Series Cellphone activity

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Powerpoints #17: Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged

Posted by James Raper With Kermit





Please load Powerpoint Viewer if not on your system, and click here for the slides. The Powerpoints consist of 150 slides, the outcome of many hours of work, and should open in 30 to 60 seconds. 

Impartial lawyers like myself tend to look at a tough case like this and think, “Now what would I have done differently?” The problem for the defences here is that there are literally hundreds of evidence points, many created by the appellants themselves as they behaved erratically both on the night Meredith died and subsequently.

The Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon (who in our view was brought in far too late to be of real help after all the bull-in-a-china-shop damage of the PR) himself recognized this, on Dateline NBC late in 2008, when he said that a whack-a-mole approach to creating reasonable doubt would fall short in this case. (Whack-a-mole is a popular fairground game where “moles” keep popping up out of various holes, and you win if you can whack them all.)

Judge Micheli set out a big picture for the conviction of Rudy Guede in October 2008 and the remitting of Knox and Sollecito to stand trial. Judge Massei clearly created a big picture in all of the fine detail he neatly tied together in his 425-page report. The Supreme Court of Cassation understood the big picture in declining Guede’s final appeal.

The defences have never really managed to respond with their own big-picture approach. Nitpicking of a few evidence points, which is really all the defence and the campaign have done, will only very rarely destroy such an edifice. At the end of the DNA rebuttal this September, the DNA collection and analysis is unlikely to be fully discounted, and already it seems that more ethical and competence question marks hang over the independent consultants than over Dr Stefanoni and her team.

This for your consideration is an overview of all of the main evidence. Check it out as you go through and you will see that after the nine long months of the appeal process it is all almost entirely left standing. If they really want to see Knox and Sollecito released, the defence lawyers now need to bite the bullet and prepare their clients properly and let them try to explain from the stand.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Andrea Vogt: Supreme Court Report Highlights Amanda Knox Mention To Mom She Was There

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Amanda Knox and her mother in courtroom when Edda Mellas testified 19 July 2009]

Andrea Vogt in the Seattle PI translates from the Cassation Report described in our two previous posts.

A sentencing report just released by the highest Italian appeals court sheds new light on why so many Italian judges have maintained Amanda Knox was involved in her roommate’s murder.

The document, among others, cites a conversation Knox had with her parents while under surveillance during a prison visit in which she said “I was there,” apparently referring to the night of the murder.

Amanda Kox’s remark was recorded at Capanne Prison and was long public knowledge, but that the Supreme Court listed it among other evidence of involvement in this report is significant.  The report summarises what is the evidence against all three, especially that against Rudy Guede.

The court…said that based on the 43 wounds to Kercher’s body (and the time it would take to inflict them) that it was… probable that Guede and two others forcibly held Kercher down, threatened, taunted and eventually fatally stabbed her.

The Court’s quoted language is extremely hard and gives a sense that the judges were appalled. The Court’s report has been out in Italy for over four days now - but the Seattle PI’s is the first extensive US or UK media summary.

The US and UK media have a pretty consistent habit of ignoring these inconvenient reports.

Posted on 02/28/11 at 06:07 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedVictims familyEvidence & witnessesCellphone activityAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Amanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Open Questions: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by SomeAlibi


Welcome

If you’ve come to this website because of the Lifetime movie of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, then welcome. 

Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The movie you’ve just watched is equivocal on that matter and perhaps didn’t help you at all.

On the internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and you will find people who are passionate in their support of the prosecution. 

My own arrival

Placing my own cards on the table here: as a twenty-plus year practising trial lawyer, I am firmly a part of that latter camp.  But it wasn’t always that way.

It was information – evidence – that changed my views. What became very clear to me, early on, was that very few people in the English-speaking world are aware of anywhere near all of the evidence in this case.

I had thought I had grasped the core of the case, but I did not.  The case is deep and complex and like many criminal cases, the complete facts behind it have been only sketchily reported in the media.  The movie you may have just watched only skirts the real reasons the jury convicted.

The unanimous jury

I am sure that we all agree that no jury, in any murder case, given the awesome responsibility of adjudicating on (young) people’s lives for a multi-decade period of imprisonment, condemns people lightly.

It should be a matter of logic that the evidence presented against the accused must have been deep and satisfied the 6 lay jurors and 2 judges on the case for them to pronounce that huge judgement. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be the possibility of a mistrial, but clearly the evidence presented must have been substantial.

In this, we’ve already hit the first problem.  Some supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will tell you there’s no evidence against them. 

This is patently silly.  No jury ever convicts people and sends them to prison for 24 plus years without being quite convinced of the case against them.  Miscarriages of justice do happen, but the idea that there is “no evidence” can be summarily dismissed. 

The only question is whether the evidence is sufficient, true and accurate.

The voluminous evidence

So is the evidence enough to convict beyond a reasonable doubt?  The six lay jurors and two professional judges thought so, clearly.  What you realise, when you come to the facts of the case, is that the evidence is based not around a single key event but on multiple points. 

It can be astonishing to realise that the case is based not only on DNA evidence but also on cellphone evidence and computer records and further yet on multiple conflicting and contradicting versions of what happened that night from the mouths of the accused, not to mention falsely accusing an innocent man of responsibility for murder causing his incarceration. 

The wealth of evidence is actually extremely unusual. It goes way beyond the quite similar Scott Peterson case.

The Massei Sentencing Report

What is absolutely new to the English speaking legal world is that the reasoning for the conviction can be read in an extremely detailed 440+ page report online.  Bilingual posters at the Perugia Murder File Forum many of whom who are also key posters at TJMK translated the entire document into English over several months last year. 

It was my privilege to play an extremely small part in that work.  People from four different continents with backgrounds in forensic science, law, academia and a host of other disciplines participated. 

You can read an effective executive summary by clicking on the Massei Report link at top here and reading the conclusions from page 388 onwards:

The Knox PR campaign

If you are new to this case, you will likely be shocked how much evidence there is against the convicted parties.  Amanda Knox’s family have spent over $1m and involved a professional PR agency called Gogerty Marriot to suggest otherwise in the English-speaking media. 

You might wonder why an innocent person needs a million dollar PR campaign on their part.  Make yourself a coffee and read the conclusions of the judge’s report. It will take you about 15 minutes.  Up until you read this report, almost everything you watch, hear and read is PR spin and is quite deliberately positioned to make you believe there is no case.

When you complete it,  I believe you will have a very different take. That 15 minutes could change your ideas about everything you thought you knew about the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Now for a quick tour of the evidence.


Some of the points of evidence

Consider as you read it what is your own possible explanation for each of the following:

  • the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito on Meredith’s bra-clasp in her locked bedroom;

  • the almost-entire naked footprint of Raffaele on a bathmat that in *no way* fits that of the other male in this case – Rudy Guede;

  • the fact that Raffaele’s own father blew their alibi that they were together in Raffaele’s flat at the time of the killing with indisputable telephone records;

  • the DNA of Meredith Kercher on the knife in Raffaele’s flat which Raffaele himself sought to explain as having been from accidentally “pricking” Meredith’s hand in his written diary despite the fact Meredith had never been to his flat (confirmed by Amanda Knox);

  • the correlation of where Meredith’s phones were found to the location of Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guedes’s flats;

  • the computer records which show that no-one was at Raffaele’s computer during the time of the murder despite him claiming he was using that computer;

  • Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s in five different places just feet from Meredith’s body;

  • the utterly inexplicable computer records the morning after the murder starting at 5.32 am and including multiple file creations and interactions thereafter all during a time that Raffaele and Amanda insist they were asleep until 10.30am;

  • the separate witnesses who testified on oath that Amanda and Raffaele were at the square 40 metres from the girls’ cottage on the evening of the murder and the fact that Amanda was seen at a convenience store at 7.45am the next morning, again while she said she was in bed;

  • the accusation of a completely innocent man by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that when Amanda Knox rang Meredith’s mobile telephones, ostensibly to check on the “missing” Meredith, she did so for just three seconds - registering the call but making no effort to allow the phone to be answered in the real world

  • the knife-fetish of Raffaele Sollecito and his formal disciplinary punishment for watching animal porn at his university – so far from the wholesome image portrayed;

  • the fact that claimed multi-year kick-boxer Raffaele apparently couldn’t break down a flimsy door to Meredith’s room when he and Amanda were at the flat the morning after the murder but the first people in the flat with the police who weren’t martial artists could;

