Friday, November 22, 2013

US Judge Startles Legal Watchers By Overturning A Unanimous Verdict: Is This Hellmann Part Deux?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Martha Moxley’s murder 1975

Martha Moxley’s is a case with quite a few similarities to Meredith’s case - and after 38 years it has once again flashed back into the US news.

Greenwich, where 15-year-old Martha lived, is a few minutes drive up the Long Island Sound shoreline from New York City. Great wealth resides there. It is the US zip code with the highest family income and net wealth, and there are many mansions set in large estates.

The brutal murder of Martha happened on Halloween Night of 1975. She was beaten to death with a golf club by someone around 10:00 pm soon after leaving a Halloween party at the Skakel house across the street. No physical evidence ever tied anyone to the crime.

The main suspects in the case

Michael Skakel was a close neighbor (with his large family, he lived in a mansion diagonally across Walsh Lane from Martha’s smaller one-storey house) and a school classmate of the same age as Martha. He had a troubled record of misbehavior and substance abuse (he was later sent to a special school) who Martha’s diary later revealed had a history of pestering her. The golf-club came from the Skakel house.

He was not the only suspect. A new tutor at the house was long considered. And Greenwich police first interviewed and polygraphed his brother Tommy, who was very friendly with Martha, and with whom she was seen flirting at the party at the Skakel’s house the same night. Between the two brothers, there was bad blood.

Read here the final entries in Martha’s diary which seem to show her attraction to Tommy but none at all to a jealous Michael.

Michael Skakel’s conviction in 2002

Michael Skakel over the years (seemingly proud of himself, and sounding quite like Sollecito) came to hint and even openly claim more and more that he was the one that killed Martha. Skakel also claimed to have been up in a tree or a treehouse peeping through windows on the same night. An alibi that he was across town during the party at his house fell through.

In 2002, after these pointers to himself reached critical mass in police investigations and various books and reports, he was put on trial and unanimously found guilty by a jury, and then (controversially) sentenced as an adult to 20 years to life. As with Sollecito and Knox in Italy, the vast majority of the population thought it was a fair cop.

There are of course some differences between the two cases.

In Perugia the police and prosecutors really did do a good job and didnt blink under the considerable pressure of TWO families and TWO defense teams playing all manner of dirty tricks. They never backed off, whereas the Greenwich police (who never called for outside help) seem to have become timid and indecisive and simply wanting the case to go away. And in Martha’s case DNA has not yet reared its intrusive head.

But the two cases also have a lot in common.

Commonalities of Martha and Meredith cases

1) Martha was younger than Meredith but given time would have emerged to be a very similar girl. She also was ambitious, talented, hard-working, eye-catching, witty, and the apple of their eye of various boys which might have sparked jealousies in some.

2) The attack involved a number of ferocious blows over several or some minutes with a golf-club, suggesting not a burglar or prowler who did not know Martha but someone who did know her who was in a considerable rage. The golf-club broke, and the shaft was thrust through her neck. She was then dragged alternatively face up and face down quite a few feet to a place under a tree. There was a lot of blood, and as some of her clothes were down there may have been a simulation of a sex crime.

3) The rich and connected Skakel family (among which Michael did not stand out as the major achiever) was not especially helpful in the investigation, and they blocked certain important moves by the Greenwich police. They have spent huge sums of money (possibly up in the millions) on lawyers and detectives and still do. Theirs was a fairly sharp-elbowed media campaign and it looks as if it was driven more by family reputation (the Skakels are related to the Robert Kennedys by marriage) than by deep conviction that Michael was a good boy.

4) The evidence presented was a mosaic that had been accumulated over time. Alibi and behavior mattered a lot. It required very close attention to absorb it all and to assemble it into an incriminating pattern. At trial prosecutors did a good job. In this case no incriminating DNA was found at all, although it is possible that for the new trial new tests will be done on Martha’s clothes.  The conviction by 12 jurors was unanimous. They did a very careful job, and their deliberations lasted four days. Those who seek to argue that they have it wrong usually pick on isolated points. 

5) Various books have been published to explain the case. The most-read book is by ex-police-detective Mark Fuhrman titled Murder in Greenwich published by HarperCollins (Amanda Knox’s publisher) in 1999. He claimed he broke the case though police said they needed no help.

6) There are several websites like PMF and TJMK with no vested interest at all which seek to keep the victim’s presence alive, and to seek justice for her in face of many attacks and dirty tricks.  See the forum Campy Skakel here and the website MarthaMoxley dot com which is or was being run by Tom Alessi who was a classmate of Martha at school.

And the sudden new situation

Now Connecticut’s Judge Bishop has decided that Skakel didnt get the best of defenses by the high-profile legal talking head Mickey Sherman (who back then seemed to be hired for his high public profile) and noted several things Sherman could have done. Also the evidence seemed to Judge Bishop to be slim (what, no DNA?!). So he has ordered that Skakel can face a new trial.

A second judge has just released Michael Skakel on $1.2 million bail and he must wear an electronic bracelet in case he decides to skip. He will apparently head for a secret location to wait for the new trial to begin.

Although Judge Bishop is well qualified (unlike Hellmann) and seems impartial and detached, he has startled the legal community and crime followers by going against both a well-informed trial jury which really saw a lot of evidence and against a whole row of previous judges who had considered and declined Skakel’s requests for appeal.

Judge-shopping till the “right one” appears is often how big money wins out, and the general US reaction to the annulled verdict seems to be “What?! Not again?!”

Michael Skakel may perhaps win at a new trial with new lawyers and a new strategy - there is still a theory that his brother Tommy really did the crime, though the Skakel lawyers may not be allowed to play that card.

However, as in Meredith’s case, legal and public opinion is against him, and Martha’s mother and the victim websites still fight on bravely. 


[Below: Michael Skakel(right) with defense lawyer Mickey Sherman in 2002 who he now says let him down]




[Below: Directly ahead is where the crime took place; a new mansion has replaced the Moxley home ]




[Below: The Skakel mansion, which is diagonally across Walsh Lane from the old Moxley home]




[Below: Mark Furman’s diagram of his scenario of the murder in “Murder in Greenwich”]




[Below: Judge Bishop of the Connecticut courts who has ordered a new trial for Skakel]

Posted on 11/22/13 at 10:50 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Interpol HQ is now in Central France, a new HQ is planned for outside Paris soon.

Extradition: a hardball game.

This is the latest of many posts which include this legal take explaining the gloomy prospects for Sollecito and Knox if their final conviction comes down. 

Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.

If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.

These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.

But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition—one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration—set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.

Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.

If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told. 

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.

Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.

Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.

Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.

Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.

Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.

A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.

He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.

Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.

The US/Russia gangsters case

The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world  and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.

U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….

In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.

In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.

Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.

When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.


The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.

Posted on 11/20/13 at 10:14 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

After 5 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again

Posted by pat az




Overview of this post

This post corrects an error-filled letter to President Obama and the Congress dated 16 May 2011.

First, note that Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead. Often corrected, he gravitates no closer to the truth.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2008

During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.

TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2009

By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2010

One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.

The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2011

In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter,  Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.

It is cross-posted from my own website here.  Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.

The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress

On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case. 

This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was ”Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”

The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.






The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.

Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.

However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.






Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge. 

The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress

False brutal interrogation claims

The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!

A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.

Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.

Here is Amanda Knox:

“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake… ”  -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

False no-lawyer claim

Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.

Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -

Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

False no-recording claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. ”

-Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

False no-interpreter claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

From Court documents

“…assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

“….assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.

And from Amanda Knox:

November 2nd: “…they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  -Waiting to be Heard

November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony

November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard

False vengeful prosecutor claim

Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:

“[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]“

Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:

”Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.

False satanic myth claim

Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”

The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:

“these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

False US Embassy claim

Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.

This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.







The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.  The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

  * Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
  * Participation in sexual assault
  * Simulated robbery
  * Slander
  * Possession of weapons
  * Aggravated theft.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell





What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Crime-Scene Clean-Up: How Rudy Guede’s Diary Provides Even More Proof That It Happened

Posted by pat az





This post is crossposted from my own place. Here is one of my previous crime scene analyses on TJMK.

Rudy Guede was ultimately declared convicted by the Supreme Court in 2010 of participating in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher.

The prosecution claims the two other participants are Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito are currently appealing their conviction of the same crime.

The case against the three of them involves a suspected clean up of the hallway in the apartment after the crime. Meredith’s blood was found in the bathroom, and half a footprint in her blood was found on the bathroom mat. However, there was no visible blood between Meredith’s bedroom and the bathroom.

The only visible blood in the hallway were faint partial shoe prints that led directly out the front door of the apartment.

After the murder was discovered, the media reported almost daily on developments in the case. The day of the murder, the press reported on the blood found in the bathroom and the bedroom.

But until police used luminol at the apartment on December 18th, the media didn’t report on any significant blood found in the hallway.  Between November 2nd and December 18th, only one person stated that significant amounts of blood had been in the hallway.

Rudy Guede.

Rudy Guede actually wrote about it in his diary between Nov 20th and Dec 6th, after being captured in Germany.






The police arrived at the apartment on November 2nd. According to media reports, the blood they spotted immediately was only in the bathroom and Meredith’s bedroom.  When the scene was more closely examined, after the discovery of the body, police found visible blood patterns on the floor left by Guede’s left shoe as he left the apartment.

None of the people who arrived in the apartment on the afternoon of November 2nd reported seeing them; these footprints are not in any of the stories of the events of Nov 2nd told by Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito. So, while these prints were visible, they were not substantially obvious.

On December 18th 2007 investigators applied Luminol in the hallway and other bedrooms. This forensic chemical is used to detect blood which has been cleaned away. The Luminol revealed several footprints in the hallway between the bedrooms of Knox and Meredith. Example below. Some of these footprints were leading towards Meredith’s door.



They also discovered prints in Filomena’s room which contained Meredith’s DNA and Amanda Knox’s DNA. They also revealed a footprint in Amanda Knox’s bedroom. (The defense unsuccessfully contested the investigator’s conclusions that these prints were made with blood).

On November 19 2007, an international arrest warrant was issued for Rudy Guede. He was arrested in Germany on November 20th. Guede remained in Germany until his extradition on December 3rd.

During his stay in jail in Germany, Guede wrote a long statement that was published and translated. Guede’s writings are similar to to Knox’s jail writings in many ways - they both try to write out their own detailed version of events, while pointing blame elsewhere. 

But Guede’s comments may in fact be confirmation of a clean-up after the murder of Meredith Kercher (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? (Guede, Germany Diary, P21)

The police did not find evidence of any other blood until December 18th, AFTER Guede returned from Germany. As indicated above, the luminol revealed multiple footprints in the hallway, in Knox’s bedroom, and in Filomena’s bedroom. The image below shows these results in blue. Guede’s partial footprints are shown in red.






The conclusion is inescapable: Guede knew there would be significant evidence of blood in the hallway, before the police themselves found that evidence.

