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Category: Hoaxes Sollecito etc

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Newsweek Interviews The Kercher Family Lawyer Francesco Maresca

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for another fine report by Barbie Nadeau.

Ms Nadeau is one of only two Rome-based Amercan reporters (the other is Andrea Vogt, see post below) on the case. In contrast, there are half a dozen British reporters on the case, at least one (Nick Pisa for Sky News) with a cameraman, and there are rarely less than several dozen Italian reporters.

This report nicely positions where we are now in the course of the trail.

Now, 17 months after Kercher’s brutal murder, the theatrics are over. The two judges and six jurors are finally getting to the meat of the trial: the scientific evidence.

Experts say it will make all the difference in this case against 21-year-old Amanda Knox and 25-year-old Raffaele Sollecito, who stand accused of sexual assault and murder.

Francesco Maresca, the attorney representing the Kercher family, equates the prosecution’s case so far to preparing a fine meal. “Up to this point, we have seen the equivalent of the side dishes,” Maresca told NEWSWEEK in his office in Florence. “From this point we will start to see the real substance”...

With the theatrics now out of the way, this scientific evidence will finally bring the circumstances of this murder into better focus. The prosecution has always maintained that Knox, Sollecito and Guede tried to initiate a sex game that went awry.

Maresca says that while he is sure the accused did not go into Kercher’s room with the intent to kill her, there is ample evidence proving that what started as a game ended in her tragic murder.

“Kids this age are all into quick thrills,” he told NEWSWEEK. “What started as a threat or a game to scare Mez escalated to violence and ended in murder.”

We suspect that here, Mr Maresca may be reflecting what the Kerchers also think: that nobody in the world would have knowingly set out to murder someone so precious as Meredith.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Trial: More Testimony On Knox Acting Weird After Meredith Was Murdered (2)

Posted by Peter Quennell




Testimony of Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno

This post spills over from the post immediately below.

Translation here is by Catnip. As mentioned in today’s court report, Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased.

He investigated the 20 euro withdrawal reported on Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records. He also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

Transcript of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 177-211

Depositions of the witness Oreste Volturno

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

Particulars: Chief Inspector Oreste Volturno, in service with the Flying Squad, Perugia Police; born at Montegabbione (TR), 12 June 1956.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini
QUESTION: You have carried out investigations on the death of Meredith Kercher?
ANSWER: Yes.

Q: Do you remember what type of investigative tasks you carried out? First list them, then describe them.
A: In practice the first investigative task that I carried out was as regards two containers of Ace bleach that had been seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s house on 16 November 2007. Immediately after the seizure I went around the shops in the environs of Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence trying to understand from where they could have been purchased from, and for this purpose I was showing people the photograph of Raffaele Sollecito, the photograph of Amanda Knox. After a couple of days we tracked down the shop which was a Conad-Margherita shop situated right at the start of Corso Garibaldi, where both the owner and the shop assistants were to identify, from the photographs that we placed before them, [178] Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Raffaele Sollecito was a usual customer of this shop, while the girl had been seen two or three times in his company.

Q: Together with Sollecito?
A: Yes, yes, in his company. In this shop we asked also if by chance they had noticed in the days immediately prior to the murder or straight after if they remembered whether these persons had acquired this product, although they didn’t remember. I have to preface this with the shop is subdivided into two levels, one is higher up where the entrance is and the other is lower down. The one higher up is where all the products are that people take and then go straight to the cashier, while the one below is the delicatessen, cheeses, etc etc where there were two girls working, in addition to the owner, who I think I remember was called Quintavalle. One in particular, an Ecuadorian girl, at the time I recall that it was interesting, she said to us that she had a friend who was doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house and she indicated the cellular device with which we then contacted her, although as for the bleach nothing came out of it, either a person or a mention of something. We were checking that”¦

Q: What was this woman called?
A: (Kiriboga) “¦ the rest I don’t remember. It was actually through the mobile phone number that she furnished that led us to the person who was then doing the cleaning at that time, up until 5 November, the last day that she did the cleaning, and another Ecuadorian girl who was called Natalia. This one was interviewed on the record but she wasn’t able to tell us anything about this bleach. Then subsequent to this episode (Kiriboga) was also heard, she furnished us a version where she said actually that this bleach had been seen by her in Sollecito’s house and that in any case a container [179] had been said, had been bought by Raffaele Sollecito at her request. I asked her why she hadn’t mentioned it at the time that I asked her, the first day, in the days immediately after the search, that is between 16 and 19 November, and she said to me that the same questions had been asked at the firm of Counsellor Maori and that at the time she didn’t recall this fact, but after having been at Counsellor Maori’s she remembers having bought this bleach. However the investigations proceeded onwards because I asked the owner of the shop if by means of the product barcode it was possible to go back to the period in which it was handed over or sold or at the least ordered and which company was the supplier of this bleach. He told me that the company was a Ponte San Giovanni company I believe, the PAC, and I contacted the person responsible in the detergents department who was a Mr Cicognola, I think, who told me that being a product without an expiry he was not obliged by law to memorise it, that is computerise it, and so he was not able to uncover precisely the shop at which it had been sold, at the time. He furnished us information however, namely the boxes were of 18 containers each and had been consigned to Quintavalle’s shop which was a Conad-Margherita, the same label that was on the container seized at Sollecito’s house dated 1 October, 11 November and 5 November the last consignment. Another box of the same product had been consigned to another Conad-Margherita shop which is located about 50 metres further up from Raffaele Sollecito’s place of residence, whose owner now I don’t remember. Until 11 October the recommended PAC price for this product was 0.85 euro, while from 11 October onwards the recommended price was 1.09 because he says that before there was a more favourable market and [180] so they had a lower price, although no one was able to rule out that in any case the product being at the old price might have been among the others and then purchased for 0.85, the price that then turned out to have been applied to the container seized from Sollecito’s house. As regards this investigation about the bleach, nothing else was done.

Q: You were in Sollecito’s house?
A: Yes, I had been on two occasions. The first occasion was on the 8th of November during a search when different types of apparel were seized, I seem to recall. On a second occasion on the 16 November”¦

Q: Let’s go in order; the 8th, did you all have footwear and gloves?
A: Yes, yes, we always have footwear and gloves because we’ve got them in the car, they’re from the office.

Q: New?
A: Yes, they’re taken from the boxes as needed from time to time.

Q: So you’d entered on the 8th?
A: We had entered the first time on the 8th and I remember that numerous items of apparel were seized, underwear, jumper”¦

Q: Was there a particular smell there on the 8th?
A: Yes, there was a smell of bleach permeating the inside of the apartment because it was sealed and we broke the seals because it had been sequestered prior.

Q: These items of clothing, where had you put them?
A: The items of clothing were pointed out to our colleagues from the Scientific Police who were taking them and putting them into paper envelopes, one by one and then they were sealed and catalogued inside a big box.

Q: So they actually also had overalls?
[181] A: Our colleagues from the Scientifica yes, we only had the footwear and gloves.

Q: And then, the second time?
A: The second time was the 16th of November although I had not gone inside the apartment because the footwear had run out and I stayed outside on the landing cataloguing the items of evidence that were being handed over to me in envelopes and I was putting them into a big box.