  • the extensive hard drug use of Sollecito as told on by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that Amanda knew details of the body and the wounds despite not being in line of sight of the body when it was discovered;

  • the lies of Knox on the witness stand in July 2009 about how their drug intake that night (“one joint”) is totally contradicted by Sollecito’s own contemporaneous diary;

  • the fact that after a late evening’s questioning, Knox wrote a 2,900 word email home which painstakingly details what she said happened that evening and the morning after that looks *highly* like someone committing to memory, at 3.30 in the morning, an extensive alibi;

  • the fact that both Amanda and Raffaele both said they would give up smoking dope for life in their prison diaries despite having apparently nothing to regret;

  • the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested, Raffaele Sollecito didn’t celebrate the “true” perpetrator being arrested (which surely would have seen him released) but worried in his diary that a man whom he said he didn’t know would “make up strange things” about him despite him just being one person in a city of over 160,000 people;

  • the fact that both an occupant of the cottage and the police instantly recognised the cottage had not been burgled but had been the subject of a staged break-in where glass was *on top* of apparently disturbed clothes;

  • that Knox and Sollecito both suggested each other might have committed the crime and Sollecito TO THIS DATE does not agree Knox stayed in his flat all the night in question;

  • the bizarre behaviour of both of them for days after the crime;

  • the fact that cellphone records show Knox did not stay in Sollecito’s flat but had left the flat at a time which is completely coincidental with Guede’s corroborated presence near the girl’s flat earlier in the evening;

  • the fact that Amanda Knox’s table lamp was found in the locked room of Meredith Kercher in a position that suggested it had been used to examine for fine details of the murder scene in a clean up;

  • the unbelievable series of changing stories made up by the defendants after their versions became challenged; Knox’s inexplicable reaction to being shown the knife drawer at the girl’s cottage where she ended up physically shaking and hitting her head.


In conclusion

This list is not exhaustive. It goes… on… and on… and on… And yet, those supporting Knox will tell you that’s all made up, all coincidental. 

Really?  Does the weight of all that evidence sound made up to you?

If so, it must be the most over-rigged criminal case in the history of crime.  Unlikely beyond all and any reasonable doubt.

The judge’s report explains why the jury found the defendants guilty. I truly expect you will be astonished at the amount of evidence if all you’ve done is watched a film or read a few press reports. 

For any questions thereafter, please join us and post them on truejustice.org or perugiamuderfile.org .  You’ll find here a host of good people who are all working on a totally volunteer basis in memory of the only victim of this crime.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher. RIP.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Scenario Explaining Meredith’s Cell-Phones Dumped At The Same Address As The Toilet-Bomb Hoax

Posted by Cardiol MD


We are facing east here.

That road ahead drops way down, and then it joins a road rising sharply up again to where Meredith’s house is.

Here Madame Lana’s house is to the left. The cellphones were tossed over the trees at the center, down the slope into the garden. To the right is the path to the door in the city wall 100 meters away (and so to Guede’s and Sollecito’s houses).

The choice of 5A Via Sperandio for disposing of the cell-phones creates a puzzle for which the Massei Jury, apparently, “cannot see any reason”: From page 385 of the Report:

[We] cannot see any reason why the author of the crime would have been in Via Sperandio…and [we] cannot see what destination a person advancing along that street could have had with any objective other than that held by this Court: to throw the telephones in a place where they would be very difficult to find.


There may be a scenario that resolves this puzzle:

Late in October, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito may have already discussed, and formulated the outline of a plan to teach-Meredith-a-lesson.

An opportunity to play-out such a plan presented itself on the evening of November 1st, 2007:

At 20:18:12 Amanda, receives an SMS text from Patrick Lumumba asking her not to come in to work that evening (page 345).

This unexpected free time, Rudy Guede’s availability, and their knowledge that the house would be empty, fitted-into “doing it” that night.

Here is the scenario. Somewhere about 2200 - 2300, Thursday, Nov 1st, 2007 the-teaching-of the-lesson began…

The next 12 hours, ending with the Police discovery of Meredith’s dead body, is a litany of the trio’s miscalculation and failure to foresee the foreseeable:

    1. The first miscalculation was their failure to foresee that Meredith could, and would resist so effectively that even all three of them combined could hardly restrain her.

    2. The second miscalculation was their failure to foresee Meredith’s scream, loud enough to be heard all round their little world.

    3. The third miscalculation was their failure to foresee that their crescendo of neck-airway-stabbing, intended to shut-her-up - which it did - could, and did, also cut an artery, the Right Superior Thyroid Artery.

Cutting that artery resulted in a bright red jet of arterial-blood, which would have sprayed Meredith, Meredith’s clothes, them, their clothes, the wall, and the floor.

They fled.

Meredith then died an awful death from inhaling her own blood.

The-teaching-of-the-lesson may well have occupied no more than 15 minutes from beginning to end - maybe even less.

The remainder of the 12 hours was occupied, first by verifying the absence of a hue-and-cry, especially any police-alert; then returning to their crime-scene, finding that Meredith was dead, cleaning-up, rearranging the scene, faking a break-in, and at some point disposing of Meredith’s cell-phones “in a place where they would be very difficult to find.”

This is where the choice of 5A Via Sperandio for disposing of the cell-phones creates a puzzle for which the Massei Jury, apparently, “cannot see any reason,” but to which there may be a solution:

    1. First, there was probably a division of labor for this cell-phone disposal; Raffaele Sollecito was more than likely presumed best to do it. He had been a student in Perugia since 2002 more than 5 years, and knew local Perugia far better than the others.

    2. Secondly, a most efficient way to detect any police-alert is a police-scanner or police-wavelength radio.

Police scanners are hand-held instruments, fitting into a coat pocket, or on a waist-belt. They can automatically scan thousands of police-frequencies, detecting police radio traffic, alerting the user.

Police scanners are sold all over the world; almost anywhere in the world you can buy one that could be attuned to Italian police-radio traffic frequencies.

If Sollecito had a police scanner he could have picked-up, and because he was native Italian, understood any Perugia police radio traffic relating to the Via Sperandio hoax call, which was reported to the Police at around 10:00 pm on November 1st.

7 Via della Pergola is not far from 5 Via Sperandio - variously estimated to be 5-7 minutes from 7 Via della Pergola by car, or 15-30 minutes on foot.

Sollecito would have known that.

Given the multiple mis-calculations already made, Sollecito might well have outsmarted himself and, expecting the Police not to go again to 5 Via Sperandio, disposed of the cell-phones right there.

At least one was left on though, unwittingly defeating the object of the exercise, and starting the police trail that remorselessly led to him and Knox..

Posted on 01/07/11 at 11:05 AM by Cardiol MDClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesThe timelinesCellphone activityHoaxes Knox & team15 Single alibi hoaxHoaxes Sollecito etc27 Single alibi hoax
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Questions For Knox And Sollecito: Ten From Daily Beast As Knox Calunnia #2 Trial Starts

Posted by Peter Quennell





This Daily Beast report indicates that the cancelled jailhouse TV interview with Amanda Knox was a lot more firmed-up than Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, seems to have claimed.

And it outlines the first phase of Knox’s Calunnia #2 trial which is based on charges brought by the interrogating police, all of whom testified at her trial that she was treated well during her interrogations as a witness and suspect. .

Click the image or link above above for the fine reporter Barbie Nadeau’s full article on some issues Knox has never been able to account for, including Knox’s callous skipping of Meredith’s memorial service.

The ten questions are all very tough, and each would also have been asked by the jury. Here they are:
.:

It’s back to court for Amanda Knox, the 22-year-old Seattle native currently serving 26 years in prison in Italy for sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

This week, Knox is expected to attend a preliminary hearing on slander charges lodged against her for accusing Perugia police of abuse. During her testimony at her murder trial last June, she accused the cops of slapping her on the back of the head during an interrogation just days after Kercher’s body was discovered in November 2007.

The police deny hitting her, and Knox’s own lawyers have never filed charges for the alleged abuse. If she is convicted of slander, a judge could add six years to her sentence….

Knox’s resurgence in the headlines was to coincide with a joint jailhouse interview she had granted to ABC News and the Italian broadcaster Mediaset’s Matrix program. But the bureau of prisons denied the interview in the final hour, effectively silencing Knox indefinitely.

