Heads-up on Amanda Knox "luncheon" next week at Loyola Law School. Swansea Jack and others are tweeting suggested questions for Knox to organizer Laura Caldwell. There do seem to be vastly more deserving cases in the US and they dont come with the "baggage" of xenophobia, defamation, money-grubbing, the mafias, bent judges, and stalking of the victim's family. In Supreme Court rulings Knox remains a convicted felon, and at minimum an accessory to murder.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chambers May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #1

Posted by Cardiol MD

The Italian Supreme Court is in the background

1. How Overload Can Overwhelm The Checks And Balances

The Italian Supreme Court (SCC) has 396 Judges in Rome and elsewhere.

Because of the enormous pro-defendant tilt in the system, the SCC hears about 80,000 appeals a year - more than all other Supreme Courts in the rest of Europe combined.

The SCC operates in panels, typically of 5 justices; that scales to about 4 appeals/panel/workweek, or about 1 appeal/panel/workday. A huge workload impinging on carefulness and promoting distraction and exhaustion.

Even with a law-clerk infrastructure, and the most ingenious exploitation of human concentrated-attention-span, highly questionable outcomes such as that for Meredith’s case would seem inevitable.

The four SCC judges panels (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015) which have ruled on various issues arising as Meredith’s murder case inched its way through the Italian legal system have been composed of different judge-combinations, with different skills, different knowledge, different education, and different experiences.

In many cases high-tech issues are an integral part of the evidence before the courts. This requires the enlistment of expert opinions because the judges may not be versant in the relevant high-tech issues. All sides, the defence, the prosecution, other interested parties, and even the judges, can cherry-pick experts for hire, who often use brazen sophistry to persuade the judges in the experts’ favour.

These facts may help to explain if not justify the unexpected conclusion of this current SCC judges panel which is now drafting the Motivazione.

2. Circumstantial Evidence And The Italian Requirement For Certainty

Near the start of the 2015 SCC hearings Judge Bruno, one of the 5 members of the Marasca SCC-Panel, was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

As we await this particular Motivazione intended to explain its decision, we will review the Massei Motivazione, the Nencini Motivazione, and the several past SCC rulings to establish what do constitute the certainties - of which in fact as Italian law defines them there is actually a large number.

In order to be classified as Circumstantial Evidence in Italian Law an evidentiary circumstance or fact must be true to the level of being a certainty. Note that this rule does not supersede BARD, it applies only to the the acceptance of individual items of evidence as circumstantial, so it can mislead and confuse authors and readers.

As will be noted below, under this Italian requirement the unverifiable RS/AK broken water-pipe story can not be classified as pro-defense Circumstantial Evidence. Therefore it cannot legally be argued as corroboration of the excuses of Knox & Sollecito, including their mop claims.

Sollecito’s father, Dr. Francesco Sollecito, did say that RS had mentioned the alleged-leak of Nov. 1st, 2007, in the father’s 221 seconds, 20:42:56 call of Nov.1st, 2007.  Hellmann/Zanetti bought into this story, discussing it in their Motivazione.

AK is quoted by Nencini as referring to the alleged-leak in her testimony, but neither Galati nor the 2013 Hellmann/Zanetti-annulling SCC panel mentioned the alleged-leak. All seemed aware that there was no certainty.

3. An Explanation Of Why This Will Matter So Much In Future

In 2013 the SCC itself annulled most of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict in part because there was an obvious parceling-out of the pieces of circumstantial evidence and a lack of assessment of each piece of circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti had failed to check whether the possible flaws and lacks in the logical value of each single piece of evidence could be resolved by cross-checking them and taking in account the whole.

Have the SCC judges themselves now made this same mistake? It is especially at this level that informed legal analysis in Italy of the pending SCC Motivazione will concentrate, future books on the case will concentrate, and the final degree of legitimacy will be established.

Given the peculiarity that the case was not referred back down to Florence for adjustment, worries at this level especially could be driving the very obvious nervousness of all of the defense counsels, shushing and restraining their clients in the presumed hope that the SCC judges really can square the circle and achieve legitimacy.

4. Certainties And Certainly-Nots In The Circumstantial Evidence

1. Fracture Of Hyoid Bone?

The SCC-Panel for Guede’s Sentencing (English Translation) wrote on Pages 4-5:

c) The body presented a very large number of bruising and superficial wounds – around 43 counting those caused by her falling – some due to a pointed and cutting weapon, others to strong pressure: on the limbs, the mouth, the nose, the left cheek, and some superficial grazing on the lower neck, a wound on the left hand, several superficial knife wounds or defence wounds on the palm and thumb of the right hand, bruises on the right elbow and forearm, ecchymosis on the lower limbs, on the front and inside of the left thigh, on the middle part of the right leg, and a deep knife wound which completely cut through the upper right thyroid artery fracturing the hyoid bone, a wound which caused a great deal of bleeding from the vessels of both lungs.

This caused a haemorrhagic shock and asphyxiation by the presence of blood in the respiratory passages, an exitus [decease] placed at around 23:00 of Nov. 1 by the forensic pathologist.

The emphases are mine. The knife cut through the hyoid bone rather than fractured it (in the English version it should say that it severed the hyoid bone; this is a translation issue). A Certainly-Not then.

The wound certainly did not cause any bleeding at all from the vessels of either lung; this is not a translation issue. This is a factual error in the original Italian Sentencing Report. A Certainly-Not then.

(This shows how the SCC-Panel Reports are not infallible. Unfortunately the Marasca Panel will have to dredge-up some past, fallible SCC-Panel Reports in order to explain its own reasoning.)

2. Two Knives?

Massei Translation p377: “There must necessarily have been [405] two knives at the scene of the crime.”

Certainly! There were 2 major, penetrating knife-wounds into Meredith’s neck; one entering on the left-side, and one entering on the right-side, which was made by a pocket-knife of the size Sollecito customarily carried. The latter wound could not have been made by whatever knife entered on the left-side. Therefore 2 knives were Certainly used.

3. Single Blow?

Massei Translation p 371 ”…a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone…”

Certainly Not.

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted”, “did not…. have elements of certainty to establish” it was “stopped by the jawbone.” Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “near” the jawbone. Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone or hyoid bone would halt the knife in this case, they would just roll with the blow, depending on the angle of attack.

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife. When your pet gnaws on a non-living cow-bone, neither the bone nor your pet’s teeth can bend; both your pet’s teeth and the bone can be broken, and the bone gets scratches on it because it is still softer than the teeth, but your pet’s teeth do not get scratches on them, because they are harder even than the non-living bone.

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action. Any implication in the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade, is a mistaken implication.

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot mark a harder substance. [To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would certainly not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

4. SMS Message?

It is Certain that at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007 Amanda Knox’s mobile-phone received the SMS sent to her by Patrick Lumumba, which let her off from having to go to work at the ‚Le Chic? pub on the evening of 1 November.

Remember that mobile-phones are equivalent to convicts’ ankle-monitor bracelets, their use creates with Certainty a record of the Times of cell-phone activities, the Location of the corresponding transmitter-cell, and hence the general location of the mobile-phone, especially Ruling-Out particular Locations e.g. Proving whether the carrier of the phone was in or out of the range of their home transmitter-cell. Call Verbal-Content is not publicly available.

Here the mobile-phone Record proves that Knox’s mobile-phone was Certainly-Not in Sollecito’s lodging-house at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007:

At the time of reception, Knox’s phone connected to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, whose signal does not reach Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Amanda Knox’s mobile phone, and therefore Knox herself, was therefore far [i.e. absent] from Corso Garibaldi 30 when the SMS reached her, as she was walking in an area which was shown to be served by the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell.

This point of her route could correspond to Via U. Rocchi, to Piazza Cavallotti, to Piazza IV Novembre, bearing in mind that Lumumba’s pub is located in Via Alessi, and that Amanda Knox would have had to travel along the above-mentioned roads and the piazza in order to reach the pub.

Knox was therefore Certainly Not at Sollecito’s Corso Garibaldi Lodging at that time, contrary to the allegation that she was, and Knox Certainly-Could have been at her Cottage.

5. SMS Reply?

At 20.35.48 on Nov.1st, 2007, Amanda Knox Certainly sent an SMS in reply to Patrick, at No. 338-7195723; the message was sent when her on Nov.1st, 2007 mobile phone was in Corso Garibaldi 30 or in the immediate neighbourhood. The cell used, in fact, was that of Via Berardi sector 7 - no other [use] was shown for the day of 1.11.07, noting that Amanda declared during hearings that she had switched her mobile phone off once she had returned 323 to Raffaele’s house, claiming she was more than happy she did not have to go to work and could spend the evening with her boyfriend.

(Knox may also have been LESS than happy that Lumumba preferred Meredith instead of Knox as an employee. This was perhaps humiliating enough to Knox for Knox to decide that the time to cut Meredith down-to-size was now.)

6. Bomb Threat?

Massei Translation page 25: On “the evening of November 1, 2007 at around 10:00 pm, someone called and warned Elisabetta Lana not to use the toilet of her dwelling because it contained a bomb which could explode. Mrs. Lana immediately notified the police of this phone call; and they came to the house but did not find anything….”

This call was Certainly received, the Police Certainly came to Mrs. Lana’s home, presumably not long after 10: pm on the evening of November 1, 2007 (Time & Duration of Police presence apparently not publicly-available).

The Courts must know those times accurately and precisely; reasonably assuming them to be after Meredith’s murder, and near the time of the Phone-Dump (Otherwise, the necessary combination of coincidences is too implausible).

It is most likely that the visible, and possibly audible, presence of Police triggered the panicked disposal of the Cell-Phones down the steep slope that falls sharply into the valley below.

There is no need to invoke any awareness by the phone-dumper[s] of the reason(the hoax-call) that the Police were near Mrs. Lana’s residence.

So if the killers saw flashing police-lights, or any other sign of police near Mrs. Lana’s place, that sign could be enough to explain panic phone-dumping - then and there (not considering whether the phones were switched-on or switched-off).

According to John Follain the slope is heavily overgrown with trees and bushes, an ideal place to dispose of evidence. If the phones had fallen just a few yards further, they would certainly have gone over the edge of the cliff, down into a 50m gully, straight into a thick scrub of nettles, and probably been lost forever….

7. Phone Dialings?

There were four dialings on Meredith’s mobile phones after her arrival home on the evening of 1 November ‘07:

    i. 20:56 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to Meredith’s mother’s home in England.

  ii. 21:58 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to mobile phone’s answering service, voicemail ‘901’.

  iii. 22:00 hours on 1 November 07, dial to Meredith’s London bank ‘ABBEY’.

  iv. 22:13:29 hours (9 seconds) on 1 November 07, attempted internet connection. Connection consistent with being attempted from cottage, but inconsistent with being attempted from Mrs.Lana’s.

These dialings are Certain with regard to Existence, Timings, and Location.

Massei Translation, page 331, attributes the above 4 dialings to Meredith absent-mindedly playing with the mobile phone in her hand, and her phone may well have still been in her hand when her attackers surprised her.

8. Phone Location?

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 22:13:29 hours on 1 November 07? Yes. Certainly.

9. A Tow Truck?

At about 22:30 hours Car broken-down nearby. Tow-Truck called-for.

At about 23:00 hours Tow-Truck arrives to load car.

At about 23:13 hours Tow-Truck leaves with loaded car.

These events Certainly occurred, but those times are approximate.

10. Francesco Called?

@23:41:11 RS’s father attempts phone-call but makes no oral contact. Father leaves message which is not received until 06:02:59 on 2.11.07.

This 23:41:11 call was attempted during the very time-frame of the attack on Meredith, her murder, and the flight of her killers with her mobile telephones. Meredith’s Phone[s] were removed from her cottage by about Midnight, less than 20 minutes after this attempted call.

These phone calls are Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

11. Phone Location?

For 2.11.07 the first record is that of MKP - [0]0:10: 31, (i.e. Very early in the a.m. 10 minutes and 31 seconds after midnight) “when it has been established as an incontrovertible fact that Meredith’s English mobile phone was no longer in Via della Pergola, the mobile phone having received the contact under the coverage from Wind signal [cell] ..25622, which is incompatible with the cottage.”

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 00:10: 31, 2.11.07? No!

Therefore Meredith’s English mobile phone had been removed from her cottage between 10.13.39 p.m. on 1.11.07 (more likely about 11.13 p.m.  when tow-truck departed) and 0:10:31 on 2:11:07; about 10 ½ minutes after midnight – say Meredith’s Phone[s] Removed By About Midnight, allowing for the time-elapse before being dumped near Mrs. Lana’s place. (Hellmann falsified this time-span on page 14 of his report, stating it to be more than 10 hours after midnight rather than about 10 ½ minutes after midnight.)

12. Phones Stolen?

At some time before Meredith’s attackers fled, they had seized her mobile telephones, probably near the beginning of the attack, having started their attack with a pre-emptive strike to intimidate Meredith, remove all hope, surround her, display knives, seal all possible escape-routes, and remove any possibility of phone-calling for help.

Immediately after Meredith’s scream her attackers had silenced her with the fatal stabbing, and then fled immediately.

They fled with her already-seized but still switched-on mobile telephones, probably without locking anything, including Meredith’s door.

Their over-riding and 1st imperative was not-to-be-caught-at-the-crime-scene.

See item 6. above.

13. Crimescene Meddling?

Having accomplished the Phone-Dump, Meredith’s killers next re-model the crime-scene, minimising the evidences of their identities, cleaning-up the evidences that it was ‘an inside job’, and simulating the appearances that it was ‘an outside job’.

One should bear in mind that these killers should have still been overwhelmed by their having actually committed a crime beyond their wildest imaginings.

Their panic impaired their thinking, and their ignorance, immaturity, inexperience, lack of technical resources and their arrogance precluded their selecting deceptions more effective against knowledgeable, experienced professional crime-investigators with a large fund of resources. They probably think that throwing the stone from inside Filomena’s room was a brilliant deception.

They wish it had never happened.

They wish they could make it unhappen (Hellmann/Zanetti got close to fulfilling this wish, but got themselves unhappened by Cassation)

They wish they could prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They cannot prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They may be able to postpone its discovery, but not longer than the inevitable return of the cottage-mates, later that day.

They believe that the person who ‘discovers’ a murder may become 1st-suspect.

They may be able to manouevre others-than-themselves into being the ones that make the discovery – quite a wily aim.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that:

Meredith’s killers seized her mobile telephones, and that

Her killers did not switch-off these mobile telephones, and that.

Her killers threw the telephones into an apparent ravine, landing in Mrs.Lana’s garden, and that

This phone-dump was accomplished before 00:10: 31, 2.11.07, and that

Amanda Knox caused:

    i. the English phone to ring at 12:07:12 (16 seconds) and be discovered by Mrs.Lana’s daughter only because it rang , and

    ii. the other phone, registered to Filomena Romanelli, to ring, very briefly, at 12:11:02 (3 seconds) and,

    iii. the English phone to ring again, also very briefly, at 12:11:54 (4 seconds), after being brought into Mrs.Lana’s house. 6. Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

In the opinion of the Court of Assizes (Massei Translation p.325), Amanda Knox’s call to Meredith’s phone was

...the first indispensible step before putting the [348] planned staging into action. The lack of a reply, since the poor girl was obviously already dead, gave a reason for reassurance about the fact that the young woman’s phone had not somehow been retrieved, [and] was therefore safe in the spot where it had been thrown, which, according to the expectations [in the minds] of the murderers was a precipice or some other inaccessible spot, rather than in the garden of a villa located barely outside the city, where the vegetation concealed it from view.

Knox may well have expected that she was safe from phone-discovery, but these calls turned out to be the very instrument of a phone-discovery.

Had Knox not made these obfuscatory stabs, in the time-frame she made them Meredith’s phone would not have rung when it did ring and would therefore not have been discovered by Mrs. Lana’s daughter when she did discover it.

14. Phone Switched On?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following:

00:10:31; duration and caller unspecified, but Wind signal [cell] incompatible with cottage, but compatible with Mrs. Lana’s place.

Therefore, Meredith’s mobile cell-phone had already been taken away from the cottage by her killers. It is not possible to determine from this phone-record whether the phone was switched on or off, but this phone was discovered at Mrs. Lana’s place because it was ringing, and therefore was “on”.

12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Knox’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made by Knox’s phone towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

Three more phone-calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

15. Francesco SMS Received?

At 06:02:59 Raffaele Sollecito received the SMS from his father allegedly wishing Raffaelle a good night; from the evidence of the mobile phone record printouts of Dr. Francesco Sollecito, it was shown that the sending of the message occurred at, as has been said, 23:41:11 of 1.11.07. This was the last SMS sent from that mobile phone during the whole day of 1.11.07

3+ Hours after receiving his father’s message from 23:41:11 of 1.11.07:

At 09:24 Raffaele Sollecito received a phone call from his father lasting 248 seconds]

At this time RS’s consiousness would be dominated by his guilty knowledge, and probably far-advanced in the accomplishment of the 3rd imperative.

Did RS and father spend 4+ minutes discussing the weather?

This is the first father/son opportunity to formulate the two-pronged water-leak story.

Although AK had already been to the hardware store 2 hours before, they may well not have known the potential DNA problems with the knife, the need to scrub it vigorously, to clean-out, and repair the drain-pipes under the sink, and the need to return the knife to RS’s kitchen drawer.

As it turned-out, Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

They probably did not know that incriminating stains could be invisible, but can be revealed by Luminol.

16. Francesco Calls Received?

At 09:29 another call was received lasting 38 seconds

At 09:30 (duration unspecified?) the father called Raffaele; the call connected to the Vial Belardi sector 7 cell.(the best server cell for Corso Garibaldi 30).]

These two calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations, were probably spent dotting ‘i’s, crossing ‘t’s, and exchanging options, such as enlisting sister Vanessa’s skills and contacts.

17. More Calls Later?

Another 2+ Hours later:

At 12:07:12 (duration of 16 seconds) Amanda calls the English phone number 00447841131571belonging to Meredith Kercher. The mobile phone connects to the cell at [346] Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (the signal from this cell is picked up at Sollecito’s house)

At 12.08.44 (lasted 68 seconds) Amanda calls Romanelli Filomena on number 347-1073006; the mobile phone connects to the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell (which covers Sollecito’s house)

Discovery will be inevitable when Filomena eventually arrives-back at the cottage.

AK/RS have accepted that they have to ‘stand-pat’ with their efforts so-far to accomplish not-to-be-the-“discoverers”-of-Meredith’s-body.

Amanda did not say a word in this phone-call to Filomena about Amanda’s phone call to Meredith, thereby withholding information that should have led Amanda to initiate discovery of Meredith’s body, and help Amanda to manouevre someone other than Amanda into being the one who ‘discovers’ Meredith’s body.

At 12:11:02 (3 seconds) the Vodafone number 348-4673711 belonging to Meredith (this is the one [i.e. SIM card] registered to Romanelli Filomena) is called and its answering service is activated (cell used: Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector3)

18. Yet More Calls?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following 5 calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations:

    i. 12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Amanda’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

    ii. 12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

    iii. 12:12:35 (lasting 36 seconds) Romanelli Filomena calls Amanda Knox (No. 348-4673590); Amanda receives the call connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 (still at Raffaele’s house)

    iv. 12:20:44 (lasting 65 seconds) Romanelli F. calls Amanda, who receives the call connecting to the cell in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (good for Corso Garibaldi 30)

    v. 12:34:56 (48 seconds): Filomena calls Amanda who receives it from the cottage on Via della Pergola 7 (the cell used is that on Piazza Lupattelli sector 7. As mentioned, Raffaele also used the same cell when he called the service centre at 12:35 hours to recharge [the credit of] his mobile phone)
19. RS Phone Location?

At 12:35: Raffaele’s mobile phone contacted a service centre for a phone [credit] recharge (the cell used was that of Piazza Lupattelli sector 7, which gives coverage to the little house on Via della Pergola 7. The signal in question does not reach Corso Garibaldi 30, which instead is served by the signal from Piazza Lupattelli sector 8)

At 12:38: Vodafone sent R.Sollecito a message of confirmation of phone [credit] recharge (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, good for Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:40: incoming call from RS’s father’s mobile phone (lasting 67 seconds; connection through Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, compatible with the Sollecito’s presence near the little house)]

At 12:47:23 (duration of 88 seconds): Amanda calls the American (USA) number 00120069326457, using the cell on Piazza Lupatetlli sector 7; the phone call takes place prior to the one which, at 12.51.40, Raffaele Sollecito will make to ‚112?, connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1, which gives coverage to Via della Pergola 7]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 1st call, acknowledges making the call, and purports, now, to recall its substance, providing the reader with her version of what was said.

At 13:24:18 (duration of 162 seconds): Amanda calls the same American number which corresponds to the home of her mother, Mrs Edda Mellas, using the same cell. It is obvious that the young woman is inside the cottage, where by this point, several minutes earlier, the Postal Police had shown up, [347] represented by Inspector Battistelli and Assistant Marzi, who were engaged in the task of tracking down Filomena Romanelli, who was the owner of the Vodafone phonecard contained in the mobile phone found earlier in the garden of the villa on Via Sperandio]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 2nd call either, she acknowledges making the call, and provides the reader with her current version of what was said.

20. More Phone Locations?

At 12:50:34 outgoing call directed at mobile phone 347-1323774 belonging to Vanessa Sollecito, sister of the defendant; duration 39 seconds. Connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell 320

At 12:51:40 Raffaele Sollecito called ‚112? to inform the Carabinieri of the presumed theft in Romanelli’s room (duration 169 seconds; connection to Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell, which covers Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:54: a second call by Raffaele to ‚112? (57 sec.; connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Sollecito calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

21. More Phone Locations?

At 13:17:10 (lasting 1 second) to Meredith’s phone: the cell used was located in the same place, sector 7

At 13:27:32 (duration of 26 seconds): Amanda calls the American number 0012069319350, still using the cell at Piazza Lupattelli sector 7.

At 13:29:00 (duration of 296 seconds) Amanda receives [a call] from No. 075/54247561 (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

22. Another Phone Location?

At 13:40:12: incoming call from his father to RS (94 sec.; Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell)

Another Sollecito call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

23. More Knox Calls?

At 13:48:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to AK’s mother’s number

At 13:58:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to her mother’s number

The above item is a faithful translation from the Massei Motivazione section on Amanda Knox’s mobile phone traffic, but is listed out-of-time-sequence; the assigned-time is probably a ‘typo’ – “13:48:33” is much more likely correct.

Two more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

24. Francesco Call?

14:33: Sollecito’s father called Sollecito for 21 seconds (as above)]

Do RS and father exchange more caveats in their call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations?

25. More Knox Locations?

At 14:46:14 (102 seconds) Amanda receives a call from the German number 494154794034, most likely belonging to her aunt Doroty Craft

Call to Meredith’s phone at 15:13:43 (5 seconds) cell not indicated.

At 15:31:51 (1 second): Knox receives an SMS sent from the number 389/1531078; at this point the cell being used is the one on Via Cappuccinelli 5/A sector 2, where the Questura [police headquarters] is located.

Two more Knox-related calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

In the hours that followed the [mobile phone record] printouts show that the answering service of Amanda’s number 348-4673590 was activated due to a lack of signal coverage.

Massei Translation p.324:

Finally, the analyses of the [phone record] printouts highlight that the first phone call made by Amanda on the day of 2 November was to Meredith Kercher’s English number.

The American student called her English flatmate even before contacting Romanelli Filomena to whom she intended to express, as she testified in court, her fears about the strange things she had seen in the cottage, which she had returned to at about 11 o’clock in order to shower in preparation for the excursion to Gubbio which she and Raffaele had planned.

It is strange that Amanda did not say a word to Filomena about the phone call to their flatmate, when the call, not having been answered, would normally have caused anxiety and posed some questions as to why Meredith did not answer the phone at such an advanced hour of the day.

26. Sollecito Locations?

At 17:01: RS’s father called RS for 164 seconds; cell used is that of Via Cappucinelli 5/A sector 2, corresponding to the location of the Perugia Police Station

At 17:42: RS’s father called RS for 97 seconds (as above).

With regard to Raffaele Sollecito’s landline home phone (No. 075-9660789)

The above 2 calls presumably covered final agreements on the Father/son stories.

For the entire day of 1 November and then of 2 November, Raffaele Sollecito’s fixed line was not affected by any calls, either incoming or outgoing.

This series continues here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Probable Final Cassation Ruling In 10 Days: Likely Scenario For The Immediate Future

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

We reported previously that Prime Minister Renzi, the former mayor of Florence, has great trust in the court system there.

Cassation is expected to rule on Knox’s and Sollecito’s separate appeals against the Florence outcome (in which they yet again not-too-subtly edge one another between themselves and the flames) on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

We have something of a consensus here upon what happens then and thereafter, with main inputs here from Italian watchers Popper and Yummi.

1. Cassazione will probably merely announce that the affirmation of conviction by the Nencini appeal court is legitimate from the point of view of Italian law and there will be nothing significant said on the merits of the case.

2. In final appeals Supreme Court justices simply confirm a sentence or not based exclusively on law points. The Cassazione motivation reports due within three months are not too important as they cannot be appealed anyway. A report may not be needed for extradition, the Massei + Nencini sentencing reports could be explanatory and legally correct enough in this case.

3. The execution of this decision would then be over to the Florence courts. If the Nencini confirmation of verdict and sentence is affirmed it will probably then be over to Prosecutor Crini and Judge Nencini, and an arrest warrant for Sollecito would be immediate.

4. There is a slight chance, perhaps 5% to 10%, that Sollecito might try to escape, as he seemed set on doing when he made it to the border on the same day as Judge Nencini’s 2014 ruling. On Italian TV he has been sounding very aggrieved with Amanda while not really winding back the strong case against himself. He lacks his passport and probably the secret stash of money to stay on the run indefinitely.

5. An arrest warrant for Knox, the other defendant, would normally be issued as soon as possible. If she is still located in the US she could be rapidly arrested and put in a holding cell. Based on other examples it is possible that her physical return to Italy could take as long as nine months, though the treaty promotes a fast-track meaning not upward of three months.

6. There is normally 45 days for the extradition papers/request from Dr Andrea Orlando, the Italian Minister of Justice, to be handed over by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC to the State Department, though there is allowance for that request time to be extended.

7. The evidence of course really is overwhelming and no single proof of foul play has ever been proven. Italian justice officials have relevant information they could share privately, such as the corruption of the Hellmann appeal alleged by Judge Chiari, Prosecutor Comodi and others, and such as Knox’s unsavory drug record which is normally a big no-no for the State Department. 

8. Comments made by the host and a magistrate on Italy’s Porta a Porta show last week suggests vagueness on the part of the Italian media and public about the Italy/United States extradition treaty. This treaty, which has always been faithfully observed previously by both countries, with no exceptions, is stark and minimalist and focuses on the paperwork and whether the national law was followed, as explained by lawyers James Raper and TomM. 

9. Assuming their final conviction, Sollecito’s arrest and return to prison will drive Italian public opinion, dormant for years but stirring as the Porta a Porta show suggested, to demand a quick extradition of Knox, who was the flatmate of Meredith the victim and without whom no murder would have taken place.

10. Probably very unlikely, but if there is sustained political resistance despite American media finally getting the facts right, the powers demanding extradition will build up immense pressure, and it will be world-wide pressure from the point of view of the US, not just Italy. All countries will be watching to see how the US behaves, and if their treaties are reliable or not.

The US relies heavily on the Italian government, which is currently a very strong one, on many other matters, and it has other extradition cases worldwide in motion or anticipated (think Snowden in Moscow) so it will be almost certainly be faithful to legality and precedent.

Knox smeared prison authorities in her book and directly caused the imprisonment of a drug-dealer which might be reasons she fears going back. Conceivably a negotiated outcome could result in Knox serving the rest of her time in an American prison to get round this. American prison? This would be nice for her family, but probably a lot less nice for Knox herself.

Knox has long been the pawn of an ugly family and bunch of parasites. Dont totally rule out her simply hopping on a plane to pay her dues and get away from them.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The PMF/TJMK Master Evidence List: First Of Our Projects To Make The Final Picture Whole

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

High-achiever Meredith Kercher was born less than one mile south of this famous London landmark

There are really three pictures, not just the one, still to be fully made whole.

  • That of Meredith. We believe a family site will soon add to the fine book published by Meredith’s dad.

  • That of all of the evidence the court acquired in 2009, which is the sole picture the Italian citizenry takes seriously.

  • That of the misleading campaign by the Knox and Sollecito PR shills, leaving some in the UK and US misled.

The Master Evidence List is a key part of the second picture and there are several other media-friendly pages still to come.

The new page is here and it can also be permanently accessed via the new button in our column to the left.

Many posters on the two PMF websites and on TJMK helped to create the master list, which is divided into 25 areas with links in the column to the right.

To aid in emailing and tweeting the new page, it not only has its own address, also each of the 25 evidence areas also has its own separate address.

