Sunday, July 05, 2009

Why Defendants Mostly DONT Testify? Those Devils That Lurk In The Details

Posted by FinnMacCool




Preamble

We have always pressed very hard for the truth to come out. WHY did poor Meredith have to die? And why and how in such a cruel and depraved way?

It now looks almost overwhelmingly certain that the truth did NOT come out when Amanda Knox took the witness stand in the court on 12 and 13 June.

No media organization seems to have made even the slightest effort to analyze Amanda Knox’s testimony, to see if it hangs true with past statements and known timelines.

But the judges and jury will do this for sure.

We have also begun to cross-check the testimony, and the first results look quite devastating for the defense. 

1. A phone call before dawn

The phone is ringing in Seattle. Edda Mellas wakes up ““ it is long before dawn, on a Friday morning early in November. (To be precise, it is 0447 on November 2, 2007.)

Her daughter is calling from Italy ““ Amanda doesn’t usually call at this hour, she’s usually more careful about time zones.

Speaking to ABC’s 20/20 show a few weeks later, Edda described the content of that call as follows:

[Amanda] goes, “I’m back at my house, and I want you… first I know I’m okay.” And I said, “Okay, you know, what’s goin’ on?” And she said, “Well, I was at Rafael’s last night… and I’ve come home now and I think somebody’s been in my house…” And she told me, “We can’t find Meredith. We can’t get a hold of Meredith. And her room is locked.” And I said, “Hang up and call the police.”

Phone records show that the call lasted a minute and a half. Amanda is concerned enough to wake her mother before five in the morning. First, she reassures her mother that she herself is okay. She explains what will later become her alibi for the murder of Meredith Kercher ““ that she spent the night at Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.

Then she explains why she is calling in the middle of the night ““ there are signs that someone has been in the house, that Meredith’s door is locked, and that she and Raffaele have been unable to make contact with Meredith.

Edda’s reply is simple, and plainly it is good advice: hang up, and call the police.

Phone records show that a minute and a half after this call ended (at 1250) Raffaele made a call to his sister Vanessa, who is a lieutenant in the carabinieri.

We don’t have too much detail about the content of this call (since Vanessa hasn’t testified and Raffaele is exercising his right to silence) except that it appears to have been similar to Amanda’s call to her mother. Raffaele briefly explains the problem at the cottage and Vanessa advises him to call the police.

A minute later, Raffaele calls the police. After a phone problem ““ he has to call back after being placed indefinitely on hold ““ he calls them a second time and explains the problem. Since these calls were recorded, we know exactly what was said.

Raffaele claims that someone has broken into the house through a broken window and caused a lot of disorder. There is a lot of blood, but nothing has been stolen, and the main problem ““ as he sees it ““ is that there is a locked door. The police say that they will send a patrol to verify the situation.

Edda’s testimony, supported by the police and phone records, shows a straightforward link from the call she received at 0447 Seattle time (1247 in Perugia) to the calls that Raffaele makes to his sister (1250) and the police (1251 and 1254). That whole process takes just eight minutes.

At 0524 (1324 in Perugia), Edda receives a second phone call from her daughter. Amanda explains that the police have now arrived and found Meredith’s dead body.

2. Two days later: an email

The murder makes the international news. Several phone calls follow. Over the weekend, Amanda is one of several people being interviewed by the police, alongside others who knew Meredith, or who arrived at the crime scene before the discovery of the body.

At home in Seattle on Sunday, Edda Mellas receives an email from her daughter, which is copied to multiple recipients (friends, family, and staff at the University of Washington). 

Amanda describes how, on the Friday morning, she went home, showered, noticed some problems, returned to Raffaele’s apartment, went back to the cottage with Raffaele, and became increasingly alarmed about the various signs that an intruder had been in the house.

Then there is a part that Edda finds strange. Amanda describes the following events, as regards calling the police:

“in the living room raffael told me he wanted to see if he could break down merediths door. he tried, and cracked the door, but we couldnt open it. it was then that we decided to call the cops. there are two types of cops in italy, carbanieri (local, dealing with traffic and domestic calls) and the police investigaters. he first called his sister for advice and then called the carbanieri. i then called filomna who said she would be on her way home immediately. while we were waiting, two ununiformed police investigaters came to our house.”

Something is missing from this account. There is no mention at all of the pre-dawn call that Amanda made to her mother ““ the one in which Edda herself told Amanda to call the police. Naturally Edda trusts her daughter. But there is something about this part of the email that troubles her, because it doesn’t square with her own memory of what had happened on Friday morning.

3. The next weekend: visiting Amanda in prison

Edda decides to travel to Perugia to support her daughter in the aftermath of her housemate’s murder. She leaves Seattle on Monday, November 5, planning to meet Amanda in Perugia first thing on Tuesday morning.

However, by the time Edda arrives, Amanda has already been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

In fact, it seems that Amanda has accused a local man, Patrick Lumumba, of committing the crime, while she herself was in the kitchen of the cottage, covering her ears so as not to hear Meredith’s screams.

Amanda has also written a subsequent document in which she partly stands by this accusation and partly withdraws it, claiming that it now seems “less real” than her previous statement that she spent the night of the murder at Raffaele’s apartment.

Although she has never been to Italy before, Edda does have some contacts in Perugia, since the town is twinned with Seattle. These contacts advise Edda about finding a lawyer for Amanda, so that she can dismiss the court-appointed attorney and appoint a local lawyer (Lucian Ghirga) who remains Amanda’s legal representative to this day.

