-knives these really were…

As always with this case, when you take the time to look at the real detail, the reality you find is something far more disturbing…..


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sentencing Report: Barbie Nadeau Quotes The Motive, Physical Evidence, And Alibis

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please click above for Barbie Nadeau’s full report on the Daily Beast website. Key excerpts.

1) The motive

“One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefying substances.”

But they disagreed on the motive. The prosecution lawyers began their case in January, 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. By closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred. The jury rejected both theories, and the reasoning document declares that “the killing was carried out with no planning, no animosity and no revenge against the victim.

“The two young lovers, interested in each other and in the intellectual and cultural world around them, would not have made a conscious decision to kill Kercher. Instead, the judge wrote, they killed spontaneously under the influence of drugs. “One can hypothesize that the bad decision came after the consumption of stupefacente””stupefying substances””that Amanda verified in her testimony.”

As the jury saw it, Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast native who was convicted for his role in Kercher’s murder after a fast-track trial in 2008, came to the house the two girls shared in order to get high. Guede used the toilet, then became aroused when he saw Knox and Sollecito making out. He went to Kercher’s room and made sexual advances toward her. The reasoning refers to evidence presented at Knox’s trial that Guede was the type of guy that “bothered women” when he was under the influence.

Then, according to the reasoning, Kercher cried out for help, but instead of helping her, Knox and Sollecito, their judgment impaired, decided instead to help Guede. The killing was based on “sexual-erotic violence” but not with Knox as the mastermind. The jury felt that it was Guede who led that attack, and the other two, too high to know better, joined in.

2) The physical and forensic evidence

The judge’s reasoning also underscores what the jury believed to be the most important elements of the prosecution’s forensic case. They believed that a kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and a trace of Kercher’s on the blade was the weapon that made the large fatal wound in Kercher’s neck. They also referred to Sollecito’s “knife habits,” surmising that, as an admitted collector of blades, he likely used his own knife to make the second wound. The jury agreed that Sollecito and Knox conspired to stage a break-in in another bedroom to cover their tracks.

And they attributed an unidentifiable bloody shoeprint found on the pillow under Kercher’s body to Knox, even though the prosecution only implied that it was compatible with a woman’s shoe size. A spot of Knox and Kercher’s mixed blood in one of the bedrooms, found using Luminol, and four additional spots in the small bathroom the girls shared also swayed the jurors.

“These were left when Amanda was cleaning her hands and feet of Kercher’s blood,” the judge wrote.

3) The Knox and Sollecito alibis

The judge also wrote emphatically about the lack of credible alibi. Although Knox and Sollecito claimed to be at his apartment all night, “Not one phone call, not one meeting, no computer activity or any other element proved that they stayed at that apartment.” And the judge was particularly hard on Knox for accusing Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, of the murder “knowingly and deceivingly.”

Overall, however, it appears that the jury was sympathetic to the two suspects, but ultimately felt that they committed a crime for which they must pay a hefty price.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Trial: Defense Returns To Weapon While Most Of Prosecution Case Still Not Contended

Posted by Peter Quennell





Journalists were asked to leave the courtroom today during a weak repeat of the contention that the large knife was not THE weapon.

But the prosecution had already indicated months ago that they believed at least one other knife was involved.

Click above for Nick Squires on one report from the press room outside the court.

The black-handled knife, with a 6.5 inch long stainless steel blade, was shown for the first time to the court in Perugia where the 22-year-old American student and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 26, are accused of sexual assault and murder.

A court official brought out the knife in a shallow white cardboard box marked “Evidence ““ handle with care” and showed it to the judge and eight jurors.

Miss Knox, of Seattle, who was wearing blue jeans and a red sweatshirt with a Beatles design, appeared impassive as the purported murder weapon was shown during the testimony of a forensic expert, Prof Giancarlo Umani-Ronchi.

She looked away when police photographs of Miss Kercher’s bloodied body were projected onto a giant screen in the courtroom.