Much appreciation to those who built this list.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Seeds Of Betrayal: Multiple Examples Of How RS And AK Have Tried To Apply More Blame To The Other

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

This report of 18 July 2014 will be updated soon. There were myriad instances in their two books and several new instances in the media since, the latest being Sollecito on Porta a Porta on 6 February 2015. Knox’s silence and the spiraling nastiness of her gang suggest stark reality is setting in. Stalking of the Kerchers is reaching a dangerous pitch. Whatever happened to “nice girl Knox”?

How Sollecito and Knox So Threaten One Another

The other day, a claim was posted that claimed sources had said Knox would soon accuse Sollecito.

This inspired quite an outcry, and the claim’s heavy-handed suppression. Can you believe: by legal means? That claim really rattled a few cages.

Why was the claim so dangerous? Because for nearly seven years Sollecito and Knox have repeatedly cycled between occasional chummy hugs and numerous aggrieved potshots. And for the most part the more-aggrieved Sollecito has come out ahead.

  • In 2007 (see below) Sollecito really dropped Knox in the drink and both fired off a lot of potshots.

  • From 2008 right through 2011, desperate for confirmation of an alibi, an anxious Knox beamed pleas at a sullen Sollecito, for example in the form of love letters she wrote, and a public request to have a private chat.

  • From 2012 upon provisional release it was Knox being sullen and hard to get and Sollecito in puppy-dog mode. He might have been driven by a genuine desire for a renewed relationship, but a bid to set himself up safely in the United States might have made Knox wonder if this was true love.

  • And from mid 2013 public potshots have been fast and furious, many now on Twitter, and Italy in particular is closely watching the show and waits agog as the justice system applies more and more pressure.

Our main posts tracking this dont (for now) include the numerous veiled potshots in the RS and AK books, the reason being that we are waiting for the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors’ new charges for what they identify as the defamatory claims in each book to be made public. As usual we are tracking them closely, rather than jumping the gun, to avoid confusion.

Some of the potshots were active-aggressive (as in: they actually complain about one another) and some are passive-aggressive (as in: they try to help themselves but conspicuously ignore the other.)

You can sample both flavors below. 

1. The year 2007

Our emerging Interrogation Hoax series quotes multiple witnesses testifying how quickly and decisively Knox and Sollecito got off to a fast start in dropping the other in the drink. Too many posts of relevance to include all here, but see this.

From 6 November 2007 Knox and Sollecito were kept separated, and were not allowed to talk. (That continued to late 2011.) Sollecito was pretty easy to read: he had little interest in talk. A sulky silence was his norm.

1. On 6 November Sollecito’s statement to Inspectors Moscatelli and Napoleoni included this about Knox :

I know Amanda for two weeks. From the evening I first met her she started sleeping at my house.

The first of November I woke up about 11.00, I had breakfast with Amanda, then she went out and I went back to bed. I then met up with her at her house around 13.00-14.00. In there was Meredith who left in a hurry about 16.00 without saying where she was going.

Amanda and I went to the [town] centre about 18.00 but I don’t remember what we did. We remained in the centre till 20.30 or 21.00.

I went to my house alone at 21.00, while Amanda said that she was going to the pub Le Chic because she wanted to meet with her friends.

At this point we said goodbye. I went home, I made a joint. Had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. About 23.00 my father called me on my house phone line.

I recall Amanda was not back yet.

I web surfed on the computer for two more hours after my father’s phone call and I only stopped when Amanda came back in, presumably about 01.00…

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

2. Yikes. Knox finds her best alibi yanked.  Not so long after, possibly knowing about this, Knox comes out with a statement which points at Sollecito in turn.

I don’t know for sure if Raffaele was there that night [during the attack on Meredith] but I do remember very well waking up at my boyfriend’s house, in his bed, and I went back to my house in the morning where I found the door open.

3. Then on 8 November 2007 Sollecito submitted a statement to Judge Matteini which began “I never want to see Amanda again. Above all, it is her fault we are here.”

4. There were multiple further instances throughout the rest of 2007, quotes of which will be included soon in the Knox Interrogation Hoax series.

2. The Year 2008

5. Knox and Sollecito each appealed Judge Matteini’s ruling to the Supreme Court. Neither helped the other at all. Both appeals failed in April and they were each kept locked up.

6. Click here for Sollecito Turns On Knox? This Is Extraordinary…

In October toward the end of Guede’s trial and RS’s and AK’s remand for trial Sollecito’s DNA expert testifies to Judge Micheli that he found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra and bra-clasp.

7. Click here for Sollecito Family Trial: On The Component About Their Alleged Attempt At Political Interference

Francesco Sollecito phone conversation in March 2008 with Vanessa captured by the Carabinieri in which he shows his extreme distrust and dislike of Knox who he blames for RS’s plight.

3. The Year 2009

8. Click here for The Letters Between The Women’s And Men’s Wings In Capanne

Letters sent from Knox to Sollecito in February are published, showing an eagerness to get together, suggesting she really needs Sollecito to speak up and confirm her latest alibi.

9. Click here for Trial: Defendant Noticeably Bubblier Than Meredith’s Sad Friends

This kind of callous, flippant behavior by Knox had the entire court backed off, not least the Sollecito team which had no desire to be chained to this seeming dangerous nut.

10. Click here for Sollecito Not To Be Trumped By Knox Antics In The Female Wing Of Capanne

While RS and AK didnt have access to one another they sure had access to the media and in the Italian media a competitive Sollecito posted a steady stream of stories

11. Click here for Trial: Knox Claimed Not To Have Been At The House On The Night

Knox suddenly claims this, despite contrary 2007 claims by both Knox & Sollecito, which messes with Sollecito’s alibi that he was at home alone on the computer.

12. Click here for Seems Sollecito Is Feeling Really Sorry - For Himself (So What’s New?)

Sollecito tries to give himself an edge over AK by being extra-whiny about how awful he finds prison, and the distasteful little people he was being made to mix with.

4. The Year 2010

13 Click here for How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire

The Knox team avoided this popular Porta a Porta TV series, maybe too scared of hard questions, while the Sollecito lawyers and family used it to promote suspicion of AK and Guede.

14. Click here for Newsweek Report From Italy On Damage Shrill Campaign Is Doing To Knox’s Interests & America’s Image

The shrill Knox campaign was irritating Italians and so hurting Sollecito’s image and prospects and it was not shoring up his own story. Bongiorno especially disliked the campaign. 

15. Click here for Rocco Girlanda’s Strutting Manic Grinning Intrusion Seems A Major Danger To Sollecito/Knox Harmony

The strange kinky Member of Parliament (now voted out) paid numerous visits to Knox (“monitoring conditions”) and tried some nasty (though ineffective) political tricks - but not for Sollecito.

16. Click here for The Knox Movie: Sollecito Reported Angry - Real Risk That His Defense Could Break Away From Knox’s

The Sollecito camp had a strong belief that the Knox camp was behind this TV movie and so they fought it, though it turned out quite even-handed and the RS role was minor.

5. The Year 2011

17. Click here for Sollecito Defense Team Breaking From Knox Defense Team On Legal Measures To Stop Lifetime Movie

Further differences reported here between the two camps on the Lifetime movie which until it was aired was believed to favor Knox and build a case for her innocence.

18. Click here for Tenth Appeal Court Session: Might Today’s Testimony Give Sollecito More Of An Advantage Than Knox?

After his team’s (attempted) discounting of the main evidence at Meredith’s house against Sollecito, Knox’s position looks way worse, as she has motives both for killing and cover-up.

19. Click here for Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?

Final days. Sollecito has at least five advantages over Knox. Better lead lawyer, better family in Italian eyes with smarter campaign, not much physical evidence at the house, no obvious motive unlike Knox, and a weak and washy personality Bongiorno plays up.

6. The Year 2012

20. Click here for In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle

Sollecito is the one now in puppy-dog mode, though his father has said publicly that the relationship with Knox is at an end; here the RS family sets out for Seattle to try to make it so. 

21. Click here for Sollecito’s Book Honor Bound Hits Italy And Already Scathing Reactions And Legal Trouble

Sollecito’s book, which subtly promotes Knox’s guilt, runs into legal trouble for false claims, which could also impact Knox’s claims and legal future. His seeming sticking with Knox damages Bongiorno’s defense strategy.

22. Click here for Will Sollecito Drop Amanda Knox In It Further In A Public Seattle Interview At 7:00 PM Tonight?

Sollecito’s American book promotion tour often went badly and he seemed unaware of what was in his own book; though once again he was making out Knox was guiltier. His defense team despise the book.

7. The Year 2013

23. Click here for Knox & Sollecito Meet - To Attempt To Bury The Hatchet Other Than In Each Other?

The second public Sollecito attempt to end up with Knox, who already had chips on her shoulders about him but went through this charade. Soon, they were back to whacking one another.

24. Click here for Seeds Of Betrayal: Sollecito Twice More Implies Evidence Against Knox Much Stronger Than Against Him

Sollecito sustains this steady drum-beat of putting Knox down, highlighting the evidence against her, repeatedly saying he stuck with her despite no evidence against him (no deal helping RS was ever offered).

25. Click here for Seeds Of Betrayal: In Interview Knox Reveals To Italy Her Considerable Irritation With Sollecito

Knox does an extended interview with Oggi (for which she and Oggi are being charged) lying about officials and the evidence, but also uttering her angriest blast yet against Sollecito.

8. The Year 2014

26. Click here for Rejected Yet Again By Knox, Sollecito Seems Frantic To Avoid What Might Be A Final Return To Italy

Sollecito (like Sforza) was desperately looking for someone to marry him, to keep him in the US. Kelsey Kay was briefly interested, but he dumped her; he had told her Knox had recently turned him down.

27. Click here for What We Might Read Into Sollecito Lawyer Giulia Bongiornos Final Arguments To The Appeal Judges

Bongiorno shows contempt for Knox; she effectively conveys the sense of the RS family that a crazed Knox dragged RS into this. She see the RS book as a pro-Knox con job by her team.

28. Click here for As Knox & Sollecito Try To Separate Themselves, Each Is Digging The Other In Deeper

Sollecito is clearly trying to distance himself from Knox now, claiming that there is far more evidence against her than against him. Knox’s irritation with him is growing.

29. Click here forSollecito Suddenly Remembers He Wasnt There But Cannot Speak For Knox Who (As She Said) Went Out

Members of Sollecito’s family are believed to be taking their anger at Knox to Twitter and making numerous taunts while emphasizing how they believe Sollecito was dropped in it by Knox and is less to blame.

30. Click here for Spitting In the Wind: Sollecito News Conference Backfires On Him AND Knox - What The Media Missed

Really irritated at the US-written RS book, Bongiorno goes a long way to separating the two perps in the minds of Italians; however RS hedges a little though, after having said the evidence points only to Knox.

Knox As Present Big Loser; Where Next For Her?

These are not all of our posts which include talk of this pushing and pulling, and it happened so frequently that often we simply passed on posting for fear of monotony.

The war by other means continues on Twitter and briefly it hit the crazy-for-Knox Ground Report website. Much damage to Knox is already done, and Italians adamantly want her in prison.

Even in the US the media have cooled on Knox, and as her dwindling supporters become wilder and wilder they too do harm to her paid-for nice-girl image.

A brighter family and paid team would now be saying “It is time for a Plan B and doing something to warm up Italy”. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Welcome To New Arrivals: A Second Experienced Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On The Truth

Posted by James Raper With Kermit

My legal colleague Some Alibi hammers home in the post below that the trial jury were not fools. They decided for guilt unanimously, based on many compelling evidence points.

    1) Do you know how many hard evidence points there are? Literally hundreds. This is a very evidence-heavy case. And at trial in 2009 the prosecution did an excellent job. Between February and June, in about a dozen one-day sessions, they presented an overwhelming case and tied together all the points.

    2) Do you know how many conclusive evidence points are required for a finding of guilt? Just ONE. If it is definitive enough, a single piece of evidence can decide any case. Some Alibi posted a damning footprint example the other day which BY ITSELF could have seen Sollecito convicted in any UK or US court. There are examples too for Knox.

    3) Do you know how many evidence points were discredited during the trial and the anulled appeal? In fact it was NONE. A spooked defence kept well away from the alibi evidence, the cellphone evidence, the computer evidence, the mixed-blood evidence, the obvious crime-scene re-arrangement, and most eye-witness evidence.

The annulled appeal in fact focused only on two specks of DNA and one eye-witness account, and even those, as the defenses admitted, were not conclusively undermined. They didnt come close to proving two other killers had even been in the house, although the Supreme Court had already ruled (in Guede’s final appeal) that Meredith had been attacked by three killers.

My colleague Kermit and I now want to present for you some Powerpoint slides which will introduce you to most of the formidable evidence in the case, in the same way the jury processed it.

Load the Powerpoint Viewer if not on your system, and click here for the slides. Hang on. This is a big file but they should load in under 60 seconds.

Finally I would point out a challenge I made for ANY lawyer who believes Knox and Sollecito are being railroaded (for which there is zero obvious reason why) to answer all the open questions Knox and Sollecito wont face.

Do you know how many spoke up? So far NONE.

Posted on 05/01/13 at 06:53 PM by James Raper With Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsMeredith-case hoaxesNo-evidence hoaxThe Guede hoaxFamily/defense hoaxersLies in Knox bookLies Sollecito book
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Monday, April 08, 2013

Tips For The Media: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Need For Guilt - See This Footprint

Posted by SomeAlibi

The false claim “there is no evidence”

Some amateur supporters of Knox and Sollecito have committed thousands of hours online to try and blur and obfuscate the facts of the case in front of the general public.

Their goal is simple: to create an overwhelming meme that there is “no evidence” against the accused, and thereby try to create a groundswell of support. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and Ted Simon have all made this “no evidence” claim many times.

At least some some of the media have eagerly swallowed it.

The amateur PR flunkies make up myriad alternate versions of what created single points of evidence, often xenophobic scare stories designed to trigger emotional reactions, which they hope will be repeated often enough to become accepted as “the truth”.

And where things get really tricky, another time honored tactic is to go on at great length about irrelevant details, essentially to filibuster, in the hope that general observers will lose patience with trying to work it all out.

But time and again we have shown there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Evidence is the raw stuff of criminal cases. Let me speak here as a lawyer. Do you know how many evidence points are required to prove Guilt? One evidence point if it is definitive.

A definitive evidence point

If you’re new to this case or undecided, what is an easy example of ONE definitive evidence item that might stand alone? Might quickly, simply, and overwhelmingly convince you to invest more time into understanding the real evidence, not that distorted by the PR campaign?

In fact we have quite a choice. See the footprint which was second on that list.

Now see the table above. I recommend the use of this table of measurement to avoid the lengthy back and forward of narrative argument which so lends itself to obscuring the truth. I would like to present you with this single table of measurements to give you pause to question whether this line that there is “no evidence” is really true or whether it might be a crafted deception.

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.

If you were the prosecution, or indeed the jury, and you saw these measurements of Raffaele’s foot versus the print, what would you think? Answer the question for yourself based on the evidence admitted to court.

Then, if you compare further, exactly how plausible do you find it that the measurements of the bloody imprint are Rudy Guede’s instead?

Not only are some of the individual measurements of Rudy’s imprint as much as 30% too small, but the relative proportions of length and breadth measurements are entirely wrong as well, both undershooting and overshooting by a large margin (70% to 150%).

Conclusions that must follow

Presented with those numbers, would you consider those measurements of Rudy Guede’s right foot to show any credible correlation to those of the footprint on the mat?

Supporters of the two have tried frantically to create smoke screen around this - the wrong technique was used they say (ruled not so by the court) / they are the wrong measurements (all 32 of them? that Raffaele’s are matching exactly or within a millimetre but Rudy’s are out by as much as -30% to +50%...?).

The severity of the impact on the defence is such that there was even a distorted photoshopped version circulated by online supporters of Raffaele and Amanda until they were caught out early on in coverage. But it is hopeless, because these are pure measurement taken against a scale that was presented in court and the data sits before you.

Have a look at the measurements and understand this was evidence presented in court. Whose foot do you think was in that bathroom that night? Rudy Guede? Or was it Raffaele Sollecito on twelve counts of measurement?

And if you find for the latter, you must consider very seriously what that tells you both about the idea there is “no evidence” in this case and who was in the cottage that night…

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tips For The Media: Getting Up To Speed With The Hard Facts Of This Complex Case

Posted by Media Watcher

[Above: Harvard “superlawyer” Alan Dershowitz, who conceded yesterday that there IS a strong case]

Our main poster Media Watcher is based in Seattle and has spent more than 25 years helping reporters at national publications (including the New York Times, TIME, and the Washington Post) understand and report accurately about complex, technical topics.

In the United States, with few exceptions, the media has generally accepted the spin from the defense team.

As a consequence, much of the reporting has been shallow and/or wildly inaccurate.  These errors have compounded over time, which leads to a situation where the American media was completely unprepared for yesterday’s decision.

As someone who has read through all of the available court documents and much of the media and who has more than 25 years’ experience helping national media to understand complex, technical stories, here’s my take on the issues the media should consider as they continue to write about this case:

    One - Formidable Legal Experts Say the Evidence is Strong

    First off, before ever repeating or suggesting that there is a lack of evidence, remember that Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been on the winning side of 13 of 15 murder and attempted murder cases, has said that in a retrial, Knox will likely be found guilty, “because the evidence supporting a conviction is pretty strong…..At best, she was a terrible person who tried to blame it on some innocent person and she was clearly a liar, and at worst she participated in a horrible murder, and the American media focused much more on Amanda Knox than on the victim of the case because Amanda Knox was prettier and an American and an American sweetheart.”  You can read the context of those remarks here.

    Two - Italy’s Justice System Has Important Differences from the U.S.

    Understand that the rules that apply in U.S. courts don’t apply in Italy because the justice systems are fundamentally different.  As an example, for contested verdicts, a decision is not considered final in Italy until the Supreme Court has weighed in.  Also, unlike in the U.S., at all levels of the three-stage judicial process (original trial, appeal, appeal to Supreme Court) in Italy, juries and judges are required to explain the rationale behind their decisions in legal documents.  These documents are important and anyone who reports on this case should read the underlying source documents.  It is an enormous benefit for defendants to understand how and why a jury convicted, because it makes the chances of filing a quality appeal much higher.  Italy does many things to protect the rights of defendants, and requiring juries to defend their decisions to convict are among them. 

    Three - Amanda is a Convicted Felon for the False Accusation

    After yesterday’s decision, Amanda is now a convicted felon for having falsely accused Patrick Lumumba, a man she worked for, and standing by that accusation for several weeks, but the decision on whether she is guilty of the actual murder won’t be considered final until after the new appeals trial happens and any appeals resulting from that decision are determined at the Supreme Court level.

    Four - The Status of the Case is Not “Starting Over”

    The trial is not “starting over.”  The appeals process and decision was vacated.  The first trial stands, and a new appeal of that trial will take place.

    Five - The Questioning was Not Unusually Harsh

    On the question of whether Amanda was treated unfairly and/or questioned harshly, in the aftermath of a murder, people are questioned fiercely here in the U.S. all the time.  Amanda was not considered a suspect until she put herself at the scene of the crime and until her alibi(s) clearly conflicted with those of Raffaele Sollecito.  She was not a reluctant witness.  In fact, she volunteered to answer more questions at the time Sollecito was being questioned.

    Six - Study the Cell Phone Evidence

    The cell phone evidence is compelling.  Few American media have paid any attention to the cell phone evidence, but the original jury gave it significant weight and it was discussed at length in the original sentencing report.  You should read it.

    Seven - Look at the Photos of the Blood in the Bathroom

    The DNA evidence is also compelling.  There is clear evidence of Amanda’s DNA mixed in with Meredith’s blood in multiple places in the bathroom.  The photos that show the amount of blood – all Meredith’s - in the bathroom Amanda and Meredith shared is compelling.  (The Amanda DNA likely comes from scrubbed skin –as would happen in the context of scrubbing to remove blood.) Amanda has said she assumed the large amounts of blood were from someone being messy after having a period.  Once you take a look at the blood on the faucets, you realize that given the sheer amount of blood, a woman having a period would have had to stand up over the sink and drip blood from the pelvis down onto the handles to make that scenario real.  Instead, of course, given that Amanda herself said the bathroom did not have obvious blood earlier that evening, the blood had to have come from someone (and it couldn’t be Guede given that his footsteps led from the murder scene to outside) who was cleaning up after the murder and was covered in Meredith’s blood.

    Eight - What was the Lamp Doing in Meredith’s Locked Bedroom?

    A lamp from Amanda’s room was found locked in the bedroom where the murder took place.  It’s difficult to imagine any scenario where a lamp would be taken from another room and locked into the scene of the crime other than that it was used to look for evidence during the cleanup and then inadvertently forgotten.

    Nine - Rudy Guede Did Not Act Alone

    The break-in was clearly staged and there was no credible defense argument given to refute that.  Also, given that Guede’s footprints led directly from the scene of the murder to the front door, he clearly was not involved in any after-the-fact coverup/cleanup, which meant someone else was.

    Ten - Consider Amanda’s Middle of the Night Call to Her Mom

    Amanda called her mother in the middle of the night Seattle time before the murder was even discovered.  It was the first and only time she’d done this from Italy.  When asked about it, Amanda claims to not remember having made the call.  It defies credibility to suggest that it was mere happenstance that Amanda decided to call her mother after the murder, wake her up from a sound sleep, and then not remember she had done it.  Instead, the far, far more likely scenario is that she realized she was in serious trouble and reached out to her mother instinctively.  And this happened before a body was even discovered.

    Eleven - “Contamination” Resulting in Sollecito DNA - How Again?

    The defense claimed that there was contamination of the bra clasp and that’s why the DNA from Sollecito was not reliable.  Contamination had to be the defense claim because there was no question that it was actually Sollecito’s DNA.  Keeping an open mind, how would Sollecito’s DNA get on the bra clasp even through contamination?  There was only one other spot of Sollecito’s DNA found in the apartment and that DNA was never near the bra clasp or near the equipment that was used to do the testing on the bra clasp at the time the bra clasp was tested.  In fact, at the time the DNA on the bra clasp was tested, it had been more than seven days since any DNA testing from the crime had been done in that lab and everything had been thoroughly cleaned.  How did any DNA from Sollecito get transferred to the bra clasp?

    Twelve - DNA on Knife - Study the Analysis with an Open Mind

    The DNA evidence from the knife was considered questionable because the method used was relatively new and frankly, some people didn’t seem to understand the underlying math/analysis that supported the conclusion that it was Meredith’s DNA.  The appeals court was directed to have an updated test done on the knife to help clear this up and that analysis was never done.

There are multiple other pieces of evidence and issues to consider – and they are discussed on the True Justice site.  If you are going to write on or report about this case, please at least start by reading the document that was written by the judge and jury involved in the original trial. Relying on the defense PR team and on previously published media reports will not help you understand the case because so much of it is completely and wildly inaccurate. 

Also you have a responsibility to get reporting on this case right because if and when Amanda Knox is extradited, it’s important to not fan the flames of a potential international incident by blowing this case up into something it’s not.  It is is a murder trial where the weight of the of evidence is strong enough to convince a Harvard law professor who has worked on many murder cases that Knox’s guilt will likely be affirmed. 

Posted on 03/27/13 at 02:10 PM by Media Watcher. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Raffaele Sollecito Now Under Formal Investigation For New Crimes Apparently Unprecedented

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[Above and below: Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Dr Quattrocchi normally prosecutes mafia and top officials]

Breaking news. The chief prosecutor has taken this investigation behind the scenes. See the explanation added in the box at the end.

This is Wikipedia’s definition of “contempt of court” under US and UK common law.

Contempt of court is a court order which in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court’s authority.

Often referred to simply as “contempt,” such as a person “held in contempt,” it is the judge’s strongest power to impose sanctions for acts which disrupt the court’s normal process.

A finding of contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behaviour, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial.

A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court.

We may now find out much more about the equivalent under Italian law.

When Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were released at the end of 2011, the prosecution filed a Supreme Court appeal within the allotted period. This automatically meant that Sollecito and Knox still stood accused of crimes until the Supreme Court finally signs off.

Typically Italian defendants in such a legal status get good legal advice, on the lines of “Shut up and keep your heads down. We need to be the only ones doing the talking here.” 

Here such advice may or may not have been forthcoming, but the public record strongly suggests it was not. In fact Sollecios entire legal team is credited by both himelf and his shadow writer Andrew Gumbel with helping. This is what Gumbel wrote in his Acknowledgments:

Donatella Donati in Luca Maori’s office gave up many hours to make the official documentation available and to present it all in a cogent order. She’s a largely unsung hero in this story and deserves recognition for her extraordinary efforts on Raffaele’s behalf. Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori, and Tiziano Tedeschi answered questions and made comments on parts of the manuscript.

In the same Acknowledgments Sollecito credits the following.

I was lucky to have a crack legal team who showed their devotion to the truth and, in some cases, did not even request payment. The team of lawyers and consultants included Adriano Tagliabracci, Francesco Vinci, Bruno Pellero, Francesco Introna, Giulia Bongiorno, Maurizio Parisi, Daniela Rocchi, Luca Maori, Donatella Donati, Marco Brusco, Aldo Poggioni, Delfo Berretti, Tiziano Tedeschi, and Antonio D’Ambrosio.

Interestingly, Luca Maori has already left Sollecio’s legal team, and all eyes are now on Giulia Bongiorno. Buy plenty of popcorn. Lawsuits could fly between lawyers and family. 

Since the end of 2011 Curt Knox’s forces seem to have have gone full steam ahead with their own vilifications of the Italian prosecutors, police, judges, and witnesses - in fact almost anyone who had any role in 2009 in finding them guilty, or came to believe that was a fair finding. Ourselves included.

In late 2012 Curt Knox apparently invited all the most fervent of these attackers to Seattle, including Frank Sforza and Bruce Fischer, as some sort of reward for their legally very ill-advised campaign. Buy plenty more popcorn. Lawsuits could fly here as well. 

Raffele Sollecito’s forces in Italy had been a lot more restrained.

But at a stroke, the shrillness of Raffaele Sollecito leapfrogged that of Amanda Knox’s forces, with the publication of his book Honor Bound by Simon and Schuster in English in the UK and US last September,

INSTANTLY the book became notorious in Italy, because excerpts were read out by an Italian reporter in New York on the national television show Porta a Porta. Raffele Sollecito’s father Francesco was on that show, and he was increasingly forced to admit a key claim in the book was invented. It simply never happened. His son made it up.

The false claim by his son that Francesco was made to repudiate - it reappears over many pages - concerned a claimed deal engineered by his family and offered by the prosecution to Sollecito.

The deal he claimed was to roll over on Amanda Knox, and if Sollecito did so, he would be home free.

Following the Porta a Porta show, the book (obtainable on UK Amazon, where many false claims are repeated in the reviews) began to make its rounds in Italy. It took some time before many official parties accused of crimes by Sollecito obtained copies and started to explore their own legal possibilities. They are apparently still far from finished.

At the end of last week, the Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Giuseppe Quattrocchi received the first official request from Perugia, which is to investigate 12 very serious claims in the book against the prosecution and the legal institutions of Italy. The complaint nominates a number of witnesses.

The Prosecution office of Florence now has a maximum of six months to investigate whether there is a case against Sollecito and other named parties. If so, they will steer it through the hoops of the Italian process.

The potential ripple effects of this appear to us to stretch on and on. They could come to engulf both legal teams (credited in the book with helping) and all of the PR for both defendants. Sollecito’s publisher and shadow writer are specifically named in the complaint

If Amanda Knox is not let off the hook by the Italian Supreme Court late in March (the outcome we consider most likely, given the great strength of the appeal) the smart way for Knox to go in light of this could be to junk all her websites, her book, and her interviews, and throw her supporters under the bus. Plus maybe get smarter lawyers - the aggressive and inexperienced Dalla Vedova does her no favors.

Keeping Amanda Knox’s head out of this deadly new line of fire may be very late - but maybe better late than never.

Breaking news.

The Prosecutor General in Florence is actually under no compulsion to make any of the Perugia and Rome complaints public before his investigation is complete. He has ordered all documents removed from the public domain.

This is specifically to give the defenses no advantage and to make sure those others in Perugia who are going to complain do so with a clean sheet of paper. It may also be to keep the yammering FOA remnants silent for the first time in five years.

Monday, January 21, 2013

An Overview From Italy #2: Current Perceptions In Italy, Sollecito Case, Mignini’s Full Vindication

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)

My previous report on the bad news remorselessly building here for the defense was on the Procura Generale appeal to the Supreme Court.

One year ago – between the end of December 2011 and beginning of January 2012 – there were only rare idle comments in the Italian press about the Meredith Kercher case, more or less sarcastically noting the “suspicious” circumstances of the Appeal trial.  I recall how a mention of the topic was dropped into the last number of “ll Venerdì” of 2011.

“Il Venerdì di Repubblica” is the weekly magazine issued together with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (thus probably the most read magazine in Italy).

The cover theme of that week was provincialism – or better “the provincials” - the adjective used to assemble a sample of seven little cities (Cuneo, Voghera, Rimini, Jesi, Perugia, Benevento, Partinico), picked from different regions, and taken as examples on the theme, that is stories of “local colour”;  what goes on in small “provincial places”.  A few characters and stories are brought in to depict the local life of each place, and the voices of local authors adds something about the places.

