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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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
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.
Archived in Public evidence, DNA and luminol, The two knives, Appeals 2009-2014, Florence appeal, Diversion efforts by, Francesco Sforza, Raff Sollecito, DNA contam hoax, The Aviello hoax
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (77)
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
RS And AK Seemingly Competing To “Appropriate” Meredith: Ghoulish, Sadistic And Very Cruel? Or…?
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
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
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:
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’!
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.
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.
I think you’re absolutely right about forgiveness - thank you for saying it so well.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (33)
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”.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (20)
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
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (94)
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:
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.
- 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.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, More sockpuppets, Raff Sollecito
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (45)
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)
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (8)
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.
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,  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?
Archived in Italian justice system, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Raff Sollecito
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (8)
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.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (45)
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.
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.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (96)
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
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.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (44)
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]
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (39)
Monday, October 14, 2013
Carabineri Labs Might Prove Fourth And Conclusive Scenario For The Mixed DNA Samples In The House
Posted by Peter Quennell
The defense observers may not have a further role at the laboratory. Most or all of the analysis leading to firm attributions of the DNA will be done by the Carabinieri team electronically.
It is that final attribution that the defenses are widely rumored to be so terrified of. That Knox’s DNA is there seems a given. The cliffhanger is whether Meredith’s DNA is there also.
Another possible mixed trace. If so it would be the sixth one.
Judge Massei did not arrive at a full scenario for how the five mixed blood traces at the crime scene could have been created. He described what was found by crime scene investigators and moved on.
After the 2009 Massei trial some further analysis was conducted.
With great help from Luciano Garofano’s DNA chapter in Darkness Descending and Barbie Nadeau’s and Andrea Vogt’s excellent reporting, we posted a comprehensive update mid-2011.
The locations of the five mixed traces at the crime scene are as follows.
1. Bathroom near Meredith’s room:
- On the drain of the bidet
- On the Q-tip box located at the ledge of the sink
- On the edge of the sink
Elsewhere in the apartment:
- In a luminol-enhanced bare footprint in the hallway outside Kercher’s room
- In a luminol-enhanced spot found in Filomena Romanelli’s room
Three sources for Knox’s blood have long been suggested: some bleeding from her ear, some bleeding from a possible nosebleed, some bleeding from the open scrape on her neck. .
All three of them could theoretically have been inflicted by Meredith as she struggled with the trio to save her life. None seem to explain why there were repeated MIXED traces.
That has remained a huge puzzle. But now we are looking at a fourth scenario: that Knox cut her hand with the top end of the blade as she stabbed at Meredith’s neck.
That could explain once and for all where Amanda Knox’s blood came from AND why it was mixed with Meredith’s blood. It happened right there.
[Click for larger image. Handle as from the blade direction. Sample is apparently from gap on sharp side.]
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (40)
DNA Tests: Umbria24 Reporter Francesca Marruco Provides A Balanced Overview Of Possible Prospects
Posted by ziaK
Perugia-based Francesca Marruco did a lot of careful balanced reporting from Perugia early in the case. She has excellent official sources. She suggests in this report that the world might have to wait for the last day in October (deadline for the labs to report their analysis) or 6 November (next scheduled court session) for the official bottom line.
This is my translation. I am Italy-based also.
Kercher trial: unconfirmed reports on Amanda’s DNA: The experts will lodge their report [their truth] on the 30th [October]
By Francesca Marruco
The “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife could have come from the American woman, however the data could lend itself to contrary interpretations. The sentence could arrive before 30 November.
In order to obtain the definitive results of the analyses that the carabinieri of the RIS in Rome are carrying out on the “I” trace identified on the blade of the knife which is considered to be the weapon with which Meredith Kercher was murdered, we will have to wait until 30 October - the day on which the experts appointed by the Assise Appeal Court of Florence will lodge their conclusions. Already on Friday, the day on which the analyses were begun in the experts’ laboratories, uncomfirmed reports began to be leaked concerning the origins of that tiny quantity of DNA.
These leaks would like to ascribe it [the DNA] to Amanda Knox, the American student who was initially convicted and subsequently acquitted for the homicide of her flatmate, Meredith. But there is, as yet, neither certainty nor officiality, and - as this long case has taught us - even in the presence of officiality, opposing interpretations may be formed. If, in fact, as is being rumoured, those tiny biological particles did actually belong to Amanda Knox, this information could be interpreted in many ways.