Mr Ghirga explains the difficulties of Amanda’s having told several versions of events, and advises specifically of the dangers of accusing an innocent man. He hopes that Edda will be able to help Amanda resolve these difficulties, and to tell the clear truth about what happened.

On Friday, November 10, Judge Claudia Matteini finds sufficient grounds for continuing to hold all three suspects (Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Patrick Lumumba) pending further investigation.

On Saturday, November 11, Edda Mellas visits her daughter in jail. It is now eight days since Edda received that phone call before dawn in Seattle.

One of the points she wants to help Amanda resolve is that puzzling omission from the email of the pre-dawn phone call. How could it be that Amanda has forgotten making that call? Here is a transcript of the conversation between Edda and Amanda about that pre-dawn call:

Edda (surprised): But you called me three times.

Amanda: Oh, I don’t remember that.

Edda: Okay, you called me first to tell me about some things that had shocked you. But this happened before anything really happened in the house.

Amanda: I know I was making calls. I remember calling Filomena, but I really don’t remember calling anyone else. I just don’t remember having called you.

Edda: Why would that be? Stress, you think?

Amanda: Maybe because so many things were happening at once.

Edda: Okay, right.

 




4. “I really don’t remember this phone call”¦”

Edda is not the only one who finds it surprising that Amanda could simply forget making the call.

Judging from the records, and from Edda’s testimony, that forgotten call appears to have triggered Raffaele’s calls to the police.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi focused specifically on this point when questioning Amanda in court on June 13, 2009.

Initially, Amanda claimed that she was still unable to remember having made the pre-dawn phone call. She reported that the first call she remembered making was the one at 1324 (0524 in Seattle), which followed up the forgotten call with an account of how the police had arrived and had now found Meredith’s body.

Comodi:  You said that you called your mother on the morning of Nov 2.

Amanda: Yes.

Comodi: When did you call her for the first time?

Amanda: The first time was right away after they had sent us out of the house. I was like this. I sat on the ground, and I called my mother. (Note: This is the 1324 call.)

Comodi: So this was when either the police or the carabinieri had already intervened.

Amanda: It was after they had broken down the door and sent us outside. I don’t know what kind of police it was, but it was the ones who arrived first. Later, many other people arrived.

It’s hard to know what to make of Amanda’s account here. It’s one thing to have forgotten making that pre-dawn phone call. But Amanda is now expecting the court to believe that she has also forgotten this prison conversation with her mother, along with the suggested reason (“stress”) for forgetting the call.

As Comodi presses her further about this phone call, Amanda’s only response is that she simply doesn’t remember making it.

Comodi: But from the records, we see that you called your mother ““ not only from the billing records but also from the cell phone pings ““ that you first called your mother at twelve. (Note: this is the 1247 call ““ actually much later than 1200.) At midday. What time is it at midday? What time is it in Seattle, if in Perugia it is midday?

Amanda: In Seattle it’s morning. It’s a nine hour difference, so, ah, three in the morning.

Comodi: Three o’clock in the morning?

Amanda: Yes.

Comodi: So your mother would certainly have been sleeping.

Amanda: Yes.

(Note: because of a difference in when Daylight Savings Times changes, the actual difference on November 2, 2007, would have been just eight hours. Midday would be four o’clock in Seattle. 1247 in Perugia would be 0447 in Seattle.)

There is imprecision both from Comodi and from Amanda with regard to the pre-dawn phone call. The call was not made at midday in Perugia, but at 1247. The gap between Seattle and Perugia was in fact ““ unusually ““ only eight hours during that particular week.

The prosecutor is drawing attention to the earliness of the hour ““ or at least, the earliness of the hour as Amanda understood it to be. 0447 is getting close to a time when it might be acceptable to call an early riser, whereas 0300 certainly isn’t. Perhaps this is the reason for Comodi’s allowing the time to shift earlier at this point in the conversation.

The next section of dialog makes it clear that Comodi’s main aim in this line of questioning is to establish what was Amanda’s motive in making this call.

It’s one thing to call your mother in the middle of the night because the police have just discovered a dead body in your house. But it’s another thing entirely to call your mother at three in the morning because you think there might have been a break-in at your house the previous night.

The obvious implicit question here is: “Why call your mother, who’s fast asleep on the other side of the world, before you’ve even called the police?”

There are credible answers that an innocent person might provide to this question ““ for example, by claiming that she was faraway, in a foreign country, and she just wanted to hear a friendly, comforting voice.

But Amanda doesn’t say anything of the kind. Instead, she anticipates and wards off the question, by insisting that she simply has no memory of making the call in the first place.

Comodi: But at twelve o’clock, nothing had happened yet. That’s what your mother said”¦

Amanda: I told my mother”¦

Comodi: “¦during the conversation you had with her in prison. Even your mother was amazed that you called her at midday, which was three or four o’clock in the morning in Seattle, to tell her that nothing had happened.

Amanda: I didn’t know what had happened. I just called my mother to say that [the police] had sent us out of the house, and that I had heard something said about…

Comodi: But at midday nothing had happened yet in the sense that the door had not been broken down yet.

It’s worth noting here that, although Amanda has estimated midday as 0300 in Seattle, Comodi silently corrects her by saying “0300 or 0400”. Comodi knows perfectly well that the difference in Daylight Savings Times affected the time difference.

But the prosecutor’s intention is to clarify why Amanda made that phone call to her mother, not when she made it.

We’ve seen that, in Amanda’s email, she claimed that she and Raffaele had reached a point where they had decided they would have to call the police. In the courtroom, Amanda sticks to that story.

But the cellphone records show that before Raffaele called the police, Amanda called her mother in Seattle. Comodi wants to know why she did that.

