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Category: 13 AK persona hoax

Friday, May 01, 2009

Underlying All Scenarios: The Organised Versus The Disorganised Offender?

Posted by Miss Represented




An Overview

This post is cross-posted here from my own website.

The recent 48 Hours mystery show once again attempted to lend credibility to the virtually laughable lone wolf theory. Despite its inaccuracies it seems fairly clear that the friends and family of Amanda Knox in all likelihood encouraged the 48 Hours show to air before the presentation of the crucial DNA evidence shortly to be discussed in court.

Timing is after all everything and it may have been the last time anyone would actually take the show seriously, especially considering the main theme of the show boiled down to the simply ludicrous suggestion that Amanda Knox is somehow a victim in this case and the lone wolf theory is still a credible and valid scenario for what happened that night. For those of you who are still unaware of precisely what that means, it is the idea that Rudy Guede scaled a virtually un-climbable wall and crawled in through a window of the cottage in order to sexually assault and murder Meredith Kercher.

Many following the case long ago dismissed the theory as fantasy, even Guede himself who in his statements to police and diaries admits he was not the only person in the cottage that night. Yet we must also consider that this is virtually the only scenario that the defence can now use to exonerate Amanda and Raffaele as they both strenuously deny any involvement in Meredith’s murder.

Despite the physical evidence suggesting their possible role, copious amounts of physical evidence of Guede’s involvement was found at the crime scene and a smaller amount of evidence leading to the defendants. The defence maintain this is the result of contamination and the abundance of his fingerprints and DNA suggests Guede and Guede alone killed Meredith. The prosecution allege that both Amanda and Raffaele were present in the cottage the night Meredith was killed and that once Guede had fled, a well organised and methodical clean up took place to conceal any physical evidence linking them to the crime scene. Unsurprisingly plenty of Guede’s DNA and fingerprints were left for investigators to find.

I discussed the lone wolf theory a few months ago, but as I have often found with this case, new information, ideas and personal reflection often encourages me to revisit important areas in more detail or with a slightly different perspective. I have decided to take a fresh look at this theory and explain why it is completely at odds with current psychology research and how evidence available about the set up and implementation of the crime further discredit this theory as a possibility. I have decided to write this at what is possibly the most crucial part of the trial proceeding so far: The presentation of the physical evidence linking Amanda and Raffaele to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Organised vs. Disorganised Offender

Although the definition of homicide is reasonably clear cut, the definition of sexual homicide is much more ambiguous. There are several clear differences seen in sexual murders: Firstly the idea that killing itself is sexually arousing, secondly that the murder is carried out in order to cover up a sexual crime and finally that the offence is a homicide that has some sexual component, but in which the exact motivational dynamics remain unclear (Schlesinger, 2007). The latter seems to be the most likely scenario in this case, despite the definition being slight ambiguous it does seem clear that the murder of Meredith Kercher was a sex related homicide, possibly with a rape/sodomy motivation.

According to “˜The Handbook of Psychological Approaches with Violent Offenders’, the organised vs. disorganised crime scene characterisation of sexual homicide offenders provides a useful insight into these types of crime (Ressler et al, 1986). Clues left at the crime scene can often indicate possible personality characteristics or clues about those involved, as can the nature of the offence, the way it was planned and executed.

The organised offender

Crimes committed by an organised offender are often carefully planned and executed, there is often evidence suggesting the offender brought with them items necessary to commit the crime (such as rope or tape to bind and silence the victim), especially those that might ensure they are able to fulfil certain needs or fantasies through the act of committing the crime. There is often evidence of careful planning and as a result these offenders are usually harder to catch as they are careful about leaving trace evidence behind.

The disorganised offender

A disorganised offender on the other hand often leaves a chaotic scene behind with evidence suggesting a spontaneous or unplanned attack with very little prior planning or pre preparation. The staging of a crime scene often occurs as a direct result of a spontaneous disorganised offence and is usually spotted by investigating officers as the resulting scene is conflicted and full of red flags. By their very nature, organised offenders have no need to stage a scene as theoretically they perceive to have prepared sufficiently to avoid detection in other ways. Disorganised offenders will often stage a crime scene to cover the spontaneity of the act and the inevitable fear of being caught.

The murder of Meredith Kercher

The evidence available so far indicates that this was a disorganised offence. The crime scene photos that have been released show a messy and chaotic scene, clothes all over the floor and blood everywhere. Evidence of staging also indicates a disorganised offence as does the alleged clean up attempt. Despite the evidence suggesting a certain amount of premeditation with the murder weapon having been taken from Raffaele’s apartment to the cottage, there is no way of proving that the intention was to kill Meredith with this knife therefore we cannot necessarily conclude this was an organised offence based solely on this information. Similarly, injuries sustained by the victim also suggest she was forcibly held and that some attempt was made to silence her, yet if we are to conclude this was an organised offence, surely the offender would have brought something with which to bind and/or gag the victim?

This does not seem to be the case but rather a spontaneous group attack that resulted in a violent and chaotic murder with a subsequent panicked attempt at concealing the truth about what had happened. This leads me to conclude that the murder of Meredith Kercher is an example of a disorganised sexual homicide. None of the group had any history of violence which can in part be explained by a group dynamic. Unsurprisingly, research indicates that 64% of first time violent sexual homicides can be classified as disorganised.

Further Confusion

Despite certain pieces of evidence suggesting that this was a disorganised offence, there are elements of the crime that do not fit this conclusion. Meredith was almost certainly sexually assaulted whilst she was still alive, an attempt was made to restrain her and evidence from a break down truck driver suggests that Raffaele’s Audi may have been in the driveway of the cottage that night. Sexual assault on a live victim, evidence of restraint and evidence suggesting an offender may have driven to the scene of the crime are all associated with organised offenders. This coupled with the suggestion that the murder weapon may have been taken to the crime scene rather confuses a possible classification of a disorganised offence

As I have said many times with these types of theory and research based pieces, no theory is ever perfect especially one as reductionist as the organised/disorganised offender. This theory has been criticised for these reasons in the past. Despite this, many profilers and police officers find these sorts of classifications useful and can usually see evidence pointing to one type or another.

I believe this theory is perhaps too simplistic as it does not take into account the involvement of one or more persons in a violent sexual homicide. The slight confusion we have already seen in typology and classification of violence, added to this new confusion about whether this was an organised or disorganised offence only serves to encourage my belief that several motives, ideas and schemas about “˜how to humiliate/wind-up/hurt Meredith’ may have come into play that night. I have already suggested the possibility that there may have been a sadist in the room as well as very different motives for each of the individuals involved. The idea that certain elements of the crime are organised whilst others are disorganised not only encourages the idea that more than one person was involved but also suggests that at least one group member was firmly out of the loop.

The Blitz Attack

If Rudy Guede really had been a lone wolf killer, apart from the evidence suggesting that the break in was staged, he would almost certainly be a disorganised offender. Aside from the abundance of his DNA and fingerprints left at the scene, there are certain things we would expect to see from a lone disorganised offender that do not seem to be evident in this case.

Firstly, disorganised offenders often feel inadequate and their attacks are usually sexual in nature. These types of assailants, especially those with the intention of sexually assaulting or raping the victim, will often approach the victim from behind and due to the spontaneous nature of these offences they will usually initiate what’s known as a blitz attack. The blitz attack is primarily concerned with ensuring the victim is unable to resist or fight usually because the offender doubts their own ability to subdue the victim. The most common method of ensuring compliance is to render the victim unconscious. Unfortunately due to the amount of force employed when administering blows to (often) the head, the victim usually suffers horrendous blunt force injuries which more often than not result in serious injury or death. Meredith had no such injuries and any injuries she did sustain came much later than the initial attack.

If we are to conclude that Rudy Guede was a typical lone, first time, disorganised killer we can surely conclude he would have participated in this style of ambush, after all in one study 82% of young offenders who engaged in sexual attacks of this nature did so by initiating a blitz attack on their victims. Similarly the lone wolf theory suggests that Guede climbed through a window in order to access Meredith when he could quite easily have knocked on the door and pounced or at least chosen a method of entry that was easier and less noisy. If we are to accept the lone wolf theory as credible then we must also accept that by climbing through the window, Rudy Guede was aiming to surprise Meredith by initiating an attack to subdue, sexually assault and kill her yet the evidence suggests no such blitz attack ever took place and that the victim was very much conscious throughout most if not all of her ordeal.

The injuries sustained by Meredith are concrete, unchangeable and unchallengeable. These injuries cannot be manipulated or denied to suit. Meredith sustained defensive knife injuries to her hands in what the medical examiner likely concluded was an attempt to fight off an attack from a person standing in front of her brandishing a knife. Victims of disorganised offenders especially those that adopt the element of surprise (as the lone wolf theory suggests by insinuating Rudy climbed through the window), very rarely have defensive injuries suggesting a struggle, Meredith had several including various bruises.

Similarly research about these types of offenders indicates they often mutilate the victim by cutting or slashing the breasts, face, abdomen and genital area. Meredith sustained no post mortem mutilation. These types of offenders will often sexually assault or rape the victim after death, the medical examiner has stated he believes Meredith was in all likelihood sexually assaulted before she was seriously injured and later killed, this itself indicates some kind of restraint would have been necessary,yet this type of behaviour is not associated with disorganised offenders. The victims of certain sexual homicides often suffer injuries consistent with those found on Meredith’s body, injuries such as evidence of manual strangulation and those consistent with overkill, yet the injuries sustained by the victim do not fit the current theory of what we would expect to find in a lone, first time disorganised offender like Rudy Guede also he had no history of violence.

The crime reconstruction and evidence from injuries sustained by the victim suggests she was ambushed rather than blitzed. This in itself could suggest a planned attack, a sudden burst of “˜group’ anger or an escalation of a previously planned event.

