Heads-up on Amanda Knox "luncheon" next week at Loyola Law School. Organizer Laura Caldwell and Dean David Yellen should be aware of this if they did due diligence. There do seem to be vastly more deserving cases in the US and they dont come with the "baggage" of xenophobia, defamation, money-grubbing, the mafias, bent judges, and stalking of the victim's family. In Supreme Court rulings Knox remains a convicted felon, and at minimum an accessory to murder.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

The Psychology Of The Human Race Puts Us On A Rising Curve Toward True Justice For All

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding

Above and below: more and more people worldwide are on the march to make justice for victims work

1. The “Just-World” Is Built

When we were children, we listened to fairy tales. Most cultures have a library of myths.

They frequently had ‘happy ever after’ endings, where everything worked out well, after many scares, struggles and deep sorrows. Rarely did the ‘bad people’ win, in the very end, although there were often sacrifices along the way required by those who were true to themselves, and cared for others and the world. The ruthless, selfish, greedy people often appeared in disguise - their ugly and scheming natures only revealed by chance at The End.

We often asked our fathers to read us these stories, before we were tucked up safely in bed. Usually we went to sleep reassured. This is because such tales reinforce a concept known as ‘the just-world’. In this just world, good thoughts and deeds are rewarded, eventually, and the bad and cruel actions will reap the punishment they deserve, even if patience is required until this comes about.

Our belief in this concept helps us, as we begin to go out in the world and face its stresses and dangers. It gives us hope and courage, in our tiny childhood bodies.

Our parents are our caretakers, there to guide us and protect us from harm. Good parents, who are teachers too, show us right from wrong, good from bad. We grow, and begin to form a sense of Self, a core self that finds meaning and values, experiences beauty and ugliness, joy and pain.

At least one of our caretakers will empathize with us, and give us what is known as validation. Gradually, we learn to be self-reliant and do this for ourselves, although we will always still turn towards the caretaker for this reassurance at certain times.

2. When Our Just-World is Broken

And then, suddenly, one day, something else happens. (Hopefully, this day doesn’t come when we are so very young - if it does, it is frequently disastrous).

Our belief in the Just World is fractured. It cracks, and comes crumbling down around us, terrifying us as it does. Life goes into slow motion, and we remember the colours, shapes, smells, words, for the rest of our lives. Someone who has done wrong is praised and rewarded, and the little person who is ‘me’, who was being as good as we knew how to be, is scolded, teased, taunted, hurt (perhaps physically), neglected, ignored, humiliated, punished. We suffer when we do not deserve to, sometimes when we least deserve to.

Most of all, our ‘caretaker’, whose function it is to protect us, now reprimands us, withdraws their love or approval and, worst of all, refuses to believe us. We are telling it as it is, telling the truth as we have been taught to do, and the very person we have entrusted with truth, rejects us, and believes the one who is lying. We feel despair,and we feel isolated. We panic inside, and experience fear as we have not known it.

Our adrenalin and other endocrine reactions are set in motion. Our heart thumps. We don’t know what to do, we feel numb, confused, it is hard to concentrate. We are unlikely to be able to say, at that point, - but what we are feeling is betrayal. All our inner security has temporarily dissolved.

Not only has the person insulted and harmed us with their wrong-doing, but they compounded this by sanctimoniously pretending that they were ‘put upon’, a victim no less, while simultaneously the true victim is blamed and derogated. It is outrageous, and moreover it is disempowering (at first).

It is our first experience of injustice.

3. The Experience of Acute Distress

If our psyche is healthy, we will recover, both physically and emotionally within a short period. Human beings have innate coping mechanisms, and we learn gradually to activate these. Different personalities develop different ways.

But the period of stress and distress does need to be of a short duration. This is important. If it is not, we now know that very real damage occurs. This is not something vague, but is actual, biological, involving the Hippocampus and other specific areas in the brain.

When we talk about ‘healing’, this is not just a fancy word for getting into a better mood : real healing and correction need to occur in the cell tissues. Stress really does damage your health, and if we need to take time out to recover from it, - this is a real need. The greater and more prolonged the distress, the longer the time needed to rebuild, to adapt and adjust. Music, and being in nature, often have an important role to play here. People find their own ways, in their own time.

The other thing of prime importance is contact and talking, sharing, with others to whom we feel bonded. It may seem like saying the obvious - but it has been shown that victims of trauma heal very much more quickly when their contact with their loved ones in the aftermath had been immediate.

What is needed is the opposite of isolation, which would simply increase the undermining of the sense of self and our own identity, which has been hurt, or sometimes splintered.

People are isolated in cases of torture - the perpetrators of it know this isolating alone is punishing, fragmenting, weakening and eroding to the self.

We need the validation of our true friends. Perhaps this is the origin of the saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.

To recap slightly : our first experience of having our illusion of a totally Just World challenged probably first occurs as we are growing up, perhaps at school or similarly.

I will not, here, address the very serious cases where child abuse happens in the home, where the damage may never be repairable (although a certain amount can be done, miraculously, with professional and skilled help). Neither is this the place to describe terrible trauma caused by murder and terrorism. Extreme experience of injustice, especially continuous, leads to severe trauma, which at the extreme end leads to PTSD.

Needless to say, those who survive need the utmost sensitivity and skill to help them deal with the sheer inhumanity of their situations.

4. The Caretaker in the Wider World

As we go out into the world, ‘the family’ and with it, the head of the family or the main caretaker extends onto a more macro scale. The head of an institution becomes the caretaker. The headmaster or headmistress has a duty of care and protection : they are ‘in loco parentis’.

And so on upwards - the head of a large company where we may work has to duty of care that his employees are kept safe; we have local heads of government, police commissioners etc., whose responsibility includes the safety and protection of the citizens - this is achieved through law and order. And so we finally go to the top, and have the governments of countries, and their judiciary and courts, and the Head of State.

Governments carry the ‘caretaker’ role for the people, the citizens. They are entrusted with our ultimate safety, security and defence - against violence, against terror, unreason, and the break-down of law and order into chaos and tyranny. We entrust them to save us from barbarism.

It is because they have this extension of the caretaker role (a leader will sometimes be called ‘The Father of the Nation’), that when something goes badly wrong, we can feel betrayed. Our own personal memories of betrayal, which may exist in layers of many chapters, can suddenly be triggered. It matters not that physically, personally, we may not be anything like in proximity or involved in what has just happened.

A feeling of insecurity, of being totally let down, indeed of being betrayed, is experienced in the collective, the caretaker of which is the top of government and judiciary.
The shockwaves in the collective trigger our personal memories of our own past trauma. Just as happens when someone we know is bereaved, and we then suddenly recall our own bereavements, as clear as day. Our own memories are re-experienced within the present, integrated into the collective event.

When a member of the Royal Family (in Britain) for whom there is much affection, dies, one can see an outpouring of collective sentiment. Some may disparage it (as in, ‘well, how could they possibly have known her!’ etc), but the phenonomen of collective sentiment is very real, and contains more than the sum of its parts. As all collective moods, it will operate as a wave - a wave that may sweep reason aside.

5. Injustice Is So Like Bereavement

Injustice affects us as bereavement does. When we are bereaved, and perhaps especially when we lose a parent (our original ‘caretaker’), we are affected physiologically as well as emotionally.

Our fear responses are heightened, (sometimes called heightened arousal), our heart rate changes, our concentration and memory are affected, as too our ability to regulate our emotions (be overwhelmed by them); our perception itself is affected, including our perception of who we are ourselves, our very core identity.

It is very common to feel we have lost a part of ourself with the loss of the one we loved, or, importantly, who loved us. Their love for us was part of what made us feel valid. How many feel, when bereaved, lost themselves, - rudderless, as it were? We have to re-learn, and validate ourselves.

Why, you may wonder, are we discussing bereavement here? Because the responses that we go through (and it happens involuntarily) are the same as when experiencing the distress of injustice, or injustice trauma where it is extreme.

The same shattering of world-view is involved, and the same loss of security, which affects us fundamentally.

We need ‘safe-holding’ - first our parents provide this, then gradually other people and other structures out in society provide this keeping of us safe and secure. Being able to dependably rely on the administrators of just law to do exactly that is a very important part of our security. We trust them. We trust our government to use their powers judiciously, to look after our best interests, or at least to try.

If suddenly justice itself appears from every logical perspective to be in fact injustice, it is a great threat to our psychological security, for reasons I’ve tried to explain.

If the collective has been subject to such stress, then the process of repair or healing is required to happen in the collective, exactly as it is when the injustice stress or trauma has occurred on a personal level. It is just as essential. As one of our commentators said, ‘Silence is not an option’.

But fortunately, humanity is resourceful. We can all think of ways and times when people of every diversity have come together in adversity, and pulled together, in generosity, kindness and strength. There is the dual instinct in most people (who are not dysfunctional, damaged or disturbed) which is for both justice and compassion - civilized, just action - .. and when we recover from the adrenalin state, where one feels temporarily stunned in disbelief, we slowly regain our ability to creatively engage in the present.

6. How The Healing Process Works

Many people come and seek out counselling when they are recovering from extended periods of stress and distress, caused by a wide variety of reasons, and within a wide spectrum of severity. There are a number of effective techniques to aid the self-therapy.

These include understanding one’s own fear responses and calming these; recognizing personal triggers, and having a method to deal with flashbacks when they occur; working on acceptance, and being ‘grounded’ or anchored; and learning to create a feeling of safety and security for yourself in the present, and recalling the stressful time but placing it carefully in the past.

7. Narrative Therapy For RS And AK

Sollecito admitted to lies, Knox served three years for lies, and both are still on trial in Florence for many more. Even their best friends know that.

In order to make progress in recovery, with counselling, some sort of ‘narrative therapy’ is needed, where what has been so distressing can be processed and talked about from the perspective of the present, looking back and making sense -  but not talking as if one is still there in the experience.

To be able to arrive at this narrative is an important healing step. But if instead, the story is made of fragmented flashbacks, and the talk slips back into the present tense, as if the person is there again at the scene…really this is not good news. (cf AK was doing this in one of her last interviews last year - the one where she talked about ‘the corpse’).

There is avoidance, where the person can’t bear to think about the stress, and there are intense flashbacks, re-lived, - which can re-traumatise.

The narrative that we seek, and that helps bring calm and the ability to move forward, is neither of these. But to reach the good narrative the person will have to go through the detail of the traumatic event, and face the pain it causes them. They will have to be truthful. The therapist helps them do this incrementally, within a very safe environment. It does work, but it takes time - the greater the trauma, the greater the time.

This knowledge is useful to anyone recovering from a major stressful life event, but the reason I mention it here is in thinking about our two ex-defendants. Stepping aside for the moment from the flip-flopping judgement delivered, - what concerns me is whether and how healing is possible - for everyone.

There are so very many deeply disturbing aspects to this dreadfully drawn-out case, - most have been noted. But one that disturbs me most is that the ex-defendants have wound themselves up to delivering false narratives to the media circuses - to the point where they can’t now recant them without getting their respective knickers in a complete twist, knots that can’t be unravelled, nor make any sense.

As it is, it seems we have two ghosts who held down Meredith, where Guede was the third man.

My serious point here being that, for their own sakes if no-one else’s, the ex-defendants will need to tell a truthful narrative, in order to find any kind of reasonable and balanced functioning in their lives.

Quite simply, healing will not be possible unless they arrive at telling a truthful narrative in the way I touched on above - even if this is in confidentiality, to a therapist, - it will need to be done. It cannot be done in fiction.

If they do not go through the necessary steps in the process as outlined - instability, gross insecurity, and states of fear and anxiety will persist, and the trauma can and will always re-emerge unpredictably, and haunt and shadow their lives with flashbacks.

This process is well-known, and well-documented.

This site is primarily to support the Kercher family, who are the genuine, innocent victims of the most appalling trauma - one that has been selfishly drawn out by ruthless external forces, thus putting their own recovery in jeopardy, and causing great suffering.

They should always have been put first, but now, at this point in time, it is more vital than ever.

They will need, as all victims in recovery, to be able to make their ‘good narrative’. But they cannot fully do so without the truth - even if it has to remain just a sketch of the truth. I wish with all my heart they can find the whole narrative that they need - I do not know how at this point, with so much obfuscation abounding.

But I do not give up hope : healing can always arrive, for those with good will, and good hearts…so however long it takes, I have faith that it can, and it will.

Posted on 04/02/15 at 07:51 AM by SeekingUnderstanding. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The former defendantsAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoCrime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveMeredith-case hoaxesDemonized pair hoax
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Monday, January 12, 2015

The Scale Of Evil By Forensic Psychologist Professor Michael Stone Of Columbia University NYC

Posted by Mark

1. Who Is Dr Stone

Dr Stone is increasingly on American TV and in American courts as demands for better answers to heinous crimes grow.

He has published a lot and is a partner in a research clinic in New York. These are Dr Stone’s professional credentials as posted on Psychology Today.

Dr. Michael Stone is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia. His specialty is personality disorders - most especially “borderline personality disorder.” But in recent years he has concentrated as well on the extremes of personality, as shown by persons who show antisocial, psychopathic, and sadistic traits. This led to an interest in the kinds of people committing murder - spanning the spectrum from jealousy murders to serial killers and torturers. Recently he served as the host of the Discovery Channel show, “Most Evil,” for which he was sent around the country interviewing serial killers and murderers of other types.

This experience, plus his research over the past twenty years, led to his writing The Anatomy of Evil (appearing in July of 2009). The book explores the “why” factor: what are the inborn and environmental factors that cause certain people to commit murder and, at the extreme end, to behave with uncommon cruelty toward their fellow man. Modeled after Dante’s Inferno, the book progresses from the least to the most “evil” crimes, and contains a chapter devoted to recent contributions from neuroscience toward understanding the mind of the psychopath.

2. Interviews On Radio And TV

In the video above, how Dr Stone explained his scale of evil on a Canadian interview show, and below how he explained it on American National Public Radio.

Perhaps no surprises for Americans in the names of the killers in the examples. How they divide up confirms some postings we have had here before. For one thing, most don’t fit in the full-blown psychopathic group (Group 4). 


Columbia University professor Michael Stone knows evil. He’s a forensic psychologist — the type of expert that provides testimony on the mental state of accused murderers when a declaration of insanity can mean the difference between life and death row.

Inspired by the structure of Dante’s circles of hell, Stone has created his own 22-point “Gradations of Evil” scale, made up of murderers in the 20th century. “I thought it would be an interesting thing to do,” he says.

His scale is loosely divided into three tiers. First are impulsive evil-doers: driven to a single act of murder in a moment of rage or jealousy. Next are people who lack extreme psychopathic features, but may be psychotic — that is, clinically delusional or out of touch with reality. Last are the profoundly psychopathic, or “those who possess superficial charm, glib speech, grandiosity, but most importantly cunning and manipulativeness,” Stone says. “They have no remorse for what they’ve done to other people.”

Stone hopes the scale could someday be used in prosecutions. “The people at the very end of the scale have certain things about their childhood backgrounds that are different,” he says, from those who appear earlier in the scale. And because the scale follows a continuum of likelihood a killer will kill again, courts may be able to better categorize the risks posed by releasing a psychopath.

Conspicuously absent from Stone’s scale are wartime evil-doers. “My scale is a scale for evil in peacetime,” he says. That’s because assessing wartime evil from a criminal-psychological standpoint is more complicated because of factors like culture, history and religion.”

And in war, there are often two sides. Take Hitler, Stone says. “He thought we were evil, we thought he was evil.” But, he adds, “in that particular case, we were right.”

The Scale Of Evil


1. Justified Homicide

The least malevolent: Those who have killed in self-defense and do not show psychopathic features.

Cheryl Pierson

Long Island native Cheryl Pierson had been repeatedly molested by her father after her mother died. He was a domineering man with rigid and bizarre rules — for example, he insisted she eat three items on her dinner plate incrementally in a clockwise rotation; if she didn’t he would become violent. In desperation at age 17, she paid a classmate $400 to kill her father. She was sentenced to six months in jail for what was, in Stone’s words, “in effect a self-defense killing.”


People who are not really psychopaths, not subject to routine unspeakable acts without remorse. “Ordinary people that get caught in some terrible situation,” Stone says.

2. Jealous Lovers, Non-Psychopathic

Though egocentric or immature, evildoers in this category committed their crimes in the heat of passion.

Jean Harris

School director Jean Harris led an exemplary life before she became romantically involved with “Scarsdale Diet” doctor Herman Tarnower. But when she found another woman’s panties in his dresser, she snapped. Harris shot her lover to death in a crime of passion — and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

3. Willing Companions Of Killers

Still far from psychopathic, some have antisocial traits and an aberrant personality. They’re often driven by impulse.

Cindy Campbell

Jack Olsen’s 1987 book Cold Kill describes Cindy Campbell as a manipulative, chaotic woman. She claimed she was the victim of incest and was accused of enlisting her lover, David West, to kill her parents in their sleep. Both she and West were convicted of murder.
Susan Cummings. Larry Morris/AFP/Getty Images i

4. Provocative “Self-Defense”

These people kill in self-defense, but they aren’t entirely innocent themselves; they may have been “extremely provocative” toward their victim.

Susan Cummings

A shy, tomboyish daughter of a billionaire arms trader, Susan Cummings fell in love with an Argentine polo player, Roberto Villegas. But after two years together, they fought: She was stingy and began to refuse sex; he would get angry and verbally abusive. Finally she shot him to death in her kitchen in 1997. Originally charged with first-degree murder, she was ultimately convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

5. Desperate Measures

These are traumatized, desperate killers of abusive relatives or others — but they lack “significant psychopathic traits” and are genuinely remorseful.

Susan Wyche

Susan Wyche was a topless dancer who married and had a child with Jeff Wright, a successful carpet salesman from Houston. He used cocaine, had affairs, gave Susan herpes and was physically abusive. In 2003, she reached a breaking point, and in a fit of rage stabbed him 193 times. Portrayed as a battered wife by the defense and a vicious seductress by the prosecution, she was given a relatively light sentence: 25 years. A new punishment hearing is set for October.

6. Hot Heads

Killers who act in an impetuous moment, yet without marked psychopathic features.

Issei Sagawa

Born in Japan, Issei Sagawa was pampered by his mother, but became highly irritable and prone to tantrums. In high school, he developed cannibalistic fantasies, and in 1981 he was accused of carrying one out in Paris. His victim: a Dutch student named Renee Hartevelt. He lured her to his apartment, shot her to death, sexually assaulted the body and then began eating her muscle tissue. He was declared legally insane in France and sent back to Japan, where he was released from a mental institution in 1986. He’s now a minor celebrity and has written books and magazine articles about his experience.

7. Narcissists

Highly narcissistic killers who are often possessive, not distinctly psychopathic, but “with a psychopathic core.” They typically kill loved ones or family members out of jealousy.

Prosenjit Poddar

In 1968, college student Prosenjit Poddar met Tatiana Tarasoff at a dance class in California. They dated briefly but she rejected him. Poddar then told his therapist about wanting to kill her. His therapist wanted to commit him to hospital, but Poddar convinced campus police he was not dangerous. In the summer of 1969, after she returned from a vacation, Poddar stabbed Tarasoff to death with a kitchen knife. Poddar was convicted and deported back to India after his conviction was overturned. Her parents sued the campus police for failing to warn that their daughter was in danger. This led to the famous Tarasoff decision, which ruled physicians now must warn potential victims of a psychiatric patient.