In the following brief exchange, Amanda repeats five times that she cannot remember making that call.

Amanda: Hm. Okay. I don’t remember that phone call. I remember that I called her to tell her what we had heard about a foot. Maybe I did call before, but I don’t remember it.

Comodi: But if you called her before, why did you do it?

Amanda: I don’t remember, but if I did it, I would have called to”¦

Comodi: You did it.

Amanda: Okay, that’s fine. But I don’t remember it. I don’t remember that phone call.

In the above exchange, Amanda sounds irritated (“okay, va bene”) to be reminded of this phone call, and insists that she simply doesn’t remember it. For her part, Comodi reminds Amanda that this is not a “he said/she said” scenario. (“Lo ha fatto.” “You did it.”) There is no possibility of denying that the call took place. This is a phone call that is recorded on the billing records and by the cellphone pings.

5. Why is this phone call important?

We might wonder about why it is important whether or not Amanda could remember calling her mother at 1247, before the body was discovered.

It’s important because that police records show that the communications police had already arrived at the house, and had spoken to Amanda and Raffaele, at the point when this phone call was made.

What really happened during those few minutes appears to be as follows.

- CCTV footage in the car park shows a black Fiat Punto (the same as the model driven by the policemen) arriving at 1225. The police themselves recorded their arrival at the cottage at 1230.

- Filomena calls Amanda at 1234 ““ Amanda doesn’t mention that the police are already there, but she does say (for the first time) that a window is broken in Filomena’s room.

- Filomena then calls her boyfriend, Marco, and asks him to go to the cottage, because she knows that he will be able to get there more quickly than herself.

- Marco and his friend Luca arrive at the cottage and find that the police are already there, that they have spoken to Amanda and Raffaele and that Amanda has written down some phone numbers.

- Raffaele and Amanda then go into Amanda’s bedroom. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrives, with her friend Paola Grande. Paola testified that she saw Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom just before one o’clock.

- It would appear that Amanda and Raffaele went into Amanda’s bedroom at around 1247 and made four phone calls: the first to Edda Mellas, the second to Vanessa, and the third and fourth to the police.  In other words, while Luca and Marco were talking to the communications police, Amanda went into the bedroom and phoned Edda Mellas.

The explanation Amanda gave her mother as the reason why she forgot the call was that there were so many things happening at that moment. And in fact, there would appear from this reconstruction of events that in reality there were a lot of things happening at once.

But in Amanda’s own version (given in her email) she claims that there actually weren’t many things happening at that point. There were just two people in the house ““ herself and Raffaele. She claims the police arrived later, after Raffaele dialled 112, and Marco and Luca arrived later still. 

In other words, at this point - when Amanda and Raffaele’s version conflicts with the testimony of the other witnesses, with the phone records, with the police records, with the CCTV footage from the car park, and even with the testimony of Amanda’s own mother - they need some kind of coherent story.

Raffaele has exercised his right to silence.

Amanda claims she can’t remember the phone call she made to her mother. And the reason she gives for not remembering the phone call contradicts her own story about what was happening at the time.

6. Judge Massei intervenes

At this point in the trial, the chair of the panel of judges decides to intervene.

He picks up on the issue of the forgotten phone call. He is concerned that Amanda is suggesting that maybe the phone call did not even take place, when in fact it is quite plain that it did.

Politely, he interrupts this part of the questioning.

Massei: Excuse me. You might not remember it, but the Public Minister [prosecutor] has just pointed out to you a phone call that your mother received in the small hours.

Commodi: At three o’clock in the morning.

Massei: So, that must be true. That did happen. Were you in the habit of calling her at such an hour? Did you do this on other occasions? At midday in Italy, which corresponds in Seattle to a time when… It’s just that we don’t usually call each other in the middle of the night.

Amanda: Yes, yes, that’s true.

Massei: So either you had a particular reason on that occasion, or else it was a routine. This is what the Public Minister is referring to.

Amanda: Yes. Well, since I don’t remember this phone call, although I do remember the one I made later, ah. But. Obviously I made that phone call. So, if I made that phone call, it’s because I had, or thought that I had, something I had to tell her. Maybe I thought even then that there was something strange, because at that moment, when I’d gone to Raffaele’s place, I did think there was something strange, but I didn’t know what to think. But I really don’t remember this phone call, so I can’t say for sure why. But I suppose it was because I came home and the door was open, and so for me”¦

Even to the chair of judges, in other words, Amanda continues to insist that she cannot recall making the phone call that looks to have triggered the self-incriminating 112 calls.

A neutral observer might think of those phone calls as a botched attempt to gather more witnesses to their having innocently stumbled upon the crime scene and then called the police.

The phone records show that Amanda had made one phone call to Filomena (at 1208) before the arrival of the police, and three calls to Meredith Kercher’s phones (at 1207, 1211 and again at 1211). (Amanda claimed that Meredith’s Italian phone “just rang and rang” ““ but phone records show that it rang for just three seconds.)

So, if it were not that Amanda was trying to strengthen her alibi, and gain another witness to her having innocently stumbled across the crime scene, why exactly did she call her mother?

Amanda’s answer is, “I don’t remember this phone call, so I can’t say for sure why.”




7. Edda Mellas’s testimony in court

On June 19, a week after Amanda had testified, Edda Mellas provided a much fuller version of the phone call that Amanda had unfortunately forgotten.

