All our posts on Public evidence

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trial: Judge Massei Rejects Feeble Defense Bid To Throw Out DNA Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the trial has resumed, amid conjecture that it might last for additional months if the DNA evidence is to be independently assessed.

That possibility seems to have disappeared in a hurry. Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Buongiorno (above) made a request that some of the DNA evidence be thrown out.

Judge Massei speedily and very firmly ruled against. He clearly appears to consider the evidence and the procedures that were followed to be sound.

First, the DNA analyses in question were performed in the presence of defense experts, who did not make any comment at the time. And second, no substantive DNA information was wrongly withheld from the defenses and so the defendants’ rights were not violated.

[Judge Massei] added that relevant documents had been made available a month-and-a-half ago, suggesting that defence teams had enough time to review the DNA findings.

Our takes on the DNA component of the case (which our legal watchers say is far from being make-or-break evidence in this case) can all be found here.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Maybe Why Meredith’s House Was So Tough For Some Of The Police-Cars To Find?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Most of the police team seem to have made it with alacrity to 7 via della Pergola on the day after.

They have very fast cars and pretty good navigation. But one or two had to call in for directions.

This led to some ridicule among those who actually think that ridicule helps Amanda Knox.

Their fast route to the house is to head east up the hill from the Questura (if that is where they all came from). Then through Piazza Grimana by the School for Foreigners. And then down to via della Pergola, by way of the famous tee junction.

Click above for the route from Piazza Grimana down to the tee junction (the last several shots there are of the stone steps that Rudy ran up) and then click below for the street sign they would have encountered. 

Via della Pergola heads down to the LEFT here. The street sign says that via San Antonio begins to the RIGHT here.

And Meredith’s house is clearly off to the RIGHT.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #4 Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis

Posted by The Machine


Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significance.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony.

The first three posts were on the DNA evidence, the luminol-enhanced footprint evidence, and Raffaele Sollecito’s various conflicting alibis.

Now we look at the various conflicting alibis that Amanda Knox has given for the night in question.

A summary overview

In the case of Sollecito, when confronted with evidence that conflicted with his second alibi, he seems to have done a real u-turn and settled on the one that has him alone at his apartment for a long period on the night in question.

But his final alibi continues to give his defense problems up to this day, and they have essentially been unable to shore it up firmly.

Knox seems to be in the same boat. She also seems to have done an extreme u-turn, and the results of that u-turn have left her defense with an untidy situation that is still not noticeably shored up.

Her first alibi was to the effect that she was with Sollecito all night at his place, through to around mid-morning on 2 November. That alibi was the one she gave the police on the morning after Meredith was fatally attacked.

When Sollecito himself and the phone-record and computer-record evidence undermined that alibi, Knox gave several versions of a second alibi (not all of them heard by the court) in which she was claiming to have been present at the house while the murder of Meredith took place.

Finally, in her own testimony on the witness stand at trial, she once again settled on an alibi that has her back at Sollecito’s place all night.

This third alibi is undermined by accurate details no-one not present could have known in the several versions of her own second alibi (see below), by Sollecito’s denial that this is what happened (never amended or revoked), and by mobile-phone records, by eyewitnesses, and by the forensic evidence at Meredith’s house.

Now for more detail

Police witnesses indicated that they became suspicious of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito almost from the moment when Chief Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Inspector Fabio Marzi of the national communication police arrived at the cottage on Friday 2 November to explore why Meredith’s two mobile phones had been discarded the previous night in a garden a kilometer away.

  • First, Inspector Battistelli testified that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito looked “embarrassed and surprised” when the officers found them standing outside the cottage. (Knox and Sollecito told them there had been a break-in, and that they were waiting out for the police to arrive. No prior phone call to the police has been proven.)
  • Second, Inspector Battistelli testified that when he inspected Filomena’s room, he immediately thought that this was a staging of a break-in and not a genuine one. There were obvious shards of glass on top of Filomena’s disarrayed clothes on the floor, and nothing appeared to have been stolen - some valuables were there in plain sight.

From the very first few minutes, the police on the scene were alert and watchful of Sollecito and Knox. And when Meredith’s body was discovered very shortly afterwards, they first began considering whether one of her housemates had been involved in Meredith’s murder.

When they soon after questioned Knox and Sollecito, they were presented with confusing statements, which did not seem to credibly account for their movements the previous night or earlier the day after. Also, Knox and Sollecito disappeared into Knox’s bedroom and shut the door for a while - the period during which later evidence suggested they made a flurry of phone-calls to relatives while not actually mentioning that the police were already there in the house.

Rather than immediately arresting Knox and Sollecito, the police officers on the scene testified that they decided to tap Knox’s and Sollecito’s telephone calls, to record their conversations at the police station, and also to have them followed. This surveillance continued for a three-day period, up to Monday night. where they were invited in for further questioning.

In this same period the police examined the phone records of the two. The records of Knox and Sollecito for 2 November provided some definitive proof that Knox and Sollecito had lied to them twice on 2 November.

  • First, they had claimed they had slept in at Sollecito’s until after 10am on 2 November, but their phones were proven to be operational prior to that time.
  • Second,  they had claimed they had called the police emergency 112 number before the national communication police arrived, but there was no evidence of such calls then.

The only evidence of any calls to the police was for the period right after, when the national communication police were already there in the house.

Late on Monday 5 November, the police requested Sollecito to come down to the police station, to be confronted with all this, and to be given an opportunity to explain it away.

Knox came with him. When Knox and Sollecito arrived at the police station, Sollecito was led away to be questioned in another room, and Knox was initially left to her own devices.

The police showed Sollecito the telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied to them on Friday 2 November.

As described in the earlier post on his own alibis in this series, this forced a clear about-turn for him

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies.

Sollecito now admitted to the interrogators that he had lied to them earlier. He now put the blame on Knox, saying that she had asked him to lie. He now claimed that she had gone out from his place on the night in question at around 9.00 pm and she had not returned before 1.00 am.

In effect, Sollecito had stopped supporting Knox’s alibi that she had been at his place all night.

Interrogators testified that Amanda Knox was now interrogated in parallel in another room.

In a third room with one-way glass in between the two was Edgardo Giobbi, the head of the national Violent Crimes Unit in Rome, who had come to Perugia for the investigation. Perugia’s chief prosecutor, Mr Mignini, was not present at the first round of interrogations - he was only called in after Sollecito and Knox had each extensively changed their stories for the night in question.