How did Guede know there would be more blood found in the hallway, before the police found that evidence on December 18th? And why wasn’t that blood there on the morning of November 2nd?

The courts believe the blood in the hallway was cleaned after the murder of Meredith Kercher. And the Micheli and Massei courts believed only one person had the motivation to hide this evidence: Amanda Knox.

Here is a summary of Judge Micheli’s October 2008 indictment finding.

In Judge Massei’s December 2009 trial finding for the original conviction of Knox and Sollecito, he also writes about the clean-up that the judges believed to have happened:

Further confirmation is constituted by the fact that, after Meredith’s murder, it is clear that some traces were definitely eliminated, a cleaning activity was certainly carried out. In fact, the bare foot which, stained with blood, left its footprint on the sky-blue mat in the bathroom, could only have reached that mat by taking steps which should have left other footprints on the floor, also marked out in blood just like (in fact, most likely, with even more [blood], since they were created before the footprint printed on the mat) the one found on the mat itself. Of such other very visible footprints of a bloody bare foot, on the contrary, there is no trace. (Massei, Dec 09; PMF translation)

In defense of Guede, Knox, and Sollecito, some might try to claim that Guede heard about blood in the hallway in the news. Rudy Guede was arrested 18 days following the murder of Meredith Kercher. During that time he had access to read the news and watch reports.

I have searched for articles in the period between November 2nd and December 18 which mention blood. All of the articles I have found so far discuss blood in the bedroom or the bathroom. One or two discuss footprints leading to the front door.

None of them discuss blood in the hallway that would justify a statement from Guede of “tutto quel sangue nel bagno e sul corridoghe” (all that blood in the bathroom and in the corridor)

Guede himself said he went between the bedroom and the bathroom, so may have tracked blood into the bathroom and therefore known blood would be found in the hallway.

Even that knowledge however confirms a clean-up, as there was not a trail of blood between the bathroom and Meredith’s room that justifies the footprint on the bathmat and blood found in the bathroom.

I have my own questions as a result of Guede’s knowledge of blood in the hallway:

Could the attack have started in the hallway? Could the first blood shed have been on the hallway tiles?

The prosecution and courts argue that Amanda Knox had a role in the attack and murder. Knox and her supporters are very adamant that there is no trace of Knox in Meredith’s bedroom. While the courts argue otherwise, could Knox’s role have been limited to the hallway?

Sadly, we may never know the full truth of what happened on the evening of November 1st, 2007.

My timeline of media reports on blood

  • Nov 2nd: Meredith Kercher found. Blood found in bathroom.
  • Nov 5th: Police analyzing traces of blood from apartment below.
  • Nov 5th:  A “trail of blood” is on the inside handle of the door to the apartment.
  • Nov 7th: reports of Amanda Knox’s statements, includes finding blood in the bathroom.
  • Nov 14th: Police use of Luminol at Sollectio’s house. First reports on the knife seized by police from Sollecito’s house.
  • Nov 19th: Analysis of blood in bedroom (pillow, bra, etc).
  • Nov 22nd: Guede’s prints in blood.
  • Nov 27th: Amanda Knox’s blood on bathroom tap.
  • Nov 28th: Blood in bathroom.
  • Dec 5th: Reports of Guede’s letter to father: “there was so much blood”.

My timeline of main events involving Guede

  • Nov 2nd, 2am – 4:30 am: Guede seen by witnesses at Domus nightclub.
  • Nov 3: Guede leaves Perugia for Germany
  • Nov 11: Guede’s cell phone tracked in Milan (Corriere)
  • Nov 12: Newspaper reports a 4th suspect.
  • Nov 19: Guede identified as suspect in newspapers
  • Nov 19: Guede skype conversation with friend.
  • Nov 20: Patrick released from prison.
  • Nov 20: Guede arrested while trying to return to italy on train in Germany.
  • Nov 21: Guede interrogated by German police; Guede admits to being at apartment, blames an italian man for murder.
  • Nov 20-Dec 5: Guede writes diary in German prison.
  • Dec 3:  Germany grants Guede’s extradition back to Italy.
  • Dec 6: Guede returns to Perugia.
  • Dec 7: Guede interrogated by Magistrate.
  • Dec 14: Guede ordered to remain in prison.
  • Dec 17: Knox is questioned by Mignini.
  • Dec 18: Police use luminol in apartment and find footprints in hallway and in Filomena’s bedroom.
Posted on 11/10/13 at 11:57 AM by pat az. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe timelinesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2014Guede appealsCrime hypothesesRudy GuedeAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThe Lone-Wolf hoax
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report Already Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by Peter Quennell



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]

Posted on 11/07/13 at 10:15 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2014Florence appealReporting on the casePoor reporting
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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Appeal Session #3: Sollecito In Court With Family Lawyer For Carabinieri Report On DNA On The Knife

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Compare Sollecito’s praying hands here with Amanda Knox’s in the bottom shot at the end of the post]

Final Update

So the court session does not even extend beyond the lunch hour. Good morning Seattle! At this moment it is still only 3:30 in the morning there. Only night owls will know what happened.

Yummi and Mason2 may have more for us, which will appear either here below this final update on in Comments.  Also Andrea Vogt and hopefully Barbie Nadeau will be filing longer reports in English. We will also check out all the Italian reporting.

Hard to see any game changers in today’s strong but undramatic testimony. The Carabinieri RIS DNA experts could not be shaken. All momentum remains with the prosecution and with the Supreme Court’s “givens” on the evidence, such as the presence of three attackers in Meredith’s room. 

The defenses seem to be giving up. They could have phoned it in. Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno didnt make any new fuss. And Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova was cut off by the lead judge several times, for trickily going off the point. He really is out of his depth in a criminal trial; at the same time often condescending.

And a seeming big slap in the face for the American defense stooge Greg Hampikian who seems to have illegally colluded with the disgraced Hellmann consultants Conti and Vecchiotti (who were not even mentioned today) when Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “Would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni responded “Of course”.

And Sollecito “wasted” his statement by whining about his life, showing no compassion for Meredith (despite his claimed visit to her grave), and not answering any of the dozens of open questions. Sollecito really needed to show he is both strong and compassionate and NOT a weakling under the thumb of Amanda - but he seems to have done quite the opposite. The family lawyer must not be too pleased.

Fifth Update

The opening of Frank Sforza’s trial in the same courthouse is postponed, apparently because new information on his campaign to poison opinion against the judiciary and his unsavory connections has been coming in.

Information will be exchanged that is gathered at this trial on mafiosos Luciano Aviello and at Aviello’s own trial for obstruction of justice which is now proceeding in the same Florence courthouse in parallel.

The findings and possible charges on the defamatory and dishonest books by Knox and Sollecito are due about now from the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors. Information gathered in those investigations could also be fed in to this process, or put aside for separate trials.

As both the AK and RS books are bulging with the standard PR talking points (some of which flowed from Frank Sforza and Doug Preston) in a sense it will be Curt Knox, the Mellases, Marriott, Sforza, Fischer and Moore who will be put under the microscope.

Fourth Update

A more detailed report on the DNA phase today from the Andrea Vogt website.

The RIS Wednesday deposited their forensic report on trace 36i, a spot of DNA identified (but not earlier tested) on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. “Cento Percento” (100 percent) said Major Berti, discussing compatibility. The RIS found that the DNA was compatible with Amanda Knox, and excluded that it was that of Sollecito, Guede or Kercher. 

The RIS expert was asked only a few questions from attorneys and the judge. The judge asked why the RIS had done two amplications of the DNA and not 3 or 4. Major Berti described that two is considered the minimum number of amplifications necessary, according to today’s forensic standards, doing less (or more) might have diminished the reliability of the results. The judge also asked about the age of the equipment used. Berti responded that the forensic kit used this time has been commercialized since 2010 and available for use since 2011. 

At one point the judge stopped a line of questioning by Knox’s Rome attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova, who was asking why the RIS described Knox’s DNA as “fluids” when a prior expert had said the trace did not come from blood.  Nencini said: That question was not put to the RIS by this court, it was not their job to determine that. The other experts’ reports are in the case files for everyone to read, he noted, adding: “We cannot put words in the mouth of this expert that were said by another expert.”


Third Update

Tweets from our main poster Yummi (Machiavelli)

32. Judge Nencini’s comments were always addressed at Dalla Vedova’s arguments, who was in fact a bit silly

31. The Judge declared the evidence phase closed. Next court dates are 25 November for prosecution argument and 26 for the defences with 16 and 17 December.

30. Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni: “of course”

29. Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs…

28. Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

27. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he remphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’

26. Sollecito mentioned the defens’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).

25. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding

24. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.

23. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

22. The Carabinieri say that there are only a few governmental laboratories which have the 17025 certificate (the Carabinieri and the Police)

21. Nencini stops Dalla Vedova, points out that scientific community is international

20. Dalla Vedova tries to elicit that the good standards are not the Italian ones.

19. The RIS obtained the ISO9001 certificate in 2008, and a more specific certificate in 2012.

18. Bongiorno asks RIS to explain why two amplifications are recommended.

17. Prosecutor Crini asks if there are criteria to distinguish which labs or which experts are more competent.

16. Speaking about their software which allows to weight probabilities of attribution.

15. They note that three alleles which are ‘alien’ were drop off in one duplicate.

14. The biologic method has a ‘consensus’ interpretation and a ‘composite’ interpretation, two ways to interpret the double result.

13. They describe the methods employed, the ‘biologic’ method and the ‘statistic’ method.

12. Absence of any male trace stands out as a feature of the sample (all contributors are females)

11. They extracted two profiles in a duplicate in agreement with experts of all parties

10. Dr Berti says the sample was a low template. They have a strategy to obtain reliable results.

9. Points out that documentation says sample 36i comes from insertion of blade in the handle.

8. Dr. Berti summarizes the recovery of sample in Vecchiotti’s lab.

7. Bongiorno says Sollecito intends to release a spontaneous declaration. He will do that after the experts testimony.

6. Berti and Barni enter the court.

5. Many law students from the Florence school for Magistrates are in court to follow the hearing.

4. Sollecito had managed to enter the courtroom from side entrance eluding photographers. Carlo Torre arrives in court.

3. Giulia Bongiorno & Raff kiss each other. Giulia, Raff & Father have a worried discussion

2. I wonder… will the court withdraw his passport?

1. Raffaele Sollecito is in courtroom. Walking in empty room, few people waiting. Hearing will start 1/2h probably


Second Update

Tweets from Patricia Thomas (AP) and Sabina Castelfranco (AP)

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - Amanda Knox and I were very carefree and isolated in our love nest.

