Thursday, October 17, 2019

There’s This Powerful Evidence Of Sollecito’s Crimescene Presence: Unmistakably HIS Footprint

Posted by James Raper



Prosecutor Dr Manuela Comodi introduced this very tough evidence

Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments.


1. Series And Post Overviews

Previously in our hard-physical-evidence series, we put Sollecito rock-solidly at the scene of the crime through his DNA.

This post also puts him at the scene of the crime, through a footprint unmistakably his, and not Guede’s, as one of the zombie hoaxes has it - always a very weak claim as there is not only no evidence that Guede ever took his shoes and socks off - there is not even even a compelling scenario. 

Again, please bear in mind the trial circumstance. Read this trial report for a taste of how the footprint evidence sent the defenses into shrill disarray. Starkly obvious to the panel of judges, without exception never mentioned by the hoaxers.

The purpose of this post is to explain exactly why the right sided footprint, as seen in the bottom right hand corner of the bathroom mat, can be, indeed was, attributed to Raffaele Sollecito.

Saying that it was attributed to him is not to exclude any number of other people to whom it could also belong, but as we shall see we can, perfectly reasonably, exclude the two other suspects in the case, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede.

2. Bathmat Footprint Evidence At Trial

In evidence was a forensic analysis of the footprint, undertaken by Dr Rinaldi and Chief Inspector Boemia, comparing the print to the reference prints, made on a flat surface, of each of the three suspects. After taking measurements it was clear that the print could not be attributed to Amanda Knox because her foot is smaller in size. That then leaves us with Sollecito and Guede.

The mat, of course, is not a flat surface. It contains the tufts of weave which form the pattern on the mat.


In this image the colour has been enhanced, whereas Exhibit One reflects the reality of a stain where the blood is clearly diluted, and this, in itself, is a matter which has a part to play in attributing the stain.

We can now consider what those comparative measurements were.


On the basis of the above measurements compiled from Rinaldi’s and Boemia’s Report, Sollecito’s foot is a far better fit for that on the mat than Guede‘s, and for this reason Rinaldi and Boemia came to the conclusion that the bathmat print belonged to Sollecito.

The trial judge, Massei, wrote - 

“The analyses of the size of the big toe, Sollecito’s being absolutely the widest, led in itself to the conclusion of compatibility between the print on the mat and the right foot of the defendant, whereas the comparison between the sole print of Guede and that of Sollecito also demonstrated the different size of the plantar arch, with Guede’s narrower one attesting to the fact that the Ivory Coast national has an altogether narrower foot in comparison to Sollecito’s foot. The sole prints of the two defendants in question therefore present considerable differences in terms of :- (1) the big toe; (2) the width of the metatarsus; (3) the width of the plantar arch……”

Clearly the disparity in the width of Sollecito’s and Guede’s big toes is significant.

However Professor Vinci, Sollecito’s expert, disputed Rinaldi and Boemia‘s finding as to the width of the big toe on the mat. He noted that the big toe, as seen in Exhibit Two above, falls on elevated weave in the shape of a spiral. According to Vinci the flourishes of weave in this part of the curl of the spiral did not exactly match and the top right of the stain was not in fact part of the big toe, but attributable to the second toe. Once this was detached, the width of the big toe on the mat was more akin to the width of Guede’s big toe.

Furthermore, he argued, the detached stain could not belong to Sollecito because his second toe did not appear in his reference print - it did not touch the ground due to a case of valgus on the right of his big toe.

True, but the point is a non-sequitor as Sollecito’s second toe is not required for his big toe to match the width of the stain - indeed held back in a hammer position we should be even more confident of the width of the big toe - and, in any event, the mark to be detached could not belong to Guede’s second toe, as we shall see.


Massei was unable to agree with the operation of detaching the mark from the toe because it depended on an assumption that there was an interruption in continuity.

“The base of the material in the disputed point shows that the trace of blood is a single unit on all of the curl (flourish), and is uniformly linked, forming a single unit with all the other parts of the material on which the big toe was placed.”