8. Fit of Rage

Non-psychopathic people, who live with an underlying, smoldering rage, then kill when that rage is ignited.

Charles Whitman

In 1966, ex-Marine Charles Whitman gunned down his wife and his mother, then ascended a tower at the University of Texas and began shooting people with a rifle. He killed 14 people and wounded 32, before being shot and killed by police. His early life was plagued by physical abuse by his father. A UT psychologist who met with Whitman before the murders described him as “oozing with hostility.” An autopsy revealed that he had a brain tumor, which may have contributed to his rage.


Those who show a “fair number” of psychopathic traits — grandiosity, superficial charm, or general lack of remorse.

9. Jealous Lovers, Psychopathic

The scale’s first foray into psychopathic territory, these killers are jealous lovers but with marked psychopathic features.

Paul Snider

Paul Snider “discovered” Dorothy Stratten when she was working at a Dairy Queen at age 17. He became her manager and steered her to Playboy magazine, where she became Playmate of the Year in 1980. They married, but their relationship soon deteriorated, and she became involved with film director Peter Bogdanovich. In a jealous rage, Snider lured her to his apartment and shot her to death with a rifle before killing himself. Bob Fosse made a film about her tragic life, Star 80.

10. “In The Way” Killers, Not Fully Psychopathic

Killers of witnesses or people who are simply “in the way.” These evildoers are egocentric, but not totally psychopathic.

John List

Born in 1925, John List was described as rigid, joyless, angry and a neighborhood crank. A failed accountant with poor executive ability, he kept losing jobs, yet bought a big house for his wife and three children — which he couldn’t afford. Caught between his indebtedness and his monstrous pride, he decided to kill his family. In 1971, he shot and killed his mother, wife and children, and fled to Colorado under an assumed name. He was at large for 18 years, until an image constructed by a forensic anthropologist was broadcast on America’s Most Wanted. He died in prison in 2008 at age 82.

11. “In The Way” Psychopaths

Psychopathic killers of people “in the way.” Premeditation is not usually a major factor in their killings.

Jeffrey MacDonald

An Army Green Beret doctor named Jeffrey MacDonald began showing signs of violence and hatred of women in his adolescence. In 1970, was accused of killing his wife and daughters, and then staging the scene to look like a cult slaying in the mold of Charles Manson. MacDonald was convicted of murder, but his case — the subject of the book Fatal Vision — has dragged on for four decades. In August 2010, his lawyers filed a brief in federal court asking for a new trial and claiming that DNA evidence could prove MacDonald’s innocence.

12. Power-Hungry And Cornered

Power-hungry psychopaths who kill when “cornered,” or placed in a situation they wouldn’t be able to escape with their power intact.

Jim Jones

Born in 1931, Jim Jones was attracted early on to a Pentecostal religious group that practiced “speaking in tongues.” He later became a charismatic leader of the Peoples Temple. Grandiose and fanatic, as well as psychopathic and paranoid, he gathered a large group of followers and moved with them to Guyana. In 1978, U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan and his entourage went to Guyana to investigate; he and four others were shot and killed. Cornered, Jones told his followers to commit group suicide. In all, 914 people died, 276 of them children. He also took his own life.

13. Inadequate And Rageful

Murderers with shortcomings that follow them throughout life, who also express psychopathic impulses and are prone to rage.

Karla Faye Tucker

Karla Faye Tucker was born the illegitimate daughter of prostitute and abused drugs since she was 9. She married at 16 — by which time she had already had a hysterectomy for pelvic inflammatory disease. She divorced at 20. In 1983, she and boyfriend Daniel Garrett invaded the apartment of Jerry Lynn Dean while the two were high on methadone, valium, heroin and alcohol. Tucker and Garrett killed Dean and the woman he was with, using a hammer and pickaxe. After 14 years on death row, she was executed in 1998. She was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.

14. Schemers

Ruthlessly self-centered and psychopathic, schemers stop at nothing to deceive, con and steal.

Sante Kimes

Sante Kimes was born in 1934 and soon became a self-trained con artist. Briefly married to Lee Powers, she had a son, Kenny. Many more thefts followed, along with use of numerous aliases. She made her son into a kind of slave; the two became “grifters” — accomplished at stealing. In 1998 she and her son conned their way into the good graces of Irene Silverman, a wealthy Fifth Avenue widow in New York City. They got her to sign over her property and then killed her, disposing of her body. Kimes is a classic psychopath, and is considered responsible for other murders besides that of Silverman. She and her son are serving life sentences.

15. Cold-Blooded Spree

Murderers who kill multiple people calmly and with a psychopathic motive. Often pathological in their denial of guilt or inability to confront reality.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson was born in 1934 to a troubled family. At a young age, he began stealing, ending up in reformatories then jail and prisons. In his 30s he began to attract a following of waif-like women who were in his thrall. Then in 1969 he had his group invade the home of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, killing her, her unborn baby and four friends. Later they killed Rosemary LaBianca, scrawling “Death to Pigs” in her blood around the house. He received the death penalty, later commuted to a life term in Corcoran Prison in California.


Fully psychopathic by every modern definition.

16. Vicious Psychopaths

Those who commit multiple vicious acts that may also include murder, rape or mutilation.

Miyazaki Tsutomu

Born in 1962 into a wealthy Japanese family, Miyazaki Tsutomu had a congenital hand defect, such that he was unable to hold his hands palm-up. He was ostracized as a child and began to lurk around young girls, stalking them. In 1989, he kidnapped and murdered four young girls, mutilated their bodies and drank the blood of one victim. When his crimes were discovered, his father committed suicide out of shame. Miyazaki coldly regarded that as “just punishment” for not raising him correctly. He was executed in Tokyo in 2008.

17. The Sexually Perverse

Serial killers with some element of sexual perversion in their crimes. In males, rape is usually the primary motive and killing follows to hide the evidence. Torture is not a primary motive.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy was born in 1946, performed well in school and was acutely shy. His sexual homicides began in earnest in 1974, near his alma mater, the University of Washington. He worked his way down to Florida, luring, raping and killing at least 28 girls en route. He escaped from a Colorado prison in 1977, and continued killing until identified and apprehended (thanks to bite marks that matched his teeth) in 1978. He was executed in Florida in 1989.

18. Torturing Murderers

Though psychotic, they do not typically prolong their torture. Murder, not torture, is their primary motivation.

Gary Ridgeway

Gary Ridgeway, a.k.a the “Green River Killer,” grew up in Washington state. He was troubled by his sexual attraction to his mother and of his feelings of lust and humiliation. He’s one of the serial killers showing the famous childhood “triad” of bed-wetting, fire-setting, and animal torture. He began serial killing of prostitutes in earnest after a third divorce in 1982. Some investigators believe he may have killed as many as 90 women, subjecting some to bondage or necrophilia. He’s now serving 48 life sentences plus 480 years.

19. Non-Homicidal Psychopaths

Psychopaths who fall short of murder, yet engage in terrorism, subjugation, intimidation or rape.

Gary Steven Krist

Gary Steven Krist had served prison time for robbery and fraud in three different states before he was 18. Out of prison in 1968 at age 23, he planned a ransom kidnapping. His victim was Barbara Mackle. Krist buried her underground, allowing her to breathe using a tube, while he awaited a $500,000 ransom from her father. She was rescued after 83 hours buried alive. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled and later convicted of importing cocaine into the United States. He’s in a federal prison in Florida, with a planned release in November 2010.

20. Murdering Torturers

Psychotic (legally insane) and primarily motivated by their desire to torture.

Joseph Kallinger

From a young age, Joseph Kallinger’s foster family abused him so severely that at age 6 he suffered a hernia inflicted by his foster father. He was psychotic and schizophrenic, and when he married and had children, he was equally brutal. In 1972 he was held on charges of child abuse but was later released. In 1974, he and his 13-year-old son Michael began to break into houses in Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Jersey, where they terrorized and tortured four families, and then sexually assaulted and killed a 21-year-old nurse. Finally arrested, he was sentenced to life, and then sent to a mental hospital where he died in 1996 at age 59.

21. Pure Torturers

Not all torturers murder. These psychopaths (evaluated to be in touch with reality) are preoccupied with torture “in the extreme,” but never convicted of murder.

Cameron Hooker

Cameron Hooker was born in 1953. As he grew older he read pornography, particularly that which portrayed women being tortured. He married his wife, Janice, in 1975. He fantasized about having his own sex slave and allegedly reached an agreement with his wife that she could have a baby if he could have a sex slave. After the birth of their child, Hooker kidnapped 20-year-old Colleen Stan in 1977 and kept her captive for seven years. She was whipped, strangled, burned, electrically shocked and raped. For much of that time, she was locked inside a box for 23 hours a day. She and Hooker’s wife fled together in 1984. He was convicted and sentenced to 104 years in prison.

22. Psychopathic Torture-Murderers

Defined by a primary motivation to inflict prolonged, diabolical torture. Most in this category are male serial killers.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Jeffrey Dahmer was sexually molested by a neighbor when he was 8. At 10, he was decapitating animals and mounting their heads on stakes in the backyard. At 17 he committed his first murder, a male hitchhiker whom he bludgeoned, strangled, dismembered and buried. After a failed stint in the Army, his serial killing began in earnest in the late 80s, ending up with at least 17 victims — all males, some homosexual, like Dahmer. Finally arrested in 1991, he was convicted the next year of 15 murders and sentenced to 936 years in prison. In 1994, another inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin bludgeoned Dahmer to death with a bar from a weight machine.

Posted on 01/12/15 at 11:56 PM by Mark. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The former defendantsAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoCrime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesDemonized pair hoax
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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Victim As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Past Abuser: Insights From Dr Sam Vaknin

Posted by James Raper

1. Overview Of This Post

My past posts here have been from the perspective of a lawyer, commenting on aggregations of evidence and how justice systems perform.

If there are to be any gains at all from this sad affair, both wider understanding of policework and law and also wider understanding of the relervant psychology should definitely be among those gains.

I dont have formal qualifications or expertise in psychology but several years ago I drafted a post on the psychology of perpetrators and then shelved it as it seemed then that our knowledge of the sciences and the perps in this case were both still lacking.

This is the post revisited, modified and upgraded to contribute to all the new knowledge we have been acquiring.

I want to concentrate on the work of Dr Sam Vaknin and especially his respected book Malignant Self Love (see Amazon reader rating below) which has helped many to understand why some people inflict pain.

2. Essentials Of Dr Vaknin

It transpires that in fact he also has no academic qualification (or anything approaching it) in psychology.  Indeed he is a colourful, controversial character and, it seems, an inveterate self publicist. Rather like, say, Hampikian? Aha.

There is a Wiki page on Vaknin. He has twice been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has also been found to be borderline schizoid.  He has accepted the diagnosis.

Who better, however, to write on the subject of narcissism than someone who has both extensively done the research and himself been the subject of an accepted diagnosis? His output has been enormous.

In any event his book gave me what I have considered to be helpful (if not authorative) conceptual and investigatory tools or windows on the subject and I have found these to be invaluable.

So this post concerns narcissism in its many forms and consists of direct quotes from “Malignant Self Love“ with my own observations and some tentative conclusions. However (and given that I am just an amateur), I have to leave it to the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.

3. Insights For Our Case

Primary Narcissism

“Primary Narcissism, in psychology, is a defence mechanism, common in the formative years”

Pathological Narcissism

“Secondary or Pathological Narcissism is a pattern of thinking and behaving in adolescence and adulthood, which involves infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others. It manifests in the chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (narcissistic supply), in social dominance and personal ambition, bragging, insensitivity to others, lack of empathy and/or excessive dependence on others to meet his/her responsibilities in daily living and thinking.”

We do not know as much as we should know about Amanda’s childhood and adolescence. Unfortunately much of what we are told comes from partial observers which provides a picture of relative normality. This contrasts sharply with the picture as it unfolds once Amanda leaves Seattle. Immediately we see an Amanda in chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (sex and drugs etc), freed from what may have been excessive dependence on her parents. Not uncommon with adolescents but the word “chronic” does seem an apt part of the picture.

Amanda does not like not being the centre of attention. Witnesses report that when conversation leaves her in the background she starts singing loudly in protest.

The constant strumming of the same chord on her guitar to annoy others (again when she is being ignored) is another comically classic case of narcissistic supply.

She also knew (insensitively) how to make Meredith feel awkward, even humiliated “Me and Giacomo get on really well …. But I’ll let you have him”.

When things start to go wrong with her narcissistic self image she retreats into a dependency on Raffaele, - quite excessive in it’s intensity, - and the relationship is belatedly paraded at the cottage in what may have been an attempt to re-establish, if not social dominance, at least social equality.

The phone calls to mother when the postal police arrive at the cottage can be interpreted (amongst other things) as a need to re-establish a dependency, or mutual dependency, to see her through the uncertain events ahead.

Pathological Narcissism is at the core of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

“Research shows that most narcissists are born into dysfunctional families. Such families are characterised by massive denials, both internal (“you do not have a real problem, you are only pretending”) and external (“you must never tell the secrets of the family to anyone”). These families may encourage excellence, but only as a means to a narcissistic end. The parents are usually themselves needy, emotionally immature, and narcissistic and thus unable to recognise or respect the child’s emerging boundaries and emotional needs”.

“Pathological narcissism wears many forms;

  • classic or malignant narcissism

  • appropriative (e.g histrionic)

  • schizoid, and

  • aggressive destructive”

The foregoing forms are arbitrary categories, helpful to investigative analysis. As with all psychology the labels that are used describe mental conditions inferred from behaviour and language.

The foregoing forms of pathological narcissism represent solutions, adopted by the subject, to the ongoing gap between fantasy/the false self, and reality/the true self. They are not, as categories, mutually exclusive but can overlap as circumstances dictate.

Above: an online poster for one of Dr Vaknin’s recent presentations

(1) The Classic Narcissistic Solution

“This dissonance - the gap between grandiose fantasy and frustrating reality - gives rise to the unconscious “decision” to go on living in the world of fantasy, grandiosity and entitlement.”

“Thus the true self is replaced by the false self.”

“The Schizotypal Personality Disorder largely belongs here because of it’s emphasis on fantastical and magical thinking. The Borderline Personality Disorder is a case of a failed narcissistic solution. In BPD the patient is aware that the solution is failing. This becomes a source of separation anxiety (fear of abandonment). This generates identity disturbance, suicidal ideation and action, chronic feelings of emptiness, rage attacks and transient paranoid ideation”.

The Schizotypal PD is a mixture of Schizoid and Narcissistic Solutions. Amanda, for me, is not schizoid but I think her use of drugs, and an ego in free fall, tipped her behaviour into the schizotypal, if that is not a contradiction in terms.

Of more interest is Borderline Personality Disorder as I believe her behaviour in the lead up to Meredith’s murder is indicative of a case of failing narcissistic solution.

I think that Amanda’s perceptions were that she had little in common with Filomena and Lauretta, that she was probably regarded as little more than “trash” by the boys downstairs, and that she was “dumped” by Meredith on Halloween night. She perceived that Meredith was clearly now preferring her english friends to her, and furthermore was very likely going to supplant her at Le Chic. There was no one to reinforce her (deteriorating) self image/false self other than Raffaelle and the manipulated Rudy.

Bringing Raffaelle to the cottage on the morning of the 1st November was probably in part an attempt to establish some social dominance (or at least equality)  vis a vis Meredith but perhaps also in part an attempt at a sort of peace offering, both of which seem to have backfired. Meredith spent much if not all of the morning in bed and then was off again to see her friends. It is perfectly possible that whilst Meredith was no doubt polite she pretty much ignored the two of them. Again Amanda may have felt demeaned.

I do not know what Raffaele actually told her about his mother’s death. There is some suspicion that it may have been suicide and he may have told her that. In any event she talks of “her suicide” and the thought of that may have affected Amanda though there seems to be nothing to suggest that Amanda herself has ever thought of suicide.

I am also interested in Amanda’s “fascination” with Harry Potter. The boy who as a child survives a murderous attack on his parents by an evil wizard and is “marked” (like Cain) but who discovers his own magical powers with which to confront the evil wizard. The fascination even extends to picking a boyfriend who looked like the actor who plays the hero in the films and she even claims to have been reading a Harry Potter book on the evening of Meredith’s murder. These are elements of fantasy, grandiosity and entitlement to reinforce the False Self.

“Narcissistic rage is not specifically a reaction to stress - it is a reaction to a personal slight, insult, criticism or disagreement. It is intense and disproportional to “the offence””.

(2)  The Appropriation Solution

“This is the appropriation of someone else’s self in order to fill the vacuum left by the absence of a functioning Ego.”

““Appropriators” misjudge the intimacy of their relationships and the degree of commitment involved, they are easily suggestible and their whole personality seems to shift and fluctuate with input from the outside.”

Here I am thinking again of the brief intensity of her relationship with Raffaele.

I am also thinking of Amanda’s ability to change her persona like a chameleon (from the little girl lost routine, to earnest and sympathetic co-operation, to help me if you please charm). This is a skill derived from somewhere.

Meredith’s murder is the ultimate appropriation of another’s self.

(3) The Aggressive Destructive Solution

“These people suffer from hypochondriasis, depression, suicidal ideation, dysphoria, compulsions and obsessions and other expression of internalised or transformed aggression directed at a self which is perceived to be inadequate, guilty or disappointing. Many narcissistic elements are present in exaggerated form. Undulating self esteem is transferred into impulsiveness and failure to plan ahead.”

A sexual humiliation of Meredith may have been pre-conceived as an act of revenge when she was at a low and feeling inadequate and this may have temporarily raised her self esteem as a consequence but quite obviously without any planning ahead as to the consequences.

Impulsive behaviour is common to the above categories and the misuse of alcohol and drugs is common.

Psychopathologies ( in adolescence and adulthood)

“Psychopathologies are adaptive mechanisms”.

“The (narcissistic) mechanism is three-phased:-

(1) The person encounters an obstacle

(2) The person regresses to the infantile narcissistic phase

(3) Thus recuperated, the person confronts the obstacle again.”

Vaknin terms this mechanism The Psychopathological Default; a perfectly natural mechanism and being the only option an individual - even a perfectly rational, balanced,  and mature individual - has when confronted with some personal trauma or major life crisis with which he can not cope. The Pathological Narcissist will have the Default pre-set at a lower threshold to address any attack on the False Self.

“While in step (2), the person develops childish, immature behaviours. He feels that he is omnipotent and misjudges his powers and the might of the opposition. He underestimates challenges facing him and pretends to be “Mr Know All”. His sensitivity to the needs and emotions of others and his ability to empathise with them deteriorates sharply. He is pre-occupied with fantastic, magical thinking and daydreaming”

Perhaps here we can consider Amanda’s behaviour at the police station. The forthcoming questioning and the actual questioning being seen as obstacles to be encountered. There are the cartwheels and splits, the behaviour with Raffaelle and the appallingly insensitive remarks about Meredith and her death in front of M’s friends. The overconfidence under questioning suddenly breaks down and all too rapidly becomes the dreamlike incident at the cottage with Lumumba attacking Meredith.