Sabina Castelfranco ‏@SCastelfranco:  Sollecito says he is not the assassin he has been described as. Says Amanda was his first love

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - I have been described as an assassin. Amanda Knox was my first real love in life

Patricia Thomas ‏@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito takes stand to make statement, starts complaining about media descriptions of himself


First Update

Tweets from Barbie Nadeau

35. Nov 25 - prosecution; 26 - civil; Dec 16 - Sollectio; 17 - Knox; Jan 9 - rebuttals, 10 deliberation and verdict

34. Dec. 16, 17 closing arguments for Knox and Sollecito

33. Judge closes hearing for day, says closing arguments begin Nov 25, 26, must find December dates to conclude

32. Sollecito finishes by thanking judges for their time, judge tells him he can intervene any time during rest of appeal until they deliberate

31. Sollecito says he hates the fame, how it has hurt him, how it isn’t fair

20. Sollecito says he has a difficult time looking for work, people associate him with the murder of meredith kercher

29. Sollecito says that even on his vacation in Dominican Republic, he had to defend himself like a public figure, his life is judged by all

28. Sollecito repeats twice that he never met Rudy Guede, how nothing in original trial was based on reality.

27. Sollecito takes trip down memory lane, highlights worst parts of trial and incarceration for him, has not mentioned meredith kercher yet

26. RaffaeleSollecito - I feel a persecution. It is a nightmare, beyond all imagination.

25. RaffaeleSollecito—close to tears as he testifies to court “I am fighting every day to bring out the truth” 

24. Jury totally transfixed by sollecito declaration, can’t take their eyes off him

23. Sollecito thanks and defends his family, calls amand knox his first love

22. Judge asks for Sollecito declaration now

21. Judge asks about relevance of kit they used, how old technology was, etc.

20. Judge asks what minimum testing is for validation of DNA, RIS says “at least two”

19. Judge tells Dallavedova he cannot put words in mouth of new expert that were said by previous experts, this is fresh analysis

18. Judge clarifies that RIS was not asked to reanalyze work that has been done, but to test a sample that has not been tested.

17. Dallavedova essentially kicks goal into own net, not doing amanda knox any favors by making RIS defend methods used in original conviction

16. Dallavedova manages to get RIS expert to defend Italian methods, says they are in line with global standards, this was crux of 1st appeal

15. DallaVedova asks about international protocol, backfires slightly b/c RIS expert says he doesn’t want to dis italian methods, are valid too

14. Bongiorno hammers point that international standards in DNA must be followed ([claims]they were not for meredithkercher sample on tip of knife)

13. Jury in new appeal trial for amanda knox; sollecito look totally lost, lots of daydreaming during DNA testimony, nail biting, looking around

12. Bongiorno asks RIS expert specifics of amplification of sample with an eye to trace with meredith kercher DNA that was amplified many times

11. Prosecutor asking for clarification on how samples are tested, how RIS experts are qualified, etc.

10. RIS: DNA testing as important to exclude suspects as to confirm them, in this case no question that amandaknox DNA is on knife, others’ not

9. RIS: testifying about international standards necessary to validate DNA, how they used in their examination of this particular spot on knife

8. Sollecito listening attentively and jotting notes as RIS expert testifies about the knife

7. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife (near handle) matched definitively the DNA of amandaknox in double tests

6. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife did not match meredith kercher or rudy guede or sollecito after double testing

5. RIS: Experts tested spot “H” [?] on the knife (the spot near the handle) for both the victim meredith kercher and suspect

4. RIS: DNA analysis showed no x chromosome, i.e.: no male chromosome in sample they tested on knife

3. RIS: essential in DNA testing to double test samples to validate results

2. RIS expert: explains technical details of testing DNA, how much is needed, how it is tested

1. Judge says he wants to hear from RIS experts first and then sollecito can give his declaration


Initial Post

Well, that first shot from the court at the top sure is a surprise, and maybe bad news for Amanda Knox. Where are Sollecito’s other lawyers, Bongiorno and Maori? Presumably they are off to the side talking. .

Iin tweets Andrea Vogt has mentioned that she is reporting for the BBC and the Associated Press TV; reporters cannot have bigger clients or more global reach than with those two. This is from Andrea Vogt’s website.

Court is now in session. Day will begin with RIS forensic debates. Raffaele Sollecito will make a statement later in the day.

Sollecito arrived in the Florence court of appeals looking relaxed and ready to make his case before the court later in the day. His father, Francesco Sollecito, also appeared visibly happy to have his son back in arms reach, after an extended stay in the Caribbean. A large number of his friends were in the audience.

Forensic experts for the defense Walter Patumi, Carlo Torre and Sarah Gino were also in attendance in preparation for debate on the new DNA evidence tested by the RIS in Rome, specifically, trace 36i on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. RIS say the DNA profile is that of Amanda Knox. Arguments today will mostly about how it might have gotten there, with prosecutors attempting to place it in the context of the murder and defense attorneys arguing it could have been transferred during normal domestic use of the utensil.

Next hearings are Nov. 25-26, with a verdict expected in mid-December.



[Compare Knox’s praying hands here with Soellecito’s in the top shot]

Posted on 11/06/13 at 05:20 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceDNA and luminolThe two knivesAppeals 2009-2014Florence appealDiversion efforts byFrancesco SforzaRaff SollecitoDNA contam hoaxThe Aviello hoax
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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

RS And AK Seemingly Competing To “Appropriate” Meredith: Ghoulish, Sadistic And Very Cruel? Or…?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Amanda Knox has stated several times on national TV that she would like to visit Meredith’s grave.

Meredith’s father responded very firmly that this was quite out of the question. The family will never approve. Perhaps predictably, Raffaele Sollecito then announced triumphally that he had already been.

We can be sure that this exchange will do them no good at all in the Florence court, where the prospects of Judge Massei’s special considerations (which lopped five years off their sentences) being re-allowed by the Nencini court now seem pretty dim.

Other than as a ghoulish competition, can this be seen any other way? Last Saturday, Skeptical Bystander, no great lover of the perps, aired the suggestion that we might be seeing a new psychological phase coming into play

Skeptical Bystander

My thinking has evolved somewhat about the report that RS visited Meredith’s grave, as well as about AK’s non-stop chatter about doing so with the Kerchers and her grotesque appropriation of Meredith.

I just caught part of a documentary treatment of the Menendez case, wherein two brothers, Lyle and Eric, killed their parents. Both were sentenced to life in prison. In a probation report, Lyle is quoted as saying he has found peace by visiting his parents’ grave, asking for forgiveness, and understanding that they have forgiven him.

It is entirely possible that both AK and RS want forgiveness from Meredith and from her family. What they don’t seem to realize is that they can’t take shortcuts or be given a free pass. Lyle Menendez got sentenced for his crime and began the process of self-examination that leads to accountability.

We asked two of our posting psychologists if we could indeed be seeing something like this. With their agreement, this is their email exchange, in which they both concede that Skeptical Bystander may have had a point:

Psychologist A:

It is entirely probable they want, indeed crave, ‘forgiveness’. The problem is that dysfunctional or disturbed personalities may be able to be aware of their guilt, but not of their shame.

The guilt would want the forgiveness, but the process that leads to the resolution that is forgiveness will not occur - indeed I believe cannot occur- until the shame is ‘owned’.

Just judging from Raffaele’s and Amanda’s faces alone, I would estimate that Raff is slightly nearer than Amanda in approaching his own shame. Unfortunately I see zero in Amanda, and therein lies the huge problem.

If someone lacks sincerity, someone else or circumstances cannot make them more sincere - what I call authentic. It has to come from self-realization.

That’s my ‘take’!

Psychotherapist B:

At a certain point, this is all just speculation about someone I’ve never met, so it’s hard to say one way or another.

My best guess would be that in this case neither Knox nor Sollecito has shown any public signs of really being able to admit to themselves that they’ve done anything to be sorry for.

For what it’s worth, my overall impression, based on what’s been made public, is that Knox would likely not ever have killed anyone if she hadn’t been high and in an especially reckless period of her life and influenced by meeting Sollecito.

She might have gone on being somewhat impulsive and aggressive without ever actually harming anyone, and with luck she might have outgrown it in a few years. I think the kind of cruelty we’ve seen in this case is driven by unconscious feelings and motives.

Clearly it pains her to be seen as guilty; the idea that anyone can think that about her bothers her a lot. It’s easier for me to picture her wanting a visit to Meredith Kercher’s grave to somehow clear her of all of this upsetting suspicion, than truly wanting Meredith’s forgiveness - more wanting to get rid of shame than to atone for guilt or repair harm, if that makes sense.

When I think of forgiveness, I think of a more mature kind of experience. It takes maturity and integrity to own that you’ve done something harmful, to withstand whatever feelings of shame and guilt the realization brings, and to seek to make actual reparation. 

But anyone can feel haunted by having done a bad thing, and want someone to take the haunting away. I’m reminded of Bill in Oliver Twist - after he kills Nancy he feels sorry for himself and overwhelmed by the fear of retribution, but you couldn’t say he’s exactly seeking forgiveness - well, maybe a two-dimensional version of it.

Psychologist A:

Yes, quite right. It is all dreadfully disheartening, and still shockingly cruel.

I agree deeply about the unconsciousness of what is going on. One would expect immature adolescents to be acting a lot from their unconscious, and one of the troubles with the joint denial of events is that they are preventing themselves (and others) from growing or becoming more conscious, but instead ‘freezing’ themselves at that awful time 6 years ago.

You: “He feels sorry for himself and overwhelmed with the fear of retribution, but you couldn’t say he’s exactly seeking forgiveness—well, maybe a two-dimensional version of it. “

I see true forgiveness as a powerful phenomenon which occurs at a crucial stage of a healing process. I think it is something that occurs, that happens to one, is experienced, and is far greater than anyone’s ego.

I would think that someone who had hardly begun, or who had not at all commenced, upon this process would actually have no idea about what forgiveness might actually look or feel like, or be, in fact - let alone how to arrive at it.

Their consequent confusion might then manifest in ,as you say, wanting a two-dimensional version of it, that could be summed up as merely ‘not wanting to be seen as bad’. So perpetuating the ‘good image(s)’ of themselves, which is a gross evasion.

They certainly want not to be hated, as probably anyone does. But it is a huge chasm to actually doing something about that, and learning to behave in a way that people with conscience find acceptable.

Psychotherapist B:

I think you’re absolutely right about forgiveness - thank you for saying it so well.

Posted on 11/05/13 at 09:11 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, November 04, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell




Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty“. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  “ ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s ‘biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a ‘clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in ‘duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this – divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.

Posted on 11/04/13 at 08:16 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why DNA Test Results 6 November May Leave No Further Argument Over Knox And Sollecito Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]


The official results of the tests by the Carabinieri laboratory will be made public by Judge Nencini in court on 6 November.

The report and attachments are reported to be more than 100 pages long. Andrea Vogt has already warned that no assumptions should be made yet that we know the full story. But already for the defenses, matters do not look pretty.

    1) It sounds like the result of the DNA near the top of the blade (see images below) shows conclusively that it is another sample of Knox’s DNA. Given where the sample came from it could be blood DNA and add further proof to the notion that Knox was injured while struggling with Meredith.