I have previously spoken about how three people with no history of violence could easily be just as, if not more violent than a single individual with a history of violence. I still maintain that Rudy Guede would be extremely unlikely to commit this sort of violent offence alone and without provocation or consultation with anyone else. The same questions remain, why did he choose Meredith? How did he know she would be alone?

These are all questions that are never likely to be answered. This theory quite simply does not fit. It will never fit because it didn’t actually happen and insinuating that it did not only makes the 48 hours show and everyone associated with it look incredibly stupid, it also attempts to challenge an awful lot of literature and an awful lot of people, much smarter and more knowledgeable than I that will tell you exactly the same thing. Rudy Guede has not, will not and will never be proven a lone wolf killer.

A Toilet Break?

If we are to believe that Rudy Guede was a lone wolf, so overcome by lust for Meredith he broke into her house in order to rape and or kill her then we’d have almost certainly seen further evidence of sexual activity. So far the sexual assault Meredith suffered seemed to have been abandoned at some point, a point I believe Rudy “˜bottled it’ and, possibly due to excitement, fear or drugs, headed for the toilet. These sorts of actions in a lone offender do not make sense. Something spooked him that’s for sure and if he had been a lone offender there is absolutely no way he’d have left his victim in a position to escape or alert the police by going to the toilet in the middle of the attack.

Rudy admits to being at the cottage the night Meredith was killed and maintains he was on the toilet after eating a spicy Kebab when someone came into the house and stabbed Meredith. He claims to have tried to help her and then became scared and ran away. I don’t need to tell you that most of this story is what one judge accurately described as a “˜highly improbable fantasy’ yet his faeces was found in the toilet the next day indicating that he had at some point gone to the toilet. Some people believe that Rudy Guede’s version of events, despite being absurd do actually have some basis in truth as he has the awful habit of attempting to explain away things he knows the investigating officers can incriminate him with.

Like the faeces he left in the toilet for example. Rudy’s own version of events actually explains that he rushed off the toilet, had a confrontation with the killer and tried to help Meredith by stemming the flow of blood with towels, allegedly two blood soaked towels were found at the crime scene. With this in mind we could consider that Rudy became overly excited or scared during the attack, resulting in the need to visit the toilet, we could also suggest he was in the toilet before Meredith was killed. It seems highly likely that as the faeces was found in the toilet and Rudy attempted to explain it that he actually used the bathroom before Meredith was killed and certainly before he fled the cottage, after all I doubt he would hang around to use the loo after the piercing scream and the resulting knife wound, as Brian S explains in his theory, probably caused them all to flee. If the lone wolf theory is to be believed, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that Guede would be sat on the loo whilst the victim was left to her own devices? I think a far more likely scenario is that Guede was not alone in the cottage that night, Amanda and Raffaele were “˜taking care of Meredith’ while he dashed to the loo.

The Neck

I am still struggling to understand exactly how all three came to be present in the cottage that night and the exact sequence of events that led to the attack on Meredith. Arnold Layne recently put forward an excellent possible scenario as did Brian S, both can be found on TJMK.

Some evidence such as the knife and possibly Raffaele’s car in the driveway suggests an element of planning, yet other factors suggest it was anything but, as the crime itself seems rather disorganised. There certainly seem to be a number of fantasies coming through, specifically hinting at one or more of those involved gaining some kind of enjoyment in watching the victim suffer and, due to the nature of the injuries some possible fantasies linked to the victims neck.

Meredith sustained several neck injuries consistent with being manually strangled, cut with a knife before being fatally stabbed. The crime reconstruction has one of the defendants holding Meredith from behind, the other to the side holding her head up and exposing the neck with the third member of the group attacking with the knife.

So what is this apparent fascination with the neck? If they’d wanted to ensure the victim did not scream why not attempt to use a rudimentary gag such as a cloth or a sock? Though many have suggested that the neck injuries were specifically inflicted to ensure the victim didn’t scream it could (and this is where it gets pretty distressing) also be suggested that the attackers wanted to hear poor Meredith plead and beg for her life, they probably hadn’t counted on her screaming.

Any sex related homicide will usually reveal something that has a special kind of significance for the killer. I believe this may have been Meredith’s neck. They could have silenced her in any number of ways yet I believe they chose not to and underestimated her capacity to scream, it was in all likelihood her final scream, heard by a witness, that may have encouraged the fatal “˜panic blow’. It could be suggested that as this was possibly a panic blow, that the offenders had not yet finished “˜playing’ with Meredith, her final scream may have sadly sealed her fate but also ensured her suffering was not prolonged further.

Before she was fatally injured the medical examiner also determined that Meredith had been strangled. This attempt was clearly unsuccessful. According to this report:

“Only eleven pounds of pressure placed on both carotid arteries for ten seconds is necessary to cause unconsciousness.4 How-ever, if pressure is released immediately, consciousness will be regained within ten seconds. To completely close off the trachea, three times as much pressure (33 lbs.) is required. Brain death will occur in 4 to 5 minutes, if strangulation persists”

As Meredith was still very much alive when she was stabbed it could be suggested that whoever tried to strangle her, could not complete the act or believed they already had. Strangulation is more closely associated with sexual homicide than other injuries present. Most offenders who engage in strangulation apply the wrong type of pressure, use an incorrect and not yet perfected “˜technique’ especially if they are using their hands, I can imagine it’s very difficult to strangle someone if you don’t know what you are doing and especially if they are kicking and resisting. Meredith may have temporarily lost conscious, regained it and attempted to break free. This may have been the critical moment when the assailants decided to fatally injure her with the knife but not before she was taunted viciously.

Evidence available about the manner in which Meredith died suggests not only a vicious group attack but an apparent fascination with a specific area of her body upon which she sustained injuries above and beyond what was necessary to subdue or kill. This apparent fascination with Meredith’s neck could indicate the role of certain fantasies or schemas about “˜how to kill someone’. It seems odd that the assailants specifically chose to focus on her neck, after all stab wounds to the heart or abdomen are just as fatal. What was it about Meredith’s neck that provoked the injuries she sustained? I’m afraid we will never know but it is an important point to consider especially if we are to conclude that sexual fantasy may have played a role in her death.

The Two Stages of the Motive

If we consider that the murder itself was not premeditated we could also consider the motive in two different stages, this is not to suggest they are not inextricably linked as they inevitably are, however it’s a lot harder to consider the motive for the murder when attempting to understand not only the complex group dynamic but the crime as a whole. The initial motive for the attack on Meredith is still unclear. It may seem difficult to separate these two but when we do it becomes a little easier to understand.

At some stage and for whatever reason Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede ended up at 7 Via Della Pergola. They may have been high, they may have been sober or they may have intended to scare Meredith, initiate a group sex activity, even commit an act of violence. Though it may seem ridiculous to suggest this is unimportant, it really is the case. The crime scene evidence suggests the involvement of all three and though clarity and closure for the family would be ideal I fear we will never really know how or why this attack started. So it follows that we must study the trail of evidence left both at the crime scene and on the victim’s body itself. The evidence put forward so far suggests that if the plan was not to kill Meredith that night that the motive of the group may have suddenly changed at a critical point.

At one point the motive of the group changed and although the motive for the initial attack seems unclear, the motive for the later stage of the attack is not. At one point it changed from the sexual assault, argument or game, to killing Meredith.

This became the primary motive of one or all members of the group, why else would Meredith have been so viciously strangled? Why did this not kill her? Why was the attempt at strangulation abandoned in favour of the more intrusive method which caused the injury she sustained to the neck that later caused her death? Why were the group so determined to kill Meredith Kercher?

That part at least is probably easily explainable. She knew them, she could identify them and the attack had already gone so far they knew that letting her get out alive would almost certainly mean serving a long jail sentence. They decided to silence her forever. They cut her throat, took her mobile phones, locked her in her bedroom and left her to die. Later having realised the chaos and incriminating evidence left behind, two of them returned to begin the clean-up and staging of the crime scene, the other went to dance the night away.

This is why, with the evidence available so far that I believe the right people are on trial for their role in the senseless and brutal murder of Meredith Kercher. If any of you are coming here for the first time having watched the 48 hours show I implore you to seek out more information. The show barely touched the surface of how brutal and cruel the murder of poor Meredith actually was and hopefully with the aid of a little psychology theory I have successfully achieved my objective of showing how, aside from merely the physical evidence suggesting it is in fact an impossible scenario, the lone wolf theory has no credibility and doesn’t make any sense in the real world.


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 24, 2009

Destructive Partying Of American Kids Leaving Italians Seriously Baffled

Posted by Fiori


George Lesser reports on a wild student scene. Click above to read his report

1) One incident: a callous and unexplainable death

In a bizarre incident, criminal charges have been filed against an American student in Florence. According to the police, she and a friend tried to trespass onto the grounds of a large, private villa.

A guard tried to stop them. There was a scuffle, and the friend received a knife wound in the leg. There was no firm indication whose knife it was.

The student and her friend walked a short distance to a public bench. He laid down, and she sat beside him. He slowly bled to death, with her sitting beside him with an unused cell phone.

Apparently she made no effort to help him, and she now claims she was so drunk she cannot remember anything.

The Italian authorities don’t know how to deal with her. Her inability to aid in her own defense is something they have not experienced.

2) And one insight into what might be going on:

A lawyer in Florence for one American college is asked about the problem.

The answer: “You think alcohol is the problem? I’ll tell you what the real problem is. They’re all on [prescription medications].

They’re all on Ritalin, or lithium, or anti-depressants, and they stop taking them, or they take them erratically.”

[And] they neglect to follow up on their referrals to local psychiatrists, raising liability concerns.

Smartening up over liability concerns? Yes, that might save some American parents some very big bucks.

And have them riding herd on behavior….


Monday, March 16, 2009

Outcome Of Back-Seat Driving: Defense Lawyers Pulling Their Hair Out? Again?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1) Stepfather Chris Mellas

Mr Mellas as reported on Saturday:

He had spoken to Ms Knox on the eve of the hearing. “I told her she’s innocent and she needs to speak up for herself.”

2) Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini

Dr Mignini as reported on Sunday.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

3) Stepfather Chris Mellas as reported on Monday:

Ooops. Did I just cost her 6 more years? Maybe her lawyers really can advise Amanda better than an amateur who doesn’t speak the language. 

I’m on the next plane outta here. Sorry, kid, and all that. Still friends, though, right?

Okay, we made that last one up. But maybe even Amanda Knox is now thinking this way?

4) Times Report - Full Quote

The [UK] Times

Richard Owen, Rome

March 15, 2009

Amanda Knox, the American student charged with the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher, faces an additional charge of slander for claiming that police struck her while she was being questioned.

At the latest hearings in her trial in Perugia, Ms Knox claimed that police had put her under psychological and physical pressure to admit that she was present at the murder.

Ms Knox, who has the right to address the court at any time during her trial, was reacting to evidence from Anna Donnino, a police interpreter who claimed that Ms Knox had behaved “as if a weight had been lifted from her” when she admitted that she had been at the scene of the crime and accused Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked part-time, of the killing. Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher’s screams.

Ms Donnino said that when questioned after Ms Kercher’s body was found, Ms Knox walked up and down nervously at the police station, “hitting her head with her hands”. She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.

“She showed extreme emotional involvement ““ she was crying and visibly shocked, saying ‘It was him, it was him. He’s bad’,” Ms Donnino added.

Ms Knox, speaking in fluent Italian, said police had called her a “stupid liar” during “hours and hours” of questioning during which she had stuck to her story that she spent the night of the murder at the flat of Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend and co-accused.

She said that Ms Donnino had suggested to her “that probably I didn’t remember well because I was traumatised, so I should try to remember something else”. There had been an “aggressive insistence” on the text message she had received from Mr Lumumba, Ms Knox said. She insisted she had been slapped on the head by police, adding “I’m sorry, but it’s true”.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

Ms Kercher’s semi-naked body was found under a duvet on the floor of her bedroom in November 2007, at the hillside cottage in Perugia she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. She had been stabbed in the throat.

The prosecution accuses Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of murdering and sexually assaulting Ms Kercher with Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant who was given a 30-year sentence last October for the crime under fast-track procedures. He began his appeal last week, claiming Ms Knox had killed Ms Kercher in a row over stolen cash.

The all-night interrogation in which Ms Knox accused Mr Lumumba and described blocking her ears was ruled inadmissible by Italy’s Supreme Court because no lawyer was present. However a voluntary statement written by Ms Knox in English repeating this scenario has been accepted as court evidence despite defence protests. The defence claims Ms Knox was not at the cottage during the murder but at Mr Sollecito’s flat.

Mr Lumumba, who was arrested but later released without charge, is suing Ms Knox for defamation. He is also seeking damages for wrongful imprisonment.

Aida Colontane, another police interpreter, told the court that she had noticed a red mark on Ms Knox’s neck which “leapt out” from her “extraordinary pallor”. Laura Mezzetti, one of the Italian flatmates of Ms Knox and Ms Kercher, has also testified that Ms Knox had a red mark on her neck. Curt Knox, Ms Knox’s father, has suggested the mark was a love bite.

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer who helped to question Ms Knox, told the court that she and Mr Sollecito had behaved strangely, kissing and cuddling and talking together in low voices. A number of other witnesses have given the same testimony.

Mr D’Astolto said he had ensured that Ms Knox understood procedures and questions at all times. Daniele Moscatelli, another police officer, said officers had confiscated a long knife from Mr Sollecito, who had explained to them that he collected knives as a hobby. Mr Sollecito appeared confused and nervous during questioning, he said.

At the last hearings two weeks ago the court was told that Ms Knox had done cartwheels and the splits while waiting to be questioned by police. However Chris Mellas, her stepfather, who is attending the trial, said that his stepdaughter was doing yoga exercises and a police officer had asked her to do gymnastics, remarking “You look rather flexible”.

Oreste Volturno, the police officer who led a search of Mr Sollecito’s flat, said he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. The prosecution says the kitchen knife found at the flat which is presumed to be the murder weapon had been scrubbed with bleach in an attempt to erase blood and DNA traces.

The court was told that police investigating Ms Knox had tapped her phone calls and intercepted her correspondence before and after her arrest, including an email to friends in Seattle in which she claimed that she had found Ms Kercher’s body. She had written and received around 600 letters over a six-month period, all of which were intercepted and then translated by a team of four police interpreters. Her conversations with prison visitors were also recorded.

Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the Kercher family, said that the suspects’ alibi that they had spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat had collapsed after Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, said that tests on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed that nobody had used it on the night that Ms Kercher was stabbed to death. Mr Sollecito claims he was at his flat working on his computer at the time of the murder.

Mr Trotta said tests his team had carried out on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed “no human interaction” between 9.10pm on November 1 and 5.32am on November 2, 2007. Ms Kercher’s body was found in the late morning of November 2 but she is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm the night before.

Mr Sollecito says that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30pm. Ms Kercher returned to the cottage she shared with Ms Knox at about 9pm.

Ms Knox’s Italian language teacher in Perugia, Antonella Negri, told the court that as a class exercise Ms Knox had written a letter to her mother, after the discovery of her flatmate’s body but before her arrest. “In it she said she worried and confused and she wanted her mother to travel to Perugia so she could distract herself and they could go shopping together,” Ms Negri told the court. She said Ms Knox had referred to the murder at the start of the class. “She leaned forward on to the desk and lay her head in her arms.”

The trial resumes next Friday, when the six jurors are expected to tour the murder scene in an inspection requested by lawyers acting for Mr Sollecito. The prosecution claims Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito broke a window at the cottage to simulate a burglary, but the defence contests this.

The court was shown grainy CCTV images said to be of Ms Kercher returning to the house shortly before her death. The images were taken by a surveillance camera at the car park above the cottage. Defence lawyers said that the footage was of such poor quality that it should not be admitted as evidence.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




Overview

Click above for the full ABC website report.

Perhaps ABC News is attempting to turn over a new leaf here. Long conspicuous for banging the PR-inspired drum about a frame-up of Knox by those meanie Italians, ABC now seems the one American network attempting its own reporting.

This story was written by Ann Wise, apparently in Rome on 13 and 14 March,  with Zach Nowak, an American resident of Perugia, in the courtroom.

Witnesses on these two days included investigators D’Astolto and Volturno and interpreters Colantone and Donnino.


1) Testimony about Knox hitting herself on the head

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer in Perugia, told the court today that he was asked to come to the police station on Nov. 2, 2007, the day Kercher’s body was found, to help question Knox.

“She seemed calm, as if nothing had happened, while everyone else was crying,” said D’Astolto. However, when D’Astolto accompanied Knox to have her fingerprints taken, he said Knox “paced up and down the hallway pretty nervously, and brought her hands to her head, hitting herself on the temples.”

D’Astolto said her behavior worried him, and he offered to get her something to drink, but Knox said she was fine.

At bottom here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


2) Testimony about Knox shaking uncontrollably back at the house

Another interpreter, Ada Colantone, described Knox’s behavior two days later when she and the two Italian women who also shared the Perugia apartment were taken back to confirm that the knives found in the kitchen belonged there. Knox “started shaking,” recounted Colantone.

“She was shaking so hard that the coroner went over to her. She was visibly upset, and made to lie down on the couch.” She said Knox also began crying.


3) Testimony about Knox’s “emotional shock” at seeing Patrick’s text message

Anna Donnino, an interpreter for the Perugia police, said she was summoned to the police station to translate just after midnight. Knox was calm as police talked to her again about what she had been doing the evening of Nov. 1, the night Kercher was slain, Donnino said.

But Knox had an “emotional shock” when she was shown a text message she had sent to Patrick Lumumba, her boss at the pub where she worked occasionally. “She brought her hands to her head, and shook it,” Donnino told the court. And also: “It’s him, he did it, I can feel it,” referring to Lumumba.

The questioning stopped, and when Knox was asked if she wanted a lawyer, she said no, according to Donnino. Donnino repeatedly confirmed that Knox was never mistreated, and made her statements voluntarily.

Included in this post is a transcript of Anna Donnino translated by Catnip.


4) Testimony about Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno’s investigations

He testified that he took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased, and investigated the 20 euro withdrawal from Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records; and also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

On the next post here is a full translation of this testimony by Catnip.


5) Finally, Knox rose in the court today to attempt some damage control:

In Italian courtrooms, defendants are allowed to make statements during their trial, and Knox stood today to refute the police depiction that they treated her well and that her statements were made voluntarily.

In a respectful but insistent tone, Knox said in clear Italian, “The witnesses are denying things about the interrogation. There were hours and hours that they don’t talk about, during which I confirmed my story and there was an aggressive insistence on the text message to Patrick,” she said.


6) Translation Of Testimony Of Assistant Fabio D’Astolto

Fabio Astolfo helped translate during interviews, helped with food and drink from the vending machines, and observed Amanda hitting herself while on the way to get her fingerprints taken.

Transcript translated is of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 68-84

[68]
Depositions of the witness Fabio D’Astolto

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

Particulars: Assistant Fabio D’Astolto, with the Perugia Police ““ Flying Section; born 22 July 1972 in Sydney (Australia).

President: Mr Public Prosecutor.

Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You on the date of 2 November 2007 were in service at the Perugia Police Station, in which office in particular?
ANSWER: I was at the Flying Section of the Station.

Q: You were born in Australia?
A: Yes.

Q: Your mother tongue is English?
A: Yes, yes, I lived in Australia until 14 years of age, I studied several”¦

Q: I wanted to know this, you remember the murder of Meredith Kercher, you took part in investigation activity or anyway had been called in relation [69] to the investigations that were being carried out?
A: I had been simply called as someone knowing English the afternoon of the 2nd.

Q: Do you remember the exact time?
A: It was afternoon but the exact time, exactly I don’t remember.

