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Friday, January 08, 2010

A Month Has Passed And Senator Cantwell Still Hasn’t Answered Constituents’ Hard Questions

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


On December 9, 2009 five well-informed constituents of US Senator Marie Cantwell sent her an Open Letter.

It asked some questions about the reasoning behind her December 4th press release on the verdict in Meredith’s case.

The public release of this letter to Maria Cantwell garnered international attention, and it was quoted-from in various stories and reports published in Europe..

On December 10, a Cantwell Senate-office staff member in Washington DC, John Diamond, provided the one and only direct response to inquiries about it.

Mr Diamond claimed “Our staff has checked every possible in-box and not turned up the letter. We get lots of mail and email sent through to us every day, so I don’t know what the problem was. We now have your letter so it’s a mute point. We will get back to you.”

Rather bizarrely, on December 11th, Mr. Diamond then forwarded to the authors of the Open Letter a Knox/Mellas Family Press Release. It was issued by the paid Seattle PR man David Marriott, and Ms Cantwell’s office seemed to be endorsing it.

The release stated among other things, “We would like to publicly thank Senator Maria Cantwell for her support of Amanda, support of the family, and her continued work on our behalf.” 

No other response has ever been received by the authors of that Open Letter, other than one auto-reply email from Mr. Diamond saying, “I will be out of the office through Labor Day.” (Labor Day is the first Monday in September, then a full nine months away.)

On December 15th the Seattle PI’s Andrea Vogt in her story “The debate continues over Knox’s guilt”  reported that instead of repeating the harsh complaints of her press release, Cantwell’s spokesperson Katharine Lister was now saying this:

“Senator Cantwell believes that Amanda Knox deserved a fair trial, and now deserves a fair appeal by an impartial tribunal; all in keeping with the Council of Europe and the European Union’s treaties to which Italy has long been a signatory. While she certainly understands that the legal system and practice in Italy is different than in the U.S., she believes it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to press for fair treatment for any U.S. citizen facing legal jeopardy overseas. She will continue to press to ensure that Amanda gets a fair appeal, by an impartial tribunal.”

On December 24, 2009 the following new inquiry was sent to Senator Cantwell, reiterating the concerns of the original letter and a desire for a response from Senator Cantwell, and repeating the request to meet with Senator Cantwell herself or a senior member of her staff. 

To this letter Senator Cantwell’s Seattle area constituents are still awaiting her reply more than two weeks later.

Dear Senator Cantwell:

Last December we submitted an Open Letter and had some contact with John Diamond regarding your press release concerning the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in Italy for the murder of Meredith Kercher.  We have yet to receive a response other than an email from Mr. Diamond simply forwarding a press release from the Knox/Mellas Family. Five of your Seattle area constituents authored that Open Letter to question the reasoning behind statements made in your press release.

We did not feel as though we were well represented by that press release and are still awaiting a response to the issues we raised, including a request to meet with your Chief of Staff.  Now that the holiday break is upon us I think it’s a great time to revisit these issues since we haven’t seen any additional press releases from your office and are left wondering if the situation has progressed or if you have adjusted your position on the issue of the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in light of ongoing events and news coverage.

As a recap, here are the key points from your press release and a few of our questions regarding the rationale behind your points:

1. “I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.”

If you are requesting a full briefing on the principles of Italian justice it seems that there are far better places to ask than in what might be construed as a xenophobic press release. To our eye, you seem to be suggesting that anti-Americanism in Italy is a serious ongoing problem and I am wondering what evidence you have to support this perception and, specifically, how it would apply to the Amanda Knox (American) and Raffaele Sollecito (Italian) murder trial.

2. “The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty.”

How can you justify making such a statement?  You seem to be indicating here that you were following the case quite closely, but elsewhere you indicate that you weren’t.  Do you state this as an opinion or as a fact?  I am concerned because Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have been charged with defamation by the Italians for making similar unfounded accusations against the Italian justice system.

3.“Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox.”

What special knowledge do you have to make an informed critique of the Italian justice system? Our impression, having closely followed of the murder trial for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, was that the jury behaved honorably and was somewhat restrained and lenient in issuing their ruling. We expect to find some justification for this impression in the lengthy and detailed summary of findings that the court will issue within 90 days of the ruling.

Regarding press coverage, our personal observation is that the media battle waged by the Knox family and David Marriott was, in fact, very effective in highlighting the concerns of the Knox family in outlets around the world, to the extreme point that whatever Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have to say about the murder case is reported verbatim, without question or verification.  We also believe that media coverage during the lengthy trial itself focused heavily on the prospect of an “innocent” Amanda Knox and the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

4.“Other flaws in the Italian justice system on display in this case included the harsh treatment of Ms. Knox following her arrest; negligent handling of evidence by investigators; and pending charges of misconduct against one of the prosecutors stemming from another murder trial.”

What specific systemic flaws are you referring to here, and in comparison to what system?  We’re wondering what your specific recommendations would be to the Italian Foreign Minister and where you will find the time to research and author them. 

While we’ve seen the claims of harsh treatment and abuse in the media we are unable to verify any of these allegations.  We have noticed, however, that Amanda Knox has been charged with and investigated for making false allegations, and convicted in the instance of accusations made against her former employer Patrick Lumumba. Can you clearly detail any specific incident of harsh treatment Amanda Knox received, either before or following her arrest? 

Can you provide specific examples of the negligent handling of evidence that clearly compromised Amanda Knox’s right to a fair trial? We have followed this case closely from the beginning and while certain investigative elements could have been better handled we are not aware of anything suggesting that the Italians are fundamentally incapable of properly documenting and evaluating a crime scene, or conducting a fully “fair trial” for that matter.

In addition, we would appreciate a detailed description of your understanding of the alleged charges against prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and the relevant connection you are trying to make between that legal proceeding and the Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito murder trial.

In regards to Amanda Knox, Mignini was one of two prosecutors in a case that involved the coordination of a variety of completely separate entities in Italian law enforcement and legal systems.  According to our understanding of Italian legal processes, the charge against Mignini relating to the other murder trial case seems somewhat routine, rather insignificant, and could very well be dismissed later this month.

5.“I will be conveying my concerns to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

What was Secretary Clinton’s response to you?  It has been our understanding that the US State Department and US Embassy in Rome have been following this case from the beginning, have visited Amanda Knox in prison, and have attended court sessions.

We’re wondering what compelled you to insert yourself so publicly into an international situation when your press release gives the strong indication that you were not fully briefed before issuing it and appear to know very little about what has actually been going on with the case.

In the sole interest of providing you with our valid and informed perspective, we remain very interested in meeting with you and/or your Chief of Staff to discuss these issues in detail and share the facts as we understand them.  As your concerned constituents, please us know if this will soon be possible.

[signed by five constituents in the original]


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Letter To Senator Maria Cantwell: Please Don’t Take Precipitate Action Till Full Facts Are In

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


We are all regular voters who live in the Seattle area. We have signed the original of this letter to our US senator, Maria Cantwell, and sent it off to her Capitol office. 

We think we increasingly mirror a very large minority or even a majority of cool-headed but concerned Seattle-area voters who would like to see her speaking up for truth and real justice in this case.

And for the rights of the true victim.

We are not running a campaign. We don’t think Senator Cantwell needs hard persuasion. We think once she immerses herself deeply in the real facts, those facts will tell her the right thing to do.