Massei continued -

“Although it is possible to agree that in the calculation of the width of the big toe the point of measuring may fall in an unstained place, nevertheless a comprehensive view of the bathmat clearly shows why this was done. Considering that the small region under discussion is part of the tip of the big toe, the point on the right of the toe giving the 30 mm measurement lies along the line descending perpendicularly from that tip, without any widening……………..furthermore, the association of the bathmat footprint with Guede’s foot (see the CD ROM provided by Professor Vinci showing “the superimposition sequence” for Guede’s foot) appears, frankly, as strained, given that Guede’s footprint, apart from having a morphology which is generally longer and more tapered, also has a second toe print which unequivocally falls quite far from the big toe print, so that the small mark whose detachment from the big toe is in question here could hardly be attributed to the second toe of the defendant (Guede)”.

We can now move to how Hellmann considered the evidence when his appeal court acquitted Knox and Sollecito.

Noting that there is an unstained section of the bathmat print, where apparently Sollecito’s toe should be, were we to have a complete print of his big toe on the mat, Hellmann disparages what he considers is Massei’s assertion that one can simply draw a line down from the disputed mark of blood in accordance with the shape of Sollecito’s toe, hence arriving at a measurement for the width of the big toe coinciding with Sollecito’s.

Looking back I think that Massei did leave himself open to criticism with that remark, but more particularly because (unlike Guede) the vertical axis of Sollecito’s big toe (see below) does have a more obvious tilt to the left (which might be a consequence of the valgus and consequent “hammer position” of the second toe) and which, together with the blood on the flourish of the weave (on the right) would give a reading for the width of the big toe, without relying on part of that measurement falling in an unstained section.

However there are a number of other reasons which Massei believed were persuasive, and which Hellmann ignores. The first is a disparity in the length of the respective big toes, Guede having a longer toe than Sollecito. Secondly, the position of the left hand curve of the ball of the foot, and the lower section (the left side of the plantar arch – there can be a number of measurements here as the plantar arch tapers off significantly in width), on the bathmat is fairly clear and if one lines up the suspects’ curves with that on the bathmat, then the tip of Guede’s big toe is noticeably higher than the mark of the toe on the mat, whereas Sollecito’s coincides. In addition, the top of the ball of Guede’s foot is noticeably higher whereas Sollecito’s more or less coincides.

Below are the respective representative prints for Sollecito and Guede. Placing them side by side for comparison purposes is subject to formatting considerations. Superimposed upon them is an outline of the stain to illustrate the points made above. Of course, to some extent the outline of the stain is subject to one’s own interpretation, but I believe it is reasonably accurate.


Guede’s print has 7 points of disparity with the stain – Sollecito 1 as below.                                                       
Hellmann draws attention to the fact that the comparison print for Sollecito’s right foot shows that the distal phalange of the big toe (the part of the big toe which connects it to the ball of the foot) is absent on a flat surface, but is present on the bathmat, and that in Guede’s representative print the distal phalange is present.     

Having criticised Massei for, he says, the subjective element of his interpretation, Hellmann then gives us his own subjective interpretation.                             

“Now, since the contact of the foot with blood took place on the floor of Meredith’s room, namely on a flat and rigid surface, the distal [phalange] would not have been able to have become stained, and thus it would not have been able to leave the very visible trace on the bathmat.”

Hellmann goes on to state that the print was left by Guede, in accordance with Professor Vinci’s contention.

But hold on! Why should we be required to accept that Sollecito would necessarily have stood in blood in Meredith’s room (and remember that the mark on the mat was diluted blood, which aspect modifies, if not negates, any direct correlation) or, if he did, that it was on a flat and rigid surface there, since there was blood on Meredith’s clothing on the floor, and indeed there were towels soaked in blood in her room, although it is not, at first sight, an unreasonable hypothesis? However, be it the assumption (which does not explain the diluted blood) is hypothetical given that Hellmann does not accept that the print on the bathmat is Sollecito’s, nevertheless Hellmann’s logic is circular and deficient given that there are no connecting bloody footprints between the blood in Meredith’s room and the bathmat print.

He could, of course, explain that, but not without giving credence to the removal of blood traces, which he ignores in his report.

Hellmann also ignores the pertinent and critical point made by Massei that the point of Guede’s second toe falls some distance from the big toe such that it is unlikely to be responsible for the width of the big toe on the mat.

Hellmann’s grasp of detail is poor, his attention is selective, and his grasp of context almost non-existent.