Opposing interpretations - The defence would hasten to say that since Amanda had spent time in Raffaele Sollecito’s house - where the knife was discovered - there would be nothing strange if her DNA were to be on the blade. Just as - and this, at least, has been clearly seen - Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle of the weapon. Its presence could be explained by any banal procedure in the kitchen.
And indeed, Knox’s own defence has always maintained that the highly-contested trace “H” - the other trace identified on the blade, and which according to some is Meredith’s DNA - is nothing more than potato starch. Thus, Amanda would seemingly have left her trace on the knife while peeling potatoes.
Traces - It is very clear, however, that the Prosecution could claim that precisely that presence of Amanda’s DNA on the blade of the knife could be proof that Knox touched it. To peel potatoes, or to kill her flatmate Meredith, as the Prosecution holds? If it is confirmed, one can bet that the data [found by the RIS] will give rise to an “earthquake” and it will fall to the judges of the Florentine court to clear up the resuting debris.
On the other hand, they might decide not to consider it [the data] any more than the other elements [of evidence], since it effectively lends itself to a multiplicity of [possible] interpretations which cannot be confirmed at this point in time. Certainly, if that trace were that of the victim, Meredith Kercher, the proceedings might take a different direction, since there would then be two [traces] at that point, and not just one trace of the victim’s DNA which would have ended up on the blade of a knife which she never touched during her lifetime.
The certainties, or rather, the conclusions, of the experts will be lodged on 30 October. It is the 6th of November, however, which has been appointed for the hearing during which these results will be discussed before the Court and the parties.
Towards the verdict - Raffaele Sollecito may also be present in court on that date, as he announced via his lawyers, Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. Sollecito intends to make various spontaneous declarations in order to affirm once again his non-involvement in the barbarious murder of Meredith Kercher, for which only Rudy Hermann Guede is currently in jail, with a sentence of 16 years in prison which has been confirmed[by the Supreme Court].
After the hearing in which the results of the tests entrusted to the Rome RIS will be discussed, it is very probable that the trial will travel rapidly towards sentencing - the fifth sentence pronounced by an Italian court with regard to Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The Court President [leading judge], Alessandro Nencini, said during the first hearing that “this is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness. Over and above the media circus, is Court’s desire to give all parties the most space possible for discussion, because there was a very significant sentence/conviction originally.”
By November - For this reason, “in order to obtain every possible factor for the matter we are trying here, the Court orders that the trace should be examined by the staff of the RIS in Rome”. The Florence Court’s sentence could thus arrive by the end of November, or at the latest by the end of the year. It is very unlikely that Amanda Knox will decide to be present at any of the hearings, and probably she will await the verdict in Seattle.
Perhaps the final word shall never be pronounced on the most Press-covered trial in Italian legal history. After this latest sentence, in fact, nothing prevents anyone from making further appeals to the Supreme Court.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (3)
Saturday, October 12, 2013
More About Meredith With Thanks To John Kercher and Stephanie
Posted by Hopeful
First, the letter in Italian from Stephanie to Judge Nencini at start of appeal.
Dear Dr Nencini,
We have talked a lot in our family in order to come to make the difficult decision not to come to Italy for the beginning of the trial. My mother is in dialysis three times a week and this has an enormous impact on her health. My father has had two strokes in the past. This period is particularly stressful for us all and we desperately want to discover the truth and find justice for Meredith, who was taken away from us so brutally and unnecessarily. We have thus decided to support each other in the family here in the UK and to follow the trial from here, keeping close contact with lawyer Francesco Maresca and his colleagues.
We are confident that the evidence will be re-examined and that all the other requests for tests will be allowed, so that all the unanswered questions may be clarified and that the Court may decide on the next actions in this tragic case. These have been the six most difficult years of our lives and we want to be able to find a conclusion and remember Meredith as the really marvellous girl who she was, rather than remembering the horror associated with her.
It is a continuous battle every single day, struggling with our emotions, happy memories and desperately sad ones, and the only way in which our pain and suffering can at least begin to to be alleviated is to come to a clearer understanding of the tragic events of November 1st, 2007. Nothing can bring back our beautiful Meredith, and we keep her in our hearts always and in our memory, but we need to know what happened and she deserves at least the dignity of the truth.
Thanking you in anticipation,
Stephanie Kercher and Family
Second, more on Meredith from John Kercher’s fine book.
