Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trial: ASCA Wraps Up For Final Day Before The Trial Breaks To 14 September

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for ASCA’s report in Italian. A quick translation of the main points:

Adriano Tagliabracci, a DNA consultant for the defense of Raffaele Sollecito, testified to the contamination and therefore the unreliability of one of the DNA finds that the prosecution considered particularly important.

According to the expert, the handling of the hook of Meredith’s bra where Sollecito’s DNA was claimed by prosecution experts to have been identified followed incorrect procedures, both in the collection and in the final analysis and interpretation. For this reason, the finding is not reliable.

The work of the forensic experts, moreover, in Tagliabracci’s opinion, was not in line with what is recommended by international bodies, starting with the long interval of time, 47 days, between the discovery of the bra hook on November 2, under the pillow which had supported the victim, and its collection for evidence on December 18 from under a mat.

In this period, three visits to the house were made by an unknown number of crime-scene processors who used many unspecified procedures which might have created a situation where the possibility of contamination was increased..

Given that the DNA of Sollecito was derived from epithelial cells, there is a firm possibility that, contrary to the claims by the police and Patrizia Stefanoni, the chief scientific expert for the prosecution, the DNA could have been placed on the bra hook during those visits.

The bra hook in question was made available in the courtroom today in a plastic evidence envelope.

An excellent prior analysis of this piece of evidence was posted by our DNA poster Nicki on 29 May here. Nicki, an expert in the field, was totally disbelieving that the DNA got on that hook by accident.

She concluded that Sollecito must have handled Meredith’s bra hook - and moreover, with a very firm grip.

Comments

I would be interested to know the procedural aspects of the prosecution rebuttal which (I gather) will take place when the trial reconvenes in September.  Based on the reports of the defense evidence over the last few weeks, I trust they will have witnesses and evidence to respond to:

1.  Cannibis issue.  Defense seems to be trying to establish that pot would (a) not make AK and RS violent and (2) that it could have impaired her/their memories so as to explain their inconsistent and untruthful statements (as well as AK’s accusation of Patrick).

2.  Forensic evidence/opinion re which knife could have/ did cause the wounds.

3.  Evidence re: AK already having been told she could not leave the country to rebut the assertion by her relative from Germany that she wanted to stay to offer comfort to Mr. Kercher and that she was afraid there was a crazed killer on the loose.  I don’t recall ever hearing anything from any of the investigating authorities about AK having sought contact with the Kerchers.  Did her professed “concern” over a third party killer get voiced to anyone other than her (clearly biased) relative witness?

4.  DNA collection, process, irregularities in collection, transfer of DNA (epitheleal or otherwise) and “tainted” evidence.

5.  Mobile phone evidence re: what, if anything, the pings by Meredith’s phone proves.

6.  Hopefully more than one witness from the investigating officers to establish the specific lengths of time AK was questioned for, the specific “threat language” she testified to and the specific nature or absence of ANY physical contact between any officer and AK.  Her whole position seems to be that I smoked some dope and the cops threatened me and “hit” me so this explains the absence of alibi, wildly conflicting stories and accusation of an admittedly innocent (black) man.

7.  AK statements re her phone calls to Mom and RS calls to police per Finn’s analysis of July 4.

8. Concise response to defense argument re: rock being thrown from outside through the window and the “break in.”  Defense position seems to be that RG previously broke in through a window, so he did so here (mechanics nothwithstanding) and went on to commit murder.  This seems both irrelevant and a bit of a stretch (no pun) of an argument.

Perhaps most importantly, rebuttal and whatever closing argument is allowed must emphasize:

1.  The complete failure to provide an alibi or credible explanation for where they were and what they did that night;

2. Why both their cel phones were turned off;

3. The admitted fact that AK clearly accused Patrick of being the murderer.  Was this part of her intention to “help out the Kerchers?”  It makes no sense and makes her look like a gross liar.

4. Knox testimony re bloodstains in bathroom and timing vis a vis blood evidence.

5.Timelines showing Knox proceeding to shower with blood all over the place…entry into Meredith’s room etc.

My overall impression is that the defense has “cherry picked” some of the prosecution claims in order to cast some doubt on the substantive evidence and methodology of its collection.  What seems woefully absent though is a common sense, truthful, and believable account of what really happened.