    2) The low-copy-number amplification technique used was almost identical to that used by Dr Stefanoni to prove that it was Meredith’s DNA on the blade of the knife - actually that was a larger sample. Judge Massei’s court accepted this, Judge Hellmann’s consultants tried very hard to undermine it, and the Supreme Court ruled that they did not even come close.

Earlier this year, our main poster Fly By Night in a post worth re-reading explained just how conclusively the results of that first testing pointed to both Meredith and Knox.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment. As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.

In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.

However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

Dr Stefanoni’s testing of all the DNA from the crime scene was done in front of some defense observers. Those who were there saw her do nothing wrong. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

It looks as if the prosecution has now achieved a clean sweep of all of the of DNA testing. Meredith’s DNA on the lower blade of the knife seems even more conclusively a firm given, and so does Knox’s on the upper blade and the handle.

We are where we were back in 2008 before trial, where other defense lawyers might have suggested to their clients to select a trial of the short form type - the same choice that will see a somewhat penitent Guede out on work release in two years, no more.

But instead, their clients could now be facing life sentences for that bad choice.


Image: looking along the blade toward the handle, both sides of the knife




Here is an image showing the I trace in the location described in the post with credit to Iodine of PMF and the Case Wiki



Posted on 10/31/13 at 03:42 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Some Hard Truths Sollecito PR Shill Sharlene Martin Omitted In Her Misleading Invite To The Congress

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Dear Sharlene Martin:

Please dont say we didnt warn you before. In this notice of a Congressional “briefing” (read: paid highly misleading PR) you once again gloss over a number of hard truths.

You might well be advised to head to higher ground. The US Congress and the Administration will soon be left in no doubt about the correct facts of the case against Sollecito and Knox, as Italian law enforcement start to reach out to their counterparts in the FBI, and as they charge mischief-makers with obstruction of justice in the case, and as more and more reporters in the US and UK media wisen up.

Against your client, this was always a very strong case. And this alone has your client cooked. Here are some other corrections and correct background to the false claims you have just made.

    1) Senator Cantwell was already burned by associating too closely with your radioactive group. She spoke out daffily for Amanda Knox several years ago - and then, duly warned, she went quiet again. Ask her congressional staff for the story to that. And read our past heads-ups for Senator Maria Cantwell here and here.

    2) Your client Raffaele Sollecito wrote the most defamatory and misleading book about an Italian case in many years. Key claims have been repudiated by his own father on Italian TV. As his case is ongoing Sollecito is meant to fight it in the (very fair) Italian courts, not poison public opinion to lean on those courts. Sollecito is being considered for charges of obstruction of justice for the book and much else in the media, and you and the publishers may be charged too.

    3) This is NOT a third trial. It is a re-run of a first appeal. If the very well-run and highly decisive Massei trial of 2009 had been run in the US or UK it is hard to see what grounds if any, any appeal judge would accept for appeal. Your client would be near the end of his sixth year in prison. And it is known that the Hellmann Appeal and the DNA consultancy were both bent by Sollecito’s and Knox’s own teams (corrective measures have been taken with more to come) so the 6-year process is essentially your own team’s fault.

    4) John Douglas’s highly self-serving chapters on the case are among the silliest ever written in a crowded field. The very vain Douglas starts with the totally false premise that Knox was forced to confess after many many hours, and from there on out it is all downhill. He takes a faux position essentially identical to that of Saul Kassin. Read about Kassin’s own spurious and highly self-serving take on Knox’s “forced confession” here and here and here.

    5) Steve Moore lacks the correct expertise to analyse this case and he was never the ace crime scene investigator you claim. A dozen or more posts here show how unreliable and rambling he is. Among other things he appeared on a disastrous panel (with a team almost identical to yours - and an audience that peaked at 35) at Seattle University a couple of years ago. Read what two very astute lawyers thought of his man-in-a-bubble performance here and here.

    6) The hapless Michael Heavey was officially reprimanded for his bizarre intervention in the case. He was also on the disaster of a panel at Seattle University. He has got the basic facts wrong again and again and again. Here he is getting the facts wrong five years ago.  Here is his association with Frank Sforza, a key mis-stater of the key facts of the case and serial defamer of the Italian officials involved, who he was financially supporting - and who now faces three separate trials of his own.

    7) And the hapless John Q Kelly? This is a tough field in which to come out ahead but John Q was perhaps the silliest talking head for Knox and Sollecito on TV. He babbled on in the media about a railroading that never took place. Read how even his own colleagues considered him to have been duped here and here.

A Congressional briefing panel that is not made in heaven, that is for sure. Stay tuned. There is more to come.



Posted on 10/28/13 at 11:06 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 25, 2013

John Kercher’s Excellent Book “Meredith” On Meredith’s Employer And Her Circle Of Friends

Posted by Hopeful





Robyn Butterworth who had also been at Leeds University with Meredith, went to Perugia and roomed with Amy Frost. Often Meredith would go to their flat for lunch. She “often brought a kebab with her, which we found amusing; she loved them.”

(p. 77)  “Occasionally, we would go to see a British film at the cinema, and the one in Perugia was like an old theatre, a lovely place.” Robyn Butterworth was in some of the same Perugia University classes with Meredith.

Only a few days before her death, Robyn said that “Meredith had been talking to me during our evening phone call about a university trip to Turin, and we discussed the possibility that she might be able to see the famous Turin Shroud. Unfortunately, she discovered that the trip was fully booked, and so she was hoping to get on the next one. Meanwhile, I was urging her to go to Venice…”

(p. 78) On the first night Robyn met Meredith in Perugia, she and Meredith and Amy who already knew Meredith went out for pizza. Robyn said, “I instantly warmed to Meredith and she was really amusing…She and Amy were the witty ones….In the evenings we would sometimes go to the Merlin Bar in Via del Forno, a place which was a cross between a pizzeria and a bar.”

“Pasquale Alessi, a co-owner of Merlin’s, has said: ‘Meredith was a really nice girl. She liked to go out with her friends. But I never saw her with any problems; never saw her drunk. She always liked to go out with Sophie and Robyn, but she would watch out for them.

“She was the careful one. ‘Now we have to go home,’ she would say, ‘as we have to get up tomorrow and go to class.’”

(p.78) Sophie recalled going to the main street cafes to have a coffee or chocolate with Meredith. “Meredith loved her chocolate,” Sophie said. “There was also a kind of refectory at the University for Foreigners where you could get cheap lunches.”

Mr. Kercher begins Chapter 4 of his book with the heading “The Investigation”. He outlines how difficult it was due to the language barrier and the far distance in England to get news of what was really happening in Perugia.

Their lawyer Maresca spoke on the phone to Stephanie Kercher who understood Italian, or the family had to talk to him using his interpreter. (p.81) We were also getting fragmented details on the Internet of events as they unfolded, but these were difficult to trust and we did not know where the truth lay. At this stage, most of the web information we could find came through translations of the Italian media, particularly the newspaper “La Repubblica”.

(p. 82)  “How had Meredith died? How had she been discovered? Who was responsible?” These were the questions that our family was debating. Though we lived apart, we spoke to each other every day, if not to keep abreast of new developments, then only so that we could share our utter disbelief that this had happened. At this stage, we didn’t realize that Meredith’s housemate Amanda Knox and her boyfriend were becoming the police’s prime suspects. All we could think of was, who would have done this terrible crime and why? Meredith was the last person in the world that anyone would want to harm. Everyone loved her.”

...“Perugia…had not seen a killing for more than twenty years,” so the small town of Perugia was equally in shock.

(p.88) Sophie Purton and Robyn got a call from the police and were told to meet the police at the university. In the early confusion and aftermath of finding Meredith’s body, the police were saying the murdered girl was Welsh. Sophie, Amy, and Robyn then were driven to the police station in a plain police car. “We still didn’t know where we were going and still didn’t know what had happened to Meredith. This was about 6 o’clock in the evening. When we arrived at the police station we were put into a waiting room. That was Robyn, Sophie, and me (Amy). Then Meredith’s housemate, Laura, walked in. She was crying.” They then realized it was their friend Meredith Kercher who had been murdered.

Monica Napoleone (p.89) testified of Amanda’s behavior at the police station, ‘Amanda had complained that she was feeling tired…I told her that she could go if she wanted to, but she said that she wanted to stay and wait for Raffaele. A few minutes later, I walked past a room…and I saw Amanda doing the splits and a cartwheel.’

Monica Napoleone continued, ‘She and Sollecito had had a bizarre attitude throughout the whole time. They seemed completely indifferent to everything. They were lying down, laughing, kissing, pulling faces at each other, and writing notes to each other. They were talking to each other in low voices for the whole time. It was impossible that they were behaving like this when a dead body was in Amanda’s house.” (p.89)

(p.90) Robyn said, “I remember how Amanda kept going on about how she had found the body. It was as if she was proud to have been the one who found it….When I went into the waiting room, Amanda was talking at the top of her voice in English to everyone there.”

Later (p.92) Mr. Kercher describes how Amanda changed her stories and kept embellishing them with Patrick being the culprit and herself cowering in the kitchen. She said, “I coud hear Meredith screaming” in her written statement to police.

Amanda also said (p.92) about this scenario of her with ears covered in the kitchen: “These things seem unreal to me, like a dream. The truth is that I am unaware of the truth.” Then she goes on to say that she didn’t kill Meredith and adds, “In these flashbacks I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer, but I do not remember for sure if I was at my house that night.”

The police then arrested Patrick Lumumba.

(p. 93)  “Back in England, this was the first big piece of news we had heard concerning the investigation…Pictures of Lumumba were being shown on television, and at our separate family homes we looked on in disbelief, not knowing whether to believe that we were seeing images of the man who killed our daughter. I spoke with Arline on the phone and neither of us could believe that we were looking at the killer. He did not look like a violent man…had short hair, ...a slightly plump face. I have never before had to question if I was looking into the eyes of a killer, and it struck me how normal he looked. He appeared to look confused when we saw film footage….I felt anger. ...Was this really the man who had taken Meredith’s life away?”

(p. 94) Lumumba told police he had never been to the house where Meredith lived. “I only saw Meredith about four times…” he said. “I had told her to come to the bar on the Friday where we could make her special mojitos”. It seems Meredith had spoken about making mojitos for the bar owner in an evening phone call to her dad. She had some bar experience and Mr. Kercher says “she could make wonderful mojitos. In fact, she knew how to make about twenty different cocktails.”

Lumumba pled with police that he was not the killer, that “It’s not true what Amanda says, that I wanted to be with (Meredith).... I shut the bar… I went home.”

“Suspicious of the conflicting stories being told to them by Sollecito and Knox, requests for their arrests…were made. Until this point, Knox and Sollecito had been regarded as ‘witnesses’....Five days after the horrific killing, Judge Claudia Matteini granted the request for their arrests…” (although they were not yet officially charged with murder but held as flight risks, while Lumumba was already being held.