Edda provided far more detail than she had provided to the ABC 20/20 show. The Seattle TV station, Kiro TV, summarized her evidence as follows:

- In the first phone call, Amanda said, “I know it’s early,” but she called because she felt someone had been in her house. She had spent the night at Raf’s. She came back to have a shower and the main door was open. She thought it was odd but it has a funny lock and it did not close well.

- She went to have a shower and when she came out she noticed some blood but she thought maybe someone had her menstrual cycle and did not clean afterwards. She then went to her room and then went to the other bathroom to dry her hair and saw there were feces in the toilet. Amanda thought that was strange because normally girls flushed the toilet.

She went back to Raf’s and told him about the things she found strange. Sometime later she got hold of one of the other roommates. She tried to call Meredith several times but there was no answer.

- They came back to the house and she showed Raf what she found and then they also noticed the broken window. And now they were pounding on Meredith’s room trying to wake her.

Edda had provided so much detail that she was asked to confirm whether all this information was indeed in the first call. She confirmed that it was:

Yes, [Amanda spoke] very quickly. I told her to call the police. She said Raf was finishing a call with his sister and then was going to call police. This was the first call.

This first call lasted just 88 seconds, so Amanda must have spoken very quickly indeed.

Edda has also managed to answer the question that her daughter failed to answer the previous week, about why she had called her mother at such an unearthly hour: “Amanda said I know it’s early but she called because she felt someone had been in her house.”

If we accept Edda Mellas’s testimony at face value, we find ourselves wondering how a person who could have crammed so much detail into a phone call could possibly forget making that phone call at all?

We notice also that Edda has confirmed once again that she did advise her daughter to call the police. (And we know that her daughter’s boyfriend did exactly that, shortly after Amanda put the phone down.) Yet Amanda claims that she cannot remember that advice, nor can she even remember making the phone call.

At the end of her written document on November 6, Amanda wrote:

“All I know is that I didn’t kill Meredith, and so I have nothing but lies to be afraid of.”

As the trial progresses, it looks increasingly as though Amanda was indeed involved in the killing of Meredith Kercher ““ and she has nothing but lies to protect her.

Sources:

1. 20/20 transcript of interview with Edda Mellas published in the Seattle Times for February 2, 2008:

2. Recording and transcript of Raffaele Sollecito’s second 112 call.

3. Transcript of Amanda Knox’s email to multiple recipients on November 4, 2007:

4. Cellphone records for Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox for November 1 and 2, 2007 (case files)

5. Transcript of conversation between Edda Mellas and Amanda Knox on November 11, 2007, cited in court on June 13, 2009

6. Transcript of Edda Mellas’s testimony in court, June 19, 2009




Comments

Well done, Finn, another fine effort for Meredith.  Some $1-million-a-year lawyers who help us along here were already thinking Knox might have no way out. Wait till they get a gander at this. Marriott and Preston are increasingly questioned for their hardline campaign which surely helped buoy her to think she could pull this off.

If there is guilt, her lawyers otherwise might have got her to sell the others out and plead a lesser role, or to go for a psychological defense, elements of which seem to be there. Or, best of all, to be deeply penitent to Meredith’s family, and to the court, which can lead to real leniency in Italy. Instead, now, she does seem pretty cooked.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/09 at 05:28 AM | #

WOW….you have just gone from McCool to McWayCool…extremely good work….Oh and Kermitwaycool as well.Don’t really want to leave anyone’s hard work to go unrecognized. Cheers!!

Posted by fotomat on 07/05/09 at 05:46 AM | #

Finn, thanks for the painstaking work of putting this all together. It helps everyone to understand exactly what Judge Micheli meant when he noted that Sollecito and Knox had been betrayed by their cell phone records. Obviously, there is no direct line from this evidence to murder. But the notion of involvement is strongly supported. Why else would this call have been forgotten, why else would calls have been made to 112 after the arrival of the postal police, and why else would both suspects maintain that they called 112 before?

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 07/05/09 at 06:51 AM | #

This is absolutely terrific; thanks!  This gives a very good insight into what the defence have been working with.

Posted by Fiori on 07/05/09 at 03:22 PM | #

Thank you thank you thank you! This is so clear, and the result so obvious.

Two little things that I just thought of while reading: wouldn’t be normal for Amanda to have flushed the toilet in the other bath room instead of just “noticing” it hadn’t been? (Well, we know she used not to flush herself, huh…)

Then, if she had noticed someone could have entered the house, wouldn’t be a normal reaction that maybe call to check if any girl is there, and when not hearing anyone, try to verify that nothing was out of order in any room. She then could have noticed right away that the “someone” had entered Filomena’s room. But no, she is anxious, but she does not, even after finding the blood.

Posted by Patou on 07/05/09 at 03:48 PM | #

Charming.  And thanks for the links, too.

Posted by Professor Snape on 07/05/09 at 07:42 PM | #

Finn,

Why do you think the email hasn’t come up in court and why do you think they left out so many things that we would have asked should we have had the chance to question Amanda?

For example, the two reasons for needing the mop and bucket. It sounds like the mop and bucket is not what we thought it would be as we’ve never heard it come up in court. If it is nothing then how unlucky for the defendants is that?! Being caught with a mop and bucket at a crime scene!

I presume it’s not come up because they ran tests on it and came up with nothing.

Kermit put together a series of questions he would like to put to Amanda. I’ve hardly heard one of them asked.

Your highlights are important but if they’re the most damning then it seems she got off lightly. Why though?

Could it be that what we hear on these boards and what we think is damning proof of their involvement isn’t coming up in court or are we just not hearing about it.

If it isn’t coming up in court, there must be a good reason.

Why do you think that is?