Italy had always been important to Meredith. Her Italian teacher from senior school, Lucia Mazzeo, remembers how much Meredith enjoyed learning Italian, right from the start of her lessons in Year Nine. She was already good at French—in fact Mrs. Mazzeo had noticed that both Stephanie and Meredith seemed to have a natural flair for languages—but Meredith had quickly shown a delight in Italian culture and language.
A year after beginning Italian, at the age of fourteen, the school organized a two-week exchange visit with Taddeo da Sessa school in the town of Sessa Aurunca, in the southern Italian region of Campania. Built on the southwest slope of an extinct volcano, fifty miles from Naples, it is a beautiful, quintessentially Italian town, and has the ruins of a bridge with twenty-one arches and a Romanesque cathedral. The girls were to stay with Italian families whose daughters attended the Taddeo da Sessa school.”
Isn’t it wonderful how many rich experiences Meredith had in her young life? She seemed to cram a lifetime of treasures into a few years. Mr. Kercher goes on to say on Pages 50 and 51,
Mrs. Mazzeo noticed how quickly Meredith fitted in, getting on well with Italian staff and students alike. ‘They clearly feall in love with her smile, good nature and sparkling personlity,’ she told me. ‘Her sense of humour was a factor too…..
As part of this trip, and a subsequent one three years later, Meredith and her school travelled along the beautiful and picturesque Amalfi Coast. (oh, I am a bit jealous, having never seen Amalfi Coast.) They also travelled to Monte Cassino and to Rome, where Meredith’s time management skills were put seriously to the test, fitting in visits to the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum and the famous Fontana di Trevi.” Yes, Meredith threw a coin in the fountain to assure a return trip to Rome!
The party of English and Italian students, with extra friends, staff and even some parents, also visited Pompeii on their final full day in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79….It is a powerful place for anyone to visit, and it had a special meaning for Meredith because she knew Arline had done restoration work there in her youth.” (So I’m assuming Arline worked on archaeological sites?)
The spectacular Caserta Palace, with its wonderful symmetrical gardens and 1,200 rooms, built for the Bourbon kinds in the eighteenth century, also impressed her (Meredith). Italy was everything that Meredith had expected it to be.
These exchanges were more than just sightseeing holidays: they gave the girls a real experience of Italian life. For two days on each visit, they became pupils at the Taddeo da Sessa School, where they were expected to attend lessons with their Italian partners, and even participate in sporting activities and drama presentations. Many of the girls bonded with their host families and for Meredith it was a transformative experience.
Mr. Kercher next relates Meredith’s almost precognition that Italy will have immense meaning in her life. Page 52:
Mrs. Mazzeo tells a story that I find very poignant. ‘What I shall never forget,’ she goes on, ‘was the departure day from Italy, on Meredith’s first trip to Sessa when she was fourteen years old. Almost all of the girls on the coach were crying. This was a difficult moment every year on these trips, as after being a part of someone’s family for so long, saying goodbye was not easy.
Yet we all noticed that Meredith was smiling. She didn’t seem to be sad at all. I told her that she had the right attitude. Her reply was remarkable: “After this experience,” she said, “I know that Italy is going to be a part of my life for ever. I’m not sad because I’m coming back this summer and, some day, when I’m older, I know that I am going to live here.
During the following summer Meredith went back to Italy at age 15 with a school friend. She went back to stay with the same host family, She was truly in love with Italy, and at the most impressionable age. Page 53:
When she was in Year Thirteen, the modern languages and music departments at the school collaborated in a cross-curricular activity called “Light and Dark”. This was intended to celebrate the music and poetry of the respective languages studied at the school. The Italian Department contributed with three readings from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.
Meredith was due to read one extract only, in Italian, from “Paradiso”. But a younger girl, who was to deliver the “Purgatorio” reading, had a panic attack a few minutes before she was due to read, and so was unable to participate. In a very calm way, Meredith took over this reading and read it perfectly, without any practice at all
Later Mrs. Mazzeo lost the script of these readings, but five years later only a few weeks after Meredith’s death, she found the script and said that reading Dante’s “Paradiso” brought her comfort during the most difficult moments following Meredith’s tragedy.
It has been fun reading about Meredith’s work to promote Lynx products (she got part-time jobs to pay for schooling at Leeds and joined a couple of promotions agencies, one of which later liked her photo and got her the part in the Leontiou music video). They also got her a job at Gatwick Airport helping passengers find their gates for departure.
One day she politely asked some big rugby players to move so passengers could have access. When they ignored her she “laid into them verbally and onlookers were amused to see the musclebound sportsmen suddenly remember their manners.” (page 45)
Meredith was kind, but she was no coward.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (11)
Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon
Posted by Peter Quennell
Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.