A high-profile jailhouse interview with Knox is considered the Holy Grail by journalists covering the case, and the American and Italian networks have been vying for a chance to ask Knox a few questions on camera. Now it is unlikely anyone will get an interview before Knox’s appeal hearings this fall.

But if we did, there are a few questions we’d want her to put to rest.

1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of November 1, 2007 and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of November 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be?

2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it?

3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?

4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on November 5? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?

5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace?

6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was miniscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?

7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to November 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?

8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstances?

9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. What is your real view?

10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your trial? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on December 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher?” Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you?

Our posting soon of the judges’ sentencing report will open up dozens of new questions for Knox. Such as: “How did you track Meredith’s blood into your own room and leave three traces revealed by luminol?”


Saturday, July 18, 2009

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 effects 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 nowhere near her house, then the accusation against Raffaele is crumbling.’‘

Posted on 07/18/09 at 09:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther physicalCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009
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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


Sunday, June 21, 2009

How The Media Should Approach The Case If Justice Is To Be Done And SEEN To Be Done

Posted by Hellodalai


The American media are really playing with fire here.

This is one of the most seriously misreported cases in recent history, and a line really needs to be drawn.

Much of the media are doing no digging, consulting no Italians, repeatedly recycling discredited sources and those with a vested interest in the outcome, stating facts that are not facts, ignoring other facts that really are facts, revealing no understanding of how the Italian judicial process works, and often depicting the Italian professionals with contempt.

And so far no-one is really calling them on it.

From this perspective, I have been reading all the articles and information on this case for the past few days. I too was very disappointed in the NY Time pieces by Egan.  Rather than attempt to discuss the facts and evidence that are known so far, he painted “broad brush” strokes to argue that this trial is unfair.

The TIME magazine report just below - where the reporter basically allowed a Knox advocate to state her position unchallenged - is equally mediocre in terms of investigative and reporting quality. It was one of dozens that have done that.

Here is my own analysis of the case which I advance as the appropriate depth that EVERY reporter and print and TV analyst should aim to achieve before they start telling the rest of us what to think.

Motive

Egan points out that Amanda Knox had no motive to kill or participate in killing Meredith Kercher.

I agree that there seems to be little evidence on this issue.  One roommate testified as to tensions between Amanda and Meredith.  Roommate tensions are common, though, and rarely lead to murder.

Neither Rudy Guede, who has been convicted already, nor Raffaele Sollecito, who was Amanda’s boyfriend of less than two weeks, seemingly had motives, either.

All three were young adults who liked alcohol, music, marijuana, and sex (although Rudy has been described as a petty thief and small time drug dealer; other reports state he had no criminal convictions). None seemed likely to erupt into a murderous rage.

One of the downstairs male students testified that Guede expressed some interest in Amanda and said that Meredith was beautiful.  Sollecito wrote in a newspaper column that he was a 23 year old virgin when he met Amanda.

So Sollecito was vulnerable to Amanda’s influence.  Guede may have wanted to gain Amanda’s favor.  Add alcohol and drugs and group dynamics and - the threesome may have spun out of control.

Since the murder, Amanda’s behavior could certainly be questioned.  Who does cartwheels at a police station during an investigation of their murdered roommate?  What defendant wears a shirt to their murder trial that says “All you need is love” when the prosecution is trying to portray them as someone with out-of-control sexual behavior?

If this case rested solely on whether Amanda had a motive to kill Meredith, I would agree with Egan’s stance that the trial is unfair.  Egan seems to stop at that issue, however, and seems unwilling to examine all the evidence objectively.

DNA Evidence

One of the better reports on the case included this statement:

“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. While it might not be noteworthy to find mixed genetic traces of residents of the same house, Romanelli’s room is critical in this crime.

Her window was broken with a large rock that prosecutors believe was used to stage a break-in. The mixed Knox-Kercher trace was found after investigators used luminol, a substance used in forensic science to bring out blood that had been cleaned up.

In addition, Stefanoni testified that a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood was found on the drain of the bidet, on the bathroom sink, and on a Q-Tip box in the girls’ bathroom.”

That is FOUR different blood samples with mixed Knox-Kercher DNA.  Yes, it does seem that the investigative methods were sloppy and not all samples may be reliable (I acknowledge that there are some problems with the prosecution’s case).

But I have yet to read even one article where a reputable DNA expert can explain why sloppy police procedures would result in four separate mixed blood samples.  I did read one explanation that Amanda bled from a pierced ear—thus providing some explanation, although weak, for why her blood may have been in the bathroom.  That doesn’t explain why her blood was in the bedroom of Filomena Romanelli (another of her roommates) or why her blood was found mixed with Meredith’s - or why her blood would be recoverable from an area that had been cleaned after the murder to eliminate evidence.

Similarly, the DNA evidence from Sollecito, found on Meredith’s bra clasp is not explained away by scientific reasoning.  True, the police left the clasp in Meredith’s room (which was sealed) for weeks and did not retrieve it, but DNA is not transferred by “flying DNA”; there is no “innocent” scientific explanation why Sollecito’s DNA (not sloughed dead cells, which do not contain DNA) would affix itself to a bra clasp worn by the murder victim after the clasp had been torn from her body.

As to the DNA evidence found on the knife located in Sollecito’s apartment,  the DNA sample from Meredith was very tiny, according to reports, and the DNA from Amanda could be explained by her using the knife at Sollecito’s apartment. (Sollecito explained Meredith’s DNA by stating she had come to his apartment for dinner with Amanda and that he had accidentally pricked her. But no witnesses have been found who remember Meredith ever talking about going to Sollecito’s apartment)

True, the knife is not the same size as most wounds on Meredith, but it is the same size as one wound. The knife showed evidence of bleach cleaning and some scratches (Sollecito’s apartment showed a lot of evidence of bleach cleaning, even though his maid did not use bleach to clean).

Clean up motives and evidence

I have yet to see a careful review of the testimony and possible conclusions that may be drawn from the known facts and circumstantial evidence, including the clean up after the murder—which, to me, are very compelling.

The neighbor has testified that she heard a very loud, long scream that night (presumably Meredith’s last), followed not long thereafter by the sounds of two to three different people running from the area (it was unusual to hear people running at that time of night).  The neighbor was 69 and could not remember exactly the date she heard the screaming, but she was firm that it was the night before Meredith’s murder was discovered.

It is not a stretch to link the screaming to Meredith, given that loud, long piercing screams are uncommon.  Also, a murderer or murderers would realize that Meredith’s scream may bring the police at any moment—so running from the crime would be expected. 

The uncontradicted testimony is that there was a fair amount of effort to “clean up” the crime scene (the defense merely claims that Knox and Sollecito were not involved). It also appears that whoever came back for the “clean up” also broke a window in Filomena’s bedroom (as mentioned, one of the two other roommates living upstairs; there were also four male students living downstairs in a separate unit), in an attempt to throw the investigating police off the scent. 

Filomena testifed that she found clothes strewn around her room the next day and that she had left the room tidy.  She testified that glass from the window broken in her bedroom was on top of those strewn clothes.  If the window was broken by someone entering the home who was intent on rape and/or robbery, then the glass would not be on top of the clothes as those clothes would not have been under the window then (Filomena also testified that she had valuables in plain view in her bedroom and that none were taken).

The evidence suggests that someone placed these clothes around the room and THEN broke the window to “stage a scene” (as there is no explanation for why anyone would have any motive to randomly take clothes and throw them around a room).

Let’s start with Guede first and the assumption that he came back to the home that night - either by himself - or with someone other than Amanda and Sollecito.

Guede’s motivation to come back to the crime scene would be to clean up the most incriminating evidence against him and to stage this crime scene to lead the police in a direction away from him.

Guede left DNA inside Meredith, bled on Meredith’s body, and left a bloody hand print on the pillow underneath Meredith’s head.  He also left feces in the bathroom toilet (the bathroom near Filomena’s bedroom - -not the “bloody” bathroom between Meredith and Amanda’s bedrooms).  He would know that if he came back to clean.  He would know that that evidence would be the strongest against him.

During this “clean up phase,” the DNA inside Meredith, Guede’s blood on Meredith’s body, the bloody hand print, and Guede’s feces in the bathroom toilet were all left untouched. 

The “clean up phase” spent a lot of time in the bathroom next to Meredith’s bedroom (it was also next to Amanda’s bedroom), the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom, where the “break-in” was staged (it is possible at least part of this crime occurred in the bathroom, as Meredith’s blood was found on the bathroom light switch when it was in an up position - meaning it was touched when the light was on.  The bathroom had numerous droplets of her blood, some of which were commingled with Amanda’s blood.)