Cassation’s Fifth Chambers were worse, if that was possible -

“Finally, the footprints found at the murder scene can in no way be traced to the appellant.”(i.e Sollecito)

Yes, seriously, that’s all they had to say on the subject! They did not even give any reasons for the assertion.


But even if the bathmat print can “in no way” be traced to Sollecito, can it be traced to Guede? How did Guede get to the bathroom to leave his supposed print without leaving a trace on the way there?

It would appear, on the forensic evidence, that Guede left Meredith’s room and proceeded direct to the front door. Initially he left just- about -visible bloody left shoe prints. The blood trailed off but the shoe prints were picked up again by the application of luminol. He did not divert to the small bathroom, or for that matter to Filomena’s room to stage a break-in.

3. Defense’s Attempts To Nail Rudy Guede

Sollecito’s defence team had an improbable theory - that Guede, immediately after the murder and despite his homicidal rage, was smart enough to hop out of Meredith’s room on his left foot with a clean shoe on, and the other bare but covered in blood, and that having by this means entered the bathroom and washed his bloody right foot, disastrously leaving his (supposed) imprint there in the process.

He then returned to Meredith’s bedroom, inadvertently standing in blood again with his clean left shoe and leaving with a trail of bloody left shoe prints - in which case the exercise of washing his foot was entirely in vain, on two counts, after all that careful hopping around. Neither is it entirely clear why his right shoe came off in the first place. His shoes were foot-hugging Nike Outbreak 2. Improbable that one could have come off even in a struggle.

It is patently obvious that his washing his foot was the most inept performance in all this given the mark the foot subsequently left on the mat. The same observation obviously applies to Sollecito as well but in his case, and not with Guede, or any other unknown male, it is far more credible to accept that he had diluted blood on the sole of his foot for a reason unconnected with his having just washed it.

All the above, as it pertains to Guede, or another unknown male assailant, is exceedingly unlikely and there is a far simpler explanation. Someone with more time to spare than Guede, or his unknown mate, and with less risk of discovery attached, was responsible for the diluted blood and had inadvertently stepped in it.

There had, undoubtedly, to be blood on the floor (and elsewhere) between Meredith’s room and the small bathroom, probably prints, and these and other such traces (bathroom door, Meredith’s door etc) were deliberately and carefully removed by wiping them away with wet towels, cloths etc. Probably whoever had done this had then stepped on one of the towels or cloths in question and then stepped onto the mat without thinking. Hence the diluted blood.

It is interesting to note that Guede, during his stay in jail in Germany, wrote (emphasis added) –

“I am asking myself how is it possible that Amanda could have slept in all that mess, and took a shower with all that blood in the bathroom and corridor.”


The reason for removing the blood was not just to conceal who would have made prints (the print on the bathmat was, after all, left in situ) but, from a visual perspective, to conceal any blood that might be noticeable and alarming to anyone approaching Meredith’s room. Guede’s bloody left shoeprints in the corridor, pointing to the exit, were visible but only on close inspection.


The prime stager, the person who would have had most interest in attending to a post murder manipulation of the crime scene by the removal of blood traces would, of course, have been Amanda Knox. It was a prerequisite if her account of having stopped by the cottage to have a shower, before the discovery of the body, was to work in the manner for which she hoped.

However, having attended to this she would then, from the position of her own narrative, be in a position to instigate and manage, entirely innocently from anyone’s perspective, the discovery of her flatmate’s murder. Visiting the cottage to have a shower and collect a mop, with no visible blood in unexplainable places to alarm her, was an indispensible opening sequence in the narrative.

She did, though, leave the mat in situ. This may simply have been because it never occurred to her that this could be used as evidence incriminating Sollecito and, of course, the absence of the mat would no doubt have been remarked on by her flatmates. Having eliminated other blood traces, removing the mat might have been conceived as being a step too far as it would have raised questions.

Finally Guede, for numerous reasons, is simply not a credible candidate for the clean up, particularly given the numerous and incriminating traces of himself that he did leave at the crime scene.

Given the comparative measurements, given the full context of the crime scene, including the removal of blood traces and the attribution of a luminol revealed footprint to Sollecito outside Meredith’s room, and given the fact that the murder weapon was in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer and that his DNA was on the bra clasp, there can be little doubt that the bathmat print belonged to him.


Posted by James Raper on 10/17/19 at 09:32 PM in


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