At the start of her interrogation, Knox was informed by the interrogators that Sollecito had just stopped providing her with an alibi, and that he had also just claimed that she had asked him to lie for her.

The interrogators asked her to examine her mobile phone. They asked her if she had responded to the text message from her employer, Diya Lumumba, that she would not be required to work at his bar that night. She claimed that she hadn’t replied, seemingly unaware that the police had her telephone records and already knew that she had replied.

The police now showed her the telephone records that confirmed she had replied, and according to their testimonies on the stand, from this point on Knox largely seems to have lost it.

Officer Rita Ficarra stated on the stand that “she started crying and wrapping her hands around her head, she started shaking it” and then “she said: it was him… Patrick killed her”.

Police interpreter Anna Donnino stated that Knox showed extreme emotional involvement – she was crying and visibly shocked, saying at one point “It was him, it was him. He’s bad’”

Mr Giobbi said that he could hear Amanda Knox shouting when Diya Lumumba’s name was brought up.

All the police witnesses testified under oath that Amanda Knox had voluntarily accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith, and that during the interrogation she had been treated well.

It might appear significant to the court that Knox made no attempt to refute Sollecito’s claim that she wasn’t at his apartment on the night, but instead readily admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed.

At the same time it might also appear significant that she was prepared to thrown him under the bus in her turn, claiming in one version that Sollecito was also at Meredith’s house on the night.

In fact, Amanda Knox stated on at least three occasions that she was present at the cottage when Meredith was murdered.

Two of the statements were ruled inadmissible by the Italian Supreme Court because Knox was not represented by a lawyer when she made those statements. But Judge Massei in the hearings ruled that another statement, a handwritten note to the police on 6 November which repeats the claim of having been present, could indeed be admitted as evidence at the trial, because she made it voluntarily. 

Here for the sake of clarity is a summary of each of the statements. The first and fourth were elaborated on by witnesses at the trial and subjected to cross-examination. The fifth was made on the stand. The other two - widely reported in the media records - were not presented at trial, and so not subject to cross-examination. 

Version 1 Witness statement given on 2 November.

Amanda Knox told the police that she spent the whole night with Raffaele Sollecito at his apartment, and she repeated this narrative in an email to family and friends on 4 November:

From the email: “…after a little while of playing guitar me and raffael went to his house to watch movies and after to eat dinner and generally spend the evening and night indoors. we didn’t go out. the next morning i woke up around 1030”

Knox indicated that she couldn’t remember much about what happened at Sollecito’s apartment that night because she was suffering from cannabis-induced amnesia. In her handwritten note to the police, she acknowledged that her inability to fully recall the events on the night of the murder did look incriminating.

“I also know that the fact that I can’t fully recall the events that I claim took place at Raffaele’s home during the time that Meredith was murdered is incriminating”.

Version 2 Witness statement given on 6 November and ruled inadmissible

This is how the Daily Mail reported it on 13 November:

“I can’t remember if my friend Meredith was there or if she came later. We were all separate,” she said.

“He (Lumumba) wanted her (Meredith).

“Yes we were in the house.  We were drunk. We asked her to join us.

“Diya wanted her. Raffaele and I went into another room and then I heard screams.

“Patrick and Meredith were in Meredith’s bedroom while I think I stayed in the kitchen.

“I can’t remember how long they were together in the bedroom but the only thing I can say is that at a certain point I remember hearing Meredith’s screams and I covered my ears.

“Then I don’t remember anything else. There is such a lot going on in my head.“

“I can’t remember if Meredith was screaming and if I heard thuds but I could imagine what was going on.’

....Later, she contradicts herself, saying: “I can’t remember if Raffaele was there that night.

“I remember waking up in his bed at his house and that I went back to my house where I found the door open.”

This inadmissible version of events is already markedly different to her first one. She seems to have admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed, but claimed that Sollecito was also there.

Version 3 Witness statement given on 6 November and also ruled inadmissible

This is the version The London Times reported on 7 November 2007.  In this version Amanda Knox is not sure whether Raffaele Sollecito was with her at the house or not.

She seems to have said that she met Mr Lumumba on the evening of November 1 after sending a text message in reply to his with the words “Let’s meet up” (“Ci vediamo”).

“We met around nine o’clock at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana and we went back to my house. I don’t remember if my friend Meredith was already there or whether she came later. What I can say is that the two of them (Meredith and Patrick) went off together.”

She seems to have said she and Mr Lumumba had told Ms Kercher they wanted to “have some fun”. “Patrick wanted her (Ms Kercher),” she said.

“Patrick and Meredith went off together into Meredith’s room while I think I stayed in the kitchen. I can’t remember how long they were in the bedroom together, I can only say that at a certain point I heard Meredith screaming and I was so frightened I put my fingers in my ears. I don’t remember anything after that, my head is really confused.”

“I don’t remember if Meredith called out or if I heard thuds because I was upset, but I can imagine what was happening.” She claimed she had had a lot to drink and had fallen asleep.

She added: “I’m not sure whether Raffaele was there too that evening but I do remember waking up at his house in his bed and that in the morning I went back to where I lived, where I found the door open.”

Version 4 Voluntary handwritten note to police 6 November ruled acceptable by Judge Massei

In this version, which was presented in evidence, Knox claimed that she was both at Sollecito’s apartment and at Meredith’s house on the night in question.

Also for the first time Knox raises the possibility that she might have seen and heard the events at the cottage in a vision.

In my mind I saw Patrik in flashes of blurred images. I saw him near the basketball court. I saw him at my front door. I saw myself cowering in the kitchen with my hands over my ears because in my head I could hear Meredith screaming…

And she concluded the note as follows:

Everything I have said in regards to my involvement in Meredith’s death, even though it is contrasting, are the best truth that I have been able to think.

Preliminary judge Claudia Matteini observed in a statement that the court has received that Knox’s note to the police contained significant elements of truth - in other words, verifiable details:

Finally, looking at the content of the memoir itself, we must admit that its content is very careful. It is certainly not a fantastic and imaginary delirium.”

The note seems to suggest that Knox knew Meredith had been sexually assaulted:  “Patrick wanted her… I don’t remember if Meredith called out or if I heard thuds because I was upset, but I can imagine what was happening”.

This seems to have been the first mention ever by anyone of a sexual assault on Meredith, and it was made before the results of Dr. Lalli’s autopsy report were presented to the court on 8 November.