The Kerchers were now being made aware that not only had Meredith been killed, but subjected to a sexual assault. (p.95) “It felt as if, with every news report or detail that was coming out of Italy, things were becoming more and more terrible. That Meredith was gone was tragedy enough…”

Two weeks later Lumumba was released by Mignini for lack of evidence. Lumumba said, (p. 97) “I believe that Ms Knox had the idea of implicating me when we had met outside the University for Foreigners…. I had been discussing with one of the university teachers whether I woud be a suitable person to act as a translator for reporters from Britain, who did not speak Italian. At this moment, I saw Amanda arriving and I asked her if she liked the idea. She said, “No” and went off smiling. Perhaps that was the moment when she decided to land me in it.”

(p. 97) “I think that Amanda wanted to derail the investigation. That’s what I think, ” said Lumumba. “she must have realised that the investigation was leading to her and thoguht that, if she mentioned me, then the investigators’ attention would shift to me.”

“I can tell you that she wants to be the centre of attention. I think that she is a person capable of doing anything to be in the spotlight.”

Lumumba said, “Amanda hated Meredith because people loved her more than Amanda. She was insanely jealous that Meredith was taking over her position as Queen Bee.” (p. 98)

(p. 99) The Kerchers begin to learn about Amanda Knox’s “double life”. Clint Van Zandt, who had been a long-serving employee of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, told NBC News’s Dennis Murphy: ‘Realise that this is a woman wearing two masks. One mask is Amanda the good girl, in a Catholic school, an athlete, does what her mother says. And then you’ve got the other mask that, when she gets to Italy, it’s “I’m going wild. I’m having fun. This is where i sow my wild oats.”

(p. 100) The double life of Raffaele Sollecito begins to reveal itself. Not only is he the quiet bespectacled student with a privileged background and prominent family with medical doctor father, but he describes himself as “sweet but sometimes absolutely crazy” on social networking sites, and posts photos of himself holding a meat cleaver. Police later find a collection of Japanese manga comics, some of which depicted acts of extreme violence. “One, which attracted particular attention, was concerned with the killing of female vampires on Halloween. It was not lost on police that Meredith had been dressed as a vampire to celebrate Halloween only one night before she was murdered, and they later went on to say that the scene they discovered at the cottage was reminiscent of the scenes depicted in Sollecito’s comics. Upon learning this, we could not help but wonder if Meredith’s murder had been premeditated….”

(p. 102) The Kerchers learn of a fourth suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede. He had arrived in Italy from the Ivory Coast in 1992 at age 5. His father had left him alone in Italy and returned to Africa when Rudy was 15. Mr. Kercher quotes the wealthy Italian, Paolo Caporali, who had taken Rudy in like an adopted son and tried to help him for years. “I thought that I could help him build a future, but I realised that I had made a mistake. He was a tremendous liar…”

Rudy fled toward Mainz, Germany when police detained him and extradited him back to Italy. It seems Rudy’s German stay along with Amanda’s German visit and Raffaele’s time in Germany as student were all scenes of foolishness and curtailed.

” All these events had been unfolding as we waited in England for the return of Meredith’s body.”  (p. 107)

Posted on 10/25/13 at 09:28 PM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Questions For Sollecito: Do You Stand By Your Smear Of Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



The Italian Supreme Court is seen here at rear-right with the Vatican in the foreground]


How the tough questions for you only grow, and grow… We have 12 posts already in our questions for Knox series and 11 posts already in our questions for Sollecito series.

We also have increasing confirmation that this thrust is paying off and is helping to meet a widespread felt need in the media. Ask Katie Couric, and Diane Sawyer, and the CNN legal talking heads, and the BBC, and an increasing number of others in the media.

Today’s post returns, certainly not for the last time, to your wildly inaccurate book.

1. What You Wrote in Honor Bound On Reasonable Doubt:

Amond the absurd legal babble in your absurdly titled book Honor Bound this legal babble especially stands out.

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause. For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.


2. How Lawyer James Raper With Yummi Disagreed

From their post last January before Cassation uttered its final word, which also takes to task Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s interpretation. 

What he is implying (in a manner gratuitously insulting to the intelligence of his compatriots) is that were the above statement not true then he, and Amanda, would have been acquitted in the first instance.

Oh, really?

It seems that we are also being asked to believe that Sollecito and his ghostwriter, Gumbel, are historians of Italian jurisprudence. So, let’s quickly examine what substance there is to the claim.

It will be seen that the concept of “reasonable doubt” is understood well enough in the courts of Italy, though unfortunately less well understood by the former Umbria Appeal Court judges Hellmann and Zanetti.

Not only that but those two judges made pointed remarks at the outset of the appeal also garbling the concept, which were very disturbing. I shall look into that in a moment.

Sollecito‘s remark does have some context but it is wildly inaccurate and unfair. 

We know that the Italian legal system is based on the inquisitorial system common to continental Europe, whereas the anglo-saxons amongst us are used to the adversarial system. It is also true that the specific expression “beyond reasonable doubt” was not introduced into the Italian criminal procedure code until 2006.

It is Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure Code: “The judge pronounces sentence of conviction if the accused is guilty of the offence charged beyond all reasonable doubt.”

Now let me defer to our Italian poster Yummi who can explain the historical context. He writes -

The current Italian system is the result of a procedure code reform introduced in 1989. This reform introduced several features of the adversarial system into a new criminal procedure code. One of the features of the new code was the abolition of the “not proven” verdict. This factually had been working very effectively as the version of “reasonable doubt” in the Italian system.

In an inquisitorial system the court is a council headed by professional judges and it’s task is not just to deliver a verdict, but to deliver a written rationale or dossier aimed to provide “a judicial truth”.  Typically “reasonable doubt” is a formulation coming from systems where juries do not issue a written rationale while systems that have motivation reports on verdicts usually don’t have it: it was commonly agreed that the absence of doubt should be understood from the rationale. Absence of doubt is not a quality that is inherent in the internal conviction of a juror, but instead is understood to be a feature of the logical proof provided by the written rationale. It was believed that the absence of doubt in the judge’s mind should be shown by the fact that a motivation report is logical.

No Italian scholar would ever maintain that the “reasonable doubt” standard is a recent introduction in the Italian system.  Only the acknowledgement of it’s wording is relatively recent.  In the Italian system the formulation “reasonable doubt” was starting to be used explicitly in Supreme Court jurisprudence in the early nineties; a change of wording in honour of the adversarial reforms, but in fact a continuation of the long jurisprudence tradition of the “not proven” standard.”

In fact in the adversarial system “beyond reasonable doubt” is really an instruction to the jurors that they must arrive at a certain evidentiary standard if they are to convict. Any system that would produce a “not proven” verdict would mean that the standard has not been met.

In the adversarial system no written rationale for a verdict is required to accompany the verdict. That the Italian system retains this requirement is very much a safeguard for the accused as well as for the State both being thereby protected from perverse or capricious convictions or acquittals.

Second here is Judge Zanetti at first appeal:

The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.

So said Judge Zanetti on the opening day of the appeal. It was a statement that brought gasps of astonishment from those in court, particularly from the reporters present who deemed it to be an admission that reasonable doubt existed.

In fact, of course, there were a lot of certain and undisputed facts. No one denied that there was evidence, most of it undisputed. What was disputed was the interpretation of that evidence.

That, being so, why did not Zanetti say that? Clearly the remark was injudicious, and cogent only in its intended impact.

What of the Massei Motivations Report one might ask? is it toast?

That remark not only helped to set the tone for the entire appeal - what was said soon after by his senior colleague was even worse. 

Compliance with article 533 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Judgement of conviction only if the defendant is guilty of the offence complained of beyond a reasonable doubt) does not allow (us) to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.

(In Italian: il rispetto dell’articolo 533 del Codice di procedura penale (pronuncia di condanna soltanto se l’imputato risulta colpevole del reato contestatogli al di la ogni ragionevole dubbio) non consente di condividere totalmente la decisione della Corta d’Assize di primo grado”)

That was said by Judge Hellmann on the third day of the appeal before even the evidentiary and discussion stage had opened. And thanks again to Yummi for the above quote.

It seems that the presiding judge had felt compelled to expand upon his colleague’s stark opening remark but in doing so he had opened a can of worms. He had just made things even worse. Unfortunately the prosecution decided not to challenge the remark and the appeal proceeded. They should have done so.

Article 533 relates to verdict. The verdict (to be) is not to be hinted at or discussed at the opening of any trial or appeal and certainly not as pointedly as this. So serious is this faux pas that I have it on good authority that the prosecution considered impeaching the presiding judge for incompatibility and incompetence. It seems that they did not because of the furore this might have caused and perhaps also because they were confident of the strength of the case in any event. In retrospect a grave mistake.

What in fact was Hellmann saying? Let us consider.

“Compliance with article 533.…..…does not allow us to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.” 

I believe that what we see here is the first indication of the judges’ manifest misunderstanding of what should have been the correct approach to an evaluation of the evidence in the case and the application of the “reasonable doubt” standard.

I do not intend to deal with that in any detail. It is set out cogently in the Galati appeal.

Suffice to say that the “reasonable doubt” standard applies only to the culpability of the accused for the offence with which he/she is charged. Article 533 makes this abundantly clear and this is no different from how our own adversarial system deals with it. It is not a standard to be parcelled out to each item of evidence or inference drawn. That the appeal judges thought they could do (and did) precisely that is implicit in Hellmann’s remark.

How can one not “share fully the decision of the lower court”?

Hellmann could have said that he did not fully share the decisions of the lower court as regards each element of evidence rather than “the decision“, which can only be a reference to the actual verdict. But “the decision” is what he says, linking it specifically to article 533 where only the singular use of the noun would have any meaning. So on the face of it this can only be about the verdict of the lower court. And yet, how can one not fully share a verdict? A verdict cannot be parcelled out. One either agrees or disagrees with it.

Despite it’s manifest inappropriateness, no doubt the remark was meant to acknowledge that there was some doubt about the validity of the verdict in their minds. Well at least that’s honest but in that case, was it not incumbent on them to specify what it was that concerned them? I would have expected that. True, it was already clear that the DNA on the knife and bra clasp, and Curatolo’s credibility, were specific issues, as they had allowed these to be examined, but beyond that there was no disclosure as to what other doubts on the evidence they had in mind. We know now from the Motivations that there were others and what these were ( Quintavalle and the staged break-in, just for example) - and I think it would be pretty disingenuous of them to pretend that they did not exist at the time.

Already one sees elements of confusion, incompetence, mis-procedure, misleading the prosecution and coded messages (for the media and politicians?) to the effect that the appeal judges had already rationalized an acquittal in the appeal.

And if, with their doubts, they had in fact done so then what, pray, was the point of :-

1. Ordering a review of the DNA evidence on the knife and the bra clasp

2. Re-hearing Curatolo

3. Hearing from Aviello and Alessi

……other than that they were seeking that elusive “reasonable” element of doubt.