But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one.
This has allowed for an extremely small court and prison system relative to the size of the population. These principles are now being adopted by of all places New York city.
At its apex is the very well-trained well-funded well-equipped national force, the Carabinieri, about which, in response to a claim that was stupid even by Sollecito’s standards, our main poster Yummi remarked:
The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).
Quite possibly the police force with the highest popularity rating in the world. In a recent email about the Carabinieri, Yummi also added the following:
The Carabinieri are a very peculiar police corps. They are indeed a police corps, yet also are formally military; in fact, they have military battalions (elsewhere) and under all points of view they are an extreme elite-corps. As militariy they don’t answer directly to the government but to the President; and from their facilities, you may infer they are a pretty well-trained police force.
They have the popular respect that the US’s FBI would probably like to have. (The two forces do co-operate very closely, and in fact they permanently exchange officers to work on their numerous common cases.)
The only relationship prior to these lab tests of the Carabinieri to Meredith’s case was that Raffaele Sollecito’s sister Vanessa once worked there.
So. The Carabinieri. Of possible real significance now in Meredith’s case?
The Carabinieri report directly to the President of the Republic. The President is also the ultimate head of the justice system, deliberately so as set out in the constitution to keep murky politics at bay. He also is wildely popular.
Judge Nencini may be signaling that he wants Italy’s most respected institutions on the side of his verdict. And no more murky politics.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (23)
Friday, October 11, 2013
The Carabinieri Laboratories In North-Central Rome Where Now Two Different Samples Need Attribution
Posted by Peter Quennell
Italy-based freelance reporter Andrea Vogt has tweeted the following: Leaks suggest DNA on knife shows knox genetic profile, but there is another profile being studied. Too early to interpret
Excellent comment on PMF by the poster Hugo which explains how the balance hasn’t changed.
The song remains the same. The republic contends that Amanda Knox used that knife to murder Meredith Kercher. The knife has yielded the DNA of just two people: Knox, in a position which indicates that she was gripping it, and Meredith, in a position which indicates that she was stabbed with it.
The defence can easily claim that Knox’s trace results from normal culinary use (although Stefanoni said the handprint indicated an atypical stabbing grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the blunt edge of the blade, and not a normal culinary cutting grip, with the knuckles on the same side as the sharp edge).
The problem is Meredith’s DNA at the sharp end. ‘Independent court-appointed expert’ Carla Vecchiotti admitted on the stand that this could not have arisen from laboratory contamination.
Professor Christopher Halkides’ suggestion that the contamination occurred during collection, because Stefano Gubbiotti acquired Meredith’s ‘aerosol DNA’ on his clothing, when he was supposedly in the house the same day, almost a week after the murder, and thus transferred the DNA from his clothing to his fingers to his evidence-handling gloves to the knife when he took it from Finzi’s envelope and re-packaged it in a stationery box at the Questura, is self-evidently absurd, fanciful, fictional and completely outwith the realms of actual forensic science.
And it’s not in evidence anyway, so it’s not an option open to the court.
Plus the objection to low copy number DNA is an American superstition not recognised in Europe. Unusually, it’s a scientific area where the US lags well behind. So you get hillbillies like Bruce Budowle grumbling, ‘Cain’t rightly say what that there newfangled LCN is, but ah reckon ah’m agin it.’ You’ll recall that a British appeal court has found that Bruce Budowle hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about and also that, like Halkides, he tends to cite sources that don’t actually say what he says they say.
Knox is there on the hilt of the knife. And M is there near the point of the blade, and she’s trying to tell us something.
The gap between the blade and handle of the knife was apparently widened to obtain the sample for the test. Sollecito lawyer Maori has claimed it is Amanda Knox’s. It is apparently adjacent to her previous trace.
If that is the case, the strength of the DNA evidence (which is very strong) remains unchanged. Dr Stefanoni identified Exhibit 36 on the blade as a strong trace of Merediith’s DNA. This was supported by various experts.
No contamination of that trace has ever been proved - or even a convincing contamination scenario put forward - and the video on top of the post below shows how the DNA charts for the sample and for Meredith totally match.
Human DNA is widely reported in Italy to have been established from the sample never before tested on the large knife.
We may have to wait on an announcement from Judge Nencini in Florence as to whose DNA it is. That may not happen today.