It was testified that Knox also revealed other accurate details about Meredith’s murder before the results of the autopsy were made public. She told witnesses on 2 November that Meredith had died “in slow agony”.

Mr Mignini asked Knox on 17 December 2007 how she could possibly have known this if she was not actually there. Knox began to cry, and refused to answer the question.

Knox also claimed that she heard Meredith screaming, and screaming was reported by two of the witnesses, Nara Capezalli and Antonella Monacchia. Each testified that they heard a loud scream on the night Meredith was murdered.

Knox also claimed that she was in Piazza Grimana on the night of the murder. This claim is supported by Antonio Curatolo, who testified that he saw Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Piazza Grimana on several occasions that night.

It seems that Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, really had no choice but to acknowledge the fact that Knox had made conflicting statements. In remarks to the press:

“All of the lawyers have imposed on Amanda the gravity of her situation, and the gravity of accusing other people. They have all told her that she needs to tell the truth because there have been differences in the statements.”

“We have asked her family to persuade her in the hope that her parents will ask her to tell the truth. There have been differing statements.”

Version 5 Amanda Knox’s own testimony on the stand on June 12 and 13

In her testimony on the stand, Knox simply reverted to the original claim, still not supported by Sollecito, that she had been with Sollecito at his apartment all night and a part of the following morning.

This alibi is undermined by the accurate details she provided in the second alibi that no-one not present could have known (see above), by Sollecito’s own denial that this is what happened, and by mobile-phone records, by eyewitness accounts, and by the forensic evidence at Meredith’s house.

In Conclusion

It now seems, from the testimony on the various alibis presented at trial, that Knox like Sollecito has no credible alibi, and no convincing scenario at all for the night of Meredith’s murder.

And it would appear likely that she has damaged her overall credibility with the court by giving three alibis, including one on the stand, that differed so very markedly.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis

Posted by The Machine



[above: Sollecito with his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno; click for a larger image]

Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significances.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. The first two posts below were on the formidable DNA and luminol footprint evidence.

In this and the next post we elaborate the testimony relevant to the multiple alibis given by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and the circumstances in which they were given.

Following the discovery of Meredith’s body in her house, more than a dozen possible witnesses were quite expeditiously questioned: Meredith’s various English friends, her two Italian housemates, the four boys who lived downstairs, and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

Meredith’s English friends, her two Italian housemates, and the boys downstairs fully cooperated with the police, seemed to be telling the truth, and had alibis that could readily be verified. As a direct result they were all quickly eliminated from the investigation.

In stark contrast, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito seemed to be obfuscating and appeared reluctant to cooperate with the police, attitudes that were first publicly noted as incriminating by the judges at the Italian Supreme Court.

Knox and Sollecito each made three separate attempts to come up with credible alibis, none of which made total sense or managed to get them off the hook. 

Today, we address Sollecito’s. The prosecution undermined them in various ways. Sollecito did not take the stand to repeat any of them, and his occasional interventions in the courtroom did not strengthen any of them.

Raffaele Sollecito’s first alibi

For his first alibi Raffaele Sollecito claimed, in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror, that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder. It appears that this is the alibi that Sollecito also first told the police.

As there seems to have been no party, or in any case no party they attended, it would have been difficult for Sollecito to find any witnesses, and so this alibi was quickly superceded.

Raffaele Sollecito’s second alibi

For his second alibi Sollecito now claimed that he was at his apartment throughout the night with Amanda Knox.

This alibi was contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution. According to the testimony of the scientific police from Rome, there were six separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

These included an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, and a bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s bathroom which appears to match the precise characteristics of his foot.

Sollecito’s claim that he was at his apartment the whole evening on 1 November was also undermined by Amanda Knox, who claimed in one of her own witness statements that he was also at the cottage when Meredith was killed:

Yes we were in the house. That evening we wanted to have a bit of fun. We were drunk. We asked her to join us. Diya wanted her. Raffaele and I went into another room and then I heard screams.

This alibi was also undermined by an eyewitness, Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there. And it was undermined by Sollecito himself when he moved to the third alibi below.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies.

Although Rudy Guede exercised his right to silence when he was called as a witness in the present trial, it should be noted that at his own trial last October and in the stated grounds for his appeal, he has claimed that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were both at the cottage on the night in question, and that they were responsible for Meredith’s murder.

Raffaele Sollecito’s third alibi

Sollecito was asked to return to the police station on 5 November to answer some more questions. He was at that time confronted with telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied previously.

So for his third alibi, which now cut Amanda Knox loose and implicated her, Sollecito claimed that he was at his apartment all evening, and that for part of the evening Knox was out, from 9 pm to 1 am.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies….

Amanda and I went into town at around 6pm, but I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8.30 or 9pm.

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

He goes on to say that Amanda returned to his house at around 1am and the couple went to bed, although he couldn’t remember if they had sex.

This third alibi was undercut by Amanda Knox when she took the stand and testified. She stated that she was with Sollecito at his place all night.

It was also contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution: the six separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

This third alibi was also undermined by the telephone records and by the data taken from his computer.

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11 pm. The phone records showed that to the contrary, there was no telephone conversation at this time, though Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier, at 8.40 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was surfing the internet from 11 pm to 1 am. Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, testified that the last human interaction on Sollecito’s computer that evening was at 9.10 pm and the next human activity on Sollecito’s computer was at 5.32 am.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30 pm, and it was earlier testified that Meredith returned to the cottage she shared with Amanda Knox at about 9 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he had slept in until 10 am the next day. There was expert prosecution testimony that his mobile phone was actually turned on at 6.02 am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

This alibi was undermined by the eyewitness Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there.

Sollecito’s difficult situation resulting

Sollecito does not seem to have done himself any favours by exercising his right to remain silent and not to testify at the trial.

As things now stand, he does not have any credible alibi or scenario for the night of the murder. Also it would appear that he has damaged his overall credibility irreparably, by giving three alibis that differed so considerably.

Judge Paolo Micheli had in front of him much of the same evidence. He wrote, in committing Raffaele Sollecito to trial last October, that he considered the triple alibis to be a clear indication of guilt.

There seems to be no obvious reason right now why the present judges and jury would conclude differently.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #2 The Footprint Evidence

Posted by The Machine


Preamble

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significances.

The material has been reordered so that evidence presented at several points in the trial can be described in one post here. Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. The first post, below, was on the formidable DNA evidence.