Dear Senator Cantwell

A number of your well-informed constituents are wondering about your motivations for suddenly injecting yourself into the Meredith Kercher murder trial debate, immediately following last week’s unanimous guilty ruling for American Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. 

We wonder because you said you were saddened by the verdict and had serious questions about the Italian judicial system and whether anti-Americanism had tainted the trial.  But then you went on to describe how you knew for a fact that the prosecution in the case did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox was guilty. 

We’re confused because it seems to us that if you had been following the case closely enough to be certain that not enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution that you would consequently have a very clear idea of how the Italian judicial system functioned and know whether or not anti-American sentiment had impacted the ruling. 

So, as a group of concerned Seattle area constituents who have been following every detail of this case since poor Meredith Kercher was murdered, we humbly offer you our assistance towards bringing things into proper perspective.

Were you aware that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian from Giovinazzo, Bari was convicted right alongside Ms. Knox?  Mr. Sollecito received some of the best legal representation available in Italy, including senior lawyer and parliamentary deputy Giulia Bongiorno who won fame as a criminal lawyer when she successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti a few years ago. 

Ms Bongiorno has said nothing about anti-American sentiment having influenced the ruling against her client, nor has she complained about fundamental problems with the way this trial was run.  Instead, she is now completely focused on looking ahead to the appeal process as her next opportunity to mitigate sentences or argue for her client’s innocence. 

This should assuage some of your concerns.

But perhaps you are referring to the extra year Ms. Knox received in comparison to Mr. Sollecito’s 25-year sentence as a clear example of anti-American sentiment?  That’s a fair concern; however, in Italy the jury panel for a trial is required to submit a report within 90 days of a ruling describing in great detail the logic used to convict and sentence, or absolve a defendant. 

For example, in Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher last year Judge Paolo Micheli issued an exhaustive 106 page report outlining the panel’s labored decision-making process, in sometimes excruciating detail.  We can expect no less for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and when that report is issued we will have our best look yet at the evidence that was used to convict the pair.

We suggest that you seriously reconsider “bringing” Hillary Clinton and the State Department into the debate.

Consider that State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stated that the US embassy in Rome had been tasked with monitoring the trial and had visited Ms. Knox in jail, and several embassy representatives were known to have attended the reading of the ruling last week. In addition, an American reporter based in Italy who has followed the case from the outset said last night on CNN that the trial had been monitored from the outset.

Secretary Clinton has clearly been very busy with far more critical tasks than to have maintained a personal familiarity with the Kercher murder case; however, Kelly did state that in response to recent press reports Secretary Clinton had taken time to look things over and has yet to find any indication that Knox did not receive a fair trial.  You surely realize that Secretary Clinton will not be interested making public comments regarding an ongoing legal process in a sovereign, democratic nation that is a long-time ally of the United States.

Also note that on the Italian side of the equation, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told his countrymen that he has yet to receive any criticisms of the trial from the office of the US Secretary of State and that the fierce criticism of the case by the Seattle based Amanda Knox support group should not be confused as the position of the US government. 

And Luciano Ghirga, Knox’s own Italian lawyer, has stated that he does not question the validity of the trial and that he believes it was conducted correctly. Furthermore, regarding your desire to have Clinton become involved, Ghirga concluded, “That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved”¦this sort of thing does not help us in any way.” 

Perhaps he is referring to the heated discussions in the Italian press these days regarding the strong criticisms of Italy’s legal system coming from a country that supports Guantanamo Bay, the death penalty, and other perceived injustices of a far-from-perfect American legal system.

As these examples demonstrate, and from your own humble constituents’ well-informed perspective, there is nothing out of the ordinary or alarming about the Meredith Kercher murder trial process.  The prosecutors and defense teams will continue to debate the evidence throughout the appeal process, just as we should expect them to. 

If you do decide to go forward with your inquiry, despite significant opposition from your constituents, we recommend that you do so only after becoming more familiar with the evidence presented during the trial, as presented by a neutral source. The family and friends of the US citizen recently convicted are probably not neutral.

If you take a good look, you will see that there are checks and balances in the Italian way of achieving justice, just as there are in the American system. In the final analysis, it is completely as Beatrice Cristiani, deputy judge for the Kercher murder trial, put it: “As far as I am aware our system of justice does not make provision for interference from overseas.”

Fully signed by all of us in the original sent to Senator Maria Cantwell


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Prosecutions’ Closed-Court Reconstruction Of A Brutal And Prolonged Torture Attack

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Prosecution video not entered in evidence; this is from the fairly accurate Lifetime Movie

1. The Presentation In Closed Court

The time-line and reconstruction of the attack below were presented in court on Friday 21 November 2009 by the national crime-scene team.

From interviews Italian media reported an account of a premeditated and prolonged attack on Meredith. It included a very graphic computer simulation which upset many in the closed court.

This post relies on those media reports and documents later filed with the court. The simulation was deliberately not placed in evidence as there were fears that if uploaded to YouTube the expected highly negative public reaction could be too prejudicial to the accused.

2. Timeline For Night Of 1-2 Nov

The timing of all the events depicted were multiple-sourced except for the arrival of Rudy Guede, the timing of which is unknown but seems to have been late - maybe around 11:30 pm. Prior to that Knox and Sollecito are depicted as being on watch from the park above while a disabled car is removed. Meredith is inside from around 9:00 PM.

    15:48: Meredith texts to her English friends that she will be slightly late for her dinner meeting with them.

    16:00 - Meredith leaves the house in Via della Pergola to go to the home of her friends. A few minutes later Raffaele and Amanda leave the cottage in Via della Pergola to go Sollecito’s place.

    18:00 - Amanda Knox leaves Raffaele Sollecito’s house. This is indicated by cell phone records.

    18:27 - Raffaele Sollecito interacts with his laptop to watch the film “Amelie” alone at home.

    20:18 - Amanda Knox in Via Ulisse Rocchi receives a text message (sms) from Patrick Lumumba telling her not to come to work that night.

    20.30 - Amanda Knox goes back to Via Garibaldi to the apartment of Raffaele Sollecito.

    20:38 - Amanda sends a text message (sms) in reply to Patrick Lumumba.

    20:46 - Sollecito turns off his mobile phone. He is still at home in Via Garibaldi.

    20:45 ““ Meredith’s meal of pizza with her English friends ends. She starts off in the direction of Via della Pergola with a girlfriend who will leave her halfway to go to her own home.

    21:00 - Meredith is at home, she eats a mushroom, she lies down on her bed, and she reads some university lecture notes.

    21:10 - From this point on there is no more human interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer.

    21:45 - Amanda and Raffaele leave his apartment and go to the Piazza Grimana. Less than 100 meters away from the house in Via della Pergola, the two talk and watch the house and decide what to do. They show a suspicious attitude which is reported in court by the witness Curatolo

    23:20 - Amanda opens the door of Via della Pergola.

    23.20 - Amanda, Raffaele and Rudy enter the house in Via della Pergola, where Meredith is already present in her room [On the court video there is no simulation of the meeting between Amanda and Rudy, because the reconstruction is based on testimony, the autopsy evidence and medical findings.]

    23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

    23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

    23:30 - 23:45 [see Part 3 below] Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a prolonged struggle with Meredith at knifepoint, largely undressed, with her several times trying to regain her feet. She was not raped, though sexual humiliation occurred.