It is almost as if the entire appeal was tailored to suit and a sham. It certainly looks that way in retrospect, particularly as the element of reasonable doubt still remains elusive on close examination.

Yet it may just be that the appeal judges were just incompetent and that their incompetence (with the incompetent assistance of Conti & Vechiotti) infected the entire proceedings.

We shall see what Cassation thinks of the garbling of this fundamental concept when the prosecution appeal is entertained on 25 March.

3. How The Cassation Motivation Report Also Disagrees

The Supreme Court doesnt buy your smear of Italian law either, though we doubt your book was a hot item there. The concept of “reasonable doubt” was fully respected in the Massei trial where your guilt was firmly established - and the concept was trashed by the unlamented Hellmann & Zanetti.

This is from the Cassation report on the decision to annul the Hellmann appeal.

2.2.3 ‐ Manifest lack of logic and inconsistency in the reasoning in reference to the use of the principle of reasonable doubt in sustaining the order of 18.12.2010. [According to the lawyers for the Civil Parties], the verdict of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt could have been reached even after the outcome of the expert report arranged for in the second instance trial, inasmuch as the examination of the circumstantial evidence ought to have been global and consistent, the hypothetical defect of any one of these being acceptable, provided that the remaining elements were – as they ought to have been deemed – sufficient to reach the required level of certainty, [29] since what is asked of isolated elements of proof being evaluated is that they display the credentials of correspondence with real events, at least with predominant probability. Proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt can rest on items of circumstantial evidence that are not all equally certain, that is, not all established with the same level of probability.

So, Raffaele Sollecito, you jobless failure in all walks of life: would you care to correct all these fine lawyers?

Posted on 10/25/13 at 01:30 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Meredith Case Wiki: A Highly Objective Summation Of The Case From Original Docs And Transcripts

Posted by James Raper





Some of our readers may not have noticed the new link to The Meredith Case Wiki to be found in the left hand column of this front page. I had not noticed it myself until recently.

This is an important link to a new website that is now a vital additional resource for those interested in understanding this case.

The website - The Murder of Meredith Kercher - is run by Edward McCall, with the assistance of other contributors, and TJMK is pleased to acknowledge and promote its distinctive and concise approach to presenting the facts of the case.

The site is modelled on the format of a page from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia.  As with a Wiki page it is easily navigable. The data presented under the various headings is the consequence of much research but it still remains a work in progress. Wherever possible the material used is referenced in footnotes.

It starts on the Main page with a Mission Statement and an Introduction to the case. It then considers the evidence and has a good section entitled Myths Debunked.

The reader can easily access significant court documents: the Massei Report, the Hellmann Report, the Galati Appeal and the Supreme Court of Cassation Motivations Report. There is an accessibly summary of the Matteini and Micheli Reports.

In particular, for the researcher, there is a most welcome section entitled Court Transcripts. Here can be found transcripts of witness testimony from the Massei and Hellmann trials, experts reports, and the various writings and testimony of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. At least that is to be the hope ultimately as there exist a good number of gaps at present.

Already some of the witness statements have been translated from Italian to English but there are a number of transcripts still to be translated. If there are any translators who would wish to help, please contact us and we shall be pleased to put your name forward.

McCall wishes to acknowledge the massive contribution made by True Justice for Meredith Kercher. TJMK has perforce grown organically and exponentially over the years and has accumulated a breadth and wealth of data, in-depth analysis and informed comment on the case which is unsurpassed on the internet, or indeed anywhere.

It will continue to do so and report developments until the conclusion of all aspects of the case.

Posted on 10/22/13 at 12:09 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Given The Abundant Facts, What Scenario Is The Nencini Court Considering? Probably Not Unlike This

Posted by Marcello



1. The “Innocence/Framing” Campaign

It is rather sad that this case, of the violent murder of Meredith Kercher, has seen a ‘hurricane’ of noise trying to cherry-pick and disprove the more salient facts, and worse, discredit those who investigated, prosecuted and ruled on the case as well as discredit those who continue to emphasize the facts.

Over the past six years there has been a concerted effort by the defendants in this case, and primarily by their families, their ‘groupies’ and their legal consultants, to mount and continue a public relations campaign to frame the defendants as innocent of the crime of murdering Meredith Kercher. This ‘innocence’ campaign has even gone so far as to tarnish the motives of the fine justice officials involved.

The defendants themselves have continuously obfuscated and lied about the more salient facts, albeit inconsistently (their multiple versions fail to match up, and do not match the available facts). Lately Ms. Knox has done a number of (typically unconvincing) interviews, and her parents still seem too intent on defending the fantasy of their daughter’s innocence, all evidence to the contrary.

Mr. Sollecito, for his part, tweets unofficial retractions about statements he made in court. Both have distastefully profited through books that are not much more than a compilation of lies (and which do not offer matching alibis). Meanwhile the legal teams for the defendants have recently leaked ‘favorable’ results from the testing of a new sample on the presumed murder weapon in order to (again) misconstrue the evidence for the general public.

2. Media Misreporting Facilitates

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this ‘innocence campaign’ has been that far too many journalists have dishonored their professional ethics by failing to do the proper research and objectively report the facts. Journalists to this day continue to misreport the facts, leave out corroborating facts, or worse, blindly repeat the distortions or lies promoted by the campaign without proper fact-checking. By and large, journalists (mostly in the US and UK) have ‘anti-reported’ the case.

This is especially grievous given that there are multiple Court Motivations reports (a unique feature to the Italian justice system) readily available in Italian and English online, in searchable PDF format, as well as several websites like this one that have painstakingly sought to illuminate the vast amount of evidentiary facts.

Those journalists who have failed to correctly report the case, and those involved in this ‘innocence’ campaign, have repeatedly disrespected the victim, Meredith Kercher, and her family. By contrast, the Kerchers has shown great dignity throughout these years, remaining patiently quiet and consistently insisting that the truth be revealed by the Italian justice system.

The endless journalistic failures, and particularly the ‘innocence’ campaign, have also disrespected the Italian law enforcement and judicial systems. By contrast Italian law enforcement has demonstrated substantial deference to the defendants, especially when compared to the law enforcement and judicial procedures of other advanced countries. In response, numerous ‘groupies’ have exhibited pathetic jingoism by repeatedly denigrating a country of 60 million people based on rather uninformed attitudes.

And it is very likely that Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, rather than confess the truth, will continue to obfuscate or lie as much as they can, as well as disrespect the Italian Court and the Kerchers by not being present at the appeal. Their ‘innocence’ campaigns will likely continue to distort or ignore the facts. And worse, journalists and talking-head ‘experts’ will continue to report falsehoods and misrepresentations.

3. All Will Now Be To No Avail

Fortunately, none of the fabrications, ill-conceived scenarios or numerous pieces of unprofessional, sloppy journalism will ultimately matter.

This is because the Nencini Appeals Court will not be listening to any of the noise. The Appeals Court has a very specific program to follow, mandated by the Italian Supreme Court, which has already looked at this case four times (the detainment requests for Knox and Sollecito, the conviction of Rudy Guede and the annulment of the Hellmann Appeals Court ruling). The Nencini Appeals Court program includes:

    1) looking at all the case evidence noted in Judge Massei Trial Court’s Motivations report,

    2) considering the Italian Supreme Court’s Motivations report for the conviction of Rudy Guede, in which Guede was convicted of having a role in Ms. Kercher’s murder, but not the key role of fatally stabbing her, and that he acted in concert with others, and

    3) considering Ms. Knox’s voluntary ‘gift’ statement of November 6, 2007, in which she placed herself at the scene of the crime. (This statement follows an earlier verbal and written statement released to the police during a few hours of interrogation in the early hours of November 6th.)


4. Big Surfeit Of Evidence

The amount of evidentiary facts the Nencini Appeals Court will have absorbed is substantial. Unlike the Hellmann Appeals Court, they cannot cherry-pick the facts. Per the Supreme Court, they must consider all the available evidence as a whole, logically tied together like a mosaic. Significantly, one could even leave out the knife and bra clasp entirely as evidence points because:

    1) Ms. Kercher was murdered by more than one assailant. This is evident from the wounds she suffered, from the evidence in general and has been consistently maintained by three different trial judges and four different Supreme Court reports.

    2) Guede in all his various confessions has consistently hinted and ultimately confirmed the presence of Knox and Sollecito during the crime.

    3) There is no plausible scenario for the crime that involves Guede and two or more unknown assailants.

    4) All the other evidence found at the crime scene points to Sollecito and Knox being present before, during and after the crime in some fashion.

    5) Knox was at the scene of the crime by her own written admission.

    6) The break-in was staged and, by obvious implication, only Knox and Sollecito would have any interest in staging the break-in (see my earlier post listing all the problems with the break-in scenario).

There seems no rational way that the Nencini Appeals Court can logically acquit. And Judge Nencini has not ‘pre-announced’ a non-guilty verdict like Judge Hellmann did by claiming that the defendants ‘appear to be innocent’.

The only remaining questions are what kind of dynamics will the Nencini Appeals Court assign to the participants, and what kind of reasoning will the Italian Supreme Court provide, assuming Knox or Sollecito appeal to the Supreme Court.

Having already read the Massei Motivations report and supporting documentation for weeks, this will already be a highly informed judges’ panel. What scenario are they converging on? The following scenario is based on some of the most significant evidence, and overall seems largely unshakable.

5. Scenario Accounting For The Most Points

The Night Before: Halloween

1) Guede lied about meeting Ms. Kercher on Halloween. (No such meeting was corroborated by witnesses.)

2) Guede lied about his whereabouts in the early evening of November 1, 2007. (His claims of having appointments with friends were not corroborated.)

Evening Prior To Attack

3) Around 8:00 PM on November 1st, Knox left Sollecito’s place to go to work. She received Lumumba’s (her boss) text message around 8:15 PM that she was not needed at work. She responded at 8:35 PM while presumably walking back to Sollecito’s apartment. Then she turned off her phone at 8:35 PM. She was seen at Sollecito’s apartment by 8:40PM.

4) Sollecito received a call from his dad at 8:42 PM. (According to the defendant, they discussed the broken trap in the kitchen sink and how to clean the kitchen floor, and about going to Gubbio with Knox the next day. Significant about this is that the broken trap and clean-up likely happened later. See below.)

5) Sollecito turned off his cellphone at roughly 8:45 PM. (typically, neither Knox or Sollecito turned off their cellphones for the night)

6) Ms. Kercher was last seen by her friend Sophie Purton at roughly 9:00 PM going to her cottage.

7) There was no human interaction with Sollecito’s computer after 9:10 PM.

8) Knox and Sollecito were seen at piazza Grimana, by the cottage, at roughly 9:30 to 10:00 PM, by a homeless man who ‘resided’ at piazza Grimana.

9) Ms. Kercher’s phone made three short calls between 10:00 and 10:15 PM roughly, to check voicemail, a possible attempt to call a bank, and possibly an MMS message.