In this post we now elaborate the footprint evidence, some of which is easily visible and some of which is only apparent with the use of luminol. We reported what happened in the court here and here.

Kermit in his Powerpoint series provided us with accurate prior analysis and post analysis of these flootprints and shoeprints, and Kermit also presented a Powerpoint map of the cottage.

1. About luminol

Luminol is a chemical that reacts with the microscopic particles of iron in the blood if a partial but incomplete attempt has been made to clean a bloodstain away.

The blood traces glow a bright blue quite fleetingly in the dark under luminol, just long enough to allow forensic investigators to measure and photograph it.

Luminol evidence can be among the most compelling. If bloodstains show up under luminol, but not to the naked eye, then it is almost a complete certainty that a crime-scene clean-up has been attempted.

Lorenzo Rinaldi is the director of the print-identity division of Italy’s scientific police, the Italian equivalent of Scotland Yard or the FBI. He testified that one visible and three luminol-revealed footprints and a visible shoeprint belonged to the present two defendants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. (Another shoeprint belonged to Guede, convicted last October.)

2. Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of Meredith’s house. . One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room. These bloody footprints were only revealed under luminol.

The fact that there was an absence of any visible bloody footprints from Meredith’s room where Meredith’s blood was to the visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared strongly indicates that some prints were successfully cleaned away altogether.

A woman’s bloody shoeprint which matched Amanda Knox’s foot size was found on a pillow under Meredith’s body. Barbie Nadeau noted the significance of this evidence on The Daily Beast website:

“When the judge asked Rinaldi the size of an unidentified bloody shoeprint found on the pillow below Kercher’s body, he responded, “Between 36 and 38.” The judge then asked Rinaldi what size shoe Knox wears. “The Skecher shoe we sequestered belonging to Amanda Knox corresponds with size 37.”

The significance of the woman’s bloody shoeprint in Meredith’s room is considerable. By itself it debunks the myth that some had propagated for a while, that Rudy Guede acted alone. The bloody shoeprint was incompatible with Meredith’s shoe size.

3. Raffaele Sollecito

Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by luminol in the hallway, and the other one was easily visible to the naked eye on the blue bathmat in Meredith’s and Knox’s shared bathroom.

Lorenzo Rinaldi excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat was the right size or shape to belong to Knox or Guede instead of Sollecito: “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.”

Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shows just how meticulous and painstakingly detailed the analysis of the bloody footprints was:

“All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement…. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot….

Rinaldi’s detailed PPT described methods of image analysis, metric and grid measurement of the ball, toe, heel and arch, as well the particular characteristics of the footprints and shoeprints as well as the actual shoes and feet of Knox, Sollecito and Guede. The three suspects gave their footprints and fingerprints at police headquarters.”

Another print expert also testified that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, asked Dr. Stefanoni to confirm that other substances like bleach or fruit juice can also react to luminol.

Dr. Stefanoni acknowledged that they do, but pointed out that biologists who work regularly on crime scenes distinguish easily between the bright blue glow of a blood trace and the much fainter glow from other reactive substances.

The next post in this series will be on Friday… Correction! Postponed to Monday. Just too much material.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #1 The DNA Evidence

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, click for larger image]

Preamble

Nearly 200 hours over 23 days.

That is how long the prosecution took to present its voluminous case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, including time taken by the defense teams to conduct cross-examinations.

This series is a summary of the prosecution’s case in about ten parts, with a commentary on matters of key significances. The material has been reordered so that for example the DNA evidence presented at several points in the trial can all be described in one post here.

Sources used are the many published reports and some transcripts made of the testimony. All the main witnesses will be named in this series with a brief mention of who they are and their qualifications.

Two past posts that may aid in understanding the DNA testimony are Nicki’s post here and Fiori’s post here. All past DNA posts can be found in this area. 

1. The Large Double DNA Kitchen Knife

The double DNA knife is the knife that was sequestered from Sollecito’s apartment. Although there was an imprint of another knife at the scene, and one defense expert argued that there may have been yet another, it remains plausible that this is the weapon that was used to murder Meredith.

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni was the leader of the forensic team from Rome that carried out all the forensic collections at Meredith’s house.  She testified unequivocally about the knife. A small sample of Meredith’s DNA was found to be in a groove on the blade, and Amanda Knox’s DNA was found to be on the handle.

Dr. Stefanoni noted that there were peculiar diagonal scrapes on the knife blade, which suggested that the knife had been vigorously cleaned.

Both Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the scientific police, and the Kerchers’ own DNA expert, Professor Francesca Torricelli, provided independent confirmation that this forensic finding is accurate and reliable.

The defence teams’ forensic experts are not disputing that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife. Instead they are arguing that the knife was somehow contaminated for the DNA to actually be there.

Dr Stefanoni has firmly excluded this possibility of contamination in transit or in the laboratory. She testified that there hasn’t been a single instance of contamination in her laboratory for at least the last seven years, and every precaution was taken here to ensure that different traces were not mixed.

A police officer who led a search of Sollecito’s apartment added weight to the prosecution’s assertion that the double DNA knife had been cleaned with bleach. He testified that he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. 

When Raffaele Sollecito heard that the scientific police had found Meredith’s DNA on the double DNA knife in his apartment, he did not deny the possibility of the DNA being there.

Instead he made a claim about accidentally pricking Meredith’s hand whilst cooking at his apartment. “The fact that Meredith’s DNA is on my kitchen knife is because once, when we were all cooking together, I accidentally pricked her hand.’’

However Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment and so it seems Sollecito could not have accidentally pricked her hand there whilst he was cooking. In attempting to explain the presence of Meredith’s DNA on the blade, he did so in a way easily disproved and seemed to further implicate Amanda Knox and himself.

2. Sollecito’s DNA On Meredith’s Bra Clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, and Dr. Stefanoni has excluded the possibility of any contamination.

This is the bra clasp that was collected some weeks after the first forensic collection and it was conceded that it should have been collected earlier. It was also argued that valid DNA evidence in other cases is often collected weeks or months or even years after the crime when a suspect object is unearthed.

Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno is perhaps not surprisingly claiming that this bra clasp was also contaminated in the laboratory. The problem for them is to explain precisely where such an abundant amount of Sollecito’s DNA could have come from, and how it was so firmly imprinted. The only other instance of Sollecito’s DNA at the cottage was found on a cigarette butt in the kitchen, seemingly an unlikely source at best.

