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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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Italian justice v others, The convicted perps, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito, Officially involved, Supreme Court, Appeals 2009-2014, Cassation appeal 2, The many hoaxes, Italian justice hoax
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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
- 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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, The locations, The timelines, Knox's alibis, Sollecito's alibis, Real crimescene, DNA and luminol, The two knives, Other physical, The computers, Cellphone activity, The witnesses, Trials 2008 & 2009, Massei prosecution, Massei defense, The Massei Report, Diversion efforts by, Knox's book, Sollecito's book, The many hoaxes, No-evidence hoax
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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”.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, The convicted perps, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito, RS versus AK, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Sollecito's alibis, Crime hypotheses, The psychology, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, The many hoaxes, RS AK normal hoax
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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
- 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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Diversion efforts by, Knox's book, Sollecito's book, The many hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, The Guede hoax
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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…
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Public evidence, DNA and luminol, Other physical, Trials 2008 & 2009, The Massei Report, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, The Sollecitos, The many hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, DNA contam hoax, The Guede hoax, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Tips For The Media: Getting Up To Speed With The Hard Facts Of This Complex Case
Posted by Media Watcher
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Sollecito's alibis, Reporting on the case, Media news
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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
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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Police and CSI, The prosecutors, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, Francesco Sforza, The many hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, DNA contam hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox interrog. hoax, The Guede hoax, The Alessi hoax, The Aviello hoax, Nasty-prison hoax, Raff Sollecito
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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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Appeals 2009-2014, Cassation appeal 1, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, Raff Sollecito
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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
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, Sollecito's alibis, DNA and luminol, Trials 2008 & 2009, The Massei Report, Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann 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
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, The prosecutors, Trials 2008 & 2009, The Massei Report, Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann appeal, Diversion efforts by
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Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Powerpoints #14: Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged
Posted by James Raper With Kermit
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, The timelines, Knox's alibis, Sollecito's alibis, Real crimescene, DNA and luminol, Other physical, Cellphone activity, Crime hypotheses, Kermit Powerpoints, Various scenarios, The many hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, DNA contam hoax
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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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.  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.
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.
Meredith studied Italian language, politics, English, cinema, and more Italian.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
In 2003 the Carabinieri found Sollecito in possession of 2.67 grams of hashish.
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.
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.
Both were using drugs, which was corroborated by the statements of the flatmates, and by Knox in tapped intercepted conversations.
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. Very often Knox slept at Sollecito’s house.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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. 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). Meredith continued the short walk to her own house alone. Meredith did not say that she was meeting anyone: just that she was tired.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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, then had dinner together, but quite late, (she placed it as late as 11pm in one account but spoke of the washing up being done at 9:30-10pm in another). 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. 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.
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. 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), 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. 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. 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”. 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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Trials 2008 & 2009, Massei summary, Crime hypotheses, Various scenarios
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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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, DNA and luminol, Diversion efforts by
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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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Trials 2008 & 2009, The Massei Report, Crime hypotheses
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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  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]
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, Other physical, Trials 2008 & 2009, The Massei Report, Crime hypotheses, The Guede hoax
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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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Public evidence, DNA 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
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.
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?
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.
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.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Trials 2008 & 2009, Appeals 2009-2014, Guede appeals, Hellmann appeal, Crime hypotheses, The Guede hoax
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