Mr Sollecito, in a white jacket and rimless glasses, bit his fingernails as the alleged use of the knife in the killing was discussed by experts and lawyers.

A forensic consultant, Mariano Cingolani, said that of the three wounds on Miss Kercher’s neck, at least one was not compatible with the size and dimensions of the knife.

“Many other knives in general are more compatible with that kind of wound,” said Prof Cingolani. The wound was too narrow to match the knife, he said.

He added, however, that no firm conclusion could be drawn without knowing the exact angle of Miss Kercher’s neck, or the elasticity of her muscle tissue…

The former lovers, who could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty, looked tired and nervous.

So there is a question mark over the role of the large knife but again, nothing definitive. No defense attempt to prove that no other knife was used.

Meanwhile, whole other universes of very damning prosecution evidence against Sollecito and Knox remain uncontested, like a herd of elephants in the room.

For example the very damning mobile calls.  And also the highly confused alibis.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Trial: Italian Reporting On Autopsy Consultant Seems Brief And Unswayed

Posted by Peter Quennell


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We had long been led to believe the testimony of Carlos Torre might be a blockbuster which could energize a lackluster defense.

Click above for the longest report of the day that we can find in Italian. Even ASCA’s report seems relatively brief and restrained. No sense of a breakthrough there.

ASCA reports that Mr Torre interpreted the wound pattern on Meredith to mean that a smaller knife was used for the final blow “with a blade of 8 cm which was partially extracted and plunged in at least 3 times”.

As the size of the wound is large, he claimed a repeated partial in-out action of the small knife, rather than blows from the larger kitchen knife with a blade of 16 cm found in the kitchen of Sollecito, on which traces of the DNA of both Meredith and Amanda Knox were found.

Also that the final blow occurred while Meredith was lying on her back, that there were no signs of three aggressors, that Meredith could not have cried out after the stab wounds, and that bloody footprints revealed under luminol were not the shape of Knox’s foot.

Mr Torre conceded under cross-examination that a wound of the size of the larger knife was also present, and he left the DNA evidence of Knox and Meredith on that larger knife unchallenged, thus undercutting his claim of a single perpetrator.

The prosecution team had presented extensive evidence that the bruise patterns and cut marks indicated that Meredith was kneeling face-down at the time. And that they all pointed to three attackers, rather than a single attacker wielding two knives with only one hand free both to hold her and to inflict bruises all over her body.

Judge Micheli in seeing most of the same evidence concluded in his report convicting Guede and sending the two to trial that a scream heard by witnesses in the houses above was probably Meredith’s last act before she was stabbed, not right after.

And last month, Sollecito’s defense team essentially went along with the prosecution experts’ claims for the autopsy and attack scenario, so for the first time the defense teams significantly differ.

Thankfully, besides being terse, the reporting was not very graphic, in this the most painful of all areas for those who mourn Meredith the most.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

How The Media Should Approach The Case If Justice Is To Be Done And SEEN To Be Done

Posted by Hellodalai


The American media are really playing with fire here.

This is one of the most seriously misreported cases in recent history, and a line really needs to be drawn.

Much of the media are doing no digging, consulting no Italians, repeatedly recycling discredited sources and those with a vested interest in the outcome, stating facts that are not facts, ignoring other facts that really are facts, revealing no understanding of how the Italian judicial process works, and often depicting the Italian professionals with contempt.

And so far no-one is really calling them on it.

From this perspective, I have been reading all the articles and information on this case for the past few days. I too was very disappointed in the NY Time pieces by Egan.  Rather than attempt to discuss the facts and evidence that are known so far, he painted “broad brush” strokes to argue that this trial is unfair.

The TIME magazine report just below - where the reporter basically allowed a Knox advocate to state her position unchallenged - is equally mediocre in terms of investigative and reporting quality. It was one of dozens that have done that.