It would seem unlikely that the judges and jury will conclude that the bra clasp was contaminated in a strictly controlled laboratory where Dr. Stefanoni follows rigorous laboratory procedures.  She is an internationally renowned and very experienced forensic expert and was part of a Disaster Investigations Team which identified disaster victims via their DNA.

Alberto Intini is the head of the Italian police forensic science unit. Andrea Vogt reported as follows in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Mr Intini’s testimony about the possibility or otherwise of contamination:

“Alberto Intini maintained that the crime scene had not been contaminated and pointed out that laboratory testing revealed none of the investigators’ prints or biological traces. Mr Intini said “In fact, it is the results that tell you if it was done correctly, and I can tell you that in this investigation there was not even one trace of any of our operators.”

He also pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist. “It is possible in the abstract that there could have been contamination, but until this is proved, it does not exist.”

The prosecution demonstrated on the final full day of testimony that Meredith’s bra was actually removed with a knife some time after she had been killed.

Judge Paolo Micheli presided over the fast-track trial of Rudy Guede and committed Sollecito and Knox to trial. In looking at the identical evidence he asked “Who had a reason to come back, cut off Meredith’s bra, and move her body some time later?”

The present judges and jury might conclude differently, but Judge Micheli concluded that it would only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room to point away from themselves. He discounted Rudy Guede, who apparently went home, cleaned himself up, and then was seen out on the town.

3. Mixed Samples Of Blood

There were five instances of Amanda Knox’s blood or DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage in Via della Pergola: the bathroom, the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom.

Amanda Knox’s blood was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Dr. Stefanoni testified that it would have been “strange” that three traces of blood with both Meredith’s and Amanda Knox’s DNA would have been left at different times.

Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek pointed out a reason why the blood stains must have been left on the night of the murder:

“Legal experts who follow this case have suggested that blood evidence cannot be dated and therefore could have been left weeks before the murder. But when Knox testified in her own defense in June, she conceded that there was no blood in the bathroom the day before the murder, effectively dating those blood stains to that night.”

Perhaps Knox had a bloody earring piercing, and maybe a drop landed on a drop of Meredith’s blood. But in three different places? Perhaps it is not surprising that the defence lawyers have not brought up the subject of the mixed DNA in the bathroom in their part of the trial.

Meredith’s blood was found on the top part of the light switch in the bathroom she shared with Amanda Knox. This suggests that it was deposited there when the light was switched on. Meredith’s blood was also found on the toilet lid. There were no DNA or other physical traces of Rudy Guede in that bathroom.

Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mixed together in a bloody footprint in the hallway of the new wing of the house.

A mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room. This seems to be compelling evidence because Knox had never claimed she entered Filomena’s room when she checked the cottage. This room was the scene of the alleged break-in, and there were glass fragments on the floor.

Meredith’s blood had been cleaned up in this room, but it was nevertheless revealed by luminol.

Barbie Nadeau concludes in a Daily Beast report that the mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood in Filomena’s room seems more incriminating than the double DNA knife: “But perhaps more damning even than the knife was Stefanoni’s testimony that a mix of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the floor in the bedroom of a third roommate, Filomena Romanelli.”

The next post in this series will be on Wednesday.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Trial: Defense Witnesses Testify On Cannabis Effects And Meredith’s Mobile Phone

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Nick Pisa’s Sky News report.

1) On the efrfects the claimed smoking of a joint would have had

A toxicologist called by lawyers defending Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the Meredith Kercher murder trial has told the court that smoking cannabis does not make you aggressive.

Dr Maurizio Taglialatela was asked to describe the effects of the drug after the jury heard how both Knox, 22, and Sollecito, 25, had ‘‘smoked a joint’’ the night Meredith was murdered…

Dr Taglialatela said: ‘‘Marijuana can have psychotropic effects for up to six hours from the initial consumption and it can affect the memory in particular, especially short term memory.

‘‘The user will remember clearly what happened before they took the drug and after but the period they were under the influence of it will be very vague.

‘‘Marijuana affects your reaction time and it can make you dream more, it leaves you relaxed but unlike other drugs, such as cocaine, it does not make you aggressive.”

Under cross examination, Dr Taglialatela did say that a violent reaction from the use of marijuana was possible if mixed with alcohol.

2) On a transmission to Meredith’s phone a long way away from the house

The court also heard from mobile telephone expert Bruno Pellero, who was called by Sollecito’s lawyers.

He described how records showed that Meredith’s mobile phone had received a picture message at 22.13 on November 1.

He said: ‘‘This message was received on Meredith’s mobile phone via a cell which does not cover her house and is nearer to the garden where the mobile was found.’‘

The trial has already heard how Meredith returned home at around 9pm and pathologist Luca Lalli told the court he estimates time of death at around 11pm but Mr Pellero’s evidence would suggest she was killed earlier.

Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said: ‘‘This is clearly in line with Raffaele’s alibi as he was at home the whole time.

‘‘It’s clear that if Meredith’s phone had a message at 22.13 via a cell no where near her house then the accusation against Raffaele is crumbling.’‘


Friday, July 17, 2009

Trial: ABC News Has The Only End-Of-Day English Report

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Ann Wise’s report. “Rejected offer to leave” seems rather misleading.

In some of the Italian reports it is observed that Knox was told very soon after the death of Meredith was discovered that she was not allowed to leave Perugia for the time being, so she really had no choice but to stay. Cousin Dorothy and Ann Wise seem not to have known this.

In fact all of the key witnesses including Meredith’s English friends were told to remain in Perugia until the investigations were further advanced. Although it was very tough on them all because of a voracious media, they had to remain there for some weeks.

Only two witnesses were heard today - the second was the mobile phone specialist that Ann Wise mentions - leaving half a dozen witnesses to testify tomorrow or after the summer break.

We are told that the uncertainty about whether Judge Massei would be recovered enough to preside this Friday and Saturday resulted in several scheduling problems and forced absences. This is a busy press corps and few of them actually live in Perugia.

Apparently Judge Massei looked well and very attentive today, and interrogated the mobile phone specialist on his contribution to the timeline for the morning after.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/17/09 at 05:27 PM
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Trial: Il Messagero Describes Testimony Of Knox Relative From Germany

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the original report in Italian on the testimony of Aunt Dorothy.

The woman, who lives in Germany, said she listened to Knox on the phone after the murder, and found her “scared and confused.”