    23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

    00.10 - Meredith’s mobile phones are thrown into a garden in Via Sperandio.

    00.15 - From this moment, there are no certainties on the times for the rearrangement of the crime scene carried out by Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito. However according to the prosecution in the wee hours of the night Knox and Sollecito returned to the scene of their crime to try and clean up some footprints and to break the window glass of Filomena’s room. The aim was to simulate a robbery that ended in murder and they are charged with this too.


3. Reconstruction Of Attack

It must be emphasized that these EXCERPTS of SUMMARY notes by the crime scene team are only intended to accompany (1) extensive narrative descriptions by various members of the team,  (2) references to numerous items in evidence, (3) the simulation video, and (4) questions from the court.

It was made clear that the analysis indicates that Meredith put up a tremendous fight, over a period of approximately 15 minutes, with three strong attackers, before she finally succumbed holding one side of her neck to try to stop her lifeblood running out. She may not have died for as long as one hour.

Italian media reported that those in the closed court told them the Knox and Sollecito defenses raised no disputes or objections of any length except over having the video placed in evidence. Rudy Guede and his legal team had no standing in this court.   

RECONSTRUCTION OF ATTACK - FRIDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2009

Excerpts from pages 4 to 14 of the technical report on file with the court.

On the left door of the white wardrobe with sliding doors is found, at a height of approximately 50cm, a high concentration of blood traces.

It is reasonable to suppose that, at the moment of the assault, the victim was kneeling down, or in a similar position, in front of the same wardrobe.

The woman then dragged herself (or was dragged by the attacker or attackers) along the floor to the inside left shoulder of the same piece of furniture, and was later found dead in this same spot (this consideration is drawn from the presence of clear blood streaks).

This reconstruction is further confirmed from a technical scientific point of view, by the results of the technical report on B.P.A. (Blood Pattern Analysis) performed by the Principal Technical Director [D.T.P.] Physics, Dr. Francesco Camana, as a result of the site inspection on 18 December 2007”¦

On the left hand of the victim it is possible to observe numerous blood spots and, in particular, a larger patch on the tip of the index finger of the same hand.

The circumstances lead us to believe that the victim’s hand was near the wound when the blow was inflicted or was brought to that point a few moments later.

This consideration can lead us to think that the individual who was holding the victim still, immediately after this blow, struck in all likelihood by another person, relaxed his or her grip and the woman was able, at the same time, to put her left hand on the wound.

It is interesting to observe that there were no stains of a similar nature on the woman’s right hand.

It cannot be excluded, therefore, that the victim’s right arm remained in the grip of the attacker who, in so doing, probably held the body of the victim until the moment she fell onto the floor.

“¦ The observation, in sequence, of the light blue sweatshirt, of the white T-shirt worn by the victim, of the type of stain in the breast area of the victim and of the bra, allow us to develop other important evaluations.

Firstly we must focus our attention on the characteristics of the stain on the aforementioned sweatshirt.

In fact, this appears to be soaked with blood on the right hand side, i.e., in correspondence of one of the lesions produced in the victim of the attack.

This aspect is a confirmation of the possibility that the garment was worn [by the victim] at the moment of the crime.

Further observations lead us to believe the garment was rolled towards the neck and that the zipper was open.

Further, it must be held that the aforementioned sweatshirt was removed in a second moment from the body of the victim who still wore it. “¦

The clear splashes of blood found on the central part of the breasts allow us to argue as follows.

At the moment the blow was struck the breasts were covered only by the bra and as the sweatshirt and the white T-shirt were rolled up towards the shoulders….

The victim’s bra was found near the feet of the dead body, both straps and the closing band appear to be neatly cut.

On the bra cups and on the breasts of the victim there are numerous traces of blood.

Therefore, the bra was certainly worn by the victim before the violent action by the attacker [started and] caused its removal, allowing blood spray to cover that part of the body. “¦

An analysis of the autopsy photographs shows the presence of bruises on both elbows and on the right forearm of the body, caused by the tight grip of one of more persons who in one or more stages of the event interacted violently with the arms of the victim.

Such lesions are, in fact, due to the rupture of subcutaneous capillaries following strong pressure on the point “¦.


Monday, October 12, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Perugia’s central police station]

Preamble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) The early hours of 2 November

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

4) The afternoon of 2 November

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Conclusion

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

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

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

Again, and again, and again.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Report By Bob Graham In The Daily Express Close To Breaking New Record For Inaccuracy

Posted by The Machine


Here is a short list of the competition for most misleading reporter on the case: Peter Popham, Peter Van Sant, Simon Hattenstone, Steve Shay, Timothy Egan, Linda Byron, Candace Dempsey, and Jan Goodwin.

Typically after their report they disappear, hopefully shamed into never being heard from again (Popham, Egan, Van Sant, Goodwin, and Hattenstone). And the others seem to have become more innocuous and one or two close to strange mutterings (Byron, Shay, and Dempsey).

Now another hapless reporter, one Bob Graham, has floated an ill-conceived and ill-researched report, this time in the UK’s Daily Express. There is no Bob Graham who writes regularly for that paper, so the one reporting here might be an America freelancer - if not, apologies in advance. 

False claim 1

Endless leaks of court documents, private conversations, diaries and correspondence paint a picture of Amanda as a cold-blooded killer.

There is well over 10,000 pages of evidence. There have not been many leaks and almost all of those have come from the defenses. In fact Sollecito’s father may soon be under indictment, for leaking a video showing Meredith’s body to a Bari TV station. In the course of the trial there have been many small surprises which were never leaked in advance. And Edda Mellas here is blaming the prosecution and authorities for leaking documents when Knox’s family and team seem to have done much or more.

False claim 2

Yet if the prosecutors and gossips are wrong and Amanda was, as she claims, at Sollecito’s house at the time of the murder, she has been subjected to a staggering injustice.

Amanda Knox admitted that she was at the cottage on the night in question on four separate occasions (once to police officers now in evidence, twice to interrogators but ruled inadmissible, and once to the prosecutor in a handwritten note now in evidence). Sollecito has claimed she wasn’t there at his apartment for part of the night and he has never reversed that position. It’s not only the prosecutors and gossips who think she was at the cottage - Judge Micheli, who indicted her after reading the 10,000 pages of evidence, also thought so, and so did the scientific police.

False claim 3

They claim they took part in the murder in a tiny room, that after the murder they returned, still under the influence of drink and drugs, and managed to erase every trace of their own DNA and fingerprints without removing any of Guede’s DNA or fingerprints or other DNA that has not been identified. Is that credible? Of course not.

Edda Mellas seems to have told a deliberate lie. The prosecutors have never claimed the defendants removed every trace of their own DNA. Sollecito left an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. Knox can be placed in the murder room by way of the double DNA knife and the woman’s bloody footprint on the pillow plus footsteps in blood outside. Professor Vinci also claimed he found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.

False claim 4

The name [Foxy Knoxy] has returned to haunt her, implying something altogether less innocent.

It is well-known that Knox herself pushed that nickname out on the internet. It rarely appears in a derogatory way in any of the reporting these days, and it is hard to see how the few mentions demonize her. Amanda Knox would have been aware from the age of four that Foxy has sexual connotations, especially as she was an “A-grade student”.

False claim 5

In September 2007 Amanda, then at the University of Washington, was awarded a year-long scholarship to further her Italian studies at Perugia’s university for foreigners.