10) A car broke down near the gate of the cottage at 10:30 PM.

11) Knox and Sollecito were seen at piazza Grimana, by the cottage, at roughly 11:00 PM, again by the same homeless man. He noted they went several times to the railing of the piazza to look down beyond it. (The piazza overlooks the gate of the cottage.)

12) A tow truck came at approximately 11:00 PM to tow the car. The driver of the truck noted a dark-colored car parked in front of the gate of the cottage, which he noted was slightly open. At approximately 11:15 PM the tow truck left and the family in the broken down car departed the area with other friends in a second car. (Sollecito had a dark colored Audi.) No screams were heard and no one noticed Guede, Sollecito or Knox pass through the gate.

13) Sollecito’s dad sent Sollecito an SMS at 11:15PM. The message was not received by Sollecito’s cellphone until roughly 6:00 AM following morning.

The Attack Upon Meredith

14) Knox likely let Sollecito and Guede into the cottage after 11:15 PM, after the tow truck and car had left. Guede went to use the large bathroom and failed to flush his feces. The following is an assumed sequence:

15) Ms. Kercher was restrained in her room and her screams were muffled. (There was bruising on Ms. Kercher’s nose, mouth, lips and chin, suggesting her mouth was covered by one or more persons; only one scream was ever heard from the cottage; Ms. Kercher was familiar with martial arts maneuvers and likely vigorously tried to defend herself)

16) Ms. Kercher was choked and her head likely banged against the wall. (Bruises on Ms. Kercher’s neck suggest she was choked with small hands; Ms. Kercher had bruises to her scalp.)

17) Ms. Kercher’s jeans may have been partially removed to restrain her legs and feet. (There were few bruises to Ms. Kerchers legs and feet, including no signs of ligature. This suggests her legs were immobilized in some other fashion.)

18) Guede held Ms. Kercher’s left wrist, leaving DNA traces on Ms. Kercher’s sweatshirt.

19) Guede likely held Ms. Kercher’s left thigh, brusing it, and left his DNA traces inside her.

20) Ms. Kercher’s sweatshirt was removed and two layers of shirts she had on were rolled up to her neck.

21) Guede left DNA traces on Ms. Kercher’s bra.

22) At least three different types of shoe prints were left on the floor in Ms. Kercher’s room on postcards, papers and the pillowcase. None of these matched Ms. Kercher’s shoes found in her room.

23) A witness heard a man and woman yelling from the direction of the cottage.

24) Ms. Kercher was pricked and stabbed with a small knife in the right side of her neck.

25) Ms. Kercher likely freed her right hand and sustained small cuts. She may have punched Knox in the nose or mouth.

26) Ms. Kercher likely freed her left hand and sustained small cuts. She may have grabbed Knox’s hair, while perhaps ripping off an earring from Knox. (Crime scene photos show blonde hair strands in Ms. Kercher’s left hand)

27) Ms. Kercher was able to scream at the top of her lungs. Two witnesses heard the scream. One witness believed it was around 11:30 PM when she heard it.

28) Ms. Kercher was pricked on her neck and chin with a knife. She was stabbed on the left side of her neck with a large knife. Her neck was roughly 16” off the floor, as suggested by a blood spray pattern on the wardrobe door close to where she was found.

29) A bloody shoeprint fitting Knox’s shoe size was left on the pillowcase. Shoeprints matching Guede’s shoes were also found on the pillowcase.

Right After The Attack

30) Guede may have gone to the bathroom to get two towels to staunch the blood. Guede confessed to this, though no DNA traces of his are found on the towels. Guede’s bloody shoeprints were found around Ms. Kercher’s body, and his bloody hand print was found on the pillow.

31) At this point, Knox may have gone to the small bathroom to check a wound. Knox left traces of her blood mixed with Ms. Kercher’s blood in the bidet, edge of the sink and Q-tip box in the small bathroom. Knox left an additional blood trace on the faucet.

32) Guede handled Ms. Kercher’s purse, leaving DNA traces of himself and Ms. Kercher, likely with Ms. Kercher’s blood. (Traces of Guede’s DNA was found on the zipper of the purse. Because the trace contains blood it was likely left after Ms. Kercher started bleeding.)

33) Guede left bloody shoeprints leading straight down the corridor and out of the cottage.

34) A witness heard someone running on the metal stair of the car park shortly after she heard the scream.

35) The same witness also heard running footsteps on the cottage pebble driveway at roughly the same time.

36) The boyfriend of another witness was bumped into by someone ‘with dark skin’ running up the stone stairs, though the time is unclear.

37) Another witness heard people running in the street that wraps behind the car park.

38) Sollecito likely tossed Ms. Kercher’s cellphones from his car into a nearby garden 1 km away from the cottage at around midnight.

39) Guede was seen at the Domus night club around 2 AM.

Evidence, Manipulated Or Overlooked

Likely sometime later during the night Sollecito and Knox returned to the cottage to eliminate evidence and frame Guede for the crime. In so doing:

40) Sollecito left a partial bloody footprint on the bathmat.

41) Sollecito left his DNA on Ms. Kercher’s bra clasp after removing the bra. (Given blood patterns on the bra, the bra may have been removed after Ms. Kercher had died and certainly after she had been stabbed on the left side)

42) Sollecito left one, possibly two, bloody footprints in the corridor.

43) Knox left two bloody footprints in the corridor. One of these contained her blood as well as Ms. Kercher’s blood. (Knox likely bled during or after the assault and may have stepped in her own blood)

44) Knox left a trace of her blood mixed with Ms. Kercher’s blood on the floor in Romanelli’s room.

45) Knox likely threw Romanelli’s clothes on the floor. She likely used an inordinately large rock to break the window with the outer shutters closed. She likely placed some of the broken glass on the window sill to fake a break-in. (Romanelli and the Postal Police found glass on top of Romanelli’s clothes and laptop, suggesting the room was ransacked and then the window was broken.)

46) Knox, perhaps inadvertently, left a piece of window glass in Ms. Kercher’s room.

47) Knox left a bloody footprint in her room.

48) Knox likely left her only room lamp in Ms. Kercher’s room by accident. (The lamp was found on the floor, by Ms. Kercher’s bed, and it may have been used to exam the bloodied floor around Ms. Kercher’s body to remove evidence, such as perhaps an earring and/or hair.)

49) Knox likely wiped away all her fingerprints throughout the entire house (While a number of fingerprints were found in the cottage and verified belonging to the three other flatmates, no fingerprints were found that could be matched to Knox, not in her room or elsewhere- except for one, on a glass in the kitchen.)

50) Knox and/or Sollecito repositioned Ms. Kercher’s body and covered it with the duvet. (Crime scene photos show from the streaks of blood that Ms. Kercher’s body was moved. There were masses of long hair mixed with blood on the floor, suggesting someone had yanked Ms. Kercher by her hair.)

51) They likely took Ms. Kercher’s wallet, closed her bedroom door and locked it.

Back At Sollecito’s Place

52) Sollecito and Knox returned to Sollecito’s place to clean up. They brought back the large knife and cleaned it with steel wool, and also tried to scrape away build-up/rust by the handle. (The knife was found at Sollecito’s place, with DNA traces of Knox on the handle and by the handle/blade joint, with a DNA trace of Ms. Kercher on the blade, with scratches on the blade and pockets of cleaned stainless steel by the handle.)

53) Sollecito likely disconnected the trap of his kitchen sink, perhaps to clean it. (The trap pipe was found disconnected.)

54) Sollecito and Knox likely used bleach to clean the floor of any blood. (Police observed a strong smell of bleach when entering Sollecito’s apartment.)

55) Sollecito and Knox apparently took a shower. (Knox has recounted a number of ‘ear cleaning’ and ’shower’ stories.)

56) Sollecito likely put blood stained clothes and shoes into one or more garbage bags and drove in the night to dump them somewhere.

57) Sollecito used his computer at around 5:30 AM and turned on his cellphone at around 6AM.

Events On The Next Morning

58) Knox was seen at a nearby store at around 7:45 AM, just as the store was opening. She was noticed going to the cleaning products section, wearing clothes that were ultimately found on her bed at the cottage.

59) Knox may have traveled back and forth from the cottage with a mop and/or garbage bags. (In her different versions, both verbal and written, she talks about ‘having to fetch a mop from the cottage’.)

60) Knox turned on her cellphone around noon.

The Police At The House

61) Knox and Sollecito were discovered at the cottage by the Postal Police at around 12:30 PM.

62) Knox told the Postal Police that Ms. Kercher sometimes kept her door closed. (This was later contradicted by Romanelli, who insisted Ms. Kercher’s door be broken down.)

63) Knox called her mother in a panic at roughly 12:45 PM. Knox would later forget this phone call in her testimony and in her book.

64) Sollecito called the Carabinieri at around 12:50 PM, confirming nothing was stolen in Romanelli’s room, though he could not have possibly known this for certain.

65) When Ms. Kercher’s door was broken down, at around 1:15 PM, Sollecito and Knox were not with the group that broke the door down, and were not able to see inside the room.

66) Knox panicked when it seemed that Guede’s feces had been flushed by accident.

Later That Same Day

67) At the police station, Knox yelled out that Ms. Kercher ‘bled to death’.

68) At the police station, Knox inveighed against ‘those bastards’ after being fingerprinted, though it’s unclear whether she meant some other killers (and if so, why the plural), or the police.

One Day Later

69) On November 3, 2007, Sollecito lied to a reporter about how the discovery of Ms. Kercher’s body happened, recounting that Knox was the first to discover the body, and that he ‘saw blood everywhere’ even though he could not have seen into the room.

Two Days Later

70) On November 4, 2007, Knox emailed a narrative of the events from her point of view.

71) During the autopsy of November 4th, the prosecutor was convinced by the number and manner of the injuries on Ms. Kercher’s body that there had to be more than one assailant.

72) On November 4, 2007, Knox broke down when police showed her and the other roommates the knives in the silverware drawer at her cottage, to determine if any knives were missing. Knox had to be escorted outside to calm down.

73) Knox would later confess to her parents her concern about the knife at Sollecito’s apartment.

Three Days Later

74) On November 5, 2007, Sollecito failed to back up Knox and changed his alibi when confronted with cellphone records. He maintained Knox left his apartment from roughly 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Four Days Later

75) On November 6, 2007, following Sollecito’s interrogation, Knox blamed Lumumba for the murder, first verbally, then in one written statement, then in a second statement that she offered voluntarily without coercion.

76) Knox failed to make an official retraction of her blaming Lumumba for the murder.

And Subsequentially

77) When first contacted by his friend via Skype, Guede spoke of a man with a knife who was shorter than he, and who had chestnut colored hair (like Sollecito). He also thought Knox was arguing with Ms. Kercher.

78) When Guede was arrested, Sollecito was concerned that Guede might say strange things about him. (If Sollecito was innocent, why be concerned about Guede?)

