Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trial: ABC’s End-Of-The-Day Report On Friday’s Forensic Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Patrizia Stefanoni prepares to testify, click for a larger image]

Ann Wise filed this report

1) On Amanda Knox’s DNA

[Stefanoni] said that in about 20 out of over 100 hundred samples taken from the crime scene she found Knox’s genetic profile, or DNA. This is not unusual since Knox lived in the cottage, but significantly, in a number of the samples Knox’s DNA was mixed with Kercher’s DNA.

Most of the mixed DNA from the two women was found in blood traces discovered in the bathroom. Stefanoni told the court that Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Kercher’s in a luminol-enhanced bare footprint in the hallway outside Kercher’s room,and in a luminol-enhanced spot found in the room of housemate Filomena Romanelli.

When the murder was discovered, Romanelli’s room appeared to have been broken into. Her window was shattered and a large rock was found on the floor. Nothing was stolen, however, and investigators accuse Knox and Sollecito of faking the break-in after murdering Knox.

In the small bathroom that Knox and Kercher shared, investigators found numerous spots of blood, including on the sink, the toilet, the bidet, the rug, the light-switch and the door jamb. Three of these blood stains one on the edge of the sink, the one on the drain of the bidet, and one on a Q-tip box - contained the mixed DNA of Kercher and Knox

2) On Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA

The DNA of Sollecito was found only in two samples out of the many taken in the house, one on a cigarette butt in the kitchen, and on the hook of Kercher’s bra, mixed with Kercher’s DNA.

Kercher’s bra was found on the floor in her room, soaked in blood and with the shoulder straps torn. The part of the bra with the hooks had been cut off. This fragment of the bra was taken into evidence a month after the crime when the forensic police returned to look for it and other items they had not taken the first time.

In the meantime, the crime scened had been searched and the house turned up-side down. Sollecito’s defense maintains that the late collection of the piece of bra and the earlier search of the house has contaminated that particular piece of evidence.

Under a sometimes-heated cross interrogation by the defense lawyers for both Knox and Sollecito, Stefanoni defended her methods and denied the crime scene had been contaminated.

Sollecito would have had to rub the bra hook forcefully for DNA from his skin cells to be on it, she said. Dead skin cells floating around the room do not contain DNA and would not stick, she said.


Hey Pete, thanks for posting this and an interesting report from Ann Wise.

The DNA evidence against Amanda is daunting and her defence team will have to do something pretty spectacular to bring it back. Neither Amanda’s nor Meredith’s DNA should have been anywhere near Filomena’s room. This is especially damning when we consider that Filomena’s window was broken to stage the break in. It seems to me that Amanda’s level of involvement gets clearer and clearer with each passing day of the trial.

I’m glad Patrizia Stefanoni fared well under cross examination and highlighted the absurdity in suggesting that the dead skin cells ‘floating around’ the room could not cause contamination on the bra strap. Raffaele’s DNA on the cigarette butt is easily explainable and I shouldn’t think it poses much of a threat. But his DNA on the bra strap is a big problem for his defence. If contamination is a possibility where was this abundance of Raffaele’s DNA coming from? They found hardly any trace of him in the whole house. If there is an innocent explanation I’m all ears.

No mention of Knox’s DNA on the bra clasp, interesting because I’d read that one of Raffaele’s experts stated her DNA was also found on the bra strap.

Posted by Miss Represented on 05/23/09 at 03:48 PM | #

Our DNA poster Nicki in Italy is offline in a rural area for the weekend, but she will post in a day or two on the full significance of the testimony. She was able to email us this:

From what I can see - and as we have been claiming all along - the DNA is matching Meredith’s and Knox’s genetic profiles, period.

There is no thing as a 20% compatibility or “matching half of Italy”. DNA either matches or it doesn’t (in some cases biologists say “it cannot be excluded” when an insufficient number of loci matches, but that would come across as a negative match anyway).

I will comment further about the claim of the 20% match, which became the claim of a match of half of Italy, which then turned into a claim of a match only because of sample contamination, for example due to DNA flying, or creeping, or swarming around!

I find the lack of biological materials under Meredith’s fingernails very interesting, a probable indication that she had been immobilized.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/23/09 at 05:03 PM | #

First Saturday trial reports in the Italian media make it sound as if Patrizia Stefanoni is proving very hard to shake under cross-examination on the impossibility of sample contamination.

Translated from ANSA: The biologist explained that the DNA of Mez was “extracted for 50 times” and it would be absolutely impossible for it to have been mixed with other base samples or with those of other cases.

And ASCA is reporting that she said that in a long career she has never ever encountered a case of contamination. The methods and instruments used are extremely precise. She gave examples both of convictions gained and of charges dropped because of her teams’ work.


Other trial reports today are essentially expected to be more of the same. We will do a roundup late today or tomorrow early, and Nicki will follow with her own take on it all (see comment above).

You might like to read in the meantime the compelling new post of Miss Represented on the psychology probably at play here.

Miss Represented’s website now invites registration, which seems a good response to the many protests from serious regular readers about some wildly-off-the-point thread hijackings.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/23/09 at 05:20 PM | #

Great point Nicki! I too find the lack of DNA under Meredith’s fingernails extremely interesting. It supports the evidence suggesting Meredith was forcibly restrained and unable to reach out with her hands. It also further discredits the lone wolf theory as, had Rudy Guede attacked Meredith alone I’m sure there would have been a higher likelihood of finding his DNA under her fingernails simply because he would not have had enough hands to hold her down, sexually assault her and threaten her with a knife.

The injuries sustained by the victim support the idea that she literally fought for her life, if she could have scratched one of them she would have and Dr Stefanoni would have found the supporting evidence under the victim’s fingernails. As such the evidence supports the idea that Meredith was forcibly held whilst other indignities were being inflicted upon her body.

The evidence so far has incontrovertibly shown that more than one person was involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Posted by Miss Represented on 05/23/09 at 05:51 PM | #

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