“Whenever we experience a major life crisis (which hinders our personal growth and threatens it) - we suffer from a mild and transient form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder“…..(but)….“the contrast between the fantastic world (temporarily) occupied by the individual and the real world in which he keeps being frustrated, is too acute to countenance for long without a resulting deformity”.

4. Some Tentative Conclusions

The defining attribute of the psychopath is that he has no moral conscience and he is highly skilled at fooling people and carrying off the appearance of being perfectly normal.

Amanda, by contrast it seems, only fools those who are easily fooled and furthermore, particularly because of what she says and does, merely draws attention and suspicion to herself.

In nearly all her statements, verbal or written, Amanda has had two different narratives before her. One narrative is the true version (the obstacle) and the other is the false version (the way through or around).

She has struggled to cope with the narratives when she is subjected to examination. The result has been the lying and the spider’s web of confusion and deceit, and the childlike, sympathy-seeking, performances to which we have become accustomed.

This is the narcissistic psychological default. Since being suspected of and charged with Meredith’s murder Amanda has been stuck in the default position because this time the obstacle - the evidence -  has always been in her way and, until the court case has final closure, will continue to be in the public domain and in her way. In this context the default position became critical and primal with the accusation of Patrick Lumumba and has continued playing out, but with some modification since her release from prison, ever since.

Since her release from prison her life has been organised for her in a manner that ensures that she receives the constant ameliorating narcissistic supply that is required to sustain her ego, in this case the False Self, and this has partially empowered and enabled her. It has come in the form of the publication of her “Memoir”, and interviews on TV. In the public domain she is a celebrity, even if that book and the TV appearances were not the success for which she and her managers would have wished.

She has also had narcissistic supply from (as might be expected) her family and close friends, but also from those outsiders in the PR campaign devoted to “demonstrating” her innocence. Vaknin talks of “inverted narcissists” - those whose egos obtain sustenance from providing the “supply” the narcissist feeds on. Or, as we put it in this case as regards the outsiders, white knights charging to the rescue of a damsel in distress.

Both the narcissist and the inverted narcissist have an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with each other.

I think that psychologically it will, without help, be impossible for Amanda to tell us about her involvement in Meredith’s murder. Incarceration would be preferable to a public demolition of her False Self.

I do believe that she is at least a pathological narcissist and as such has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Her condition at the time of Meredith’s murder was probably exacerbated by alcohol, drugs and an ego which was in free fall. At the same time her False Self probably tipped sharply towards the Aggressive Destructive Solution.

“Narcissistic rage is not specifically a reaction to stress - it is a reaction to a personal slight, insult, criticism or disagreement. It is intense and disproportional to “the offence””.

On the night of Meredith’s death, as a result of some event, or something said, or as the culmination of a series of events, (in which she had colluded - or which, far more likely,  she had instigated), and probably as a result of all three happening,  Amanda may well have flown in to an uncontrollable rage at the cottage. That would fit with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Posted on 12/09/14 at 07:58 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, December 05, 2014

Boiling Frustration Leads Many To Kill: The Possible Parallels Of The Lord Lucan Case

Posted by Odysseus

1. Introduction

End of one’s tether: thoughts on humiliation, crises and the wounded ego.

Out-of-control anger and violence may be an offloading of the violence experienced in traumatic births and violent and abusive pregnancies. Whatever we may think of this, people’s anger has deep roots and a current conflict is usually a trigger for a reservoir of buried emotion to surface.

It’s a perpetual battle for the ego to stay in control in the face of unconscious emotions that threaten its precarious existence. When the emotions are threateningly close to the surface it can seem that one’s very identity is at stake, and social humiliation close at hand.

Above: Lord Lucan when he was young (and first diagnosed) and getting married

2. Case Of Lord Lucan

John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, is generally believed to have bludgeoned the family nanny to death in Belgravia, London, 1974, probably mistaking her for his wife in the dark.

Those with deeply suppressed emotions are more-or-less unwittingly engaged in a life-long battle to keep the feelings from arising into consciousness. Thus for example they can be driven to activities that require intense mental concentration e.g.,  in Lucan’s case,  bobsleigh and powerboat racing, and high stakes gambling on games that require skill (as distinct from those of pure chance) which helps keep emotions suppressed, or to drug taking which can perform a similar function.

Lucan’s life in the period leading up to the murder was beginning to unravel and he undoubtedly feared humiliation - a sure sign that the false self is under siege. His financial problems were coming to a head (his gambling losses were said to exceed $10 million) and when a friend suggested filing for bankruptcy he demurred, saying he didn’t want the humiliation.

His wife had also just been awarded custody of the three children following their break up - also humiliating since it was now clear and made public that the court took the view his occupation (professional gambler) made him unsuitable to raise children.

In fact his desire to have custody of the children seems less motivated by his love and concern for them than by the need to keep up the display of the sober, responsible adult when all the evidence and his lifestyle was pointing in the opposite direction -  towards social humiliation.

Lord Lucan with wife and three children and lower floors of his townhouse now

This kind of crisis is more than can be borne by the ego mind. Psychotherapy usually resolves such issues but unfortunately it’s the case that only those who have exhausted ways of denial seek such a route.

Gambler “Lucky Lucan” still thought he had a good hand to play. Murdering his wife would at a stroke (or blow) enable him to sell the family home thus resolving his financial problems and also enabling him to gain custody of the children, restoring his status as a responsible parent.

The parameters of a false self in Lucan’s case were already evident when he was diagnosed as having an attachment disorder on his return to England after wartime evacuation to the U.S in 1939, at four years of age,  though its origins may well lie in a primal, birth or pre-natal experience. From his surviving wife’s website:

“Upon his return from the USA in 1945, the future 7th Earl suffered from emotional problems which caused his parents to seek professional help from a leading psychiatrist of the day — a Dr. Winnicott.

As a result of the consultations the eleven year old boy was given a dog called Deirdre [can we infer from this that his mother chose/named the dog?] in the hope that it might help him overcome these problems. The 7th Earl of Lucan’s emotional problems were never fully resolved and he continued to suffer frequent headaches, nightmares and insomnia throughout our life together…”

After the bludgeoning Lord Lucan disappeared, leaving a borrowed Ford Corsair with bloodstains and what appeared a duplicate weapon (a length of pipe with the same kind of tape around one end to hold it firm) at a port on England’s south coast, and has never for sure been seen again.

The murdered nanny Sandra Rivett and a car similar to that found on the south coast

Ripple effects in this case have gone on and on. Havoc was wrought on so many lives.

The wife and three small children struggled terribly with poverty and the psychological impact. They have all fallen apart and apparently don’t talk, all with theories of their own.

The nanny Sandra Rivett (image above) appears to have been the mother to two babies she gave away who grew up to be quite startled to find who they were.

Books and artilces continue to be written and a TV movie was made. And a reporter who pursued the notion that Lord Lucan’s rich and powerful gambling friends helped in his escape was hounded in court. 

3. Case Of Amanda Knox

It seems likely that humiliation was a major factor in the events leading up to the murder of Meredith. TJMK has carried various posts summarising why so many suspect this.

It would have been undoubtedly humiliating for Knox to find that her housemate Meredith was more popular with, and attractive to, both men and women in their social circle, as well as being more mature, intelligent and just more present than her (i.e. less driven to desperately act out unconscious emotions).

Then to cap it all off, on Halloween Knox found herself left out of the group that partied till the early hours. Plus of course there was the looming humiliation of Meredith taking over her job at the Le Chic. Was her money also running out? If so the loss of a job, however small, would be threatening, and she might well have anticipated the humiliation of asking her parents for a loan or of returning home before the end of her course.

So it seems that the stage was set for the night of the “prank” when the plan (if that’s the right word. Jokey impulse, more likely) was for Meredith to find out just what it’s like to feel humiliated. And the prank got out of control, as pranks often can when drugs and/or alcohol are involved.

Again the origin of Knox’s suppressed emotion and false self construction might lie in her parent’s explosive separation or earlier in primal events. In either case she was probably destined to become a suitable (but unfortunately not an actual) case for treatment.

Knox’s narcissism has of course been much discussed. At bottom narcissism is an inability to just be, in the present. An inability to stay with one’s core self (Jung’s “The Self”). The narcissist’s attention is constantly directed to how they look to the world, from the outside, not on how the world appears to them from the inside looking out. They are really not fully born, literally and metaphorically.

Above Italian master Caravaggio’s version of Narcissus staring at his image in a pond

Knox was apparently given to loudly strumming a single chord on a guitar when she was in a group and insufficient attention was directed her way i.e. when suppressed negative emotions surrounding being wanted and needed were threatening to come into awareness.

With the group of friends gathered at the police station in Perugia it seems on the one hand she wanted to impress the others with her inside knowledge of the victim’s wounds but on the other hand she had to keep a lid on it in case it became obvious she knew too much.

This dilemma (a perennial one probably for those criminals who are unconsciously driven to seek attention) no doubt led to the weird acrobatics and gymnastics (the police had to tell her it wasn’t appropriate) as a way of acting out and relieving the tension.

Her relatives of course are quick to dismiss all this as “Amanda being Amanda” (i.e. “quirky”), to which the proper reply could be “so she always acts like this whenever she’s in a dilemma and trying to cover something up,  does she?”

Below Knox thrilled with herself at her 2009 trial in the notorious “all you need is love” teeshirt

Posted on 12/05/14 at 11:08 PM by Odysseus. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Italian Media Spotlighting The Perversion Of Killer Groupies Of Alleged Murderer Of 38 Patients

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. Alleged Nurse-Killer Attracting Deviant Males

Convicted killers and alleged killers facing trial often attract deviant support with sexual undertones.

Why the case of Nurse Daniela Poggiali, arrested a month ago in north Italy, is capturing so much attention is not only the seeming extent of her crimes - some 38 patients in her care died mysteriously - or her bizarre selfies exulting over one dead patent.

It is also the astonishing volume and and rabid lust of the fanmail now arriving at the place where she is awaiting trial, and the increasing numbers of Italian killer groupies emerging online and jostling to head her parade, Italian Knox groupies such as Luca Cheli maybe among them.

Here is a UK report and a translated Italian-media report will follow.

Italian nurse who took photos of herself with patients she had murdered is flooded with fan mail in prison – including marriage proposals

An Italian nurse who took photos of herself with dead patients she had murdered is being flooded with fan letters from male admirers, including some containing marriage proposals.

Daniela Poggiali, 42, from the town of Lugo, in the Emilia-Romagna Region of central Italy, was arrested after police investigating the mysterious death of a 78-year-old patient stumbled upon 38 other unexplained deaths on her shifts.

Rosa Calderoni, 78, was admitted with a routine illness but died after being injected with high levels of potassium - the compound used in lethal injection executions in the U.S.

Nurse Daniela Poggiali from Lugo, in central Italy, has been sent fan mail and wedding proposals while she awaits trial in relation to 38 unexplained deaths on her shifts

Further investigations revealed that over a three month period, 38 out of 86 patients under Poggiali’s care at the Umberto I hospital in Lugo had all died mysteriously.

Now awaiting trial at a prison in Forli, a city in central Italy, Poggiali is being inundated with fan mail from admirers calling her ‘good looking’.  A prison spokesman said: ‘Over the last few weeks since she was placed here there has been a steady stream of letters from males.

‘Most of them say how pretty and good looking they think she is, and one or two have even contained proposals of marriage.’ Prison officials said Poggiali has received a steady stream of letters from men calling her ‘good looking’

According to investigators the nurse had found the dead patients ‘annoying’ or that they had ‘pushy relatives’. During their investigations they discovered pictures of Poggiali grinning alongside the dead bodies.

The lead magistrate investigating the case, Alessandro Mancini said: ‘We believe she is sound of mind, but simply took satisfaction, and real pleasure in killing.

‘The photos reveal an unbearable cruelty that I have not seen in 30 years on the job.’

A spokesman from the hospital where she worked said: ‘She always came across as being a very cold person. ‘But she also used her charms to flirt with male doctors if she thought she could get favours from them.’

Poggiali has denied killing any patients and says she is being framed by jealous colleagues.

2. Killer-Groupies Get More Media & Research Attention

The growing fear in justice circles is that killer groupies are helping to elevate murder rates.

They are certainly elevating anger levels, and making potential killers feel competitive and jealous of the media coverage of others. They are damaging professional careers and sparking death threats, making law-abiding people more distrustful, making police-work and convictions more difficult, and distracting hard-pressed politicians and populations from looming world-wide problems.

All of which comes at a high cost and puts all of us in a great deal more danger. So the spotlight upon killer groupies is intensifying. Here is one media report.

A look inside the bizarre world of serial killer groupies

If you type the phrase “serial killer addresses” into an Internet search engine, you’ll get some disturbing results.

A number of websites list the prison addresses of convicted killers, and police investigators told FOX 12 there are plenty of people — serial killer groupies — writing to convicted serial killers.

Portland police homicide detective Jim Lawrence said he once investigated a Portland man who corresponded with two convicted serial murderers.

Lawrence showed FOX 12 some of the correspondence, including a letter he said the Portland man wrote to serial killer Douglas Daniel Clark.

Clark and a partner were known as “Sunset Strip Killers.”

The pair were convicted for a series of killings in Los Angeles. The letter to Clark included an illustration of a hand with the phrase,  ”Who knows what these hands will do, what they’ll do 20 years from now.” 

“He really seemed to put a kind of hero worship behind this serial killer, and it was a kind of morbid fascination,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence also showed FOX 12 violent artwork the man received from serial killer Ottis Toole, convicted of killing six people in Florida in the 1980s. Police believe Toole also killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981. The sketch depicts a decapitated head.

Criminal psychologist Dr. Frank Colistro said serial killers often radiate a perverse charisma that groupies find attractive.

“A lot of them get caught up in the drama that’s associated with these people forever,” Colistro explained.

And the list is long for love behind bars, for killers who’ve been married in prison.

I-5 killer Randy Woodfield, who was convicted for murder and attempted murder and suspected in dozens of other crimes in the early 1980s, has been hitched twice at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson all have had loyal female followers.

“The Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, convicted of 13 brutal murders in California in the 1980s, had groupies who called themselves, ‘the women in black,’ who attended his trial.

“You do get a lot of inadequate, insecure women,” Colistro said. “In a sense, they’re the perfect boyfriend, the perfect husband. In a sense, you can do a relationship light, so to speak.”

Then there are groupies who want to befriend the notorious. Lawrence said some write to convicted killers for profit, to potentially sell the letters online. He said others have a bizarre admiration for the killers.

Lawrence said he interviewed the Portland man who wrote the detailed, expletive-filled letters after out-of-state police discovered the man’s relationship with killer Ottis Toole.

“So they contacted us and I had a little chat with him,” he said.

He said it turned out the man was trying to get letters and artwork from Toole to sell online.

Colistro, however, said there are some people hoping to become copycats.

“They’ll study the M-O of the offender and they’ll start to duplicate it,” he said.

Posted on 11/24/14 at 07:21 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamThe wider contextsItalian context
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Case For More Observation And Firmer Action As Psychopaths Among Us Do Enormous Harm

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding

Above: The murdered teacher Ann Maguire and convicted killer Will Cornick

Here is an example of the much tougher action to protect society which judges worldwide are inclining toward.

In Leeds in the UK a 16-year old boy has been sentenced to 20 years.  He has also been publicly named, unusual for one so young,  and an image released, to hopefully protect the public from him for the rest of his life. The judge warned him that he may never be released.

The more you read about Will Cornick the worse it gets.

He slashed a popular teacher in front of a whole class. She escaped wounded and terrified but he followed her to another room with glass panes and tried to push in. Another teacher kept him out but Ann Maguire was too far gone.

Grim clues are still coming to light. From one of the latest reports. 

Cornick attacked Mrs Maguire after boasting to friends that he was going to kill her. He also said he was going to murder other teachers, including a pregnant woman ‘so as to kill her unborn child’.

He later told doctors: ‘I said I was going to do other stuff but I never got the chance, other murders. It was a triple homicide.’

After the murder the teenager told psychiatrists that he ‘couldn’t give a s***’ and added: ‘Everything I’ve done is fine and dandy.’...

Far from having an unhappy upbringing, Cornick comes from a middleclass background and his parents have been described as loving and supportive…

Cornick’s former girlfriend believes Mrs Maguire, who has been called the ‘mother of the school’, was killed because she was being tough on the intelligent teenager in a bid to unlock his potential…

Friends had started to think of him as a ‘loner and weirdo’ and ‘disturbing’ aspects of his personality became apparent.

He spoke openly about murdering his teacher, messaging a friend on Facebook about brutally killing her and spending the rest of his life in jail. But no one - including his former girlfriend - believed he was capable of carrying out such psychotic threats.

After the murder it was revealed that he had numerous images of knives on his mobile phone. The teenager used a picture of the Grim Reaper for his Facebook profile.  He also had a keen interest in ultra-violent video games, including Dark Souls II, in which players hack zombies to pieces.

Players devour the souls of their fallen enemies to the sound of cries of agony. Disturbing images include a character made up of hundreds of human corpses. It was voted one of the ten Most Violent Video Games of 2014.

One pupil recalled Cornick saying disgusting things at a party. He said: ‘He was saying twisted stuff like “imagine jumping on a pregnant woman and seeing the baby come out”, and saying horrible stuff about cancer and stuff like that…

The teenager later confessed to a psychiatrist that the killing had been on his mind for three years, and one expert said he had engaged in a ‘considerable amount of fantasy’ about killing Mrs Maguire.

And so the debate on psychopathy and what to do about it ratches up anothert notch.

The word ‘psychopath’, like ‘narcissist’,has become known in common usage. This is both good and bad,- good if we understand more, yet bad if we assume wrongly or more superficially.

One assumption too frequently made is an association with only adulthood. Surely a child can’t be psychopathic? Unfortunately the answer is Yes.

Another assumption : surely if a child were to be nurtured correctly - with all the optimal nutrition and healthy lifestyle, and love possible, with encouragement and guidance from the parents - any tendency towards psychopathic traits could and would be overcome?

We want to believe this is so. It hurts us, on a fundamental human level, to be informed that,

‘No, this is not the case’.

A child from what is considered a ‘good background’ CAN nevertheless have a psychopathic personality. (This is also what the judge said in the Cormick trial).

With the advance of new technology - in particular MRI studies of the brain- we are beginning to explore and discover the structural differences in people’s brains (at every age). We are also recording the differences in our responses to varying events, stimulation, and emotion.

Our brains do not react in the same ways, not at all. Even introverts and extraverts are physiologically different, with regard to the amount of stimulation they can take, and also what might be called ‘method’ pathways.

In the more normal mind, it is a customary impulse to respond to pain, humiliation etc by lashing out oneself. The ‘taking it out on others’ scenario.

But, from when we are very young,this impulse is moderated by an awareness of what the pain we would be causing would feel like. In other words, we feel like pinching our sister very hard, say because she has stolen something small, but we remember how that severe pinch would feel, and bruise etc, and so we restrain.

As we continue to grow, this restraint to the impulse becomes a strong and immediate inhibition. Hence we become socialised and civilised. We feel each others’ pain, literally. It is a function of imagination, memory and neurology.

There is growing evidence from advancing research that in the truly psychopathic mind, this inhibition does not happen, because the first stage - of feeling for others - is absent. Perhaps some of the pathways are missing or diminished; the amygdala is different, perhaps, or other brain structures.