The article about Perugia (at pages 62-68) was by Luca Cardinalini. In that number of Il Venerdì, having stories of “local colour” as weekly theme, there were shades of ironic tones for each city, often through the voice of local intellectuals. As Perugia is described, the Meredith trial is quickly recalled among its local stories; the reader can’t miss how this is viewed as in connection with another most remarkable feature of the city, that is Masonry.

According to Luca Cardinalini and Enrico Vaime, Masonry is called a “Specialty” of Perugia, like chocolate. Local author Enrico Vaime intends to convey the people’s perception about shady powers existing in the city, about a local environment saturated by plots and informal powers, as something behind recent strange judicial decisions such as the Hellmann verdict and the apparent dropping of the Narducci case.  The widespread belief of Perugians that the Public Minister (prosecutor) is the righteous one shines through the words of Enrico Vaime.

Also notice how racism appears to be another key perception about the verdict. Quality media press in Italy has a typical style of understatement.  This comment hints that it seems obvious that the Appeal was a racist verdict - and it was “expected” that they would find a way to blame the black one and the outcast. 

Some of Perugian “provincialism” seems to include a very narrow localism of Perugian identity: a person from Orvieto is reported to be called “a foreigner” ; but this is because the cultural viewpoint is based on the assumption of a personal knowledge of all people.  In among this, there is Vaime’s knowledge about how rooted Masonic tradition and power is in the city, in a scenario of “brotherhoods” and “tribes” (the article includes a photo of the most known “Masonic” monument in Perugia: the gryphon or griffen – the emblem of Perugia – grabbing a toppled Pope’s Tiara in a sign of rebellion). 

The report by Vaime is objectively correct : the concentration of members of Masonic lodges in Perugia is the highest in the world, about 5 times the national average of Italy (which is anyway very high). 

In Vaime’s wording decent people in Perugia are ‘Christians’ or ‘Communists’ – these are the names he uses to address the main categories he sees as “good” people, two transparent moral systems.  He devolves skepticism toward the less transparent allegiances, the murky and informal connections to powers. 

I believe these perceptions from one year ago, in this colorful article about Perugia, should be most interesting to the readers of this site.

The first part of the article on Perugia is not that interesting - it speaks mostly about a local character named Ivano Massetti, nicknamed “Savonarola of Umbrian football”,  the director (“boss”) of a local TV network and leading showman of his own soccer talk show. I skipped this first part with depictions of local folks, and get to the point at p.66 where the Kercher case is first mentioned. 

This is my translation of the article from this point:

[…](p.66 line 17):

As Enrico Vaime – a 100% Perugian, a writer, and among many other things fiercly provincial – already knows: “Only in Perugia do you hear people saying “actually Tizio [random guy] was not a native from Colombella, but from Piccione”, which is three times further”. And when his grandfathers (farther of his father) bearing the same name Enrico Vaime, moved his formal place of residence [to Perugia] from Spello, on the official documents they wrote “emigrated to Perugia and married to a foreigner from Orvieto”.

The roots are extremely deep. “Still today” Vaime says “when I say to my family “we go back home”, I mean here, in Perugia, where I have not owned a house for decades. And I still call the roads and shops with the names they had when I was a child, even if now the owners are foreigners, from Shangai or, as I say, from Terni”.

Vaime is cross with the bad reporters who described Perugia, in the Meredith murder case, as a capital of corruption and vice: “An invasion of charlatan journalists who, as they believed they were visiting a remote and lost province, they painted it as a sort of Chicago on the Trasimeno Lake”.

[The fact] that no Perugian was involved in that sad story, to them that was an irrelevant detail. And the trial ended just the way many Perugians expected: a black guy first wrongly put in jail, another black one convicted, the two white, good-looking, wealthy and well defended young people, free.

So it was that the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini became a target. He’s a Perugian whom the Perugians know as the dominus of the other judicial case – this also is, yes, entirely local – about which everybody talks and knows, but always in a low voice: the death of doctor Francesco Narducci,  the one suspected of having ties to the crimes of the Monster of Florence. From the judicial point of view that was - by half – just another hole-in-the-water [a failure] for which some critics have hastily put the blame on some alleged lunacy of the public minister.

But…  however… meanwhile, this [Naducci] corpse-swap was indeed found to have been for sure, a kind of unique case in the criminal history of the country. And, for what concerns the recent acquittals of those characters involved in this death, well, after almost a year and a half we are still waiting for the verdict motivations. All of the suspects were esteemed high-class professionals. That’s a perfect mix of strange deaths, sex, lead-astray investigations, and Masonry; this is in the city with the highest number of Masonic lodges in Italy.

Vaime sighs: “Masonry is something alien from me, but I have many friends who are in it. In Perugia it works as a compensation chamber for various powers, but also as an effort for the surge of the spirit to many decent people. Masters, masons and “33”, but all of them decent Perugians”.  Masonry is considered a local specialty, just like the bruschetta or the Etruscan arch.

“One day you find out that that mediocre employee of your acquaintance, or the one who performed an incredible career in the public administration or in politics, is a ‘son of Horus’. Then you either laugh, or you slap yourself on the forehead just like saying to yourself “Wow! [how could I ] think about it!”. “That travet* [*a generic mediocre opportunist employee], too” 

Vaime says “to me it is a strange Perugian, with little interest for the Egyptian god compared to his covet for entering inner circles of a certain world. Their internal motivation is “I want to see how the lords sit at the table”. But in there [Masonry], you see, there are also good Christians and good Communists; as has always happened in this province, which has the art of living together in its genes”.

[…. ]

This month – Jan 2013 – the Italian press returned to the topic of the case again in a few brief articles. This time it was because of Sollecito’s book.

After Maurizio Molinari’s report from New York on the book in September, and the busting by Bruno Vespa on Porta a Porta of Francesco Sollecito, who ended up openly contradicting his own son’s statements, another hint appeared in the local press about what is cooking up backstage. 

This article in Perugia Today has a neutral take, but the same understatement and kind of vagueness as it anticipates that something very likely will happen.

What I find most delightful is the quotation marks in the title around the word “author” – journalist Nicola Bossi doesn’t believe for a moment that Sollecito actually wrote the book: 

Meredith Case: “author” Sollecito at risk of criminal lawsuit

The recounts about an alleged negotiation in order to pin the main charges on Amanda Knox, and unproven violence by the Perugia Police are under target. Mignini is considering criminal lawsuit.

Written by Nicola Bossi – Jan 4. 2013  

The Meredith case is not closed, and this despite books and movies almost tend to drop it after the acquittal in second instance of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - who were convicted in first degree for the murder of the English girl that took place in Via della Pergola.

On upcoming March the 25th the Court of Cassation of Rome will have to decide on the request for a re-opening the trial, submitted by the Procura with the authorization of Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

In the environment of the magistrates there is confidence about a [guilty] verdict that many – in Italy and in the USA - have heavily attempted to discredit. But from the same environments around them, they talk about a greatly serene Mignini making assessments about the next strategic moves, following the attacks directed against him – and against those in Law Enforcement who cooperated with him – contained in the book by Raffaele Sollecito.

An upcoming criminal defamation lawsuit is becoming more and more likely every day, especially about some particular paragraphs. The material published by Sollecito has already resulted in discussions and clamor above all about claimed negotiations [with the prosecution]  aiming to shift the blame onto Amanda alone, to be rewarded with his immediate release.

But there are also accusations against the Police about violence during his interrogations. “If you dare get up and walk, I beat you up in a bloody pulp and I kill you. I leave you in a pool of blood”. This is what you read in the book ‘Honour Bound’ issued in the US, as what Sollecito attributes to the Perugian officers.

“They wanted me to lie so they could frame Amanda”: this is the premise of the claimed negotiations claimed to indirectly involve Mignini too, which he always denied. Allegedly this would have been enough to get [Sollecito] out from prison soon, leaving the American woman in trouble.

So, these are grave accusations which Mignini apparently does not intend to let go unpunished. The criminal lawsuit is likely to be filed earlier than the date of Cassazione [25 March].


Another small piece of news is this article below published in Leonardo and written by Valentina Cervelli: 

It seems basically a “commented” version of the Perugia Today article. Cervelli adds a few polite lines on her own thoughts in this piece, published on the Bbooks page of Leonardo,it; this is my translation:

Is Raffaele Sollecito going be sued soon for “Honor Bound”?

By Valentina Cervelli -  6. Jan 2013

Are there troubles in sight for Raffaele Sollecito? His “Honour Bound” book is going well in the United States in terms of sales, but here in Italy it might be soon result for him in a lawsuit for defamation by the Law Enforcement forces and by the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

As we know already, in Honor Bound – My journey to hell with Amanda Knox and return Raffaele Sollecito has reconstructed the whole judiciary story from his point of view, telling in his autobiography what [he says] is his own truth.

On March 25 Cassation in Rome will decide on the [prosecution] request for the re-opening of the trial submitted by the Procura authorized by Giuliano Mignini, after the acquittal in the second instance of the two main accused, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

The young woman has returned back to her country and we bet it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get her back in our country even in case of retrial after Cassation and a possible conviction. But lets leave aside this possible dispute and lets focus on the book. In Raffaele’s book Mignini is iimplicated because he reportedly comes out discredited. In the material published by Sollecito in his book he even talks about alleged negotiations in order to blame Knox alone, obtaining in reward a quick release.

And what about the allegations of Police violence during interrogations? Of course we don’t get into the merits, but it seems obvious that parties that may be considered offended would tend to launch a counter-attack to defend their dignity and their work. At the moment no lawsuit has been submitted. But with much probability that will be done before the decision of Cassazione.

By now we can only wait for the publishing of the book in our country, in order to assess with our minds what Raffaele Sollcito has written and the “hot” material published in his made-in-the-US autobiography.

By the way; one thing Valentina Cervelli might get wrong is the purported good sales of Sollecito-Gumbel’s book.

The Amazon.com site is reliable as quick indicator of a product’s success;  the price of a new copy of “Honor Bond” on Amazon.com is now $ 3.51 (last week it was 3.76; the cover price is $ 24). It suggests sales are not quite as expected.  The drop speed is significant if you consider that the book has been out for only four months.

[Above: the Florence Palace of Justice]

While many honest magistrates seem to be working in Florence, there is still some strange behavior by one or two people in the Florence prosecution office.

Iin particular by the chief prosecutor there were some unexplainable decisions.  As people reading this site know, Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were convicted (of some of the charges) in the first degree trial in Florence. 

The motivations document was disconcerting because: besides the proof of their innocence on the main charge, what was described as the evidence on the remaining charge constituted extremely weak and vague arguments for what was claimed about Giuttari, while they were totally non-existent about Mignini. 

In the second instance appeal as we know the court completely crushed the trial case.

The case against them collapsed not because of a technicality, as the FOAs falsely claimed. In the figment of their imagination the Knox supporters erroneously thought that the Florence court had an “option” to overturn the case, to find Mignini and Giuttari innocent, but that they instead decided to pass the judgment on to some other tribunal.

The pro-Knox believers are probably also ready to believe blindfolded that there was some kind of evidence against Mignini.

The Knox believers are wrong. What in fact happened in Florence is something almost unique in a judge’s career. The first remarkable event was the decision by the Florence court of nullifying the first degree verdict. They did not simply overturn the verdict (neither change, or “reform” it as we say) since an overturning would imply acceptance that a previous verdict actually existed and was legitimate.

The cancellation was in fact an in limine act about the validity , which does not require an assessment about it correctness. The court went way beyond. In fact they nullified the whole trial, not only the previous one in terms of judgment, but also the preliminary hearing, and the indictment; and even the request of indictment. 

It is a legal outcome not comparable to a simple change or overturning because it is a ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate from the very roots. The investigation itself of Mignini and Giuttari was declared illegitimate. 

If elements were found for the opening of an investigation, the prosecutor would be entitled to carry on their duties, though the investigators should be from another territory.  This is important because the Florence court found evidence that people from the same office were involved in cases against Giuttari and Mignini, both as offended parties and as prosecutors. 

Because of a basic conflict of interest, the local prosecutors were incompatible and the Procura of Florence had no jurisdiction. Not even Genoa would be compatible.

Florentine prosecutors therefore had no right to bring cases against Mignini and Giuttari. The investigation files now must now be sent to the competent jurisdiction – where they should have been sent from the beginning – which is Turin; there other legitimate prosecutors will decide if and how there is anything to investigate about, and if there are any charges to bring against anyone.  The Florentine trials should have never taken place. The court ordered that the legitimate investigators are the Procura of Turin. 

In addition, they also ruled that the court of Florence would be an incompetent jurisdiction in any further possible case that stems from that investigation: since the competent prosecution is Turin, in case elements for the indictment of anyone for any charge are found, in the future, everything should go to a court in Turin – this, only if there will be any charge to bring to court . 

This decision in Florence was a total debacle for the Florence prosecutors.  It is in fact “politically” much worse than an overturning of a verdict. It is not just a like a different conclusion on the merit, it is the decision to take away even the investigation from them, a kind of implicit censure of their work as highly illegitimate.

But at this point in the procedings, something even worse and even more strange happened.  The Procura of Florence did something even more unusual, in fact unprecedented as far as I know. 

Apparently the Florence prosecutors are not happy at all to pass the investigation file on to Turin. For some reason they seem instead to want to do unnecessary and irrelevant hard work instead.  The Florentine prosecutors impugned the decision and revisited this at the Supreme Court against the Florentine judges.

This step is almost unheard of because the decision of the Florence appeal court is of a type that manifestly cannot be impugned at the Supreme Court. The recourse is obviously going to be declared inadmissible. If that submission was done by a private citizen, they would get a heavy fine for that.

Here it is a power in the Florence judiciary branch making this inadmissible move; for unknown reasons. 

I’d like to know the real motive behind the latest Florence move, the only effect of which can be a waste of time (and money), a delay, of at least one or maybe two more years, which only makes the failure of the whole proceeding against Mignini and Giuttari more likely due to lapse on an expiration terms.

I say “I’d like to know” but in fact one motivation stands out as obvious:  the whole proceeding against Giuttari and Mignini, from the first bringing of the charges at the lower courts, appeared as having a wasting of time among its purposes. 

One practical effect - maybe a practical purpose - of pushing the charges against Mignini, was taking the file about the Monster of Florence case links with the Narducci case away from Perugia. By this move, the Florentine prosecutors managed to factually put their hands on the Narducci-MoF file and remove it from the investigating powers in Perugia.

Another effect of this was delay. Now this latest move looks as if its purpose were to delay, as much as possible, the transfer of the legal documents to Turin.   

What is the ultimate event that, by all this, they seem to be seeking to delay?  I can’t know for sure, I can only guess; in fact, I have only one answer, which also stands out as something obvious for those who know a bit of the backstage: 

Giuliano Mignini is not an ordinary magistrate, he belongs to the Anti-Mafia Territorial Division of Umbria, and recently was selected for a further promotion by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.

In fact what is delayed is the advancing of Mignini’s career:  in fact he has been already promoted to a directive function; but, by the rules, his taking the post was frozen while awaiting the outcome and conclusion of the Florentine prosecution. 

Prosecutor Mignini is de facto already functioning as a prominent Magistrate in Perugia and considered as such; but formally he has not been given the directive power.  Several people – among them Spezi and a number of his journalist friends, but possibly also other much more important people too – are likely not at all eager to see Mignini awarded further power.

About the latest endeavor by Raffaele Sollecito, who became liable for criminal defamation by writing false allegations about Mignini and others in his book, I expect - as logically unavoidable – that several powers and subjects will basically have no option but taking legal against him.

There will be a strategic necessity to doing this in order to prevent extradition issues in the future, but also, above all, on principle, because Sollecito made false claims about public institutions that needt to have their names cleared.  Considering the kind of allegations against the judiciary as an institution, and considering that Mignini is a judge of the Anti-Mafia Division, this is the kind of lawsuit that I see as likely to be submitted on a national level, in Rome. 

If that is the case, it would not be the only strange thing that the courts of Rome will deal with.

It seems like there is a kind of “curse”  on proceedings related to the Narducci case. All sections of the Supreme Court which have been asked seem to have attempted to declare themselves ‘incompetent’ about re-opening the cases related to the Perugian doctor. The Cassazione is a huge office with a hundred judges working there, but maybe not so many of them are eager to deal with this case.

This could be only a coincidence. It only brings up to my mind, through a free association of thoughts, a more generic question – a personal question of mine – that is whether the words “Masonry” and “Politics” have an echo in Roman corridors too.


Finally I want to add another significant piece of Italian news. 

The news a week ago was that the Procura of Florence is investigating a possible corruption/mafia plot involving construction enterprises and politicians that revolves around the building of a new high speed railway in Florence.

Some 31 people are being investigated and among them is the former governor of Umbria. A huge drilling machine – nicknamed the “Mona Lisa” – used to dig subway tunnels in Florence was sequestrated by the Procura. 

In the last couple of years Perugia’s prosecution office had a main role in fighting political corruption, but it seems that the Florence Anti-Mafia division is also active, just as it was in the times when the prosecutor Vigna worked with them.

Vigna was the one who first evolved the “secret sect” scenario in the Monster of Florence case, raising unexpected problems among the Procura staff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA In Meredith’s Room Could Be Definitive Proof Of Guilt For New Appeal Jury

Posted by James Raper

Have you followed our series on the hapless independent DNA consultants Conti and Vecchiotti?  And our series on the hapless appeal judges Hellmann and Zanetti?

And our series on their formidable nemesis, Umbria’s Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati? Who may very well convince the Supreme Court to throw out all of their work?

This post explains why their work probably deserves to be thrown out as it applies to Sollecito’s DNA in Meredith’s room, which still lacks an alternative non-damning explanation for it being there, and which could see him back serving his term in Capanne or Terni Prison before too long. 

I want to start this analysis with the following verbatim quote taken from John Follain’s Death In Perugia.

“Comodi asked Vecchiotti about the alleged contamination of the bra clasp: “Is it possible for [Raffaele’s] DNA to end up only on the bra clasp?”

“Possible”, Vecchiotti said.

Comodi insisted: “Probable?”

“Probable”, Vecchiotti retorted.

Anyone who has read the Conti-Vecchiotti Report will be amazed by Vecchiotti’s above reply under cross-examination by Prosecutor Comodi. This for the simple reason that the said report did not at all evaluate the “probability” of any contamination of the bra clasp. It merely did not rule out contamination.

The Conti-Vecchiotti report with regard to the bra clasp: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the exhibit.”

On any level of understanding, if one can not rule something out then that makes it possible. But it certainly does not make it probable.

Worse was to come, with the conclusion of Hellmann-Zanetti, that contamination was probable. This though was not so surprising in as much as Hellmann-Zanetti had already indicated in their reasoning underlying the need for an independent report that they would accept the independent experts’ conclusions.

Which they did, apparently accepting Vecchiotti’s above statement on oath as definitive and which, as we can see, they appear to subsequently improve on, since the circumstances referred to below were not mentioned in the Conti-Vecchiotti Report.  From Hellmann-Zanetti:

In the opinion of this Court contamination did not occur during the successive phases of treatment of the exhibit in the laboratory of the Scientific Police, but even before it’s collection by the Scientific Police.

Note that (1)  the suggestion is that contamination occurred when there was no video recording (thus permitting free speculation), (2) the word “probably” is omitted here seemingly making it a definite occurrence, and (3) “even before” does not exclude contamination when the Scientific Police were there, but the circumstances described below make it, in the opinion of Hellmann-Zanetti, even more probable, it seems. Again from Hellmann-Zanetti:

..it is certain that between the first search by the scientific police, directly after the discovery of the crime, and the second search by the police, on the 18th December, the house at villa della Pergola was the object of several other searches directed towards seeking other possible elements useful for the investigation, during which the house was turned topsy-turvy, as is clearly documented by the photographs projected by the defence of the accused, but actually made by the Scientific Police. And, understandably these searches were made without the precautions that accompany the investigations of the Scientific Police, in the conviction that at that point the exhibits that needed to undergo scientific analysis had already been collected. In this context it is probable that the DNA hypothetically belonging to Raffaele Sollecito may have been transported by others into the room and precisely onto the bra clasp………..the fact that [this] is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants……..

So Hellmann-Zanetti are talking about the ordinary police investigators being primarily responsible.

As the Vecchiotti quote at the beginning of this post is not put in any context, it is impossible for me to know whether she was referring to the Scientific Police as seen in their videos or whether she was alluding to other recorded searches, say, by the ordinary police, but which were not on video.

What we know of the police searches is as follows. From the Massei trial sentencing report:

While forensic activity was still in progress (Note: it having been going on since the 2nd) “the house was accessed on November 4th 2007 involving, accompanied by staff from the Perugia Police Headquarters, the three occupants and housemates of the victim.

The days of November 6 and 7 were taken up by the search activity of personnel from the police headquarters of Perugia….on November 6” (Note: the day after conclusion of the Scientific Police activity) “no-one entered Meredith’s room other than the three performing the search. On November 7 there was another entry into the house “for the problem of the washing machine, to collect the clothes; but I (Napoleoni) know that they did not go into the other rooms…..

They wore gloves and shoe covers….

Massei also records that Profazio stated that whilst he was aware from Stefanoni that the bra clasp had not been collected, nevertheless he had not seen it on the 6th and 7th.

As we know, the Scientific Police returned to the house on the 18th December specifically for the purpose of collecting the bra clasp (the first thing they did) and using luminol, and in addition to this being on video the defence lawyers were watching the live recording outside. It was observed by the defence lawyers at that stage that the mattress was in the living room and that articles had been moved around (topsy-turvy) in her bedroom.

From the above it might be reasonable to conclude that it was not only the Scientific Police who took the photographs but that it was predominantly they who had already moved items around and taking - it not having been demonstrated to the contrary (because not on video) - such precautions appropriate to their field of expertise (or at least such as may be determined from the videos).

However the point is, of course, what entitles Vecchiotti and Hellmann-Zanetti to talk about probable contamination at all?

Incidentally, pause here to notice that Hellmann-Zanetti give no credence to environmental contamination, in the sense of DNA floating around on specks of dust, by virtue of not mentioning this at all.

It would seem that the notion that a speck of dust, with Sollecito’s DNA attached, floated into the room and landed bang on a tiny hook, somehow adhering to it, is improbable to even them. It is transfer by manipulation (  tertiary transfer, about which more later) - basically that someone must have stepped on or touched the bra clasp or hook - about which they are talking and as a result of which they deem contamination to have probably occurred.

Without that probability -  that is if it remained only a possibility - then the case for direct transfer (directly from the owner of the DNA to an object), rather than tertiary transfer (where the DNA is collected after direct transfer and transferred to another object), would not be undermined as the more probable scenario. This is because, in this context, no-one can rule out possibility, “ possibility” being firmly rooted in the abstract.

What Hellmann-Zanetti think entitles them to talk about the probability of contamination are, and as it transpires only are, the precautions which they say were not followed in collecting and handling the exhibit and for which they suppose the non-scientific police were most likely responsible.

Compliance with these, they say, “guarantees” the reliability of the result. They refer to the Do’s and Do Not’s of successful crime scene management as listed by Conti-Vecchiotti and taken from guidelines from the Louisiana State Crime Police Laboratory, from the U.S Department of Justice, and more relevantly from Evidence Manuals from the New Jersey State Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

There is a predominance of American references but they do also refer to the Good Practice Manual for Crime Scene Management promoted by ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). From Hellmann-Zanetti -

Regarding above all the identification of a genetic profile in an exhibit, it is important that the entire procedure be followed with complete observance of the rules dictated by the scientific community, which are not, to be sure, juridical rules (it is not a law of the State, as Dr. Stefanoni observed), but which do represent a guarantee of the reliability of the result. And since these rules also contain precautions necessary in order to avoid possible contamination, one can understand that the respect of these precautions cannot simply be assumed, but must be proven by anyone who bases his accusations on this result.

Rules and guidelines are not quite the same thing, still less are there standardised guidelines dictated by the scientific community, but let’s not be pernickety. What compliance with the guidelines does, of course, is reduce the risk (the “possibility” and yes, if there are elements supporting it, “the probability“) of contamination, not guarantee that there is not contamination. As any expert in the field will concede, contamination is always possible.

Conti-Vecchiotti listed, apparently, some 54 examples of breach of the aforesaid guidelines. Significant among these (because we know of them and the most was made of them) are the following listed by Follain in his book Death In Perugia-

1. The team failed to put on new gloves after bagging each sample ( probably, as with 2 below, accounting for the great majority of the examples, and Stefanoni admitted this did not happen every time).

2. Items were handled by more than one person without changing gloves (again, as above, admitted).

3. There was a smudge on one of the fingertips of one of the gloves which touched the clasp, so the glove was dirty.

4. The officer who picked up Meredith’s bra clasp passed it to a colleague before placing it back on the floor and then bagging it.

5. Stefanoni’s gloves were smudged with blood and split over her left index when she picked up a sample ( this need not detain us since it is an irrelevant and highly speculative and prejudicial observation, if not entirely erroneous, based on what can be seen from the video).

6. The officer filming the police video walked in and out of Meredith’s room without changing his shoe covers.

7. No security corridor was created for internal access with anti - contamination criteria between the various environments.

8. The initial position of discovery on the floor of the clasp was not the same after 46 days.

The idea of a security corridor which, given the confines of the cottage, and particularly the access to Meredith’s room, would mean, for instance, placing planks on the floor, is a good one, and obviously not followed in this instance though not actually a specific recommendation (though it can be inferred) in any of the guidelines referred to by Conti-Vecchiotti. It would have reduced the risk of carrying DNA into Meredith’s room on the soles of shoe covers.

The alleged breaches were not, of course, outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report. They were only mentioned in oral evidence accompanying the showing of the crime scene video in court.

Hellmann-Zanetti, in their report, mention two specific cases only, 3 and 8 above. In respect of “the smudge” they acknowledge, interestingly, that there is an unresolved issue of interpretation as to whether this is a shadow or prior staining! But why even posit a prior staining when it is obvious that the operative had to finger the fabric of the clasp (which was “dirty”) in order to pick the clasp up and show it to the camera? What was the dirt and what was the meaning of this in the context of a transfer of Sollecito’s DNA to the hook? They neither discuss not evaluate. They simply accept Conti-Vecchiotti’s observations as being pertinent and damning without question.

In contrast to Hellmann-Zanetti Massei does discuss and evaluate the probability and the logistics of contamination, with regard to the bra clasp. In fact he spends quite a bit of time on the subject. But before turning to that, let’s have a brief look at the subject of DNA transfer and then remember what Stefanoni (as quoted by Massei) says on the subject.

Primary transfer might occur between a subject (such as myself) and an object. I touch or sneeze over it. Secondary transfer could occur if the said object was moved and “placed” against yet another object so that my DNA is transferred from the first to the second object. Tertiary transfer could occur if someone touched my DNA on the first object and then touched the second object. There are three steps there but one can imagine scenarios with four or perhaps more such steps but with the inherent limitation that the quantity of DNA being transferred is going to reduce with each such step.

It is obvious that when the prosecution produce DNA evidence they are going to argue primary transfer by the accused and just as equally obvious that the defence are going to try and argue contamination, i.e that the presence of their client’s DNA is the product of secondary or tertiary transfer.

Stefafanoni said that secondary or tertiary does not happen unless (1) the DNA is in a substance which is still fresh and reasonably watery after primary transfer, not dried, and/or (2) there would have to be more than mere touch but friction, or at least pressure, as well. Whilst there could be isolated exceptions in practice this makes a lot of sense to me as a layman but in addition I also note that she was not contradicted, at the trial, by any of the defence experts, nor has she been contradicted by Conti-Vecchiotti in their report.

Returning to Massei.

Sollecito was at the cottage 3 or 4 times prior to the murder though on each occasion with Knox. It is thus possible that he left his DNA somewhere there. There is no evidence that he was ever in Meredith’s room before the murder. Thus, if he was not involved in the murder, one must hypothesize that his DNA from somewhere else in the cottage was transferred into Meredith’s room and onto the bra clasp by someone other than him.

Apart from the clasp there was only one other place where his DNA was to be found, mixed with Knox’s DNA, which was on a cigarette stub in an ashtray sitting on a table in the kitchen. From Massei, my numbering:

(1) Certainly, it can be observed that every single place in the house was not tested, and one might think that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA might have been located in some other places. One can consider the possibility that his DNA from some other place that was not found was transferred onto the bra clasp, but this would have to have been done by someone manipulating the object.

(2) But simple contact between objects does not transfer DNA. Amanda’s and Raffaele’s DNA were both found on the cigarette stub, not just one of them, transferred by the other. It is also important that the bra was the one that Meredith was actually wearing, and the clasp was found under the pillow which was under Meredith……. At this point it should also be mentioned that the piece of bra was (then)  found under a small rug in Meredith’s room [which protected it] ……….

(3) It is also observed that the small rug did not show itself to be a good transmitter of DNA. Underneath it there was a sock, and analysis proved that on this sock there were only DNA traces of Meredith. Also the circumstance by which DNA was found on the (tiny) hooks - so on a more limited and rather less absorbent surface than the material attached to them - tends to exclude that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA could have landed on the hooks, precisely on the hooks, by contamination or by transfer from some other unspecified object.