Despite the cleanup in Filomena’s bedroom, the police were still able to obtain DNA samples.  Guede’s DNA was not found in either the bathroom or Filomena’s bedroom.

Six bloody footprints from bare feet were identified.  One was visible to the naked eye in the bathroom and five were visible only after the police used luminol, which allows blood evidence cleaned by bleach to become visible under a special light.  The luminol did reveal five bloody footprints that had been cleaned up (one shoe print was also found under Meredith’s pillow - the print is consistent with the size of Amanda’s shoe).

None of the six bloody footprints are consistent with the size of Guede’s feet.  All six of these footprints are consistent with the size of Amanda and/or Sollecito’s feet.

Why would Guede concentrate his clean-up efforts on areas where there is little to no evidence from him and ignore the areas where there is substantial evidence of his involvement?  Wouldn’t he at least flush the toilet?

As to the staged “break-in,” would Guede be motivated to set this up?  If the police believed a “break-in” had occurred, would they then be led away from investigating Guede as a suspect?

If the police believed that a break-in had occurred, then they would focus on looking for someone who was either a complete stranger to Meredith or someone she would not readily admit to her home late in the evening if they knocked on her door unanounced.  Guede was not a complete stranger.  One of the four male students who lived in the separate unit downstairs testified that Guede sometimes came to the apartment of the four male students and met and talked to Amanda and Meredith there (the testimony is that Meredith dated one of those four male students).

The evidence suggests that Guede only slightly knew Meredith. So, Guede was not someone who could knock unannounced on Meredith’s door late at night (at least 9:30—after Meredith talked to her mother) and be readily admitted. 

Guede had no motivation to stage a “break-in” because a break-in would in no way lead the police away from his scent.  Plus, there is no evidence that Guede was ever in Filomena’s bedroom where the “break-in” was staged.  If he had participated in this staging, a footprint consistent with the size of his feet should have been illuminated by the police’s luminol.

It wasn’t.

Conclusions that jurors would normally draw from facts and the circumstantial evidence relating to the “clean up” and “break-in” point to someone OTHER than Guede participating in the “clean-up” and “staged break-in.”

Let’s now look at the assumption that Amanda and her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, were the ones who came back for the “clean up” and “staged break-in.”

If Amanda and Sollecito were with Guede when the murder occurred (accounting for the extra footsteps running away shortly after the last scream of Meredith) and then came back to get rid of evidence of their guilt, their motivation would be to clean up their blood and DNA evidence and lead police away from their scent.

As for whether Amanda bled that night, another roommate of Amanda’s and Meredith’s, Laura, testified that she saw a a mark under Amanda’s chin the day after the murder that was not there the day before the murder; Laura testified the mark was not a hickey as a hickey would have been purple and more round. 

I have read two different comments on this issue from Amanda’s father.  One stated that the mark was merely a hickey and is evidence she spent the night with her boyfriend.  Another was that a physician examining Amanda on Nov. 6th - -the murder occurred the evening of Nov. 1st - did not note a mark under the chin.  (Interestingly, the police interrogating Amanda the next day did not report such a mark, either).

I then found a photo that was posted online taken of Amanda the day after the murder.  It clearly shows a mark under her chin—and would account for her blood being found at the apartment.



[click for larger image]

If Amanda and Sollecito did the “clean up,” they would be motivated to leave evidence of Guede’s guilt and point the police in his direction.

Forensics don’t show either way whether bleach was used to clean up Meredith and Amanda’s apartment, though it was used in Sollecito’s apartment AND on the knife found in his apartment containing the DNA of Meredith and Amanda. 

The Conad store owner reported the presence of Amanda in the household cleaners part of his store early on the morning after the murder (when Amanda and Sollecito contend they were asleep) although rumored receipts for bleach were not presented at trial.

Meredith’s body, which contained Guede’s DNA and his blood (mixed with hers) was not cleaned and Guede’s feces was not flushed from the toilet.

The bathroom, which even after the cleaning, contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and a bloody footprint which is consistent with the size of Sollecito’s foot (trial testimony was that it was “likely” Sollecito’s footprint), had a lot of cleaning activity.

The hallway and Filomena’s bedroom, which even after the bleaching contained Amanda’s blood mixed with Meredith’s and bloody footprints, was the site of a lot of cleaning activity (these footprints were all consistent with the size of the feet of Amanda and Sollecito, but not consistent with the size of Guede’s feet) .

The “cleaning” evidence, and conclusions which may be drawn from it, point to Amanda and Sollecito as participants.

Would Amanda and Sollecito have a motive to stage a break-in?  Amanda obviously had a key to the unit and did not have to break into her own apartment.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would probably focus on people who had a key to the apartment or friends of Meredith she would readily admit to her apartment at 9:30 at night.  If there was no sign of a break-in, police would question Amanda and Sollecito at length - and they would obviously know that.

Amanda and Sollecito had a strong motive to stage a break-in to focus police on looking for a stranger, or someone like Guede who only knew Meredith very casually.

What about the next morning?  Let’s first assume Amanda was innocent and she is being truthful when she testified that she did not come home until around 11:30 the next morning.

Amanda testified that when she came home around 11:30 a.m. that the apartment door was open, that there was visible blood in the bathroom (which would have been numerous scattered blood drops, a ten inch smear on the bathroom door, and a bloody footprint on the floor) and that there was feces in a toilet.  Amanda says that she called out for Meredith and no one answered.

She then took a shower and went to Filomena’s bathroom and used her dryer to dry her hair (this is the bathroom with Guede’s feces;  this toilet is different than American toilets in that it had a large flat area so that the standing water in the toilet did not submerge the feces) and returned to her boyfriend’s apartment.

If Amanda were truly innocent when she arrived that morning, wouldn’t she also try to open the door to Meredith’s bedroom after Meredith did not answer, even when she banged on her door more than once?  Amanda’s fingerprints were not found on the door knob and she has never testified that she tried to open the door.  Sollecito testified that when he arrived later with Amanda that he tried to open the door - and his fingerprints are on the door knob.

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she text Meredith, as she did several times two days before?  Wouldn’t she call both of Meredith’s cell phones and let them ring to see if they were in her bedroom? (Phone records show she called each phone one time; one for three seconds and the other for four seconds, despite Amanda telling Filomena that day that she had called Meredith’s cell phones and that the phones just kept ringing) 

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she also call out for Filomena and Laura - because she would not know for sure if they might have returned that morning (she knew Filomena had spent the night in town and that Laura was in a nearby town)?  Wouldn’t she look into their bedrooms (Filomena’s door was closed that morning, according to Amanda; Sollecito says it was open) and have noticed that Filomena’s bedroom window was broken and her clothes were strewn about? (When Amanda first called Filomena she did not mention that Filomena’s bedroom had been broken into).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she have just flushed the exposed feces down the toilet?

If Amanda were innocent and truthful, wouldn’t her hair three hours later look like it had been washed and blow dried that day?  Look again at the photo posted above.  It was taken about three hours after the alleged washing and blow drying.  Is that the hair of a woman who washed and blow dried her hair three hours earlier?

Wouldn’t Amanda have noticed that the lamp in her bedroom, which was the only source of light for that room, was missing? (Police later found it in Meredith’s room).  Wouldn’t she have immediately noticed the missing lamp when she first entered her bedroom that morning so that she would have immediately either left the apartment without taking a shower or called the police to come over? (Police and phone records show that Sollecito didnt call them until 12:54, even though the Postal and Communications Police had been at the apartment with Sollecito and Amanda since 12:26 - the Postal Police unexpectedly showed up at the apartment because Meredith’s cell phones had been found.)

People react differently to unexpected happenings and Amanda may not have done all of those things, but surely she would have done at least one of them.

If Amanda were truthful about showering and drying her hair, wouldn’t her fingerprints be in both bathrooms? (Since these activities would have occurred AFTER the clean up).  The police only found one of her fingerprints in her residence - on a glass in her kitchen.

As to this time frame, what about the recent trial testimony of Amanda’s mother that Amanda told her in their first phone call that day that she thought someone was in her apartment?  Cell phone records place that call at 12:47, some 21 minutes after the Postal Police arrived. (A nearby video camera documents that time, as does Postal Police log records;  the defense has tried to argue that the Postal Police did not arrive until after 1:00 p.m., but do not have evidence for that position.  In fact, Filomena testified that she arrived back at her apartment before 1:00 and that the Postal Police were already there.)