Q: You had gloves on, though?
A: Yes, yes, I had gloves on.

Q: Other investigative tasks?
A: One other investigative task had been carried by me personally on Ms Kercher’s credit cards, because from an account statement extract that had been faxed to us by her parents there was a 20 euro withdrawal at the IMI-San Paolo in Perugia. I contacted them, I believe around the first part of the month of December 2008, I think the 8th, the 9th or the 10th, I don’t recall now precisely, I contacted the manager of the bank, of the IMI-San Paolo in the person of Dr Farsi and I asked him if it were possible to trace back the person who had made this withdrawal or at the least verify that this withdrawal had been made. I also asked him if there were security cameras and he said to me: “Yes, there are, although the security camera only covers the bank entrance and not the ATM, but in any case the video cassettes are reset each week”, time had already passed because the account extract had been faxed to us towards the end of the month of November by the Kercher family, I did the first investigations on it on the 10th of December, or on the 8th of December, so from the 2nd of November more than a month had gone by and the recordings had already been reset multiple times. Mr Farsi examined the funds journals of all four ATMs, of the head office and the branches that there are in Perugia and responded to me by [182] letter that according to the journals there was no withdrawal of that kind neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days preceding”¦

Q: Do you recognise it?
A: Yes, it’s this one.

Q: I don’t know if it is in the evidence file, otherwise I ask for its production.

President: What is it?
A: It’s the reply of the San Paolo bank corporation as regards the investigations on the withdrawal of the 20 euro.

Defence ““ Ghirga: What date is this letter?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: 4 January 2008
A: Actually he in his letter was telling me that that 20 euro withdrawal, that sum hadn’t been done neither on the 2nd of November nor in the days immediately preceding and that practically at this point the investigations were at a standstill because there being no withdrawal there was no”¦

Q: I ask its production then.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, it’s a finding on what we have done, as everyone will recall, a question the other time to a witness and the reply was given that there were no further investigative activities. Up until today, that letter was not in the file, we want to peruse it and give our opinion tomorrow maybe.
President: Certainly. We can proceed in the meantime.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigative activities that you all had carried out and that you yourself had participated in?
A: Other investigative activities that had been carried out by me personally were activities concerning an authorization or power of attorney, a authorization of his as regards Giovinazzo, at the [183] schools attended by Sollecito.

Q: What had you found out in particular? Was it an activity integral with the investigation?
A: Yes, actually from examining the class rolls, the boy’s personal file and everything what we were looking for was not found, that is, a fact that had happened at school. Amongst other things it wasn’t possible to verify it because the class rolls from 2003, which is the last year that Raffaele Sollecito attended secondary school, every five years they’re sent for pulping and so we had arrived when they had already been pulped, for this reason this investigative task was not able to be carried out.

Q: What were you supposed to have been doing?
A: Whether there had been the wounding of a girl on the part of Raffaele Sollecito during the course of school lessons. I preface this with the headmaster of the middle school, at the time the headmaster of the middle school attended by Raffaele Sollecito, that he had also been interviewed for summary information [SI] by me personally, he provided a certain resistance, as if he wanted to hide something. This I believe I also had him”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, these are”¦
President: Maybe if you can refer to the behaviour he had displayed.
Defence ““ Bongiorno: Mr President, also as to the modality, for heaven’s sake, I don’t believe it’s a prohibition that they are referring to things heard in interview, but if they are however witnesses heard in interview, then they have to be heard or not or he gives us a summary and then we hear them or else he really avoids commenting every time.
A: Counsel, I have said in summary what I have heard and [184] in my view it was omertoso {=mafia code of silence}.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: No, look that this cannot be put into the transcript!
President: Please! The parties will direct”¦
A: He was a little bit reticent.

President: Let’s avoid this, “in my opinion” introduces an evaluation and therefore he cannot express it, only the behaviour that he dsiplayed, maybe if he has answered all questions or else some question he hasn’t.
A: He has answered all questions, but in a very vague manner.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: What other things had you found out specifically?
A: We had found at the Carabinieri station in Giovinazzo, in Sollecito’s file, there was a precedent signalled by the Carabinieri station at Castellaneta, in Taranto province, relating to the year 2003 I believe, when he had been stopped together with another two boys because they were in the possession of the quantity of two and half grams net of narcotic substance, in the form of hashish.

Q: Then other things?
A: Then there were investigative tasks carried out in relation to the death of his mother. Investigations were made at the pathologist’s, at 118 [=the medical emergency number].

President: Excuse me, pertinent matters.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Well, this one about the substance”¦
[185] President: Yes, the substance yes, but he was introducing other things.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Other investigations that you have carried out?
A: I did phone and ambient intercepts.

Q: What investigative leads emerged from the ambient and telephonic intercepts?
A: Investigative leads actually hardly any although all the activity that had been done had demonstrated that, on the part of the family, there was an intention to quicksand, to derail”¦

Intervention: It’s not possible!
President: Excuse me, excuse me everyone. If you’re able to say the facts, the specific circumstances.
A: There are several things”¦

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: Those are facts though, it’s not an opinion, then if it’s true or not”¦
President: By what thing was this behaviour manifested that you are now summarising, but the summary constitutes an evaluation.
A: Actually they wanted to eliminate the personnel who were carrying out the investigations, whether professionally or physically.

President: What emerged under that aspect?
A: Menaces, political contacts, those Honourables currently in Government, like the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisana, the Honourable Mastella who were going to have to intervene to find a way to put an end to this thing and this before Cassation’s decision, then evidently, after Cassation’s decision, these [186] persons detached themselves, I don’t know, however the names were”¦

President: Cassation’s decision relating to the Re-examination Hearing?
A: Yes, to the Re-examination Hearing. These persons were named and they’re in the phone intercepts, with the records, the transcripts and everything.

President: Please.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You carried out other investigative tasks?
A: No.

Q: Do you recall a dossier that was acquired, was it acquired relative to everything an investigative task that had been effected?
A: Yes, the dossier had not been acquired, it had been seized and is still under seizure.

President: If you can be more precise about this thing that we know nothing about”¦ what does it concern?
A: It concerns a dossier where actually the Sollecito family, with this dossier, wanted to carry out a media attack on the investigations under way, on the Public Prosecutors who were following up on the case and everything else and it was given to the Telenorba television station and also to the Panorama newspaper, and even on this matter there are the phone intercepts that we have been talking about. Then it had been seized because a warrant writ had been made and our personnel went to the Telenorba headquarters and seized this dossier with the video-cassettes.

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: And on the occasion of the publication of the images?
A: Yes, the images had been”¦ On the occasion of the publication of the images in a transmission, which now I don’t remember the name of, which had been transmitted by [187] Telenorba.

Q: Images that portrayed?
A: Portraying the body of Ms Kercher completely naked in the middle of the room and other things.

Q: No other questions.

President: The Civil Parties? No other question. The defence, please.
Defence ““ Maori: Counsellor Maori, Sollecito defence. Inspector Volturno, let’s start in order: investigation that you did in relation to the infamous bleach. You made service notes?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you tell us which ones they are?
A: There’s one for the 19th”¦

Q: Pick it up if you have it. And one from the 28th.
A: Yes.