(4). …….any transfer of DNA from the surface of the rug under which the small piece of bra was found would imply that between the two objects there was more than simple contact, touching of each other, but an actual pressure exercised on the rug under which the piece of bra lay. This hypothesis was set aside after Dr. Stefanoni reported …….. the deformation of one of the hooks was the same. Vice versa, if some pressure had been exerted on top of it, if in one of the police activities someone had stepped on it—then that deformation would not have remained identical; but the small piece of material and the hooks and eyes had the same form, the exact same type of deformation …….. she additionally stated that, having seen the small piece of bra in the early hours of November 3rd rather quickly, the images of it taken on that occasion allowed her a more prolonged and attentive observation, enabling her to declare that the deformation had remained unmodified and unchanged, as did the side on which it was set on the floor.

(5) Objects were moved, necessarily moved, but every object that was in a room, if it was not actually taken away, remained in the same room, without ever moving to another room, or being taken out of the room and then back in. The only parts of the house through which operators from the various places all passed were thus the living room and corridor. One might thus assume that some DNA of Raffaele Sollecito that had been left somewhere in the living room or corridor was moved, and ended up on the hooks. Such a movement of DNA and its subsequent repositioning on the hooks would have had to occur either because one of the technicians walking on the floor on which the DNA was lying hit it with his foot or stepped on it, causing it to end up on the hooks, or because by stepping on them, he impressed onto them the DNA caught underneath the shoe-cover he had on in that moment.

But these possibilities cannot be considered as concretely plausible: to believe that, moving around the house, the DNA could have been kicked or stepped on by one of the technicians, who in that case would have been moving about, and to believe that this DNA, instead of just sticking to the place it had been kicked or stepped on by (probably the shoe, or rather, the shoe-cover), having already been moved once from its original position, would then move again and end up on the hooks, seems like a totally improbable and risky hypothesis.

(6) …..and more importantly, none of the operators, after having touched some object which might have had Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA on it, then touched the hooks of the small piece of bra so as to make even hypothetically possible a transfer of DNA (from the object containing Sollecito’s DNA to the gloves, from the gloves to the hooks). In fact, none of the operators during the search of November 6th and 7th even took note of that little piece of bra, and thus in particular no one picked it up.” [Note that this observation is a direct contradiction of the unproven suspicion that this had in fact occurred - Massei had, of course, also watched the crime scene videos, seen the relevant clip and heard the argument.]

(7) Movement of objects, in particular of clothing, may have induced the movement of other objects, and this is what the Court considers to have occurred with respect to the piece of bra which was seen on the floor of Meredith’s room on November 2nd-3rd and left there. Deputy Commissioner Napoleoni, referring to the search of November 6th, has declared that she recalled the presence of a bluish rug; one can thus conclude that this rug was looked at during the search and entered into contact with the operators making the search, and like other objects, was moved from its original position, but always remaining on the floor of the room; during this movement it must have covered up the piece of bra (which was on the floor of the same room and yet was not noted during the search), thus determining by its own motion the accompanying motion of the small piece of bra, making it end up where it was then found during the inspection of December 18th: under the rug, together with a sock, in the same room, Meredith’s room, where it had already been seen. So it underwent a change of position that is, thus, irrelevant to the assertion of contamination.

Now, whatever one makes of Massei’s observations, he has at least considered, on a plausible level, the dynamics of secondary and tertiary transfer, generally and in this case - unlike either Hellmann-Zanetti or Conti-Vecchiotti. Furthermore, and in consequence, he concluded that contamination was simply not probable.

We should also recall the following words with regard to second and tertiary transfer, in the quote from Hellmann-Zanetti above…………”the fact that this is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants….”

What studies? Unfortunately Hellmann-Zanetti do not elaborate on these studies, and the proof therein allegedly contained, nor can we see them cited in the Conti-Vecchiotti report!

This leads me to the suspicion that Hellmann-Zanetti are trying to pull the wool over our eyes here. Yes, certainly secondary and tertiary transfer is not an unusual occurrence but the circumstances as to when this is likely, or not, is not discussed, let alone evaluated. It seems to me that this is not unimportant and the omission is surprising.

What Conto-Vecchiotti actually say about the subject in their report is mind-boggingly amateurish, trite and misleading. So much so that one doubts that they are really experts.

The relevant section about contamination (such as it is) in Conti-Vecchiotti is under the heading “Notes On Inspection And Collection Techniques”. Reading this I note, in the second paragraph, being in, it would seem, Conti-Vecchiotti’s own words:

The starting point is always Locard’s Principle according to which two objects which come into contact with each other exchange material in different forms. Equally the same principle scientifically supports the possibility of contamination and alteration [of the scene] on the part of anyone else, investigators included, who comes into contact with the scene.

Far from being just a starting point Locard’s Principle seems to be all that Conti and Vecchiotti know about the transfer of DNA.

For what it is worth Edmond Locard established an early crime lab in 1910 ( being a fan of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories) and wrote many articles as a result. However he never actually wrote any words approximating to “with contact there is an exchange of material” (which is not exactly a law of physics in the same manner as the laws of motion are) nor did he mention anything concerning a principle.

What he did write was “It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially given the intensity of the crime, without leaving traces of his presence.”  Sherlock Holmes would have said the same.

Incidentally it is science that supports a principle, and not the other way around. I would have expected Conti-Vecchiotti to know that.

I have surfed the internet for articles on the subject of tertiary transfer and there does seem to be “a lack of published data on the topic”, to quote one site I found.

Furthermore if they existed one might expect to find that they are referred to by the scientists in the FOA camp, but again I do not see these or that those that are referred to, eg by Halkides, add anything to what has already been discussed above.

Which leaves the “probability” element of contamination undemonstrated. Whatever the opportunities for contamination that there may have been arising from breach of guidelines (contentious in some if not all cases) these remain hypothetical whilst the probability of contamination remains undemonstrated.

But for Hellmann-Zanetti, conveniently, there is no need to demonstrate anything, because of the following:

Now, Prof. Novelli and also the Prosecutor stated that it is not sufficient to assert that the result comes from contamination; it is incumbent on one who asserts contamination to prove its origin.

However, this argument cannot be accepted, insomuch as it ends up by treating the possibility of contamination as an exception to the civil code on the juridical level. Thus, one cannot state: I proved that the genetic profile is yours, now you prove that the DNA was not left on the exhibit by direct contact, but by contamination. No, one can’t operate this way.

In the context of a trial, as is well known, it falls to the PM who represents the prosecution before the court (the terminology is used in Art. 125 of the implementing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure), to prove the viability of all the elements on which it is based, and thus, when one of these elements is completed by a scientific element represented by the result of an analytic procedure, the task is also to prove that the result was obtained using a procedure which guarantees the purity [genuinità] of the exhibit from the moment of collection right through the analysis.

…….. when there is no proof that these precautions guaranteeing that the result is not the fruit of contamination were respected, it is absolutely not necessary to also prove the specific origin of the contamination.

The use of the word “absolutely” is interesting, as if this was the last word on the matter, and any evaluation is to be declined.

Now I sense the presence of a premise which is already a conclusion. This being that because there are (as Hellmann-Zanetti hold) breaches of guidelines, then the DNA result is unreliable for that reason.

As it happens, this is exactly what Conti-Vecchiotti say. But as it stands this is an unargued proposition. For this to be a valid deduction “for that reason” should be explained by the inclusion of another premise which we can at least accept as true - “A breach entails that the possibility of contamination cannot be excluded”. Then we can formulate a simple deduction, though it would be unsound until we can answer the question “Does the possibility of contamination render the result unreliable?”

A scientist may explain what “unreliable” means to him. But I want to answer the question in juridical terms, and this can be done quite simply.

Any element of evidence in juridical proceedings is weighed only by the probability that it represents the truth. The possibility that it does, or it does not, is simply to be discarded as having no weight either way. Accordingly, for the purpose of the argument, and for any proceedings in court, it cannot be accepted that the possibility of contamination renders the result unreliable. Whether it is unreliable or not has to be looked at in a different way, according to the balance of probabilities.

Getting back to the quote, I would say that both Hellmann-Zanetti and Novelli are right, and they are also both wrong.

Hellmann-Zanetti are of course right in that the burden of proof remains with the prosecution with regard to all elements.

And the way Prof. Novelli puts it is somewhat incorrect, but only because he is a scientist and not a lawyer.

That the burden of proof remains with the prosecution does not alleviate the defence of any burden with regard to an issue such as contamination.

There is also an issue to be discussed as to whether the burden on the prosecution is to demonstrate non-contamination beyond a reasonable doubt or merely that contamination is not probable.

Let’s start with whether there is any burden on the defence.

There is a general principle to which even criminal proceedings are subject. “Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat.”  My Latin is not great but roughly translated “the onus of proof is on he who says it, not he who denies it.”

Dr Galati, in his Supreme Court Appeal Submissions, puts it this way (more forcibly than I would) -

In other words, if a piece of circumstantial evidence must be certain in itself, and if therefore even scientific proof must be immune to any alternative-explanation hypothesis, this does not alter the fact that this hypothesis ought to be based on reasonable elements and not merely abstract hypothetical ones. And if the refutation of a scientific piece of evidence passes via the affirmation of a circumstance of fact (being the contamination of an exhibit), that circumstance must be specifically proved, not being deducible from generic (and otherwise unshareable) considerations about the operative methodology followed by the Scientific Police, absent demonstration that the methods used would have produced, in the concrete, the assumed contamination.

I do not myself think it is realistic for the defence to have to prove a specific contamination path from point A to point B. That would be unrealistic. But certainly if the issue of contamination is to be raised the defence must go beyond an abstract hypothetical explanation that in the event, as is the case here, is devoid of known origins for the contamination. (Save for the trace on the cigarette stub, so that if that was the source there would be Knox’s DNA mixed in with Sollecito’s on the clasp). Otherwise how is the prosecution to respond? With what level of proof?

Should it be beyond reasonable doubt? How Hellmann-Zanetti would wish! “Beyond reasonable doubt” is the standard to be applied to the prosecution’s case in its entirety, to any attribution of culpability for the crime to the accused. It is not parcelled out to each and every element.

The correct standard to apply to an element such as contamination (as it is for any piece of circumstantial evidence) is “the balance of probability having regard to other elements”. The alleged breaches of crime management guidelines are in themselves only circumstantial, requiring, for any weight to be attached to them, corroborative or supporting elements as to which, as I see it, there are none. So the correct question is: Is contamination probable or not? (This is not to exclude that there may sometimes, somewhat rarely, be circumstances where it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt)

So we are back to probability again. It is a battle (if at all)  of probabilities and we must not confuse what is possible with what is probable, however much our eyes are opened to what is possible.

That it is such, is tacitly acknowledged by Hellmann-Zanetti when they argue that Sollecito’s DNA being on the bra hook but not on the fabric of the clasp is improbable. My response to that would be to say that it is far more probable than that there was contamination of the hook.

The absence of any argument as to probability may have been a thought that popped into Vecchiotti’s head when she retorted “probable” (feeling a bit sick about the answer afterwards I hope). However that she could make that assertion does not fill one with much confidence when considering that she also maintains that there were errors in Stefanoni’s interpretation of the electropherogram result, even whilst accepting that Sollecito‘s profile was there, not least because his Y chromosome was as well.

Don’t expect Conti and Vecchiotti to be re-invited if there is any replay of the appeal trial.

Posted on 09/11/12 at 09:43 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceSollecito's alibisDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann outcome
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Does ANY Competent Lawyer Actually Believe RS And AK Are 100% Innocent? If So, Then PROVE It

Posted by James Raper

[Above: Knox defense legal advisor Ted Simon increasingly seems to have some explaining to do]

After 3 days and growing, unfortunately no sign that pro-innocence lawyers (if any) want to respond.  Mr Simon? Mr Barnett? Ms Nancy Grace? (Well perhaps not you)

The Italian, US and UK lawyers who guide TJMK (of which I am one) look around and wonder: why are genuinely-convinced pro-Knox lawyers (if any) still not comprehensively answering all the open questions?

I contrast this with the various media talking heads who have offered drive-by comments without a really deep understanding of the facts of the case or Italian law.

In the law of all three countries, defense lawyers don’t need to KNOW either way whether their client is guilty or innocent. They don’t have to come out with a complete scenario to account for all the facts and point to innocence that would be the counterpart to my scenario (powerpoints - wait a few seconds to load) seemingly accounting for all the facts, which is still an unchallenged case for guilt.

But a comprehensive rebuttal would do the hard-pressed Sollecito and Knox factions a big favor, and provide a much-needed framework for the media (which is posting many incorrect legal claims), and make the Cassation appeal and the book-writing by Knox and Sollecito so much easier.

Consider the ups-and-downs of the defense legal teams on the case,

It was clear in 2008 that her lawyers absolutely didnt like Knox speaking out, offering different versions that between them made her look distinctly guilty. They didnt like the anti-Mignini campaign run from Seattle and they publicly said so - when Mr Mignini was attacked by a main speaker at an event at Salty’s they actually spoke up and publicly defended him.

In December 2008 NBC TV aired an excellent Dateline report. The main legal talking head, Ted Simon, explained that this was a really tough prosecution case to beat, and that whacking down individual points of evidence would not win the case in the public eye (justice would not be seen to be done) and that only a complete alternative explanation of the crime would do.

At trial in 2009 the defense teams did what they could with a torrent of facts and two unpredictable clients. The cross-examination of Amanda Knox on the stand mid-year in the context of Patrick Lumumba’s alleged framing must have seemed a real low-point for them, as she came across as rather flippant and chilling, and she said a number of things that all defense lawyers would probably prefer that she hadn’t.

Through the publication of Judge Massei’s report the defenses seem to have been faced with an uphill battle.

In 2011 an experienced criminal-case judge was initially appointed to preside over the first appeal. But quite suddenly, to the surprise of many in Italy and the alleged unhappiness of the judge himself, he was removed from the case, and Judge Hellman was appointed in his place. 

Defence counsel would of course have had no role in that surprise change of lead judges for the first appeal, but from Day One of the appeal (spaced out to one session a week by Judge Hellman to suit one of them) the defenses seemed much happier.

The prosecution were now on occasion publicly hinting that they were now stuck with the uphill battle. The defenses now seemed the side energized and confident. But please note these three things which suggest that they knew they were not all-powerful.

    1)  They appealed on very narrow grounds, essentially on some witness testimony and a small part of the forensic evidence, and they kept well away from the multiple alibis, mobile phones and computers, and forensic evidence in the hallway, bathroom, and Filomena’s room.

    2) They never argued that Rudy Guede was the lone-wolf killer in the case (the surprise preference in his report of Judge Hellman) and even put their own witnesses Alessi and Aviello on the stand to in effect try to prove otherwise.

    3) Knox legal advisor Ted Simon was reduced to arguing on TV that there was no evidence of Knox and Sollecito IN the bedroom, while never accounting for the mishmash of alibis or all the mixed-blood and footprint evidence just outside the door.

As Dr Galati’s appeal and public opinion in the three countries are showing, the defences may have mostly won the second battle, with Judge Hellman’s interim verdict and sentence (Knox was still sentenced to three years), but they seem to be falling far short of winning the war for the two clients.

Now the defences again face an uphill battle.

So here we go. An opportunity for any good pro-innocence lawyer to help to win the war for Knox and Sollecito. Forget the forensics for now. I offer these several dozen questions for you and/or Amanda Knox which, truthfully answered, might put many concerns to bed.

I will be happy to post here any real attempt at answering all of these questions by any qualified lawyer who is thoroughly on top of the case - or of course any attempt by Amanda Knox herself.   

    1. Why did you not mention the 16 second 12.07 phonecall to Meredith’s English phone on the 2nd November in your e-mail?  When explaining why you made this call, please also explain why it was to the English phone rather than Meredith’s Italian phone which you knew Meredith used for local calls?

    2. Why did you not mention this call when you phoned Filomena immediately afterwards?

    3. Why did you make so little effort to contact Meredith again after being told by Filomena to do so. Remember the logged 3 and 4 second phone calls?

    4. Why did you tell Filomena that you had already phoned the police when neither you, nor Raffaele, had.

    5. Can you and will you explain the contradiction between your panic at the cottage (as described in the e-mail) and the testimony of all the witnesses who subsequently arrived that you appeared calm, detached and initially unconcerned as to your friend’s whereabouts or safety?

    6. Why did you tell the postal police that Meredith often locked her bedroom door, even when it came to taking a shower, when this was simply not true, as Filomena testified?

    7. Can you and will you explain why you did not try either of Meredith’s phones at the cottage if you were indeed in such a panic about Meredith’s locked door?

    8. Can you and will you explain how you knew that Meredith’s throat had been cut when you were not, according to the witnesses’s testimony, a witness to the scene in Meredith’s bedroom after the door had been kicked in and, with the exception of probably a postal police officer or the ambulance crew, no one had looked underneath the duvet covering the body when you were there?

    9. What made you think that the body was in the cupboard (wardrobe) when it was in fact to the side of the wardrobe? Were you being flippant, stupid, or what, when you said that? Do you think it just a remarkable coincidence that the remark bears close comparison to the crime scene investigators conclusions, based on the blood at the scene, that Meredith had been shoved, on all fours, and head first,  at the door of the wardrobe? She was then turned over on the floor and moved again. How did you know that there was any position prior to her final place of rest?

    10. Will you ever be able to account for the 12.47 pm call to your mother in Seattle ( at 4.45 am Seattle time)? Do you remember this now because it was not mentioned in your e-mail nor were you able to remember it in your court testimony?

    11. Why do you think Raffaele told the police – contrary to your own alibi that you had spent the whole time with Raffaele at his apartment – that you had gone out at 9 pm and did not return until 1 am?

    12. Did you sleep through the music played for half an hour on Raffaele’s computer from 5.32 am?

    13. Were you telling the truth when you told the court that you and Raffaele ate dinner some time between 9.15 and 11 pm? Can you not narrow it down a bit more? The water leak occurred, you said, whilst washing up dishes after dinner. Why then did Raffaele’s father say that Raffaele told him at 8.42 pm about the water leak whilst washing up dishes?

    14. What was the problem about using the mop, rags, sponges etc already at Raffaele’s apartment, to clear up a water spill? Why was the mop from the girl’s cottage so essential and if it was, why not collect it immediately since it was just a short distance away?

    15. Why, when you knew that you were going to Gubbio with Raffaele on the 2nd November, did you not take a change of clothing with you, if needed, when you left the cottage on the afternoon of the 1st?

    16. Why did you need a shower at the cottage when you had already had one at Raffaele’s apartment the previous evening?

    17. If you had needed one again why not have it at his apartment, in a heated apartment, before you set off, or on your return, rather than have a shower on a cold day, in a cold flat?

    18. Why did you not notice the blood in the bathroom, and the bloody footprint on the bathmat, until after your shower? If the blood you then observed was already diluted and faded, how do you explain this?

    19. Do not ignore your blood on the faucet. In your own testimony you said that there was no blood in the bathroom when you and Raffaele left the flat on the afternoon of the 1st.  What is your considered take on this now? Did your ear piercings bleed when having that shower or drying afterwards? If so, why were you not perfectly clear about the matter in your e-mail?  But then again you said that the blood was caked dry, didn’t you?

    20. Why did Raffaele say that, on entering the flat with you, Filomena’s door was open and he saw the damage and mess inside, but you said, in your e-mail, that Filomena’s door was closed when you returned at 10.30 am? Did you subsequently look inside on that occasion, or not? It’s just that if you did, then why did you not mention the break in to Filomena prior to you and Raffaele returning to the cottage?

    21. You are a creative writer so please explain. What is the point of the word “also” in the following extract from your e-mail? “Laura’s door was open which meant that she wasn’t at home, and Filomena’s door was also closed”.

    22. In your trial testimony you mentioned shuffling along the corridor on the bathroom mat after your shower. From the bathroom to your room.  Because there was no towel in the bathroom. You had left it in your bedroom. Then back again. Why is this not mentioned in your e-mail?

    23. In your e-mail you stated that you changed for your shower in your bedroom, and then afterwards dressed in your bedroom. That makes sense. What you don’t explain is why, if you towelled and dressed in your bedroom, there was any need to shuffle back to the bathroom on the bathmat. Why not just carry it back?

    24. But why, in the same testimony, did you then change your mind as to where you had undressed for your shower? Not in your bedroom - saying so was a mistake you said - but you did not say where. Some people might think, uncharitably, that your change of mind was necessary to incorporate the double bathmat shuffle.

    25. Were there any things that you disliked about Meredith? Be honest because we know from her English friends and other sources that there were things that she disliked about you.

    26. Why are pages missing from your diary for October?

    27. Once again, and this time so that it makes some sense, please explain why you permitted the police, on your say so, to believe that poor Patrick Lumumba was involved in Meredith’s murder.  Clearly, had you been at the cottage you would have known that he was not, and had you not been there you could not have known that he was.

There are actually over 200 open questions on this site, and I can think of others, but I consider these between them to be the core several dozen that relate to the quirks,contradictions, omissions and inconsistencies in Amanda Knox’s own account and behaviour. Answer all of these and in the public eye Amanda Knox really could be home free.

Posted on 04/30/12 at 05:33 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealFamily/defense hoaxers
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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.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 1 Of A Summary In 4 Parts

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

The full Massei Report can be found here.

the wiki page controversy surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher rages on in a tiny corner of the online universe, here is our own contribution to the debate.

It is a summary of the Massei report, the document that sets forth and explains the Court’s reasons for unanimously convicting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox’s roommate, after a long, thorough and fair trial. The original idea of the volunteers who took part in the project was simply to produce a useful and accurate guide to this case for the average reader. It seems to us that Wikipedia aspires to the same goal but has gone seriously off track in this particular case.

We think that part – but not all – of the problem stems from the introduction of extraneous material on the part of a small but determined advocacy group that is attempting to take over the wiki entry to serve its broader advocacy mission. Our only comment on that process is that the Massei Court did not need to refer to media sources, reliable or otherwise, in arriving at its conclusions. It referred only to what was presented and debated in the courtroom.

We think that to understand why Knox and Sollecito were convicted – i.e. to see what evidence supports the conviction and convinced the Court – the average reader does not need to look any further than that Court’s own reasoning, based on the evidence and arguments presented during the trial. However, the length of the original document (400+ pages) makes reading it a daunting task, even for those who are fluent in Italian.

We felt that the translation provided by PMF volunteers, while vital for anyone who is not able to read Italian, needed to be summarized to ensure that the salient points were not lost in what appears to be a lot of noise, smoke and mirrors. This has become particularly important now that the wiki page in English has become a theater for conflict (and buffoonery).  We offer this summary as a resource for the general public as well as for journalists. We hope that readers will come away with a basic understanding of why the Court convicted and that this will help them as they process the information flowing from the current appeal and its eventual outcome.

Naturally, the act of summarizing involves selection. We had to decide what to include and what to omit, and our aim throughout was to underscore the points to which the judges attached the most weight. We urge readers to compare this summary with the actual report, and have cited page references in square brackets to facilitate this task. These page numbers refer to the English translation of Massei which in turn contains references to the Italian original.

Summary of the Massei report

Version 1.5: June 4, 2011

This summary may be freely copied or otherwise reproduced and transmitted in the unedited pdf format provided that the document or excerpt therefrom is accompanied by the following attribution: “From the summary prepared by unpaid volunteers from http://www.perugiamurderfile.org to promote a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the death of Meredith Kercher and the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the English-speaking world”.

1. Introduction

Meredith Kercher, a British student, was murdered in the apartment she shared with three other young women, in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007. Three people were charged with the murder: Amanda Marie Knox, an American student who was one of Meredith’s flatmates; Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student who was Knox’s boyfriend; and Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian resident of Perugia who was known to both Knox and Kercher.

Guede opted for a ‘fast track trial’ which, under Italian law, permits defendants to relinquish some rights, at trial, in exchange for a more lenient sentence, if found guilty. In October 2008, Guede was found guilty of murder and sexual assault. Knox and Sollecito opted for a full trial, and this took place, in Perugia, between January and December 2009. The presiding judge was Dr. Giancarlo Massei, assisted by a second professional judge, Dr Beatrice Cristiani,  and six ‘lay judges’. Knox and Sollecito were found guilty of murder, sexual assault and other charges related to the case.

In accordance with Italian law, the judges produced a report detailing their interpretation of the evidence and the thought processes that led to their verdict. This document is sometimes referred to in English as a “motivations report” and, more accurately, as a “sentencing report”: often just by the name of the presiding judge - the “Massei Report”. It runs to 427 pages.

A team of unpaid volunteers who are regular posters on the Perugiamurderfile.org message board, devoted to discussing the murder of Meredith Kercher, undertook the translation of the entire document into English. Another team of volunteers from the same message board has undertaken the present document - a summary of the Massei report.

The act of summarising involves selection: deciding that some things are included in the summary and some are not. The editors and reviewers have tried to do this in such a way as to bring out the points to which the judges themselves attached the most weight. But, this was a process of editorial judgement and, however diligent the editors and reviewers have been, they did not know the minds of the judges, other than by the words of the report. Readers are very strongly recommended to read the report itself, or at least key passages, and not to rely on this summary alone. To assist with this, the editors have cited page references [in square brackets]: these refer to page numbers in the PMF translation which, in turn, includes page references to the Italian language original.