This is not true. Knox paid for her trip abroad herself by working part-time jobs in Seattle. The University of Washington in Seattle had no role in her registration for the Perugia language school, and did not agree to accredit her scores. UW did not play a larger role. Her arrangements in Perugia look to have been under-organized, under-supervised and under-funded. She seems to have been running very low on funds, and had no work permit, just when Meredith may have been under consideration to replace her as a waitress at a bar.

False claim 6

Financially, it’s been devastating, the cost already in excess of $1 million.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas chose to hire an expensive Seattle PR firm and two expensive Italian lawyers, and to fly large family presences to Perugia. Those were their choices to make, and it is suspected that at least some of the media have made payments in kind or cash to gain exclusive access. The PR campaign has been spinning its wheels for 18 months, and seems to us to have been a huge waste of money and quite damaging to Amanda Knox’s own best interests.

False claim 7

In the first hours after she was arrested she made a statement, later retracted, suggesting she and Raffaele had been present at the murder, and wrongly implicating Congolese barman Patrick Lumumba.

The statements were in fact made at the police station on 5-6 Nov under no police pressure after Sollecito had whipped the rug out from under her first alibi. She made three statements categorically accusing Diya Lumumba and spelling out some imaginary details. She said in all that she went out on the night. And she didn’t just “suggest” that she and Raffaele were there, she categorically claimed that she was indeed there.

False claim 8

Her defence team says she was threatened into making it. Amanda claims she was slapped around the head. Curiously, a tape-recording of the initial interviews have “disappeared”.

The defense never claimed that. There were many witnesses to the interrogations at the police station, including a senior police officer from Rome, and not one has corroborated this testimony. We have seen no evidence that any tapes were made or have disappeared. One statement cannot be used against Knox not because she was banged around but because she didn’t have a lawyer at the time. She later repeated it in writing when she was certainly not being banged around - she was under no pressure to speak up at all.

False claim 9

No less bizarre is the fact that chief prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is facing criminal charges for allegedly abusing his powers to question suspects in a separate murder case. He denies the allegations.

This is not true and it is possibly libelous. There is plenty of information on TJMK here that points to Mr Mignini being a competent, popular and hard-working prosecutor, who only faces an administrative charge because he seems to have guessed right on some of the murky details of the Monster of Florence case. At issue was not “abusing his powers to question suspects” it was a taped recording approved by a judge that caught the prosecutor saying damning things.

Peter Popham, Peter Van Sant, Simon Hattenstone, Steve Shay, Timothy Egan, Linda Byron, Candace Dempsey, and Jan Goodwin? Please now welcome Bob Graham to your misleading company.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Justice V Jingoism: UK’s Sky News Tells Us They Are Seeing Hypocrisy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

Sky News (controlled from NYC when last we looked! by Rupert Murdoch, above, on Sixth Avenue) says what a lot of Europeans are thinking.

A lot of New Yorkers too. A mean-spirited and dishonest PR campaign and a lazy dishonest media have colluded for far too long on this case.  And on too many similar examples.

It is quite different in the US when it comes to foreign treatment of one of their own citizens.

Amanda “˜Foxy’ Knoxy, is the young American woman now on trial in Italy for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

I was astonished to see her whole family, parents and children, invited on [ABC’s] Good Morning America and treated with cloying sympathy for all the world as if they were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

Sky News and the other Murdoch vehicles (the London Times, for example) have been among the MOST dispassionate about the case and among the MOST compassionate about Meredith.

Good on you, Rupert. For this, we salute you.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine



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

1. Preamble

Nearly 200 hours over 23 days.

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

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

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

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

2. The Large Double DNA Kitchen Knife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Knox Blood With Meredith’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Why Defendants Mostly DONT Testify? Those Devils That Lurk In The Details

Posted by FinnMacCool




Preamble

We have always pressed very hard for the truth to come out. WHY did poor Meredith have to die? And why and how in such a cruel and depraved way?

It now looks almost overwhelmingly certain that the truth did NOT come out when Amanda Knox took the witness stand in the court on 12 and 13 June.

No media organization seems to have made even the slightest effort to analyze Amanda Knox’s testimony, to see if it hangs true with past statements and known timelines.

But the judges and jury will do this for sure.

We have also begun to cross-check the testimony, and the first results look quite devastating for the defense. 

1. A phone call before dawn

The phone is ringing in Seattle. Edda Mellas wakes up ““ it is long before dawn, on a Friday morning early in November. (To be precise, it is 0447 on November 2, 2007.)

Her daughter is calling from Italy ““ Amanda doesn’t usually call at this hour, she’s usually more careful about time zones.

Speaking to ABC’s 20/20 show a few weeks later, Edda described the content of that call as follows:

[Amanda] goes, “I’m back at my house, and I want you… first I know I’m okay.” And I said, “Okay, you know, what’s goin’ on?” And she said, “Well, I was at Rafael’s last night… and I’ve come home now and I think somebody’s been in my house…” And she told me, “We can’t find Meredith. We can’t get a hold of Meredith. And her room is locked.” And I said, “Hang up and call the police.”

Phone records show that the call lasted a minute and a half. Amanda is concerned enough to wake her mother before five in the morning. First, she reassures her mother that she herself is okay. She explains what will later become her alibi for the murder of Meredith Kercher ““ that she spent the night at Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.

Then she explains why she is calling in the middle of the night ““ there are signs that someone has been in the house, that Meredith’s door is locked, and that she and Raffaele have been unable to make contact with Meredith.

Edda’s reply is simple, and plainly it is good advice: hang up, and call the police.

Phone records show that a minute and a half after this call ended (at 1250) Raffaele made a call to his sister Vanessa, who is a lieutenant in the carabinieri.

We don’t have too much detail about the content of this call (since Vanessa hasn’t testified and Raffaele is exercising his right to silence) except that it appears to have been similar to Amanda’s call to her mother. Raffaele briefly explains the problem at the cottage and Vanessa advises him to call the police.

A minute later, Raffaele calls the police. After a phone problem ““ he has to call back after being placed indefinitely on hold ““ he calls them a second time and explains the problem. Since these calls were recorded, we know exactly what was said.

Raffaele claims that someone has broken into the house through a broken window and caused a lot of disorder. There is a lot of blood, but nothing has been stolen, and the main problem ““ as he sees it ““ is that there is a locked door. The police say that they will send a patrol to verify the situation.

Edda’s testimony, supported by the police and phone records, shows a straightforward link from the call she received at 0447 Seattle time (1247 in Perugia) to the calls that Raffaele makes to his sister (1250) and the police (1251 and 1254). That whole process takes just eight minutes.

At 0524 (1324 in Perugia), Edda receives a second phone call from her daughter. Amanda explains that the police have now arrived and found Meredith’s dead body.

2. Two days later: an email

The murder makes the international news. Several phone calls follow. Over the weekend, Amanda is one of several people being interviewed by the police, alongside others who knew Meredith, or who arrived at the crime scene before the discovery of the body.

At home in Seattle on Sunday, Edda Mellas receives an email from her daughter, which is copied to multiple recipients (friends, family, and staff at the University of Washington). 

Amanda describes how, on the Friday morning, she went home, showered, noticed some problems, returned to Raffaele’s apartment, went back to the cottage with Raffaele, and became increasingly alarmed about the various signs that an intruder had been in the house.