President: You are authorised to consult your documents.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s start from the 19th; so you make this service note where you refer to the activity that you carried out a couple of days before?
A: From the 16th to the 19th, from the day the two containers had been seized to the 19th on which I make the note.

Q: Exactly. You took various people’s witness statements.
A: No, I had questioned them informally at the shop, not as for a statement.

Q: Who did you question?
A: Quintavalle, (Kiriboga) because she’s his shop assistant and the other girl whose name I don’t recall now.

Q: This Natalia.
[188] A: No, Natalia was not at the shop as a shop assistant, Natalia was the friend of (Kiriboga) who was doing the cleaning in Sollecito’s house, but she wasn’t working in the shop.

Q: You have said earlier that you had photographs of Amanda and Raffaele.
A: Exactly.

Q: And you had shown them to the persons who were to be found inside the food store?
A: Yes.

Q: So therefore both the owner and the shop assistants.
A: Yes.

Q: And you had asked if these persons had presented themselves or not inside the shop in the preceding days.
A: No, I had asked if they were customers of the shop, because I did that with all the shops in Corso Garibaldi, not only with Quintavalle, showing them the photos I was asking them if they were customers.

Q: You though say different things in your notations, not different, in the sense that you specify that you had questioned the owner, Mr Quintavalle, and he mentioned that Sollecito was one of his usual customers and that Ms Knox had come into the shop only on a couple of occasions together with the boyfriend.
A: Yes.

Q: You confirm this?
A: Certainly, it’s written in the notation.

Q: Shortly we will ask for the acquisition, the production of the two notations. Therefore in these words Mr Quintavalle made it known that Sollecito and Amanda Knox “¦ so, Amanda Knox had entered into the residence always in the company of Sollecito?
A: Yes, into the shop, on those two occasions on which she had entered she had entered always in the company of Sollecito.

Q: How come these were not annotated, an SI statement was not done?
[189] A: Because the notation is enough for me.

Q: They’re two different things.
A: Yes, but as regards the investigative tasks I informally question them and put in annotations, that’s also investigating.

Q: On that occasion, that is I’m still talking of the 19th, had (Kiriboga) been asked if she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, although given that I had asked”¦ wait, I had asked the owner and both the two assistants if they had ever seen these persons in the shop and they said to me: “yes, they’re usual customers, only that he comes more often and she’s come on a couple of occasions”. Then I asked if they had bought bleach in the days prior to the murder and nobody said to me: “no, I can’t say” and (Kiriboga) said to me: “I’m less able to say than Quintavalle because I’m located in the small goods section which is downstairs, while the bleach is on the side of the shop above under Mr Quintavalle’s supervision”.

Q: But you hadn’t asked (Kiriboga) whether she had been Sollecito’s maid?
A: No, I hadn’t asked if she had been a maid.

Q: You then had spoken of the fact that (Kiriboga) subsequently, when interviewed, had made it known that she had in her turn been interviewed by me.
A: Yes.


Q: This statement, that I had then immediately deposited and afterward it was reviewed by my learned friend, have you read it?
A: (Kiriboga)‘s statement?

Q: My statement which I deposited.
A: No, I haven’t read it, I have mine.

Q: You haven’t read it?
A: No, I’ve read mine, the one that I’ve taken from [190] (Kiriboga), I haven’t read yours.

Q: (Kiriboga) during the course of the statement says that: “the same questions that were being put by you”¦” by you the police officers, were also being put by me.
A: Yes, she says, in fact it’s written in the statement.

Q: Therefore you again confirm not having read the statement that I’ve deposited?
A: No, I haven’t read your statement. She says to me: “Counsellor Maori asked me the same questions” and I’ve put it into the statement.

Q: Very good, there’s congruency between the questions on my part first and on your part subsequently. Let’s go the second; on what relates to the bleach, you on the 16th November effected a domestic search.
A: Yes, I was present at the search but I had not entered into the apartment.

Q: Yes”¦
A: And on the 16th November the two containers of bleach were seized.

President: In the house used by Raffaele Sollecito?
A: Yes.

Defence ““ Maori: I see in the seizure record signed by you that as regards the Ace brand bleach “on the cap there was a small sticker Conad brand bearing the numbers 085”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: 85 cents.

Q: Therefore referring to the price.
A: To the price.

Q: And how was this sticker?
A: Conad ““ Margherita.

Q: But was it faded, was it old, was it new?
[191] A: This I don’t remember, there was a sticker, the price was visible and”¦

Q: Who redacted the record actually?
A: Perhaps”¦

Q: Pick it up so that at least we can see”¦
A: Yes.

Q: Go to page 3, it’s the first item of evidence, exhibit RS3.
A: Yes.

Q: Here it says: “digits ““ after the numbers 085, which you have clarified as being the purchase price ““ digits barely visible with a magnifying lens.”.
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore signifying what?
A: That it was faded but the amount could be read.

Q: Therefore it was an old sticker?

Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No!
Defence ““ Maori: Pardon me, I am asking the questions because you Madam Prosecutor want to suggest”¦
President: Counsellor, please!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: You’re right because the no came out too loudly.
President: Here though we can’t hear even the witness, but everyone is asked to not do so.
A: 085 the sticker was barely legible.

Q: Therefore was does it mean.
A: That it was a bottle”¦

Q: You remember now this sticker that we’ve identified?
A: Yes, yes, definitely.

[192] Q: Therefore was it an old sticker or a new one?
A: Old.

Q: Therefore surely prior to the 11 October as you have indicated?
A: Definitely, but prior as a price.

Q: As a purchase as we will see. In relation to the credit card the police had received the letter of 4 January 2008, in this letter the owner, manager Paolo Farsi, tells you that it is not possible to effect a check, a check relative to the fact that there had been withdrawals with that card on 2 November at the ATM in Perugia or environs, and this thing needed to be asked of the issuing bank directly.
A: Yes, not exactly.

Q: I’m reading it here.
A: Mr Farsi says that on the 2nd November and in the days immediately following there was no withdrawal of that amount made at that bank. If we want to know something more precise it was necessary to go to the English bank issuing the credit card, which was not done because from the moment that he tells me that no withdrawal of that amount was made neither on the 2nd day nor in the preceding days I had not considered it advisable to carry out this investigation.

Q: I’ll read out what has been written in this letter: “our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that”¦”
A: I have it.

President: Yes, also to facilitate the witness’s listening. Continue Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: “Our central accounting, suitably appraised, informs us that the only way to find out the information for that withdrawal [193] (branch involved, date and time) is to ask for this information from the English bank issuing the card itself, seeing that each issuing bank is certainly able to retrieve all the activity performed on each of its issued cards”. Then to my question, which you have already partially replied to, seeing that the 2nd of November, it was the 2nd of November from at least from the indications that had been given to you, that an ATM withdrawal had been made from the San Paolo bank, and seeing that the San Paolo bank had said to you: “it is necessary to ask the issuing bank to be certain who had made this withdrawal” why hadn’t you felt it within your scope to ask the English bank who had made this withdrawal at what time, on what date and at which branch?
A: Because I hadn’t thought it useful, because the period before this which you have read out tells me that on the 2nd of November nor on the days immediately preceding there was no 20 euro withdrawal either at the IMI-San Paolo bank in Perugia or from the other three branches in the province of Perugia.