Postal Police testified that both Amanda and Sollecito were in Amanda’s bedroom with the door closed at 12:47 - the bedroom with no lamp or overhead light (neither Amanda nor Sollecito mentioned to the Postal Police or Filomena when they emerged from that bedroom after many minutes that the only lamp in the room was missing).

Let’s keep assuming Amanda was innocent.  Would she have come back to her apartment with Sollecito, still not having called police, and then start a load of washing of Meredith’s clothes? (The Postal Police said the washing machine was running when they entered;  Filomena, who arrived a little later, said that the washing machine was still warm and contained Meredith’s clothes.)

Amanda has testified that she got out a mop and bucket the first time she went to her apartment that day and took it back to Sollecito’s because there was water on his apartment floor from water used in cooking pasta the night before (Sollecito said, however, that the water was from a broken pipe;  Sollecito’s diary written in prison talks of a dinner of stir fry mushrooms and vegetables).

Who has water spills from cooking pasta so large that the next day it is still puddled to the degree it needs to be mopped?  Who voluntarily carries a mop and bucket several blocks to clean up water from cooking pasta the night before? (Especially a person who has been labeled in trial testimony as messy and unkempt in their cleaning habits).

If Amanda were innocent, wouldn’t she and Sollecito have called the police after Sollecito tried to open Meredith’s locked bedroom door and couldn’t open it?

Instead of calling the police, Amanda and Raffaele went outside and stood next to the mop and bucket.  Why didn’t they just put the mop and bucket back up in the apartment when they first arrived?  Why leave it outside the apartment?  Why then go back out and stand next to the mop?

If Amanda and Sollecito were innocent, that means that Guede (and perhaps one or two accomplices) murdered Meredith, then ran away, and then came back at some point and cleaned up the crime scene PARTIALLY (but ignoring and leaving the most damning evidence against him) and THEN GUEDE CAME BACK that morning after Amanda had showered and left - so that GUEDE could do a LOAD OF WASHING of Meredith’s clothes - presumably blood stained, all the while ignoring his feces in the toilet and his bloody hand print on the pillow under Meredith’s body - only for GUEDE to then leave again right before Amanda and Sollecito arrived (so the washing machine would still be running when the Postal Police arrived a short while later).

What type of person or persons would come back to a crime scene to clean it up?

The most likely person to return to a crime scene for a clean up is someone who knows that they can do a clean up with little chance of being caught. 

Guede might have known that the four male students downstairs were all away due to his occasional appearances there.  But how would Guede know that Filomena and Laura, the other two upstairs roommates, would not come back either that night or in the morning?

Amanda and Sollecito, on the other hand, would know that everyone who lived in the house would be gone and that they could do a clean up that would take some time and have a good chance of not being caught in the act.  Only the unexpected appearance of the Postal and Communications Police interrupted the mopping and cleaning (as there was still a ten inch blood smear on the bathroom door near Meredith’s bedroom and numerous visible blood droplets).

No one else other than Amanda and Sollecito, and who may have been involved, had such knowledge.   

Conclusion

     

The facts, testimony, and conclusions that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence, including circumstantial evidence (that is what juries do all the time), lead me to believe that Amanda will be found guilty.

Let any reporter or analyst run the case through their minds at this depth and then make sure that at a minimum, they keep their cool and don’t misrepresent.

When I read an article or blog in the New York Times or Time magazine, I expect thorough, well-reasoned, well-researched, investigative journalism. Judicial cases DEMAND it.

Instead, here I have found articles that IGNORED the evidence and some very mediocre journalism. What happened to journalistic standards?  Where is the public outcry against the U.S. media’s handling of this case? 

For the sake of true justice, a line now needs to be drawn.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Trial: Defendant’s Mother Recounts Her Version Of Phonecalls The Day After

Posted by Peter Quennell



[courtesy AP, click for larger image]

Click for the report by La Nazione in Italian. A quick translation:

Edda Mellas said three phone calls were made to her by Amanda on the morning of November 2 Perugia time when Meredith’s body was discovered without life in the house on via della Pergola.

“The first call arrived at 4 am, I do not know that time in Italy. Amanda told me that she had a suspicion that someone could be in the house because the door was open. It was just a suspicion as the main door had a troublesome lock and sometimes it did not not close. “

Mrs. Mellas recalled that Amanda had said in the first call that she found unusual things while taking a shower,

“There was blood in the bathroom, and I thought it could be from the cycle of one of the girls who then did not clean up well, but I suspect more it could have come from the edge of the bath,”

Amanda then said she had come from Raffaele’s where she had spent the whole night.

“The second call came an hour I think after the first. Amanda was completely desperate because in the room of Meredith, the inspectors had found her body.”

Shortly after, Amanda again called her mother in Seattle.

“A few minutes later she called again. She was crying that they had found her body in the room of Meredith. She was completely distraught.”

On a recent post here on TJMK Finn McCool tried hard to make sense of the timing and content of those calls to Seattle. 

Today, the description and timing of those calls still seems to remain a problem. 

On the Perugia Murder File Forum Michael is pointing out that Mrs Mellas might have dropped her daughter in the soup.

Posted on 06/19/09 at 12:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda Knox
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Trail: TGCOM Reports On The First Of Edda Knox’s Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in Italian. A quick translation of the first testimony of Mrs Mellas:

After the murder of Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox never thought of leaving Italy. So said the mother of the young American, Edda Mellas, testifying before the Court of Assizes of Perugia.

The woman is responding assisted by an interpreter. She reported that her daughter had a good relationship with Meredith and the other flatmates…

Edda Mellas spoke of the conversation with Amanda in prison November 10. “She was feeling badly for the fact that Patrick had been dragged into this brutal story,” she explained. “She felt badly for having advanced the name of Patrick”...

Posted on 06/19/09 at 09:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three More Scenarios For The Night That Accord With The Timeline

Posted by Fiori


[Above: the platform where we believe Meredith first set foot in Perugia]

I seem to be one of a growing number aching to see true justice for Meredith to be the final conclusion to all this. 

Like many others here I am struggling to make sense of a reported pattern of events that is confusing and incomplete, and in terms of a motive possibly senseless.

And like some of the others here I have been trying to fit the facts as they emerge into a sort of a chronological framework. I draw from Michael’s excellent Master Timeline for the known overall chronology.

These below are three possible scenarios. They presume for the sake of argument that the defendants were in fact involved, along with Rudy Guede. The scenarios all have one common front end through to just after 9 pm, but thereafter, they differ slightly. And at bottom (under the “click for more”) I have included some annotations on key elements.

These scenarios may stand or fall as the trial moves forward, but I hope they inspire other scenarios so we may all conclude that the crime really has been properly solved and true justice for Meredith is widely perceived as a reality.

Common front end to all three scenarios

I am presuming that although the exact timing may have been vague (nobody knew when Meredith would arrive home) something involving Meredith was intended. Events involving the alibis and other statements, cell phones and the knife, and assembly at the house, simply seem too hard to explain otherwise.

1 pm: Meredith and Amanda Knox each have lunch in the cottage. Perhaps some annoying subjects are discussed. Perhaps Meredith comments on Knox’s behavior around the house and her male visitors, as only a thin wall separates their two bedrooms.

5 to 6 pm: Knox and Sollecito stroll around in the center of town and, by chance perhaps, they meet with Rudy Guede. They perhaps believe that Guede has some desire for Meredith. They make an appointment to meet Guede at 8.30 pm at the cottage, perhaps intending to edge Meredith into an affair with Guede as a payback for Meredith’s problems with Knox. 

6 to 8 pm:Knox and Sollecito are at Sollecito’s apartment and consider what might lie ahead for them that evening. There are the interactions with Lumumba and the woman who had asked for a lift to the station.

8:30 pm Guede arrives and waits at the cottage for Knox to arrive.

8:40 pm Mobile phones of Knox and Sollecito are switched off, with the seeming intention of preventing Knox and Sollecito from being disturbed or traced.

8:45 pm: Knox walks home to her cottage and admits Guede, and Sollecito follows shortly after with some mushrooms

8:50 pm: Knox and Sollecito and Guede are in the kitchen of the cottage, perhaps cooking mushrooms, perhaps dealing or using drugs, and perhaps all three waiting for Meredith.