Then there is a part that Edda finds strange. Amanda describes the following events, as regards calling the police:

“in the living room raffael told me he wanted to see if he could break down merediths door. he tried, and cracked the door, but we couldnt open it. it was then that we decided to call the cops. there are two types of cops in italy, carbanieri (local, dealing with traffic and domestic calls) and the police investigaters. he first called his sister for advice and then called the carbanieri. i then called filomna who said she would be on her way home immediately. while we were waiting, two ununiformed police investigaters came to our house.”

Something is missing from this account. There is no mention at all of the pre-dawn call that Amanda made to her mother ““ the one in which Edda herself told Amanda to call the police. Naturally Edda trusts her daughter. But there is something about this part of the email that troubles her, because it doesn’t square with her own memory of what had happened on Friday morning.

3. The next weekend: visiting Amanda in prison

Edda decides to travel to Perugia to support her daughter in the aftermath of her housemate’s murder. She leaves Seattle on Monday, November 5, planning to meet Amanda in Perugia first thing on Tuesday morning.

However, by the time Edda arrives, Amanda has already been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

In fact, it seems that Amanda has accused a local man, Patrick Lumumba, of committing the crime, while she herself was in the kitchen of the cottage, covering her ears so as not to hear Meredith’s screams.

Amanda has also written a subsequent document in which she partly stands by this accusation and partly withdraws it, claiming that it now seems “less real” than her previous statement that she spent the night of the murder at Raffaele’s apartment.

Although she has never been to Italy before, Edda does have some contacts in Perugia, since the town is twinned with Seattle. These contacts advise Edda about finding a lawyer for Amanda, so that she can dismiss the court-appointed attorney and appoint a local lawyer (Lucian Ghirga) who remains Amanda’s legal representative to this day.

Mr Ghirga explains the difficulties of Amanda’s having told several versions of events, and advises specifically of the dangers of accusing an innocent man. He hopes that Edda will be able to help Amanda resolve these difficulties, and to tell the clear truth about what happened.

On Friday, November 10, Judge Claudia Matteini finds sufficient grounds for continuing to hold all three suspects (Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Patrick Lumumba) pending further investigation.

On Saturday, November 11, Edda Mellas visits her daughter in jail. It is now eight days since Edda received that phone call before dawn in Seattle.

One of the points she wants to help Amanda resolve is that puzzling omission from the email of the pre-dawn phone call. How could it be that Amanda has forgotten making that call? Here is a transcript of the conversation between Edda and Amanda about that pre-dawn call:

Edda (surprised): But you called me three times.

Amanda: Oh, I don’t remember that.

Edda: Okay, you called me first to tell me about some things that had shocked you. But this happened before anything really happened in the house.

Amanda: I know I was making calls. I remember calling Filomena, but I really don’t remember calling anyone else. I just don’t remember having called you.

Edda: Why would that be? Stress, you think?

Amanda: Maybe because so many things were happening at once.

Edda: Okay, right.

 




4. “I really don’t remember this phone call”¦”

Edda is not the only one who finds it surprising that Amanda could simply forget making the call.

Judging from the records, and from Edda’s testimony, that forgotten call appears to have triggered Raffaele’s calls to the police.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi focused specifically on this point when questioning Amanda in court on June 13, 2009.

Initially, Amanda claimed that she was still unable to remember having made the pre-dawn phone call. She reported that the first call she remembered making was the one at 1324 (0524 in Seattle), which followed up the forgotten call with an account of how the police had arrived and had now found Meredith’s body.

Comodi:  You said that you called your mother on the morning of Nov 2.

Amanda: Yes.

Comodi: When did you call her for the first time?

Amanda: The first time was right away after they had sent us out of the house. I was like this. I sat on the ground, and I called my mother. (Note: This is the 1324 call.)

Comodi: So this was when either the police or the carabinieri had already intervened.

Amanda: It was after they had broken down the door and sent us outside. I don’t know what kind of police it was, but it was the ones who arrived first. Later, many other people arrived.

It’s hard to know what to make of Amanda’s account here. It’s one thing to have forgotten making that pre-dawn phone call. But Amanda is now expecting the court to believe that she has also forgotten this prison conversation with her mother, along with the suggested reason (“stress”) for forgetting the call.

As Comodi presses her further about this phone call, Amanda’s only response is that she simply doesn’t remember making it.

Comodi: But from the records, we see that you called your mother ““ not only from the billing records but also from the cell phone pings ““ that you first called your mother at twelve. (Note: this is the 1247 call ““ actually much later than 1200.) At midday. What time is it at midday? What time is it in Seattle, if in Perugia it is midday?

Amanda: In Seattle it’s morning. It’s a nine hour difference, so, ah, three in the morning.

Comodi: Three o’clock in the morning?

Amanda: Yes.

Comodi: So your mother would certainly have been sleeping.

Amanda: Yes.

(Note: because of a difference in when Daylight Savings Times changes, the actual difference on November 2, 2007, would have been just eight hours. Midday would be four o’clock in Seattle. 1247 in Perugia would be 0447 in Seattle.)

There is imprecision both from Comodi and from Amanda with regard to the pre-dawn phone call. The call was not made at midday in Perugia, but at 1247. The gap between Seattle and Perugia was in fact ““ unusually ““ only eight hours during that particular week.

The prosecutor is drawing attention to the earliness of the hour ““ or at least, the earliness of the hour as Amanda understood it to be. 0447 is getting close to a time when it might be acceptable to call an early riser, whereas 0300 certainly isn’t. Perhaps this is the reason for Comodi’s allowing the time to shift earlier at this point in the conversation.

The next section of dialog makes it clear that Comodi’s main aim in this line of questioning is to establish what was Amanda’s motive in making this call.

It’s one thing to call your mother in the middle of the night because the police have just discovered a dead body in your house. But it’s another thing entirely to call your mother at three in the morning because you think there might have been a break-in at your house the previous night.

The obvious implicit question here is: “Why call your mother, who’s fast asleep on the other side of the world, before you’ve even called the police?”

There are credible answers that an innocent person might provide to this question ““ for example, by claiming that she was faraway, in a foreign country, and she just wanted to hear a friendly, comforting voice.

But Amanda doesn’t say anything of the kind. Instead, she anticipates and wards off the question, by insisting that she simply has no memory of making the call in the first place.

Comodi: But at twelve o’clock, nothing had happened yet. That’s what your mother said”¦

Amanda: I told my mother”¦

Comodi: “¦during the conversation you had with her in prison. Even your mother was amazed that you called her at midday, which was three or four o’clock in the morning in Seattle, to tell her that nothing had happened.

Amanda: I didn’t know what had happened. I just called my mother to say that [the police] had sent us out of the house, and that I had heard something said about…

Comodi: But at midday nothing had happened yet in the sense that the door had not been broken down yet.

It’s worth noting here that, although Amanda has estimated midday as 0300 in Seattle, Comodi silently corrects her by saying “0300 or 0400”. Comodi knows perfectly well that the difference in Daylight Savings Times affected the time difference.

But the prosecutor’s intention is to clarify why Amanda made that phone call to her mother, not when she made it.

We’ve seen that, in Amanda’s email, she claimed that she and Raffaele had reached a point where they had decided they would have to call the police. In the courtroom, Amanda sticks to that story.

But the cellphone records show that before Raffaele called the police, Amanda called her mother in Seattle. Comodi wants to know why she did that.