Posted by Sierra1049 on 07/20/09 at 08:51 PM | #

Hi Sierra1049. A painstaking and very intriguing list. It may be about to become longer, too, as we start two weeks of posts from later today on the complete case made by the prosecution.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/20/09 at 09:02 PM | #

I also felt very strange that AK did not mention being terribly scared at the idea the killer was still at large. Of course we have a small idea of why, but still, she did not say anything about that. It is the cousin’s testimony that, unless I am mistaken, mentions it for the first time.

AK did not look like a terrified girl to me. Her parents did not say anything about the fact she was falling apart and was so afraid until now….

Posted by Patou on 07/20/09 at 11:22 PM | #

Hi Patou. Apparently the seemingly fear-free attitude stood out because of its contrast to the norm and remarks were made to that effect. Perugia is typically a very trusting and open place. Murders are almost unheard-of, and we have found no previous case of a student as a victim.

So the confusion and fear among students at the time, particularly among women students, was considerable. We don’t know how many students headed out of Perugia, at least for the short term, but we know that some of the foreign students left and never returned unless they were required to provide testimony.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/21/09 at 01:46 PM | #

The “lack of fear” thing that really got me was that AK returned home to an open front door, called out for her roommates, and getting no response, calmly undressed in her room (I think), ambled into the bathroom, took a shower in a room filled with bloodspots and stains,  and did the bathmat boogie back to her room to get dressed. I don’t think leaving the front door unlocked and taking a shower is normal behavior, especially with blood spots and stains all over the bathroom.

I would bet that the girls didn’t leave the door unlocked with no one else home when they took out the trash unless the trash bins were very close to the house. The logical thing, if that is so, would be to check to see if someone was at the trash bins. If no one was there—I personally would have been very uncomfortable with the circumstances and would gotten out of there immediately, not gone in the house leaving the door open and taken a shower.

And then to go back to Raffaele’s place and have a leisurely breakfast before mentioning that there were strange things at the cottage—with the door open and blood in the bathroom..This before wigging out about “something tragic” happening to Meredith when it was the middle of the day and she could have just been out of the house??

That behavior just doesn’t add up to anything to anything reasonable.

Posted by beans on 07/21/09 at 05:28 PM | #

Exactly!

Plus, why did she have to go back to Raffaele to ask him to come and seen when she could have called him on his cell - in fear - to run and check everything for her!

Or, even better, she should have gone directly back to his place - forget the shower, the hairdo, when you find blood, unknown feces and an unlocked door, your hair is not exactly the most urgent - to feel safe and maybe convince him to go and see with her.

Nothing makes sense!

Posted by Patou on 07/21/09 at 06:31 PM | #

Another aspect of AK’s testimony that made absolutely no sense to me was her assertion that when she (finally) noticed the blood spots – and blood smeared – all over the bathroom, she thought that one of her roommates might have had a menstrual ‘issue’ and not cleaned up properly.

I am a woman and had my share of roommates, as well as communal experiences living and staying with women over many years, and have NEVER been in a situation where a woman’s menstrual blood was smeared all over a bathroom – let alone set in a footprint! You’d really have to work at that. We know that AK’s own hygiene habits may not have been the greatest, so perhaps she is referencing from that, but, honestly, I doubt it. Just another lie.

Posted by wayra on 07/23/09 at 01:54 PM | #

Hi wayra. As far as we know only AK (seemingly a grubby person) and Meredith (who seemingly had a real issue with grubby persons) ever used that bathroom. This does narrow down the list to, well, one. Probably not quite as AK intended. Time and again she has dropped herself in it. Far more-so than we could ever have done.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/23/09 at 02:36 PM | #

Yes Wayra, I also felt this issue was being suspicious. The only time in my life (I am 60) I saw some menstrual blood out of place - left by a messy person you would say - was a smear next to the toilet paper roll.

Nobody would leave such an amount of blood and not clean! The fact that Peter Quennel, on top of that, underlines that only AK and Meredith were using this bathroom ... underlines that this was one more lie!

She isn’t even smart…

Posted by Patou on 07/23/09 at 03:33 PM | #

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