Q: Were you there in the Police Station?
A: I was at home and then they had called me from the Station saying that they needed a person who obviously knew the English language, I did nothing else but take the car and go to the Station.

Q: You knew that Meredith Kercher was dead and how she died?
A: No.

Q: What did you know?
A: I knew that there was a decease, but how”¦

Q: Knew from whom?
A: Yes, then when I had arrived at the Station that I went to the office they had mentioned that there was an English girl but I absolutely didn’t know how this girl had died.

Q: So it could even have been a natural death?
A: For me it could have been a natural death, suicide, I don’t know, anything.

Q: So no one had informed you?
A: No.

Q: So you arrive at the Station and then what happens?
A: I arrive at the Station, I go into the Inspector’s office, I go in, I sit down beside the Inspector and I begin, in quotes, to translate what they were asking me and then I was referring, that is I was re-translating the words of the signorina.

Q: You’d spent”¦
A: This was my job. Miss Amanda.

[70] Q: You’d spent how many hours at the Station?
A: A lot, up until around seven in the morning, more or less.

Q: You had in practice carried out the functions of an interpreter?
A: Yes, simply translating what was asked and then the reply.

Q: By Amanda Knox?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you say what behaviour Amanda had?
A: Her behaviour was, in my opinion, enough”¦

Intervention: No, not your opinion, let’s avoid evaluations!

President: Like a photograph.
A: Yes. Her behaviour was one thing only, in the sense that it seemed to me to be something calm enough, as if absolutely nothing had happened, this was her behaviour.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Were there also other girls?
A: Yes, there were other friends, I think acquaintances, anyway there were other girls inside the Station, at the Flying [Squad] and they were all obviously tried.

Q: What were they doing?
A: They were seated quietly, they were really”¦ some were crying, some were a bit distressed obviously by the event.

Q: Amanda, you had seen her also waiting to be heard or else you’d seen her only in the”¦
A: I had seen Amanda for the entire span of time that I was inside the Police Station because obviously then we were there also with the other persons, every now and then I was accompanying some girl down to get something to drink, something to eat, we have a little [71] automatic machine, a vending machine downstairs, so if they needed anything we were always obviously at their disposal.

Q: You saw her with Sollecito in the Station?
A: Yes, yes.

Q: This when, before being heard or after?
A: After.

Q: And after what was she doing?
A: There’s a small waiting room there by the Flying Squad offices where there was obviously everyone, the ones who were waiting to be heard etc etc, their behaviour they were kissing each other, they were hugging, every now and then they were laughing.

Q: Were they talking to each other?
A: Yes, they were talking also between themselves.

Q: Were they talking in a loud voice?
A: A lowered voice, I in fact had heard absolutely nothing of what they were saying. They were talking amongst themselves.

Q: But they had said something at that moment or one of the two”¦
A: Every now and then, I remember that Sollecito asked me once: “But what time are we finishing?” and I had simply told him: “a bit of patience, we’ll try and finish as quickly as we can”, to stay calm for a sec, it takes what it takes.

Q: You’ heard her first at the beginning, that is you’d translated the questions and the answers.
A: I had simply translated the questions that the Inspector had asked and then I’d referred obviously to Amanda, always asking her: “you’ve understood?” and then as Amanda was going me the reply I simply retranslated for the Inspector.

Q: She was demonstrating an ability to in part understand Italian?
[72] A: Yes, yes, she was understanding also because I more than once had asked her “Have you understood? Do I need to repeat the question?”, so.

Q: Then you had also seen her subsequently? Had there been things ascertained?
A: Yes, then I think that it was around four, now I don’t remember well, in the morning obviously, I had accompanied her down where there’s the Scientific Police to take her prints, for the mugshots basically. We had gone down, no problems, then at a certain point along the corridor, right in front of the Scientifica there’s a corridor, she was walking up and down in a quite nervous manner and every now and then she was taking her hands and she was putting them like this on her head, she was hitting herself a bit like this. I at a certain point I started to get a bit worried, if she was feeling ill, I don’t know. Then I asked: “Do you need some water? Do you want a coffee? Do you want to sit down for a bit? Don’t worry yourself, stay calm” and I remember that she had turned round as if to say”¦ in fact she’d said to me: “no, no, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything”. I’d left it at that, I’d said: “OK, it’s no trouble at all’, if you don’t need anything”.

Q: These blows she was giving herself”¦
A: Basically she was making this gesture here.

Q: Were they strong?
President: A gesture where she was lifting both her hands simultaneously to the height of her temples?
A: Yes, of her head.

President: Repeatedly?
A: Yes.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: She was hitting herself on the head with her hands or just lifting her hands to her head and that’s it?
A: No, no, she was hitting herself.

[73] Q: You have said in the statement of 21 December 2007 “strong enough”, you were saying that she was hitting herself rather hard, at page 10.
A: Yes I confirm that.

Q: You then tried, you insisted?
A: Seeing this scene I became worried and asked her: “Do you need some water? Do you need a coffee? Do you need something? Do we want to go a bit to the machines and get something?”

President: This, when is it that”¦ what time are we at, what day are we at, can you make it precise?
A: It was around four in the morning of the 3rd, so at night basically, around four in the morning if I’m not mistaken. Nothing, I asked her if she needed anything, she turned round and said, “no, I don’t need anything!”, “sorry, OK”.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Did you by chance hear what they were saying to each other, what she was saying?
A: No.

Q: What she was saying not only to Sollecito, but in the event to the other girls present, to the young English people for example?
A: No, I don’t remember having heard anything, also because she was whispering quietly.

Q: And after having taken her to the Scientifica she left there?
A: Yes, then I accompanied her back up.

Q: How was she after the mugshots actually?
A: She was calm enough and settled herself back down in the waiting room.

Q: So these blows to the head, she was giving them to herself before going to the Scientifica?
A: While we were downstairs, when we had gone down to the [74] Scientifica”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President excuse me because while I’ve been talking to Sollecito, and asking him questions, we have documents on the computer, it’s an electronic instrument”¦
Intervention: It’s linked to the Internet, Mr President!
Defence ““ Bongiorno: {incomprehensible "“ overlap of voices}
President: Everybody! Please, I point out that the order of proceeding in this hearing at this moment is”¦ given the defenders may speak with each other, there are no particular security reasons for which the accused need a different location, they can remain where they are, they can talk and also consult the documents they’re consulting. Please continue”¦
A: Then actually while we were down at the Scientifica, I repeat around four in the morning, more or less that was the time, we had gone down, at the moment in which we had entered the corridor where there was the door to the Scientifica, she started to walk up and down the corridor making this gesture of lifting her hands.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Multiple times, this?
A: Multiple times, yes.

Q: But you had asked her questions? Had there been something, had you encountered someone?
A: Nobody, we hadn’t encountered anybody, I had taken her and accompanied her downstairs.

Q: And as soon as you had arrived downstairs”¦
[75] A: As soon as we had arrived downstairs we entered into the corridor where the Scientific is she had started to make this gesture and to walk obviously nervously up and down the corridor.

Q: You didn’t occupy yourself with asking any more questions?
A: No, absolutely.

Q: Then you accompanied her back and that was it?
A: I’d accompanied her back up and then I did other things.

Q: I have no further questions.

Defence ““ Ghirga:

Counsellor Ghirga, Amanda Knox defence. It was the 2nd of November when they called you, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Now 15:30 or 16:30 we’re in the Police Station. You were at home, you said?
A: Yes.

Q: Was your morning shift finished, or else were you on holidays? You were at home?
A: Yes, I was at home in any case.

Q: And they were calling you for?
A: They were calling me saying”¦

Q: You were at home, but I asked you: had you finished your shift, were you on holidays?
A: Honestly I don’t remember. I was simply at my home where a call arrived from the Station saying that they needed a person who knew English. No problem, I did nothing else but take the car and go into the Station.

Q: So you take the car and go to the Station?
A: Yes.

Q: Why are you still today saying: “for me, it could have been an accidental death?” If they were calling you that [76] first afternoon, you go to the Station”¦
A: For only a bit.

Q: You’ve used this expression.
A: Then, for a bit only”¦

Q: Mr President he cannot contest what I’m saying!
A: No, I’m not contesting anybody, if you make me respond I will explain.

President: He’s not contesting, he’s waiting to be able to respond.
A: If I’m made to respond I will explain everything.

President: The defence is asking how come they were calling you at home”¦
A: They called me at home.

President: You knew if there was”¦
A: No, absolutely, I went up to the Station, I entered the Inspector’s office, I sat myself down and I began to translate, that’s it.

Defence ““ Ghirga: I’m a step before that, you have said: “for me it could have been an accidental death”, yet you say: “once I arrived at the Station I was informed about something”, is that so? Relating to the death of the girl.
A: Now then after ten minutes or so, twenty minutes, I don’t remember perfectly now, obviously I tried to understand what might have happened, but I was aware that there had been a decease, but I was unaware for what reason.

Q: A couple of questions on the modality of exercising the interpretative activity.
A: Yes.

Q: So you get to be called because you know English, you’ve said, and it couldn’t have been anyone else but, who was translating Inspector Ficcara’s questions.
A: Yes.

[77] Q: Therefore questions in Italian translated into English for Amanda Knox, Amanda was replying and you were translating into Italian the replies given in English?
A: Yes.

Q: Is that so?
A; Yes.

Q: You were translating the questions and you were translating the answers?
A: Exactly.

Q: In the first three pages of the statement of the 2nd, which is in the case file, I don’t see one question, can you explain why?
A: By question is meant, obviously in the moment in which we were taking the summaries [the SIs] it needed a second to say: “What do you call”¦”

Q: No, no, no, excuse me for interrupting, you’re going ahead. I don’t see one question asked by Inspector Ficcara and translated by you, how come?
President: Counsel is asking, in the statement you had said”¦
Defence ““ Ghirga: Not the personal details or the address.
President: You’ve said that you were translating the questions that were being put to Amanda Knox, but Counsel is saying: “I can’t find the questions in the statement”.
A: In the moment in which I was being asked to translate what it was called, where it was obviously needed to formalise the summaries.