In the following brief exchange, Amanda repeats five times that she cannot remember making that call.

Amanda: Hm. Okay. I don’t remember that phone call. I remember that I called her to tell her what we had heard about a foot. Maybe I did call before, but I don’t remember it.

Comodi: But if you called her before, why did you do it?

Amanda: I don’t remember, but if I did it, I would have called to”¦

Comodi: You did it.

Amanda: Okay, that’s fine. But I don’t remember it. I don’t remember that phone call.

In the above exchange, Amanda sounds irritated (“okay, va bene”) to be reminded of this phone call, and insists that she simply doesn’t remember it. For her part, Comodi reminds Amanda that this is not a “he said/she said” scenario. (“Lo ha fatto.” “You did it.”) There is no possibility of denying that the call took place. This is a phone call that is recorded on the billing records and by the cellphone pings.

5. Why is this phone call important?

We might wonder about why it is important whether or not Amanda could remember calling her mother at 1247, before the body was discovered.

It’s important because that police records show that the communications police had already arrived at the house, and had spoken to Amanda and Raffaele, at the point when this phone call was made.

What really happened during those few minutes appears to be as follows.

- CCTV footage in the car park shows a black Fiat Punto (the same as the model driven by the policemen) arriving at 1225. The police themselves recorded their arrival at the cottage at 1230.

- Filomena calls Amanda at 1234 ““ Amanda doesn’t mention that the police are already there, but she does say (for the first time) that a window is broken in Filomena’s room.

- Filomena then calls her boyfriend, Marco, and asks him to go to the cottage, because she knows that he will be able to get there more quickly than herself.

- Marco and his friend Luca arrive at the cottage and find that the police are already there, that they have spoken to Amanda and Raffaele and that Amanda has written down some phone numbers.

- Raffaele and Amanda then go into Amanda’s bedroom. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrives, with her friend Paola Grande. Paola testified that she saw Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom just before one o’clock.

- It would appear that Amanda and Raffaele went into Amanda’s bedroom at around 1247 and made four phone calls: the first to Edda Mellas, the second to Vanessa, and the third and fourth to the police.  In other words, while Luca and Marco were talking to the communications police, Amanda went into the bedroom and phoned Edda Mellas.

The explanation Amanda gave her mother as the reason why she forgot the call was that there were so many things happening at that moment. And in fact, there would appear from this reconstruction of events that in reality there were a lot of things happening at once.

But in Amanda’s own version (given in her email) she claims that there actually weren’t many things happening at that point. There were just two people in the house ““ herself and Raffaele. She claims the police arrived later, after Raffaele dialled 112, and Marco and Luca arrived later still. 

In other words, at this point - when Amanda and Raffaele’s version conflicts with the testimony of the other witnesses, with the phone records, with the police records, with the CCTV footage from the car park, and even with the testimony of Amanda’s own mother - they need some kind of coherent story.

Raffaele has exercised his right to silence.

Amanda claims she can’t remember the phone call she made to her mother. And the reason she gives for not remembering the phone call contradicts her own story about what was happening at the time.

6. Judge Massei intervenes

At this point in the trial, the chair of the panel of judges decides to intervene.

He picks up on the issue of the forgotten phone call. He is concerned that Amanda is suggesting that maybe the phone call did not even take place, when in fact it is quite plain that it did.

Politely, he interrupts this part of the questioning.

Massei: Excuse me. You might not remember it, but the Public Minister [prosecutor] has just pointed out to you a phone call that your mother received in the small hours.

Commodi: At three o’clock in the morning.

Massei: So, that must be true. That did happen. Were you in the habit of calling her at such an hour? Did you do this on other occasions? At midday in Italy, which corresponds in Seattle to a time when… It’s just that we don’t usually call each other in the middle of the night.

Amanda: Yes, yes, that’s true.

Massei: So either you had a particular reason on that occasion, or else it was a routine. This is what the Public Minister is referring to.

Amanda: Yes. Well, since I don’t remember this phone call, although I do remember the one I made later, ah. But. Obviously I made that phone call. So, if I made that phone call, it’s because I had, or thought that I had, something I had to tell her. Maybe I thought even then that there was something strange, because at that moment, when I’d gone to Raffaele’s place, I did think there was something strange, but I didn’t know what to think. But I really don’t remember this phone call, so I can’t say for sure why. But I suppose it was because I came home and the door was open, and so for me”¦

Even to the chair of judges, in other words, Amanda continues to insist that she cannot recall making the phone call that looks to have triggered the self-incriminating 112 calls.

A neutral observer might think of those phone calls as a botched attempt to gather more witnesses to their having innocently stumbled upon the crime scene and then called the police.

The phone records show that Amanda had made one phone call to Filomena (at 1208) before the arrival of the police, and three calls to Meredith Kercher’s phones (at 1207, 1211 and again at 1211). (Amanda claimed that Meredith’s Italian phone “just rang and rang” ““ but phone records show that it rang for just three seconds.)

So, if it were not that Amanda was trying to strengthen her alibi, and gain another witness to her having innocently stumbled across the crime scene, why exactly did she call her mother?

Amanda’s answer is, “I don’t remember this phone call, so I can’t say for sure why.”




7. Edda Mellas’s testimony in court

On June 19, a week after Amanda had testified, Edda Mellas provided a much fuller version of the phone call that Amanda had unfortunately forgotten.

Edda provided far more detail than she had provided to the ABC 20/20 show. The Seattle TV station, Kiro TV, summarized her evidence as follows:

- In the first phone call, Amanda said, “I know it’s early,” but she called because she felt someone had been in her house. She had spent the night at Raf’s. She came back to have a shower and the main door was open. She thought it was odd but it has a funny lock and it did not close well.

- She went to have a shower and when she came out she noticed some blood but she thought maybe someone had her menstrual cycle and did not clean afterwards. She then went to her room and then went to the other bathroom to dry her hair and saw there were feces in the toilet. Amanda thought that was strange because normally girls flushed the toilet.

She went back to Raf’s and told him about the things she found strange. Sometime later she got hold of one of the other roommates. She tried to call Meredith several times but there was no answer.

- They came back to the house and she showed Raf what she found and then they also noticed the broken window. And now they were pounding on Meredith’s room trying to wake her.

Edda had provided so much detail that she was asked to confirm whether all this information was indeed in the first call. She confirmed that it was:

Yes, [Amanda spoke] very quickly. I told her to call the police. She said Raf was finishing a call with his sister and then was going to call police. This was the first call.

This first call lasted just 88 seconds, so Amanda must have spoken very quickly indeed.

Edda has also managed to answer the question that her daughter failed to answer the previous week, about why she had called her mother at such an unearthly hour: “Amanda said I know it’s early but she called because she felt someone had been in her house.”

If we accept Edda Mellas’s testimony at face value, we find ourselves wondering how a person who could have crammed so much detail into a phone call could possibly forget making that phone call at all?

We notice also that Edda has confirmed once again that she did advise her daughter to call the police. (And we know that her daughter’s boyfriend did exactly that, shortly after Amanda put the phone down.) Yet Amanda claims that she cannot remember that advice, nor can she even remember making the phone call.

At the end of her written document on November 6, Amanda wrote:

“All I know is that I didn’t kill Meredith, and so I have nothing but lies to be afraid of.”