Here is my own analysis of the case which I advance as the appropriate depth that EVERY reporter and print and TV analyst should aim to achieve before they start telling the rest of us what to think.

Motive

Egan points out that Amanda Knox had no motive to kill or participate in killing Meredith Kercher.

I agree that there seems to be little evidence on this issue.  One roommate testified as to tensions between Amanda and Meredith.  Roommate tensions are common, though, and rarely lead to murder.

Neither Rudy Guede, who has been convicted already, nor Raffaele Sollecito, who was Amanda’s boyfriend of less than two weeks, seemingly had motives, either.

All three were young adults who liked alcohol, music, marijuana, and sex (although Rudy has been described as a petty thief and small time drug dealer; other reports state he had no criminal convictions). None seemed likely to erupt into a murderous rage.

One of the downstairs male students testified that Guede expressed some interest in Amanda and said that Meredith was beautiful.  Sollecito wrote in a newspaper column that he was a 23 year old virgin when he met Amanda.

So Sollecito was vulnerable to Amanda’s influence.  Guede may have wanted to gain Amanda’s favor.  Add alcohol and drugs and group dynamics and - the threesome may have spun out of control.

Since the murder, Amanda’s behavior could certainly be questioned.  Who does cartwheels at a police station during an investigation of their murdered roommate?  What defendant wears a shirt to their murder trial that says “All you need is love” when the prosecution is trying to portray them as someone with out-of-control sexual behavior?

If this case rested solely on whether Amanda had a motive to kill Meredith, I would agree with Egan’s stance that the trial is unfair.  Egan seems to stop at that issue, however, and seems unwilling to examine all the evidence objectively.

DNA Evidence

One of the better reports on the case included this statement:

“But perhaps more damning even than the knife was Stefanoni’s testimony that a mix of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the floor in the bedroom of a third roommate, Filomena Romanelli. While it might not be noteworthy to find mixed genetic traces of residents of the same house, Romanelli’s room is critical in this crime.

Her window was broken with a large rock that prosecutors believe was used to stage a break-in. The mixed Knox-Kercher trace was found after investigators used luminol, a substance used in forensic science to bring out blood that had been cleaned up.

In addition, Stefanoni testified that a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the drain of the bidet, on the bathroom sink, and on a Q-Tip box in the girls’ bathroom.”

That is FOUR different blood samples with mixed Knox-Kercher DNA.  Yes, it does seem that the investigative methods were sloppy and not all samples may be reliable (I acknowledge that there are some problems with the prosecution’s case).

But I have yet to read even one article where a reputable DNA expert can explain why sloppy police procedures would result in four separate mixed blood samples.  I did read one explanation that Amanda bled from a pierced ear—thus providing some explanation, although weak, for why her blood may have been in the bathroom.  That doesn’t explain why her blood was in the bedroom of Filomena Romanelli (another of her roommates) or why her blood was found mixed with Meredith’s - or why her blood would be recoverable from an area that had been cleaned after the murder to eliminate evidence.

Similarly, the DNA evidence from Sollecito, found on Meredith’s bra clasp is not explained away by scientific reasoning.  True, the police left the clasp in Meredith’s room (which was sealed) for weeks and did not retrieve it, but DNA is not transferred by “flying DNA”; there is no “innocent” scientific explanation why Sollecito’s DNA (not sloughed dead cells, which do not contain DNA) would affix itself to a bra clasp worn by the murder victim after the clasp had been torn from her body.

As to the DNA evidence found on the knife located in Sollecito’s apartment,  the DNA sample from Meredith was very tiny, according to reports, and the DNA from Amanda could be explained by her using the knife at Sollecito’s apartment. (Sollecito explained Meredith’s DNA by stating she had come to his apartment for dinner with Amanda and that he had accidentally pricked her. But no witnesses have been found who remember Meredith ever talking about going to Sollecito’s apartment)

True, the knife is not the same size as most wounds on Meredith, but it is the same size as one wound. The knife showed evidence of bleach cleaning and some scratches (Sollecito’s apartment showed a lot of evidence of bleach cleaning, even though his maid did not use bleach to clean).