President: Yes, but at the moment of the exposition of the facts, who was transcribing it into the record?
A: The Inspector.

President: You were translating into Italian and into English?
A: Yes.

Defence ““ Ghirga: Then he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t know why the questions were not translated.
[78] Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: But translated or transcribed?
Defence ““ Ghirga: Listen, in the first three pages there isn’t”¦
President: Counsel it’s clear.
Defence ““ Ghirga: It was only to understand the modality and that’s it.
President: Do you know how come the questions weren’t also put into the record?
Defence ““ Ghirga: When he says: “I was translating the questions”, he’s not saying something true because the questions aren’t there.
President: Excuse me, Counsel, please! Why aren’t the questions you say you were translating also reported in the record, if you know.
A: I don’t know.

Defence ““ Ghirga: And the last three are: “RTQ ““ replies to question”, here as well do you know why?
A: I don’t know.

Q: Do you know at what time the bar at the Station opens in the morning?
A: The Station bar varies, the times vary every now and then, in the sense that if there’s a service or anything else, a special service, I don’t know, usually they also open earlier, usually around a quarter past seven, 7:20, I don’t know the opening times exactly because I hardly ever go there.

President: Who manages the bar? Internal Station personnel?
A: No, no, if I’m not wrong they’re external, they have a contract [79] if I’m not mistaken.

President: So they are called in for a particular need?
A: It happens, it’s happened often.

Defence ““ Ghirga: No, I haven’t understood then.
A: The opening hours”¦

Q: You’ve answered about the opening hours, there’s no bar inside the Station?
A: Yes, it is, of course! Sure there is!

Q: You’ve said no now.
A: It’s on the first floor.

Q: Who manages it? Someone private?
A: I think that it might be someone private.

Q: You don’t know the opening hours?
A: Exactly, no, because I hardly ever go there, I’ve been only a very few times.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Just one clarification: do you remember the exact time that you arrived at the Station?
A: Frankly I don’t remember because I wasn’t standing there with a watch, usually I don’t even wear a watch.

Q: Was it in the afternoon or in the evening?
A: No, no, in the afternoon.

Q: Could we say around five or around six?
A: No, it was earlier, at five or six I was already in the Station, it was earlier, much earlier.

President: It was still daytime?
A: Yes, yes.

President: Daytime still?
A: Yes, yes.

President: It’s November, it was still daytime, afternoon.
[80] A: Yes, although I repeat I don’t remember the precise time because I don’t wear a watch, out of habit, and I wasn’t there either to look at the clock honestly, they had called me, they needed someone, I take the car and go, inasmuch as I had no particular need at home and I went.

President: He doesn’t recall. Please, Counsel.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: You carried out the function of interpreter also with the other non-Italian girls who were present at the Station, true?
A: Yes.

Q: Exactly what did you do? Were you translating questions also for them?
A: I have to repeat, my job was to translate”¦

Q: I’ve understood that, I asked you if you also interpreted for the other girls, for example Ms Jade Bidwell?
A: Yes.

Q: And also other girls as well?
A: Yes, I remember having also done translation for the other girls.

Q: It was always an interview with an Italian functionary who was asking questions in Italian and you were translating into English and then the English person was answering in English and you were translating into Italian or was there”¦
A: There were summary informations [SIs].

Q: Was it only an enquiry if they needed something, like you referred to earlier, because you were also concerned with offering them a coffee, some water, taking them downstairs.
A: Certainly. Now the point is this: we are human beings to start with, so if a person needs something we have to”¦ if they need a coffee, a glass of water, something else, there are [81] machines downstairs, they’re accompanied downstairs and they’re given it, that’s it. We aren’t”¦

President: Yes, but Counsel was asking, in addition to this activity, which before you had described in relation to Amanda Knox, you have also carried out the function of interpreter and in the examination of Amanda Knox and also in the examination of the other English girls.
A: Sure.

President: How many other English girls if you’re able to recall? All of them or “¦
A: No, now I don’t recall, I think it might have been three, now I don’t remember exactly.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Do you remember having taken part in the statementing of the SIs of Jade Bidwell, mentioned earlier, on the 2nd at 21:30?
A: Possibly yes, although I repeat I frankly don’t remember the names. I don’t remember the names of these girls.

Q: Another clarification in relation to your activity at the Police Station, when you took Ms Knox to the Scientifica to do the prints and photos had you informed her what thing you were going to do?
A: Yes.

Q: And what did you say to her?
A: I said to her that we were going downstairs, that we had to take these prints and that’s it, like what was done with all of the others.

Q: And you also accompanied the other English girls in this activity?
A: I don’t remember, I think no.

Q: You don’t remember?
A: I don’t remember, I honestly don’t remember.

Q: But the other girls also had had the same [82] necessity to do the ID-ing with their fingerprints?
A: I think so, I say I think.

Q: But they were foreigners, was there someone helping the girls in explaining what was happening? If you were with Amanda how was it done? Was there someone else?
A: The point is also this, that some of these girls were also understanding Italian a bit, therefore definitely my colleagues had explained it to them definitely, then I must reiterate I am only one person.

Q: There was some other interpreter that evening?
A: I don’t think so.

Q: So you, from the afternoon of the 2nd until four in the morning of the 3rd, were the sole official interpreter who was working inside the Police Station for all the foreigners, for all the foreign girls?
A: Yes, I think so.

President: You were however the only one, that’s what he’s asking, that you knew about?
A: That I know of I think it was only me.

Defence ““ Dalla Vedova:

In this whole period of time you had always stayed near Amanda?
A: During the summaries and then when I took her for the prints and mugshots, then I was present while she and the other friends and with the other friends were in the Squad office, in the waiting room, so I was there next to the wall, standing there, watching.

Q: And listening to the conversations?
A: No.

Q: But if you were standing there”¦
A: Obviously when they were talking aloud I was hearing something, but it wasn’t that I was”¦

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox’s phone rang, [83] did she receive calls?
A: This I don’t remember.

Q: Do you remember if Ms Knox had made calls?
A: I don’t remember this either frankly.

Q: Do you remember whether in translating the questions the subject of sexual activity had been put to Ms Knox? If anyone had asked her questions on this subject?
A: I don’t remember.

Q: You don’t remember this subject?
A: No.

Q: And do you instead remember the subject of the vaseline? Whether this question in relation to a presumed usage or in any case the presence of this material had been put?
A: This I absolutely don’t remember. This is news to me, I don’t remember.

Q: You remember in any case whether Amanda Knox had a phone?
A: If I’m not mistaken yes, I think yes.

Q: And the other young people had a phone?
A: I think so, some had used it, I think so.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: But this is cross-examination, they’re not questions”¦
President: Let’s limit it to what was the examination.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Although seeing that he was changing his stance and that he had acknowledged the fact that”¦
President: In fact these questions are being put.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Since it appears from the documents that almost everyone was making phone calls, it would have helped me [84] to understand how come he can claim that the young people were quiet, therefore I wanted to know if anyone had made calls for example to their parents or in any case at that moment.
President: So he remembers that they had them, from their behaviour, under this aspect.
Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Exactly, under the aspect of their behaviour, when he had claimed that the other girls were quiet, I wanted to better understand what led him to that conclusion, that’s all. Thank you, I have finished the examination.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Only one question: when the bar in the Police Station is closed, if you want to have a coffee, a tea, a brioche, a bottle of water, do you have to go outside?
A: No, actually on floor zero, on the ground floor”¦

Q: Which is the same floor where there is the bar also?
A: No, the bar is on the first floor. So on the ground floor there are three small machines, one for drinks, the other obviously for snacks etc etc, then there’s the other one for coffee, like those outside.

Q: Which work 24 hours a day?
A: Yes, yes, 24 hours a day.

Q: Is the electricity switched off?
A: No, 24-hour, they’re always on.

Q: Thank you.

President: Very well, you may go.

- - -
Note: “fotosegnalazione” ““ “the taking by police authorities of a person’s fingerprints and face-on and profile photos for identification purposes” ([Italian Neologism Observatory]) ““ has been translated here as “˜(fingerprinting and) mug shots’, according to context. Usage of the term carries no imputed meaning as to legal status.



On the next post here is a full translation of the testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno by Catnip.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cartwheels Or No Cartwheels? You Be The Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: examples of cartwheels, not by Amanda Knox]

The ever-careful and supremely objective Steve Shay has another scoop!

This below is Mr Shay’s report to gullible Seattleites (if there are any left) in the, ah, very well-edited West Seattle Herald:

“Amanda accompanied Raffaele to the station where he was then interrogated by Monica Napoleani, the Perugia chief of homicide. Amanda was there to support him, as he had supported her before, when she was interrogated,” said Chris Mellas. Chris Mellas is the husband of Edda Mellas, Amanda’s mother. Both live in West Seattle.

“She was actually sitting alone in a separate room waiting for her boyfriend, and Napoleani said in court Friday (Feb. 27) that when she went to get some water she walked by the room where Amanda was and saw Amanda “˜doing the splits.’ She said she thought this was “˜odd behavior,’ and that Amanda should have instead appeared to be mourning the loss of Meredith.

The tabloid press further sensationalized her statement by changing “˜the splits’ to “˜cartwheels,’ and the mainstream press ran with that. “

“Amanda does yoga to calm herself down and relieve stress, and she told her father and me that’s why she was doing the splits. Also, in those four days she was in mourning over Meredith, which followed her outrage. Six hours after the discovery (of the body) she was like, “˜Let’s find the bastard who killed her.’”

Meanwhile, back here in the real world….  This was the actual report from the BBC News:

Meredith Kercher murder suspect Amanda Knox “turned cartwheels” in the police station after the killing, a police witness told a court in Perugia, Italy.

Former flying squad chief Domenico Profazio said he had to tell Ms Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito their behaviour was “not appropriate”.