2. Background

Meredith Kercher

Born Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher in London on December 28, 1985, she had studied Italian and Latin in England, and came to the University for Foreigners in Perugia as part of the Erasmus Programme. She chose Perugia because it was small but could be easily reached by air. In England, she had also taken classes in dance, played soccer and practised karate. Her mother and sister described her as strong, both physically and in temperament.[23]

She left England for Perugia on September 1, 2007, at first staying in a hotel. She found the rental house on Via della Pergola; she liked it because it was near the University for Foreigners and offered a beautiful view of the Umbrian landscape. She occupied the room farthest from the entrance; from its window she enjoyed a panoramic view of the valley below.[23]

Via della Pergola was almost hidden from Viale S. Antonio and the car park in front of it. The cottage had two floors, the basement being occupied by four young men, and the upper floor shared by four young women: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Amanda Knox, and Meredith Kercher. [24] The 1,200 euro per month rent was divided evenly between the four. Each would give 300 euro to Romanelli, who would make the payment.[62]

Each had her own room. Romanelli and Mezzetti had the rooms on either side of the entrance and a living room/kitchen was located in between them. Knox occupied the bedroom between those of Meredith and Romanelli. A hallway led to Knox’ and Meredith’s room, and to a small bathroom that they shared. Romanelli and Mezzetti shared a larger bathroom directly across from Mezzetti’s room.[24]

Meredith studied Italian language, politics, English, cinema, and more Italian.[23]

On September 28 she returned to England to get warmer clothes, returning on October 1. She was very attached to her family. She brought a mobile phone with her from England to keep in touch with her family, and in particular to be informed about the condition of her mother’s health, which was not good.[23, 24, 29-30]

She was affectionate, conscientious, and very intelligent. She loved pizza and at times went dancing. Her mother and her sister knew about Amanda, and Meredith’s relationship with Amanda.  They knew that when Amanda started to work in a club, Meredith and her friends had gone there to support her. Meredith had also said that Amanda constantly sang.[23-24]

The last time Meredith talked with her mother was on November 1. She had said that she was coming back to England on November 9 and would be present for her mother’s birthday on November 11. She had bought some presents, and chocolate for her sister.[24]

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox decided to study in Italy, and chose Perugia because she wanted to learn about the Italian people and culture, and not live in a place that was “too touristy.” She worked to save the money to come, and also received some money from her mother and father. She left the United States in mid-August 2007, staying in Germany until late August or the beginning of September, arriving in Perugia with her sister. She looked at the house on Via della Pergola, found it to her liking, and then returned to Germany, ultimately returning to Perugia and the house. [61]

One of her teachers in Perugia described her as “a really good student, diligent, actively participated.” She found a job at the pub Le Chic managed by Patrick Lumumba, initially working every day from 9:30pm, then from 10pm, then only two days a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays.[61]

Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito came from Giovinazzo to Perugia in 2002 and obtained his graduation diploma that same year. He enrolled in the faculty of informatics and chose Perugia because ONAOSI college is located there. He boarded at the college from 2003 to 2005. He was “taciturn, introverted, shy,...and watched many films”. Educators at the college were shocked to find a very hard-core film containing scenes of sex with animals. In response to that they monitored him in an effort to understand him.[61]
In 2003 the Carabinieri found Sollecito in possession of 2.67 grams of hashish.[62]

According to his father, he had, from his teens, a habit of carrying a pen knife in his pocket to record things on the bark of trees and to carve wooden objects.[61]

He had a brief affair, lasting only a few days, with a girl from Brindisi a few months before October 2007.[61]

The meeting of Knox and Sollecito

Knox and Sollecito met on October 25, 2007, at a classical music concert to which Knox had gone with Meredith. Meredith had to go home, so after she left during the intermission, Sollecito sat down near Knox. Knox and Sollecito quickly established “a good understanding,” he treating and cuddling her “like a little girl.” They met frequently and were constantly together. Sollecito’s father called him daily, often several times a day, and every time he called, his son talked about Amanda. Knox told her parents in a November 13, 2007, conversation that they were going out together as if they were a couple and that he was kind and caring, that he cooked for her and always wanted to hug her and help her.[62]

Both were using drugs, which was corroborated by the statements of the flatmates, and by Knox in tapped intercepted conversations.[62]

Romanelli recalled seeing them together at the flat the day after the concert, and saw him there two or three more times. Mezzetti recalled seeing him there at other times, “about four times” in all.[62] Very often Knox slept at Sollecito’s house.[63]

Mezzetti said Knox and Sollecito were constantly hugging each other, and that Sollecito was particularly tender, but seemed to her to be a bit possessive. She thought he was “very attached to Amanda.”[62]

Rudy Hermann Guede

Rudy Guede was a regular at the basketball court in front of the University for Foreigners in Piazza Grimana. He was acquainted with the young men who lived in the lower floor of the house, and knew Meredith and Knox from the upper floor. Although he had chatted with both of them, he was particularly interested in Knox and inquired as to whether she was seeing anyone. He was well-received at the house, having gone there one Sunday to watch a Formula One race, and on another occasion having returned from the clubs at 2 in the morning, then spent the night asleep on the toilet.[42]

Sometime between the evening of October 13 and October 14, someone had broken into the law offices of Paolo Brocchi and Matteo Palazzoli, in Perugia. A window was smashed with a large stone, and a computer, a cell phone, USB keys, and a printer were missing. On October 29 a colleague in his office called Brocchi to tell him that a man had come into their office to say that he had legitimately purchased some goods in Milan which Brocchi had reported as stolen in Perugia. Brocchi later identified Guede as that person.[46]

On the morning of October 27, 2007, the principal of a nursery school in Milan found a stranger coming out of her office. Police were called and the person was identified as Rudy Guede. There were no signs of a break-in; money was missing, but just small change. The police made him open his backpack. Inside the backpack was a computer, a 40 cm kitchen knife (which had come from the nursery school kitchen), a bunch of keys, a small gold woman’s watch, and a small hammer like those found in buses to be used to break windows. Police told the principal that the computer had been stolen from a law office in Perugia.[45]

Guede explained his presence by saying that he had asked someone at the central Milan train station where he could stay, and after paying 50 euro, he was directed to the Milan nursery school.[45]

A householder, Tramontano, testified that someone attempted to rob his home, [Date unspecified] and upon being discovered tried to leave. Finding the door locked, the intruder pulled out a jackknife and threatened him. Tramontano saw Guede’s picture in the newspapers and said “I believe I recognize him.”[46]

3. Evening and night of November 1

On November 1, Romanelli and Mezzetti both left the shared apartment with the intention of spending the night away; it is not clearly stated in the Massei Report when Knox first knew of their intention. They played no further part in the proceedings until the following day.[29]
From about 4pm or 4:30pm onwards, Meredith Kercher spent the evening with her English friends Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost and Sophie Purton. They prepared and ate a pizza, looked at Halloween photos from the previous evening, watched part of a film and prepared and ate an apple crumble.[34-35]

They drank only water.[35] Shortly before 9pm, Meredith and Sophie Purton left. They parted company at about 8:55pm near Purton’s apartment (which Purton returned to in time to see a TV program starting at 9pm).[37] Meredith continued the short walk to her own house alone. Meredith did not say that she was meeting anyone: just that she was tired.[38]

After this point, Meredith was not seen alive, except by the murderers, and some of the main evidence is derived from the usage-records of her telephones. Up until 10:13pm, Meredith’s phone was in the vicinity of her own apartment but, by 00:10am, it had been dumped in a garden, a few streets away from her home. Various calls were made in the intervening time: at 8:56pm, an unsuccessful call was made to the family number; at 9:58pm there was an attempted call to the mobile phone’s answering service; at 10pm an unsuccessful call was made to Meredith’s bank (the first number in her address list), and, at 10:13pm, a GPRS data connection was made.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito went to his house on Corso Garibaldi in the late afternoon.[65] Jovana Popovic, an acquaintance of Sollecito’s, testified that on the evening of November 1 she went to his house twice and that on both of these occasions, she met Knox. The first was around 5:45pm and the second was around 8:40pm.[63-64] Then, at 8:42pm Sollecito received a phone call from his father and mentioned that he was with Knox and that the next day they were planning a trip to Gubbio. Sollecito also mentioned that, while he was washing the dishes, he had noticed a leaking pipe that had spilled water onto the floor.[63] The last human activities on Sollecito’s computer were the conclusion of watching a film, at 9:10pm.

Analysis of the hard drive by the Communications Police concluded that there was no further human interaction with the computer until 5:32am the following morning.[304] A defence expert noted a very brief (4 seconds) access to Apple iTunes at 00:58am: the court accepted that this could have been a human interaction with the computer, but that it was after the time when the murder was believed to have taken place.[310]

Knox was scheduled to work that night at the Le Chic, the pub managed by Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba. However, he sent her a text message, at 8.18pm, telling her that there was no need for her to go to work that evening.[64] Knox’s phone was turned off at 8.35pm and Sollecito’s shortly after. According to Knox this was so that they would not be disturbed.

At this point, the various accounts of the events diverge. Knox’s account is that, until the following morning, she stayed with Sollecito. They smoked some marijuana,[66] then had dinner together, but quite late, (she placed it as late as 11pm in one account[66] but spoke of the washing up being done at 9:30-10pm in another[69]). Knox stated that after dinner, she had noticed a bit of blood on Sollecito’s hand and had the impression that it had to do with blood coming from the fish that they had cooked.[67] Sollecito washed the dishes, but a break in the pipes occurred under the sink and water flooded the floor. Since they didn’t have a mop, they decided that they would do the cleaning the next day, with a mop that she could get from her house.[67]

The above account given by Knox differed from that given earlier by her to police, during the night of November 5-6, 2007. That earlier account was briefly alluded to at her trial, but was admissible as evidence only in the civil case brought by Patrick Lumumba, and not in the murder case. Knox accounted for her change of story, on the grounds that it was because of the persistence of the questioning which had made her imagine what could have happened.[68] In this earlier account, she had described returning home to Via della Pergola, in the company of Patrick Lumumba, on the evening of November 1, 2007, after 9pm. She had described many things which she now realized she had imagined, including Meredith having had sex and being killed, while Knox held her own ears closed so as not to hear Meredith’s screams.[67-68]

Also in contradiction to Knox’s account is the fact that her SMS exchange with Lumumba, was in a different phone “cell” from the one covering Sollecito’s house, indicating that she was not, in fact, in the house at this time (just after 8pm),[77] although she had returned by Jovana’s arrival at 8:40.

The court noted the discrepancies in Knox’s various statements about the time they ate dinner: in one statement 9:30 to 10 pm and, in another, 11pm.[78] The court noted that both of these times are contradicted by the declarations of Sollecito’s father that his son had indicated that they had eaten and washed up before 8:42.[78] The court also noted the contradiction by witness Antonio Curatolo, who testified that on the evening of November 1, 2007, after 9:30 pm, and before 11 to 11:30pm he saw Knox and Sollecito, several times, in the area of Piazza Grimana, the tiny square in front of the University for Foreigners.

Curatolo is homeless and lives in the street in that area. Although unsure of actual dates, he was able to state that this sighting of Knox and Sollecito was the night immediately preceding the day on which police and carabinieri began to crowd around the house where the murder took place.[78-79]

Nara Capezzali, a resident living close to Via della Pergola, went to bed around nine or nine thirty that evening and got up to use the bathroom about two hours later. While doing so, she heard a woman’ scream, “but a scream that was not a normal scream”.[95] She testified that she then heard running on the steel staircase and, almost immediately, running (in a different direction) among the leaves and the gravel, both adjacent to the the house in Via della Pergola.[96]

Another resident, Maria Ilaria Dramis, confirmed that she had had the feeling of hearing running footsteps under the window of her bedroom, and that she did not remember hearing people running in the same way on other occasions like that night.[98]

Part Two is here.

Posted on 06/19/11 at 10:00 AM by Skeptical Bystander. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosTrials 2008 & 2009Massei summary
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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Beyond Massei: On The Seemingly Insuperable Mixed Blood Evidence By All The Expert Witnesses

Posted by The Machine

[Above: the Scientific Police headquarters in Rome]

The recent headlines have been dominated by the knife and bra-clasp evidence currently being reviewed by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti at La Sapienza University in Rome.

Knox and Sollecito campaign spinners have tried to sell the highly erroneous notion that everything now hangs on the review’s outcome.  Good luck with that. Actually it is almost marginal,  and any imaginable outcome still leaves the defenses in a very deep hole.

This explains why what looks to us like the truly hairbrained gambit is being entertained of putting up to five jailbirds on the stand to try to prove that Knox and Sollecito wre not there. All five are likely to fall apart within minutes of the start of any cross-examination, and the same thing is likely if Knox and Sollecito take the stand.

The mixed blood samples are perhaps the strongest and most damning of all the physical evidence in the case. The defense have stayed way, way away from arguing about that - and with really good reason: it is so tough to explain on innocent grounds that it is far better for them to look the other way and hope the appeal judges and jury do too.

Again, good luck with that one. Judge Massei’s court merely summarized the mixed blood evidence in their report. They did NOT include it all. They merely summarized in sufficient depth to underpin their verdict and sentence when summaries of all the other evidence and testimony is also factored in.

There is vastly greater detail on the mixed blood evidence available to Judge Hellman’s appeal court than the Massei Report and this is a real minefield for the defence. It now includes the evidence and testimony from Rudy Guede’s trial in front of Judge Micheli which the Supreme Court endorsed recently and which is now ported in to the Knox-Sollecito appeal. 

This is now a description of what ALL the mixed blood evidence looks like. Sources beyond the Massei Report include several articles by Andrea Vogt for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and several articles and the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau for The Daily Beast and Newsweek.

Between them they are the best observers in the English-language reporting community. Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau are both fluent in Italian, they have both reported many times directly from the courtroom in Perugia and observed all the expert witnesses,  and they have had full access to the prosecution’s 10,000 plus pages of evidence.

[Above: Dr Patrizia Stefanoni]

And there is also the excellent and very long description of the mixed blood evidence in the book Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson which was prepared by Luciano Garofano who is perhaps the most respected forensic expert in Italy.

According to Luciano Garofano in Darkness Descending, one of Dr. Stefanoni’s key forensic findings was that Amanda Knox’s blood (not just DNA) was mixed with Meredith’s blood in a number of places in the bathroom and on the floor in Filomena’s room.

However, here is the electropherogram and you can see that the RFU value is very high, so the sample is undoubtedly blood, which is the body fluid that provides the greatest amount of DNA. In some cases you see higher peaks of Amanda’s DNA than Meredith’s. Amanda has been bleeding. (Luciano Garafano, Darkness Descending, page 371).

Dr. Renato Biondo confirmed all of Dr. Stefanoni’s forensic findings, including the mixed blood evidence, when he testified before Judge Micheli at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008. Dr. Biondo is the head of the DNA unit of the scientific police, so it’s safe to assume that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to analysing DNA evidence.

According to Andrea Vogt in an article for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer a number of forensic police biologists testified at the trial that there were five spots at the cottage where Meredith’s blood and Amanda Knox’s blood had mixed.

Forensic police biologists testified about five spots where they had detected samples of “mixed blood” genetic material—spots of blood of both Knox and Kercher’s—in the bidet, on the sink, on the drain tap, on the Q-tip box in the bathroom and in a spot where prosecutors argued Knox and Sollecito staged a break-in. (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 29 May 2009).

[Above: Dr Renato Biondo]

Amanda Knox’s lawyers in fact conceded at trial that Amanda Knox’s blood had become mixed with Meredith’s blood.  According to Barbie Nadeau in the Daily Beast:

“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.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast, 29 May 2010).

Barbie Nadeau reported that the defence lawyers did not contest any of the laboratory results concerning the mixed blood evidence or explain why Knox may have been bleeding.

The defense did not contest any of the lab results, provide a counter scenario to the staged break-in, or offer testimony to explain why Knox may also have been bleeding (except to say that it is common to find mixed DNA from two people who shared a house). (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek, 10 June 2009).

It is clear that Amanda Knox was bleeding on the night of the murder because her blood was on the tap of the basin in the bathroom.

“…a sample was taken from the front part of the faucet of the sink, which yielded the genetic profile of Amanda Knox…” (The Massei report, page192)

Barbie Nadeau pointed out that Knox herself effectively dated the blood stains to the night of the murder.

Legal experts who follow this case have suggested that blood evidence cannot be dated and therefore could have been left weeks before the murder. But when Knox testified in her own defense in June, she conceded that there was no blood in the bathroom the day before the murder, effectively dating those blood stains to that night. (Barbie Nadeau, Newseek, 14 July 2009).

Luciano Garofano [image above] also notes that Knox’s blood was recent because it hadn’t been touched or cleaned and that it is logical to put this bloodstain in relation with the blood in the bidet and and basin.

Luciano Garofano also asserts that there was copious blood loss by Amanda Knox on the night of the murder.

Let’s say the assassin used the basin and bidet to wash the knife: if you look at the electropherograms you’ll see that there seems to be more of Amanda Knox’s blood than Meredith’s. There is a copious blood loss by Amanda.  (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending, page 374)

He rules out the possibility that Amanda Knox’s blood came from her ear or washed underwear and explains that her blood is not old blood because blood decays quickly.

[Above: Dr Guiseppe Novelli]

After the trial, The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said the mixed blood evidence was the most damning piece of evidence against Amanda Knox. The jury agreed that it was a damning piece of evidence. Barbie Nadeau points out in Angel Face that the jurors accepted the mixed blood evidence.

The defense’s other biggest mistake, according to interviews with jurors after the trial, was doing nothing to refute the mixed-blood evidence beyond noting that it is common to find mingled DNA when two people live in the same house. (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 152).

When you put the mixed samples of blood into the wider context of the other pieces of evidence, they become even more damning. Rudy Guede’s footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage.

This means that he could not have been the one to stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed. There is no physical evidence placing Guede either in Filomena’s room or in Meredith’s and Knox’s bathroom.

Ominously for Amanda Knox, the mixed blood evidence is not part of what is being reviewed by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti. As mentioned above, the defence lawyers didn’t contest any of the laboratory results concerning the mixed blood evidence or explain why Knox may have been bleeding at the trial.

Dr. Stefanoni’s forensic investigation was a very transparent process. The defence experts were invited to attend the DNA tests at the laboratory in Rome - and refused at the last moment - perhaps to be able to speculate they were not done right.

But the validity of her findings has been confirmed by numerous independent DNA experts such as Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli and Luciano Garofano.

The fact that the formidably well qualified Professor Giuseppe Novelli has agreed to be a consultant for the prosecution at the appeals further underlines the validity of Dr. Stefanoni’s forensic findings.

So. Ignore this tough nut, or try to crack it in appeal court? That must be keeping the defenses up late.

[Below: two images of the counterpart FBI lab at Quantico]

Posted on 06/04/11 at 06:25 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceDNA and luminolFamily/defense hoaxers
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Monday, February 21, 2011

An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth In This Case

Posted by SomeAlibi


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.

Posted on 02/21/11 at 08:44 PM by SomeAlibi. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsCrime hypothesesTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei Report
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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window

Posted by pat az

Cross-posted from my own website on Meredith’s case at the kind invitation of TJMK.

The Massei Report on the trial and sentencing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (...1) looks into whether or not a break-in is supported by the evidence available in the room with the broken window.

It concludes that the broken window and room in disarray - Filomena’s bedroom - are an “artificial representation”, ie. that the break-in was staged. After seven pages of review of the evidence, the Massei Report states:

  …the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.

What follows is a look at the comments in the Massei report compared with crime scene and other photos. All quotes are from the english translation prepared by unpaid volunteers at PerugiaMurderFile.org. The section on the scenes in the bedroom begins on page 47 and continues to page 55. Some sentences in the paragraphs below have been omitted for brevity, and can be read in full in the original.

Amanda finds the scene:Then (Amanda) went into another room and noticed that the window had been broken and that there was glass inside. She told these things to her and the other girls present. Then she related that she had gone back to Raffaele’s house and had rung Filomena.(p38)(I)n one of the telephone calls to Romanelli,

Amanda spoke of that smashed window and of the possibility that someone could have entered the house through the broken place; she said this also in the telephone call to 112 and in the first declarations to the Postal Police. Also in the e-mail of November 4, 2007, sent by Amanda to 25 people in the US (…), she hypothesises that a burglar could have entered the house and says she looked around to see if anything was missing. (p45)

Filomena Romanelli, disturbed by this phone call, had rung Amanda back without receiving a reply and when, a little later, she had succeeded in speaking to Amanda, Amanda had told her that in her room (i.e., in Ms. Romanelli’s room) the windowpane was broken, everything was in a mess, and that she should come back home. (P30)

Filomena Romanelli had ascertained from a quick check of her room, even though (it was) in a complete mess with the windowpane broken, that nothing was missing. (p31)

It must be held that when Filomena Romanelli left the house in via della Pergola, she had pulled the shutters towards the interior of her room, although she did not think that she had actually closed them; furthermore, because they were old and the wood had swelled a bit, they rubbed on the windowsill; to pull them towards the room it was necessary to use some force (“they rubbed on the windowsill”); but in this way, once they had been pulled in, as Romanelli remembered doing, they remained well closed by the pressure of the swelled wood against the windowsill. (p48)

It cannot be assumed – as the Defence Consultant did – that the shutters were left completely open, since this contradicts the declarations of Romanelli, which appear to be detailed and entirely likely, considering that she was actually leaving for the holiday and had some things of value in her room; already she did not feel quite safe because window-frames were in wood (…) without any grille.

Also, the circumstance of the shutters being wide open does not correspond to their position when they were found and described by witnesses on November 2, and photographed (cf. photo 11 already mentioned).( p50)

Now, for a rock to have been able to break the glass of the window without shattering the outside shutters, it would have been necessary to remove the obstacle of the shutters by opening them up. (…2)

Consequently, since the shutters had been pulled together and their rubbing put pressure on the windowsill on which they rested, it would have first been necessary to effect an operation with the specific goal of completely opening these shutters.

The failure to find any instrument suitable for making such an opening (one cannot even see what type of instrument could be used to this end) leads one to assume that the wall would have to have been scaled a first time in order to effect the complete opening of the shutters,(…3) in order to enable the burglar to aim at the window and smash it by throwing a large stone – the one found in Romanelli’s room. (p48-49)

He would then have to have returned underneath Romanelli’s window for the second climb, and through the broken glass, open the window (balanced on his knees or feet on the outside part of the windowsill) otherwise he would not have been able to pass his arm through the hole in the glass made by the stone) and reach up to the latch that fastened the window casements, necessarily latched since otherwise, if the casements had not been latched, it would not have been necessary to throw a rock at all, but just to open the shutters and climb inside. (p49)

The “climber” (…4) would also need to rely on the fact that the shutters were not actually latched, and also that the “scuri”(..5) had not been fastened to the window-frame to which the broken pane was attached; otherwise it would not have been possible to open them from the outside; nor would it have been possible, even breaking the glass, to make a hole giving access to the house, (…) since if these inner panels had been closed, they would have continued to provide an adequate obstacle to the possibility of opening the window, in spite of the broken pane. (p49)

This scenario appears totally unlikely, given the effort involved (going twice underneath the window, going up to throw the stone, scaling the wall twice) and taking into account the uncertainty of success (having to count on the two favourable circumstances indicated above), with a repetition of movements and behaviours, all of which could easily be seen by anyone who happened to be passing by on the street or actually coming into the house.

But beyond these considerations, there are other elements which tend to exclude the possibility that a burglar could have entered the house through the window of Romanelli’s room.The double climb necessary to attain the height of three and a half metres would have left some kind of trace or imprint on the wall, especially on the points on the wall that the “climber” would have used to support his feet, all the more as both the witnesses Romanelli and Marco Zaroli gave statements indicating that the earth, on that early November evening, must have been very wet (..6) (p50)

In fact, there are no visible signs on the wall, and furthermore, it can be observed that the nail – this was noted by this Court of Assizes during the inspection – remained where it was: it seems very unlikely that the climber, given the position of that nail and its characteristics, visible in the photo 11, did not somehow “encounter” that nail and force it, inadvertently or by using it as a foothold, causing it to fall or at least bend it. (p50)

The next fact to consider is that the pieces of glass from the broken pane were distributed in a homogeneous manner on the inside and outside parts of the windowsill, without any displacement being noted or any piece of glass being found on the ground underneath the window.

This circumstance, as confirmed also by the consultant Pasquali, tends to exclude the possibility that the rock was thrown from outside the house to create access to the house through the window after the breaking of the pane. The climber, in leaning his hands and then his feet or knees on the windowsill, would have caused at least some piece of glass to fall, or at least would have been obliged to shift some pieces of glass in order to avoid being wounded by them.

Instead, no piece of glass was found under the window, and no sign of any wound was seen on the pieces of glass found in Romanelli’s room. It can moreover be observed that the presence of many pieces of glass on the outside part of the windowsill increases the probability of finding some small pieces of glass on the ground underneath, since there seems to be no reason that so many pieces of glass would all stop just at the edge of the windowsill without any of them flying beyond the edge and falling down to the garden below. (p51 & 52)

On this subject it is also useful to recall that at the hearing of April 23, 2009, the witness Gioia Brocci mentioned above declared that she had observed the exterior of the house, paying particular attention to the wall underneath the window with the broken pane, the window of the room then occupied by Filomena Romanelli.

She said: “We observed both the wall…underneath the window and all of the vegetation underneath the window, and we noted that there were no traces on the wall, no traces of earth, of grass, nothing, no streaks, nothing at all, and none [39] of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled; nothing” (p. 142 declarations of Gioia Brocci). (51)

This situation, like all the other glaring inconsistencies, is adequately and satisfactorily explained if one supposes that the rock was thrown from the inside of the room, with the two shutters pulled inwards so that they blocked the pieces of glass from falling to the ground below. Once the glass had been broken from inside, the rock was set down at some place in the room, and the shutters were pushed towards the outside, being thus opened from within the room. (p51)

But the fact that all this was in fact just a simulation, a staging, can be deduced from further circumstances. From the photos taken by the personnel of the Questura (photos 47 to 54 and 65 to 66) one can perceive an activity which appears to have been performed with the goal of creating a situation of obvious disorder in Romanelli’s room, but does not appear to be the result of actual ransacking, true searching for the kind of valuable objects that might tempt a burglar.

The drawers of the little dresser next to the bed were not even opened (photo 51 and declarations of Battistelli who noted that Romanelli was the one who opened the drawers, having found them closed and with no sign of having been rifled: see p. 66 of Battistelli’s declarations, hearing of Feb. 6, 2009).

The objects on the shelves in photo 52 appear not to have been touched at all; piles of clothes seem to have been thrown down from the closet (photo 54) but it does not seem that there was any serious search in the closet, in which some clothes and some boxes remained in place without showing any signs of an actual search for valuable items that might have been there (photo 54).

It does not appear that the boxes on the table were opened (photo 65) in a search for valuable items. And indeed, no valuable item (cf. declarations of Romanelli) was taken, or even set aside to be taken, by the – at this point we can say phantom – burglar.

What has been explained up to now thus leads to the assertion that the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.


(...1) The Massei Report in English is readable and downloadable via the link at the top of this page. 

(..2) The consultant for the defence actually assumed that this had been done; in his exhibit, he assumed that the shutters were not present in front of the window

(..3): “if the shutters were closed, he could not have passed through, that is obvious”, cf. declarations of the consultant for the defence, Sergeant Francesco Pasquali, p. 22 hearing July 3, 2009.

(..4): (the window in Romanelli’s room is located at a height of more than three and a half metres from the ground underneath, cf. photo 11 from the relevant dossier)

(..5):,which are the wooden panels [scuri=non-louvered shutters in interior of room] that usually constitute the outer side (or the inner, depending on the point of view) of the window [attached to the outer edge of the inner side of the window-frame]

Posted on 02/01/11 at 02:48 PM by pat az. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceStaged breakinOther physicalCrime hypothesesTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportMeredith-case hoaxesThe Guede hoaxThe staged breakin
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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Limited DNA Reviews - What We Believe Are The Hard Facts On The Double DNA Knife

Posted by ViaDellaPergola

Repeat of my December post as the knife is again back in sharp focus.

The wild claims of the conspiracy theorists have morphed back and forth. But the facts remain that Italy has a fine DNA lab system and Dr Stefanoni is internationally respected - and she had no vested interest in a particular outcome.

Sollecito coolly explained that Meredith’s DNA SHOULD be on the blade of the knife because he pricked her while he was cooking a fish at his place. She had never ever been to his place - in fact, she had only set eyes on him once or twice, very briefly, and had certainly not eaten his fish.

But Sollecito STILL lets that highly incriminating statement stand - one that is enough to secure a conviction in an American court all by itself. Sollecito never retracted or explained it. Why not? Why not?

The truth, obviously, is worse. Very, very much worse.

Posted on 01/24/11 at 01:37 PM by ViaDellaPergola. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceDNA and luminol
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[St Peter’s and the Vatican in background; Palace of Justice, large white building by river in left foreground]

What is the biggest headache for the defenses?

That their areas of appeal, already circumscribed by Judge Hellman, could all explode in their faces? The low-credibility witnesses Alessi and Aviello? The limited DNA retesting? The re-examination of the witness in the park who had no cause to make anything up?

Or that Rudy Guede gets totally ticked off by Alessi’s claims that Rudy Guede said he did it with one or two others, and so Guede tells the court all that REALLY happened?

No, it looks to us that the defenses’ biggest headache by far is that the court of final appeal in Rome (the Supreme Court of Cassation, which is superior to the Perugia appeals court and will hear the second and final appeal) has ALREADY accepted that Rudy Guede’s sentencing report of January 2009 holds up.

And that all three of them attacked Meredith.

The written report from Cassation on that December 2010 decision on Guede’s final appeal (due soon), plus Judge Micheli’s Sentencing Report for Rudy Guede of January 2009, plus all that associated evidence, now gets automatically ported by law straight into Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal.

Judge Micheli took a hard line toward Rudy Guede, and he sentenced him to 30 years. He also remanded Knox and Sollecito to trial, and his report explains the basis for that remand.

Judge Micheli’s remorseless and tightly argued report (see summaries below) very comprehensively backed up his decisions. (Later reductions in sentence were automatic and they flowed from the terms of Guede’s short-form trial, and some controversial mitigating circumstances advanced by Massei for Knox and Sollecito.)

The prosecution’s appeal against the Knox and Sollecito sentences argues that the acceptance of mitigating circumstances by the Massei court should be thrown out, and that Knox and Sollecito should be subjected to a longer sentence. Remember that even in the case of Alessi’s wife, who was not even present when he beat the kidnapped baby to death, she received a sentence of 30 years.

So here is how it is stacking up:.

  • For the prosecution, four courts including the Supreme Court of Cassation have ruled that three people participated in the crime against Meredith, plus all of the evidence from both the Guede and Knox Sollecito trials now comes in, plus the prosecution is appealing for tougher sentences, which seems well justified based on precedents.
  • For the defenses, just those few areas the defenses want to challenge which have been allowed by Judge Hellman NONE of which are sure things.

Really not very much going for the defenses here. No wonder they already seem to be phoning it in.

Our meticulous summaries of the Micheli Report by main posters Brian S and Nicki were based on our own translation. A huge amount of work. They were posted nearly two years ago. Periodically we link to them in other posts or we point to them in an email.

Those who do read those posts fresh are often stunned at their sharpness, and for many or most it becomes case closed and the verdict of guilty is seen as a fair one.

We think those posts on Micheli are so key to a correct grasp of Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal prospects that they should now be reposted in full.

[St Peter’s and the Vatican in foreground; Palace of Justice, large white building in left background]

Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction

By Brian S

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

A week ago, just within the three-month deadline, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.

Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.

He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.

His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:

    Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.

Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.

He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.

He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.

By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:

    On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith …talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (…), we met in the evening around half eight, like that. While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.

With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.

In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.

Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.

Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:

Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.

He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.

Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.

Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.

Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.

Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:

    ...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute: Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her? …Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help …There was a progression of violence …The victim sought to fight back If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl – it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.

Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.

The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.

Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.

Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own

Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.

Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.

Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.

However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.

He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.

Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory

By Brian S

And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.

First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.

Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.

Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.

Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:

Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)

Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi

The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.

The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.

Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.

They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.

Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.

On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.

The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.

Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.

Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.

Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.

This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.

Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.

It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.

Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.

So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.

He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.

He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.

Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:

[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]

1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.

2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.

He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?

She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.

3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.

But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.

This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.

4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.

This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.

Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Understanding Micheli #3: How Damning Is The DNA Evidence Coming Up?

By Nicki

Probable answer? Pretty damning.

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales.

The trial to establish the truth about the murder of Meredith continues next Friday. As we’ve reported, various human witnesses have already been heard from: the Postal Police who discovered Meredith’s body, Meredith’s two Italian roommates, and her seven British friends.

Coming up soon is a more silent witness, one very important to both the prosecution and the two defenses: the DNA evidence.