Dorothy claimed to have suggested to Amanda to come to Germany, but she said ‘no’ because she wanted to be of help to the police and answer questions.

The relative of Amanda also said that the young American, before being arrested, wanted to “meet the father of Meredith to console him and tell him what she knew.”

Other defense testimony today will focus on the mobile phones, the effects of smoking marijuana, and the nature of the knife Sollecito carried at all times.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/17/09 at 06:47 AM
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

It Is The Jury That Ultimately Matters: How They May Be Seeing The DNA Here

Posted by Fiori



[images: typical modern DNA labs, not those used in this case]

Ciao! Posting again from Florence.

Nicki and Kermit have already done amazing work here and here in explaining the hard facts of the DNA evidence.

This post is about perceptions and about what the judges and jury might - might - now be thinking, now that those facts are presented and some of them contested.

DNA evidence is notoriously hard to present and argue before a jury. It is not only in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle that one finds problems, ambiguities and different interpretations of the validity and reliability of DNA, this is the same in many criminal trials.

Standardization of DNA testing procedures got an enormous boost by the unforeseen “accident” in the OJ Simpson’s trial, where the jury, according to all scientific authorities, failed to recognize the DNA evidence properly. Since than the overall public understanding of DNA has been increasing, and jurors and others agents have earned a familiarity with handling DNA in criminal trials. All this suggests that it is generally getting easier for jurors to understand when and how DNA is significant in a trial.

It is of great importance to underline that the jury is the crux of every case: No matter what Dr. Stefanoni knows and how she may have handled the DNA samples, it is the jury, this particular selection of individuals, which has to make sense of the testimonies, and form an understanding of what the DNA samples tells about the murder of Meredith and the possibly involvement of Amanda and Rafaelle (and Rudy). I emphasize this:

  • Jurors are not a scientific committee, and the way which a jury understands DNA differs considerably from a professional, scientific understanding of DNA
  • Jurors’ understanding of DNA is highly situational; i.e. it is heavily influenced by how, when and by whom DNA material is presented during the trial
  • Jurors build their comprehension from context, meaning that a jury does not base their understanding upon systematically selected information about DNA, but forms an opinion based upon an interrelation of scientifically based information and the circumstances of the present case

Findings from the US and UK system of justice

What characterizes jurors’ judgments of DNA material in criminal trials? It is usual to expect that the more scientifically complex a piece of evidence is, the more difficult is it for a jury to comprehend, but from studies in UK, US and Australia several other things are known:

  • Among jurors who were aware of DNA profiling evidence before their participation in the researched trials, expectations for the evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of an accused were high, and these expectations were largely confirmed by the jury members experiences of the trial itself.
  • Juror comprehension of DNA evidence is not solely dependent on the scientific complexity of the evidence. If the evidence is presented clearly in court, if the expert testimony is consistent, if the defences do not present contrary interpretations of the DNA evidence, and the case is otherwise circumstantial, then jurors seem to manage a fair understanding of the science and weight it significantly in case material.
  • The strength of the defence challenge may depend on the coherence and grounding of an alternative explanation or conclusion drawn from the DNA. Meaning: it is NOT generally so, that IF a piece of DNA evidence is NOT contradicted by the defence, then it is easier for a jury to comprehend DNA evidence. HOW a jury interprets DNA evidence depends upon the context of the PRESENTATION of the evidence.

Research into US trials reports that jurors mostly are much more skeptical toward DNA evidence than statistics gives reason for. The jurors often “incorrectly aggregate separately presented probabilities and afford probabilistic evidence less weight than would be expected [by experts]” and “their background beliefs about the possibility of laboratory errors and intentional tampering affects the weight participants afford a DNA match report.”

A juror’s interpretation of expert testimonies is highly influenced by the credibility they assign to the legal and scientific system; i.e. all the institutions involved in a trial: the police, the legal system, the forensic police, and scientific institutions in general.

The point made here is that jurors and legal systems have “historical memory” so the result of one trial influences the outcome of another:  Thus, it is possibly that the OJ Simpson case and the many faulty convictions based upon DNA ‘evidence’ has produced a overt negative attitude towards DNA in the US, which is not to be expected to be the same in Italy.

Another conclusion, also from research within the US: Cognitive errors favoring the defence were more prevalent than errors ones favoring the prosecution. This piece of research examines how jurors’ evaluates that part of the DNA testimony which involves probabilities and statistics. And as this touches upon core questions brought up in the case against Amanda and Rafaelle, I will quote in length from the paper.

    The paper, which studies the outcome of several (murder) trials - concludes that “some jurors showed susceptibility to classic (defence) fallacies in interpreting conditional probabilities, and the jurors as a group were not overwhelmed by testimony from a prosecution expert that ‘more than 99.98% of all Caucasians would be excluded’ by the DNA match. Most jurors accepted a defence criticism of this computation. Moreover, it appears that many jurors were inclined to agree with the defendant’s overstated argument that because dozens of men in the area might have DNA types consistent with those of the robber, the match with the defendant’s DNA was worthless. A smaller number seemed to commit what has been called the ‘prosecutor’s fallacy.’ These jurors did muddle up the proportion of the general population that would be excluded by a DNA test, and the probability that the defendant was the source of the crime-scene DNA. On balance, these findings do not indicate that jurors generally were unduly impressed by the prosecution’s DNA evidence. Consequently, our results challenge the legal argument that DNA evidence should be excluded because jurors are prone to overvalue such evidence.”

So, measured in relation to the expert testimony actually given in court, this research found that jurors made misunderstandings and misinterpretations biased BOTH ways. The research did not find jurors to be ‘unduly impressed’ by prosecutions experts testimony, but instead being ‘susceptible’ in favour of the defence. 

But other research indicates that some jurors are being too impressed by the DNA evidence or mislead by the statistics presented in court.

Research from UK and US, states that “a number of convictions which have relied on DNA evidence have been overturned on appeal on the basis of misdirection of the jury regarding the statistical basis of the test and its results. In particular, juries are often awe-struck by the enormous values of random occurrence ratio with which they are presented by the prosecution experts. The factual significance of these large numbers is often misunderstood and misrepresented by barristers and judges, leading to unsafe convictions.”

Then, not only the jurors, but the legal actors more widely have problems with understanding how the statistical dimensions of DNA evidence works. The point of the statistics is, that identifying the DNA markers can be misleading if identification of the suspect occurs on behalf of ‘random occurrence ratios’ – i.e. the suspect is identified in random by her DNA (similar to how fingerprint identification works).