I would like to see a post summarising the prosecution, which I think TJMK are working on, and a list of things that haven’t come up and the possible reasons why so we can separate fact from fiction and start to truly understand how strong the prosecution’s case is.

Posted by mikeyverve on 07/05/09 at 10:22 PM | #

Many thanks, Finn, for the detailed information and analysis. I was especially glad to read that Judge Massei intervened to call the queen of obfuscation on the attempted sleight of hand re: the first phone call to her mother.

In an earlier post, I disagreed with mikeyverve about the potential for the defense to undermine the credibility of the prosecution over the issue of the collection of evidence.

But I share his questions above re: why the mop and bucket moment, for example, was not raised in court. Also, does anyone know if the prosecution introduced the fact that the lamp from Amanda’s bedroom was found (on the floor, I believe?) in Meredith’s bedroom?

I certainly don’t want to be second-guessing prosecution tactics, having only a layperson’s limited knowledge from halfway around the world, but, as mikeyverve noted, this circumstantial evidence seems among the most damning pieces of information.

Posted by wayra on 07/06/09 at 02:39 AM | #

Let’s not forget that Knox/Sollecito had a few days to get rid of any evidence including cleaning of the mop or disposing of it and replacing it with another. They were not arrested until the 6th. Knox may have disposed of the shoes whose print appeared on the pillow under Meredith which was of the size of Knox’s. I’m not clear as to when the police may have tested “a mop”. It’s quite possible the police radar did not go off about the mop and the defendants until it was too late. The conflicting stories from the defendants about the need for the mop are quite telling and similar to the other conflicting and failed versions of alibis, lies,contradictions,etc.

Posted by jennifer on 07/06/09 at 05:31 AM | #

I also read somewhere on an Italian newspaper site, that when asked where she had bought the cannabis they smoked, Amanda “did not remember” that either.

The newspaper underlined the numerous things she conveniently did not remember…

Posted by Patou on 07/06/09 at 01:30 PM | #

Thank you Finn. This is an excellent analysis which explains the frenzy of phone calls made by Knox and Sollecito. It explains a process which started before the arrival of the Postal Police, and which the surprise of their arrival had triggered the frenzy of calls made by Knox and Sollecito at 12:47 (Marco’s arrival and the police being preoccupied gave Knox and Sollecito a free moment to complete the process of calls, frantically). Marco and Luca’s arrival may have been another surprise because they didn’t count on Filomena being able to make it to the cottage so soon, and didn’t realise she’d send Marco.

Mikeyverve—the first I heard of the mop was very early on in this case, in the form of a written account by Sollecito. I’m not sure if it was an early police statement, a prison-diary entry, or a news-paper column. Either way, what I found curious was Sollecito’s detailed and elaborate emphasis on “putting the mop by the door/entrace to the cottage”. He went on about this so much that it made me think that this mop must have a lot of significance for him (or at least so Sollecito must have thought), otherwise why go into so much detail about it? I understood why when the he prosecution’s clean-up theory later emerged. Obviously Sollecito’s finger prints on the mop needed explaining. Like you, I find it surprising that we haven’t heard of this in court. Either it was not reported by the media, or the prosecution didn’t bring it up because they thought that Sollecito’s cleaner’s testimony, along with the shop-owner’s and the luminol foot-prints were sufficient enough to back-up the clean-up theory.

Posted by Scooby on 07/06/09 at 02:09 PM | #

The mop actually used in the clean-up may have gotten so bloody (sorry) that it wasn’t useful in cleaning up, so AK and RS decided to dump it in some convenient trash bin (along with the clothes they wore for the murder) and to start over with a fresh mop. In which case, RS could certainly place considerable emphasis on the mop they were caught with, knowing that it was clear of anything incriminating

Posted by beans on 07/06/09 at 05:07 PM | #

i’ve always heard that when a criminal lawyer takes a case, he asks the defendant to be ABSOLUTELY truthful - that he needs to know EVERYTHING - even if the defendant was involved in any way so he can properly defend her.  does this mean that criminal lawyers often KNOW that their client really is guilty but try to get their client freedom?  i.e. the criminal lawyer supports the lie?

Posted by gramjan on 07/06/09 at 08:43 PM | #

In his statement to police Sollecito said the mop was needed to clean up water from a broken pipe. In her email of Nov 4 Knox said it was needed to mop up water from a pasta spill the night of the murder. So many inexplicable lies, contradictory stories, failed alibis, and ” memory lapses”.

Posted by jennifer on 07/06/09 at 10:25 PM | #

Today’s been a good day for the defense. They’ve managed to get their own respected experts to appear stating that the murder weapon was much shorter than the one found at Sollecito’s and that the injuries sustained suggest one attacker. With that, all they’ve done is cancel each other out but that’s all the defence needs to do. Show that another scenario is possible, therefore sowing seeds of doubt in the jury’s mind. If they manage to put doubt in the minds of the jury about the knife and bra clasp, then I feel there will be difficult times ahead for the prosecution. That said, it’s much easier to suggest a different scenario for how things happened - that’s merely opinion based on fact and the two sides have given good arguements for both. The physical evidence will be much more difficult to overcome. Thank god judges are part of the final decision, they’ll be able to see past the smoke and mirrors and be able to make an educated decision about the so-called “contamination” argument.

Posted by mikeyverve on 07/06/09 at 10:43 PM | #

Hi Mikey,

I don’t think it has been a good day for the defence at all. Professor Torre gets paid to dispute the testimony of the medical experts who testify for the prosecution. He failed to persuade the judges and jury that his last couple of clients were innocent.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks looking carefully at the investigation and the prosecution’s case. The Italian authorities used their best specialists and resources in this case.