Specifically the DNA belonging to Meredith, Knox, Sollecito, and Guede which was found at the scene of the crime, and on the suspected murder weapon found, apparently hidden, in Raffaele Sollecito’s house.

Traces of Meredith’s DNA have been found on a knife compatible with the wounds that caused her death. Amanda Knox ‘s genetic material was identified on the knife handle. DNA belonging to Sollecito has been found on the clasp of the victim’s bra. And more DNA showing Rudy Guede’s genetic profile was found on the victim’s body and elsewhere in the house.

In summary, the biological sources and locations where DNA belonging to the three defendants was found are these:

  • Guede’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found inside Meredith, on toilet paper, on the right side of Meredith’s bra, mixed with Meredith’s DNA on the her purse zip, and on the left cuff of Meredith’s light blue sweater
  • Sollecito’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, mixed with Meredith’s DNA, and on one cigarette butt found in the kitchen
  • Knox’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on the knife sheath, and close to the blade junction. It was not possible to ascertain both the haematic and epithelial source of Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade, due to the scarcity of the sample. But Judge Micheli noted that reasonable doubt persist that blood could have been present also.
  • Other significant biological traces belonging to Meredith - for example, DNA originating from the blood-trace footprints revealed by luminol found in Filomena’s bedroom, as already reported at trial.

Claims of contamination and “poor matches” of the DNA samples were raised by the Sollecito and Knox defenses, although not by Guede’s. The DNA expert Dr. Stefanoni’s arguments in reply to the defenses’ claims are summarized in Judge Micheli‘s report.
Dr Stefanoni reported that the locus ascribable to Meredith and identified on the knife blade shows readings of 41 and 28 RFU. Conventionally, RFU values lower than 50 can be defined as low. But she maintained that the profile matched Meredith’s by explaining that there is no immediate correlation between the height of the peaks obtained by electropherogram and expressed in RFU, and the reliability of the biological investigation.

In fact “even if statistically - in most cases - the RFU data is directly proportional to the possibility of a certain interpretation of the analysis result, on the other side many cases of high peaks of difficult interpretation exist (because of background noises), as well as low peaks that are objectively unquestionable, hence the need to proceed to the examination of data that is apparently scarce, but that mustn’t be considered unreliable per se.”

*The use of multiplex PCR and fluorescent dye technology in the automated detection and analysis of short tandem repeat loci provides not only qualitative information about the profile - i.e. which alleles are present - but can provide also quantitative information on the relative intensities of the bands, and is therefore a measure of the amount of amplified DNA.”

So if on one side Dr Stefanoni admits that the RFU readings are low, on the other her experience suggests that many cases of unquestionable matches exist showing readings lower than 50 RFU, and this appears to be the case with Meredith’s DNA sample on the knife.

Contamination in the laboratory is categorically excluded by Dr Stefanoni. The samples were processed with maximum care in order to avoid any contamination during lab procedures. Contamination during the collection phase is excluded by Judge Micheli, as the samples were collected by different officers at different times in different places (example Via della Pergola at 9:40am on Nov 6. 2007, and Sollecito’s apartment at 10:00am, on the same day, by a different ILE team).

As for Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra clasp, the match is unquestionable, according to the lab reports. Samples from crime scenes very often contain genetic material from more than one person (e.g. Rudy Guede’s DNA has been identified in a mixture with the victim’s DNA in a few places), and well-known recommendations and protocols exist in order to de-convolute mixed samples into single genetic profiles.

So if the lab reports indicate that unquestionable biological evidence of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp, at the present time we have no reason to believe that these recommendations weren’t followed and that therefore the reports are not to be trusted.

As to cells “flying around” depositing themselves – and their DNA content - here and there around the murder scene, there have been some imaginative theories advanced, to say the least.

The reality though is that although epithelial cells do shed, they don’t sprout little wings to flock to one precise spot, nor grow feet to crawl and concentrate on a piece of evidence. There needs to be some kind of pressure on a surface in order to deposit the amount of biological material necessary to yield a reliable PCR analysis result. A simple brushing will not do. 

As a matter of fact, Dr Stefanoni agreed with Guede’s defense that Guede‘s genetic material found on the left sleeve of Meredith’s blouse was minimal; and this was because the DNA found there belonged to the victim and was not a mixture. In the situation where there is a clear disproportion between quantitative data of two DNA’s coexisting in a biological trace, the PCR will amplify the most abundant DNA.

As agreed by Dr. Stefanoni and Guede’s defense, the conclusion here was that on the left sleeve there was plenty of Meredith’s DNA but very little of Guede’s. (This was used by his defense to deny that Guede had exerted violence on Meredith’s wrist).

After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defenses, Judge Micheli provided reasons why he rejected the contamination claims and ruled that all the biological traces identified as reflecting Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA are admissible as evidence. He arrived at the conclusion that the DNA evidence is sound and, considered along with the non-biological proof, he decided there was more than enough evidence to order Knox and Sollecito to stand trial. 

Regarding the biological significance of the traces, we are now looking forward to hearing the Knox and Sollecito defenses’ counter-arguments.  But as we understand it now, the DNA evidence for the trio having all been involved in the murder seems pretty damning.

Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?

By Brian S

Please be warned that this is sad and hard-going, although many other passages from the Micheli report we will never post on here are even more harrowing.

Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January he made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining key areas of the report so that we too may decide on the rationales.

This post is about the final position of the body. Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.

This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.

Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.

Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.

Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.

Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.

Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.

He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.

Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.

Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.

Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.

Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?

It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.

The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.

Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.

In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.

But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?

Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.

Posted on 01/20/11 at 09:03 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedCrime hypothesesTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Guede appealsHellmann appealThe Guede hoax
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Claims Amanda Knox’s Confessions Resemble “False Confessions” Not Backed Up By Any Standard Texts

Posted by Fuji

[Above: Perugia’s central police station where Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all interviewed]

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.

Posted on 01/12/11 at 10:16 PM by Fuji. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceKnox's alibisOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Friday, December 03, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Establishing The Time When Meredith Passed On

Posted by Storm Roberts


Perhaps the hardest parts of the Massei Report for compassionate readers to take are those concerning Meredith’s wounds and time of death.

Those passages commence early in the report and, as with our translation of much of the Micheli report, left our translators and many readers disturbed and a few of them at least in tears. 

This is an abbreviated overview of how forensic medicine helped the court to establish the time of Meredith’s death. 

Medical science is often called upon to help to identify a precise time of death.  However, this is not possible.  The only way of knowing a precise time is if the death is witnessed and a time noted - medical science can only give a “time window” during which it is likely that death occurred. 

There are several ways of establishing time of death and I shall look at four, briefly:  the extent of rigor mortis; the temperature of the body;  hypostasis; and, the state of digestion.

Rigor Mortis

Rigor Mortis is the stiffening of muscles after death.  As oxygen is no longer being provided to the tissues of the body certain chemical reactions can no longer happen and changes occur.  In the muscles this leads to a state of contraction which remains until the muscle tissues start to decompose.

Rigor Mortis begins to establish approximately three hours after death and is fully established at twelve hours and remains so until 48 hours.  Rigor then begins to dissipate and 80 - 90 hours after death rigor mortis will have fully dissipated.

Thus rigor mortis can be used to establish an approximate time of death based on the degree of stiffness and whether the body is going into or going out of rigor.  External factors can have an impact on rigor mortis, but as the cause of rigor is a lack of oxygen preventing a chemical reaction taking place external factors have less effect than they do when considering other methods of establishing time of death. 

Body Temperature

The accepted temperature of a healthy human is 37 Celcius.  Upon death the body starts to cool.  The body temperature, normally taken rectally, drops 1-2 Celcius in the first hour and 1 Celcius every hour for the following 8 hours, thereafter the temperature drops gradually until the body reaches ambient temperature.

Factors that can affect this process, thus complicating it’s application to the establishment of the time of death include:

- the covering of the body as this insulates and changes the rate at which the body loses heat;
- injuries sustained and blood loss; and,
- any change in the environmental temperature (if the temperature surrounding the body changes - such as a night time temperature drop or if the body is moved).


Hypostasis is the settling of red blood cells under the force of gravity - the red blood cells fill capillaries (our smallest blood vessels) giving a red coloration to the skin.  Initially the red blood cells are still mobile however eventually they coagulate and the coloration becomes fixed.  It is generally accepted that the coloration (stain) appears one to two hours after death and begins to fix, from the central area of the stain outwards, from around the sixth to eighth hour.  Fixation is complete from 24 to 36 hours after death.

Stage of digestion.

From the time we start to eat a meal, and thus initiate the digestion process in the stomach, there is a set pattern of events within the digestive process that can allow us to determine approximately how long after the start of the last meal digestion was interrupted by death.

When we eat a meal our food is initially broken down my two main means: firstly - chemical, namely enzymes and the acid in our stomach; and, secondly - mechanical, namely chewing and the action of the stomach muscles.  Once our food has achieved a liquid consistency it is able to leave the stomach and enter the first part of our intestines - the duodenum.

This emptying of the stomach normally occurs from around 3 hours after eating.  However, how fast we digest a meal and the stomach empties depends on a multitude of factors, just a few of which are:

  • what we have eaten;
  • how the food was prepared;
  • how our body reacts to the food;
  • our state of mind (for example: ever had “butterflies” or an upset stomach when you were worried or excited? );
  • our state of health; and,
  • what we drank with our meal.

In reality the speed of digestion varies not only person to person but meal to meal - You could eat the same meal twice and have significant differences in the speed of digestion each time.

If our “fight or flight” mechanism - the release of adrenaline - is bought into play it is possible for the digestive process to temporarily halt as our body diverts it’s resources to deal with more pressing matters of survival.  This however is not certain, everyone is different and how such things affect us is unique.

What is explained in the report

Above I said that the stomach can empty after 3 hours, all of the above factors and many more can more than double that time to 6 hours or possibly more.  Professor Cingolani testified that the stomach can empty after as little as one hour or take as long as 12 or more hours.  Thus as stated above, the state of digestion, whether the stomach has emptied or not, is only able to provide a “time window” during which death could have occurred.

N.B.  The following references to page numbers relate to the translation of the Massei Report (see link in the menu to the left of your screen) - specifically the first published version - v1.0 - dated 8th August 2010.

The Massei Report [Page 109 (full medical forensic considerations) and Page 173(specific report on the time of death.)]

The first thing the Massei Report notes on the subject of determining the time of death is that all the expert witnesses emphasised how difficult it is to determine, in part because there are “variables which are not always determinable and measurable with the necessary precision.”

The experts heard by the court on this matter were:

  • The Coroner, Dr. Lalli (whose evidence with regards to his observations and calculations regarding time of death are on Pages 113 to 116 of the Massei Report);
  • Consultant appointed by the Public Ministers (prosecution), namely Professor Mauro Bacci;
  • Consultants appointed by the court (the GIP - judge at a previous hearing), namely Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi and Professor Mario Cingolani;
  • Consultant for the civil party, namely Professor Gianaristide Norelli;
  • Consultant for the defence of Amanda Knox, namely Professor Carlo Torre; and,
  • Consultants for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, namely Professor Francesco Introna and Professor Vinci.

Evidence such as the time of Meredith’s last meal (approximately 18.30 hrs) and when she was last seen by her friends (a few minutes before 21.00 hrs) was used by the court to ascertain the earliest possible time of death, i.e. 21.00 hrs was the last time Meredith was seen alive and the “time window” calculated with reference to forensic medical evidence could not start earlier than that [Page 131].

Arguments were heard with regards to how various factors would have affected calculation of time of death, these are all detailed in the Massei Report as are the different views and opinions of the various consultants noted above.  The main points of contention were the effect the covering of the body had and the timing of the emptying of the stomach. 

Details from the report

Dr. Lalli saw the body at around 14.40 to 15.00 hrs on 2nd November and noted that there was “cadaveric rigidity… of the ankle and toes”  [Page 110].  He did not examine the body fully at that time as the scientific police were conducting their investigation and it was important to preserve the crime scene so they could do their job.  He first examined the body at 00.50hrs on 3rd November 2007 - it was subject to rigor mortis.  Rigor was still established at 12.00 hrs on 3rd November and was resolved by 10.00 hrs on 4th November - and thus he considered that the stages of rigor supported the time window established by the temperature of the body.

Dr. Lalli used both his experience of various factors which affect the rate of loss of heat energy from the body and also mathematical methods - namely the application of the Henssge nomogram - to establish a time window by considering the body temperature. 

His calculations led to him reporting a window of between 21 and a half hours and 30 and a half hours prior to his first examination of the body (00.50 hrs 3rd November).  He noted that the intermediate point of this window was 23.00 hrs on 1st November [Page 173]. Discussions centred on the weight of the body and also the effect of the cover placed over the body specifically how these would effect the application of the Henssge nomogram.

Looking at the hypostatic staining in this case did not help to narrow the time window [Page 114].  During his first examination of the body at 00.50 hrs on 3rd November Dr. Lalli noted that the stains were not fully fixed - digital pressure caused the stain to fade but not to disappear.  In the following examination at 12.00 hrs on 3rd November the hypostasis was “fixed to finger pressure”. 

This indicated that death occurred 24 to 36 hours earlier - however it is not known at what precise point in time between the first and second examination of the body that fixation occurred - therefore the court considered that the time of 12.00 hrs on 3rd of November was the latest possible time to count back the 24 to 36 hours.

Iin other words based on the observations and the times they were made the time window suggests death was between 24.00 hrs on 1st November and 12.00 hrs on 2nd November however full fixation of the stains occurred at a point between 00.50 hrs and 12.00 hrs on 3rd November if that point in time were known it would allow the time window to be pushed back and be more accurate.  As this was not possible the court concluded that hypostasis was unable to provide information more accurate than that provided by the temperature of the body.

With regards to the state of digestion discussions covered areas included the time of the meal Meredith had shared with her friends (around 18.30 hrs), the point from which calculations should be taken, what had been eaten and the degree of digestion and how long it would take for the stomach to empty. 

Also discussed was the possibility that Meredith might have had a snack when she returned to her home, a snack which might have included mushroom and a small quantity of alcohol (no more than a small glass of beer or wine) - it is not certain that she partook of such a snack but it was considered by the court [Page 179]. 

Dr. Lalli concluded that the time of death suggested by the state of digestion would have been between 21.00 hrs and 24.00 hrs on 1st November [Page 174] which is consistent with the time of death suggested by the temperature of the body and rigor.  However other consultants, particularly those appointed by the GIP emphasised that this method has many variables and thus cannot provide an accurate time window [Page 179].


The time of death can be said to be within a ten hour time window of between 18.50 hrs on 1st November and 04.50 hrs on 2nd November.  The court and all the consultants and experts agreed on this time window [Page 179].  The mid point of this window is 23.50 hrs on 1st November.  Meredith was last seen alive by her friends at 21.00 hrs on 1st November 2007.

However, forensic medical evidence is only one aspect of this case.  Evidence with regards to biological trace evidence, telephones, computers and witness statements, for example were also introduced to the court and are detailed in the Massei Report.  After careful consideration and weighing of all the facts the court concluded that Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito entered the house at 7 Via della Pergola at around 23.00 hrs [Page 361] and Meredith was murdered shortly after 23.30 on 1st November 2007 [Page 382].

Posted on 12/03/10 at 01:29 AM by Storm Roberts. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceThe timelinesDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei Report
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: The Timeline For Events Before, During, And After The Night #2

Posted by catnip

Continuation from Post #1

These two posts list all of the events precisely timed in the Massei Report. Page numbers shown in brackets are those in the original Italian version.

There are plenty of mentions of imprecise occasions and general time periods, such as when Rudy told Giorgio Cocciaretto about liking Amanda (p26) or when lawyer Palazzoli found out their stolen computer had been recovered in Milan (p33), but they are not listed here.

02 November 2007

00:10:31 Meredith’s English phone has a call, via cell 25622, which covers Via Sperandio but not Via della Pergola (p337, p350).

00:58 A 4-second Web connection occurs on Raffaele’s laptop, with QuickTime contacting the Apple server home page from 00:58:50 to 00:58:53: possibly an ad window listing multimedia files available from Apple opens and closes (p331, p332).

05:32–06:00 Activity on Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop begins for the day: the VLC application attempts to open an MP3 file and crashes three times: at 05:32:09, 05:32:12, 05:32:13. iTunes successfully plays the MP3 files for the next half hour (p327).

06:02:59 Raffaele’s phone, located in Corso Garibaldi, receives an SMS from his father (p339). The SMS was sent at 23:14 the previous night (p340).

07:45 Quintavalle sees Amanda at his store (p383).

Around 9:00 As Mrs Lana and her husband are readying to leave to go to the police station to report the previous night’s menacing phone call, their son Allessandro finds a mobile phone, a Motorola, in the yard in front of the house, about 15-20 metres distant from the road above their house; thinking that one of the police officers had dropped it the night before, Mrs Lana phones the police station, and is asked to bring the mobile phone in (pp12-13).

09:24 Raffaele receives a call from his father, 248 seconds long, to see if they have left for their Gubbio excursion (p342, p383).

09:29 Raffaele receives a call, 38 seconds long (p342).

09:30 Raffaele, in Corso Garibaldi, receives a call from his father (p342).

10:00 Meredith and Robyn were intending to meet at a lecture at the University, not realizing that it was a public holiday; around this time Robyn tries calling Meredith several times without getting a response; Robyn finds out about Meredith’s murder later that afternoon at Police Headquarters, where she meets Amanda and Raffaele for the first time (p21).

Around 10:15 Mrs Lana and her husband, bringing the mobile phone their son found in their yard, arrive at the police station; the postal police officer on duty, Director Bartolozzi, takes custody of it and later in the morning will identify it as belonging to Filomena Romanelli (p13).

Around 11am Amanda, per her testimony, returns to Via della Pergola to have a shower in preparation for a planned excursion to Gubbio with Rafffaele (p347).

11:38 Director Bartolozzi establishes that the Motorola phone handed in by Mrs Lana belongs to Filomena Romanelli (p14).

Around about 11:45-12:00 A little after Mrs Lana and her husband have left the police station, their daughter Fiammetta tells them about finding a second mobile phone in the yard not far from where the first one was found; she heard it ringing; when the phone is brought inside and placed on the table, it rings, and the name “Amanda” appears on the display; Director Bartolozzi of the Postal Police is immediately informed about this and requests that the second phone also be brought in (p13).

Around 12:00 Bartolozzi at the Postal Police sends Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi to No 7 Via della Pergola to make enquiries; they will have some difficulty in finding the house (p14).

Around 12:00-12:10 Filomena, having borrowed her boyfriend Marco’s car, picks up her friend Paola Grande from Luca Altieri’s house, intending to visit the All Saints Fair in the Massian Fields, but before arriving there, Amanda rings saying there is something strange: she found the door open; had a shower; thought it strange that there was some blood; and that she was going to go to Raffaele’s; in response to Filomena’s question of where Meredith was, Amanda replies that she doesn’t know (pp16-17).

12:07:02 Meredith’s English phone receives a call via cell 25622, which covers Via Sperandio, where the phone was thrown away during the night (p337). The 16-second call is from Amanda, located at Raffaele’s house (p346).

12:08:44 Amanda, located at Raffaele’s, calls Filomena for 68 seconds, telling her about the disturbing things she has seen at the cottage, but, surprisingly, does not tell her that she has already tried contacting Meredith and was unsuccessful (p346, p347).

12:11:02 Meredith’s Italian phone, in cell SVSMdCs1, receives a 3-second call from Amanda Knox’s phone at Raffaele’s house; the call goes to Voicemail (p338, p346, p348).

12:12:35 Amanda, still at Raffaele’s house, receives a call from Filomena, 36 seconds (p346).

Around 12:15-12:20 Mrs Lana is at the Postal Police offices again, and hands the second mobile phone, an Ericcson, over to Inspector Bartolozzi, who is unsuccessful in identifying its owner; this makes him think that the phone’s SIM card belongs to a foreign service provider (pp13-14).

12:20:44 Amanda, still at Raffaele’s house, receives another call from Filomena, 65 seconds (p346).

Meanwhile Filomena, worried by Amanda’s phone call, tries calling her, unsuccessfully; then, on getting through, Amanda tells her about the broken window in her (Filomena’s room) and everything being turned over; Filomena, extremely worried now, calls her boyfriend to ask him to go to the cottage to find out what happened; her boyfriend Marco, because Filomena has his car, calls Luca Altieri, and together they go to the cottage, where they arrive, “almost simultaneously” with Filomena and Paola, around 13:00 (p17).

Around 12:30 Battistelli and Marzi from the Postal Police, after having driven up and down Viale Sant’Antonio twice, and Battistelli having to get out on foot, finally find the house “a little after 12:30, as it seemed to the two police officers”; there they find Amanda and Raffaele outside the cottage, seated near the end of the gated lane, just outside the wall underneath Filomena’s window, whose two Persian blinds were closed to, with the one on the right (as seen by an onlooker) being “slightly more open”; Amanda and Raffaele tell the Postal Police they are waiting for the carabinieri, who they had just called (p14).

A little after the Postal Police’s arrival at the cottage (time indeterminant)  Director Bartolozzi calls Inspector Battistelli, informing him of the second phone found by Mrs Lana; it is considered that, since both phones were found near each other in terms of time and space, and one of the phones belongs to Filomena Romanelli, perhaps she will be able to shed light on the second phone as well (p15).

12:34:56 Amanda, now at Via della Pergola, receives another call from Filomena, 48 seconds (p346).

12:35 Raffaele’s phone, located at Via della Pergola, contacts his service provider for a credit topup (p342).

12:38 Vodafone sends Raffaele an SMS regarding the credit topup; he is at Via della Pergola (p342).

12:40   Raffaele, at Via della Pergola, receives a call from his father, 67 seconds (p342).

12:43 Meredith’s English phone receives a call via cell 25622, which covers Via Sperandio (p337). Subsequent calls are routed via cell 25603, which covers the Postal Police offices (p338).

12:47:43 Amanda calls the US for 88 seconds from Via della Pergola (p346).

12:50:34 Raffaele calls his sister, 39 seconds, from Via della Pergola (p342).

12:51:40 Raffaele calls the emergency number from Via della Pergola, 169 seconds, to advise the Carabinieri of an apparant burglary (p342).

12:54 Raffaele calls the emergency number from Via della Pergola for a second time, 57 seconds (p342).

Around 13:00 Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti, and separatel;y, their respective boyfriends, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri, arrive at the cottage (p15).

Filomena assumes the Postal Police are there because of the open front door, the broken window and the room that has been turned over; she is surprised when they show her two phone numbers, written on a piece of paper, an Italian number and an English number; Filomena explains that both numbers are in use by Meredith, the English phone for her family, and the Italian one she (Fiolmena) loaned to Meredith for use in Italy; the news about where the phones were found begins to make everyone fearful as to what might have happened, especially as Meredith would never abandon the English Erisccson phone because she was in continuous contact with her family on account of her mother’s poor health (p17)

Filomena quickly checks her room and finds nothing is missing (p18); she even tells Marzi that nothing is missing, “it’s all here” (p43); concern for Meredith increases, especially as Meredith’s door is locked; when Amanda explains that Meredith always locks her door, even when having a shower, Filomena is alarmed, because the one and only time Meredith locked her door was when she went back to England for a couple of days; the decision is made to break open Meredith’s door (p18).

A little after 13:00, around 13:15 Meredith Kercher’s body is found on the floor of her room in the upper floor apartment of a cottage at No 7, Via della Pergola, Perugia (p1, p10).

Around 13:15 Battistelli ushers everyone out of the cottage and declares a crime scene; Marco Zaroli sees the inspector enter the room, the inspector denies this (p20).

13:17:10 Meredith’s Italian phone, off or unreachable, is called by the service centre through cell SVSMdCs7 for 1 second (p338, p348).

13:24:18 Amanda, from Via della Pergola, calls the same US number as she did at 12:47, which is her mother’s, this time for 162 seconds (p346).

13:27:32 Amanda calls another US number, for 26 seconds (p347).

13:29:00 Amanda, in Via della Pergola, receives a 296 second call from a Perugia landline (p347).

Around 13:30 The murder investigation opens (p20). Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is summoned and a criminal investigation into Meredith’s murder officially begins.

13:40:12 Raffaele receives an incoming call from his father, 94 seconds (p342).

13:50 Raffaele receives an incoming call from his father, 178 seconds (p342).

13:50:06 Amanda calls US xxx350 for 350 seconds from Via della Pergola (p347).

13:58:33 Amanda attempts to call her mother, 1 second (p347).

14:33 Raffaele receives an incoming call from his father, 21 seconds (p343).

14:46:14 Amanda receives a call from Germany for 102 seconds, probably her aunt Dorothy Craft (p347).

15:13:43 Meredith’s Italian phone, off or unreachable, is called by the service centre, cell not reported on the printouts (p338, p348).

15:31:50 Amanda receives an SMS from xxx078, 1 second; at this point she is at Police Headquarters; later calls go to Voicemail because the phone is unreachable (p347)

17:01 Raffaele, located at Police Headquarters, receives an incoming call from his father, 164 seconds (p343).

17:42 Raffaele, located at Police Headquarters, receives an incoming call from his father, 97 seconds (p343).

Sometime in the afternoon/evening Giacomo Silenzi, on his way back to Perugia and on the train at Porto San Giorgio with Stefano Bonassi, receives news of Meredith’s death (p25).

03 November 2007

14:16 Raffaele’s landline receives two unanswered calls from his father’s landline (p343).

06 November 2007

02:47 The “Last Modified” date is set on the multimedia file Stardust on Raffaele’s laptop (?was a password needed?), overwriting the previous last modified date. At this time, both Raffaele and Amanda were at Police Headquarters (p332).

13 November 2007

Raffaele’s portable Apple MacBookPro and 300D ASUS, Amanda’s Toshiba laptop serial number 7541811OK, Meredith’s G4 iBook, and Patrick Lumumba’s HP computer serial number 375052-001 become available (in a big box) for examination by the Postal Police (p321, p322).

Posted on 11/30/10 at 08:36 PM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceThe timelinesCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportMeredith-case hoaxesThe Guede hoax
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: The Timeline For Events Before, During, And After The Night #1

Posted by catnip

#1 The Masssei Timeline up to midnight of 1 November.

These two posts list all of the events precisely timed in the Massei Report. Page numbers shown in brackets are those in the original Italian version.

This timeline will be reposted over on the TJMK Massei Report summaries and highlights page as we populate that page further starting this week.

There are plenty of mentions of imprecise occasions and general time periods, such as when Rudy told Giorgio Cocciaretto about liking Amanda (p26) or when lawyer Palazzoli found out their stolen computer had been recovered in Milan (p33), but they are not listed here.


Raffaele Sollecito tranfers from his home town Giovinazzo to Perugia to study Computer Science; he takes up lodgings at the ONAOSI halls until 2005; he is a taciturn and introverted student; the college masters are surprised by a bestiality porn video he has; they place him under monitor watch; his father will testify that he is in the habit of carrying a small knife around in his pocket, for carving bark and scuplting small objects (p50).


Giacomo Silenzi arrives in Perugia; takes up residence in the downstairs flat at No 7, Via della Pergola (p25).



Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti move into the cottage at Via della Pergola, occupying two rooms on the upper storey; because there is a second bathroom, and another two rooms, they start searching for flatmates to share the 1200 euro per month rent (p15).

Amanda Knox has saved up enough and departs the United States; she goes to Germany (p50).

A few months before October

Raffaele Sollecito has a brief fling, a couple of days, with a girl from Brindisi (p50).

End of August to beginning of September

Amanda arrives in Perugia with her sister; finds the cottage; after going back to Germany and returning to Perugia, she will begin studying: “a good and diligent student” says her teacher Antonella Negri (p50).

1 September

Meredith departs for Perugia to start her ERASMUS courses; she chose Perugia because it is small and easily reachable from the airport; at first she stays in a hotel (p10).

2 September 2007

Sophie Purton meets Meredith; they hit it off immediately and are soon visiting each other daily; Sophie later testifies that Meredith’s relationship with Amanda is amicable even though some of Amanda’s habits are annoying (p23).

Early September 2007

Amanda arrives and says she is interested in the cottage; she takes the room between Filomena and what will become Meredith’s room, then departs for a bit to visit an aunt in Germany (p15).

Mid September 2007

Meredith arrives at the cottage, and takes the room furthest from the front door, the one facing the countryside and next to the second bathroom (p15).

28 September 2007

Meredith returns home to get warmer clothes; she returns to Perugia on 1 October (p10).

End September – Beginning October 2007

Robyn Butterworth arrives in Perugia; takes up residence in Via Bontempi; immediately gets to know Meredith (p20).

October? 2007

Patrick Lumumba hires Amanda Knox to work in his bar, Le Chic; at first it is every day, starting at around 21:30-220:00, then it becomes twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday (p50).

Mid-October 2007

Giacomo Silenzi from the flat downstairs begins a romantic relationship with Meredith after a night out at the Red Zone club; Rudy expresses an interest in Amanda to Giacomo, Marco, and Stefano when visiting in the downstairs flat; Amanda is also there; on another occasion, Giacomo remembers Rudy, who had been drinking, asking, when they were all at a pub before going home, whether Amanda was already engaged – this was before Amanda had met Raffaele (pp25-26).