From Seattle’s own Post-Intelligencer

They were always together, Napoleoni said, and did not want to be separated. While police questioned Sollecito, Knox waited in a side room where policewoman Lorena Zugarini, also present at Knox’s questioning, said she saw Knox doing a cartwheel and the splits. Zugarini said she told Knox it was “not the right place” for such activities.

From the UK’s Sky News:

Ms Napoleone also described Knox’s unusual behaviour at the police station where she had been taken for questioning. She said: “She had complained that she was feeling tired and at that stage I told her that she could go if she wanted.” “She said she wanted to stay, Sollecito was also at the station at the time and she said she wanted to wait for him.

“A few minutes later I walked past a room at the police station where she was waiting and I saw Amanda doing the splits and a cartwheel. It was around 11am on November 5th.

From the UK’s Daily Express:

The exchange came as Inspector Ficarra, of the city’s Flying Squad, described 21-year-old Knox’s bizarre behaviour after her arrest following the killing in 2007.

“I was in the elevator and when I got to the floor where the Flying Squad department is the door opened and I saw Amanda doing floor exercises,” he said.

She was doing the splits, cartwheels and arching herself backwards, pressing her hands on the floor. I said to her, “˜What on earth are you doing? Is this the right way to behave?’

From the UK’s Independent:

Chief Inspector Monica Napoleoni told the court where the pair are on trial for murder how, at the police station as they waited to be first questioned, Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox “appeared completely indifferent to everything, lying down, kissing, pulling faces and writing each other notes. They were talking to each in low voices the whole time ““ it was impossible that they were behaving like this when there was a dead body in their house. It seemed strange to everybody”. Ms Knox had also “turned cartwheels and done the splits,” she said.

From the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Ms Napoleoni recalled thinking that Miss Knox and her boyfriend seemed “indifferent to everything” when they were called to a police station in Perugia for questioning on Nov 5, 2007. It was there that the American turned cartwheels and did the splits.

And the last word, as always, from the London Times:

Ms Napoleoni said she and other officers had seen Ms Knox “doing cartwheels and the splits” while Mr Sollecito was being questioned and she was waiting her turn. Ms Napoleoni said she found this “very strange”. She said Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito “had a bizarre attitude throughout - they were laughing, kissing and pulling faces at each other.

Pehaps Chris Mellas and Steve Shay and Ken Robinson of the West Seattle Herald should discover the tubes of the internet.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cutting Through The Confusion Over Knox’s Status In Perugia

Posted by stewarthome2000



[Shots: School for Foreigners; bottom shot from above Meredith’s house]

The media have now repeated countless times that Amanda Knox was on a “study abroad program”.

In fact, as these things are defined, she was not. It is precisely that she was NOT on a study-abroad program that she was able to adopt a lifestyle that seems to have led her to where she is now.

To go on a study-abroad “program” means that you attend an organized and SUPERVISED curriculum and agenda, most often with peers, faculty and/or at the very least a local administrative staff person assigned to periodically look after the participants’ behavior and well-being.

In fact the University of Washington does not even have a study abroad “program” in Perugia. It merely suggests to UW students that the Universita per Stranieri is a possible destination and place for students to go on their own, and if asked helps out with some administration.

Knox took the “non-conformist” path to study abroad. I recall reading that she did not want to go on a program so as to not follow the group, so to speak. So she did study abroad, but cheaply, and outside an organized program by the University of Washington. She was basically in Perugia on her own.

This is characteristic of at least two type of people, those who are adventurous, exploratory and want a true full-immersion experience into the cultural side of the host country (usually Italian majors), and those who want to be untethered and to have total freedom and no one to answer to so they can do as they wish.

Her casual attitude to her studies and other strong hints in her behavior and writings suggests that she was the latter type.

And presumably her biological parents understood all of this and signed off on it, even before Amanda Knox ever left Seattle.

Parents especially should know that if Knox had attended a UW-operated or US-University run study abroad program with supervision, her attendance in class would have been monitored, and any behavior that would upset roommates may have been reported.

In these programs for the most part there are strict housing rules such as no overnight guests, let alone bringing guys home to sack up with. Most of the time roommates will complain on the spot or get back to the American administrators that they have an out-of-control roommate bringing guys home, drinking excessively, or doing drugs.

In addition, programs with the proper supervision have enough of a presence to let the participants know that someone is at least checking up now and again. And as a result they watch their behavior.

Furthermore, in well-run programs, students are given significant preparation about living in the specific host country and city with pre-departure materials and perhaps meetings, talking with ex-participants, and attending an extensive multi-day orientation where staff and even local police lecture them about the many pitfalls of living in a foreign and new environment away from home.

They are reminded that the laws are different in other countries, and more importantly that there are some bad people walking the streets. They are told to enjoy themselves and learn, but also to be careful, stay alert, stay out of trouble, and so on.

I myself work in study abroad and we know what unleashed unsupervised colleges students get themselves into. We are trained to look for potential problems and we visit all students accommodations at least once per month and speak with everyone there.

We have open-door counseling and professionals with years of experience on staff. We watch out for all our students regularly… we know what behavior to look for, and when to intervene, at least most of the time.

Yes, it costs more to attend the Universita per Stranieri or any overseas university through a US-college or US-university monitored program with local on-site staff and supervision.

But the situation Amanda has created, or at least found herself in, is much less likely to happen to students on a supervised and accredited study abroad program.

Let’s face it, at the age of 20, 21, or 22, many young adults are still really more or less kids. Naive and vulnerable, especially those who have yet to explore their “wild side”, they sometimes see this as an opportunity to make up for lost time.

This is exemplified in the fact that many pass out from drinking in the days after they arrive. Bottom line, they need guidance, and no more so than when they are 8000 miles from home and on their own.

Knox took the “I am too good to go on study abroad program with fellow students” route and the cheapest way overseas.  And it is not proving so cheap anymore.

Her biological parents really should have known better. All parents should either make sure the students are mature enough, or make sure they have a structured environment that can assist them while abroad. It is well worth the extra cost and peace of mind.

So the media should please get this straight from now on.

  • Amanda Knox was NOT on a study abroad “program” while in Perugia.  She was at most “studying abroad” as that term is used very loosely.
  • She took a leave from the University of Washington to study Italian at what is essentially a glorified language school which anyone can attend.
  • She was totally unsupervised in a high-risk situation where it would have seemed obvious to any supervisor that she was looking to break away.
  • And she most likely would have had a very difficult time getting any credit for her studies from the University of Washington at the conclusion.

So. The worst possible deal for any student abroad. The parents signed off in advance.  It seems to have exploded on Knox. And poor Meredith died.







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.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Knox PR Campaign: Have The Dishonest Talking Points Now Become A Trap?

Posted by The Machine



[David Marriott of a Seattle public relations firms]

Marriott’s dishonest campaign

David Marriott apparently manages (see sample press release) the message and media relations for the campaign to enhance Amanda Knox.

The main thrust of the PR campaign seems to be that there’s no evidence against Knox, or the evidence is tainted, they are holding the wrong person (or already have the right person), and there’s no need to have a trial…  but those rascally Italians just won’t let her go.

Marriott’s nasty campaign already seems to have most of Italy backed off (the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito legal teams both included), and to have lost most of its traction in the UK and New York.

Many good PR gurus think it is very sleazy. Even in Seattle, there are now those who speak out against it.

Not exactly what we’d call a big win.

True, people accused of a cruel and depraved murder do not normally have a PR campaign making their case. Normally they have a lawyer out front - preferably a very good lawyer, who can contend with evidence as it comes out, and appear on the talk-shows and news to explain what really happened.

And true, the PR campaign was launched almost instantly after Knox had already come out with suggestive actions and statements which seem to implicate her in the crime which do not want to go away.

So the campaign was maybe handicapped right from the start.

But still, public relations guys we know are scratching their heads over this one.

Ten obvious public relations lies

Why run a campaign which, time and time again, has taken loud positions not 5 degrees away from probable truth - but a full 180 degrees away? And therefore very hard to quietly back away from?

Each of these ten false claims and mantras below - still not put to rest, although last week was not a good week for them - have been incessantly propagated, some for nearly one year. 

Each of them now seems to be an albatross around the necks of the Seattle defendant and her team. The danger now is that, as the media find ONE false claim fake, they will start to question all of them, and feel that they have been lied to.

Again, not exactly what we’d call a winning stance.

False claim 1: Amanda was beaten or “smacked around” by the police during her questioning

Amanda herself may have started this false claim when explaining to family why she incriminated herself. Although Mr Knox wasn’t present when Amanda was questioned by the police, he has frequently repeated this claim when interviewed by the media.

Reality 

Amanda gave two very different accounts of where she was, who she was with, and what she was doing on the night of the murder. She also accused an innocent man of Meredith’s murder.

This is highly incriminating and poses a real problem for Amanda’s defense and family and supporters. 

However Amanda’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda had not actually been beaten or “smacked around” at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial last October: “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”

Mr Knox has not acknowledged the admission of his daughter’s counsel or apologised for accusing the Italian police of brutality. The false claim continue to mislead people, with posters on Internet website still maintaining that Amanda’s confession was beaten out of her. 

False claim 2: Amanda was interrogated for 9 hours/14 hours/all night

Jon Follain in The Times quoted the parents in an interview proclaiming: “On November 6, five days after Meredith’s murder, Knox was interrogated by police for nine hours until she signed a statement at 5.45am.” 

Juju Chang claimed it was “an all night interrogation” on ABC News. Jan Goodwin stated in her article in Marie Claire magazine that:“After her arrest, Amanda was detained by the police and interrogated for 14 hours.”

Mr Knox repeated the claim that Amanda’s interrogation last all night, and that it lasted 14 hours, on a recent Seattle TV station King5 interview.

Lexie Krell wrote in The UW Daily on 16 January 2009 that: “The Italian Supreme Court has already thrown out Knox’s original statement on the basis that she was denied a lawyer during her initial 14-hour interrogation.”