Such people therefore are able to impose violence and pain upon others with impunity. Hence we observe and say they are ‘cold’.

One important difference between this type and the more normal type of mind, is that they are like this irrespective of whether they have been loved or not. Of course disadvantageous and dysfunctional upbringings make the situations a whole lot worse.

Experiments have been done, and are still being explored, to define the extent of these differences, with some accuracy. It will take some time, as of course the neurology in the brain is highly complex, and subtle, and a single event will involve several or many pathways and several ‘hubs’ -as one might describe them.

So far, Baron-Cohen has identified about twelve ‘centres’ that will be involved in high or low empathy circuits in the brain. There may be more. Also, he and other distinguished researchers (many of whom have spent their life’s work on the subject) are examining what the genetic components are that underlie psychopathic traits.

Unfortunately, all this worthwhile work meets some resistance, and therefore delay (and difficulty in funding of course). Sadly such resistance comes from both left and right, ( leaving the researchers treading a fine line down the centre).

On the left, those who advocate improving social conditions, alleviating poverty, greater nurturing etc., fear that a discovery of the violent, cruel, anarchic nature ‘being genetic’ would undermine their raison d’être, and the case for more funding for the deprived and under-privileged.

On the right, there is a substantial fear, valid to a degree, that finding the root cause of psychopathic behaviour in brain structure and genes would give the worst and most unanswerable opt-out clause when psychopaths are on trial, to the effect of,

“Sorry, M’Lord, I couldn’t help it ; it’s in me genes”. (Etc).

A nightmare, indeed, for the prosecution.

This objection is something psychologists are already familiar with, where attempts are made by the defense to proffer psychological truths or diagnoses as mitigating factors, or ‘get-out’ clauses.

It cannot be stated clearly enough : to understand something is not to excuse it. To establish something in fact does not dilute the need to bear responsibility for the behaviour that ensues from it.

We can, and must, find ways to exert restraint and control over anti-social, destructive and undesirable behaviour. Preferably before it becomes criminal behaviour. It becomes more and more imperative, as we realize that ‘the enemy’ - the terrorist - the destroyer- moves among us, as ‘the kid next door’.

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Posted on 11/11/14 at 01:19 PM by SeekingUnderstanding. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesDemonized pair 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”. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

With Sollecito’s First Plea For Mitigation Seen As A Flop, His Behavior Seems Increasingly Erratic

Posted by Peter Quennell

Sollecito has not ever taken the witness stand.

And given the minefield his foolish book and media claims amount to, don’t hold your breath expecting otherwise soon. However, last month Sollecito did use the Italian accuseds’ privilege of making an impromptu plea to the judges.

He was not under oath and not subject to cross-examination by the prosecutors. He did not address the copious evidence, and was seen as attempting to humanize himself to perhaps get some years knocked off a final sentence.

As always, Knox forces were left confused, thinking he had somehow helped both of them. But Sollecito repeatedly drew attention to his being an Italian and in effect to Knox and Guede not being Italians, thus once again separating himself from Knox on lines Barbie Nadeau also described here..

Our main poster Yummi was in the court and reported in part as follows:

One of the woman judges kept staring elsewhere and almost never watched Sollecito all the time he was talking. Sollecito’s speech itself was actually not that exciting. It was so overt that he was focused on portraying himself as a person who is so good and cannot hurt anyone, not the bad guy described in the media.  The real and only topic of Sollecito’s statement was himself, who he is, his “true” personality, he begged them to look at what a good and suffering a boy he is…

And believe me, Sollecito was just whiny. For a big part of his speech he was just putting distance between who he is today and the person he was when he was 20 years old. He talked about the impossibility of finding a job (the job he would like to have in a corporation, obviously, not just any job) and wanted the judge to project to his condition from that of young Italians who can’t hope to see a future.

Then 10 days ago the skilled senior prosecutor Dr Alessandro Crini fired back, and effectively demolished Sollecito’s premature statement. As we reported, Dr Crini took nearly two days to do that.

Sollecito was again in court on the first day, but was seemingly unable to face Dr Crini’s onslaught on the second day. He remained holed up at his hotel.

Although Dr Crini settled on a lowest-common-denominator motive - a Lord of the Flies flare-up which had escalated into mob violence and the fatal stab to Meredith - his recounting of the evidence and associated behavior of the pack was comprehensive and very hard.

Meredith was treated “as if she was an animal.” In this way Dr Crini defined the dynamics of the murder of Meredith Kercher during his indictment. According to Dr Crini, the attack escalated to the point where the attackers felt they “needed to get rid of a girl they had abused”. While Rudy Guede sexually abused Meredith Kercher, supine on the floor of her room, Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, according to the reconstruction, were at each side of the body of the victim.

“The mouth and neck of the victim were contained in a fierce way to avoid Meredith going berserk and screaming, and when Meredith did in fact manage to scream, she received the final fierce stab to the throat.” Two knives were used in the crime at the house in Via della Pergola on the night between 1 and 2 November 2007”...

Dr Crini referring to the bra clasp of the victim, said that “the presence of the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito is quite certain” and explained at length why there was no “possibility of contamination”.

Amanda Knox was at the scene of the crime, according to the identification made ​​by the scientific police in Meredith’s room of an imprint of a shoe (female size 36-38 according to the results of the analysis)... On the pillowcase, the center of gravity of this bloody history, were found a palmprint of Rudy Guede and this print of the shoe.”

Dr Francesco Sollecito was reported as being shocked by the unrelenting tone of the indictment. However, Sollecito’s plight is not nearly as bad as the ever-stubborn Amanda Knox’s.

Knox has already served three years and was fined heavily for obstruction of justice. She could face another year for that if it is found to have been aggravating. And as the post below mentions, she could face as many as three more charges for aggravating obstruction of justice. 

Sollecito in contrast has respected the court by actually showing up, and, unlike Knox, has lately shown restraint in accusing his accusers.

However, the day after Dr Crini ‘s indictment, it looked like Sollecito was taking off out of Italy like a rabbit. 

La Nazione reported that police at Florence Airport had held back a fully loaded Air France flight to Paris while they checked with the prosecution that he was indeed allowed to leave the country.  La Nazione said the prosecutors have some concern that he might skip and not come back, but he did come back from Santo Domingo, and his family has always ensured a presence in court.

But next TGCom24 reported that Sollecito’s father had claimed that Sollecito had already gone home to Bisceglie, although he is a free citizen still in possession of a passport and can travel anywhere if he wishes.

But then TGCom24 reported that he had indeed flown to Paris, and had turned around and come straight back again, to stay with family friends.  And that on 8 December he will sit his final exams in computer science at the University of Verona.

However soon after that La Nazione reported that Sollecito’s father had been contradicted by his lawyers, and his erratic son had slipped through his fingers and flown “for his work” back to Santo Domingo. Translation by Jools:

1 December 2013 – SCOOP. Denials, lies, game by the defenders. But in the end it’s up to the lawyer Luca Maori to admit: “Raffaele Sollecito returned to Santo Domingo, as anticipated on Friday by La Nazione”

He embarked from Florence’s Peretola Airport and made a stop-over in Paris, from where he then flew to the Caribbean island where he spent the last few months that preceded the start of the new appeals process. “But there is nothing strange - minimizes the lawyer - Raffaele went back to pick up the things he left there, will be back in ten days for the final exams and to await the judgment. With anxiety, but self-assured.”

No escape, just a normal “work” trip. Permissible, since there is no measure that prevents the accused to leave Italy. But the departure of Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox (already sheltered in the U.S.) caused some sneering. And even the agents of the Border Police, when they saw him in front of the [departure] gate, made a phone call to the Procura to be sure whether the journey in the midst of the appeal process was really “normal.”

IN FACT. Sollecito ‘s father, in an understandable effort to defend his already too overexposed son, slipped on the so-called banana peel, placing the young man within a few hours in various locations, but never in the true destination across the ocean: in Verona, preparing for the final exam in computer science in regard to the thesis, or in Paris, but just for a flash-stay from which he was back the day after. At Christmas, maintained the father, Raffaele will return from abroad. Maybe for the last break before the final rush of the Mark II process, which, according to calculations by the Assize Court of Appeal, could be concluded on January 15.

Meanwhile, the hearing on 16 December is for the remaining civil parties, then double date for the defence, (December 17 and January 9) and hearing on the 10 dedicated to counter-argument. With Sollecito in the courtroom, assures the lawyer.

More grief for Papa Doc…. In the movie Groundhog Day the obnoxious hero had to repeat a single day of his life again and again till he hit upon the right things to do and say. Judge Nencini did leave Sollecito an opening to address the judges again.

It is in Sollectto’s own best interests to go back to court, and try and try and try to look and sound chastened till he gets it right. Knox too. 

Posted on 12/04/13 at 07:07 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPublic evidenceThe two knivesCrime hypothesesThe psychologyFamily/defense hoaxersSollecito teamLies Sollecito bookRaff Sollecito
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Questions For Knox: How Do You Explain That Numerous Psychologists Now Observe You Skeptically?

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding

Links to both ITV interviews kindly provided by Clander of PMF:  Daybreak Seattle interview and Daybreak London interview.

Please see the key past posts here and here and also here for some context.

Amanda Knox appeared in an English TV interview on the early morning of Monday September 23rd.

She spoke from Seattle to a detached ITV reporter in Seattle and a tough Daybreak anchor in London - tough. though she badly lacked second questions in follow-up. The interview was, by all accounts, fair, and also duly respectful towards Meredith’s family, who are in England.

But the girl or woman who is Amanda Knox we observed was neither calm nor happy.

There was not one authentic smile, and not a moment when the light came into her eyes. Her hair and make-up looked good - her presentation had been considered. But her skin was not well. As most women know, the skin, especially on the face, reveals your inner health, your inner peace.

As a psychologist, one is trained to distinguish ‘signs’, if you like, or indicators that illustrate the most crucial factors about the state of mind. One is taught to look beyond presentation and image, and too, beyond the actual words delivered, to hear what is actually being said - from the inner self or true self. Some people might prefer to use the term ‘the soul’.

What I heard in this interview is a person struggling and deeply disturbed and unhappy. I saw someone genuinely very afraid with strong feelings of hopelessness. Anger, defiance, and combativeness also showed.

But, newly, there were also signs of weariness with the self-elected fight. I believe Amanda is intelligent enough to realize that the weight and strength of the factual, combined evidence is stacked against her. Knowing this, as I believe she does, can only put her in an anguished state.

At times, one could plainly observe that a pre-rehearsed ‘PR’ line was being delivered. Amanda was being ‘a good girl’, and doing what she had been told.  Examples seem to be especially where she says such things as, “I am innocent”, “my innocence has been proven”, ‘...this case is not complicated..”

Since, by applying a little elemental logic, most of these statements can be shown to be untrue, they unfortunately sounded somewhat like mantras being delivered. Rather more that these were the things AK would LIKE to believe are true. As if perhaps, if she closes her eyes often enough and wishes hard enough, they might become true…and her nightmare would now be over.

But, alas, childish unreality cannot last. We live in a world where we are required to become adults, and to act responsibly as adults.

At junctions in the interview, where some of the more penetrating questions were asked involving human relations, an ‘inner adult’ Amanda could be seen trying to emerge. One point was where she was asked about what she would do if found finally guilty.

A burgeoning sense of realism could be detected in her reply. She knows herself in this respect: she would find it unbearable to try and live as a fugitive in the free world, labeled as a murderer and a slanderer. She actually said so, with strength of feeling. It is people’s hatred of her that she can’t bear, and it is that she is protesting about so much. And indeed it must be hard to bear.

The interviewer, Lorraine, spoke at length about the Kercher family, asking AK what she would like to say to them. When Amanda replied, also at length, she said,

“... I would like them to give me a chance…”

This sounded authentic to me, I felt she meant it. However, she added to this, sounding almost like an addendum, that she wanted them to believe she could be innocent. This latter phrase, added in a different voice and intonation, didn’t ring true to my ears.

I believe that what is truly in her heart is that she longs, beyond all measure, for the Kercher family not to totally hate her. (She gives the impression that she believes they do or could hate her). She seems to truly not to be able to bear the thought of being hated, and even more unbearable, the thought that by her behaviour (as a ‘kid’) perhaps, just maybe, she might deserve that hate.

This would seem to be the source of her anguish, and also behind many other of her statements in this interview.

There would be a way through for her - a third way. This would be to start telling the truth, the whole truth, now. It is never too late to speak the truth, and it is never too early, either. The truth endures. This is a fact of history.

It would indeed take enormous courage for Amanda to take this step. It would be immensely difficult for her because of the PR campaign. But if she could begin to answer the outstanding unresolved questions, factually and honestly (unembroidered and not exaggerated),  - she would, I believe, begin to heal her life, if this is genuinely what she wants.

She might be surprised at how much forgiveness there might be if she were to find the courage within herself to take this huge step. She quoted her priest/mentor from the Italian jail, when he advised her about how, at challenging times, we can find unknown resources and strength within ourselves that maybe we didn’t know we had.

She has a choice, and she could choose to do it. Making wise choices is what adults do.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Posted by The Machine

Amanda Knox will be interviewed for the first time in Britain on ITV’s Daybreak programme tomorrow.

No interviewer should unquestioningly accept everything Knox says as the gospel truth. Remember Knox served three years in prison and is labeled a convicted felon for life for malicious lying.

So let’s hope tomorrow’s interview is not yet another whiny mis-statement of the core facts, and not yet more sliming of Italian officials, of which we have just seen so many.

There are many questions on this site which Knox has never ever answered. Some arise from the evidence and some from her dishonest book.

See especially the tough questions here and here and here and here.  With luck the Daybreak hosts will ask Knox all of these tough questions below.

1. Multiple false alibis

You and Raffaele Sollecito gave completely different accounts of where you were, who you were with and what you were doing on the night of the murder. Neither of you have credible alibis despite three attempts each. Sollecito told Kate Mansey from The Sunday Mirror that you and him were at a party.

He told the police that you and him were at his apartment. He then told them that he was home alone and that you weren’t at his apartment from around 9.00pm to about 1.00am. You first told the police that you were at Sollecito’s apartment. After you were informed that he was no longer providing you with an alibi, you repeatedly claimed that you went to the cottage with Diya Lumumba.

You changed your story yet again and claimed that you were at Sollecito’s apartment, but he might have gone out. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified.

Extract of Sollecito’s witness statement.

“I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.

Question 1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly tell the police and others a pack of lies?

2. False accusation

You falsely claimed that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith in two witness statements and you repeated the false accusation in your handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. You served three years in prison for this felony and your appeal to the Supreme Court was denied.

Question 2. Why did you repeatedly accuse Diya Lumumba of murder when you knew full well that he was completely innocent and why didn’t you or your mother retract your accusation when he was in prison?

3. The Double DNA Knife

According to a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor, Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian - Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade of a knife from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen.

He falsely claimed in his prison diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith’s hand whilst cooking. Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory.

Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

Question 3. How do you think Meredith’s DNA got onto the blade of the kitchen knife?

4. The bra clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s on the exact part of Meredith bra clasp that was bent out of shape during the attack on her.  His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it.

Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result. David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, recently analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was strong.

Question 4. How do you think Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp?

5. The bloody footprint on the bathmat

According to two imprint experts - Rinaldi and Boemi - the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house which indicates that he didn’t go into the bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

See our past posts on this here and here.

Question 5. Who do you think left the bloody footprint on the bathmat?

6. Mixed samples of Amanda Knox’s DNA or blood and Meredith Kercher’s blood

According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of your DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even your lawyers conceded that your blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

Question 6. Why were you bleeding on the night of the murder and is it a coincidence that only your DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood?

7. The Luminol Enhanced Footprints

Bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol at the cottage. Three of them are compatible with your foot size and one of them is compatible with Raffaele Sollecito’s foot size.

Question 7. What do you think the Luminol was reacting to - Meredith’s blood or some other substance?

8. The staged break-in

There is absolutely no evidence that anyone stood outside Filomena’s window and climbed up the vertical wall on the night of the murder. There were no marks from soil, grass or rubber soles on the wall. The earth of the evening of 1 November 2007 was very wet, so if anybody had climbed the wall, they would have left some marks on it.

The glass on the window sill and on the floor show no signs of being touched after the window was broken, which would have been the case if the intruder had gained entry through the window.

There was not a single biological trace on any of the shards of glass. It would have been very likely that an intruder balancing on the window sill would have suffered some kind of injury or cut because of the shards of glass.

If the window had been broken from the outside, there would have been shards of glass outside, but there wasn’t even one.

Judge Massei and the panel of judges at the Italian Supreme Court specifically mentioned the shards of glass on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been tossed onto the floor in her room and regarded it as proof that the break-in was staged.

Question 8. Who do you think staged the break-in at the cottage?

9. Knowledge of the crime

Umbria Procurator General Galati’s pointed out in his appeal that you knew specific details of the crime that you could have only known if you had been present when Meredith was killed.

According to multiple witnesses at the police station, you said you were the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. But you weren’t in a position to have seen anything at all when the door was kicked in.

In your witness statement you described Meredith’s scream. Other witnesses have corroborated your claim that there was a loud scream.

Question 9. How did you know so many precise details of the crime?

10. Shower and the “bathmat shuffle”

The Scientific Police found 13 traces of blood in the bathroom that Meredith and you shared. Prosecutor Mignini and Filomena have both expressed their surprise that you showered in a blood-spattered bathroom.

Filomena told Mignini during cross-examination:  “I thought it was odd that she’d had a shower when there was blood all over the place.”

You told Mignini that you used the bathmat to shuffle to your room.

Question 10. Why did you shower in a bathroom that was splattered with blood, and did you notice the visible bloody footprint on the bathmat when you used it to shuffle to your room?

And why so soon after did the police notice that you were stinking?

Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones the ITV Daybreak hosts who should confront Amanda Knox

Posted on 09/22/13 at 03:00 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Questions for AK & RSThe former defendantsAmanda KnoxPublic evidenceKnox's alibisCrime hypothesesThe psychologyFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamLies in Knox book
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Amanda Knox Trainwreck: What The Newly Published Knox Writings Reveal To Professional Eyes

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding

The New Writings

It is good to have an opportunity to see the letters from Amanda to her social worker, Maurizio. The writing style is very different from her book which seems more abrasive, more ‘jazzed up’, pointed, in comparison - presumably the influence of the ghost writer.

What is immediately and conspicuously obvious is that the letters make no mention of ill-treatment - a contrario in many ways. The recipient of the letters is someone whose support she needs, as is Don Saulo.

She goes out of her way to speak to them with endearment, even flirtation, to show gratitude, to build trust, or to appear to build trust. This is a person whose need to be liked and supported is paramount. One has the feeling, therefore, that she is presenting herself in the best possible light.

This includes being ‘good’ and saying things as they are. And they are: ‘OK’, ‘fine’, ‘bene’, ‘well enough’, ‘happy to remain’ (in Perugia) etc.

There has been much speculation about the psychology of Amanda Knox. I am glad to say that this site has deferred, by and large, from assigning labels to her. It is not for nothing that the official court psychological profiles of 2008 have not been disclosed. To begin with, a full analysis is not possible without personal encounter. And then there is the question about the value of such labels at all, especially with new research advancing all the time.

However, one can talk about observable patterns of behaviour, for example narcissistic behaviour. There are a number of established, well-researched traits in narcissistic behaviour which are worth discussing here.