These labs in the Carabinieri barracks are not far from the center of Rome. They are very well know to Italians because (images at bottom) “RIS” the Italian version of the show “CSI” is set there.
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (49)
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Testing Of The DNA Sample Starts Today Though Possibly No Results Announced Before 6 November
Posted by Peter Quennell
1. ViaDellaPergola’s video
That video from 2010 illustrates how the existing positive tests described in the Massei Report were crystal-clear; subsequently Hellmann, Zanetti, Conti and Vecchiotti (all now being investigated) so muddied the water.
2. From our short-form Massei Report
This is from Part Three of the four-part abbreviation of the Massei Report done by Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team in mid-2011.
Exhibit 36: The double DNA Knife
Exhibit 36 is a 31 cm long knife with a 17 cm blade and a dark handle. It was seized from the kitchen cutlery drawer at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, located at 110 Corso Garibaldi in Perugia, on 6 November, 2007 when Chief Inspector Armando Finzi was ordered to perform a search of Sollecito’s residence. This exhibit is important because “Sample 36b” taken from a scratch on the knife blade yielded Meredith Kercher’s biological profile.
After putting on gloves and shoe coverings, Finzi and his team entered the home. They noted a strong smell of bleach. Opening the cutlery drawer, they saw a big, “extremely clean” knife. In Sollecito’s bedroom they found a second knife. The knives were bagged and sealed.
Exhibit 36 was carried back to the police station, where it was placed in a box for shipping to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome. Dr. Stefanoni was the recipient of the box containing the knife in Rome. All parties testified that standard procedures were followed to avoid the risk of contamination.
On 4 November, 2007, Meredith’s roommates Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Amanda Knox had been taken by the police to look at the knives in their kitchen at the apartment in Via della Pergola. Personnel from the Questura reported Amanda’s “severe and intense emotional crisis, unlike [the reaction of] the other two girls”. This behavior was contrasted to Amanda’s behavior at Police headquarters two days earlier:
“This circumstance appears significant both in its own right and also when one considers that Amanda had never previously shown signs of any particular distress and emotional involvement (in the Police headquarters, on the afternoon of November 2, Meredith’s English girlfriends, Robyn Carmel and Amy Frost in particular, according to their declarations, had been surprised by the behaviour of Amanda, who did not show emotions).”
Investigators’ attention was alerted to the Exhibit 36 knife because of Amanda’s inconsistent behavior. Later, police overheard a jail conversation between Knox and her parents on 17 November, when Knox said, “I am very, I am very worried about this thing with the knife ... because there is a knife of Raffaele’s ...”.
Exhibit 36 thus became a central piece of trial evidence. The debate would subsequently be focused on two issues: The compatibility of the knife with the large stab wound in Meredith’s neck; and the reliability of the DNA analysis.
Considering the first of these points, although the knife blade is 17 cm long, the depth of the larger wound is just 8 cm . This “discrepancy” was the basis of defense efforts to discredit the knife as a murder weapon. The compatibility of the Exhibit 36 knife and the larger of Kercher’s wounds is addressed by Professor Bacci (see p. 121 of the Massei report). Professor Norelli maintains that “it is not said that a blade is always embedded (plunged into) the target right up to the handle; the blade may also go (in) only to a certain portion of its length, and not right up to its end”.
It is noted that the movements of the victim may have played a part in determining the depth of the cuts. “If I insert a centimeter of the blade into the victim and the victim suddenly moves towards me, how much of the blade will be driven inside the body surface area is absolutely unpredictable and depends on the action of both”. Alternatively, the blade of the knife might have met an obstacle. The cutting action is described on p. 146 and again starting on p. 152.
Defense witness Dr. Patumi disputed the compatibility of the wounds with said knife, arguing that a blade of 17 cm length could not have caused a cut 8 cm deep; see p. 156-157. However, the Court rejected “the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36”, holding this thesis to be “unacceptable” .
Regarding the second point – that of the DNA analysis – Dr. Stefanoni was the responsible expert at the crime lab in Rome. Although no biological traces were visible to the naked eye on the face of knife blade, Dr. Stefanoni perceived scratches - “anomalies in the metal’ - on the blade when rotating the blade under strong lighting. The streaks were:
“… visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible.”