13 October 2007

Overnight, someone breaks into the law offices of Paolo Brocchi and Matteo Palazzoli by smashing a window with a big enough rock; there are pieces of glass everywhere on the floor, and their clothing has been tossed on top of the glass; initial inspection reveals a computer, a mobile phone, some USB memory keys, and a portable printer have been taken (p33).

Third Weekend of October 2007

Amy Frost goes to the Red Zone disco with Amanda (p22).

25 October 2007

Amanda and Raffaele meet for the first time. The relationship is intense; Raffaele treats and cuddles Amanda “as if she were a little girl” says his father; every day when his father called, and often multiple times during the same day, Raffaele talked about Amanda (pp50-51).

26 October 2007

Filomena meets Amanda’s boyfriend Raffaele for the first time; it is the day after Amanda and Raffaele first met (p15); it is Laura who tells her that he is a friend of Amanda’s; Filomena sees him another two or three times at the cottage; Laura remembers seeing Raffaele at the cottage around four times, and that in the coming days Amanda will often sleep at Raffaele’s: “they were continuosly hugging each other”, Laura remembers, “Raffaele was especially tender and sometimes, to me, seemed almost a bit possessive” (p51).

End October 2007

The Sunday after the Red Zone night where Giacomo and Meredith begin their relationship, Rudy drops around for a visit to the boys’ flat downstairs, univited; it is the day of the Grand Prix; that night, Giacomo and Meredith spend the night in his room; Amanda spends the night with Daniele in the upstairs flat, in Amanda’s room, according to what Daniele tells Giacomo (p26).

Stefano Bonassi, one of the four boys in the downstairs flat, who has been in Perugia for four years studying, first meets Raffaele Sollecito (p26).

27 October 2007, Saturday

Morning: Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, kindergarten manager in Milan, finds Rudy at the Via Plinio kindergarten coming out of her office; there were no signs of a break-in; in Rudy’s backpack there is computer; the police, when called, ask him to empty his backpack: there is a 40cm-long kitchen knife, a set of keys, a woman’s gold watch; a little hammer like those emergency ones for breaking glass that are on the buses; the police tell her the computer was stolen from lawyers in Perugia; Rudy says he was told the kindergarten was a doss-house and paid a 50 euro fee to his informant; the kitchen knife was in the kitchen, the door to which was unlocked (pp32-33).

28 October 2007, a Sunday

22:36 The Amelie.avi media file finishes downloading via P2P onto Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop (p326).

29 October 2007

The last day Giacomo Silenzi sees Meredith alive: before departing for the holidays, he asks Meredith to water his marijuana plants; only he and Stefano Bonassi remain in the downstairs flat because of the holidays; the other two boys in the downstairs flat have already departed (p25).

A co-worker at the Brocchi and Palazzoli law offices calls Paolo Brocchi to say that in the corridor there’s a person who says he was found with the goods in Milan, but says he purchased them legitimately; Brocchi later recognises the person as Rudy (p33).

30 October 2007

Returning home in the late afternoon after work, Filomena has a long gossip with Meredith (p15).

31 October 2007

Morning: Jovana Popovic’s mother tells her that the next day she will send a suitcase by bus so that it will arrive by midnight (p52).

Afternoon Sophie says Meredith sent her an SMS saying that she (Meredith) was on her way downstairs to the boys’ apartment to water the marijuana plants (p23).

18:27:50 Meredith’s Italian phone (the Motorola Vodaphone loaned to her by Filomena) sends an SMS to phone xx1724 through the Piazza Luppatelli sector 7 cell covering Via della Pergola and receives a reply two minutes later through the same cell at 18:29:05 (p338, p347).

22:14 Raffaele’s landline receives a call from his father, 44 seconds (p343).

Around 22:30 Marta Nieto and Carolina Martin, who live in the flat above Rudy in Via del Canerino, meet Rudy at their friend Adriana Molina’s place in Via Campo di Battaglia; there are about 30 people there; they party until around midnight, then go to another Spanish friend’s place, and then on to the Domus club; Rudy is with them all the time; the only one they see him dancing with is a girl with long blonde hair (p29).

At night:  For Halloween, Meredith, Robyn, Amy, Rachel, Sophie, Nathalie, Lina and Monic dine together; then go to the Merlin and, later, the Domus, finally returning home about 4-5am; Amy remembers she and Robyn accompanied Meredith to the basktball courts in Piazza Grimana; Robyn remembers Amanda having asked Meredith to go out together (pp21-22).

01 November 2007

00:00:39 Raffaele’s phone makes an outgoing call (p341).

00:02:41 Raffaele uses his landline and calls his father for 262 seconds (p343).

00:41:49 Amanda makes an outgoing call to an unidentified person, 20 seconds (p345).

00:57 Raffaele’s phone receives an incoming SMS (p341).

00:57:20 Amanda, located somewhere in the city centre, sends an SMS to Raffaele to meet up with him at his house (p345).

01:04:48 Amanda’s phone receives an incoming call, 53 seconds, from landline xxx789.

During the day Before leaving the cottage to go to her boyfriend’s, and needing to change her clothes, Filomena asks Amanda’s help in wrapping a birthday present; Filomena is going with her boyfriend Marco to Luca Altieri’s house for his birthday party; Amanda is having breakfast and says Meredith is asleep in her room; for the rest of the day and the following night, Filomena is at her boyfriend’s (pp15-16).

Filomena remembers pulling the shutters closed on her window, as much as possible due to the swollen wood (p36).

Afternoon The film Stardust is downloaded via P2P onto Raffaele’s laptop (p331). Six files were requested; the first three downloaded were played, and the other requests were cancelled (p332).

Meredith and her mother talk on the phone for the last time; Meredith says she is planning to return home on 9 November for her mother’s birthday on the 11th (p10).

Meredith has a suitcase ready full of Perugian chocolate, intended as a gift to her sister Stephanie (pp10-11).

14:25 Raffaele’s phone has an incoming call, 58 seconds long (p341).

14:31:33 Meredith’s English phone, a Sony Ericsson, has a call via cell 25620 covering Via della Pergola; this call and the calls up until 15:55:57 also have their details recorded in the phone’s memory (p336, p349)

15:01:58 Meredith’s English phone has a call via cell 25621 covering Via della Pergola (p337)

15:48:56 Meredith’s English phone has a call via cell 25621 covering Via della Pergola (p337)

15:55:03 Meredith’s English phone has a call via cell 25621 covering Via della Pergola (p337)

15:55:57 Meredith’s English phone has a call via cell 25621 covering Via della Pergola (p337)

Around 16:00 Meredith arrives at Robyn’s place; with Amy and Sophie, they have a pizza dinner, maybe around 18:00, then look at the Halloween photos on the computer, then watch a film, halfway through the film they have an apple crumble with ice cream, and call it a night before 21:00 (p21).

16:50 Raffaele’s phone has an incoming call, from his father, 214 seconds long (p341).

16:56 Raffaele’s phone has an another incoming call from his father, 64 seconds long (p341).

Around 17:45 Jovana Popovic passes by Raffaele’s house to ask him for a lift to the bus station; Amanda opens the door and Raffaele is there (p52).

Around 18:00 The pizza dinner at Robyn’s place begins (p21).

18:27:15 The film file Amelie.avi begins playing via the VLC application on Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop (p327).

20:18:12 Amanda, via a cell that does not cover Raffaele’s home, receives an SMS from Patrick Lumumba asking her not to come in to work that evening (p345). Amanda is located inside a phone cell which covers her route to Lumumba’s pub (p345).

20:20 Jovana Popovic’s lecture at the Three Arches ends; her mother had called to say that she was unable to send the suitcases because the driver refused to take them; Jovana starts walking to Raffaele’s to tell him she no longer needs a lift to the station (p53).

20:35:48 Amanda, located in Corso Garibaldi or environs, sends an SMS in response to Patrick’s (p345). No further activity occurs on Amanda’s phone for the rest of the day; Amanda declared during the hearings that she switched her phone off when she got back to Raffaele’s house because she was happy not to go into work and be able to spend the night with her boyfriend (p345).

Around 20:40 Jovana Popovic arrives at Raffaele’s to tell him about the lift; Amanda opens the door and tells her that Raffaele is in the bathroom (p53).

20:42:56 Raffaele’s phone has a call, and is located in Corso Garibaldi (p339). The call is from his father, who has just come out of the movie theatre and recommends the film; Raffaele mentions the leaking pipe in the kitchen to him; Amanda and Raffaele must therefore have finished dinner around this time (p341, p384). Raffaele tells his father that he is with Amanda, and will be with her the following day as well, having in fact organised a trip to Gubbio; he mentions noticing the water leak while he was washing the dishes (p52).

20:56 Meredith’s English phone recorded details of an attempt for an outgoing call “home”, to her mother (p350).

Around 21:00 Meredith returns home to the cottage (p388), leaving Robyn and Amy’s place with Sophie (p21); Sophie remembers waving goodbye to Meredith at 20:55 because at 21:00 there was a program on that she had to watch (p24).

Around 21:30 – 22:00 Antonio Curatolo, a reliable witness, while reading the Espresso newspaper, notices Amanda and Raffaele in the little square in front of the University for Foreigners; he knows each of them from before, by sight; he notices them again around 23:00 (p383).

21:10:32 The film file Amelie.avi closes on Raffaele’s MacBookPro laptop, from either being stopped, or reaching the end of the file (p327). Raffaele’s computer remains connected to the Net throughout the night and only 11 files are created, at regular intervals, by either the operating system (Mac OS X) or within the Mozilla Firefox browser cache; the P2P service also remains active (p328). The logs from Raffaele’s service provider, FastWeb, show no web page retrieval requests during this time period (p330).

21:58 Meredith’s English phone recorded details of an attempt to call Voicemail; no phone traffic was generated according to the phone provider’s records, as would be expected if the caller disconnected before the welcome message finished, consistent with a parsimonious student (p350, p352, p353).

Around 22:00 Mrs Lana recieves a threatening phone call advising her not to use the toilet because there’s a bomb. She immediately notifies the police, who arrive and find nothing; the call is a hoax; Mrs Lana and her husband are asked to come to the police station the following morning to report the phone call (p12).

22:00 Meredith’s English phone composed the number for “Abbey” (an English bank), the first entry in the contacts list, but since the international prefix was left off, the call did not connect; the roaming profile provider Wind captured the details, the phone’s memory did not (p350, p353).

22:13:19 In her last call for the day, Meredith’s English phone does a 9-second GPRS connection to IP address, via cell 30064, covering Via della Pergola and which does not cover Via Sperandio (p337, p350). This might have been an MMS message from its size, 4708 bytes received, 2721 bytes sent; alternatively, it may have been a brief WAP Internet connection, but, based on the byte traffic, with no fruitful interaction occuring; alternative three, it was an unintended WAP connection with a delayed disconnection. Since the MMS was not stored in the phone’s memory, the Court inferred that Meredith simply deleted it without opening it (p351, p352, p353)

Around 23:00 Antonio Curatolo, on his park bench, again notices Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana; he sees Raffaele going to the railing and looking through it, to where the Via della Pergola driveway gate is located (p384).

Around 23:00 The circumstances point towards Amanda, with Raffaele in tow, letting inside Rudy the cottage at Via della Pergola at this time (p384, p389). It would have been immediately obvious that Meredith was home: her door unlocked as usual, probably reading or studying, and, because of the blood and traces on her clothes, and her top being rolled up, she was still dressed, and therefore awake; plus also the wounds show she wasn’t in bed when the attack occurred (p389).

23:14 Raffaele’s father sends him an SMS, which is received on Raffaele’s phone the following morning at 06:02 (p340).

To be continued in Post #2

Posted on 11/29/10 at 01:12 PM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceThe timelinesStaged breakinCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportMeredith-case hoaxesThe Guede hoaxThe staged breakin
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corruption Of Appeal? Angry Top Criminal Judge Chiari Is Mysteriously Forced Aside

Posted by Peter Quennell

Only one month ago Umbria’s top criminal judge Sergio Matteini Chiari was to preside.

Now a very angry Judge Chiari has been forced aside with no public explanation from Chief Judge De Nunzio [image below] as to why.

A wildly wrongly qualified judge, Hellmann, a business judge with just two criminal trials in his past, both fiascos, mysteriously takes his place.

Rumors of foul play are appearing in the Italian media. Has Chief Judge De Nunzio been leaned upon politically? Do big bucks or rogue masons have any role in this?

Andrea Vogt includes this on the change of judges in another excellent report.

PERUGIA, Italy—As grieving family members mourn the third anniversary of Meredith Kercher’s murder, Italian court officials have changed the judge who will preside over the appeal of her convicted killer, Amanda Knox, just weeks before the highly anticipated trial is set to begin….  In Umbria, the last-minute shuffling of magistrates in one of Italy’s most high-profile international cases has some wondering what kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering might be happening on the eve of Knox’s Nov. 24 appeal.

Legal observers in Perugia… maintain the change of magistrates from Sergio Matteini Chiari to Claudio Pratillo Hellmann was simply an “internal administrative issue.”

Matteini Chiari, a judge who prosecuted the controversial Andreotti appeals trial over the mafia murder of an Italian journalist, is apparently in line to head the juvenile court. Knox’s attorney Luciano Ghirga referred to both judges as “respected and experienced.”

The new judge [Hellmann] assigned to Knox’s case is no stranger to allegations of judicial error. In fact, he was one of three judges who, in 2000, overturned a controversial conviction in the stabbing murder of Cinzia Bruno, setting free a man who had been jailed for more than seven years.

Bruno’s husband, Massimo Pisano, was convicted along with his lover in the stabbing death of Bruno, who was found in 1993 on the banks of the Tiber River, near Rome. He was sentenced to life in prison, a ruling upheld in all three phases of Italian court process, including the Supreme Court.

Then, a “revision” of the case by a three-man court of appeals panel, including Pratillo Hellman, freed Pisano after he had already served seven years, six months and 12 days behind bars.

The Bruno case is, of course, no indicator of how Pratillo Hellman might approach Knox’s case. However, it shows a willingness to go against the judicial grain that is likely to please hopeful Knox supporters.

The new judge’s initial approach to the case will become clear on the very first day of the trial, when he will have to decide a variety of issues, such as whether or not witnesses and evidence should be reheard or introduced.

Prepare for a “messy” appeal at best?

Posted on 10/31/10 at 12:26 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calunnia Claims At The Core Of The Problem For Amanda Knox - And Her Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell

Here is Amanda Knox claiming mistreatment as the reason why she falsely fingered Patrick Lumumba.

This was the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room on 12 June 2009. It was legitimate for the reporters there to capture it.

Our Italy-based Italian-speaking posters Fiori and Nicki both observed that to many or most Italians. Knox’s two days on the stand rang pretty hollow. She apparently needed to come across as a lot more fragile for the claims in the video to ring true.

Yesterday at the first hearing to set the date for Knox’s new trial, the number of police interrogators who are considered to have been targets of calunnia Amanda Knox was stated as twelve.

They will presumably all be testifying both at Knox’s new trial in October, and at the trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who allegedly repeated Knox’s claims on TV, and for whom the first hearing is coming up on 7 July.

They could face prison time and/or fines.

Judge Claudia Matteini observed that her presiding over the early hearings into Meredith’s case in 2008 (and denying Knox house arrest, a denial believed based in part on a psychological profile never made public) was not automatically a reason for her being replaced as a judge in this new case.

Knox had not made the claims you can see in the video at the time Judge Matteini was presiding. However, she agreed with what seems a reasonable defense request that a higher court should take the question of a possible conflict of interest under review.

She stated that the appeals court will issue a decision on who should be the judge for the new trial on 17 June.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

This Was Definitely Not A Close Or Indecisive Case - Reasonable Doubt Was In Fact Totally Eliminated

Posted by FinnMacCool

You can see from the posts directly below that the Knox-was-framed camp is, if anything, becoming more superficial with all those pesky facts rather than less.

Hard reality is that nobody has ever come within light-years of constructing an alternative scenario of the crime. Hard reality is that for Knox and Sollecito the totality of the facts, seen together as the judges and jury did, are extremely damning. Hard reality is that the verdicts were decisive and unanimous. And hard reality is that Judges Sentencing Report due out some time this week will apparently be quite definitive. 

But the nasty, trite and misleading dog-and-pony shows continue. Like that for Oprah’s audience, as described in the posts below. And like this post by a Washingon DC writer Matthew Harwood who apparently came lately to the case and whose grasp of it is flimsy and untethered.

Harwood’s post appeared on the site for the one apologist newspaper for Knox in the UK, the Guardian (is the Guardian editor on the Knox PR payroll? nah…!) in an area called “Comment Is Free”.  That title comes from CP Snow’s observation that “comment is free but facts are sacred.”  Harwood’s blog and the Guardian in general seem a lot stronger on the freedom of comment than they are the sacredness of the facts.

Harwood opens with the bizarre claim that “anyone who has followed the trial should have had a gnawing feeling that the bars closed on the wrong people” and then predictably goes on to argue that the “right person” was the black man, Rudy Guede, who was in fact, um, convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Nobody looking at the case thinks that the guilty parties are still out there. The two minority partisan views are, for Knox and Sollecito, that Guede acted alone; and for Guede, that Knox and Sollecito were the instigators and the main perpetrators of the crime.

The majority non-partisan view – ratified by an incredibly cautious and painstaking succession of court hearings and a really massive body of evidence – is that all three are guilty of the murder and sexual assault of Meredith, that reasonable doubt probably fled the courtroom about the time that Knox got on the stand and shot herself in both feet, and that the judges and jury were swayed only by what they saw in front of them, and so the verdicts and sentences are quite correct.

The facts-lite version of Harwood is very typical (some might say suspiciously typical) of the claims still occasionally made that there still is reasonable doubt. And that somehow the incredibly large number of fine Italian professionals daffily got it all wrong and the writer is the lone smart guy who got it right.

Let us dismember the few skimpy arguments Harwood advances to smugly declare “case closed and only Guede is guilty” and see if anything is left standing.

That the non-sequestering of the jury caused it to ignore what it saw in front of it

Harwood writes: “The jury in the Perugia sentenced Knox and Sollecito to prison for about a quarter of their lives, despite no motive, scant physical evidence, and no prior criminal histories.”

Meredith of course was deprived of 100% of the rest of her own life and she appears to have been a far finer person than all three. Let’s leave aside, for a moment, the choice of that flexible word “scant”, beyond observing that a succession of courts have found the physical evidence sufficient to proceed and ultimately to convict Guede, Knox and Sollecito.

Harwood goes on to make the claim (the same claim made on Oprah) that “[unlike in] the US, juries in Italy are not sequestered.”

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law makes the following observation about jury sequestration in the United States:

Jury sequestration is rare. Typically ordered in sensational, high-profile criminal cases, sequestration begins immediately after the jury is seated and lasts until the jury has delivered its verdict. It is unusual for juries to be sequestered longer than a few days or a week. Occasionally, however, jurors are sequestered for weeks. The 1995 trial of former football star O. J. (Orenthal James) Simpson for murder was highly unusual: the Simpson jury was sequestered for eight and a half months — half as long as the period Simpson was imprisoned while under arrest and on trial. The experience provoked protest from the jurors and calls for legal reform.

It is worth noting that the expensively sequestered jury in the OJ Simpson trial is far from universally believed to have arrived at a sound conclusion. The defense of “OJ Simpson got off, so why not me?” seems doomed to failure both legally and as a method of swaying public opinion.

The claim that Knox and Sollecito had no plausible motive for murdering Meredith Kercher also seems odd. Guede had no good reason to murder her either. But – and here’s a newsflash – Harwood and company think it is not acceptable to kill people for no good reason. In fact the reverse argument would seem more persuasive: those many murderers who kill without a good motive are and remain more of a menace to society than murderers who kill a specific person for a unique reason.

But behind the “no motive” argument is the implicit suggestion that Guede – being a young (black) male – needs no special motive for murdering a young woman. But even if we accept that uncomfortably racist-sounding premise, it still leaves Rudy Guede as the perpetrator of another motiveless crime: we have to believe that Rudy Guede staged a phony break-in at the house (and extensively cleaned-up traces of everyone except himself) where he had just murdered one of the residents.

How, precisely, does THAT help him?

That the break-in was real and that is how Rudy Guede entered the flat

There is no serious doubt that the break-in was staged. Everyone who saw Filomena’s room on the morning of November 2, 2007 (including Filomena herself) testified that the break-in looked fake.

The police officer who led the initial inquiry that morning testified that he pointed this out to Knox and Sollecito, and reported that they said nothing to counter this. For example, the broken glass was on top of the clothes that had been strewn on the floor, suggesting that the window was broken AFTER the clothes had been flung around.

Later investigation showed traces of glass from the window led from Filomena’s room, along the hall, and out to the front door. No such traces were found in the murder room itself. All of this suggests that whoever broke the window did NOT subsequently go into the victim’s room, but DID just walk straight out through the front door.

So why would Rudy Guede do this? He didn’t live in the house, so he had no reason to think that a break-in would deflect attention away from him. His own claim, that the victim herself let him into the house, is absurd, and conflicts with what we know of the victim’s movements and intentions that night. The prosecution’s theory, that all three perpetrators entered the house together, since one of them (Knox) had a key to the front door, seems trhe only one to really hold up.

Speaking of scant evidence, there is no evidence at all that Rudy Guede was ever in Filomena’s room.

If we ignore the evidence that the break-in was faked, and we suppose that he genuinely broke in to the house that way, then we have to believe that he did this while leaving no DNA traces of himself anywhere in the room (not even on the window that he would have had to climb through) although he went on to leave plenty of evidence in other parts of the house.

But forensic examination did show a trace of Knox’s DNA, mixed with the victim’s blood. In the room where the botched staging took place. (And, as we noted above, whoever broke the window seems to have gone from Filomena’s room straight out of the front door, shedding tiny particles of broken glass as they went.) 

What that leaves us with is a choice of two motiveless crimes. On the one hand, a lone killer accompanies a victim into her own home, kills her, and then fakes a break-in. On the other, three people – probably under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol – conspire to kill an innocent acquaintance, and then one of them (the one who is a resident of the house) fakes a break-in to make it look like an outside job.

Which is the more likely? The DNA evidence suggests that Knox, and not Guede, was a main party in staging the break-in.

That the crime was carried out solely by a black “drifter”

Harwood is surprised that the jury convicted Knox and Sollecito (who he wrongly claims have “no prior criminal histories”) despite having already convicted “a drifter and small-time drug dealer” called Rudy Guede.

If comment is free but facts are sacred, then the fact is that there is no indication whatsoever that Rudy Guede has ever been a drug dealer of any kind.

Such an accusation was never made in court, and formed no part of the detailed 105 page Micheli report that explained the reasons for his conviction.

Not only that, but as there is something of a weakness in the prosecution’s case (the tenuous connection between the three supposed conspirators) if there had been any indication that Guede had been a drug dealer, this could have helped the prosecution’s case immensely.

It would have provided Guede with a link to Knox and Sollecito (they admitted to being regular drug users at the time of the killing).

The “small-time drug dealer” accusation is one of the many fictions that are regularly stirred up in this PR-driven case. The term “drifter” is different, because (a bit like calling evidence “scant”) it’s flexible enough to mean whatever you want.

And Rudy Guede is, after all, a convicted murder, so we might think it acceptable to use the term “drifting” where innocent people would perhaps just be moving decisively with innocent purpose.

If we apply this rule, we can say that on the Friday before the crime, Guede “drifted” from Perugia to Milan, where he was questioned by the police after breaking into a nursery school to spend the night (as he claimed to the school owner who found him in her office the following morning). Guede was fingerprinted, released and then “drifted” back to Perugia. After the murder, he “drifted” to Germany, although a better phrase might be “attempted to escape”.

Applying the same rule to Amanda Knox, we can say that, after being fined $269 by the Seattle police in June 2007 for creating a public disturbance, she “drifted” to Europe, where in September the German branch of her family arranged for her to take up a week’s employment at the Bundestag (the German Parliament). She started this job on Monday September 10 and “drifted” out of it on Tuesday September 11.

By her own account, what she did next was this: “then i walked, and walked and walked and walked. all over berlin, for two whole days. it was great. i was supposed to pick up a bus on friday, so i spent wednesday and thursday wandering around berlin, seeing things, meeting people, drinking a glass of wine in a park near my apartment every night.”

Back in Hamburg, she discovered that her family was not happy with her for drifting off the Bundestag job and spending the week drifting about Berlin (the term is surely appropriate):

i was in trouble with my uncle who ahd landed me the job at the bundestag in the first place. aparently he had to go to a lot of trouble to get me my spot there and everyone was confused as to what had happened to me. so i talked to him today and explain ed the mess, but not before freaking out and crying a little becaue i was afraid i made my uncle look bad in front of these very importan people. oops. to say the least. [All spellings and punctuation are Knox’s own.]

That the hard evidence is very scanty

Three weeks after Knox walked out on the Bundestag job, she arrived in Perugia. Four weeks after that, Meredith Kercher was murdered in the house they both shared on Via della Pergola.

Some of the “scant” evidence against Amanda Knox includes Knox’s DNA, some of it mixed with the victim’s blood, in the bathroom and in the room where the break-in was faked; Knox’s DNA on the handle of a knife found in the kitchen of Knox’s new boyfriend Sollecito, with the victim’s DNA on the blade; and a woman’s shoeprint found on a pillowcase under the victim’s body – the shoe size is too big to be the victim’s, and too small to be Guede’s, but happens to be precisely the right size to be Amanda Knox’s.

What initially raised police suspicions about Knox and Sollecito was the fact that their alibis did not match up. In court, Knox gave her own (often self-contradictory) account of what happened that night, but it was impossible to compare this with that of Raffaele Sollecito, since Sollecito consistently refused to testify anew on his alibi since his final November 2007 version.

However, something that we do know is what Sollecito originally said about how the victim’s blood might have got on the blade of his kitchen knife.

He wrote in a letter to his family: “The fact that there is Meredith’s DNA on the kitchen knife is because once while cooking together at home, I stumbled while handling the knife. I had the point on her hand, and immediately afterward I apologized but there was no serious harm to her. So the only real explanation of the kitchen knife is this.”

Well, it’s one explanation. Comment is free, but facts are sacred, and the fact is that Meredith Kercher never set foot in Sollecito’s apartment, as we now know (from the trial testimony).

That the jury and Italy in general convicted because of the lives they led

Harwood concludes: “But for people who still believe in a reasonable doubt, there’s considerable unease that these two young people may be spending a good portion of their lives behind bars because the jury, the prosecution, and Italian society did not approve of the lives they led, especially Amanda Knox.”

Wow. That really nasty anti-Italy argument yet again? Don’t believe what Knox’s PR machine tells you, Matthew Harwood, and don’t slime Italy or its excellent justice system. Don’t in fact sound like a racist and xenophobic jerk. Try doing your own research, and go a great deal deeper than you just did.

There is no reasonable doubt left at all. Knox and Sollecito tortured and stabbed Meredith in a very depraved way, probably on a cocaine high with severe psychological underpinnings. Then they took away her phones while she was still alive, locked her door, and left her to die an agonizing death clutching her neck to stop her lifeblood running out. The autopsy report is OVERWHELMING that three people had to have been involved.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted not because of the lives they led, but because of the sheer weight of the evidence of the very gruesome cruel deeds they carried out against poor Meredith.

No reasonable doubt.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Driving Psychology In The Perugia Case: Could Those Just Convicted Be “Charming Psychopaths”?

Posted by Miss Represented

Those not yet familiar with the “charming psychopath” concept may be in for a surprise when they google the term.

It has been quite thoroughly explored in the past decade, in part with the hope of preventing future crimes. Many thousands of relatives and friends of both victims and perpetrators have had their lives upended when one or other charming psychopath - probably part of a large pool - sheds any constraints and a cool callous murder results. 

The “charming” component leads easily to denial. There is quite a history of campaigns that set out to deny that any particular such murderer could actually have done it.

They simply seemed far too nice. 

A widely read article by Robert D Hare on charming psychopaths in Psychology Today presented a precise description of the symptoms that should hint to the perceptive eye that something might be seriously wrong.

These are two highly-rated book-length treatments of the charming psychopath concept which have recently been selling well

Psychologists well qualified in this field have now begun to float articles on the concept as it may apply to Raffaelle Sollecito and Amanda Knox and some books will presumably follow.

Here is an article “Signs that suggest Amanda Knox is a psychopath” by a highly experienced American psychotherapist, Dr Coline Covington, who now practices in England.

She was the former Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology as well as the former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council and she has also worked for the London police.  In the article she describes Amanda’s behaviour in court:

Knox’s narcissistic pleasure at catching the eye of the media and her apparent nonchalant attitude during most of the proceedings show the signs of a psychopathic personality. Her behaviour is hauntingly reminiscent of Eichmann’s arrogance during his trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961 and most recently of Karadzic’s preening before the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

The psychopath is someone who has no concern or empathy for others, no awareness of right and wrong, and who takes extreme pleasure in having power over others. The psychopath has no moral conscience and therefore does not experience guilt or remorse.

Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them.

The psychopath is the conman, or in the case of Amanda Knox, the con-woman par excellence. Her nickname ‘Foxy Knoxy’, given to her as a young girl for her skills at football, takes on a new meaning.

Whether or not Knox, who is appealing her verdict, is ultimately found guilty, her chilling performance remains an indictment against her. Her family’s disbelief in the outcome of the trial can only be double-edged.

This is not the only time a suggestion has been made that Amanda has displayed behaviour which is often associated with psychopathy. It is a view that I myself have supported in the past.

And similar arguments have just been made by Professor David Wilson and Professor David Canter.  Rather lurid headlines, but their science is sound.

On my companion website to TJMK on the psychological dimensions of the case, Miss Represented, there is some interesting discussion in the Comments on the arguments for charming psychopathia now being presented.

These articles are probably only the tip of the iceberg as more psychoanalysts get drawn to this case.

Posted on 12/31/09 at 08:59 AM by Miss Represented. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveTrials 2008 & 2009
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Italians Have For A Long Time Known How Depraved And Cruel The Final Struggle Was

Posted by Peter Quennell

As you can see in the prosecutors’ scenario posted below, we did not translate and post quite everything.

Meredith’s final 15-minute struggle is not there.

Back in January of this year the Micheli Report described in great detail Meredith’s autopsy, the wounds on her body, and the horrific state of her room.

There were literally DOZENS of evidence points. And it is crystal-clear that there is no way in the world that the attack was carried out by a single person.

Those descriptions had some of our Italian translators crying when they read the passages, and several said they slept badly for days.

We decided not to post those passages, because they put out in the open things that had been described only in closed session.

Our translators had trouble translating around those passages, and our poster Brian S worked for weeks to get the tone and coverage of his series of posts just right.

What we did post were the only long excerpts of the report in the English-speaking world.

The UK and US mainstream media pretty well ignored the Micheli Report. The UK media published only brief, mild excerpts, and the US media published NONE AT ALL.

Even today, few American journalists seem to realize that the report even exists.

In very sharp contrast, long excerpts were published in Italy.

And after a while as required by Italian law the Ministry of Justice in Rome posted the entire Micheli Report on their website. Many thousands of Italian speakers have been to that website and read the report in full. 

So there is not very much that Italian followers of the case dont know about Meredith’s final 15 minutes.

The timeline and the computer simulation that the prosecutors presented last Friday were put fully out in the open. The media were all there. And if there is a guilty verdict in this trial, the judges’ sentencing report must be out by early March.

This time around we will post the complete report.

If justice for Meredith is to be seen to be done, people need to read the entire thing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Prosecutions’ Closed-Court Reconstruction Of The Brutal And Prolonged Torture Attack

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Prosecution video not entered in evidence; this is from the fairly accurate Lifetime Movie

This time-line for the evening of 1 November 1 2007 was presented on Friday 21 November 2009.

It was accompanied by a very graphic computer simulation of all the events described except for the arrival of Rudy Guede, the timing of which is unknown but seems to have been late - maybe around 11:30 pm.

This account is of a premeditated and prolonged attack on Meredith, in which Knox and Sollecito may have watched Meredith’s house from this position above in the park for an hour and a half before they even entered the house.

Meredith was inside the whole time.

We have left out the depiction of the long final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing as in the evidence phase the facts here were testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request.

It is made very clear that Meredith put up a tremendous fight, over a period of approximately 15 minutes, with three strong attackers, before she finally succumbed holding her neck to try to stop her lifeblood running out.

    15:48: Meredith texts to her English friends that she will be slightly late for her dinner meeting with them.

    16:00 - Meredith leaves the house in Via della Pergola to go to the home of her friends. A few minutes later Raffaele and Amanda leave the cottage in Via della Pergola to go Sollecito’s place.

    18:00 - Amanda Knox leaves Raffaele Sollecito’s house. This is indicated by cell phone records.

    18:27 - Raffaele Sollecito interacts with his laptop to watch the film “Amelie” alone at home.

    20:18 - Amanda Knox in Via Ulisse Rocchi receives a text message (sms) from Patrick Lumumba telling her not to come to work that night.

    20.30 - Amanda Knox goes back to Via Garibaldi to the apartment of Raffaele Sollecito.

    20:38 - Amanda sends a text message (sms) in reply to Patrick Lumumba.

    20:46 - Sollecito turns off his mobile phone. He is still at home in Via Garibaldi.

    20:45 – Meredith’s meal of pizza with her English friends ends. She starts off in the direction of Via della Pergola with a girlfriend who will leave her halfway to go to her own home.

    21:00 - Meredith is at home, she eats a mushroom, she lies down on her bed, and she reads some university lecture notes.

    21:10 - From this point on there is no more human interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer.

    21:45 - Amanda and Raffaele leave his apartment and go to the Piazza Grimana. Less than 100 meters away from the house in Via della Pergola, the two talk and watch the house and decide what to do. They show a suspicious attitude which is reported in court by the witness Curatolo

    23:20 - Amanda opens the door of Via della Pergola.

    23.20 - Amanda, Raffaele and Rudy enter the house in Via della Pergola, where Meredith is already present in her room [On the court video there is no simulation of the meeting between Amanda and Rudy, because the reconstruction is based on testimony, the autopsy evidence and medical findings.]

    23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

    23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

    23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a prolonged struggle with Meredith at knifepoint, largely undressed, with her several times trying to regain her feet. She was not raped, though sexual humiliation occurred.

    23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

    00.10 - Meredith’s mobile phones are thrown into a garden in Via Sperandio.

    00.15 - From this moment, there are no certainties on the times for the rearrangement of the crime scene carried out by Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito.

However according to the prosecution in the wee hours of the night Knox and Sollecito returned to the scene of their crime to try and clean up some footprints and to break the window glass of Filomena’s room. The aim was to simulate a robbery that ended in murder and they are charged with this too.

The translation here, by Tiziano and our other Italian-speakers, is from Il Messagero and other Italian newspapers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #5 Defendants’ Claims Shown To Be A Mass Of Contradictions

Posted by The Machine

[Above: Perugia’s central police station]


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

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

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

Now we look at the many contradictory statements of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito brought out by the prosecution.

The prosecution showed that not only are they contradicted by one another. They are contradicted by telephone and computer records, by closed-circuit TV footage, and by the corroborated testimony of several witnesses.

One question that Judge Massei and Judge Cristiana and the six members of the jury will now be asking themselves is: if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent and had nothing to hide, why did they lie so repeatedly?

Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers have had the unenviable task of trying to explain all their contradictions away.

Sollecito’s lawyers have argued that he lied out of confusion and fear. Knox’s lawyers have argued that she dramatically changed her version of events because she was hit and mistreated by the police on 5 November 2007.  Neither of these claims stood up to close scrutiny.

And the prosecution made it overwhelmingly apparent to the judges and the jury that Knox and Sollecito each lied deliberately and repeatedly to various people even before they were suspects and even before Knox was questioned on 5 November.

It was made intensely obvious that Knox and Sollecito’s versions of what they did on 1 November had very little in common with each other, especially in that part of the evening when they both claim they couldn’t remember very much because they were suffering from cannabis-induced amnesia.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that shows that cannabis can cause such dramatic amnesia. Skunk cannabis can cause extreme psychotic episodes and murders have occurred as a result. Long term use of cannabis can affect short-term memory and users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But wipe out whole chunks of an evening from anyone’s memory banks? The proof simply isn’t there..

1-A) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito told investigators that Knox and he had left the cottage on Via della Pergola at 6.00pm and that they went for a walk downtown. They passed through Piazza Grimana, Piazza Morlacchi and the main fountain in Corso Vannucci.

1-B) The afternoon of 1 November 2007 according to Amanda Knox

Knox told investigators it was an hour earlier at 5.00pm and that they went straight to Sollecito’s apartment.

2-A) The evening of 1 November 2007 according to Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito first claimed in an interview with Kate Mansey from the Sunday Mirror that he and Amanda Knox were at a friend’s party on the night of the murder.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, computer expert Mr Trotta said that the film had actually been watched at around 6.30 pm.

On 5 November Sollecito told police that Knox went to meet friends at Le Chic at around 9pm and that she didn’t return until about 1am:

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

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11pm. Phone records show that there was no telephone conversation at this time. Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier at 8.40pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was alone and surfing the Internet from 11pm to 1am. No technical evidence of this was introduced. computer specialists have testified that his computer was not used for an eight-hour period on the night of Meredith’s murder

The Kercher’s lawyer, Franco Maresca, pointed out that credible witnesses had really shattered all of Sollecito’s alibi for the night of the murder.

2-B) The evening of 1 November according to Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox told the police that she hadn’t replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message. The police knew full well that this wasn’t true because they already had her mobile phone records that proved that she had texted him.

“After that [finding out she wasn’t required at Le Chic] I believe we relaxed in his room together, perhaps I checked my email.” But no internet activity at all was proven at Sollecito’s apartment beyond the early evening.

“One thing I do remember is that I took a shower with Raffaele and this might explain how we passed the time. In truth, I do not remember exactly what day it was, but I do remember that we had a shower and we washed ourselves for a long time. He cleaned my ears, he dried and combed my hair.”

But Sollecito made no mention of taking a shower with Amanda Knox on the night of the murder.

In Amanda Knox’s handwritten note to the police she claimed that she and Sollecito ate around 11.00pm:

“One of the things I am sure that definitely happened the night on which Meredith was murdered was that Raffaele and I ate fairly late, I think around 11 in the evening”

But Knox testified at the trial that she and Sollecito ate around 9.30pm.  “After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor.”

3) The early hours of 2 November

Both Knox and Sollecito claim that they woke up late on 2 November. However, their mobile phone records show the mobiles were turned on at approximately 6.02am. Sollecito also used his computer at 5.32am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

4) The afternoon of 2 November

At 1208pm, Amanda Knox called Filomena and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom. Knox claims that she made this call from Sollecito’s apartment.

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

Knox claimed that when she called Meredith’s Italian phone it “just kept ringing, no answer”.

Her mobile phone records show this call lasted just three seconds, and the call to the UK phone lasted just four seconds. (Meredith’s 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. There were no messages left.)

At 12.34pm Amanda and Filomena again spoke on their phones. Filomena said, “We spoke to each other for the third time and she told me that the window in my room was broken and that my room was in a mess. At this point I asked her to call the police and she told me that she already had.”

The prosecution introduced records to show that Knox and Sollecito didn’t actually call the police until 12.51pm.

In her email to friends in Seattle on 4 November, Amanda Knox says she called Meredith’s phones after speaking to Filomena. Knox’s mobile phone records prove that this was untrue.

In the email, Amanda also claims that she called Filomena back three quarters of an hour later – after Raffaele finished calling the police at 12:55pm. But cellphone records show that Knox never ever called Filomena back at all.

Sollecito and Knox both claimed they had called the police before the postal police had turned up at the cottage and were waiting for them. Sollecito later admitted that this was not true, and that he had lied because he had believed Amanda Knox’s version of what had happened.

He said he went outside “to see if I could climb up to Meredith’s window” but could not. “I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.

He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.” (The Times, 7 November, 2007).

The CCTV cameras in the car park record the arrival of the postal police at 12.25pm which corroborates Sollecito’s admission that he had spoken rubbish.

Knox’s email to friends in Seattle describes the decision to call the police as something implemented by herself and Sollecito, after she had tried to see through Meredith’s window, and after Raffaele had tried to break down Meredith’s door.

Knox’s mobile phone records show that she called her mother at 12:47pm, but she makes no mention of this call in her email. (This call was very extensively analysed by fellow poster Finn MacCool and he showed a fascinating progression in both Amanda’s and her mother’s recollection of that call.) 

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

Amanda Knox testified that she couldn’t even remember phoning her mother, which will be very difficult for the court to believe. Phoning her mother when it is well after midnight in Seattle to tell her mother that she thought somebody had broken into her home and that her housemate was missing seems an unlikely thing to forget.

Amanda Knox told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked. Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

The prosecution also made it obvious to the court that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, like Rudy Guede, changed their stories to fit new facts as they became known:

When Sollecito was confronted with the mobile phone records on 5 November, he immediately admitted that they hadn’t called 112 before the postal police arrived.

After initially denying it, Knox readily admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed when she found out that Sollecito had stopped providing her with an alibi.

Despite this changing of their stories to take into account the latest known facts, Knox’s and Sollecito’s versions still contained numerous contradictions. Sollecito’s final alibi contains several apparent lies, and Amanda Knox accused Diya Lumumba of killing Meredith while making no mention of Rudy Guede. 

In Conclusion

The reasons Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers have given for them lying - namely false memories, confusion and fear – seem very unlikely to fly with the court.

Repeated evidence was introduced to show that Meredith’s other flatmates and friends all behaved radically differently, and told what were obvious truths that matched up repeatedly and resulted in not a single major contradiction. All were checked out in this careful fashion and then allowed to go on their way.

Only the defendants’ claims failed to coincide or match with everything else.

Again, and again, and again.

Posted on 10/11/09 at 11:35 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine


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

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

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

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

A summary overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for more detail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Version 1 Witness statement given on 2 November.

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

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

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

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

Version 2 Witness statement given on 6 November and ruled inadmissible

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

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

“He (Lumumba) wanted her (Meredith).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she concluded the note as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Conclusion

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

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

Posted on 08/18/09 at 11:15 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceKnox's alibisFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To Factually Challenged Reporter Linda Byron

Posted by Peter Quennell

Linda Byron is an investigative reporter for a TV station in Seattle.

Her investigative exclusives seem almost exclusively to consist of long and unchecked quotes from the FOA camp together with two or three spaniel-eyed questions.

Which then become yet another shrill report on Seattle TV about what those dastardly Italians are doing to poor Knox. A typical report of hers can be seen here (try later if they are still hiding it).

These are a few of the facts of the case that Linda Byron seems NOT to have mastered.

  • That the Italian process of justice is actually very fair and very cautious, is tilted much more to the defense than in the UK and US, and requires prosecutors to jump through a number of hoops before they ever get their case to trial.

  • That a judge in Perugia last January issued an impressive 106-page report which explains in great detail why he decided Guede was guilty and why a great deal of evidence suggests that Knox and Sollecito might be too.

  • That there are TWO senior and respected prosecutors on this case, not just one, that the victim’s family has expressed full confidence in them, and that neither prosecutor has ever made any claims about a satanic motive here.

  • That the prosecution has just presented a formidable case with the help of Italy’s equivalent of the FBI and Scotland Yard, and the defenses seem to be gaining little traction in bringing it down or offering alternatives

  • That almost every prosecutor in Italy runs into administrative charges at some time in their career, they are so easy to file, and the charges against Mr Mignini always did look politically motivated and frivolous and likely soon to evaporate.

  • That the sliming of Mr Mignini has not been a success, that the FOA campaign in Italy has not been a success, and that Amanda Knox on the stand doesn’t seem to have been much of a success either.

And that above all there is a REAL victim here at the heart of this sad crime, known by the name of Meredith Kercher. And that her poor family is suffering for real here -  though of course many miles away from Linda Byron.

So. Instead of good journalism at long last in her latest report, what does Linda Byron have to offer?

No surprises here. Yet more of the sliming of Mr Mignini (this is an acrobat version).

“There are many parallels between the Monster of Florence case and the Knox case, I mean there are shocking parallels,” said American crime writer Doug Preston.

Preston says Mignini believes the monster was no lone psychopath, but part of a satanic sect. He suggested an eerily similar motive for Kercher’s murder, which took place on November 1, 2007.

“Which is right before the Italian day of the dead, and that this was some kind of satanic ritualistic ceremony that they were engaged in. That they killed Meredith Kercher as part of this satanic ceremony,” said Preston….

“He decides right up front with almost no evidence based on his gut feeling or intuition that you’re guilty and then sets out to prove it,” said Preston.

Actually, there seem to be no parallels whatsoever between the Florence and Perugia cases. For example Amanda Knox was interrogated only for two rather short periods - and Mr Mignini was not even present at the first of them.

And Mr Mignini was quite tangential to the Monster of Florence case. He was actually investigating a drowning to the west of Perugia. And when Preston and his partner interfered in Mr Mignini’s case in a particularly harebrained manner, a sharp response was inevitable.

Linda Byron invited Mr Mignini to provide a response to the heated claims in her piece. Either the response was completely over her head, or she did understand it and tried to bury it - it is ONLY only available in Italian, via a link, with a second link to Yahoo’s awful cut-and-paste translator.

Here now is Mr Mignini’s entire response put into good English, not by Yahoo, but by two of our own excellent native-Italian speakers.

Dear Ms Byron,

I hope we will be able to meet and discuss sometime in person, since some of the issues you have examined, specifically the Florentine proceedings against myself and Dr Giuttari, are way too complex to be described in just a few words. I will try to give a short answer here.

To begin with, there is no relationship between the events that are the subject of Spezi’s and Preston’s book and the murder of young Ms Kercher beside the fact that I am the one person dealing with both the Narducci proceedings (connected to the Monster of Florence case) and the Meredith Kercher murder.

These two are totally different events, as well as wholly unrelated to each other, and I am not able to see any type of analogy.

Furthermore, while the precautionary custody order for Spezi has been voided by the Tribunale del Riesame of Perugia, exclusively on the grounds of insufficient elements of proof, the precautionary custody order for Knox was firmly confirmed not only by the Tribunal of Riesame in Perugia,, but above all by the Sixth Section of the Court of Cassazione, which has declared the matter decided and closed.

About the “sacrificial rite” issue, I have never stated that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.

It should be sufficient to read the charges to understand that the three defendants have been accused of having killed Ms Kercher in the course of activities of a sexual nature, which are notoriously very different from a “sacrificial rite”.

The Monster of Florence investigations have been led by the Florentine magistrates Adolfo Izzo, Silvia della Monica, Pierluigi Vigna, Paolo Canessa and some others.

I have never served in Florence. I have led investigations related to the case since October 2001, but only with regard to the death of Dr Francesco Narducci, and just a superficial knowledge of those proceedings [Dr Narducci drowned or was drowned] would suffice to realize that I never spoke of a “sacrificial rite” which in this case doesn’t make any good sense.

About the defense lawyer issue.  Mr. Preston was heard as a person claiming information about the facts (in effect a witness), but after indications of some circumstances against him surfaced, the interview was suspended, since at that point he should have been assisted by an attorney, and since according to the law the specific crime hypothesis required the proceedings to be suspended until a ruling on them was handed down.

All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.

In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.

But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful. According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.

Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.

Secondly, I have told you that explaining the nature of the accusations against me is a complex job.

In short, it has been alleged that I have favored Dr Giuttari’s position, who was investigated together with two of his collaborators for a (non-existent) political forgery of a tape recording transcription of a conversation between Dr Giuttari and Dr Canessa.

The latter was giving vent to his feelings, telling Dr Giuttari that the head prosecutor in Florence (at the time) was not a free man in relation to his handling of the Monster investigations.

A technical advisor from the prosecutor’s office in Genoa had tried to attribute that sentence to Dr Giuttari, without having previously obtained a sound test from him, only from Dr Canessa.

I decided, rightly and properly, to perform another technical test on that tape for my trial (I have a copy of it, and the original transcripts of the recording).

I had the technical test performed by the Head of the Sound Task Force of the RIS Carabinieri in Rome, Captain Claudio Ciampini.

If Giuttari had lied, Captain Ciampini would have certainly said so. But his conclusions from the analysis were that that sentence had been pronounced by Dr Canessa. And by the way, this is clearly audible.

I then deemed it appropriate to interrogate the technical adviser from Genoa, in the sphere of the investigations led by me, since the people under investigation were thoroughly but inexplicably aware of the development of the investigation of Dr Giuttari.

The technical advisor from Genoa had made some absolutely non-credible declarations, and I had to investigate him.

The GUP from Genoa, Dr Roberto Fenizia, by means of a non-contested verdict on 9 November 2006, acquitted Dr Giuttari and his collaborators, because the alleged crimes had never occurred.

Therefore, I am accused for doing a proper and due investigation, without even the consideration that I have spared some innocent people from a sentence. I leave any further evaluation up to you.

As for the phone tappings, they had been fully authorized or validated by the GIP. [Those charges are now thrown out.] Explain to me how they can be considered wrongful. I haven’t been able to understand this yet.

This is the story of that case in short, and I am certain the truth will prevail.

None of us is guaranteed not to be subjected to unjust trials, especially when sensitive and “inconvenient” investigations have been conducted.

When accusations are serious and heavy in Italy, a magistrate that has been investigated or charged suffers heavy consequences.

There are appropriate bodies in charge to intervene according to the current laws, but the Florentine penal proceeding so far hasn’t affected me at all, perhaps because everybody – and specifically those professionally working on the matter - have realized that such penal proceedings have been anomalous, to use a euphemism.

As to my possibility to appeal any conviction, the Italian law provides for it, and I don’t need to say more.

I will make some closing remarks on the different jurisdictions.

Indeed there are differences between the [UK and US] common law jurisdictions and those of continental Europe, including the Italian one, which like any other jurisdiction has its flaws but also its merits, of which I ‘m becoming more aware as I carry on.

Furthermore, both jurisdictions are expressions of the juridical culture of the Western world, and this is something that shouldn’t be disregarded.

I don’t think I need to add anything else, except that these issues would need to be discussed in a personal conversation in order to delve further into the matter.


Giuliano Mignini

No wonder Linda Byron seemed to want to bury this letter. Does anybody now not think that the charges against Mr Mignini are quite ludicrous?  Preston’s and the Florence prosecutor’s both? 

Mr Mignini seems to be suggesting to Linda Byron to hop on a plane to Italy and to try getting her facts straight once and for all. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raffaele Sollecito’s first alibi

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

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

Raffaele Sollecito’s second alibi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raffaele Sollecito’s third alibi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sollecito’s difficult situation resulting

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

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

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

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

Posted on 07/29/09 at 11:06 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsPublic evidenceSollecito's alibisTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionFamily/defense hoaxersSollecito teamRaff Sollecito
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine


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

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

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

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

1. About luminol

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

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

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

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

2. Amanda Knox

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

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

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

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

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

3. Raffaele Sollecito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 07/22/09 at 10:45 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedPublic evidenceDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Monday, July 20, 2009

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

Posted by The Machine

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


Nearly 200 hours over 23 days.

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

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

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

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

1. The Large Double DNA Kitchen Knife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Mixed Samples Of Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next post in this series will be on Wednesday.

Posted on 07/20/09 at 09:31 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedPublic evidenceDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecutionAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

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

Posted by Fiori

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

Ciao! Posting again from Florence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Findings from the US and UK system of justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likely differences under the Italian system of justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 07/11/09 at 08:30 AM by Fiori. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, July 04, 2009

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

Posted by FinnMacCool


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.


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 14, 2009

Italy Shrugs: Why The Defendant’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

Posted by Nicki

Posting from Milan (above) where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle… The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way ”, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy

Posted by Fiori

Posting from Florence (above) where we have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

I don’t believe her. It is interesting to see Amanda Knox being cool and self-confident, but testifying about how disturbed she became when the police became pushy during her interrogation. It doesn’t fit.

And it comes across as untrustworthy and contradictory that when asked about her drug use, she puts on a “schoolgirl”’ attitude: In effect “Sorry, daddy judge, I was bad, don’t punish me for being young”.  This seems definitely out of order with the rest of her performance.

“Performance” is the impression I get from viewing the segments shown from the court - a well-rehearsed performance. I suppose that the jury will wonder how this cool person can forget whether she has replied to a sms-message, how she can get so confused that she names Patrick, afterwards “is too afraid to speak to anyone but her mother”, and so on.

Most striking is that Amana Knox’s defence seems to stick firmly to the strategy of “mistreatment”; in effect that the only reason for AK being arrested is false statements produced under “illegal” pressure from the police.

By making “the ethics of police interrogation” the core question of her testimony, the defence - probably deliberately - creates a lot of associations to recent public debates of torture and interrogation techniques applied at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.

By doing so they seem to want to try to turn the jury’s attention away from the point that AK knowingly participated in a murder investigation, and that any person with her intelligence will know that anyone who is called as a witness is required to show respect for the authorities - regardless of their nationality!

With reference to a variety of public materials from the US (“48 Hours” by CBS and many other reports), the way in which the Italian police have conducted Knox’s interview does not significantly differ from similar type interrogations made by US police. (This is not a stamp of approval, but removes the reason for any serious critique of the conduct of the Italian police.)

Her calmness and cool attitude, including her performing in two languages, does not, in my view - contrary to what the defence and her father expect - help to bring about an image of “another Amanda Knox” or a “more true Amanda Knox”.

Mostly her performance seems to contribute to shaping her image as complex, manipulative, intelligent, attention-seeking, and with only vaguely defined limits of identity.

Posted on 06/13/09 at 02:04 PM by Fiori. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedPublic evidenceKnox's alibisTrials 2008 & 2009Massei defenseMeredith-case hoaxesDemonized pair hoaxKnox interrog hoaxNo-evidence hoaxAmanda Knox
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amanda Knox… Trapped, In Her Own Words

Posted by The Machine

Newcomers to the case and casual readers may not realize this.

But it is an indisputable fact that Amanda Knox has spun the truth. Tells lies. Deliberately, repeatedly, and very incriminatingly. I think it’s worth revisiting a few of her many lies for any new visitors to this board, so that they can get a clearer picture of the real strength of the case.

Some of Amanda’s vociferous supporters have claimed that Amanda only lied once - and that was because she was “smacked around” by the police, or put under pressure. And that her confessions, in which she admitted to being at the cottage on the night of the murder, were thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

It doesn’t take a careful examination of the known facts to conclude that both these claims really are nonsense. Amanda’s first known lie wasn’t to the police, but to her flatmate, Filomena, on 2 November, the day after Meredith’s murder.

Amanda phoned Filomena at 12.08 pm, and said she was worried about the front door being open and blood stains in the small bathroom. 

False claim one. Amanda said she was going to call Raffaele, but according to Raffaele, Amanda had already returned to his apartment at 11.30 am, and then they had gone back to the cottage.

At 12.34 pm Amanda and Filomena spoke again. Filomena said, “We spoke to each other for the third time and she told me that the window in my room was broken and that my room was in a mess. At this point I asked her to call the police and she told me that she already had.”

False claim two. Amanda and Raffaele didn’t actually call the police until 12.51 pm.

The postal postal police unexpectedly turned up at the cottage at 12. 35 pm.

False claim three. Amanda and Raffael told the police that they had called the police and were waiting for them.

False claim four. Amanda told the postal police that Meredith always kept her door locked. Filomena strongly disagreed with her, and told the postal police the opposite was true.

Amanda and Raffaele were then taken in for questioning.

False claim five. They said they couldn’t remember most of what happened on the night of the murder, because they had smoked cannabis.

It is medically impossible for cannabis to cause such dramatic amnesia and there are no studies that have ever demonstrated that this is possible.

Long term use of cannabis may affect short term memory, which means that users might have difficulty recalling a telephone number. But it won’t wipe out whole chunks of an evening from their memory banks.

False claim six. Amanda accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith at the cottage.

It’s true that two of Amanda’s such statements were thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, Amanda repeated the accusation, in a note that she wrote to the police on 6 November.

This note was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court, and it was admitted as evidence.

False claims seven and eight. In her 6 November note Amanda claimed to have seen Diya Lumumba at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana; and outside her front door. He was actually at his bar.

False claim nine. Amanda’s supporters claim that she confessed to a lesser role in Meredith’s murder, and blamed Diya Lumumba, because she had been “smacked around” or put under pressure by the police.

But the real reason she had to say she was at the cottage was because she was informed that Raffaele Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi.

Raffaele had been confronted with phone records, and was now claiming that she was not with him the whole evening, and that she had only returned at 1.00 am. Amanda did not attempt to refute Raffaele’s claim, but now admitted that she had been at the cottage.

The significance of this about-turn cannot be stressed enough.

(Incidentally, Raffaele was also claiming that he had lied, because he had believed Amanda’s version of what happened and not thought about the inconsistencies. He is acknowledging that Amanda’s version had inconsistencies.)

If it had been true that Amanda had been “smacked around” by the police during questioning, why haven’t her lawyers ever filed a complaint? It was very telling that Amanda dropped her allegation of being hit by the police at her recent court hearing, and instead just claimed she had been put under pressure.

There’s a world of difference between police brutality and being put under pressure. It wasn’t the first time that Amanda has made a false and malicious accusation, as Diya Lumumba knows only too well.

False claim ten. Amanda claimed to have slept in at Raffaele’s until the next morning. However, her mobile records show that this was not so.  Amanda turned on her mobile at approximately at 5.32 am.

The only plausibe explanation for Amanda’s deliberate and repeated lies? That she was involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

It should be no surprise to anyone following the case that the same three witnesses who have repeatedly lied, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, have all been placed at the crime scene.

By a total of 23 separate pieces of forensic evidence.

Renato Biondo has just recently provided independent confirmation that the scientifc police’s investigation was carried out correctly. And that the forensic findings are accurate.

Posted on 10/25/08 at 08:12 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedPublic evidenceCellphone activityCrime hypothesesAmanda Knox
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