Observable Behaviors

I believe the following characteristics have been observable and continue to manifest in the letters just published.  These are :

    1) Immaturity, of a degree which indicates some arrested emotional development. And connected to this, an emotional neediness and dependence. This usually manifests as insecurity where it becomes important that everyone has to like, admire, and feel affection for them - most especially those who they need to ‘look out for them’, be their support system etc. A secure personality has a healthy ego which can quietly use reasonable judgement, and only needs to be assertive where occasion demands. An insecure person has a weak and fragile ego, contrary to the appearance they try and give, which can be loud, over-confident and assertive, or proud etc.

    2) An inability to deal with shame, or admit guilt. This also connects with (in Jungian terminology) an inability to ‘own the shadow’, and admit one can and does sometimes make mistakes. The cultivation of a false sense of self or identity follows; an image projected of the ‘angelic’,‘innocent’ - always sunny and light, and, ‘special’  (cf : ‘here comes the sun’ as a mantra). Of course, a PR campaign can proliferate this advertising of the false image, and this is precisely how ‘celebrities’ make use of this process.

    3) Self-esteem which in reality is rather low - together with compensatory behaviour which includes constantly needing attention, praise and to be recognised as perhaps clever, cultured, athletic, attractive…in short, ‘superior.’

    4) Manipulation. This is connected to the lack of true empowerment, and therefore the attempt (which can seem desperate) to ‘get’ power through having power and control over others. Flirtation, seduction (and obsession with erotica) can show this manipulative tendency. Control, in this case self-control, is a prerequisite for manipulating a situation. A person’s unnatural focusing around staying in control will often belie an agenda of manipulation. A secure mind and ego can afford to allow spontaneity - an insecure one cannot.

    5) Anger management can be an issue; also a ‘show of rage’ - melodramatic - can be used as a manipulative tool. (Tantrum…as in two year old). One could write a paper just on this anger aspect alone.

    6) Feeling too different, and needing badly to be accepted by others. Rejection is unbearable. And, of course, people do reject them, even if it is just in the sense of being put off by their loudness etc, as above. Thus the problems escalate inside.

    7) Lying. In severe narcissism lying is pathological. If a child is not taught why telling the truth matters - if their childish lies are humoured and not challenged by the parent, this sets up enormous trouble in the adaptation to the adult world. Again, one could write a great deal about pathological lying, - it is a topic in itself…suffice to say, here, that AK stands as a convicted felon for lying.

There is some interesting new research (Professor Raine) that has established a 22% difference in a specific brain layer, in people who are able to glibly lie. These people also have enhanced verbal faculties. Some people lie just because that’s what they do, (when they don’t actually ‘need’ to). It’s a modus operandi, - usually used as a tool to get what they want.

All of these characteristics above, added together, will give a person who is first, foremost and last, concerned with their own image, their persona - how the world sees them. Hence ‘Narcissus’, gazing at his own reflection, and mistaking it for reality.  So much mental energy is orientated towards weaving together their ideal image of themselves in everything they do: ‘What people think of me’.

Then, too, the illusion of this constructed image has to be maintained. Therefore anything that contradicts it has to be denied.  *Amanda the Innocent* - this is the image that, in this case, has been projected and maintained.

Notice that it is the perpetuating of the Image that matters - the actual point of whether she is - in fact and evidence,- innocent or guilty takes low precedence compared to the task of getting people to believe in the image of her being innocent. AK actually says so herself (in the way she often reveals herself) : “people thought I was.. ( a murderer) whether I am or not.” She couldn’t bear people to believe such an image of herself - whether she was or not, she didn’t want people to think it

It is what people think or believe about them that matters most to the image-creating narcissist. They cannot bear to be found faulty - they must be admired.

The Six Published Letters

Here are some points of interest that stood out in the published letters in the post below. (I expect others can be observed, and found also in the recent interviews, etc.) :

Letter dated April 3rd 2008.

This is the only letter of this group that contains a grumbling complaint. Firstly, she mentions the police thinking badly about her. It is striking yet again that what bothers her is how people think of her. She also repeats, as often, ‘I do understand that I have to be in control’. See point 4) above.

Then a passage that contains a couple of enigmatic statements :

“...Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.”

This rewards some analysis. ..“Above all when they don’t know the truth?”

No one can know the full truth, precisely because AK herself (and Sollecito) have declined, from the start, to give a full and comprehensive - let alone consistent - account of the tragic evening. So it is very illogical to then complain that the authorities are acting thus because they don’t know the truth…

“It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation”. These two clauses seem to be non sequiturs to me. I do not see what they mean. It is dark innuendo that she ‘doesn’t agree with.’ That is all we are told. Then :


If I was being gravely mistreated, with due cause for complaint, I would detail the wrong-doing as simply and clearly as possible, so it could be addressed. This does not. How is one to know whether the ‘torture’ (her inverted commas) is really frustration and annoyance at the way things have turned out? It also is expressed in a self-dramatising way.

...“even if I am innocent”. I really did read this as an ‘add-on’ - for safe measure, in case anyone significant were to read it. The word ‘even’ is out of context. It is another example of ‘distancing’, too.

Letter dated April 28th 2008 :

Don Saulo is ‘a true friend and a very good man’. At this point in time AK needs Don Saulo very much. He also, probably, offers her a role model of a positive animus (Jung again), in contrast to the other menfolk in her life, he is a man with forgiveness and without anger. Obviously, later on, she no longer needs him.

In a rare moment of veracity, AK says, “I am ignorant, unfortunately”. She also wants someone to give her explanations (for the meaning of the literature) - this indicates a passive intellect, possibly without the desire to grasp an understanding for oneself. She would rather be given the meaning, as a soundbite, almost. Then one can impress, with the knowing. Somewhat as tourists ‘get the knowledge’. I suggest, having lived in Rome, that some Americans are perhaps prone to this.

Letter November 26 2009 :

This is notable as, first, a copious expression of gratitude for being liked, and given support, and in continuation, as a definite plea for this support (and, she hopes, affection) to be ongoing.

Letter dated August 10th 2010 :

AK is first flirtatious over Maurizio’s marriage. Is she being risqué ? It seems typical of her to introduce a sexual nuance where in reality it is not appropriate.

Next, we have one of her cultural detours. She gives a (for her) fairly detailed reaction to a book by Umberto Eco, a writer of some standing. She mentions not just once, but twice that the writing is ‘meticulously built’. This obviously is something that makes the most impression upon her. Of all the stylistic and imaginative innovation, and colour, that there is in Umberto Eco’s writing, I find it most curious that this is what impresses her.

Letter April 20th 2010 :

AK is very happy to be credited as a translator : this will help her be seen in a favourable light, something high on her agenda. To be fair, credit where credit is due, (although one knows nothing of the details of the translation).

Next we have another passage of gratitude.

Then a description of how she is happy ‘playing…out in the sun’. This is immediately followed with ‘I have made a new friend’ - all important to her, and makes all the difference, - if she is liked, accepted, and preferably admired too.

Letter undated :

Here, AK says ‘I feel fine’, followed again, immediately, by a description of her new cell mate who likes her, helps her, and shares as a friend, both manicure and music. This being liked and accepted obviously gives her security, and she doesn’t want to move : ’ I am happy to remain in Perugia…’


These Knox letters describe a real prison situation that is at odds with the seemingly fictional Knox book. She may have been at some inner peace there. Outside, it is hard work.

Posted on 05/30/13 at 09:26 PM by SeekingUnderstanding. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesNasty-prison hoaxFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda Knox
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Focus In Italy Now On Knox Psychology As Her Claims Meet With Skepticism, Lack Any Proof

Posted by Miriam

[Header of the Giallo article; the rest off it is at bottom; click for a larger image]

The Amanda Knox We In Italy Know

Amanda Knox may have felt she was “waiting to be heard” in America but here in Italy we have heard her many times, and we feel we know her pretty well.

Her book and interviews don’t sound like her at all. They sound like nasty legal stunts and nasty PR at work. It is easy to disprove her disparagement of officials and her friends here, and an investigation by the Chief Prosecutor in Bergamo is already under way.

So the big question for us here is not angrily “Who are these appalling police, prosecutor and prison officials, and why did they do these terrible thing?” but sadly “Why was she compelled to invent all this stuff?” and “Why is she so scared to come back?”

I have translated six of her letters from prison just published in the crime magazine Giallo plus the introduction and the graphologist’s analysis. This is more like the Amanda Knox we know, not the invented one in the book.

1. The Giallo magazine’s Introductory framing of Knox’s letter below

Amanda: “Here In Prison Things Are Okay”

So writes Knox to a friend while she was a prisoner in Perugia. [The true crime magazine] Giallo publishes her letters, and then has them commented on by a graphologist and a psychologist

The letters you see published on these pages are from Amanda Knox, the young American accused, along with her ex boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, that took place in Perugia the 1st of Nov. 2007.

Knox, 26 years old, was acquitted in appeal, but now Cassazione has decided that the appeal must be redone. While waiting for this complicated judicial process to restart, Amanda lives in Seattle, and is traveling around America to launch her new book Waiting to be Heard for which she was paid several million euro by her publisher.

To the American television interviewers, the young American woman has said she is scared of coming back to Italy, because our prisons are terrible places, where she was threatened, molested sexually, and humiliated.

Well, in the letters that Giallo publishes in an exclusive, Amanda writes to a social worker, Maurizio, who helped her, and she seems neither desperate or scared, she has friends and cellmates with which to share many interests, From reading to music, up to manicures. There is a priest, Don Saulo, with which she talks, and confesses, and helps her in her moments of discouragement.

Sure, she suffers from the distance from her family, her loneliness and her imprisonment, but she can see her parents and speak with them frequently, and this notably relieves her suffering.

2. Six letters from Knox to the social worker Maurizio 2008-2010

April 3 2008

Dear Maurizio,

Thank you very much for that letter that for me is very interesting. I was thinking: “Why am I here?”, “why can’t I be with my mother?”, “ Yes the police can think badly about me, and meanwhile I do understand that I have to be in control, not run away from the situation, but why prison? I am 20 years old, never committed a crime, it is senseless. How can they say that I have to stay in prison like the people that can be a danger to others? Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.

Thank you for the article. It is interesting to know how people that do not undergo this torture as I and hundreds others think. To tell you the truth, I can’t understand how some judges can sleep at night, when they very well know that it can be a grave mistake. ah… mamma mia….

Come on! It is O.K. here. I am studying a lot and have started reading Italian Poetry.

Another thing that I like a lot is the song “A te” by Jovanotti. “perché tu sei…semplicemente sei….sostanza dei giorni miei…sostanza dei giorni miei…. (lyric of the song n.d.r.). Have you heard it? According to me it is a live song. It is true. Simple and strong. I like it a lot.

How are you? Do you like the change of weather? I spend more time outside reading a book and singing (I am still alone when I go outside). I am sun tanning but I’m still white white!

Hope you are OK. Love, Amanda

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun!  I know that I am not alone, even when I am alone

April 28 2008

Dear Maurizo,

Thanks again for your thoughts and your gifts.

I really like the T-shirts and the book of art. Beautiful! Mamma mia the talent of the artists always surprises me! Thanks. But you know, you do not have to buy me anything. I am happy just to hear from you.

Really, [Priest] Don Saulo speaks to me so much about God’s gifts, especially about the strength to overcome the difficult moments, of which there are so many. He bought me a book on philosophy entitled “Umanesimo Integrale” and we speak often of my thoughts and my questions. He is a true friend and a very good man.

It’s true, I must start to read a bit of classic Italian texts. Maybe there are some books in the library for me….......Who can explain to me about “Divina Commedia”? I know it exists and that it is famous, but more than that I am ignorant, unfortunately.

Now my father is here with me, but he has to return to the United States, next week. In his place the husband of my mother, will come. I am happy, because from him I receive a lot of strength. He is like that.

Today I go to the gym course (in a bit) and I have a home telephone call. My first telephone call was last week and I was so excited. The voices of the people I love are really a gift. I trembled a bit after those so little ten minutes.

Now, I must go to the course to sweat a bit. grin I hope you are very well. Thanks again for your words.You are very kind.

A hug, Amanda grin

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun! I know I am not alone, even when I’m alone.

November 26 2009

Caro Maurizio,

Ciao, my friend. How are you? It’s from forever that I write you. I imagine that you must have basketball in your head, since it is the season’s sport. I send best wishes to your nephews, who play it. I am terrible at basket. I have very small hands, therefore I can’t control the ball.

I would like to thank you for meeting with my family. Chris told me nice things about your encounter, he was impressed by your generosity. I know that it is always nice and unique, every time that somebody comes toward you and they like you, just like that. Therefore, thank you, for having welcomed him, me and my dear ones.

Nearly, nearly there. O mamma mia, one has to remain strong in these days. I am always hoping so much, even if, in my stomach I feel sick, anxious. More than anything, the closer it gets, the more I have to reinforce my patience against the fatigue and frustration.  But I will make it.

A lot of my family will come tomorrow to be in court. There will be my father, my mother, my stepmother and my aunt. My three sisters will be here on Dec. 2. I hope so much to be able to go home with them, finally, this time. I see it in “my third eye” the vision of being on the plane between my mother and my sister. Maybe, I am thinking to much about it.

Anyway, I hope you are well. I must go to sleep early tonight, to be ready for tomorrow.

Thank you for your continued support.

Your friend, Amanda grin

Here comes the sun! Let it be! I know that I am not alone even when I am alone,

Happy Thanksgiving!

April 20 2010


Hi! How are you? I’m happy that I made you happy with the full translation. For me it was a satisfying job, so I thank you too for the chance that you gave me. I don’t think it will be a bad thing put up my name as a translator. OK it is fine for me and yes if you like it, you can even put my second name Marie,

Thank you very much for the towels, to be truthful I really needed them. They are beautiful. I gave one of my pillow cases to the other inmate so we have twin pillows. She thanks you too and sends her best wishes.

Seems like that the weather is finally changing. With great pleasure I was able to wear a skirt in these days. Now people are out and we play volleyball together under the sun. I made friends with a new 19 years old girl: she is an athlete too. Every day we walk or play with the ball together,

Next Friday my mother, father and stepfather will be here for a visit. Mi mother and father are here for a short time to be interviewed on TV at “Quarto Grado” and then will come here. Can’t wait to see them, I miss them with all my heart.

Well, hope that you are fine. Thank you again for everything and salute you with all my affection

Hi your friend, Amanda

I know that I am not alone even when I am alone

August, 30 2010

Dearest Maurizio

Hi dear, how are you? Do you know that yesterday I was taking with D…. about you, only because you are a very special person in this world, for all that you do for others. She told me that you got married. Congratulations! Now I have to tell to my grandmother and break her heart! grin Just joking!

I am well enough here. I thank you again for the shorts and shirt that you send me. They were perfect as always. Thanks and I hope that you didn’t lighten your wallet too much. I am kind of disappointed that you spend your money on me, you are too generous. I am always the same here.

Just finished reading a book by Umberto Eco book that I liked a lot. In Italian should be “ L’isola del giorno prima”, I read it in English “The island of the day before”; maybe the “island of yesterday”? Anyway, I was favorably moved by Eco’s organization in this novel in order to communicate so many ideas on science, philosophy, ethic, imagination, literature. It was a book very rich on thoughts, and colpi di scena during it’s path.

I like Umberto Eco because he meticulously builds the story that he wants to tell. Of all he writes, nothing is taken for granted and this is remarkable, he has a fantastic mind to dig deep while following a long track. I saw a Sean Connery movie based on a book of his “Il nome della Rosa?” It was fantastic. Always meticulously built, deep and fascinating.

Seems like that the newspapers know before us when the appeal proceeding will take place. We still have not been officially notified, but my lawyers told me that it should start Nov. 24th; that in the USA is Thanksgiving Day. Hope that it is a good omen even if there is a lot in my life for which I should be grateful: to be alive, having the family that I have etc…

[Undated letter]

Dearest Maurizio,

I am happy to hear from you again. I use now the paper you sent me to answer you.  Sorry to make you wait.  My mother has returned to the United States nearly a week ago, and my father returns to Italy tomorrow, to see me Tuesday.

I am happy to remain in Perugia. I do not want to restart everything in another place.  Also I? (blurred) have heard that the prisons in Rome are harsher than here. Who knows?

I only know that at least I know some of the prison officers fairly well, after all this time. I would be sorry to leave Don Saulo. I feel fine in my new cell. I changed it so I could be with a girl my own age. We joke, cook, we do manicures. Further, she does a manicure for me, because I do not know how to do one. We listen to music a lot because she has a radio.

Thank you for all you do for me. The paper, your words of confidence, your prayers. To Don Saulo I will send your greetings. Do you write often to him too?  I hope all is very well with you. I send you a big hug. Ciao! Thank you!

Amanda Knox grin

Let it be, Let it be! Here comes the sun! (drawing of a sun)

3. Comments by educational psychologist and graphologist Evi Crotti

Looking at the Amanda Knox letters it is evident right away how organized and precise she is: she has a perfect handwriting, elegant and without smudges. We try to interpret it with the help of the graphologist and educational psychologist Evi Crotti.

She explains: Her perfect, organized handwriting, without margins and few spaces indicates that we have before us a girl that is decisive, strong, who wants to dominate, and knows she can succeed in life. She puts herself In the center and leaves no place for others. Amanda displays a way of writing that is typically northamerican, in small print, called script.

The handwriting, elegant, big and curved, reveals an extroverted personality, and with a notable sense of taste. Her language is fluid and polished, and the accuracy with which she writes, tells us that this young girl has a need to maximize and nurse her image, to the point of becoming narcissistic: after her signature she draws herself with a smiling face.

Amanda leaves no space between the lines: this signifies an element of interior loneliness, which she attempts to compensate at any cost with approaches of verbal intrusiveness. This tells us that that her strong narcissistic behavior can escape control and lead her to present unstable behaviors. The fact instead that her handwriting is always in horizontal lines, without blurs, gives testimony to her practical intelligence and her strong tenaciousness,  that allow her to reach her goals.

Also, the handwriting is rigid and this signifies that she knows how to use words with care and determination. Evi Crotti underlines that the handwriting is static: It is a sign of a behavior that is very seductive. Attention, the need to be attractive at all costs can make her lose sight of the objectivity of judgment , taking her to a subjective vision of circumstance reality.

Conclusion:  Amanda seems to be in a continuous search of approval and acceptance from those who live around her. Her egocentricity, maybe pushed unto the point of a bogus personality, demonstrates that this girl possess a highly emotional immaturity that doesn’t allows her to love in an unselfish way. The handwriting slightly slanted to the left indicates a contradiction between the need to be liked and the reactive refusal toward a feminine figure: for her, probably every woman represents a rival.

Posted on 05/28/13 at 05:00 PM by Miriam. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesThe Dr Mignini hoaxNasty-prison hoaxFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamLies in Knox bookAmanda Knox
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Friday, May 03, 2013

The Amanda Knox Trainwreck: How TV And Book Suggest Knox Is Increasingly Far From Facing Reality

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding

Amateurism run amoke is what the unprecedented and unwise Knox extravaganza is starting to look like. 

Several TJMK posts below this one have already suggested that the book was rushed into print with very little fact-checking, with no restraint on damaging false accusations,  and with no strategic legal considerations.