Clean up motives and evidence

I have yet to see a careful review of the testimony and possible conclusions that may be drawn from the known facts and circumstantial evidence, including the clean up after the murder—which, to me, are very compelling.

The neighbor has testified that she heard a very loud, long scream that night (presumably Meredith’s last), followed not long thereafter by the sounds of two to three different people running from the area (it was unusual to hear people running at that time of night).  The neighbor was 69 and could not remember exactly the date she heard the screaming, but she was firm that it was the night before Meredith’s murder was discovered.

It is not a stretch to link the screaming to Meredith, given that loud, long piercing screams are uncommon.  Also, a murderer or murderers would realize that Meredith’s scream may bring the police at any moment—so running from the crime would be expected. 

The uncontradicted testimony is that there was a fair amount of effort to “clean up” the crime scene (the defense merely claims that Knox and Sollecito were not involved). It also appears that whoever came back for the “clean up” also broke a window in Filomena’s bedroom (as mentioned, one of the two other roommates living upstairs; there were also four male students living downstairs in a separate unit), in an attempt to throw the investigating police off the scent. 

Filomena testifed that she found clothes strewn around her room the next day and that she had left the room tidy.  She testified that glass from the window broken in her bedroom was on top of those strewn clothes.  If the window was broken by someone entering the home who was intent on rape and/or robbery, then the glass would not be on top of the clothes as those clothes would not have been under the window then (Filomena also testified that she had valuables in plain view in her bedroom and that none were taken).

The evidence suggests that someone placed these clothes around the room and THEN broke the window to “stage a scene” (as there is no explanation for why anyone would have any motive to randomly take clothes and throw them around a room).

Let’s start with Guede first and the assumption that he came back to the home that night - either by himself - or with someone other than Amanda and Sollecito.

Guede’s motivation to come back to the crime scene would be to clean up the most incriminating evidence against him and to stage this crime scene to lead the police in a direction away from him.

Guede left DNA inside Meredith, bled on Meredith’s body, and left a bloody hand print on the pillow underneath Meredith’s head.  He also left feces in the bathroom toilet (the bathroom near Filomena’s bedroom - -not the “bloody” bathroom between Meredith and Amanda’s bedrooms).  He would know that if he came back to clean.  He would know that that evidence would be the strongest against him.

During this “clean up phase,” the DNA inside Meredith, Guede’s blood on Meredith’s body, the bloody hand print, and Guede’s feces in the bathroom toilet were all left untouched. 

The “clean up phase” spent a lot of time in the bathroom next to Meredith’s bedroom (it was also next to Amanda’s bedroom), the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom, where the “break-in” was staged (it is possible at least part of this crime occurred in the bathroom, as Meredith’s blood was found on the bathroom light switch when it was in an up position - meaning it was touched when the light was on.  The bathroom had numerous droplets of her blood, some of which were commingled with Amanda’s blood.)

Despite the cleanup in Filomena’s bedroom, the police were still able to obtain DNA samples.  Guede’s DNA was not found in either the bathroom or Filomena’s bedroom.

Six bloody footprints from bare feet were identified.  One was visible to the naked eye in the bathroom and five were visible only after the police used luminol, which allows blood evidence cleaned by bleach to become visible under a special light.  The luminol did reveal five bloody footprints that had been cleaned up (one shoe print was also found under Meredith’s pillow - the print is consistent with the size of Amanda’s shoe).

None of the six bloody footprints are consistent with the size of Guede’s feet.  All six of these footprints are consistent with the size of Amanda and/or Sollecito’s feet.

Why would Guede concentrate his clean-up efforts on areas where there is little to no evidence from him and ignore the areas where there is substantial evidence of his involvement?  Wouldn’t he at least flush the toilet?