The different experts (Stefanoni/Biondo/Intini/Rinaldi et al) from different departments are in agreement: they believe Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were involved in Meredith’s murder.

The numerous judges who have examined the evidence agree with the various experts and police investigators. There is an overwhelming consensus of opinion.

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni’s testimony was absolutely key. Knox and Sollecito will be found guilty of murdering Meredith in the autumn on the strength of her expert testimony alone. The defence lawyers tried and FAILED to prove that contamination had occurred.

Alberto Initini, the head of the Italian police forensic science unit, explained that unless contamination has been been proved, it does not exist.

The double DNA knife, the abundant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in Filomena’s room and Sollecito’s bloody footprint on the bathmat is damning evidence.

When you add the multiple alibis and repeated lies, the suspicious and highly unusual computer and mobile phone activity on the night of the murder, and Amanda Knox’s lamp in Meredith’s room to the mix, a very incriminating picture emerges.

Posted by The Machine on 07/07/09 at 12:05 AM | #

Hi Machine. To add to what you said, we will be posting a roundup of today’s trial reports later. The late Italian ones are usually the most comprehensive.

What Mr Torre testified to differed from advance rumors (a step back) but even so, the details of his theory of the final blow to Meredith sound highly improbable.

The presence of two knifes was already advanced by the prosecution, and DNA proof of the involvement of the large knife has not been shaken, so multiple attackers are still pointed to.

Apologies to Finn for Mikey’s hijacking of this comment thread. Posters work hard on their posts, and our registration agreement requires that comments not simply change the subject.

We always post on trial happenings. Emailed posts on other subjects are always very welcome if we seem to be missing something.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/07/09 at 12:30 AM | #

I read it again…

Now, was Meredith’s room keys ever found?

Then, Amanda said that she first arrived to take a shower (and as noticed by other persons before… I guess there is a shower at Raffaele’s too…), saw the feces, the blood etc… but instead of calling him for him to come and see, she goes back to his place so she can accompany him again ... It does not make any sense, absolutely!

This email sent to too many people to be an honest one also seems an attempt to give “reality” to her version….

Posted by Patou on 07/07/09 at 08:02 PM | #

Bravo Finn! Hai fatto un buon lavoro. I’ll write some comments in this blog since I’m constantly deleted on the SeattlePI blog.

First of all if anybody tells you that in Italy a person is guilty unless proven innocent you’re authorized to kick that person in the teeth. Just recite to him/her Art. 27 of the Italian constitution In particular the second ‘comma’):

La responsabilità penale è personale.

L’imputato non è considerato colpevole sino alla condanna definitiva.

Le pene non possono consistere in trattamenti contrari al senso di umanità e devono tendere alla rieducazione del condannato.

Non è ammessa la pena di morte, se non nei casi previsti dalle leggi militari di guerra.

[Criminal responsibility is personal..The defendant is not considered guilty until the final definitive sentence (i.e. after all appeals)

Punishment cannot consist in treatment contrary to sense of humanity and must tend to the re-education of the guilty defendant.

The Death sentence is not admissible, except in cases set forth by wartime military laws.

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 07/08/09 at 05:10 AM | #

To Jennifer, Surely that was a sealed crime scene and no further tampering, cleaning, disposing could have taken place.

Posted by pensky on 07/08/09 at 07:40 AM | #

Why doesn’t Amanda remember the earliest call to her mother? I imagine it was because she wasn’t thinking particularly clearly (though I find it hard to think of many instances in which she does seem to be). I think she was reacting. She knew that she had done something bad (or, if her alternate, covered ears, stupid bit of fun claims were true, at least been aware that something bad had transpired) and she wanted mummy to fix it. Or at least get her out of there (and take her shopping). Who is the one individual in her world most likely to be disappointed in her misdeeds, in her utter moral failings, if not her own mother. I think her dizzy conscience was nagging at her. Later, with Raffaele the Stalwart by her side, she felt bolder. (Where was he at the time of the first call?) Then there is the split between her Seattle self (Mommy’s good girl,  Jesuit indoctrination, Deans List, soccer star blah blah blah) and her reinvented, wild child, of the many lovers and extensive piercings. That was the Amanda who thought they were fooling the others, with their surprise at the discovery in that room.
I think she both loves and resents her mother, common enough for most teenagers. But she is no longer a teenager.

Posted by mimi on 07/12/09 at 05:06 AM | #

right somebody please HELP ME !! this is driving me mad

she phones her mum at 1247, but the cops had already been there for 17 minutes right…....
Q/ why didn’t she tell her mum the cops were already in attendance ? It doesn’t change anything does it.
Is the answer because she wants to be the one who later claims to have alerted the authorities ? because even if she hadn’t alerted the cops to the house issues, it doesn’t mean she’s guilty does it.
( I’m just playing devils advocate here by the way, I believe she is guilty for the record )
Q/Did she tell the 1230 cops that something was wrong in the house ?
why did she do that, she could have played it cool got rid of them and carried on with the cleaning couldn’t she…....
Q/  Amanda phoned Filomena at 1234 right….Why didnt she tell her some cops have just arrived looking trying to find her to return some mobile phones,
I think the point I’m trying to make is why phone anybody. Why not just stay in at RS house and worry and scheme.
I’m not a simpleton but who goes back to a house in the middle of the day to finish cleaning up a murder scene….I know what your all gonna say….. she knew everybody was either away on holiday or at their boyfriends…. but its a bit risky isn’t it, I mean lets face it she couldn’t guarantee 100% nobody was coming home at any minute could she…..no theres something wrong here… she a lot of things but she’s not stupid. they did all their cleaning in the early hours… Why ring anyone, why muddy the waters with complications that would have to be explained later. why go back for a shower, why not go to gubio and play it cool and the gang WHY WHY WHY..
Last night i read her trial testimony aloud, or rather I got my daughter ( a drama student a Liverpool uni ) to play the part of Amanda Knox and read her testimony aloud and I played the part of the prosecutors. I’ve got to say in all honesty i believed Emily ( Amanda ) had been abused by the cops.. try it yourself and see what you think…..i’ll have more questions I’m sure but I’m going out now so thanks in advance and in the words of Arnie “I’ll be back”