8:56 pm: After saying goodbye to Robyn on her way home from the English girls’ house, Meredith calls her mother while walking, but her call is interrupted for some unknown reason

9:10 pm: Meredith enters the cottage, and is so displeased about the party in the kitchen that she goes on to her room, being demonstrative about not joining the party.

Now for three different possibilities

The scenarios below are actually not mutually exclusive, but they inscribe a different ordering and weighting of the information. These are my factual baselines:

a) The car breakdown in front of the gate makes it seems unlikely that Meredith was murdered between 10.30 and 11.20. So either Knox and Sollecito are IN the cottage during the whole hour from 10.30 to 11.20, or they are OUTSIDE the cottage the whole time.

b) The testimony of Curatola in the park seems credible, but what did he precisely see? “He said also that, although he did not watch them all the time …. He originally said that they were there from 9:30 through midnight, but clarified that they were there at 9:30-10:00pm and may have left around 11-11:30 and then returned to be there just before midnight” (quote from Stewarthome2000 on TJMK on 3/29). See my annotation below on this.

c) Cell phone activity: “.. Meredith’s cell phone made a call (not a phone call but a GPS call attempt) at I believe around 10:15 pm, and that the call was made from the area where the phones were found the next day as it involved a different cell tower than those covering Via della Pergola” (quote from Stewarthome2000 on TJMK, 3/21)

In other places this information is confirmed and the time is given as 10.13. This is a crucial point, as it is then impossible that Meredith made the call while struggling. The scenario by Brian S on TJMK on 3/31 suggested ” The scenario suggests is that Meredith was struggling with her attackers from around the time of her aborted call at 10:13 pm until sometime just before 10:30 pm.”

I suggest that Knox and/or Sollecito were responsible for throwing Meredith’s two mobile phones away in the garden, as a) I feel it does not fit the psychology of Guede to think to take the cell phones, and b) the position of the call does not fit with Guede seen leaving the cottage at 10.30. If Guede had taken the phones, he would have had to leave the cottage around 10.05 pm, in order for the cell phones to be in the area of the other cell phone mast at 10.13,  See my annotation below on this.

The first scenario

9.15: Meredith goes to her bedroom, perhaps to try to go to sleep. She was known to be tired after a late night on Halloween.

9.20: Knox and Sollecito perhaps steal Meredith’s mobile phones now, to prevent her from calling the police during whatever the event was with Guede that they intended.

9.35: Guede hides in the toilet at a distance from Meredith’s room, to prevent Meredith from hearing that he remains in the house, while …

9.35: Knox and Sollecito perhaps now leave the house to create an alibi for themselves for the staged event between Meredith and Guede (presumably a rape) so they can afterwards claim that they did not know that Guede was still in the house after they left. Knox and Sollecito walk to Piazza Grimana (Curatolo as witness). They take with them Meredith’s cell phones.

9.40: Guede leaves the toilet and enters Meredith’s room, perhaps trying to lure/force Meredith into having relations with him.

10.00: Guede and Meredith are the ones heard arguing loud (Marlacchia as witness) and Meredith fights back as Guede tries to rape her. Guede tries to strangle Meredith to keep her quiet

10.00: Knox and Sollecito are up at Piazza Grimana, walking to and from the wall, discussing how things might be developing within the cottage. Then they split up.

10.10: Knox returns to the cottage, and finds Meredith wounded/struggling in the bedroom/kitchen; and a big fight, including the use of a knife, is still taking place.

10.13: Sollecito (leaving to pick up his car?) throws Meredith’s phones into the garden where the cell phones are found the next morning. As Meredith’s cell phone hits the ground and tumbles around, the call function is activated.

10.20: Sollecito arrives back at the cottage and more knives become involved

10.25: Meredith’s is stabbed fatally in the neck, screams out loud (Capezzali as witness, uncertain about the time)

10.30: Guede flees the cottages (Formica, witness)

10.30: Knox and Sollecito flee the cottage (diverse witnesses hear running)

10.35- 11.15: A car is parked in front of the house, blocking the entrance, and the breakdown receives assistance from the tow truck (Lambrotti as witness)

11.30: Knox and Sollecito are again watched by Curatola up at Piazza Grimana

The second scenario

9.15-9.35: The party develops out of hand, and Meredith is deadly wounded in the struggle with Knox, Sollecito, and Guede.

9.35: Knox and Sollecito leave the house and walk to Piazza Grimana (Curatolo as witness). They take Meredith’s cell phones with them. They discuss what to do. Problem here: where is Guede?

10.00: Knox and Sollecito split up, and Knox returns to the house.

10.00: Knox and Guede argue loudly in the house (Marlacchia as witness).

10.00: Sollecito picks up his car at home, and while driving…

10.13: … Sollecito throws Merediths phones into the garden where the cell phones later are found.

10.15: Sollecito park his car in front of the cottage (to use the car for….?)

10.30: Guede flees (but why wait until now?)

10.30-11.20: Sollecito is with Knox in the cottage. (doing what for one hour?)

10.35- 11.15: Car parked in front of the house, blocking the entrance, and the breakdown receives assistance from the tow truck (Lambrotti as witness)

11.20: Knox now screams? (Capezzali as witness)

11.23: Knox and Sollecito flee the cottage (diverse witnesses hear running on the stairs)

11.45: Knox and Sollecito are again watched by Curatola at Piazza Grimana

The third scenario

Note: this one does not fit the forensics timeframe for Meredith’s death which was put at between 9.00 and 11.00 pm

10.30: Guede departs from the cottages (Formica as witness) leaving Meredith behind, perhaps strangled into unconsciousness.

10.35- 11.15: Car parked in front of the house, blocking the entrance, and the breakdown receives assistance from the tow truck (Lambrotti as witness)

11.15: Knox and Sollecito enter the house …. 

11.20: Knox and Sollecito perhaps now kill Meredith (scream with Capazzali as witness)

11.13: Knox and Sollecito flee the cottage (diverse witnesses hear running)

11.45: Knox and Sollecito are again watched by Curatola at Piazza Grimana

Four annotations on the evidence

 

Click here for more

Posted on 05/20/09 at 02:03 PM by FioriClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesVarious scenariosEvidence & witnessesThe timelinesCellphone activityHoaxes against Italy6 No staging hoax8 No motive hoax
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Puzzle Of The Cell Phones: Was Rudy Doomed From The Start?

Posted by Arnold_Layne


Current thinking is that about a year after the three were arrested, Rudy Guede’s team decided to request a fast-track trial because his team thought Knox and Sollecito might craft a defense that made Guede appear more guilty. 

After he was convicted, defense supporters of course seized upon his conviction as the basis for the “lone wolf theory”.  It is possible, however, that Guede’s defense team was more correct all along than they might have realized - that he really was being set up.

What did Knox and Sollecito actually have planned?  Admittedly Sollecito had his knife fetish, and Knox’s sexuality was, well, you know.  But since none had committed any violent crimes in the past, it is unlikely that they planned to commit one quite so significant as a murder at this point. 

Contrary to what I had previously thought, Mignini may also be correct in his game theory.  Their plan might have been to coerce Meredith into having sex with someone.  If they couldn’t “talk her into it” they planned on intimidating her with the very large knife they brought along.

There is an inconsistency in the various scenarios that have been put forth.  In one scenario, all three came to the cottage intending to physically harm Meredith, and that is why they brought the knife and turned their cell phones off.  This doesn’t really make much sense because, for a murder, or even an assault with a knife, it was incredibly poorly planned. 

Additionally, and more importantly, none of these people had a criminal past and so it is unlikely they would plan on committing quite such a horrible crime.

Another scenario, which is along Mignini’s lines, is that the three planned to use the knife only to intimidate Meredith into doing what they wanted – which was to get involved in a sex act with Guede by coercing and threatening her.  This activity could be considered a sex game. 

If the terrifying trio had planned on going to see Meredith merely to play a game, then why did Sollecito and Knox turn their cell phones off?

They must have realized that there was a possibility that what they were setting out to do could end poorly.  If Meredith went along with what they planned, all would be okay.  Hopefully, she’d be a good sport when it was over.  If this is how it played out, there would have been no need to turn their cell phones off. 

But on the other hand, if she wasn’t a good sport, and called the police, they would be able to move to Plan B: blame Rudy, and deny that they were even there.  Turning their cell phones off fits with this outcome.