As to the staged “break-in,” would Guede be motivated to set this up?  If the police believed a “break-in” had occurred, would they then be led away from investigating Guede as a suspect?

If the police believed that a break-in had occurred, then they would focus on looking for someone who was either a complete stranger to Meredith or someone she would not readily admit to her home late in the evening if they knocked on her door unanounced.  Guede was not a complete stranger.  One of the four male students who lived in the separate unit downstairs testified that Guede sometimes came to the apartment of the four male students and met and talked to Amanda and Meredith there (the testimony is that Meredith dated one of those four male students).

The evidence suggests that Guede only slightly knew Meredith. So, Guede was not someone who could knock unannounced on Meredith’s door late at night (at least 9:30—after Meredith talked to her mother) and be readily admitted. 

Guede had no motivation to stage a “break-in” because a break-in would in no way lead the police away from his scent.  Plus, there is no evidence that Guede was ever in Filomena’s bedroom where the “break-in” was staged.  If he had participated in this staging, a footprint consistent with the size of his feet should have been illuminated by the police’s luminol.

It wasn’t.

Conclusions that jurors would normally draw from facts and the circumstantial evidence relating to the “clean up” and “break-in” point to someone OTHER than Guede participating in the “clean-up” and “staged break-in.”

Let’s now look at the assumption that Amanda and her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, were the ones who came back for the “clean up” and “staged break-in.”

If Amanda and Sollecito were with Guede when the murder occurred (accounting for the extra footsteps running away shortly after the last scream of Meredith) and then came back to get rid of evidence of their guilt, their motivation would be to clean up their blood and DNA evidence and lead police away from their scent.

As for whether Amanda bled that night, another roommate of Amanda’s and Meredith’s, Laura, testified that she saw a a mark under Amanda’s chin the day after the murder that was not there the day before the murder; Laura testified the mark was not a hickey as a hickey would have been purple and more round. 

I have read two different comments on this issue from Amanda’s father.  One stated that the mark was merely a hickey and is evidence she spent the night with her boyfriend.  Another was that a physician examining Amanda on Nov. 6th - -the murder occurred the evening of Nov. 1st - did not note a mark under the chin.  (Interestingly, the police interrogating Amanda the next day did not report such a mark, either).

I then found a photo that was posted online taken of Amanda the day after the murder.  It clearly shows a mark under her chin—and would account for her blood being found at the apartment.



[click for larger image]

If Amanda and Sollecito did the “clean up,” they would be motivated to leave evidence of Guede’s guilt and point the police in his direction.

Forensics don’t show either way whether bleach was used to clean up Meredith and Amanda’s apartment, though it was used in Sollecito’s apartment AND on the knife found in his apartment containing the DNA of Meredith and Amanda. 

The Conad store owner reported the presence of Amanda in the household cleaners part of his store early on the morning after the murder (when Amanda and Sollecito contend they were asleep) although rumored receipts for bleach were not presented at trial.

Meredith’s body, which contained Guede’s DNA and his blood (mixed with hers) was not cleaned and Guede’s feces was not flushed from the toilet.

The bathroom, which even after the cleaning, contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and a bloody footprint which is consistent with the size of Sollecito’s foot (trial testimony was that it was “likely” Sollecito’s footprint), had a lot of cleaning activity.

The hallway and Filomena’s bedroom, which even after the bleaching contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and bloody footprints, was the site of a lot of cleaning activity (these footprints were all consistent with the size of the feet of Amanda and Sollecito, but not consistent with the size of Guede’s feet) .

The “cleaning” evidence, and conclusions which may be drawn from it, point to Amanda and Sollecito as participants.

Would Amanda and Sollecito have a motive to stage a break-in?  Amanda obviously had a key to the unit and did not have to break into her own apartment.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would probably focus on people who had a key to the apartment or friends of Meredith she would readily admit to her apartment at 9:30 at night.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would question Amanda and Sollecito at length - and they would obviously know that.