Identification on behalf of DNA must relate to the demography of the area where the crime took place, as well as the family background of the suspect. Meaning that statistics can be misleading if identification is not supported by additional information (where much exists in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle). Dr. Stefanoni has repeatedly argued this point in court, explaining why Amanda’s DNA is Amanda’s, and Rafaelle’s DNA is Rafaelle’s, and not a ‘random’ person, like an unknown friend of Rudy’s.

From research into the working of the US and the UK legal systems, it must be clear that most of the news-reports from the US about the murder of Meredith Kercher tend to reinforce a common deficit in knowledge on how to interpret DNA evidence. A shame that.

Also worth mentioning is that the OJ Simpson trial is not the only one where ‘scientifically’ obvious DNA evidence have been disregarded by a jury; this also seen in cases where there presented a lot of other circumstantial evidence supporting the DNA material.

And that different interpretation (prosecution and defence) of DNA material does not in itself blur jurors comprehension and prevent an unanimous understanding of the significance. Contrary, controversies over DNA can serve to clarify a juror’s understanding of DNA.


Likely differences under the Italian system of justice

These results from research into the US/UK type of legal system should be discussed in relation to the working of the Italian system. And there are, in this perspective, significant differences.

In Italy, a jury consists of 6 lay persons and 2 professional judges. It is highly likely that the participation of 2 professional judges influences how the jury perceives and discusses DNA and other complex scientific matters. The above quoted research into fallacies of comprehending DNA evidence can only support the view that it is a strength of the Italian system that professional judges are represented in the jury.

Also, the Italian trial system, where parts of evidence are presented and assessed by multiple judges in many pre-trial hearings, also marks a difference vis a vis the US system. Every (pre-) trial adds to jurors possibility to comprehend DNA material correct (‘correct’ in relation to understanding what is actually testified in court, not ‘correct’ in relation to assessing the significance of the DNA material as evidence).

As referred to above, pre-trial experiences also influences how jurors interpret DNA testimony.

Then education, schools and general cultural education (‘bildung’ in German), cultural habits (for example if criminal trials are broadcast or not, and if they are watched widely or not) will without doubt influence how jurors comprehend DNA evidence. And of course so will criteria used by the court for selecting the actual jury influence the outcome; for example if it was considered important that jury members demonstrated ability to understand complex scientific arguments.

Generally, European comparative test shows that primary education in Italy are in the upper middle, and Italy has very good universities and strong academic traditions, and – not the least - a long and proud tradition in science from Leonardo da Vinci and onwards.

These conditions will influence the jury’s assessment of DNA evidence presented in the trial against Amanda and Rafaelle, and we can expect that the jury will demonstrate a fairly accurate understanding of the different testimonies from (a.o.) Dr.Stefanoni and Dr.Torre, and a fairly accurate understanding of DNA technology. Though, how the jury will make sense of the scientific facts in the actual circumstances (what it tells about who murdered Meredith) are not obvious.

Scientific references to the quoted papers are listed in my comment below.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Defense Experts Testimony: Daily Beast Posts The Most Detailed Report In English

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report by Barbie Nadeau on the disputatious knife and DNA-handling evidence..

[Coroner Torre and genetic expert Gino] testified that “Exhibit 36,” a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment with Knox’s DNA on the handle and Kercher’s on the blade, cannot be the murder weapon. Torre showed pictures of Kercher’s wounds to the jury, then used a mannequin to demonstrate that this knife was too big to make two of the wounds in Kercher’s neck. He conceded that a third larger wound could have been made with the knife, but said it was more likely it was made by twisting a smaller knife….

Although Torre and Gino, who did not examine Kercher’s body, both testified that they saw no evidence that more than one person was involved in her murder, countless prosecution witnesses, including two coroners who did examine Kercher’s body, testified that the 47 cuts and bruises indicated that “more than two hands” were at work.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/08/09 at 07:47 AM
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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Trial: Italian Reporting On Autopsy Consultant Seems Brief And Unswayed

Posted by Peter Quennell


]

We had long been led to believe the testimony of Carlos Torre might be a blockbuster which could energize a lackluster defense.

Click above for the longest report of the day that we can find in Italian. Even ASCA’s report seems relatively brief and restrained. No sense of a breakthrough there.

ASCA reports that Mr Torre interpreted the wound pattern on Meredith to mean that a smaller knife was used for the final blow “with a blade of 8 cm which was partially extracted and plunged in at least 3 times”.

As the size of the wound is large, he claimed a repeated partial in-out action of the small knife, rather than blows from the larger kitchen knife with a blade of 16 cm found in the kitchen of Sollecito, on which traces of the DNA of both Meredith and Amanda Knox were found.

Also that the final blow occurred while Meredith was lying on her back, that there were no signs of three aggressors, that Meredith could not have cried out after the stab wounds, and that bloody footprints revealed under luminol were not the shape of Knox’s foot.

Mr Torre conceded under cross-examination that a wound of the size of the larger knife was also present, and he left the DNA evidence of Knox and Meredith on that larger knife unchallenged, thus undercutting his claim of a single perpetrator.

The prosecution team had presented extensive evidence that the bruise patterns and cut marks indicated that Meredith was kneeling face-down at the time. And that they all pointed to three attackers, rather than a single attacker wielding two knives with only one hand free both to hold her and to inflict bruises all over her body.

Judge Micheli in seeing most of the same evidence concluded in his report convicting Guede and sending the two to trial that a scream heard by witnesses in the houses above was probably Meredith’s last act before she was stabbed, not right after.

And last month, Sollecito’s defense team essentially went along with the prosecution experts’ claims for the autopsy and attack scenario, so for the first time the defense teams significantly differ.

Thankfully, besides being terse, the reporting was not very graphic, in this the most painful of all areas for those who mourn Meredith the most.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

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

Posted by FinnMacCool


Preamble

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

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

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

But the judges and jury will do this for sure.

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

1. A phone call before dawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Two days later: an email

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The next weekend: visiting Amanda in prison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda: Oh, I don’t remember that.

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

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

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

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

Edda: Okay, right.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comodi: Three o’clock in the morning?

Amanda: Yes.

Comodi: So your mother would certainly have been sleeping.

Amanda: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda: I told my mother…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comodi: You did it.

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

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

5. Why is this phone call important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raffaele has exercised his right to silence.