What this all suggests is that Rudy Guede really might have been set up. 

He clearly would have left evidence of a sexual attack; but the two others, not so much.  In fact, they may have planned to set Rudy up before they even asked him to participate.  Their plan right from the start might have been to bring in a third person to take the fall if things didn’t go well.

So Sollecito and Knox might have planned a plausible sequence of events as an alibi in which Guede would be the only perp and they could be at Sollecito’s smoking hash and watching Internet movies. 

So they needed someone who the police could easily accuse of the crime, and Rudy Guede filled the bill.

Why did they turn their cell phones off if they were only going to play a game?  I think they had already planned to get a bit more serious, and to implicate Guede as the perp.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Best Shot At Making Amanda Knox’s Timeline Alibi Work

Posted by FinnMacCool


Amanda Knox’s first encounters with police and other witnesses the day after go to the very heart of her credibility.

Of her truth-telling or otherwise about events, and of her whole innocence or otherwise in the crime. 

On Sunday 4 November 2007 Amanda Knox wrote an email to a student welfare officer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Knox related what she said had happened at the house on Friday the 2nd before the communication police arrived to establish why Meredith’s two mobile phones were tossed into a garden a kilometer away.

This email was written while Amanda was alone and under no pressure.

Copies went to various relatives and friends. For many of her supporters, it represents the essential truth of what happened, before Amanda was interrogated by the police and began changing her story.

This analysis covers the period from noon to a quarter past one on the Friday, the day that Meredith Kercher’s murder was discovered.

It compares the claims in the email with cellphone records for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the period.

The contents of the email

According to the email, Amanda and Raffaele were initially at Raffaele’s apartment at noon on November 2nd. The email describes how Amanda spoke with Filomena Romanelli and then tried to reach Meredith Kercher by phone.

It then explains that Amanda and Raffaele returned to the cottage, where they found evidence of a break-in, alongside some bloodstains which Amanda had already noticed.

They also observed that Meredith’s door was locked. After they tried and failed to break down this door, they phoned the police.

After that, Amanda claims she called Filomena once again, who said she would return to the cottage.

Cellphone records do not support this story, and nor do the police.

Two police officers arrived at the cottage to investigate Meredith’s two phones, which had been found in a neighbor’s garden. The police claim they arrived at 12:25, and video evidence appears to support this.

Amanda and Raffaele dispute the video evidence. They claim that the police arrived much later, after the call to the emergency services which Raffaele made at 12:55.

Below, we look first at the scenario described by Amanda, followed by the scenario described by the police, with a view to determining what really happened in that crucial hour between noon and one. 

First scenario: Amanda Knox’s email is essentially true, the police account is essentially inaccurate

If we assume that the police are basically incorrect, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically correct, in their respective rememberings of what happened on November 2 between noon and 1315, that leaves us with several puzzling questions. Here are some of them:

1. Where was Amanda at 1208?

At 1208, Amanda calls Filomena. Amanda claims that she made this call from Raffaele’s house.

However, in his prison diary, Raffaele describes the same conversation as taking place at the cottage.

Filomena says that Amanda explained, in that conversation, that she was at the cottage, and was on her way to fetch Raffaele.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Even though Amanda claims to have walked alone to the cottage, and to have been concerned enough about the bloodstains to want to bring Raffaele to have a look at them, she never attempted to phone Raffaele at all during the whole of that morning.

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda first tried calling Meredith’s Italian phone at 12:07. At 12:08 she calls Filomena, who advises her to try Meredith’s phones. She doesn’t tell Filomena that she tried the UK phone just a minute ago (nor does she mention this in her email).

In the email, Amanda says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena – cellphone records support this claim. But she also says that the Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her cellphone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (The WeAnswer Call service, which prides itself on how quickly it answers its customers’ calls, boasts that their average speed-of-answer is 5.5 seconds.)

Next, Amanda claims that she returns to the cottage with Raffaele.

But why doesn’t she try Meredith’s phones again? If the Italian phone was going to continually ring again – even for just three seconds – she’d now be able to hear it through the bedroom door (assuming Meredith had it with her).

But this doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Amanda or Raffaele.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

In the 12:08 call, Amanda told Filomena she would try Meredith’s phones and then call her back.

In the email, Amanda claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele’s finished calling the police at 12:55.

But cellphone records show that Amanda never called Filomena back at all.

On the other hand, Filomena DOES call Amanda back – at 12:12 and 12:20. It’s not clear whether Filomena receives an answer to these calls, or simply leaves a message – certainly, Amanda’s email makes no mention of having received these calls.

Then Filomena tries a third time, at 12:34, which is when Amanda tells her that Filomena’s own room has been broken into.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Her cellphone records also show that Amanda called her mother at 12:47 – but she makes no mention of this call in her email.

Edda Mellas claims that she told Amanda to hang up and call the police – but Amanda makes no mention of this advice in describing their decision to call the police.

The email describes the decision to call the police as something between herself and Raffaele, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

But in the ten minutes before Raffaele calls his sister (an officer in the carabinieri), Raffaele has received a call from his father (at 12:40:03) and Amanda has made a call to her mother (at 12:47:23) – neither of which calls is mentioned in the email.

Raffaele’s sister gives him the same advice that Edda Mellas gave Amanda: hang up and call the cops.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

Raffaele makes the successful emergency call (lasting nearly a minute) at 12:54:39.

Meredith’s UK phone is activated at Police HQ at 13:00 – as part of a conversation which the postal police at the cottage are having about that phone with staff at HQ.

This conversation mentions Filomena’s arrival, and the information she’s given them about it being a UK phone.

This means that we need to fit the following activities into those five minutes, if Amanda’s email is to be believed:

  • The postal police arrive later than 12:55
  • Amanda and Raffaele give them a tour of the cottage, including the suspected break-in and the bloodstains in the bathroom
  • Amanda writes down Meredith’s phone numbers for them, on a post-it note which Luca Altieri notices on the kitchen table when he arrives
  • Marco and Luca arrive (and they see the post-it note) and have a conversation with the police about the ownership of the phones
  • A few minutes later, Filomena and Paola Grande arrive. Filomena explains to the police about Meredith’s phones (one lent by Filomena, and the other a UK phone)
  • The postal police make contact with their HQ
  • During this call, Meredith’s phone is activated (at 13:00)

In addition, at some point, Paola sees Raffaele and Amanda emerging from Amanda’s bedroom – but it’s not clear whether this happened before or after 13:00. It could have been after.

But even if we move this emergence from the bedroom to after 1300, there simply isn’t enough time for all those other activities to take place in a period of less than five minutes.

Second scenario: the police account is basically accurate,  Amanda Knox’s email is essentially untrue

Let us take the opposite scenario, and assume that the police are basically correct, and that Amanda Knox’s email is basically incorrect.

This then provides us with answers to those puzzles above, and also fills in some of the gaps that were otherwise missing from the timeline.

We also find that this new timeline is supported by evidence from other witnesses.

1. Where was Amanda at 12:08?

Amanda was at the cottage, and so was Raffaele.

Amanda was not telling the truth when she said she was going to fetch Raffaele – since Raffaele was in the room with her when she made the call.

This matches with the versions of both Filomena and Raffaele, who both believed that the call was made from the cottage.

2. Why didn’t Amanda call Raffaele?

Amanda never called Raffaele that morning because they were with each other the whole time – just as they continued to be with each other every moment until their arrest (except when separated for interrogations).

3. Why did Amanda stop calling Meredith’s phones?

Amanda called from the cottage in the first place, so there is no longer a question of why she called Meredith only from Raffaele’s apartment.

Also, she allowed the phone to ring only for three or four seconds because she knew that Meredith would not (and could not) pick up – she knew Meredith was dead.

The purpose of making these calls was simply for them to appear on her own cellphone record, to help construct an attempted alibi.

4. Why didn’t Amanda call Filomena back?

This question can be answered if we accept the hypothesis that Amanda’s intention was for Meredith’s body to be discovered by Filomena and/or Filomena’s friends.

When the police found the couple outside the property “waiting”, they were really waiting for the one living person that they had called that morning – Filomena.

Amanda ignores the calls at 12:12 and 12:20 because she wants Filomena to arrive at the cottage and to be the one who makes the “discoveries” of the break-in, and the locked bedroom.

So that when Filomena arrived at the cottage, Amanda and Raffaele (at the front of the house) could have said, “Oh, we decided to wait for you. Let’s go in together.”