Amanda and Sollecito had a strong motive to stage a break-in to focus police on looking for a stranger, or someone like Guede who only knew Meredith very casually.

What about the next morning?  Let’s first assume Amanda was innocent and she is being truthful when she testified that she did not come home until around 11:30 the next morning.

Amanda testified that when she came home around 11:30 a.m. that the apartment door was open, that there was visible blood in the bathroom (which would have been numerous scattered blood drops, a ten inch smear on the bathroom door, and a bloody footprint on the floor) and that there was feces in a toilet.  Amanda says that she called out for Meredith and no one answered.

She then took a shower and went to Filomena’s bathroom and used her dryer to dry her hair (this is the bathroom with Guede’s feces;  this toilet is different than American toilets in that it had a large flat area so that the standing water in the toilet did not submerge the feces) and returned to her boyfriend’s apartment.

If Amanda were truly innocent when she arrived that morning, wouldn’t she also try to open the door to Meredith’s bedroom after Meredith did not answer, even when she banged on her door more than once?  Amanda’s fingerprints were not found on the door knob and she has never testified that she tried to open the door.  Sollecito testified that when he arrived later with Amanda that he tried to open the door - and his fingerprints are on the door knob.

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she text Meredith, as she did several times two days before?  Wouldn’t she call both of Meredith’s cell phones and let them ring to see if they were in her bedroom? (Phone records show she called each phone one time; one for three seconds and the other for four seconds, despite Amanda telling Filomena that day that she had called Meredith’s cell phones and that the phones just kept ringing) 

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she also call out for Filomena and Laura - because she would not know for sure if they might have returned that morning (she knew Filomena had spent the night in town and that Laura was in a nearby town)?  Wouldn’t she look into their bedrooms (Filomena’s door was closed that morning, according to Amanda; Sollecito says it was open) and have noticed that Filomena’s bedroom window was broken and her clothes were strewn about? (When Amanda first called Filomena she did not mention that Filomena’s bedroom had been broken into).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she have just flushed the exposed feces down the toilet?

If Amanda were innocent and truthful, wouldn’t her hair three hours later look like it had been washed and blow dried that day?  Look again at the photo posted above.  It was taken about three hours after the alleged washing and blow drying.  Is that the hair of a woman who washed and blow dried her hair three hours earlier?

Wouldn’t Amanda have noticed that the lamp in her bedroom, which was the only source of light for that room, was missing? (Police later found it in Meredith’s room).  Wouldn’t she have immediately noticed the missing lamp when she first entered her bedroom that morning so that she would have immediately either left the apartment without taking a shower or called the police to come over? (Police and phone records show that Sollecito didnt call them until 12:54, even though the Postal and Communications Police had been at the apartment with Sollecito and Amanda since 12:26 - the Postal Police unexpectedly showed up at the apartment because Meredith’s cell phones had been found.)

People react differently to unexpected happenings and Amanda may not have done all of those things, but surely she would have done at least one of them.

If Amanda were truthful about showering and drying her hair, wouldn’t her fingerprints be in both bathrooms? (Since these activities would have occurred AFTER the clean up).  The police only found one of her fingerprints in her residence - on a glass in her kitchen.

As to this time frame, what about the recent trial testimony of Amanda’s mother that Amanda told her in their first phone call that day that she thought someone was in her apartment?  Cell phone records place that call at 12:47, some 21 minutes after the Postal Police arrived. (A nearby video camera documents that time, as does Postal Police log records;  the defense has tried to argue that the Postal Police did not arrive until after 1:00 p.m., but do not have evidence for that position.  In fact, Filomena testified that she arrived back at her apartment before 1:00 and that the Postal Police were already there.)