As the trial progresses, it looks increasingly as though Amanda was indeed involved in the killing of Meredith Kercher ““ and she has nothing but lies to protect her.

Sources:

1. 20/20 transcript of interview with Edda Mellas published in the Seattle Times for February 2, 2008:

2. Recording and transcript of Raffaele Sollecito’s second 112 call.

3. Transcript of Amanda Knox’s email to multiple recipients on November 4, 2007:

4. Cellphone records for Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox for November 1 and 2, 2007 (case files)

5. Transcript of conversation between Edda Mellas and Amanda Knox on November 11, 2007, cited in court on June 13, 2009

6. Transcript of Edda Mellas’s testimony in court, June 19, 2009


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.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Italy Shrugs: Why Amanda Knox’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

Posted by Nicki





Posting from Milan (image below) where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle”¦ The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
 
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way “, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Knox Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy

Posted by Fiori





Posting from Florence (image below) where we have all been watching Knox testify in Italian.

I don’t believe her. It is interesting to see Amanda Knox being cool and self-confident, but testifying about how disturbed she became when the police became pushy during her interrogation. It doesn’t fit.

And it comes across as untrustworthy and contradictory that when asked about her drug use, she puts on a “schoolgirl”’ attitude: In effect “Sorry, daddy judge, I was bad, don’t punish me for being young”.  This seems definitely out of order with the rest of her performance.

“Performance” is the impression I get from viewing the segments shown from the court - a well-rehearsed performance. I suppose that the jury will wonder how this cool person can forget whether she has replied to a sms-message, how she can get so confused that she names Patrick, afterwards “is too afraid to speak to anyone but her mother”, and so on.

Most striking is that Amana Knox’s defence seems to stick firmly to the strategy of “mistreatment”; in effect that the only reason for AK being arrested is false statements produced under “illegal” pressure from the police.

By making “the ethics of police interrogation” the core question of her testimony, the defence - probably deliberately - creates a lot of associations to recent public debates of torture and interrogation techniques applied at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.

By doing so they seem to want to try to turn the jury’s attention away from the point that AK knowingly participated in a murder investigation, and that any person with her intelligence will know that anyone who is called as a witness is required to show respect for the authorities - regardless of their nationality!

With reference to a variety of public materials from the US (“48 Hours” by CBS and many other reports), the way in which the Italian police have conducted Knox’s interview does not significantly differ from similar type interrogations made by US police. (This is not a stamp of approval, but removes the reason for any serious critique of the conduct of the Italian police.)

Her calmness and cool attitude, including her performing in two languages, does not, in my view - contrary to what the defence and her father expect - help to bring about an image of “another Amanda Knox” or a “more true Amanda Knox”.

Mostly her performance seems to contribute to shaping her image as complex, manipulative, intelligent, attention-seeking, and with only vaguely defined limits of identity.



Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: Sky News Italy Video Of The Defendant’s Opening Statement Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room, which is legitimate for the reporters there to capture.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

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

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena ““ cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again ““ even for just three seconds ““ she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later ““ after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back ““ at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message ““ certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 ““ but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

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

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) ““ neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 ““ as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom ““ but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele ““ since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time ““ just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up ““ she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning ““ Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible ““ and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first ““ knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room ““ panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants ““ such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Might Have Happened On The Night: One Scenario

Posted by Brian S

[click for larger image]


[above: the main piazza in the old city, about the time in question]

Five months to the day today since Judge Micheli handed Guede his 30 years and Knox and Sollecito their go-straight-to-trial cards.

And about two months since Judge Micheli released his 106-page report with a scenario of what most probably happened on the night.

He seemed in no doubt whatever that Meredith had been attacked by three people, and that there had been a major attempt to rearrange the crime scene soon after.

Now we have the benefit of the testimony of a number of witnesses which Judge Micheli did not get to hear, because of the short-form trial, but which he would have got to read, because their statements are in the 10,000-plus pages of evidence prepared by the prosecution.

Here is one possible scenario which takes into account what has been reported from court in the period of the past few weeks.

Meredith’s aborted phone calls, possibly for help, were reported to have happened just after 10pm.

Sometime just after 10:30pm a car containing four visitors from Rome broke down outside the driveway and gate to Meredith’s house on Via della Pergola. A dark colored car was noticed in the driveway.

The driver of the car called the breakdown truck at about 10:40pm, and the mechanic arrived 15 or 20 minutes later. He said he was not there long, and the five people involved were perhaps on their way by around 11:15pm.

This seems to prove that Meredith was not murdered in the period between sometime just after 10:30 and 11:15pm

Someone running up the stone steps above the intersection bumped into witness Ms Formica’s boyfriend around 10:30pm. Ms Formica didn’t hear any scream. Shortly after that she saw the car that had broken down.

The car occupants did not hear any scream, or see anyone run away (it is known they were traced and questioned). Rudy Guede himself has claimed “he ran from the house around 10:30pm, not many minutes after the killers had fled”.

It seems witness Nara Capezzali, the neighbor up above, was not too confident of the time she heard the scream and the running feet. Perhaps her diuretic had its effect sometime just before 10:30pm.

She and other witnesses heard a very long, loud, terrified scream. Less than a minute later 2 or 3 people were heard running away in different directions.

The scenario this suggests is that Meredith was struggling with her attackers from around the time of her aborted call at 10:13pm until sometime just before 10:30pm.

And that someone had a hand over her mouth, people were holding her arms, and she was struggling as the assault took place.

She was being verbally threatened and she was being stabbed with a knife.

Suddenly, Meredith got her mouth free, and she let out that “blood curdling” scream that Ms Capezzali described.

It seems unlikely that the final stab had been made to her throat before that moment, else she wouldn’t have obtained the volume to be heard by those in the surrounding houses.

However, it may have been this scream which caused the killer to silence her with the final thrust of the knife.

Her attackers would expect that that cry would have been heard by anyone up on the street or in the parking facility or the houses above who was still up and about at that time of night.

They stabbed Meredith, and then they ran.

Shortly after they disappear from the cottage, a car breaks down just outside. The driver calls for help just around the time that Meredith breathes her last.

Any of the killers who may want to return to the cottage will have to wait until that broken down car has gone. The dark car remains trapped in the driveway.

Meanwhile, up in Piazza Grimana, Antonio Curatolo sits reading his paper. He sees Sollecito and Knox come into the square, apparently from the direction of Via Pinturicchio above the park.

It’s not the first time he has seen them that night. He first saw them at around 9:30.

It’s now after 10:30pm. He observes them go over to the railings several time and look down towards the cottage at Via Della Pergola.

What do they see?

A broken down car right is sitting outside the cottage gates which was soon to be attended by a breakdown truck. The mechanic stated that the car was located just before the parking lot entrance, so he had a clear view of the entrance to the house as he worked practically across the street from the gate.

No-one could get back to the cottage or retrieve their car from the driveway until after 11:15pm, by which time the broken down car had been fixed and the people involved had gone from the scene.

Sollecito and Knox may have left the park around 11:00 to 11:30 pm. Mr Curatolo then went to the railings himself to see what they’d been looking at.

Next, he said he saw Sollecito and Knox return, and he put the time of this at just before midnight for sure. After midnight, he left the piazza to go to the park and sleep.

A comment here.

Antonio Curatolo is a very dangerous witness for Sollecito and Knox. He seems to be as sharp as they come. Mr Curatolo knew both Knox and Sollecito by sight from watching them come and go through the piazza over the preceding weeks, though this was “the first time he had seen them together… like a couple’”.