Reality 

We know that Amanda was on the phone with one of her Italian flatmates at around 10.40pm, asking if the living arrangement could continue in spite of Meredith’s death. The police questioning had not begun then.

And according to the Italian Supreme Court, Amanda’s questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. So Amanda was questioned for only approximately 3 hours and then she was held as a suspect.

There never was an all-night interrogation, and it certainly was nowhere remotely near 14 hours in length. 

It seems there may be a simple and straightforward explanation why Amanda suddenly admitted that she was the cottage when Meredith was murdered and implicated Lumumba:

She was informed that Raffaele Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi that she was with him all the night of the murder.

False claim 3: Knox’s confession to being at the murder scene was thrown out.

This was the spoken confession at the end of the claimed 14 hours which Knox claimed she finally came out with only because she was knocked about.

Reality 

True in the narrow sense. But one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage on the night of the murder was not “tossed” out by the Italian Supreme Court. 

Her letter to the police is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence. This incriminating letter was admitted as evidence last Friday.

False claim 4: Meredith wasn’t sexually assaulted.

Jan Goodwin claimed in Marie Claire: “There is also no indication that Meredith was subjected to sexual violence”¦”

In his unprecedented letter to Italy’s justice minister, Judge Michael Heavey stated that it was not true that: “Sexual violence was perpetrated against the victim”

Jonathan Martin claimed in The Seattle Times. “An autopsy found no evidence Kercher had been raped or had sexual contact with anyone except Guede.”

Reality 

Rudy Guede was found guilty of sexually assaulting Meredith on 30 October 2008. Sexually assaulting. And Judge Micheli in commiting Knox and Sollecito to trial graphically describes how the physical evidence points to a kind of gang rape. 

The claim that Meredith wasn’t sexually assaulted is not only untrue, it’s deeply offensive to Meredith and her poor family. By claiming that there was no sexual assault, the likes of Judge Heavey and Jan Goodwin are insinuating that Meredith consented to sexual activity with Rudy Guede.

False claim 5: The double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out.

The DNA on the blade could belong to half of the population of Italy or there is only a 1% per cent chance that the DNA on the blade belongs to Meredith.

Reality 

Forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni has consistently maintained that Meredith’s DNA IS on the blade and Amanda’s DNA is on the handle of the knife found at Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. 

This result was confirmed as accurate and reliable by Dr Renato Biondo, who is head of the DNA Unit at Polizia Scientifica, Rome.

Patrizia Stefanoni and Dr Renato Biondo are highly respected, independent forensic experts with impeccable credentials.

False claim 6: The crime scene was totally compromised by the police or analysts

Many of Amanda Knox’s supporters who seem to have no relevant qualifications or expertise in forensic science have claimed that the crime scene was compromised or violated. One vocal supporter analysed a police break-in downstairs on TV and offered it as proof that the crime scene upstairs had been compromised.

Reality 

This claim has been vigorously refuted by the forensic police. They claim that they have followed international protocols throughout. They recorded the investigation as it happened, changed tweezers when they needed to, and duly informed the defence of every finding.

Independent forensic expert Renato Biondo stated: “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

False claim 7: The European press gave Amanda Knox the nickname Foxy Knoxy.

This is a part of the larger “UK and Italian tabloids have crucified her” meme for which actual evidence online is very hard to find..

Reality 

European newspapers, including the quality newspapers, have occasionally called Amanda by the nickname she herself called herself by on her MySpace page.

False claim 8: Amanda has never ever before been in trouble

Paul Ciolino has stated: “I was stunned that this was why he suspected Amanda and her boyfriend were involved in the crime,” he says. “These two kids, never in trouble, classic middle-class college students “” it’s ludicrous that they were implicated.”

Reality 

Amanda Knox was charged for hosting a party that got seriously out of hand, with students high on drink and drugs, and throwing rocks into the road forcing cars to swerve.

The students then threw rocks at the windows of neighbours who had called the police.

The situation was so bad that police reinforcements had to be called. Amanda was fined $269 (£135) at the Municipal Court after the incident - Crime No: 071830624.

Incidentally, anyone who has recently tried to gain access to the police report has been denied access. It seems strange that a police report into a “routine” incident has seemingly now been hidden from the public.

False claim 9: Amanda hasn’t lied or if she has, she has only lied once

Amanda’s mother claimed in a recent interview with Linda Byron on Seatlle TV’s King5 (6 January) that Amanda has maintained she told the same story for over a year when she was asked whether Amanda had lied. She had previously stated that Amanda had only lied once.

Reality 

Amanda has given multiple alibis and told different stories repeatedly. Amanda herself apologised to Judge Paolo Micheli for lying about Diya Lumumba’s role in the murder. Amanda’s conflicting statements to the police seem to indicate that she lied to them several times. 

False claim 10: The prosecutors have been widely leaking information to the media

Amanda’s family and supporters have frequently made this claim. The biological parents claimed in their interview with Linda Byron on King5 that the international media frenzy had been fed by leaks by the prosecutors. 

Deanna Knox claimed on the Today Show that Amanda is the victim of an anti-American bias: “It’s because she’s an American,” she told Matt Lauer. “They don’t really like her there because she’s a pretty girl and they see her as some target that they can get to, because she’s from a different country.”

Reality 

In Italy Prosecutor Mignini is widely known for not leaking. Many of the so-called leaks were information put out in the course of the many hearings. The evidence in this case has in fact long been like an iceberg - all but a tiny fraction of it has remained out of sight, as the startling revelations last Friday and Saturday went to show.

Media sources have mentioned that many of the leaks have in fact come from defence sources. Fellow TJMK poster Skeptical Bystander was offered access to Amanda’s diary, not by the prosecutors, the police or prison guards, but by somebody close to Amanda herself.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knox “Friends” Paul Ciolino & Co Smear Prosecutor Mignini As “An Out Of Control Maniac”

Posted by Peter Quennell





At the Salty’s hatefest in West Seattle, Paul Ciolino whipped up the crowd with a rant about Dr Mignini being “an out-of-control maniac”.

We see no proof. We check this whole point of view almost daily but we never, ever, ever get independent confirmation.  The BBC also checked it out and found zero proof of ANY of Ciolino’s wild-eyed claims.

We are repeatedly told that Mr Mignini is tough, fair, and effective, in an Italian system of justice where things are not particularly loaded on the side of the prosecution.

And that he has the reputation of being very, very caring of the victims and their families. The Kerchers have expressed their full confidence in him.

Also that Mr Mignini’s stepping-aside would probably make just about zero difference to the momentum of the case at this point.

There seems to be just too much suggestive evidence waiting to be explained, and a dozen careful judges have endorsed it as suggestive, and the strongly dominant mood in Italy seems to be one of: let us proceed.

Amanda Knox is of course very well represented by counsel. They have already shown irritation over attacks on the prosecutor.

Calling the prosecutor a maniac sure won’t be music to their ears. Is this whole PR campaign quite loopy, or what?!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Does Her Leaked Prison Diary Talk To Knox’s Mental Condition And Bullying By Those “Near And Dear”?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Corriere magazine has excerpted a new book by Fiorenza Sarzanini on the state of AK’s and RS’s psychology. Italian origiinal here. Click the image above for a Google translation.

A prison diary by Amanda Knox which Knox herself may have handed to the prosecutors is quoted in the article, and much more extensively in the book. It might be manipulative if she didn’t leak it, but it also seems a window into the state of her mental condition.

Amanda Knox seems to be describing Mellas family trauma, and she seems to points the finger at one person in particular: Chris Mellas.  His apparent nickname for her was “obtuse retard”.  This seems to us to ring true, as he is known on the internet for his abusive posts..

From The Sunday Times for November 30, 2008 (the link is now broken) our main poster Jools kindly translated this:

Diary reveals Foxy Knoxy’s sex secrets
A book explores the desires of the student accused of killing her UK housemate
John Follain

On the eve of a fateful summer journey to Italy, the American student Amanda Knox drew up a list of things to do before she left home in Seattle. Top of the list, according to her diary, was visiting a sex shop.

A book published in Italy last week quotes leaked extracts from Knox’s diary and portrays her as a young woman for whom sex is a key part of life. Knox, 21, will go on trial in January along with her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, accused of sexually abusing and murdering the Leeds exchange student Meredith Kercher in November 2007.

Kercher, 21, stabbed in the throat, was found half-naked in her bedroom in the Perugia cottage she shared with Knox. Rudy Guede, 21, an Ivory Coast drifter, has already been jailed for 30 years for the crime. All three pleaded not guilty.

The book, Amanda and the Others by Fiorenza Sarzanini, a journalist on Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, quotes previously unpublished extracts from diaries Knox kept from August 2007 until a few weeks after the murder. They have been seized by investigators.

Knox’s family protested at the publication of “Amanda’s personal and private property” and said they had no means to judge their authenticity.

“This seems to be yet another example of the continued leaks designed to harm Amanda’s character as there is no evidence to tie her to the brutal and senseless murder of Meredith Kercher. She is innocent,” they said in a statement.

Sarzanini said yesterday: “Knox isn’t obsessed with sex but she sees it as one of the predominant aspects of her life. This has influenced her life in the sense that it influences her relationships with both men and women.”

Before leaving Seattle, Knox, who is fond of making lists and called herself Foxy Knoxy, wrote that buying condoms was one of her priorities. On October 18, 2007, she lists four men with brief descriptions, including an American boyfriend.

Sarzanini comments: “It’s as if you [Knox] were always hunting men. You list your conquests as if you were displaying them like trophies.”

Knox writes to one boyfriend: “I’m waiting for you, I want to see something porno with you and put it into practice with you.” In another list, Knox names four men in Seattle and New York, and three in Florence and Perugia with whom she has had sex.