Postal Police testified that both Amanda and Sollecito were in Amanda’s bedroom with the door closed at 12:47 - the bedroom with no lamp or overhead light (neither Amanda nor Sollecito mentioned to the Postal Police or Filomena when they emerged from that bedroom after many minutes that the only lamp in the room was missing).

Let’s keep assuming Amanda was innocent.  Would she have come back to her apartment with Sollecito, still not having called police, and then start a load of washing of Meredith’s clothes? (The Postal Police said the washing machine was running when they entered;  Filomena, who arrived a little later, said that the washing machine was still warm and contained Meredith’s clothes.)

Amanda has testified that she got out a mop and bucket the first time she went to her apartment that day and took it back to Sollecito’s because there was water on his apartment floor from water used in cooking pasta the night before (Sollecito said, however, that the water was from a broken pipe;  Sollecito’s diary written in prison talks of a dinner of stir fry mushrooms and vegetables).

Who has water spills from cooking pasta so large that the next day it is still puddled to the degree it needs to be mopped?  Who voluntarily carries a mop and bucket several blocks to clean up water from cooking pasta the night before? (Especially a person who has been labeled in trial testimony as messy and unkempt in their cleaning habits).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she and Sollecito have called the police after Sollecito tried to open Meredith’s locked bedroom door and couldn’t open it?

Instead of calling the police, Amanda and Raffaele went outside and stood next to the mop and bucket.  Why didn’t they just put the mop and bucket back up in the apartment when they first arrived?  Why leave it outside the apartment?  Why then go back out and stand next to the mop?

If Amanda and Sollecito were innocent, that means that Guede (and perhaps one or two accomplices) murdered Meredith, then ran away, and then came back at some point and cleaned up the crime scene PARTIALLY (but ignoring and leaving the most damning evidence against him) and THEN GUEDE CAME BACK that morning after Amanda had showered and left - so that GUEDE could do a LOAD OF WASHING of Meredith’s clothes - presumably blood stained, all the while ignoring his feces in the toilet and his bloody hand print on the pillow under Meredith’s body - only for GUEDE to then leave again right before Amanda and Sollecito arrived (so the washing machine would still be running when the Postal Police arrived a short while later).

What type of person or persons would come back to a crime scene to clean it up?

The most likely person to return to a crime scene for a clean up is someone who knows that they can do a clean up with little chance of being caught. 

Guede might have known that the four male students downstairs were all away due to his occasional appearances there.  But how would Guede know that Filomena and Laura, the other two upstairs roommates, would not come back either that night or in the morning?

Amanda and Sollecito, on the other hand, would know that everyone who lived in the house would be gone and that they could do a clean up that would take some time and have a good chance of not being caught in the act.  Only the unexpected appearance of the Postal and Communications Police interrupted the mopping and cleaning (as there was still a ten inch blood smear on the bathroom door near Meredith’s bedroom and numerous visible blood droplets).

No one else other than Amanda and Sollecito, and who may have been involved, had such knowledge.   

Conclusion

     

The facts, testimony, and conclusions that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence, including circumstantial evidence (that is what juries do all the time), lead me to believe that Amanda will be found guilty.

Let any reporter or analyst run the case through their minds at this depth and then make sure that at a minimum, they keep their cool and don’t misrepresent.

When I read an article or blog in the New York Times or Time magazine, I expect thorough, well-reasoned, well-researched, investigative journalism. Judicial cases DEMAND it.

Instead, here I have found articles that IGNORED the evidence and some very mediocre journalism. What happened to journalistic standards?  Where is the public outcry against the U.S. media’s handling of this case? 

For the sake of true justice, a line now needs to be drawn.


Trial: Defense Witness Makes A Claim About The Second Knife

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the report from an unnamed BBC correspondent. The key parts are quoted below.

The issues today were the role of the second smaller knife which the prosecution had already proven part of the crime; and the size of Meredith’s room.

The stab wound in the neck of a British student killed in Italy was from a shorter knife than the one thought to be the murder weapon, a court was told.