Q: And if this withdrawal were to have been made somewhere else, in the province of Terni, you know perfectly”¦ you’re an experienced police officer”¦
A: No because the account statement”¦

President: Wait until the question is finished.
Defence ““ Maori: You’re an experienced police officer and you well know that all the ATMs have a security camera and therefore who, and if it were to have been withdrawn effectively on that 2nd of November by means of that credit card, the person who would have made the withdrawal [194] would have surely been captured by the camera. You’d never thought of this?
A: Counsel I have already said before that the check had been made, that the camera covers the entrance to the bank and not the ATM and we had received the account extract at the end of November and the bank resets the video every week. If I need to repeat it again just tell me!

President: Don’t worry, it could also be useful to us because these are particularly technical subjects and therefore maybe sometimes”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Apart from which there’s the memory in the camera by which it is possible to effect”¦
President: Counsel we will take notice.
Defence ““ Maori: An experienced person like you would have had to effect”¦
A: In fact.

President: Let’s only ask questions please.
Defence ““ Maori: I show you now this letter from National Wide, a fax from 30 November 2007, referring, precisely, to Miss Kercher, with the reference “cash San Paolo ““ IMI, Perugia, 20 euro of the 2nd November, AT 1440”, it’s information naturally in your possession.
A: I have it too in fact it’s IMI-San Paolo Perugia, not Terni, Counsel.

Q: I never said Terni, I only said”¦
A: No, you said: “if it were to have been made at Terni”, I can tell you that for Perugia the investigations had been [195] made both at the central IMI-San Paolo office and at the three branches in the province of Perugia and the day journal of all four ATMs had no trace of this 20 euro withdrawal, neither on the 2nd nor the days before.

Q: Therefore you didn’t feel it within your scope to ask the issuing bank”¦
A: No, for me that line of enquiry had finished.

President: Counsel he has already given a reply to this, perhaps”¦
Defence ““ Maori: Maybe the face of the killer could have been found if things had proceeded differently! We take notice on this, it wasn’t done and therefore I’m not able to ask further questions on the point.
President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Investigations at Giovinazzo. You have spoken before in response to the Public Prosecutor’s question of the fact that you had investigative leads in relation to a wounding done by Sollecito at school and therefore you had gone to effect a transfer of these investigations. Had you seized the class rolls?
A: No, we had photocopied them and did authentications of various notes on various class rolls.

Q: And which were the notes in relation to Sollecito, these serious notes?
A: No, they weren’t serious notes, they were notes in relation to Sollecito that we had however photocopied because we had considered it advisable to do so.

Q: For example, “Sollecito plays with his pen notwithstanding [196] being reprimanded [196] for it”.
A: It was a note.

Q: Therefore when a person is accused of murder you”¦
President: Excuse me, Counsel, let’s avoid opinions though! Let’s stay on circumstances of fact!
Defence ““ Maori: Another note: “Sollecito is throwing paper pellets at his classmate”.
A: Another note Counsel.

Q: These are the notes that you have”¦
A: They are notes however that I had had the disposition to acquire, to verify, I had photocopied them and I had them authenticated.

Q: You hadn’t found one note that Sollecito had wounded”¦
A: No, because”¦

Q: Allow me to finish.
President: Excuse me, let’s always wait for the question to finish. Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: You hadn’t found notes that Sollecito had wounded a classmate, boy or girl?
A: No because as I have already said before the school rolls of Molfetta Middle School, Einstein High School, Via Togliatti, had been sent for pulping because every five years they are sent for pulping and we found no trace in those rolls where maybe there was this note that we were looking for, but we had not been lucky.

President: You were looking for this on the basis of what?
A: There was an investigative lead that there had occurred, an incident during Sollecito’s scholastic attendance, [197] where there had been a girl injured with scissors and we were looking for a note of the sort, but the rolls had been sent for pulping and we had not found it.


Defence ““ Maori: What does “lead” mean?
President: What were you aware of? That a girl had been injured with scissors?
A: Exactly, during Sollecito’s school attendance and we had gone to see if the class rolls, during middle school and high school, were holding a note that would have referred to this incident, but unfortunately the class rolls had been pulped.

President: It could have been anyone in the class who could have occasioned this fact, not necessarily”¦
A: No, no, we had gone to see if there were a trace of this fact.

President: And who it might have been?
A: Exactly.

President: The hypothesis was that it could have been Raffaele Sollecito.
A: And we had gone to check, but the rolls were at the pulpers and so it had not been possible to look them up.

President: You had not been able to find neither the truth of the fact nor the author?
A: Definitely.

President: Please Counsel.
Defence ““ Maori: Just to clarify Mr President, seeing that your curiosity is also ours”¦
President: No it was a question pertinent to the question and the answer otherwise it would not have been able to be understood, it was not a curiosity. Please.
[198] Defence ““ Maori: This investigative lead what does it mean? Someone had said to you: “there was a wounding with scissors in Sollecito’s class”?
A: There had been report of this incident and we had gone to find out about it.

Q: But what does “there had been report” mean? An informant?
A: An informant.

Q: And this informant how”¦
A: I am not obliged to discuss informants.

Q: The informant’s name no, this is true, but you are obliged to tell us in what manner this information had arrived, by phone, through a person who turned up at the Police Station and had made known that a boy or a girl had been injured, this you can say.
A: By word of mouth, an encounter on the street with a person who was aware of certain things and this fact had been mentioned to him and we had gone to find out.

Q: And you found out that Sollecito was throwing paper pellets!
A: We had found out nothing because the rolls no longer existed.

Q: And he was disrupting the lesson!
President: No, excuse me Counsel. Let’s stay solely on the questions. Please.
Defence ““ Maori: You before had made reference to ambient intercepts, quicksanding, etc”¦
A: Yes.

Q: And there was reference to a proceeding in Cassation?
A: To an appeal in Cassation.

Q: A proceeding before the Supreme Court of [199] of Cassation, therefore an appeal for Cassation. Given that neither myself, Counsel Maori, nor my learned friend, Counsel Bongiorno, were the defenders at the time of the proceedings in Cassation, I was only in on the phase on the merits, not for the proceedings in Cassation, and Counsel Bongiorno had not even been nominated for any kind of proceedings, can you explain what type of quicksanding would have been carried out by these gentlemen and then if there had been any final outcomes in relation to these intercepts?
A: I have not spoken about quicksanding, I spoke of attempts to derail and quicksand and tamper.

President: Maybe these aspects can be circumstantiated.
A: There were intercepts Mr Justice on which I am not able to refer.

President: Therefore we are directed to the contents of the intercepted conversations?
A: Exactly.

President: Following these conversations however intercepted, about which you say you are not able to refer to, were you able though to carry out investigations, from succeeding investigative activity?
A: Yes, also following these intercepts the famous seizure was made of the dossier that had been made by the Sollecito family and that had been broadcast by Telenorba and by Panorama.