The same thing seems to have happened with the TV appearances.

Knox had a year and a quarter under wraps to prepare herself and yet her many exaggerated and over-emotional TV claims contradict many things SHE HERSELF has said previously.

She seems to have been rehearsed by handlers with little or no grasp of the extensive fact record.

And where has all this amateurism left her? Open to slow erosion of her credibility by an increasing number of commentators while considerably upping her peril in Italy.

Because many of her claims falsely accuse officers of the court, she could be further indicted for contempt of court, and she could see the five years which was lopped off her sentence by Judge Massei for “mitigating circumstances” reinstated.

Those of us with psychology credentials may not have all been expecting the same thing from Knox when she finally surfaced. But none of us expected to be confronted so forcefully with a classic case of a personality in turmoil.

My first impression after getting through to the end of the book was that it shows such serious disturbance psychologically, so much being revealed in her own words.

It wouldn’t be possible to classify AK as clinically insane, the niceties of this being so precise - but an abnormal mind is clearly illustrated. So clear that it is actually sad - that she has been allowed and encouraged to do this.

The ghost writing, or/and her own expression is also painful to read in terms of quality of writing. These are the main points that have emerged for me, from a psychological perspective, after reading:

AK’s grip on reality (even without drugs) is tragically lacking. It seems that she doesn’t know what a ‘fact’ is. Every fact and event is seen through a lens of her own feeling or emotion - logical connection being absent - together with how she believes it is best to make it appear.

‘Her “best truth” is this over and over again. She doesn’t even understand that this is considered by normal minds to be lying. She doesn’t seem to have a concept of lying.

  • “their version of reality was taking over”... Does reality only come in versions?

  • “something didn’t feel right. it seemed made up”.  Does she not know?

AK continually refers to herself as “different”. She is, but not for the curious or trivial things she believes. She is also obsessively concerned to be seen and classified as a “good person”. This comes up over and over.

“I didnt want them to think I was a bad person”. Note, not: “I didn’t want to BE a bad person” but always “how will people think of me”. This is a continual theme. “I couldn’t believe anyone could think that of me”.

It does show a dissociative and non-integrated personality, with both deep roots and serious implications.  There are also indications that she is unable to ‘read’ people’s faces /expressions with any accuracy. (Emotion recognition).

A more sinister and disturbing facet to her personality connected to the above, which comes through in every chapter, is the automatic disparagement of anyone who displeases her (which of course happens frequently - whenever, in fact, someone has a different version to ‘her best truth’).

Someone is then ‘useless’, ‘betraying me’, ‘stupid’, etc etc. These words are all said matter-of-factly…. as if they really are facts.  Here are some more of these words, peppered within the text:

  • ‘Repellant, self-serving’, ‘hostile’, ‘insincere’, ‘abandoned (me)’, ‘uninterested’, ‘aggressive’, ‘spiteful’, ‘curt’, ‘disdainful’

  • ‘Old perv…lecherous’, ‘glared cruelly’, ‘idiotic’, ‘insidious’, ‘controlling’, ‘condescending’, ‘mean’, ‘hateful’, ‘ruthless’....

Note that it is not that AK finds these people to be these things, in her opinion- it is that they ARE these things.

The sub-text is: I am a good person, and they, having displeased or disagreed with me, are ‘bad’. Thus the mechanism for strong, unrestrained projection is at work.

Example: “The police couldn’t bear to admit they were wrong.”  Could she, though?

Her projections are so blatant, that I quake for her lack of self-awareness. I used to read literature as a window into self-awareness, insight, philosophical depths, and questions of morality.

Sadly this book is about as far from offering these as one could go. A PR machine missile is not a ‘book’ in the sense I used to know.

AK reveals a very strong inner anger, the control of which is difficult, and which it would seem she is frightened of, and frightened of revealing.

She would also seem to be based in a passive aggressive stance, which gives rise to a side seen as nice and even gentle. These two sides seem badly split.

This would be in keeping with the Envy hypothesis (I refer to Melanie Klein’s ‘Envy and Gratitude’). There are a few definite examples of the consuming anger which Amanda herself describes graphically.

She continually justifies it, also. Sometimes, of course, anger may be justified (‘just anger’) but as described here it is nearer to a rage or a tantrum when things aren’t going according to how she wants them to.

This speaks of manipulation, which would be part of the same profile, and is essentially destructive and spoiling, as well as something that wells up with a will of its own.

She often exposes her state of mind in certain phrases, without realising the implications of what she is saying. This is why I think the whole thing is so sad, as she has been used (seemingly mainly for money) in this foolish venture.

For example: “In that instant I snapped.” when the detective said “you know who killed Meredith.” It wasn’t the pressure/abuse from the police that made her snap, it was being confronted with the truth.

NOT her ‘best truth,’ but one that was simply unbearable to hear.  There are many other examples, littered throughout the book, of some of her inner chaos:

  • “This is my own fault. I caused the confusion”

  • “I wanted to disappear.  I didn’t want to be me anymore”.

  • “I didn’t know if I was allowed to keep my thoughts private…”

  • “Like a roller coaster ride….can’t get off. This is all my own fault”
  • .
  • ” I was furious for putting myself in this situation”.

  • Rafaelle - “He didn’t look at me. I wondered if he hated me”.  (Why should he?)

  • “We want justice. But against who? We all want to know, but we all don’t.”

There are many others.  Amanda Knox said she loved Italy and I believe her. With adjustment she could have been a lot happier there than she perhaps ever was in Seattle. Now she is in the position of demonizing Italy and its good people there, and in the worst possible way.

Italy was in fact very kind to Amanda Knox, and her treatment there was on the right lines to give her hope of enduring stability. What a pity that dirty PR and legal tricks and money grubbing may have pushed that out of sight forever.

Posted on 05/03/13 at 10:51 PM by SeekingUnderstanding. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamLies in Knox bookAmanda Knox
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Lawyers Are Puzzled At Why Knox Seems So Intent On Risking Extra Prison Time

Posted by Peter Quennell

Knox doesnt need our legal advice. She has some pretty good lawyers of her own.

So what are they telling her now? The huge risks her book and interview run are all spelled out in the Italian legal code. Accused perps dont ever, ever take their case to the court of public opinion in Italy (try finding another example) because that is a very serious contempt of the court.

Italy’s justice system so favors DEFENDANTS that it is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world. In fact many Italians feel its leniency has gone way too far. That is why there are these automatic appeals and why Knox could talk freely in court and have no cross-examination of her claims.

At the same time, officers of the Italian justice system are sheltered by huge powers hardly even needing to be invoked. The reason the law is so strong in this dimension is in part because a favored mafia tactic is to do what Sollecito and Preston and Burleigh have done in their books: slime the officers of the court.

Those powers finally now HAVE been invoked, because of the extraordinary assault on the Italian system and judges and prosecutors and police (rejected even by his dad) by Sollecito in his book.

They are perhaps the strongest and most extensive attacks on the court system Italy has even seen.

This is under confidential investigation in Florence and charges expected this summer could cost Sollecito a sentence of five years or more. His book also just about kills his chances at the new appeal, because it makes several hundred wrong claims which to the prosecution will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

The defense lawyers surely know all of this. Unless they feel their chances at appeal are so bad (which could be the case) that they require desperate long-shot measures, they will surely tell Knox the same thing. 

Publishers’ necks and ghost-writers’ necks and ABC’s necks are on the line too. HarperCollins UK seem to have been very smart in yanking the book. Their lawyers must have figured all this out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Psychiatrist Dale Archer Suggests Jodi Arias Fits Sociopath Profile Except For No History Of Quirks

Posted by Peter Quennell

[The $200,000 home of the victim Travis Alexander at the eastern edge of Phoenix, Arizona]

Dale Archer assesses the admitted Arizona killer Jodi Arias against the checklist of sociopathic symptoms.

In his opinion (he has not had direct access to Jody Arias) she appears to accord to 6 of the 9 the symptoms below. He thinks she doesnt fit the key last one, no past history of anti-social or odd behavior going back prior to her affair with Travis Alexander, which he considers to rule out sociopathy.

We noted in the previous post that Jodi Arias had a turbulent family history and job history, and she made a good case on the stand that her boyfriend was debasing her. But absent actual signs of prior symptoms, Dr Archer doesn’t find that enough.

Failure to conform to societal norms: Jodi has no respect for the law or the rules of society. She not only viciously killed another person, she openly and unabashedly sneers at the prosecuting attorney and the courtroom proceedings.

Pathological lying: Ms. Arias has no problem lying. We’ve all seen it and know she’s good at it. Sociopaths lie easily and keep their cool because a lie is not considered wrong or immoral. It’s merely a way to get what they want. In the early stages of the investigation, Arias came up with three different lies for the police which explained what happened, changing her story as they disproved each.

Manipulation, deception, and cunning: Arias hacked into Alexander’s email and Facebook accounts. He found her hiding in his closet when he returned home from a date. She introduced him to sex, playing the submissive partner though she was actually dominant in order to control him. It is the prosecution’s speculation Arias eventually filmed and recorded Alexander in compromising situations to blackmail him if he tried to leave her.

Impulsiveness: A co-worker claimed Arias continuously called Alexander from work. If there was no answer, she would drop everything and leave to track down Alexander. She didn’t care if she lost her job, as long as she didn’t lose Alexander. Another point: while in the act of murdering him, Arias dropped a camera, and incredibly it snapped a picture of the murder taking place. Instead of taking the camera with her, along with the rope, the gun, her bloody clothes….. she impulsively threw it in the washing machine and ran it through a cycle. Miraculously, the images remained on the film.

Irritability and aggressiveness: Arias was becoming increasingly irritable and when Alexander started seeing another woman she turned up the heat. She stalked, vandalized, plotted and then murdered. Twice she slashed the tires on his car. She sent a threatening email to Alexander’s new love interest.

Reckless disregard for safety of self or others: We do not have record of Arias disregarding anyone else’s safety at this point other than Alexander- she killed him or herself; threatening suicide when Alexander would try to cut the ties. Ultimately the person she killed wasn’t herself, but Travis Alexander, the one person who consumed her thoughts, her life.

Persistent irresponsibility: In her 20s, Arias worked at several dead-end jobs and was in and out of relationships, but nothing stands out. No convictions, jail time or other legal issues.

Lack of remorse or guilt. In Arias’ mind, Alexander was not a person but her possession. He took her to interesting places, and she introduced him to sex. When he tried to pull away, she would reel him back with ever more outrageous sex practices. Eventually she killed him so no one else could have her possession. At the funeral, she did not shed one tear. Since the murder, the investigation, the arrest and the trial, not once has she said “I’m sorry.”

Before age 15 and continuing, a history of antisocial behavior. Here is the real problem with labeling Arias as a sociopath. This condition starts in the young teen years, if not before. It is a persistent and consistent behavior over the first three to four decades of the individual- some say for a lifetime. No one has come forward with any prior behavioral issues, legal issues, problems with work, family or friends. She was reportedly a very “good girl” in high school and very “normal.” At this time there are no known problems with previous boyfriends.

Jodi Arias has one or two more days on the witness stand, and then defense experts will try to account for her behavior and blackout at the time Travis died in a non-incriminating way. This trial is being shown live on American TV (the HLN channel).

Arias somewhat withered under very tough questions from the jury. Would Knox? Plenty of still-unanswered questions for Knox here.

Posted on 03/13/13 at 12:14 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychology
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Admitted Killer On The Witness Stand In Arizona Is Resonating And Polarizing In Familar Ways

Posted by Sailor

Something apparently unique in American legal history is now taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, complete wth realtime TV feed from the courtroom

It is the weeks-long examination and cross-examination on the stand of Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend and continuing sex partner Travis Alexander with at least 29 stab wounds and a slashed throat. In a few days she could be stuck with a death sentence, or conceivably even walk free.

We have often wondered how Knox would perform unfettered on the stand, as she may feel compelled to do if Cassation requires a reworking of the appeal verdict and sentence arrived at at the end of 2011.

There are some similarities and some differences.


The similarities involve her lying and her seeming callousness and attempted cover-up which suggest her mental acuity and balance are okay. The quotes below come from the ABC News account of Arias’ trial:

Arias “eventually confessed to killing her ex-boyfriend, but insisted it was self defense.”

And “the main reason (for lying) is because I was very ashamed of what happened. It’s not something I ever imagined doing. It’s not the kind of person I was. It was just shameful,” she said. “I was also very scared of what might happen. I didn’t want my family to know that I had done that, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say that I did that.”

The other parallel to Amanda Knox is Arias’ behavior after the murder.  To avoid calling attention to herself, Arias carried on as if nothing had happened.

“Arias drove on to Utah where she was supposed to meet up with friends and a new romantic interest, Ryan Burns, for the rest of her roadtrip, she testified. There, the pair kissed and cuddled on Burns’ bed just 24 hours after Arias had stabbed and shot Alexander.”


The differences involve her family and the nature of Travis’s connection with the fervent local arm of the Mormon Church, which is especially fervent about no sex before marriage. .

Unlike Knox, whose father shut her up when she seemed to be getting close to confessing in Capanne Prison soon after her arrest, Arias credits her loving family with giving her the support that allowed her to finally admit what she had done.

“My family remained very supportive, and told me ‘it doesn’t matter what happens, we love you anyway.’ I realized even if I told the truth they would still be there and wouldn’t walk away,” she testified.

“By the time spring, 2010, rolled around, I confessed. I basically told everyone what I could remember of the day and that the intruder story was all BS pretty much.”

Travis Alexander was not only a fervent mormon - he was an elder in his local church where any pre-marital sex would taint both partners for life.

Having secretly slept with Jodi Arias for a long time, he discarded her as a “tainted” girlfriend (who he himself tainted) in favor of a virgin Mormon girlfriend - but continued to chase Arias down for sex anyway. 

This is a take by an insightful reader calling herself Janine on the website Wild About Trial which seems to resonate with many, especially women.

Since Travis’s emails were read in court and the phone sex tape was heard in open court, it shows Travis’s personality in a dating situation. He had a Madonna Whore complex… the Mormon girls he would not touch because they were pure, then putting Jodi into the Whore category in which no form of sex or degradation was denied. IMO Travis should have paid for sex and not manipulating and degrading women who had fallen in love with him.

He treated her horribly. Her self esteem was obviously very low or she would not have permitted nor enjoyed being treated in this manner. He was chasing her as well, if only for a booty call. He was playing mind games when surely he must have known the person whose mind he was messing with was unstable. He didn’t care, as long as he could get the kind of sex he wanted when he wanted it and with no strings attached.

She slashed his tires, watched him, read his emails and he is still reeling her in and playing mind games a week before the murder. He messed with the wrong girl. She is guilty but not of murder one or two. I believe crime of passion or manslaughter. He had some culpability here even though I believe he did not deserve what happened. After a year of Travis’s form of abuse, she just snapped. He pushed her over the edge. And, yes, you would have to be unstable to be pushed over the edge but I believe he knew that she was.

She certainly gave him plenty of evidence that she was.

Even though Arias is now fighting to avoid the death penalty, she exudes a sense of peace that seems to have eluded Amanda Knox. The truth shall set you free!

First image below: this shot was taken by Jodi just minutes before Travis’s death

Posted on 02/22/13 at 12:42 AM by Sailor. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Should The Amanda Knox Defense Maybe Point The Finger At An Angry Daddy?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Given a level playing field Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are almost certainly going down for the final count.

There is not the slightest sign that their defenses know how to contend with the Supreme Court appeal filed by Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati. One has already walked (Maori) and the fact that the others don’t respond publicly to Galati speaks volumes to Italian lawyers.

If the first appeal (called in Italy the second level) is rerun in whole or in part, Sollecito and Knox could see Judge Massei’s “mitigating factors” annulled and find themselves each facing 30 years inside or even life.

The whole thrust of Sollecito’s ill-timed book (subtitle “how to shoot oneself in both feet”) is that he deserves to serve less time than Amanda Knox (who he “nobly saved”) and preferably to serve no time at all.

The sliding scales of all discussion of the case

Many bright people follow the case. We have many lawyers and crime experts and even judges read here. Many took a long time to settle on a “guilt” point of view and approached it very professionally (reflected in many of the posts written by professionals here). This is contrary to the klutzy, amateurish FOA campaign and their inaccurate rants about “haters”.

There are various great sliding scales or continuums in considering all aspects of this case. A lot of what we talk about on PMF and TJMK is where, precisely, we should all come down on each of these various scales at the end of the day. Especially of course how the judges in Rome and Perugia should calibrate them.

Via Dr Galati’s appeal and especially Sollecito’s book, we now have a new one. If reconvicted, should Sollecito and Knox serve equal time? Or should one or other serve more? Let us approach this by considering first some of the most-discussed of the sliding scales.

1) Was Knox a good friend of Meredith or increasingly a pariah?

Many here incline strongly to pariah.

Knox has an obvious tin ear and sharp elbows, was doing little study in Perugia, was making life hell for all her flatmates, was bringing noisy threatening lowlife men home (the other three virtually never brought men home), was disturbing Meredith’s studies, was hitting on patrons in Patrick’s bar, and was definitely into drugs to the extent that she might already have become an addict.

2) Pre-meditated murder or a hazing or spontaneous spiral initiated by Guede?

At least some here incline to the view espoused by some psychologists that Knox and Sollecito were probably both at minimum fantasizing violence, Knox against Meredith, and Sollecito long-term generically.

Knox had become threatened by Meredith in several different ways: Meredith was prettier, was much funnier, had won the best available boy, was brighter, had a tougher study regime, was more directed and ambitious, and had left Knox in the dust on all fronts. Hints that Meredith was about to get Knox’s job at Patrick’s bar could have been the last straw.

To most here, Knox has always seemed the initiator and the leader in the rage against Meredith, and the other two were possibly drawn in by group dynamics.

Judge Micheli certainly believed this. Judge Massei might have done, and his pointing at Guede (espoused in spades by Hellmann and Zanetti) and Massei’s “mitigating factors” both seemed “humane” stretches to give them a few years off - stretches which Chief Prosecutor Galati in his appeal and the Supreme Court in their finding on Guede have already both rejected.

3) Isolated crime/unique family or does American society incline this way?

Statistics show that society here in the US is separated out between super-rich and the other 99% more than at any time in the past 80 years and although productivity has been going up amazingly, all fruits of growth have gone to those super-rich. Many of them have a mindset that basically tells them they made it on their own, and government roles in their success and that of their creative hard-working employees dont matter a damn.

The situation and the anger in the US has been worsening, and absence of true growth for most people also have European and Japanese societies in disarray

In the US one can see heightened levels of anger in the losers of the Superbowl, in the renewed buying of guns, in conspiracy theories on the Internet, in the success of the very thought-provoking Hunger Games books and movie (small people against rich and a captured, cruel over-militarized government), in politics (of course!), and in the vitriolic flames on the IMDB movie forums now against the front-runner movies and actors for the Oscars.

We may not see this at major play here in the crime against Meredith, though, except in the over-competition sense, and the sense that Knox grew up in slight poverty (see below) and was burning through her savings with all the cocaine use (Perugia cops think it was cocaine)

4) Mental ill health in the perps and/or families or original evil?

Sollecito’s dad has long admitted that Raffaele is not normal, and he has struggled to keep him off drugs and focussed hard on his studies. His dad also admitted to all Italy that Sollecito included defamatory lies in his book.