Posted by derian on 02/23/10 at 07:25 PM | #

Hi Derian,

Why are you expecting Amanda Knox to have acted logically? 

I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make about getting your daughter to read out Amanda Knox’s testimony. It doesn’t change the fact that Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis and lied repeatedly.

Furthermore, Knox’s claims that she was abused by the police were flatly contradicted by the corroborative testimony of numerous upstanding witnesses.

Posted by The Machine on 02/23/10 at 09:17 PM | #

Plus Finn made it pretty clear that AK seemed to be scrambling to set up an alibi after the cops turned up unannounced.

By the way, Derian, you are stating as a fact something that was not in evidence: that the cleanup was all done in the early hours.

You can read real eyewitness reactions to Knox’s cold, flippant, uncaring testimony (in Italian) on the stand here and here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/23/10 at 09:23 PM | #

Hi Derian,

You’re also assuming that Amanda Knox was telling the truth about going back to the cottage for a shower. I advise you to be a little more sceptical when it comes to anything that Knox claims.

Posted by The Machine on 02/23/10 at 09:41 PM | #

Hi there, everyone. Just to pick up on those questions from Derian:

Question: she phones her mum at 1247, but the cops had already been there for 17 minutes right…....why didn’t she tell her mum the cops were already in attendance ? It doesn’t change anything does it?

Response: Actually, that changes a lot. If the cops were already there when Amanda made that call, then it would be weird not to mention that fact to her mom, since she’d supposedly called her to tell her what was going on. (Edda thought that was weird, too - it was one of the first things she mentioned to Amanda in prison.)

My guess is that Amanda’s plan had been to call her mother (just as she called Filomena) in order to have some witnesses to her having innocently stumbled upon the scene. The police arrived before she’d called Edda - so she decided to call her anyway, in a quiet moment, just as if the police hadn’t yet arrived.

And of course Edda’s advice is what any good mother would say in those circumstances - “Hang up and call the cops”. What happens next is Amanda hangs up, and then Raffaele calls his sister, who’s in the Carabinieri, and then dials 112. All of that looks like panic, and it’s all documented in the phone records. When Amanda wrote her email account, she invented a completely different story of what happened for those few minutes.

Question: Is the answer because she wants to be the one who later claims to have alerted the authorities ?

Response: No, I think the pattern of calls shows that Amanda was hoping Filomena would be the one who alerted the authorities.

Question: Did she tell the 1230 cops that something was wrong in the house ?  Why did she do that, she could have played it cool got rid of them and carried on with the cleaning couldn’t she…....

Response: I’ve never been in that situation, but I can only imagine that if you are at the scene of the murder you committed the previous night and the cops show up unexpectedly, (a) it isn’t easy to play it cool and (b) it wouldn’t be a good idea to try to get rid of them and carry on cleaning.

Question: Amanda phoned Filomena at 1234 right….Why didnt she tell her some cops have just arrived looking trying to find her to return some mobile phones

IResponse: ‘m not sure of the answer to this one - not least because it’s not entirely clear exactly what was going on at this time in the house. The only thing we can say for sure is that this is a much more specific call than the previous ones - this is when Amanda finally told Filomena that it looks like her room was broken into (something she hadn’t mentioned before).

Question: I think the point I’m trying to make is why phone anybody. Why not just stay in at RS house and worry and scheme.

Response: Yes, that would have been a much better plan.

Question: I’m not a simpleton but who goes back to a house in the middle of the day to finish cleaning up a murder scene….

Response: Um - the murderer?

Question: Last night i read her trial testimony aloud, or rather I got my daughter (a drama student at Liverpool uni ) to play the part of Amanda Knox and read her testimony aloud and I played the part of the prosecutors. I’ve got to say in all honesty i believed Emily (Amanda ) had been abused by the cops..

Response: Wow, it sounds like your daughter is really talented. Why not ask her to read out Amanda’s written testimony, the one that begins “This is very strange, I know, but what really happened is…” and see if Emily can get you to believe that one too.

Good luck!

Posted by FinnMacCool on 02/24/10 at 11:42 PM | #

Thank you Finn. I was too dizzy after banging my head against the wall numerous times to even address the “Emily” issue.

Posted by tigger34 on 02/25/10 at 06:52 PM | #

Nothing to add but my thanks and appreciation for the crystal clear timeline of events. Excellent stuff, Finn McwayCool!

Posted by mojo on 07/06/10 at 11:29 AM | #

I have a feeling those visits to her bedroom when the police were there were also an opportunity to ingest more drugs. Probably cocaine, but not all “coke heads” stick exclusively with that drug and I have a feeling some other stimulant may have been used such as methamphetamine or perhaps a combination along with other drugs.