He fixes his exact memory of the night for his evidence to the police presence and news of the murder the following day. Unlike Knox and Sollecito, he can remember exactly what happened on the night of 1st November.

He knows where he was. And he knows who and what he saw from his front-row park bench.

The suggestion here for the moment, then, is that Meredith was struggling with her attackers from around the time of her aborted call at 10:13pm until sometime just before 10:30pm.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

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

Posted by Brian S


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

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

I view this with complete disbelief.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s walk through what happened inb this case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two prongs of Raffaele’s alibi have already failed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

His credibility looks to be toast.

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

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

Her credibility too looks to be toast. 

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

Enjoy the show, judges, and jury.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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

Posted by Brian S




1. Where We Stand

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

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

2. The Final Position Of The Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, February 09, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Thursday, February 05, 2009

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

Posted by Brian S


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Judge’s Report On Guede Sentence Suggests Roles Of Knox And Sollecito

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Seems rather a bombshell for the remaining two defendants. A shapeshifter, even.

Last October, Judge Micheli [bottom here] released a summary rationale of his verdict and sentencing of Guede. And last night, the judge released his full report on the rationale.

Richard Owen of the London Times [above] seems the only reporter so far to have read all 106 pages - how we wish American coverage could achieve this superb level. Some excerpts:

Judge Paolo Micheli, releasing a report on his reasons for sentencing Rudy Guede, 22, to 30 years in prison in October for his part in the murder, said the killing was “a group crime”. Guede had not himself cut Ms Kercher’s throat. But there was “cast iron proof” that he had taken part in the murder, even if he did not strike the “mortal blow”.

Under Italian law a judge has to outline the “motivation” behind his verdict. Unlike Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, Guede… opted for a “fast track” trial in the hope of a reduced sentence.

Judge Micheli was also the pre-trial judge who in October said there was enough evidence against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito for them to be sent for trial. The prosecution alleges that Guede tried to sexually assault Ms Kercher while Mr Sollecito held her down and Ms Knox toyed with a knife against her throat, which she then used to stab her. Judge Micheli said he accepted that there was “complicity” between the assailants, but said some aspects of the prosecution reconstruction were “fantasy”.

Reconstructing the crime in his 106-page report, Judge Micheli said the first blow was struck at Ms Kercher while she was standing up. He said she was killed because she refused to take part in a sexual game which “escalated into violence and got out of control”.

Judge Micheli said Guede was “a liar” and there were “no extenuating circumstances”. “Even someone who wanted to believe him would find it impossible,” the judge wrote. He added: “It is credible that Guede entered the house because he was let into it by someone else, and that someone could only be Amanda Knox.”

He said there had been an “agreed plan” to satisfy “sexual instincts” which ended in “murderous intent”. Guede had continued to try to assault Ms Kercher sexually even when a knife was produced and even when the knife “sank deeper into her neck” the judge said. Guede had not completed the sexual act only because of Ms Kercher’s “screams of pain and fear”.

The prosecution in the trial of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito alleges that Ms Knox arranged for Guede, who had made clear that he was attracted to Ms Kercher and wanted to have sex with her, to come to the cottage when she knew her flatmate was there.

Judge Micheli said the statements Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, had made following his arrest and extradition to Italy were “nothing more than a colossal accumulation of contradictions and attempts to throw investigators off the track”.

In his haste to flee, Guede had bumped into a couple near the cottage who had testified to police, the judge said. Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito meanwhile had been seen at a square above the cottage by a homeless man, and apparently waited there “to see if police arrived”, the judge said.

He said that because of “complicity” between the three, Guede had “never once mentioned the name Amanda” until late into the inquiry, when he said he had heard Ms Knox’s voice at the door and seen a man “resembling” Mr Sollecito….

Judge Micheli said Guede had had “no intention of saving” Ms Kercher’s life as she lay bleeding to death. He noted that neighbours had testified that they clearly heard a woman screaming in agony inside the cottage late at night.

In his defence Guede had claimed that he was in the bathroom with stomach pains when Ms Kercher was murdered. The judge said this was untrue.

So it seems Meredith was set-up. Tortured. Stabbed, many times. And abandoned. Walked out on, when she still could have been saved. Savagery incarnate.

Poor Meredith. Poor poor Meredith. How very much sadness you evoke.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Honest, Accurate TV Coverage Has Been HIGHLY Overdue

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Anne Bremner blows smoke]

NBC have shown the other American television networks how to make an objective documentary about the case.

I know that a lot of work went into making the NBC Dateline programmes with over 40 hours of tape shot for both stories. I hope the the likes of CBS News and ABC News now follow suit.

And that they always - always - remember this: Meredith Kercher’s murder was exceptionally brutal and sadistic. Specifically:

  • She was sexually assaulted and viciously teased with a knife for many minutes before the final stab.
  • And after the torture, she died a slow and intensely painful death, clutching her neck with both hands.
  • She might still have been saved - but a conscious decision was made that she wouldn’t be.
  • And this was then followed by two days of apparent glee on the part of the two defendants.

The news channels have to get their coverage right from now on. The case is precedent-setting in several ways, and far too important for the media to play fast and loose with the facts.

Hints of anti-Italy xenophobia have abounded in the American commentary. Such abysmal coverage would never have happened if this was an all-American case - the real victim would be there front and center, not a defendant with a notably odd history.

The parents of the prime suspect should not be allowed to dictate the content of the documentaries and news reports. The media have a duty to report objectively and not be used as vehicles for the Amanda Knox PR campaign. Some of the documentaries on the case have been essentially free advertisements for Amanda’s PR company.

I hope any future documentaries don’t include an interview with Curt Knox talking with great authority about Amanda’s interrogation despite the fact he wasn’t actually present. Amanda’s lawyer has already stated for the record that Amanda wasn’t hit by the police, so Curt can’t repeat that false allegation.

Juju Chang of ABC won’t be able to repeat the wild claim that the double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out after Patrizia Stefanoni confirmed that Meredith’s DNA is on the blade of the knife and Judge Paolo Micheli accepted it as evidence.

Rudy Guede was convicted of the sexual assault of Meredith, which means that the deeply offensive and untrue claim that there was no evidence of sexual assault can’t be repeated.

Instead of Anne Bremner analysing the wrong crime scene and ranting about Italian incompetence in a desperate attempt to discredit the investigation, the documentary makers should interview somebody who is actually an expert in forensic investigations.

Renato Biondo would be the best person to interview. He provided independent confirmation that the forensic investigation was carried out correctly, following international protocol. The only person guilty of incompetence was Anne Bremner.

It is always highlighted in documentaries that Amanda’s confession was thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, they never mention that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage when Meredith was murdered was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

Her note to the police on 6 November is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence.

And Amanda Knox was not given the nickname Foxy Knoxy by the European press. It was a nickname she used herself on her MySpace page.

It’s wrong that inconvenient and incriminating facts are airbrushed out of these programmes. There has been a deliberate attempt to mislead and manipulate the general public.

The media should always have an ethical commitment to the truth, and they should never forget that it was Meredith who was the real victim of this terrible crime.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. Well done, NBC, for breaking the mould.

Now CBS News, ABC News, and other television networks owe it to Meredith and her poor family to get it right, the next time they cover the case.


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