A coroner said that Meredith Kercher was killed with a 3ins to 3.5ins knife, a lawyer for the Kercher family said. But prosecutors say a 6.5ins knife found at the home of one of the accused matched Ms Kercher’s wounds…

Coroner Francesco Introna was called to give evidence for the defence, according to a lawyer representing the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca.

Prosecutors say a 6.5ins knife found at Mr Sollecito’s house matched the wounds and could be the murder weapon. They also say the knife had Ms Kercher’s DNA on the blade and that of Ms Knox’s on the handle.

As well as questioning the length of the knife, Mr Introna also said that no more than a single attacker could have assaulted Ms Kercher, according to Mr Maresca.

However, when cross-examined by prosecutors, Mr Introna conceded he had never been to the house where Ms Kercher was killed and used forensic data to work out the size of the bedroom.

Mr Maresca said that when the court went to inspect the scene of the crime in April, six or seven people could fit into the room.

The reporting today as the defense launches into its portion of the trial to attempt to rebut the evidence seemed thinner than earlier in the trial.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Trial: Friday’s Testimony Bolsters The Prosecution’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image, courtesy AP]

Andrea Vogt now reporting for The Independent.

Upon arrival, the Kercher family quietly took seats in the courtroom behind their Florentine lawyers, Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna, who opened their case with two expert witnesses: a coroner, and a leading forensic geneticist from a Florence hospital.

Mr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses “sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Professor Gianaristide Norelli testified that the multiple lesions on Ms Kercher’s body were consistent with being held and attacked by more than one person. He said she died of suffocation and interpreted her stab wounds as having been inflicted as threats during a struggle. The wounds, mostly on the side of her neck, were possibly inflicted by two different knives, he said, but noted that one of the stab wounds was compatible with the alleged murder weapon.

Professor Francesca Torricelli told the court that she believed the samples of Mr Sollecito’s DNA found on Ms Kercher’s bra clasp was a significant enough amount that it was unlikely to have been left by contamination. She also sustained a previous forensic biologist’s findings that Ms Knox’s DNA was found on the handle and the victim’s on the blade.

Alessandra Rizzo reporting for the Associated Press:

Forensic expert Gianaristide Norelli, a witness called by the Kercher family, said the main cause of Kercher’s death was suffocation.

Court documents have said suffocation was caused by the hemorrhage following the neck wounds. But Norelli said suffocation was also aided “manually” by forcing the victim’s mouth and nose shut and by strangling her.

This, Norelli argued, showed a clear intent to kill, while the neck wounds may have been inflicted with the intent to scare or threaten the victim. He said that Kercher’s own movement may have inadvertently contributed to making the stab wounds deeper.

The wounds were compatible with a kitchen knife the prosecution says might have been the murder weapon, Norelli said. The knife, which was found at Sollecito’s house, has a 17-centimeter (6.69-inch) blade….

Prosecutors say Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the kitchen knife, and Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade. Francesca Torricelli, a DNA expert also called by the Kercher family, confirmed the findings of the prosecutors.

“I have no doubt” the traces are compatible, she told the court Friday. Torricelli also confirmed the prosecutors’ finding that DNA compatible with Sollecito’s had been found on the clasp of Kercher’s bra.

And an unnamed writer reporting for the Daily Sun.

The parents of Meredith Kercher “” Arline and John “” spent their first day in court yesterday under the unwavering stare of her alleged killer Amanda Knox.

One witness said: “It was very unusual. I’m not sure if she was looking for sympathy or trying to offer it, but Meredith’s parents never looked at her.”



[click for larger image, courtesy AP]


Friday, May 29, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

1. Reconstruction Of The Attack On Meredith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




2. Prior Testimony That Relates

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

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

3. Defensive PR Reaction To This Tough Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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


DNA Evidence: The Myths Start To Come Crashing Down

Posted by Nicki

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let’s speak about the bra clasp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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