Defence ““ Maori: Were criminal proceedings begun?
A: Yes, criminal proceedings were begun which however I don’t believe form part of these proceedings, they are different proceedings.

Q: Do you know if the subjects have been investigated?
A: This I don’t know.

[200] Q: One other point Inspector. You in your experience have you done, not only in these proceedings but also in others, any activity directed with the prison for acquiring documents? In these proceedings you have acquired documents like memoirs, notebooks, from any of the accused?
A: No.

Q: You are certain of this?
A: I don’t remember, show me the record but I haven’t acquired”¦

Q: I’m not speaking of records, I’m speaking of”¦
A: If it was acquired there’s a record.

Q: I am speaking of whether if you have ever received from a non-commissioned officer of the Penitentiary Police a notebook, a memoir of Raffaele Sollecito’s from around the middle of the month of November 2007?
A: No.

Q: The notebook, this photocopied notebook, prison of Perugia, travel notes, which were the reflections of Raffaele Sollecito and which should have been handed over to us lawyers, were photocopied inside prison and they were handed over by whoever.
A: To me?

Q: Can you confirm this circumstance or not?
A: I’m telling you no.

President: Excuse me, Counsel. He has already twice replied no.
Defence ““ Maori: Let’s formalise his negative response in a more forceful manner, and then we will see in the course of the proceedings if his declarations are truthful or not. I ask its acquisition, or rather I would like to produce therefore I ask acquisition into the documents of the court file of the two annotations of the 19 November 2007, [201] of the 28 November 2007 of Inspector Volturno, as well as a copy of Raffaele Sollecito’s class rolls from Molfetta High’s third class, as well as a copy of the San Paolo corporation letter of 4 January 2008, signed by the manager Paolo Farsi.
A: Sorry for interrupting, those photocopies are from the Giovinazzo middle school, not from Molfetta High.

Q: Yes, from the middle school.
President: So they’re from the middle school?
A: Yes, from the middle school because as I’ve been saying those from the high school”¦

President: And how come, do they have a different practice?
A: They have a different archival philosophy.

President: On these requests? But the Public Prosecutor had asked for the production of the San Paolo corporation letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: But why are we always making triplicate productions, we have already produced it.
Defence ““ Maori: It’s your letter.
President: The Public Prosecutor has produced the letter.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Then it’s Public Prosecutor production.
President: Yes, it’s Public Prosecutor production and the others are Raffaele Sollecito Defence productions.

Notice is taken that, given the absence of opposition, they are to be acquired for the purposes of utilisability.


Defence ““ Bongiorno
[202] Q: Counsel Bongiorno. Respecting the three politicians to which you have made reference to in the ambient intercepts, you have carried out subsequent investigations yourself personally, or did others, to see if these politicians had committed breaches, were they enrolled on the notification of crime register; or were they politicians, these three to which you have referred, mentioned in the ambit of conversations, and then that’s it, finished?
A: Mentioned in the ambit of conversations as persons to be looked at.

Q: Have you investigated if then effectively these politicians had been contacted, had they pressured Cassation?
A: No.

Q: Respecting instead the Telenorba thing”¦

President: Excuse me Counsel, you hadn’t investigated or else there were no”¦
A: No, I hadn’t investigated, they only emerged from the intercepts as persons who”¦

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Because then confusion is created, in the intercepts there are these names, those that I have understood and he has confirmed to me, then they haven’t followed through on investigations on these matters and that’s it, finished. Instead the fact of Telenorba is a fact on which investigations do exist or don’t they.
A: There are investigations, the dossier had been seized.

Q: Who’s following up on the investigations?
A: Bari I think.

Q: The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bari?
A: Yes.

Q: With respect to these investigations, do you know what outcome they’ve reached?
A: No.

Q: When were they begun?
A: I think after the seizure of the dossier, of the [203] video cassettes, of the materials.

President: Therefore what period are we in?
A: This I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Defence ““ Bongiorno: Do you know if case archivation was requested, or of remand to trial? You don’t know anything about this?
A: No, I don’t know.

Q: That is you at that point, in terms of jurisdictional competency as to what was relating to the Telenorba matter, Bari was dealing with it. Is this the idea?
A: Definitely.

Q: And so then you don’t know what”¦
A: No.

Q: No other questions.


Defence ““ Dalla Vedova: Counsel Dalla Vedova for Ms Knox. I wanted two clarifications, the first in relation to the activity that you had carried out in dealing with the Marco Quintavalle matter.
A: Yes.

Q: You have said that you had asked the manager of the commercial enterprise if he had ever seen the two accused.
A: Exactly.

Q: Exactly what was the response?
A: He said that Sollecito was a usual customer while Amanda Knox had been seen on a couple of occasions in company with Sollecito.

Q: You asked this question of the other managers?
A: Yes, I went round all the shops in the street, but the others hadn’t recognised them.

Q: In Corso Garibaldi?
[204] A: Yes. The only other one who had recognised Sollecito’s photo was the other Conad above his place, where he had been seen one or two times, rarely however.

Q: And Amanda?
A: No, Amanda no.

Q: You carried out other investigations in the surrounding zones or just in Corso Garibaldi?
A: Corso Garibaldi and surrounding zones but I did not”¦

Q: But still all business concerns?
A: Yes, business concerns that had that product on sale, the famous bleach that then had been seized, it was done due to that.

Q: Therefore only business concerns that were selling this product, not in general?
A: Exactly, no.

Q: In relation to another activity where you appear to have participated in, that is the 16 November search of Sollecito’s house, in the objects collected there appear the entire contents of the topmost drawer of the kitchen cupboard, specifically 6 spoons, 4 knives, 5 (..) , 2 ladles, 1 breadknife with serrated edge 35 cm in length in total. You are aware that there already had been, a seizure had been made from that same drawer of another knife?
A: This no because I had gone back to work on 7 November and the day after I did the first search in Sollecito’s house where the clothing and intimate apparel were seized and then the second time, the 16th, the one that you are referring to, I participated in the search but I didn’t enter inside the house and they were bringing me the envelopes that I was putting into a big box about which I’m not able to tell you what there was in the envelopes, I can see from the subsequent record.

Q: I wanted to know whether you had already been ordered on a seizure”¦
[205] A: No, because I had come back to work on the 7th and that day when that seizure was done I wasn’t there.

Q: Because it appears that”¦
A: The seizure of that knife that you are talking about had been done when I was still not back at work, I came back on the 7th.

Q: However you knew that already”¦
A: No, I became aware gradually that investigations were going forward but I did not know that.

Q: Therefore when did you come to know of it? On the 16th you had gone at 16:30”¦
A: Yes.

Q: At 16:30 you already knew that in the case in hand Dr Chiacchiera and his assistants had already organised the seizure of a single knife on the 6th November.
A: I on the 16th knew what we had seized that day, not what had been seized prior because given that there were multiple apartments and a whole flood of”¦

Q: No, I was not asking you if you knew.
A: No, I didn’t know.

Q: I was asking if you knew if there had been a seizure already done at that house.
A: No I didn’t know, I came to know about it subsequently.

Q: Therefore after your one?
A: After.