An open and shut case? Seems so. Raffaele now looks “uncomplicatedly” psychopathic and the myriad wrong and nasty claims in his chest-beating book really hammer this take on him home.

That book seems to be his equivalent of Knox’s abrasive, uncaring two days on the stand in 2009 which so damaged her with the Massei jury.

Knox’s mental health seems more complicated. She was widely known to be “quirky” as a kid and then she became pretty wild in Seattle after she moved to live near the university. That certainly wouldn’t have helped.

Most recently, Knox seems to be sliding away into a bubble world without any possibility of admitting she needs treatment, which seems to explain her being kept well out of sight for a year now and not working or studying.

Generally the PROSECUTION in Perugia has been the side to suggest she is not mentally fully well (after the psychological tests in Capanne Prison in 2008) and the DEFENSE and FAMILY has been the side that shrugs this off and hasn’t made it any part of her defence.

Knox seems to have given off plenty of signs in the days after Meredith died that she was alternating between glee and horror. So she seemingly did know what she was doing on the night, and our guess is that it was she who pushed the knife in. In these circumstances the original verdict and sentence seem appropriate.


5) Knox made herself what she was or did her family contribute?

Curt Knox’s seeming blind rage at Edda during their marriage and for years after are an open secret among some in Seattle. He apparently had one of the worst records in the entire US in not paying child support to Edda for Amanda and Deanna, and had again and again to be taken to Superior Court by Edda to be forced to make his monthly payments.

Here are two public records showing two instances of him being taken to Superior Court by Edda.

And we are told that Curt Knox was counseled by one or more judges to get himself some anger management therapy. Apparently he wasn’t formally required to take anger management therapy. He may have done so, though there seems no record that he ever did.

Okay. Not all kids growing up in such toxic family situations suffer, but some do, and a few end up with their hard wiring seriously messed up. Some even end up as drug-takers and murderers.

The classic example recently was the mass killer Anders Breivek in Norway, whose early childhood in a toxic family situation was not entirely unlike Knox’s. (In that case also, the prosecution thought maybe he was nuts, and the defense, successfully, argued otherwise.)

Italian lawyers tell us that it would be for the DEFENSE to bring this up in Perugia if it is a possible mitigating factor, and that it doesnt impinge on the prosecution’s case.

But how could they?

Curt Knox was apparently the one who shushed Amanda Knox at their first meeting in Capanne Prison, Curt Knox was apparently the one who misled her about the world-wide skepticisim against her (she didnt know about that until she came out of prison), and Curt Knox was apparently the one who drove the nasty PR bus - and most recently hosted all of the worst of the rabid PR nuts (including Sforza and Fischer) in Seattle.

Curt Knox has apparently consistently instructed the defense lawyers and PR honchos to keep the pedal to the floor, even though Chris Mellas once openly argued against that. Amanda Knox may have pushed the knife in, but Curt Knox for five years has not come clean about his own possible role in any mental condition.

Our present conclusion

Without a lot more information on Amanda Knox’s early days in her broken home in Seattle, and her current mental condition and condition back in 2007, it is pretty hard to calibrate this. It is not really possible to be precise about where she should be on any sliding scale of time deserved in prison if she is finally convicted.

It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.

Amanda Knox herself should want this.

Posted on 02/06/13 at 01:39 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda KnoxFrancesco Sforza
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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Perugia’s Exceptional Uni And Economy May Have Left RS And AK Feeling Like Small Frogs In Big Pond

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Multi-millionaire success story Brunello Cucinelli and, below, his Perugia-area factory and a typical store]

Few crime specialists seem to see the pattern of the attack against Meredith as being absent of intense anger.

There is no way that attack represents the pattern of a lone burglar or for that matter of a single perp of any kind. The Supreme Court already KNOWS that and they know that at first appeal the Knox and especially Sollecito lawyers tried desperately to prove that two or three other perps were there, either with Rudy Guede (witness Aviello) or without (witness Alessi).

For months now, apparently unnoticed by the FOA sheep, the defenses have been sounding absolutely feckless in the face of the juggernaurt prosecution appeal submitted to Cassation by Perugia’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati.

We’re betting that if they had it all over they would have urged Knox and Sollecito to take the short-form trial and one of the olive branches offered by the prosecution (that it was a sex-based attack which went too far, not an intentional preplanned murder).

They could have entered known facts about Sollecito and Knox to show that at the least they had tin ears and had always been callous, jealous and quirky. They might have advanced a drug-based excuse - the other olive branch advanced by the prosecution was that they were on cocaine and not marjuana that night and cocaine can induce rages leading to murder.

They might also have advanced the notion that both AK and RS were being remorselessly frozen out by their peers, who increasingly looked down on them, not least of course Meredith whose sleep and studies were constantly disrupted by the thoughtless, sharp-elbowed Knox.

Consider first who were their peers. Perugia is a city of driven high performers and it may not be the most comfortable environment for low-performing layabouts. In its own small way it is about as hustling as Manhattan.

It is one of the brightest cities in Europe with an extremely high median IQ. It is one of the top-performing cities in the Italian economy, in part because of the advanced scientific research at the very large university, and in part because it is the home to some brilliant international entrepreneurs.

Both these faces of Perugia are constantly in the Italian news. A search of the past week’s news for the university turns up reports on medical and mathematical and space-science breakthroughs and as usual a number of international conferences in the works.

And a search of last week’s news for Perugian businesses turns up for example this report on Brunello Cucinelli the highly sucessful and innovative fashion-goods entrepreneur who is now talking of doubling his factory.

Sollecito was never really a part of either. He had few friends and no girlfriends, he was a year or two behind his age-group in his studies, and he needed his back watched at all times - though from his book it is obvious that he felt needled by his highly successful doctor-father.

And Knox arrived with poor Italian despite all the claimed studies back in Seattle, she took on only a light and unimpressive study-load (compare Knox’s to Meredith’s) and she was rapidly shedding friends and the goodwill of her tolerant, well-meaning employer.

Neither had a credible and impressive career path in mind, and for that matter, still don’t. It is tough enough to know you are not making it, that can induce in many quite a rage.

But it is even tougher when all your peers around you notice it, and in American street parlance you get to feel “dissed”.

Posted on 01/08/13 at 11:51 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe wider contextsItalian contextThe psychologyAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Also See This Post Of Jan 2011 Rebutting Kassin’s Substantive Claim Of Forced Confession

Posted by Fuji

This was first posted on 12 January 2011 (see 30+ comments under that post).  It shows in effect that EVEN IF the timeline on the night of Knox’s “confession” in which she actually blamed Patrick Lumumba resembled Saul Kassin’s fantasy timeline there is no sign that Amanda Knox is one of the very few with the “right” psycho-sociology to cave quickly under police interrogations.

My original post pre-dates by some month Dr Kassin’s erroneous, self-serving claims to Seattle radio and CBS 48 Hours, and by over a year his misleading KEYNOTE address (scroll down) to the John Jay College global conference last month (see page 31 of the program).

We don’t know yet when Saul Kassin’s submission to the Hellman court via Amanda Knox’s lawyers was made, or the nature of its impact on judges and jury, if any. Dr Kassin is welcome to try to explain all of Amanda Knox’s other “confessions” as described here. Also to try to explain all of Sollecito’s “confessions” as described here.

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.


First posted by Fuji on 12 January 2011.

Posted on 07/13/12 at 08:32 AM by Fuji. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The former defendantsAmanda KnoxCrime hypothesesThe psychologyMeredith-case hoaxesDemonized pair hoaxKnox interrog hoaxFamily/defense hoaxersSaul Kassin
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saul Kassin: An Example Of How The Knox Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences

Posted by The Machine

It has happened again and again.

Seemingly good, well-qualified lawyers and experts in police science have repeatedly been made to surface to spout inanities and wrong “facts” put out courtesy of Curt Knox’s “public relations” campaign.

It seems that Dr Saul Kassin is yet another of these naive dupes.

Who is Dr Saul Kassin?

The Social Psychology Network website states that he is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the John Jay Criminal Justice College in New York City. The website outlines his impressive academic credentials which include a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Curt Knox’s chief hatchet man Bruce Fischer, himself notoriously unqualified in every field relevant to the case who for a long time masqueraded pompously under a false name, claimed on his website that Saul Kassin gave help to Amanda Knox’s lawyers in Perugia.

Also that his work was presented to the court during the 2011 Hellman appeal.

Many may not know this but Sarah was instrumental in bringing Kassin in to analyze Amanda’s interrogation. His work was presented during the appeal..

The family had asked that we not release Kassin’s work to the public until they received clearance from the attorneys. I know I often state that this case is over but the attorneys rightfully want to keep everything professional until the Italian Supreme Court confirms Hellmann.

Last October, Saul Kassin did speak at length about Amanda Knox’s interrogation in an interview with John Curley on Radio Kiro FM.

In this post we’ll examine ten of the false claims which have long been circulated by Curt Knox’s campaign, with Bruce Fischer’s site as the central clearing house, and which were regurgitated by Saul Kassin in that interview.

False Claim 1: They brought her in for that final interrogation late at night.

No they didn’t.

Neither the police nor the prosecutors brought Amanda in for questioning on 5 November 2007. Amanda Knox herself testified in court that she wasn’t called to come to the police station on 5 November 2007.

Carlo Pacelli: “For what reason did you go to the Questura on November 5? Were you called?”

Amanda Knox: “No, I wasn’t called. I went with Raffaele because I didn’t want to be alone.”

Amanda Knox went with Raffaele Sollecito because she didn’t want to be alone. Kassin’s false claim is the first red flag that Saul Kassin is very confused or has been seriously misled when it comes to this well-documented and well-handled case.

False Claim 2: The so-called confession wasn’t until 6:00am.

No it wasn’t.

If Saul Kassin had actually read Amanda Knox’s first witness statement, he would have known that it was made at 1:45am. Knox had admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed some time before this.

False Claim 3: She was interrogated from 10:00pm to 6.00am.

No she wasn’t.

According to the Daily Beast Amanda Knox’s questioning began at about 11:00pm.

Since Knox was already at the police station [in the company of Raffaele Sollecito] the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m.

After Amanda Knox had made her witness statement at 1:45am, she wasn’t questioned again that evening. That was it.

However, Amanda Knox herself then wanted to make further declarations and Mr Mignini who was on duty on the night sat and watched while Knox wrote out her declarations.

Mr Mignini explained what happened in his email letter to Linda Byron, another who was factually challenged.

All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.

In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.

But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful.

According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.

Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.

In Amanda Knox’s written witness statement, she explicitly states that she’s making a spontaneous declaration:

Amanda Knox: “I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.

False Claim 4: They banged her on the back of the head.

No they didn’t.

All the numerous witnesses who were actually present when Amanda Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that she wasn’t hit. She has never identified anyone who hit her and on several occasions confirmed that she was treated well.

Even one of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”  He never ever lodged a complaint.

False Claim 5: All the other British roommates left town.

No they didn’t.

The police also told Sophie Purton that they needed her to stay on in Perugia on precisely the same basis as Amanda Knox. In chapter 19 of Death in Perugia, John Follain states that Sophie Purton was questioned by Mignini and Napoleoni in the prosecutor’s office on 5 November 2007.

Sophie had been counting on leaving Perugia to fly back home as soon as her parents arrived, but the police called to tell her they needed her to stay on; they would let her know when she could leave.

False Claim 6 : Amanda Knox stayed back to help the police.

No she didn’t.

This claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she categorically stated she was not allowed to leave Italy.

i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house

Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation (The Massei report, page 37),

I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight.

It’s not the first time that the myth that Knox chose to stay behind rather than leave Italy has been claimed in the media. And incidentally, lying repeatedly to the police isn’t normally considered to be helping them.

False Claim 7: Amanda Knox had gone 8 hours without any food or drink.

No she hadn’t.

Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009

Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been ‘treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.’

Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 15 March 2009.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

John Follain in his meticulous book Death in Perugia, page 134, also reports that Knox was given food and drink during her questioning:

During the questioning, detectives repeatedly went to fetch her a snack, water, and hot drinks including camomile tea.

False Claim 8: The translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox.

No she wasn’t.

Saul Kassin offers no evidence that the translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox and there is no evidence that this was the case. Nobody at the questura has claimed this. Amanda Knox’s own lawyers have not claimed this.

Even Amanda Knox herself has never ever claimed that Anna Donnino was hostile towards her although she had every opportunity to do so when being questioned on the stand.

False Claim 9: The translator was acting as an agent for the police.

No she wasn’t.

Saul Kassin offers no evidence to support this claim, which by the way in Italy is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits. Do ask Curt Knox.

False Claim 10: The police lied to Amanda Knox.

No they didn’t.

The police didn’t mislead Amanda Knox. They told her quite truthfully that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, and that he had just claimed in the next interrogation room that that she wasn’t at his apartment from around 9:00pm to about 1:00am.

This also is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits

Some Conclusions

Saul Kassin clearly hasn’t been directed to any of the official court documents like the Massei report, available in accurate English on PMF and TJMK, or the relevant transcripts of the court testimony.

Worse, he clearly hasn’t even studied Amanda Knox’s own witness statements before claiming to the media that they were coerced.

What he seems to have done is to fall hook line and sinker for the fantasy version of Amanda Knox’s interrogation which has been propagated in the media by Amanda Knox’s family.

He has then mindlessly regurgitated this false information in this interview. For somebody with Saul Kassin’s academic qualifications and educational background, it’s inexcusable that he gets so many facts wrong.

He needs to use much more reputable sources or, as so many other dupes before him have done, simply shut up. Of course, it would be professional for him to admit his mistakes.

He is welcome to do that right here.

[Below: Dr Jeremy Travis the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC]

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Hands Of Time Video With Screenplay By Amanda Knox - A Confessional Obsession?

Posted by Fly By Night & Thundering

Amanda Knox rarely, if ever, mentions her ‘close friend’, murder victim Meredith Kercher. Perhaps out of her self-proclaimed desire to ‘move on with her life’.

So the recent Hands of Time (H.O.T.) music video The Mistral Blows which was posted on YouTube with a screenplay attributed to the Seattle native is nothing if not astonishing.

Whilst there is some discussion as to whether Amanda Knox wrote the entire screenplay, or a section of it, or whether the screenplay was created through a merging of several versions, the screenplay is clearly attributed to her in the credits that appear on the video.

Crediting Amanda Knox with the screenplay is repeatedly emphasized by H.O.T. themselves who posted multiple Twitter entries:

And this screenplay does Amanda Knox and her claims of innocence in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher no favours at all. 

Although provisionally ‘acquitted’ at the trial of second instance, Amanda Knox still stands accused of a capital crime, aspects of which she seems compelled to continue to portray in her various writings. 

The hapless band H.O.T. might be well-advised to disassociate themselves from this endeavour and drop the video like a hot potato.  The more-so as they have already burnt their fingers, tampering with the so-far elusive Brand Knox, finding themselves ‘forced to remove [clips of Knox dancing in Capanne] from the file, after a sudden, unexpected and “very strange” last-minute opposition from Amanda’s entourage.’

They state with a hint of bitterness:

The result?  A compromise.  The image of Knox dancing with carefree abandon in Capanne Prison (easily retrieved from other internet sites) remains, but is obliterated by a large ‘censored’ notice.

The reasons to attempt to disappear this video or, at the very least, any identifiable links with Knox, are abundantly clear to anyone having followed this dreadful case over the last four and a half years.

1) The video is riddled with allusions to the crime itself and features an easily-identifiable Amanda Knox as ‘heroine’ or ‘victim’ as she may now prefer to be seen and depending on how you look at it.

2) Any pre-book-release publicity will potentially devalue the carefully branded and preserved Amanda Knox product.

A cursory look at the video demonstrates the depraved audacity of the writer, a person who simultaneously insists she was found innocent of the crime of murder and of which she still stands accused.

The video features a Knox look-alike – recognizable by her clothing - in a prison-cum-house of horrors.


It opens with the heroine sitting down, colouring pictures in a prison cell.  Amanda Knox was reported to spend time colouring pictures of her hands whilst in prison.


From there she leaves the cell and embarks on a journey through a range of horrifying experiences, until she finally flees the house but not the prison to which she is eternally condemned.

As she runs through the house of horrors she encounters:

1) Ghost-like figures lurching out at her hinting at the night of Halloween before the murder and the ghouls and demons of the house of horrors both in which the crime took place and in which she is forever imprisoned.

2) A tall, faceless black-haired figure dressed in black carrying an umbrella resembling Meredith Kercher dressed as a vampire on her last night alive, the red belt reminiscent of the fake costume blood and the actual blood spilled the night of the murder.


3) A faceless butcher figure dressed in a blood-stained apron holding a knife, who hands her a maggot-infested apple, reminiscent of the photograph of co-accused Raffaele Sollecito as posted on his Facebook page.  The apple is suggestive of the poisoned apple offered by the witch to the innocent Snow White –


4) Or a subliminal suggestion of Raffaele’s guilt in handing her the infested and poisonous apple ….. Remember: she claimed Raffaele may have pressed the murder knife with Meredith’s DNA into her hand whilst she was sleeping.


5) A figure tied to a chair covered in a red cloth hinting of the pools of blood and of Meredith unable to move to defend herself.  As she reaches out to lift the red cloth the bound figure screams, sending her running out down staircases and steps and out of the house.

In the same way, witness Nora Cappezzali heard Meredith’s desperate, blood-curdling scream, followed shortly afterwards by running footsteps out of the house of horrors and onto the steel staircase near her home.


The video ends with the Knox look-alike remaining in prison.  Both real and imagined.


H.O.T. suggest that the video and screenplay are a means of documenting the tale of the events in Perugia and, of course, Amanda Knox hopes to chronicle the nightmare in which she ‘innocently’ found herself.  In so doing, she inadvertently describes the crime and the images, sounds and memories that will seemingly not leave her alone.

Not only are there many references to the crime, but there seems as well a clear jealous obsession with Meredith, given the numerous references and comparisons to Kristian Leontiou’s video Some Say in which Meredith hauntingly starred.

The Knox look-alike emulates Meredith from the Some Say video both in her dress and appearance as well as in her actions.  She descends an old staircase, appears in doorways and through arches reminding us of the shots of Meredith and the church of the ‘Some Say’ video. 




Emulation is a form of envy.  Guilty or innocent, it seems Knox cannot exorcise her memories of the crime, and remains compelled to depict it in screenplays and short stories.  Knox is seemingly still jealous of Meredith which had proved her original undoing.  Here, in a bizarre reversal of reality, Meredith becomes the foreboding, frightening presence, whereas Knox is the shocked and terrified victim. 

At a time when a tough Galati appeal to the Supreme Court and a $4 million book deal are on the table, the memory of Meredith and the crime seem to haunt and obsess Amanda Knox who may reveal a deep-seated need to confess.  But while still accused, Amanda Knox cannot afford to engage in such obsessive, confessional activity.

Could this prove to be her final undoing?

Posted on 07/04/12 at 06:55 PM by Fly By Night & Thundering. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Friday, June 15, 2012

In Trial For Killing Of 77 Norway Very Complexed About Whether Admitted Perpetrator Is Barking Mad

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above and below: this is the courthouse in central Oslo where Anders Breivik is currently been tried]

In Norway a judge and jury and those tens of thousands personally affected by the bombing and shooting deaths of 77 people, mostly in their teens, are trying to calibrate the personality of Anders Breivik.