Sample 36b was taken from one of these points on the blade. The genetic profile of Meredith Kercher was identified from this sample. Stefanoni presented charts to the court, showing the DNA profile: she noted “that the peaks were a bit low, but that without doubt were still within the range that is considered useful for testing a specimen (page 108). Although of a much lower quantity of DNA, the profiles were nonetheless very present and, by making a comparison with Meredith’s profile, Dr. Torricelli reported that ‚we find all the alleles, and we find them to be equal to those obtained from the swab taken, from the sample taken from the wound. Therefore in this case too, without doubt‛ -she continued- ‚although we are confronted with a sample that contains very little DNA, it nonetheless contains the DNA of only one person and is therefore comparable to Meredith’s; with regard to this knife, I would say I have no doubt in interpreting it: specimen A with Amanda’s profile and specimen B with the profile, compatible with that of Meredith.”[231-32] However, the amount of DNA was small and it was all used up in order to run a single test.
The defense objected that it was impossible to evaluate whether the actual nature of Sample 36b specimen:
“.. when we have a small amount of DNA we talk about low copy number DNA, and that when this type of DNA is present, we are indeed able to carry out our amplification and obtain a profile, but we must remember that we may have lost one of the alleles, we may have an allelic imbalance ... it becomes very difficult to distinguish from a real allele, so that when working on ... small quantities of genetic material, it is necessary to be very cautious in interpreting the results.”
To this point, Dr. Stefanoni argued that it is preferable “to know to whom a biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that specimen, without attributing it to anyone.”
Furthermore, it was argued by the defense that the quantity of DNA was too low to be able to perform the tests and consider the results reliable. Given a low amount of DNA, the risk of contamination is high - particularly given the very numerous number of samples being analyzed.
The court rejected the possibility of contamination because no anomalies were ever identified in the Polizia Scientifica’s analytical process. The Prosecutor pointed out that all tests had been carried out in the presence of a lawyer/consultant for the defense - who had raised no objections during the testing. The possibility of contamination during the collection of evidence was rejected based on a detailed consideration of the collection process.
Thus, the DNA from Meredith which was found on that knife cannot be traced back to any contamination occurring in the house in which it was found, or to the method of acquisition of the knife on the part of Finzi, or even to the collection and dispatch methods used by Gubbiotti. In addition, as has been said, that such contamination could have been carried out by the laboratory is also ruled out.
In addition, Dr. Stefanoni testified that she did have the biological profile of the defendants, but did not employ them while interpreting the electrophoresis diagrams. Nevertheless, the Massei report judges that:
“... the main criticisms advanced by the defense concerned precisely this very small DNA quantity, and it raised the question of the reliability of the result obtained.”
To this central point, Dr. Stefanoni:
“Regarding the too low quantity of DNA, Dr. Stefanoni declared, as has been seen, that even in the case of a particularly scanty amount of material, the analysis and evaluation should be performed, and she added that, if the data that emerges is absolutely readable and interpretable and the correct laboratory practice was followed, the result is reliable and there is no reason to repeat the test.
“It does not follow ... that the data is unusable and unreliable as a consequence of a lack of repetition due to a lack of further quantities of DNA. It is necessary, instead, to take account of the data that emerges from such a specimen and to check for the – possible – presence of other elements, both circumstantial and inherent to the data itself that, despite the lack of repetition of the analysis, could allow an evaluation of the reliability of the analysis and of its outcome.”
The court concluded that the biological profile that resulted from the 36B DNA analysis ...
“… gave a biological profile attributable to the person who was mortally wounded with that very knife: a result, therefore, that was entirely reasonable and consistent with the event; [it was] certainly not explainable as a mere coincidence, and it must be ruled out –according to what has already been observed in this regard - that it could have originated from contamination or from the use of a suspect-centric method.”, and that
“…. it should therefore be affirmed that the analysis of trace 36B, which detected the presence DNA attributable to Meredith, appears to be completely reliable.”
3. TJMK posts on the latest DNA science
1. Poster Fy By Night: The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science
2. The Machine A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Extremely Rattled
4. Sollecito tries to wind back the “pricked” claim
Our lawyer SomeAlibi recently explained how.
5. Andrea Vogt posts possible scenarios.
Scroll down to UPDATE OCT. 9, 2013 An excellent weighting of the possibilities.
The DNA could be Meredith’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. It could be Rudy Guede’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. Or it could be neither (or untestable) which would nt neccessarily affect the outcome. .
Archived in Officially involved, Police and CSI, Public evidence, DNA and luminol, The two knives, Appeals 2009-2014, Florence appeal
Permalink for this post • Tell-a-Friend • Case Wiki • PMF Org Forum • PMF Net Forum • Comments here (17)