Based on her behavior, in particular how her mother described her “fast talking” when she made the first call to her home, from the bedroom. She made the call possibly after a “confidence” dose of cocaine and or another stimulant. I also strongly suspect the drug Ecstasy may have played a part in all this. Although it is commonly considered a “love drug”, mixed with cocaine or some other stimulant could cause unpredictable behavior. This could explain the loving gestures AK and RS shared at the most inappropriate times.

Also, the cartwheels at the police station indicate to me someone working off a strong boost of energy most likely due to ingesting another “confidence boost” of a stimulant drug to help her deal with the questioning from police. It cannot be stressed enough how drugs played a part in this horrible murder and when people speak of “motive” it is obvious that the drugs involved fueled the madness that took place in that cottage.

There are many people in prisons throughout who were convicted of murder which was a result of being high on drugs and in most cases, alcohol and amphetamine related drugs were what the perpetrators where on when the crimes occurred. I know as a fact that marijuana or hash alone does not cause memory blackouts and according to my friends in the police force here in the US, they would rather deal with someone high on marijuana because they tend to be mellow and easy to deal with as opposed to someone who is drug and or high on amphetamines.

The drugs were definitely the catalyst for what happened. This is why it was so important for them to say they were on the much milder marijuana to admit drugs but steer investigators from what they were really on. The same way Amanda steered investigators away from her guilt by accusing Patrick Lumumba.

Posted by Kazwell on 10/15/10 at 01:28 AM | #

Hi Kazwell. Excellent overview of the drug possibilities and you are welcome if you want to turn it into a front page post.

Most of us learned a lot during this long process about crystal meth and cocaine (we were told that the perception in the clubs was that Sollecito was already a cokehead and Knox was fast becoming one) and especially the psychotic effects of skunk cannabis - that engineered stuff sometimes goes wrong in the lab and then sends users absolutely haywire.

The role of any pre-existing mental conditions we can only guess about, and whether Patrick’s last message sent Knox into a jealous rage. But most people would put money on hard drugs.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/15/10 at 02:33 AM | #

I agree, a very good overview Kazwell. 

I think one thing about drugs that people forget is that the effects of a “street” drug are relatively unpredictable.  High value drugs such as cocaine and heroin are frequently in the news because there is a “bad batch” doing the rounds - the agents used to dilute the drug from it’s pure form can cause all sorts of effects, normally this only makes the news when the diluting agents turn the drug deadly to the user.

Prescription drugs are carefully manufactured and the effects of bulking agents are known - “Street” drugs are a cocktail of who knows what and the “active ingredient”.  The results are unpredictable.

It should also be noted that we are individuals - we all react to medicines and drugs differently.  We are safe using carefully manufactured medicines under the supervison and care of our doctor, but once we step into the world of uncontrolled production and usage we are no longer safe.  Nor is society.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 10/15/10 at 01:52 PM | #

Regarding the 12:47 call Edda claims “Yes, [Amanda spoke] very quickly. I told her to call the police. She said Raf was finishing a call with his sister and then was going to call police.”

The call to her mother at 12:47:23 lasts 88 seconds, this means the call would have ended at 12:48:51. Sollecito didn’t initiate the call to his sister until 12:50:34. This is 1 minute 43 seconds after Amanda’s call to her mother had disconnected, why then does her mother claim Amanda tells her “Raf was finishing a call with his sister” when he hadn’t even made it yet?

Posted by Welshy on 01/21/11 at 01:10 AM | #

From AK’s email, quoted in the article above:

“... he (RS) first called his sister for advice and then called the carbanieri. i then called filomna who said she would be on her way home immediately. ...”

From the article itself:

‘- Raffaele and Amanda then go into Amanda’s bedroom. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrives, with her friend Paola Grande. Paola testified that she saw Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom just before one o’clock.’

While getting the chronology all wrong, it would also seem that AK is claiming to have phoned Filomena despite Filomena actually being present in the flat at the time the call was made - or have I got something wrong here?

By the way, this is a great site and full of informative articles - thanks to all concerned!

Posted by Daoud on 01/22/11 at 01:40 PM | #

I think one can conclude that Amanda Knox didn’t have a shower (or showers) as claimed at the flat she shared with Meredith and others and it was just an excuse for being in the house. Ditto with the excuse of going back to the flat to get a mop (wasn’t it) for Sollecito’s flat.  As she never cleaned except when she needed to clean up after a murder, this was also an excuse for having gone back there to the flat.  Could she and Sollecito have just gone off on their planned day trip as if nothing had happened? She was at his flat overnight, so that would have been logical. They clearly wanted to be back at the flat to explain their DNA in the flat during the murder and the clean-up.  If they had just gone off on the planned trip, it would have been hard to explain the bloody and other evidence they left behind in the flat.  Surely this is right.

Posted by helenv on 05/29/12 at 09:07 AM | #

Excellent work here, as ever.

I just want to make a comment about drug use. Although cannabis is widely seen as making people mellow, I used to know someone who was a very heavy cannabis user, in fact he was an addict.  He seemed to have frequent trouble with his short-term memory, forgetting to do things etc.  He was also very unpredictable and would turn on a six-pence ie was prone to losing his temper suddenly over nothing and being aggressive (verbally, though not physically.)  He was also very paranoid. 

I do not know or necessarily even believe that this has bearing on AK and RS’s behaviour that night or generally, but I just wanted to respond to the widely held view that cannabis is just a gentle drug that makes users mellow.  My guess is it depends on quantity and what it is mixed with.

Posted by Maartje on 10/23/13 at 06:15 PM | #

...I have nothing but lies to be afraid about…yes, pretty much.

Thank you for your time and effort. This is fantastic.

Posted by Bettina on 01/16/14 at 06:04 AM | #


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