However, Amanda answers Filomena’s 12:34 call because the police are already at the cottage and have already discovered the alleged break-in.

So now Amanda needs Filomena to arrive as quickly as possible – and at this point she tells Filomena about the break-in and the locked door.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, Filomena decides to call Marco and get himself and Luca to go there first – knowing that they will be able to reach the cottage much more quickly.

Amanda tries to delay the breaking open of the room by telling the police, and by telling Luca, that it’s normal for Meredith to lock her own door.

She does this because, when it comes to the breaking down of the door, they want the others to be the first ones on the scene - and we can see that when the door is broken down for real, Amanda and Raffaele withdraw to the kitchen.

Unfortunately for Amanda, however, she can’t resist boasting later to Meredith’s English friends that she herself was the first on the scene.

5. Why doesn’t Amanda mention that she called her mother in Seattle?

Amanda’s email is essentially fictional.

The police arrived around 12:30, which is when they said, and this is corroborated by the CCTV evidence from the car park (timed at 12:25).

So the police have been in the cottage for about a quarter of an hour when Amanda calls her mother.

Amanda is first called away from the police to answer Filomena’s 12:34 call, just as Raffaele is called away a few minutes later to answer a call from his father at 12:40.

However, it is not until the arrival of Marco and Luca that they are able to escape to the privacy of Amanda’s bedroom, where they make the phone calls first to Amanda’s mother, then to Raffaele’s sister, and then the two calls to the police.

Notice that Edda and Raffaele’s sister both give the same advice: Hang up and call the police. And that’s exactly what they do, in fact.

However, in trying to create a fictional backdrop for making the emergency calls, Amanda forgets that she’s already called her mother.

Now she tries to explain that she and Raffaele called the police because of their panic over the locked room – panic which seems not to exist when Amanda is telling Luca that Meredith usually locks her door.

(Notice that in this version, we don’t need to believe that nobody can understand what Amanda says.)

After making these calls, Amanda and Raffaele emerge from the bedroom, as described by Paola Grande.

Paola’s memory of arriving at the cottage just before one is supported by the activation of Meredith’s cellphone at 1300.

6. How can the tour of the cottage and the arrivals of first Marco and Luca, and then of Filomena and Paola, all take place between 12:55 and 13:00?

It doesn’t. The tour of the cottage takes a more realistic fifteen minutes (roughly 12:30 to 12:45).

The police spend ten minutes talking to Luca and Marco about the phones, and about the suspected break-in, and so on (roughly 12:46 to 12:55), while they await the arrival of Filomena and Paola.

The girls arrive shortly before one, as the girls said, and as the phone records support, and explain the situation of the phones to the police (roughly 12:56 to 13:00).

There follows another fifteen minute examination of the house, culminating in the breaking down of the door by Luca Altieri at 13:15.

Conclusion

This version may or may not be accurate, but at least it is supported by external evidence, not contradicted by it.

It is easy to see why Judge Micheli’s report found that the cellphone records do not support Raffaele Sollecito’s claim to have called the flying squad before the postal police arrived.

It is also easy to see why these timings undermine other stories told by the two defendants – such as Amanda’s December 2007 claim that she thought the postal police were in fact the police that Raffaele had just called.

Such a claim is absurd, given that Battistelli contacts HQ with a status report less than five minutes after Raffaele’s 112 call was made.

The bottom line is that this does not look promising for Amanda Knox.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trial: Did Someone Prevent Meredith Calling Home On The Night?

Posted by Peter Quennell


“The British student Meredith Kercher may have tried to telephone her mother in a last cry for help before she was overpowered and stabbed to death in Perugia in central Italy.”

This story on one of Meredith;s last actions out of the courtroom yesterday is being very widely picked up around the world. Click above for John Follain’s report.

Posted on 03/21/09 at 08:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Trial: Report From The Courtroom On Vodaphone Testimony

Posted by stewarthome2000



[above: a defendant-mobile entering Cappanne Prison]

It was a technical day in court, mostly devoted to confirming events and facts that we the public have already known about for a while. The court heard from the Vodaphone engineers, the communications investigator from Rome, and the Perugia homicide squad.

The Vodaphone engineers illustrated that cell phone uses cell points to connect, and those cell points cover certain areas. As you move about, your phone gets switched from tower to tower depending on your location, choosing the best signal for it. Many times, signals from cell points overlap, so one area can be serviced by three or more towers, and if one is blocked or congested the other processes the call.

Why all the background? Because they were setting the stage to show that Sollecito’s cell phone having no traffic from 8:42pm till 6:02am on the night of the murder was not due to him being unable to get a signal at his home. His neighborhood is well covered with cell areas, so most likely the phone was turned off and then turned back on again.

The engineers essentially proved that his phone was, beyond reasonable doubt, turned off from sometime after 8:42pm and turned on at 6:02am. At 6:02am he finally received a sms text that his dad sent the night before around 11:15pm, which had been undeliverable while the phone was switched off.

This was shown to be unusual behavior for him, because throughout the entire month of October he never once tuned his mobile phone off so early (nearly every night it was on till around 11 or midnight or later) or ever once turned it on so early - usually he turned back on well after 9, 10 or even 11am. So they showed not only that this behavior was unusual and unprecedented for him… but that it happened to be on the night that Meredith was murdered.

It was also shown that Sollecito on the day of the 2nd topped up his phone with more credit, around 12:20pm, and then called his sister at 12:50pm, and the carabinieri at 12:51pm (connection failed) and then again at 12:55pm. Thereafter, he and his dad exchanged a number of calls, up until he arrived at the police station in the late afternoon.

Knox’s phone was shown to confirm on the night of the murder the exchange of sms messages with Patrick Lumumba, where Patrick sent a message to AK at 8:18pm (in effect “no need to come to work”) and she responded with the message at 8:35pm “ci vediamo piu tardi, buona serata” (“we will see each other later, good evening”).

The police right after the crime thought that might be evidence against Patrick, but I see where the mix-up comes from, because “pui tardi” is almost exclusively used when you plan to see someone later that day or in a few hours. She should have said “ci vediamo presto” which means “soon” or just “ci vediamo”. The way she wrote it, any Italian would think it meant in a few hours or very soon thereafter.

It was confirmed that the last communication from Knox’s phone on the night of the murder was at 8:35pm. Then there was nothing untill the next morning, when she tried to call Meredith’s UK cellphone at 12:07pm. Then she called Filomena, then Meredith’s Italian phone, and then she called home to Seattle a number of times.

The police also showed that Raffaele’s fixed line at his house showed no activity between 12:02pm on the 1st and 2:16pm on the 3rd. So much for activity on his land line or internet.

One interesting fact to emerge was that the eye witness who is saying he saw the three of them together the night of the murder had his mobile phone traced as well. It was shown to be in the Assisi area till the late afternoon on the 1st and then it entered the cell area of Via della Pergola at 8:01pm. So he was in fact in that part of the city on that evening. The prosecution made a request to note that fact.

They also showed, with a dispute from Sollecito’s lawyer Buongiorno, that Meredith’s cell phone made a call (not a phone call but a GPS call attempt) at I believe around 10:15pm, and that the call was made from the area where the phones were found the next day as it involved a different cell tower than those covering Via della Pergola.

So most likely the phone was in the possession of the killer and right then already on its way to the garden in Via Sperandio. So Meredith was most likely killed just before that time. This cell point analysis was done during the day and in a limited area, so this finding was disputed by the defense.

Finally, the homicide squad covered more ground.  They testified that Sollecito’s ASUS computer was already broken before they collected it for testing. They also indicated that they had been monitoring the phone activity and calls of everyone concerned for some time after the murder, including those of Raffaele’s dad. He had made a number of calls, to some of his political connections, to journalists, to legal counsel, to Panorama Magazine, and so on.

They also described the crime scene, and who precisely went in, and who was found at the scene, and who sequestered the knife at Sollecito’s home. One inspector initially claimed that Sollecito’s place smelled like bleach. Buongiorno attacked this, and he changed it to, okay, it smelled as if it had been cleaned with soap.

Overall, the testimony today mainly confirmed in precise and suggestive scientific detail much of what had been in the public area about the communications for some time.

Posted on 03/21/09 at 05:04 AM by stewarthome2000Click here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIEvidence & witnessesCellphone activityTrials 2008 & 2009
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