Q: All the same you are aware that there exists a seized 31 cm knife with a 17cm blade retrieved from the same drawer?
A: If it’s that one in the kitchen yes.

Q: You know today.
A: No, not today, I knew about it before but in any case not on the date you’re saying, subsequently.

[206] Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Mignini: You are aware of an article appearing in Panorama recently on the case containing an interview with members of the Sollecito family.
A: No, I am not aware of this.

Q: Thank you.


Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Let’s go back for a moment to the bleach. You have perfectly described the investigations that you did, including on the items, the various items that had been sent from PAC 2000 to the two shops in Corso Garibaldi, therefore I won’t go back to that because I imagine the Court has understood perfectly. You have also said that the bleach found, one of the two?
A: Yes.

Q: One of the two containers found in Sollecito’s house had”¦ you can repeat it, a sticker?
A: The Conad-Margherita sticker with the price.

Q: With the price?
A: 0.85.

Q: Which therefore corresponded according to your investigations to what item?
A: To a consignment of bleach to one or other shop before the 11th of October.

Q: And had they been sold out before the 11th?
A: No, usually the shopkeeper puts an order in for a new box when he sees they are getting close to finishing.

Q: When was the subsequent reorder?
A: The subsequent consignment was the 5th of November and from the 11th of October the PAC-recommended price was €1.09, while up until the 11th of October it was €0.85.

[207] Q: When you had spoken of an old sticker what did you mean?
A: That it was a bit worn on top.

Q: And that the price was old?
A: No, the price was legible, with the magnifying lens you could in fact read it was corresponding to the price that was in force prior to the 11th of October.

Q: When you had interviewed Raffaele Sollecito’s cleaning lady”¦
A: (Kiriboga) or Natalia?

Q: The one you had asked”¦ let’s put it this way: what questions did you ask both of them as regards the bleach?
A: If they had ever used bleach inside Sollecito’s residence.

Q: And what had they replied?
A: Natalia, who is the one who actually did the last cleaning, up to Monday 5th”¦

Defence ““ Maori: Can we have the other two answer directly when they are heard?
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: There is no prohibition on this because they are on the witness list.
Defence ““ Maori: I ask for the contents of the declarations!
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: Yes, but they are on the witness list therefore there is no prohibition, the important thing is that the main witnesses are then heard.
Defence ““Maori: No, the member of the Prosecutor’s Office cannot answer on this.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: No, I can refer to it [208] then, why not?

President: Excuse me, everybody”¦.
Public Prosecutor ““ Dr Comodi: We’re arguing a point of procedure, but you can mention the main things that were said to you and have been said to you.

President: Therefore you had interviewed”¦
A: Yes, both the two girls who were doing the cleaning at Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Natalia, who was the one who had actually done the cleaning until 5 November 2007, had said that she had never used bleach because Raffaele Sollecito asked her to use Lysoform, that is she was using Lysoform inside Sollecito’s house, Viakal and other products but never bleach and she didn’t remember seeing the two containers under the sink. While (Kiriboga), when she was interviewed, subsequent to the meeting at the Maori law firm, said that a container had been used by her to wash the floor rags and for this reason she had asked Sollecito to buy some bleach, he went out and came back with another container which was likewise Ace bleach, same as the first, and with which she then washed those rags and remembered well that under the sink there were two containers, one half full and the other full.

Q: And this washing when would it go back to?
A: So then (Kiriboga) told us she had been working as a cleaning lady at Sollecito’s house until the end of September, then due to the state of her pregnancy she sent her friend.

Q: And how had you found these containers when you had seized them?
[209] A: One was half full and the other was full.

Q: Therefore the woman, let’s repeat this again one more time, the woman who instead did the cleaning subsequently?
A: Subsequently to this she said she had never seen the two containers in the house.


Civil party ““ Maresca: Counsel Maresca for the Kercher family. Inspector a clarification if you can tell us the people who were placed under telephone intercepts.
A: So then there was Francesco Sollecito, Vanessa Sollecito”¦

Q: Tell us also the”¦
A: Francesco Sollecito is the father, Vanessa Sollecito is the sister, then there was Francesco Sollecito’s current wife, Marisa Papagni, then there was the uncle, Giuseppe Sollecito, then there were still more people forming part of the family but I don’t remember the names.

Q: These phone intercepts were all carried out by you?
A: Yes, by me and by my colleagues.

Q: They were all authorized with the relative writ obviously?
A: Yes, they weren’t only telephonic, they were also ambient.

Q: You have mentioned earlier about attempted pressuring of political personages etc. Can you tell us the names of these political personages?
A: Yes, I have already said them before”¦

Q: And then they became the object of intercepts themselves, that is I’ll frame the question like this, did you also intercept the phone call of the political personage or else was it just as matter of choice?
A: No, it was a matter of choice, phone [210] calls to these people had not been intercepted and in any case the politicians were the Honourable Nania, the Honourable Formisano and the Honourable Mastella.

Q: Do you remember”¦
A: Persons who were named by them as possible”¦

Q: When you say “by them”, by everybody or by some members in particular?
A: By some members of the family, above all by the father and the sister.

Q: Do you remember if the lawsuits by the Kercher family for the Telenorba incident and for the Panorama incident had been filed at Perugia or at Bari?
A: This I don’t remember, in any case I know that Bari is proceeding as regards concerning the seizure of the material broadcast by Telenorba.

Q: Thank you.


President
Q: But the two people who were working at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, you took their witness statements [the SIs]?
A: Yes.

Q: Therefore those circumstances you were referring to them on the basis”¦
A: Yes, of the SIs.

Q: The house in use by Raffaele Sollecito how big is it? If you remember?
A: So then I seem to recall that it gives out onto a landing on the ground floor, there is the front door, there’s the kitchen on the right, a room used as a kitchen, then there is the bathroom immediately to the left of the front door, then stairs go up and there’s the bedroom upstairs.

Q: Therefore it covers these environments?
A: Yes.

[211] Q: And you before have hinted at the presence of the odour of bleach when”¦
A: Yes, when you go in there’s the kitchen and you could smell the odour of bleach.

Q: Where was it, was there a place where there was more”¦
A: Yes, the kitchen because there’s the tiled floor and given that the apartment was placed under sequestration and sealed when I went for the first time on the 8th of November to do the search this bleach odour was still permeating the inside.

Q: And the bleach in the kitchen environment?
A: In the kitchen environment.

Q: Although the kitchen was tiled.
A: It was tiled.

Q: The other environments instead, what type of flooring was there?
A: Look I think there might have been parquetry in the bedroom but I’m not sure.

Q: Very well, you may go.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Understanding Micheli #3: Precisely How Damning Is The DNA Evidence?

Posted by Nicki




1. The Context

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions.

These four posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. I recommend watching this Powerpoint.

Click for Post:  Powerpoints #7: DNA Evidence - A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject Here

2. The DNA Evidence

Coming up soon is a more silent witness, one very important to both the prosecution and the two defenses: the extensive DNA evidence.

Specifically the DNA belonging to Meredith, Knox, Sollecito, and Guede, which was found at the scene of the crime, and on the suspected murder weapon found, apparently hidden, in Raffaele Sollecito’s house.