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

6. Judge Massei intervenes

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

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

Politely, he interrupts this part of the questioning.

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

Commodi: At three o’clock in the morning.

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

Amanda: Yes, yes, that’s true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


7. Edda Mellas’s testimony in court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Trial: Testimony Of Sollecito’s Childhod Friends From Giovinazzo

Posted by Peter Quennell


The defense DNA experts Carlo Torre and Gino Sara have been postponed into next week.

Testifying today instead were five friends of Sollecito’s. He was born in Giovinazzo on the flat and underpopulated south-eastern coast. Giovinazzo (images) is just north of Bari, where his father practices medicine.

Four childhood friends from there testified along with one who knew him in Perugia. Some translated excerpts:

Raffaele is a romantic, shy, kind, and always available, and honest with everyone…. The television described him as a womanizer, in fact he was shy and introverted. 

He typically carries a knife in his pocket. For him it was a decorative object to be matched to his clothes. He was once wrapped in toilet paper with a meat cleaver and photographed for a joke.

He occasionally smoked a joint, but was not a habitual consumer of hashish, and would not use other drugs. The joints had a sedative effect and made him want to sleep,

Concerning his first sexual intercourse, he had told one of his friends he had been with a girl from Brindisi who lived in Perugia in 2004 or 2005.

Sollecito then issued a correction. “It was actually in 2007” he said through his lawyer.

The civil lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, made it clear that he was skeptical of much of the testimony.

Perhaps with good reason. Sollecito wrote in his occasional newspaper column in Bari that he was a virgin when he met Amanda Knox.



Friday, July 03, 2009

Trial: ABC News Reports On The Trial Happenings On Friday

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Rome-based Ann Wise’s report on what happened in court today.

1) On the broken window in Filomena’s room

According to Pasquali, the rock was thrown from a terrace across from the window, making the glass “explode” on the inside and spreading glass fragments everywhere on the inside and the outside of the windowsill….

[He described the mock-up window and bedroom.] By analyzing the trajectory of the rock and the projection of the glass shards, Pasquali said he could “exclude that the glass could have been broken from the inside.”

Prosecutors, however, contend that shutters outside the window could have prevented a rock from breaking it.

The two prosecutors in the case… made a number of objections when they cross-questioned Pasquali, who admitted that he had not taken into account the fact that there were shutters on the outside of the original window.

Prosecution witnesses have testified that the shutters were partially closed on the morning after the murder, and Pasquali conceded that the closed shutters would have prevented a rock from the breaking the window from the outside.

As we mentioned earlier, the prosecutors also got Pasquali to admit that, besides omitting those shutters, he had also omitted the mostly-drawn curtains in his simulation. They would presumably have radically altered the broken-glass pattern.

2) On the demeanor of Amanda Knox and family in court

[Knox during a break] graciously accepted a chocolate from Sollecito, thanking him out loud. It is reportedly the second time he has given her a chocolate.

Knox’s younger sister, Deanna, 20, appeared in court for the first time on Friday, along with Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas… Deanna Knox had been to Perugia and visited Knox in jail, but she had not returned since the trial started in January.

Knox’s half-sister Ashley, 13, also came to court Friday morning but was asked to leave by the judge, because she is a minor.

3) On an ATM withdrawal from Meredith’s bank account

The director of a local bank, Paolo Fazi, testified that 20 euros ($28) had been withdrawn from Meredith Kercher’s account Nov. 2—the day her body was found.

But he also said that the bank accounting date does not necessarily reflect the actual date of the ATM withdrawal, and that only Kercher’s British bank would have that date.

Someone from the British bank is expected to testify in upcoming hearings. Knox and Sollecito are… accused of stealing Kercher’s credit cards, her cell phones and 300 euros ($420) in cash…

4) And on Guede at the disco early the morning after

A University of Perugia student told the Perugia court that he had seen Guede at a local disco in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, after Kercher’s murder.

Pietro Camplongo said Guede was dancing alone, and that people were keeping their distance from him, because he smelled “as if he hadn’t washed.”


Trial: Not Even These Days Will Be Easy For The Defense Teams

Posted by Kermit



[Sollecito’s lawyers Buongiorno and Mauri last October]

I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the upcoming defence “experts”, unless there’s some statement like “and then the investigator picked up the bra clasp after picking his nose”.

If I were on the jury, the first thing I would ask myself is “why are there Carabinieri - who are part of the state police structure - declaring against their brethren’s work, the investigation done by the Polizia?”.

Why? for two reasons: the different state police units all compete with one another for historical reasons. We have the same thing here in Spain between the Guardia Civil and the National Police. Organizations with different historical roots and overlapping roles which compete between themselves.

Something else to consider in the Perugia case - and probably more significant than competitiveness between police branches - is that Raffaele’s sister is a Carabinieri, and the taped Sollecito Family phone conversations show her to be one of the most active members in behind the scenes “making water flow uphill” activities.

if I were Mignini, in my turn to cross-examine the Carabinieri witnesses, the first and only question I would have is: “are you aware that the sister of Raffaele Sollecito is also a Carabinieri like you, and that the immediate famly of the accused is under investigation for perverting the course of justice?”.

It doesn’t matter how they answer.

As regards Carlo Torre, for as respected as he is, I see him simply as an “outside defense expert”, who is to be expected to counter the prosecution forensics. Carlo Torre is not a surprise figure who the Defence have just found, but he has been making comments in the press on behalf of Amanda’s team for months now. I recall - I believe - that he has also been on Matrix or another TV show opining on the case.

The jurors know it and may well take the attitude of “well even though he’s a respected scruffy old professor, he has been making PR noise for some time now in favor of Amanda, from months before the detailed technical data was released with the final investigation report”.

Mignini could have one question for Torre: “Professor Torre, please tell the jury the first time you appeared on television or you were quoted in an article concerning this crime, where you expressed an opinion on the evidence”.

He would give a date from over a year ago. In the John Follain The Times interview with Curt and Edda, they refer to Torre saying that Meredith’s DNA on the Double DNA knife “could belong to half the population of Italy”

Okay, next week may be tough. It wouldn’t be any other way, as it’s the Defences’ turn to bamboozle the jury with their smoke and mirrors show. But the jury knows that behind the curtain, there’s a meek, weak Wizard pulling a few cables and levers.

The same creaky levers we’ve been hearing over and over for over a year and a half now.



[Knox’s lawyers Sollecito’s lawyers Ghirgha and Vedova last October]


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