79) In their multiple ‘confessions’, both Knox and Guede cite Ms. Kercher’s ‘terrible screams’.

80) In court, as a response for finding Ms. Kercher’s DNA on the knife, Sollecito made up a story of pricking Ms. Kercher’s hand while cooking and subsequently apologizing to her about it. But Ms. Kercher had never been to his apartment. Sollecito recently retracted this story on Twitter.

81) Guede eventually confirmed that Sollecito and Knox were with him on the night of the murder.

Some Further Considerations

Ms. Kercher was not promiscuous and had scruples about watering the marijuana plants of the boys residing on the ground floor of the cottage. She had never expressed any interest in Guede to any of her closest friends. Similarly, Guede had never expressed any interest to any of his friends or acquaintances regarding Ms. Kercher.

Some 40+ wounds were found on Ms Kercher’s body. Despite being physically active and knowing martial arts maneuvers, she had few defensive wounds, mostly on the right hand.

She had bruising on her back, her left thigh, lower right leg, both elbows and wrists, the neck, the nose and mouth. She had two significant stab wounds of differing size on opposite sides of the neck, as well as various cuts on face, neck, hands.

No ligature marks were found on her ankles or wrists. She was therefore assaulted by multiple attackers. And as the evidence and trial reports have repeatedly indicated, the attackers were Knox, Sollecito and Guede, with Guede not responsible for the fatal wound.

Posted on 10/20/13 at 08:00 AM by Marcello. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

When You Get In A Deeeep Hole, Best To Stop Digging: Did Anyone Think To Tell Knox?

Posted by James Higham



[Florence courts in winter; how they might look when the appeal verdict comes down]


Not sure the Knox machine quite understands what trouble their charge is in.

She’s already done three years for calumny and is at it again.  Her recent slurs on Italian courts and the police have brought further litigation down on her head.

Then there is the little matter of the court award to Patrick Lumumba for false accusation of murder, which she has not paid to this day, despite earning huge amounts from her fiction work published in America.  Every one of us knows what happens when we default.

See how this stands up as her reason not to pay up:

I have already appealed to him to tell him that I didn’t go to the Police Headquarters with the aim of accusing him of a murder he did not commit. What was dragged out of me was dragged out from me without my wanting to harm him.

I only wanted to help and I was completely confused so that I didn’t know what was true and what was not true at that point. Therefore I didn’t want to harm him. I … (MAXI-SIGH) … His.. His name came out only because my mobile phone was there and we exchanged some SMS.

She says: “Vorrei che lui [Patrick]può capire in che situazione io mio trovavo.”  I’d like him to understand the situation I’m in.  Pardon?  A man wrongfully banged-up in prison and owed $80 000 by her should understand the situation she is in?

She was asked what happened and answered, “My best truth is …”  My best truth?  She invented an entire situation with Mignini which simply did not happen according to eyewitnesses, including her translator.  Simply did not occur that way.  She volunteered a statement but in the light of subsequent events weeks later, changes that, upon advice, to her being browbeaten.

Hence the calumny charges.

Mian poster Stilicho adds:

Knox can’t even be honest about her time in prison. She was not in prison because she was wrongly convicted for murder but because of the calunnia she committed against Patrick and as a precaution against her fleeing the country or killing someone else before her trial was completed. She sang and danced and was frequently visited by politicians and other dignitaries. By all accounts, it was the most productive time in her life.

When confronted with her lies, she says, “I was confused.”  Sorry – courts don’t buy such things.  They deal in truth or non-truth.  None of this “it seemed to me”.  She interprets this real-world reaction as hurtful, hateful to Amanda.

In short, she appears to be emotionally or socially retarded, not fully understanding what she has got herself into.  Should she be released on a technicality, as Casey Anthony was, she still faces years inside because of the libel and slander which is piling up.  Her own people are also being litigated.  Peter Quennell:

We don’t see any sign that David Marriott or Robert Barnett or Ted Simon have the slightest clue about Italian law. They are all liable too for the felonies in the book and all of them could be charged too by the Bergamo judge.

Her advisors need to shut her up before she makes it any worse for herself.  In that accusation of Lumumba, she said she was there, in the next room with her hands over her ears because she couldn’t bear Meredith’s screams.  It was a clear description, clear enough for the police to arrest Lumumba and put him in prison.  The screams coincided with those the neighbours reported.

If one was to substitute Guede and Sollecito, whose bloodied footprint was on the bathmat, for Lumumba, that might be close to the truth of what happened, it would explain no DNA found of hers in the actual room..

Except that there are multiple mixed blood traces and her DNA twice now on the murder weapon, along with her panicked reaction when the cutlery drawer was opened, plus her words to her mother that they’d found a knife and that she was very worried about it.  Why would she need to worry if she wasn’t there?

She might be able to explain away the pattern of where her DNA was found on the knife – a stabbing grip near the blade – as a weird way of cutting vegetables.  Then there was Sollecito’s admission over Meredith’s DNA in the scratch as an accident when he pricked Meredith in the hand whilst cooking at his place.

Except Meredith had never been to his place.  And he still maintains that Knox was not with him that evening at his own home.

So, despite the sweeping statements by her minders of “no evidence”, which are then syndicated all over the world by their media entourage, inc the Wail, there’s actually copious evidence.  After you get past the conflicting stories, the cellphone activity and the witness identifications, there is still the matter of the mixed blood traces.

There was no blood the night before, by Knox’s own admission.  Meredith was out that early evening, the two had not been together.  These are the sorts of minor anomalies she can only explain with “it seemed to me” or “I imagined”.

Then there is the little matter of the hand marks on the neck, too small for the men although there were other marks too.

The horror for Amanda Knox, in her infantilized state – look at her handwriting – is that she cannot see consequences, not unlike a child.  She doesn’t understand that you can’t go killing someone and get away with it.  She’s constantly on about being seen as a good person, as every child and every adult would like and so many of us do not see it that way.

Like a child, she just wants it all to go away and that childlike appearance is what strongly drags in most people’s sympathy – here is a State and nasty people worldwide being cruel and mean to a young innocent.  Yet she’s getting on for 30 now and is no child.  And she still spreads the libel with no thought of consequences, just as she saw no consequences on that night, just the there and then.

The role of drugs cannot be downplayed in this effect on her mind.  She’s almost a poster girl for today’s youth and the early sex and drugs, with the dumbing-down at school at the same time.

She’s a mess and it’s hard not to sympathize with that and want help for her … except for one pesky problem.  She’s a convicted murderess.

The reaction to these posts will be sympathy for her and anger at the bully who is writing it.  It should actually be disgust at what she did and neutrality towards the reporter writing the post.  How does it shift from one to the other?

Natural chivalry.  Yet in this sympathy for her, there is still the question of her victim choking on her blood once the screams had stopped.  And that is what maintains our interest in the case – it is unresolved as yet, it is close to the end.

She might get off on a technicality if her lawyers are good enough.  She’ll then go into that limbo state of Casey Anthony and all the other broken children of today, the blame for which many of us lay at the door of Them and their narrative.

For sure there is a sadness to it, which a new commenter, David Berlin mentions:

Knox is a hamster on a wheel, in a cage, endlessly condemned to repeating the same nonsense. In an earlier post I saw her as a character in Beckett’s ‘Play’ and the more she opines the more apt that seems. Endlessly repeating a story, fixed in her lines, unable to find an exit.

Commenter Goodlife writes:

Her life now does not seem all that different from her days in prison in that most aspects of her life seem to be under the control of someone else. But does anyone believe that she is any happier or more content now? She is now nothing more than a performing monkey, dishing out the script given to her by her supposed nearest and dearest.

An Italian commented:  “Young Italian actors should learn from Amanda Knox. She is a great actress.”

She’d stare at that comment in horror.  She uses the term bambina for herself, rather than ragazza, sheltering within this childlike status.  At 20.  At nearer 30 she is still doing it.  She said in an interview that she was la più piccola [the littlest] instead of la più giovane [the youngest].  Littlest evokes more sympathy.

She’s in a prison of her mother’s and her estranged father’s making.

She’s caught up in an international horror story and she’s the leading player.  This will always garner sympathy.

She asks why everyone hates her.  They don’t hate her – that’s child talk.  They are appalled by the machine she has behind her and their antics and believe she should take responsibility and start paying off the debt to the dead girl.

Meredith by name.

Posted on 10/17/13 at 05:55 PM by James Higham. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Amanda Knox Risks Huge Penalties For Felony Claims No Different From What Already Cost Her 3 Years

Posted by Peter Quennell




Here is the Amanda Knox Skype interview transcribed for us from the video in Italy. The interviewer is mushy (too much so) and really distorts key facts, and so does Knox. You can see her claim she was framed. Her denials are without substance and seem mechanical and half-hearted. Time for Plan B?

A common question on forums today is “Can Amanda Knox make these very public false charges and suffer no penalty?”

The short answer is no. First, she has made the possibility of early arrest to put a stop to that far more likely. If Judge Nencini saw the Porta a Porta TV program last night he will be giving a lot of thought to his options. Negotiating on arrest is ruled out by law

And second, for the dozens of false charges in her book and numerous TV and print interviews, she could be facing some more years in prison quite regardless of how the Nencini appeal works out for her.  And a guilty verdict there could cost her 30 years and $10 million to $20 million in damages.

One thing nobody thought to point out on the rudderless and badly informed Porta a Porta show last night is that Knox is already being investigated for identical false charges.

EVERYTHING she says now is added to that “treasure trove” of actionable accusations. It is seriously dumb what she is doing. Penalties for these felonies vary; but if one has a prior conviction, some prison time is almost inevitable.

Sorely missing from the Porta a Porta panel last night was their usual magistrate, Simonetta Matone, who has always raised tough questions.  Was there a deal not to have her present on what was a distinctly tilted panel?

Knox has committed at least one very serious felony in her book with the lurid pages-long accusation that the investigating prosecutor Dr Mignini was not only present at her interrogation (he wasn’t) but leaning on her to frame Patrick (not being there, of course he didn’t.).

Why didn’t anyone on Porta a Porta introduce that false accusation last night, which was widely reported in the Italian media after her book came out? Or mention her lamp behind Meredith’s door lacking fingerprints, or the mixed-blood traces outside Meredith’s door which seem to strongly relate to what the Carabinieri labs in Rome are now investigating?

We’ve had extensive analysis of Sollecitos book done and are about to start posting various seeming felony instances. For the false accusations of crimes we have spotted he could see another 2- 10 years behind bars.

Even their lawyers are seeing culpability growing, as they are given full credit for helping to write the defamatory books.  They all made themselves scarce last night, did anyone notice that? 

Oh and do you ever wonder why Knox or Sollecito don’t push their own lawyers forward to take on this challenge?


Below: Pro-prosecution Magistrate Simonetta Matone suspiciously absent last night]

Posted on 10/16/13 at 04:57 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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