Knox writes: “Interesting isn’t it? I think it means that my sex life doesn’t correspond to my romantic emotional life. An obvious statement because the only one I’m in love with (even if in truth he isn’t the only one I want to have sex with) is incredibly far away . . . Sex is useless, well not useless but always disappointing unless I manage to establish emotional contact with someone.”

The book quotes testimony to police from Amy Frost, a British student friend of Kercher. She describes an episode on the day of Knox’s arrival at the cottage: “Meredith told us that Amanda put down in the bath-room a beauty-case in which there were condoms and a vibrator. They were visible and it seemed a bit strange to Meredith.” Kercher later told Frost: “Isn’t it odd that a girl arrives and the first thing she shows is a vibrator?”

In a sign of tension between Knox and the victim, Frost also relates that a few weeks before the murder Kercher had learnt from her housemates that one of them, Giacomo Silenzi, fancied her. When Kercher told Knox, she replied: “I like Giacomo too, but you can have him!” The remark upset Kercher, who later started a relationship with Silenzi.

Several witnesses quoted in the book depict Knox and Sollecito as not only failing to show any grief immediately after Kercher’s death, but also constantly cuddling and kissing as they sat waiting to be questioned at police headquarters, a few days before they were accused of the crime. “[Amanda] was in front of Raffaele. I remember that she stuck her tongue out at him, she made faces and then they’d laugh and kiss each other. In that moment I thought she was going crazy, that she was really crazy,” Frost testified.

Robyn Butterworth, a British friend of Kercher who saw Knox at police headquarters, gave evidence that Knox “seemed to me to be completely lacking any emotion”. Butterworth added that Knox and Sollecito “sent each other kisses by smacking their lips. At a certain point she stretched out on a few chairs and he caressed her feet. It was strange, it wasn’t a nice thing to watch”.

Prosecutors have argued that Knox’s alleged coldness after the murder, as well as her DNA on the handle of a knife that may be the murder weapon, points to her guilt. Knox’s parents have said Knox was in shock and was simply seeking comfort from her boyfriend.

In another diary that Knox started in prison on November 8, 2007, shortly after her arrest, there is a rare passage about Kercher in which she imagines her raped and killed.

She wrote: “I can only imagine what she felt in those moments frightened, injured, raped. But I imagine more what she went through when the blood went out of her. What did she feel? And the mother? Desperation? Did she have the time to find peace or in the end did she have only terror?”


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amanda Knox… Trapped, In Her Own Words

Posted by The Machine




Post Overview

Newcomers to the case and casual readers may not realize this.

But it is an indisputable fact that Amanda Knox has spun the truth. Tells lies. Deliberately, repeatedly, and very incriminatingly. I think it’s worth revisiting a few of her many lies for any new visitors to this board, so that they can get a clearer picture of the real strength of the case.

Some of Amanda’s vociferous supporters have claimed that Amanda only lied once - and that was because she was “smacked around” by the police, or put under pressure.

And that her confessions, in which she admitted to being at the cottage on the night of the murder, were thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

It doesn’t take a careful examination of the known facts to conclude that both these claims really are nonsense. Amanda’s first known lie wasn’t to the police, but to her flatmate, Filomena, on 2 November, the day after Meredith’s murder.

False claim one.

Amanda phoned Filomena at 12.08 pm, and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom.

Amanda said she was going to call Raffaele, but according to Raffaele, Amanda had already returned to his apartment at 11.30 am, and then they had gone back to the cottage.

At 12.34 pm Amanda and Filomena spoke again. 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.”

False claim two.

Amanda and Raffaele didn’t actually call the police until 12.51 pm.

The postal postal police unexpectedly turned up at the cottage at 12. 35 pm.

False claim three.

Amanda and Raffael told the police that they had called the police and were waiting for them.

No they had not.

False claim four.

Amanda 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.

Amanda and Raffaele were then taken in for questioning.

False claim five.

They said they couldn’t remember most of what happened on the night of the murder, because they had smoked cannabis.

It is medically impossible for cannabis to cause such dramatic amnesia and there are no studies that have ever demonstrated that this is possible.

Long term use of cannabis may affect short term memory, which means that users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But it won’t wipe out whole chunks of an evening from their memory banks.

False claim six.

Amanda accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith at the cottage.

It’s true that two of Amanda’s such statements were not allowed out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, Amanda repeated the accusation, in a note that she wrote to the police on 6 November.

This note was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court, and it was admitted as evidence.

False claims seven & eight.

In her 6 November note Amanda claimed to have seen Diya Lumumba (1) at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana; and (2) outside her front door.

He was actually at his bar.

False claim nine.

Amanda’s supporters claim that she confessed to a lesser role in Meredith’s murder, and blamed Diya Lumumba, because she had been “smacked around” or put under pressure by the police.

But the real reason she had to say she was at the cottage was because she was informed that Raffaele Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi.

Raffaele had been confronted with phone records, and was now claiming that she was not with him the whole evening, and that she had only returned at 1.00 am. Amanda did not attempt to refute Raffaele’s claim, but now admitted that she had been at the cottage.

The significance of this about-turn cannot be stressed enough.

(Incidentally, Raffaele was also claiming that he had lied, because he had believed Amanda’s version of what happened and not thought about the inconsistencies. He is acknowledging that Amanda’s version had inconsistencies.)

If it had been true that Amanda had been “smacked around” by the police during questioning, why haven’t her lawyers ever filed a complaint? It was very telling that Amanda dropped her allegation of being hit by the police at her recent court hearing, and instead just claimed she had been put under pressure.

There’s a world of difference between police brutality and being put under pressure. It wasn’t the first time that Amanda has made a false and malicious accusation, as Diya Lumumba knows only too well.

False claim ten.

Amanda claimed to have slept in at Raffaele’s until the next morning.

However, her mobile records show that this was not so.  Amanda turned on her mobile at approximately at 5.32 am.

The only plausible explanation for Amanda’s deliberate and repeated lies? That she was involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

It should be no surprise to anyone following the case that the same three witnesses who have repeatedly lied, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, have all been placed at the crime scene.

By a total of 23 separate pieces of forensic evidence.

Renato Biondo has just recently provided independent confirmation that the scientifc police’s investigation was carried out correctly. And that the forensic findings are accurate.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Amanda Knox Maintained Her Composure…

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

The Daily Telegraph has this report:

Amanda Knox, the young woman accused of murdering the British student Meredith Kercher, sighed and sang during breaks in her court appearance, it has been reported.

Miss Knox… is known to sing in jail to pass the time. During breaks in a pre-trial hearing, she sang hits by the band Feist [shot above] the Sun newspaper claimed.

A source at the court in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was found murdered, told the Sun: “During the hearing she never said a word. But outside when there were breaks for water and coffee she was smiling and singing. She was also huffing and puffing a lot - I think it was because it was a long day. It was a song by Feist and she said she sings to relax and deal with her stress.

Another shot of Feist that she may now regret.

And here’s Ester Walker of the Independent on the outfit Knox wore - smart move, apparently. (Tell THAT to the judge.)

What could possibly be more innocent than this outfit? Knox, the Seattle-born woman suspected of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, is only 21 and has dressed for her court appearance in Perugia, Italy, like the student that she is.

She wears a waist-length, white cotton smock top, which has red and blue flowers printed along the neckline, over a pair of blue denim jeans. Her hair is tied up in the schoolgirl-ish style, with the top half tied back off her bare face and secured with a purple plastic butterfly clip, and the rest loose.

Her entire outfit makes her look completely out of place in the Italian courtroom or flanked by policemen.

We’re still waiting for a take on Knox’s tan. Sprayed on? Or by the prison pool?


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Knox & Sollecito Teams Form Truce To Dump ALL Blame On Rudy Guede?

Posted by Peter Quennell




This is from a surprising report from the Guardian’s Tom Kington in Rome:

Claims have been made of a pact between Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24. It is alleged their lawyers have agreed to work together to blame the murder on Rudy Guede, 21, a part-time gardener from the Ivory Coast and the third accused.

Now, Guede’s lawyers are threatening to call for a separate trial for him alone - well away from the legal teams of the other two whom they fear could prejudice his case.

It is a pact, says Guede’s lawyer Walter Biscotti, that can be traced back to July when Sollecito sent Knox a bouquet of yellow flowers on her 21st birthday which both celebrated in prison.

‘There is a clear desire to make Rudy the guilty party, and it’s clear they will try anything,’ Biscotti said.

All three accused deny murder. Knox, or Foxy Knoxy, as she was known at her Seattle high school, shared a flat with Meredith, from Coulsdon, south London, who was studying in the city as part of her degree at Leeds University.

Knox has attracted headlines through a leaked prison diary in which she detailed her sexual escapades and a Facebook page on which she wrote about rape and fantasy. She has also speculated Sollecito, her then boyfriend, could have been responsible.

Knox’s lawyers maintain that bloodstains in the flat and DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s flat cannot put her at the murder scene.

Sollecito’s lawyers will also question whether his DNA, found on the back of Meredith’s bloodied bra, is conclusive proof of his involvement. He and Knox claim that they were at his flat when the murder took place.

Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, is the only suspect who has admitted to being in Kercher’s bedroom on the night she died. He states that they were planning to have sex - though he denies rape and murder. He has stated he was using the bathroom when she was killed, claiming Knox and Sollecito had rushed past him as he emerged.

Sensing a campaign against his client, Biscotti may press for the hearings to be separated in the hope Guede will be cleared quickly. It could involve a fast-track trial behind closed doors and a verdict as early as mid-October.

This could mean that Guede is convicted before a decision is made on whether Knox and Sollecito even stand trial.

‘There was a tacit agreement to just work on the defence of your own client,’ said Biscotti of the other legal teams. ‘But it looks like this is finished.’

He points to a recent briefing by one of Sollecito’s lawyers, Giulia Buongiorno, an MP and high-profile lawyer who has previously defended former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti against Mafia charges, who told journalists that there had been just one killer.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: ‘We are holding out for a trial of the other two, even if Rudy is found guilty.’


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