DNA of Sollecito has been found on the clasp of the victim’s bra. DNA of Amanda Knox was identified on the knife handle and also in the bathroom and Filomena’s room. DNA of Meredith DNA has been found on a knife compatible with the wounds that caused her death. DNA of Guede was found on the victim’s body and items and elsewhere in the house.

In summary, the biological sources and locations where DNA belonging to the victim and three defendants was found are these:

Guede’s DNA

DNA (from epithelial cells) was found inside Meredith, also on toilet paper, also on the right side of Meredith’s bra, also mixed with Meredith’s DNA on the her purse zip, and also on the left cuff of Meredith’s light blue sweater. Five total.

Sollecito’s DNA

DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, mixed with Meredith’s DNA, and also on one cigarette butt found in the kitchen. Two total.

Knox’s DNA

DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on the knife handle, and also close to the blade junction. DNA was also found in the small bathroom and in Filomena’s room

Meredith’s DNA

DNA was found on the knife blade. It was not possible to ascertain both the haematic and epithelial source of Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade, due to the scarcity of the sample. Numerous significant biological traces belonging to Meredith were found outside her bedroom - for example, DNA originating from the blood-trace footprints revealed by luminol found in Filomena’s bedroom, as reported at the Massei trial. Many instances total.


3. Defence Claims

Claims of contamination and “poor matches” of the DNA samples were raised by the Sollecito and Knox defenses, although not by Guede’s.

These claims had not been raised by the defenses’ experts who observed all the testing. 

4. Prosecution Rebuttal

The DNA expert Dr. Stefanoni’s arguments in reply to the defenses’ claims are summarized in Judge Micheli’s report.

Low Copy Number

Dr Stefanoni reported that the locus ascribable to Meredith and identified on the knife blade shows readings of 41 and 28 RFU.

Conventionally, RFU values lower than 50 can be defined as low. But she maintained that the profile matched Meredith’s by explaining that there is no immediate correlation between the height of the peaks obtained by electropherogram and expressed in RFU, and the reliability of the biological investigation.

In fact even if statistically - in most cases - the RFU data is directly proportional to the possibility of a certain interpretation of the analysis result, on the other side many cases of high peaks of difficult interpretation exist (because of background noises), as well as low peaks that are objectively unquestionable, hence the need to proceed to the examination of data that is apparently scarce, but that mustn’t be considered unreliable per se.

The use of multiplex PCR and fluorescent dye technology in the automated detection and analysis of short tandem repeat [STR] loci provides not only qualitative information about the profile - i.e. which alleles are present - but can provide also quantitative information on the relative intensities of the bands, and is therefore a measure of the amount of amplified DNA.

So if on one side Dr Stefanoni admits that the RFU readings are low, on the other her experience suggests that many cases of unquestionable matches exist showing readings lower than 50 RFU, and this appears to be the case with Meredith’s DNA sample on the knife.

Possibility Of Contamination

Contamination in the laboratory is categorically excluded by Dr Stefanoni. The samples were processed with maximum care in order to avoid any contamination during lab procedures. Defense experts observed all processing and nevr raised any objection.

Contamination during the collection phase is excluded by Judge Micheli, as the samples were collected by different officers at different times in different places (example Via della Pergola at 9:40am on Nov 6. 2007, and Sollecito’s apartment at 10:00am, on the same day, by a different ILE team).

As for Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra clasp, the match is unquestionable, according to the lab reports.

Samples from crime scenes very often contain genetic material from more than one person (e.g. Rudy Guede’s DNA has been identified in a mixture with the victim’s DNA in a few places), and well-known recommendations and protocols exist in order to de-convolute mixed samples into single genetic profiles.

So if the lab reports indicate that unquestionable biological evidence of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp, at the present time we have no reason to believe that these recommendations weren’t followed and that therefore the reports are not to be trusted.

Conspiracy Theories

As to cells “flying around” depositing themselves - and their DNA content - here and there around the murder scene, there have been some imaginative theories advanced, to say the least.

The reality though is that although epithelial cells do shed, they don’t sprout little wings to flock to one precise spot, nor grow feet to crawl and concentrate on a piece of evidence.

There needs to be some kind of pressure on a surface in order to deposit the amount of biological material necessary to yield a reliable PCR analysis result.

A simple brushing will not do. 

As a matter of fact, Dr Stefanoni agreed with Guede’s defense that Guede’s genetic material found on the left sleeve of Meredith’s blouse was minimal; and this was because the DNA found there belonged to the victim and was not a mixture.

In the situation where there is a clear disproportion between quantitative data of two DNA’s coexisting in a biological trace, the PCR will amplify the most abundant DNA.

As agreed by Dr. Stefanoni and Guede’s defense, the conclusion here was that on the left sleeve there was plenty of Meredith’s DNA; but very little of Guede’s. This was used by his defense to deny that Guede had exerted violence on Meredith’s wrist.


5. Judge Micheli’s Ruling

After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defenses, Judge Micheli provided reasons why he rejected the contamination claims and ruled that all the biological traces identified as reflecting Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA are admissible as evidence.

He arrived at the conclusion that the DNA evidence is sound and, considered along with the non-biological proof, he decided there was more than enough evidence to order Knox and Sollecito to stand trial.

6. Relevance To 2009 Trial

Regarding the biological significance of the traces, we are now looking forward to hearing the Knox and Sollecito defenses’ counter-arguments.  But as we understand it now, the DNA evidence for the trio having all been involved in the murder seems pretty damning.

The trial to establish the truth about the murder of Meredith continues next Friday. As we’ve reported, various human witnesses have already been heard from: the Postal Police who discovered Meredith’s body, Meredith’s two Italian roommates, and her seven British friends.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

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

Posted by Brian S


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction

Posted by Brian S


Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

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

These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.

Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.

He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.

His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:

Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.

Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.

He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.

He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.

By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:

On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith “¦talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (”¦), we met in the evening around half eight, like that.

While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.

With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.

In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.

Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.

Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:

Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.

He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.

Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.

Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.

Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.

Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:

...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute:

Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her?

“¦Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help
“¦There was a progression of violence
“¦The victim sought to fight back

If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl ““ it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.

Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.

The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.

Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.

Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own

Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.

Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.

Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.

However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.

He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Powerpoints #10: The DNA Evidence May Be A Tough Mole To Whack

Posted by Nicki





We now show in this second Powerpoint presentation what a tough mole to whack that one might be.

We have already covered here the basics of DNA evidence.

That presentation covers the definitions of valid and invalid DNA samples, how contamination might occur, who collected and analyzed the Perugia samples, and how the samples will have been stored.

DNA analysis has been done on the various luminol-enhanced footprints in the house that Kermit analyzed for us.

Also on the knife found hidden in Sollecito’s apartment, and on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house.

And quite possibly on other items, too.

Here’s defense lawyer Theodore Simon in the recent NBC Dateline documentary:

Theodore Simon thinks the prosecutors evidence made public so far is daunting. The defense could argue a faked robbery, and a moved body, and contamination, but eventually it could become like whack-a-mole and all of their arguments could lose force.

Theodore ain’t the only one. New York lawyers following the case reckon the odds of defense arguments losing traction because there are just too many evidentiary moles to be whacked down are already high.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial that all of the many DNA samples might be too small, or too contaminated, or less than 100 percent of a match.

Nothing seems to stand out in the Perugia DNA process to suggest a major failing at any point. And if there was one, only scientific evidence in proof of this will influence the court, and innuendo will really go nowhere.

Further presentations will build on this one when the precise DNA samples being challenged become known.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Powerpoints #7: DNA Evidence - A Very Clear Intro To A Vital Subject Here

Posted by Nicki




If you can’t see the Powerpoints as intended, please install the latest version of the Powerpoint Viewer which is downloadable here

This is a short sharp presentation of how criminal DNA analysis works.

It is widely known that DNA analysis has been done on the luminol-enhanced footprints that Kermit analyzed for us yesterday.

Also on the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment, on some items of clothing, and on some fittings and fixtures in Meredith’s house. And possibly on other items too.

The defenses seem to be indicating that they will argue at trial in December that the DNA samples might be too small, or might be too contaminated, or might be less than 100 percent of a match.

In two respects, this may not change matters very much.

  • First, there will be many other areas of evidence to be considered at the trial. Alibis, eye-witness accounts, the autopsy, defendant behavior and psychology, computers, and cell-phones, all will factor in.
  • And second, DNA analysis is hard to challenge on the grounds the defenses seem to be suggesting. DNA analysis is a pretty precise science. It does not result in percentages of match of the samples - either they match or they don’t match.

And the provisional perception is this: many DO match.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene

Posted by Kermit





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

This is Judge Paolo Micheli explaining his sentencing of Rudy Guede on 28 October:

[Judge] Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker….  adding that while footprints there [in the house] might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

Will the judges and jury in the Knox and Sollecito trial early next year reach the same conclusion? It does look probable.

This Powerpoint is a hypothesis about six of those footprints. There seems to have been some sort of clean-up to try to hide them.

But they were revealed by luminol on the floor of the house. An analysis of evidence already in the public domain (there may be more) does point to the presence of three pairs of feet.

A sole-perpetrator theory of the crime might just be viable with two pairs of feet. But it is hard to see how a lone-perpetrator theory can hold up if there were three pairs of feet.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Judge Micheli’s First Statement - The 10,000 Pages Start To Talk

Posted by Peter Quennell




Judge Micheli’s dossier. This below is from London’s Daily Telegraph. Click above for the full story.

In a dossier on the high-profile case, Judge Paolo Micheli said the 21 year-old’s murder was more likely spontaneous rather than pre-planned.

The judge, however, appeared to agree with prosecution claims the Leeds University student was murdered by more than one person.

He said that footprints in the flat showed there was more than one attacker in Miss Kercher’s flat on the night she was killed.

The revelations came after the Italian judge rejected one of her accused killer’s applications for bail…

Judge Micheli said he feared the two suspects could flee the country or commit another murder.

[Meredith’s] semi-naked body was found in the whitewashed cottage she shared with Miss Knox and two other students on November 2 last year.

She had been stabbed in the neck three times, and sustained more than 40 other injuries.

The judge attached weight to a kitchen knife found in Mr Sollecito’s flat which allegedly carried traces of Miss Knox’s DNA on the handle and Miss Kercher’s DNA on the blade.

He also said there were inconsistencies in Mr Sollecito’s accounts of where he was that night.

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini told the court last week that Miss Kercher was killed when all three suspects tried to force her to participate in “a perverse group sex game”.

Judge Paolo Micheli has a terrific reputation as a judge, He did not of course devote only last Tuesday to reviewing the case.  That has been a full-time job for him for several months now. In particular, he will have read the 10,000 pages of evidence the police and prosecutor have submitted. Almost certainly again and again.

The partial evidence already out here is pretty telling to those who have worked so hard to put it all together.  And the 30-year sentence Judge Micheli handed down to Rudy Guede on Tuesday suggests just how overwhelming the full body of evidence must be. How it must really hang together.

And how it must evoke the intense agony of the final moments of Meredith Kercher, as she was seemingly tortured to death amid laughter and taunts. What is actually in those 10,000 pages will soon be common knowledge, by way of both the Knox/Sollecito trial in December and the Guede appeal thereafter.

Tick tick tick..


Monday, October 27, 2008

Peter Popham Of The UK “Independent” Sure Has Drunk The Knox PR Kool-Aid

Posted by Peter Quennell




Popham’s Bias Against Italy

Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

Popham Again Channels Knox PR

Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

See our corrections below.

Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved ““ but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

Our corrections of Popham

1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…


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.’


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Key Media Reports: 3 November 2007 Kate Mansey Interview

Posted by Administrator

Published in the Sunday Mirror 4/11/2007

MURDERED IN ITALY. MEREDITH, 21
Friend tells how he broke down door
Kate Mansey In Perugia, Italy 4/11/2007

A friend of murdered British student Meredith Kercher told last night how he discovered her body in her blood-spattered bedroom.

Raffaele Sollecito, 23, relived the horror of finding the body of the pretty brunette who died when her killer broke into her home and cut her throat as she lay in her bed.

“It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.

“My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

Meredith, 21, who had been studying in Perugia, Italy since August, was murdered the day after a Halloween fancy dress party at the city’s British-themed Merlin Pub on Wednesday.

On Thursday she posted happy snaps of herself in fancy dress on the internet and in the evening had returned home alone after watching a film at a friend’s house.

But her flatmates - two Italian girls and one American - had all stayed out for the night, so the gruesome discovery wasn’t made until the next day.

Raffaele had spent the night at his own house on the other side of the city with his girlfriend, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 22.

He said: “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.

“The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

As Amanda, from Washington DC, stepped into house [sic B] she could tell there was something terribly wrong.

Raffaele said: “When she arrived the front door was wide open. She thought it was weird, but thought maybe someone was in the house and had left it ajar.

“But when she went into the bathroom she saw spots of blood all over the bath and sink. That’s when she started getting really afraid and ran back to my place because she didn’t want to go into the house alone. So I agreed to go back with her. When we walked in together, I knew straight away it was wrong. It was really eerily silent and the bathroom was speckled with blood like someone had flicked it around, just little spots.

“We went into the bedroom of Philomena (another flatmate who was away) and it had been ransacked, like someone had been looking for something. But when we tried Meredith’s room, the door was locked. She never normally locked her bedroom door and that really made us frightened.”

Their panic grew as they desperately banged on her door.

Raffaele said: “I tried to knock it down. I thought maybe she was ill… I made a dent, but I wasn’t strong enough on my own so I called the police.”

When police arrived they knocked the door down straightaway and Raffaele followed them into the room.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “It was hard to tell it was Meredith at first but Amanda started crying and screaming. I dragged her away because I didn’t want her to see it, it was so horrible.

“It seems her killer came through the window because it was smashed and there was glass all over the place. It was so sinister because other parts of the house were just as normal.”

Raffaele, a computer science student, said Meredith had recently started seeing an Italian neighbour called Giacamo [sic B] who lived in the apartment beneath the girls.

He said: “Meredith was always smiling and happy. She was really popular and it’s horrible that someone would want to hurt her.”


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