The self-confessed killer has under Norwegian court procedures been allowed to say a lot about himself during his trial. And to mount a defense which in effect implies that he is the one who is normal, and that everybody else in Norway is either stupid or blind.

There is a sort of Catch 22 situation here.

If the judge and jury and those affected accept that Breivik really IS normal and merely a common or garden Nazi-type fanatic, he can only be sentenced to 21 years x 77 with the sentences to run concurrently. He could be out of prison at only 54.

Even Breivik has said that is pathetic and he would be joyously executed rather than be diminished like that.

But if they accept that he is insane, then he can be sent away to a prison for the criminally insane, and unless he in effect grows a totally new brain, he could be kept locked up for the rest of his natural life.

So if prosecution psychologists can prove him to be what the British like to call barking mad, he could get in effect the maximum time behind bars: life. But blame for a deed which most see as pure evil would in effect be dilute.

Breivik of course is trying very hard to prove that he is NOT mad. But he is not being helped by the testimony of either his mother or his father (who separated in great anger in London a few months after he was born) who have each thoroughly rejected his defense. His mother says he simply lies all the time, and his father says he should have committed suicide.

Nor is he helped by the 1517 page manifesto that he wrote (in English) and emailed to everybody in his address book a few hours before he set out on his attack. 

Dr Avner Falk lives in Jerusalem, Israel, and he is perhaps the most published in the world in the fields of long-distance psychohistory and political psychology. 

On his personal website Dr Falk has just posted this long and deeply researched essay exploring Breivik’s psychology.

Although of course the analysis was done 1/4 of the way around the world, it is difficult to read this essay without concluding that these really are the main facts about what is in Breivik’s head - and that he really is barking mad.

More scientifically, his psychology seems situated somewhere between borderline personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenic.

Dr Falk shows how Breivik may have got that way, and what was driving him to kill (don’t laugh, read the essay first: he became psychotically angered over repeated shows of lack of love by his father, who when Breivek was 16 cut him right off, and too much love by his mom, which Breivek thinks sissyfied him).

And why it would seem to be the safest thing to do to put Breivek away for life.   

So. Is any of this relevant to Meredith’s case? More below.

In Meredith’s case there also seems to be a sort of Catch 22.

First off, it seems that nobody holding any point of view about Knox or Sollecito can see the makings of a credible insanity defense.

One reason many dont want to go down that road is that Italian prosecutions are always facing long odds, and they fear that it could too easily at the end of the legal process leave the accused-perps off the hook and free to go, and to publish whatever they will.

Some fear the same could happen with a defense based on too much alcohol or psychosis-causing drugs.

But at the same time, many also believe that AK and RS were not the social and psychological paragons that many in the obfuscatory PR campaign have tried for a long time to make out.

Even those eager henchmen in Curt Knox’s campaign have had to turn cartwheels to explain why Knox did cartwheels and so quickly put so many people in Perugia right off her, or to explain why Sollecito was so friendless and so obsessed with violent comics and porn and always carried a concealed knife.

And yet despite that, a sort of stealth psychological defense DOES seem to have been mounted, and with Judge Hellman’s interim appeal verdict it does seem to have helped them to be provisionally sprung.

In a process a little reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day where the “villain” has to keep repeating the same day over and over until he gets certain things just right, the public audience and the judges and juries were presented with several different Amanda Knoxes and Raffaele Sollecitos and the 2011 versions seem to have worked.

  • In 2008 the images that dominated were of two cold-hearted or hot-headed jealous abusers who had gone way too far in the remorseless 15-minute struggle with Meredith. Magistrate Matteini and Judge Micheli both firmly took this view, which was confirmed by psychological tests on RS and AK in Capanne Prison that concluded that Perugia would be safer if they stayed behind bars pending their trial.
  • The images that dominated the trial in 2009 was of a mild and slightly daffy Sollecito and a mostly milder and decidedly daffier Amanda Knox, strongly supported by their large and loving families spread out all around the court. That seems to some extent to have worked on Judge Massei, and RS and AK were rewarded with some years off their sentence for a supposed kindness to Meredith’s dead body. In the sentencing report, Rudy Guede became the somewhat villainous initiating attacker of Meredith on the night.
  • The image that dominated the appeal in 2011 was of two serious studious very normal bambinos falsely being tied together with an extremely villainous Rudy Guede, now a notorious drifter and drug dealer who carried knives. The accused in effect dressed in shades of grey, and there were never any smiles or jokes in court. Italian judges and juries and watching audiences have a reputation for leniency toward bambinos, and Judge Hellman’s report suggests that attitude did intrude.

The Italian Supreme Court doesnt usually get to set eyes on those who are appealing or (as in this case) appealed against. More often than not they calibrate a legal and psychological position about as hard-line as the investigating magistrate (Matteini) or the judges at the first level (Micheli and Massei).

Now Knox and Sollecito might not return to the court for any re-run of the appeal trial. But if they don’t, the original images of themselves, those advanced in 2008 which a clear majority of Italians still hold to, could be the version of their personalities that a second appeal judge and jury get to “see”.

Tough call for Knox and Sollecito and their tribes. Their Catch 22.

But either way, assuming a level playing field, a fair outcome seems reasonably assured.


Below: a crowd of 40,000 gathered in central Oslo to sing a song “Children of the Rainbow”.

That is the song by Norwegian folk singer Lillebjoern Nilsen (based on Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Race”) which Breivek claimed in his manifesto shows the decadence of Norwegian youth. 

Posted on 06/15/12 at 08:47 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Friday, June 08, 2012

A Case In Which The Accused’s Team Used A Psychological Condition Maybe Similar To AK’s Or RS’s

Posted by Grahame Rhodes

The wealthy Durst family develops tall buildings in Manhattan including the Bank of America tower in midtown and the new One Wold Trade Center in downtown which will soon reach 1776 feet high.

Robert Durst is one of the heirs of the founder of the Durst Organization who died in 1995 and his brother Douglas now runs the company with a cousin. Here is a brief summary of Robert’s early life from Wikipedia.

Durst grew up, one of four children, in Scarsdale, New York and attended Scarsdale High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University and attended graduate school at UCLA.

Durst reportedly witnessed his mother’s apparent suicide at age seven; she either fell or jumped off the roof of the Scarsdale family mansion.

According to Reader’s Digest, Durst underwent extensive counseling because of his mother’s death, and doctors found that his “deep anger” could lead to psychological problems, including schizophrenia.

Durst went on to become a real estate developer in his father’s business; however, it was his brother Douglas who was later appointed to run the family business. The appointment in the 1990s caused a rift between Robert and his family, and he became estranged. His earlier schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect.

In 1982 a seeming dark side to Robert Durst began to appear. Also from Wikipedia:

In 1973, Durst married Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared in 1982. Her case remained unsolved for eighteen years when New York State Police reopened the criminal investigation.

On December 24, 2000, Durst’s long-time friend, Susan Berman, who was believed to have knowledge of McCormack’s disappearance, was found murdered execution-style in her Benedict Canyon California house. Durst was questioned in both cases but not charged.

According to prosecutors, he moved to Texas in 2000 and began cross-dressing to divert attention from the disappearance of McCormack.

Both the Kathleen Durst and Susan Berman cases remain open, and New York and Los Angeles police still work on them.

From the Galveston Texas Daily News here is a timeline for the movements of Robert Durst for late 2001 and early 2002.

Sept. 30 — A 13-year-old boy spots a man’s torso floating near the shoreline of 81st Street and Channelview Drive. Nearby, police find garbage bags containing human limbs, along with a number of items investigators later trace to an apartment house in the 2200 block of Avenue K.

Oct. 5 — Officials identify the body parts as the remains of Morris Black, a 71-year-old South Carolina native who lived at the apartment house.

Oct. 9 — Police arrest Robert Durst, 58, who lived in an apartment across the hall from Black. Durst is charged with murder and possession of marijuana, but leaves jail that night after posting $300,000 bond.

Oct. 16 — Durst becomes a fugitive when he fails to appear at a court hearing in his case. A grand jury indicts him on charges of murder and jumping bail.

Oct. 17 — A man in Mobile, Ala., rents a red Chevrolet Corsica, using the name Morris Black.

Nov. 30 — Police in Pennsylvania arrest Durst and charge him with the shoplifting theft of a small bandage, a sandwich and a newspaper.

Dec. 5 — Galveston detectives leave for Philadelphia, armed with a search warrant for the red Chevrolet Corsica police seized from the parking lot of the Pennsylvania grocery store where Durst was arrested.

Dec. 7 — A search of the car reveals numerous pieces of identification in the name of Morris Black, an undisclosed amount of marijuana, two handguns and about 80 bullets.

Dec. 17 — State District Court Judge Susan Criss issues a gag order in the murder case, barring officials, attorneys and potential witnesses from talking about the case.

Jan. 25 — Durst waives his right to an extradition hearing, agreeing to return to Galveston to face charges.

Jan. 27 — Durst arrives at the county jail.

New York Magazine adds this bit of color.

At the time of Black’s death, Durst was living as a deaf-mute woman known as “Dorothy Ciner” who communicated with the landlord via handwritten notes. During the trial he startled jurors by growling loudly like a dog and snorting like a pig.

Later, in prison, he became known for doing nude calisthenics in his cell.

In 2003 he was found not guilty of the murder of Morris Black. From Wikipedia:

During cross-examination, Durst admitted to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember Black’s body before dumping his remains in Galveston Bay. The jury acquitted him of murder.

Specifically he was found not guilty because the jury bought into the idea of a mental condition. CBS News describes how the jury saw it.

Is Durst a cold-blooded killer with a string of victims over more than 20 years? Or is he somehow a victim himself?

Last spring, Correspondent Erin Moriarty talked to Durst’s closest friends and the defense psychiatrist who examined him. The Durst fortune, valued at more than $2 billion, is in the same league as Donald Trump’s fortune. And it’s certainly more than enough for the best legal defense that money can buy.

His high-powered defense team - Dick DeGuerin, Mike Ramsey and Chip Lewis – say that early on, they had difficulty communicating with Durst. So they hired Dr. Altschuler, a well-known Houston psychiatrist, to find out why.

Altschuler says he met with Durst almost on a weekly basis, and spent more than 70 hours examining him. His conclusion: Durst suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. It’s a fairly uncommon disorder that leaves a victim’s intellect intact, but limits his ability to interact socially.

“Emotion is very difficult to him. He doesn’t know what happy is,” says Altschuler. “He can feel it, but almost as if he were feeling it as we would feel fingers through a glove. It’s very dulled, at best, to him … His whole life’s history is so compatible with a diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder.”

The jury apparently bought it. They were convinced that Durst, in a panic, dismembered Black’s body.

Many people with Asperger’s self-diagnose themselves and learn to adjust and most have good lives and careers, many in computers and math-based professions. (Probably a coincidence but Knox’s parents are both in math-based professions, as is Chris Mella.) But some apparently do have flash rages when they yet again encounter in themselves an inability to connect or to win people over. So there are some murders that have been ascribed to this condition.

Both Knox and Sollecito may have had childhood trauma which their families, naturally, seem not too keen to have exposed. Or one or other might have been born wrong-headed.

Note how both of them in Perugia had isolated themselves from just about everybody else when Meredith died - Sollecito with his dark sullenless and Knox with her sharp elbows and brash, grubby, offputting ways.

Note Sollecito’s sordid history of beasty porn, and his knife fetishes, and violent manga comics and films, and lack of close friends, and endless drugs, and slow school progress, and attempted close supervision by a struggling father, and a loyal sister who he has left decimated and jobless without even a shrug.

Note how Amanda Knox seems to have tried all her life to be liked and has never understood why she is so often successful for just a short time. Note the reported riotous behavior off campus in Seattle, the shortage of school and college friends who speak up for her, the strange tale of her walking off the intern job in the German parliament, and the searching for love in all the wrong places

Note her willingness to let Patrick Lumumba rot in jail for weeks. Note how she bought hot underwear while giggling, and how she chose to miss the remembrance service for Meredith in favor of a pizza. Note how the prison tests in 2008 seem to have found both her and Sollecito to be continuing dangers. Note her flippant narcissistic demeanor at the trial, and her various bizarre statements.  Note her reported self-imposed isolation and odd deportment and hygiene while in prison.

Note how her sense of right and wrong seems to be completely at odds, comparatively speaking, with the rest of the human race. Note how she seems unable to exhibit any emotion, or take any responsibility for her actions, even when challenged directly and her veracity called into question.

Finally, note her seeming never-ending lack of empathy for Meredith and her family, observed and remarked on both when Meredith was found and at trial and in the months and years afterwards. Meredith came from a hard working loving family who encouraged her to work hard and gave her every break and certainly never brutalised her. She was talented and made friends easily because of her wonderful sense of humor and her positive view of life.

Meredith was the complete antithesis of Knox. Well adjusted, liked, highly intelligent, very diligent and disciplined,  and driven to succeed. A remarkable success story in process, whicht Knox seemingly could not even begin to relate to.

So are Robert Durst and either of the still-presumed-guilty perps in any way similar? Were either of them born wrong in the head or made that way by childhood trauma?

Or was a mental defense simply an easy way for the entitled but awkward Robert Durst to have got off the hook for a cruel murder, and one that the Hellman jury (and those in the FOA) subliminally bought into for Knox and Sollecito as well?

I leave it to you to decide.

[Below: Robert Durst’s missing wife, and a murdered Los Angeles friend]

[Below: Some new Durst organization buildings in New York including at center 1 WTC]

Posted on 06/08/12 at 10:09 AM by Grahame Rhodes. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Smug Killer Who Thought Perhaps He’d Escaped Justice Was Brought Down In The UK Today

Posted by The Machine

[Above and below: Arlene Fraser and husband Nat who today was again convicted for her murder]

Today at the High Court in Edinburgh Nat Fraser has been been found guilty for the second time of murdering his estranged wife Arlene in 1998.

He was originally was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison. However, after a long appeal process, his conviction was quashed last year by five judges at the Supreme Court in London.

They sent the case back to the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal, where the jurors have just taken approximately five hours to reach a majority verdict after a six-week trial.

It’s not the first time this year that someone in Britain has been finally found guilty of murder after initially escaping justice.

In January, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a jury at the Old Bailey. Dobson had been acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1996 but the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal. (The case against David Norris collapsed before it reached court.)

David Harvie the director of serious casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal, said:

The Crown is absolutely determined to ensuring that criminals are brought to justice for crimes they have committed, no matter the passage of time nor the legal complexities involved.

I have no doubts that Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola are just as determined to ensuring that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are brought to justice.

The cases above are a reality check for anyone who assumes that Knox and Sollecito are innocent simply because they were provisionally acquitted. It’s a fact of life that killers are sometimes acquitted. It’s also a fact of life that for them things often come full circle.

And if anyone thinks that cases of people being convicted of murder after escaping justice don’t happen in Italy, they are seriously mistaken. Barbie Nadeau outlined the case of Angela Birikova, who was convicted of murder after being acquitted at her first trial, in a November 2010 article for the Daily Beast:

In the meantime, the Seattle native’s lawyers say she is anxious to get back to court. She has reportedly been getting to know a new cellmate, Moldovian native Angela Biriukova, herself a celebrity criminal in Italy. Dubbed the Black Widow by the Italian press, Biriukova was tried for murdering her wealthy older husband by stabbing him 16 times.

Her DNA was found on a cigarette butt near the corpse, but nowhere else at the murder scene. Unlike Knox, however, Biriukova was acquitted during her first trial. Knox might take comfort in what happened next: The prosecutors appealed and Biriukova’s acquittal was reversed—after being set free, she was convicted during the appellate process. Should Knox’s appellate trial yield the same dramatic reversal, it will be a stunning conclusion to a trial whose narrative has often sharply turned on twists of fate.

It should noted that there is considerably more undisputed evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito than there is against the various convicted killers that are mentioned above.

Apologist journalists like Nick Pisa and Nick Squires, and especially Michael Day, would do well to remember this, before glibly dismissing the case against the still-accused pair.

[Below: convicted killer Angela Biriukova who Knox reportedly made a friend of in Capanne]

Posted on 05/30/12 at 08:32 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

In Close Parallel To Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony Faces Court Action For Falsely Fingering Another

Posted by Peter Quennell

Both recent images. Above the plaintiff Zenaida Gonzalez; below the defendant Casey Anthony

Amanda Knox provisionally got off on the main count (the murder of Meredith) but anyway was sentenced to three years (which she served) for fingering Patrick Lumumba.

Casey Anthony definitively got off on the main count (murdering her infant daughter Caylee, see previous posts) but anyway was sentenced to some time in prison for time-wasting and expensive misleading of the police officers.

She received no sentence for falsely fingering a nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, for making off with Caylee, and as she had never even met Zenaida Gonzalez it is unclear how she came up with Zenaida’s name.

The Orlando Sentinel reports an issue is whether or not Anthony identified Gonzalez specifically enough when she talked to her parents when they visited her in jail.

Anthony’s attorney said details offered by Anthony did not match Fernandez-Gonzalez and clearly showed Anthony wasn’t talking about her. Gonzalez’s attorneys say she still was damaged as the only person with that name interviewed by investigators.

Fernandez-Gonzalez had never met Anthony. Investigators believe Anthony may have seen the name on an apartment rental application.

During Anthony’s trial last year, her attorney Jose Baez said Anthony made up the story about the babysitter and that Caylee truly drowned in the family pool. Anthony was acquitted of murder and other serious charges.

Nevertheless, yesterday a judge in Orlando, Florida, ruled that Zenaida Gonzalez may sue Casey Anthony for defamation of character, and the case is scheduled for January 2013.

In Amanda Knox’s case she absolutely did know Patrick Lumumba, her kindly employer who gave her a job without a work permit, and she and her mother let him languish in prison for several weeks.

Pretty hard to look worse than Casey Anthony, but in her cruel act of framing Patrick, Amanda Knox certainly does.

Posted on 04/13/12 at 01:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersCrime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pseudoinnocence: Is This Possibly The Predicament Of Amanda Knox?

Posted by Vivianna

In a dissertation titled Pseudoinnocence – An Invitation To Murder, Barbara Shore explores the phenomenon of “pseudoinnocence” in American culture as an inadequate response to the “conflagration of violence that encircles us today.” These are her introductory words:

“America is a country long haunted by its pseudoinnocence, by its blinding prolonged naivete. We are a culture that closes our eyes to all that is too painful to see, persuading ourselves that we have escaped, that we are neither interdependent nor vulnerable, or that we are victims.

We cannot come to terms with our own unwitting complicity in the destructiveness brought to ourselves or others. Capitalizing on such naivete, we fail to see how such ‘innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil’ (Rollo May 50).” (Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences Mar, 2001 Vol 61(9-A))

Ms. Shores’ words, although published six years before the murder of Meredith Kercher even took place, represent an eerily accurate description of Amanda Knox’s predicament, even reflecting some of the terminology employed in Attorney Carlo Pacelli’s exposition on September 26, during the closing portion of the first appeal trial.  As a reminder, Pacelli, who represents Patrick Lumumba in his civil suit against Knox, pointed out that Knox “has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side [she is] an impostor, she is a she-devil, satanic, diabolic, addicted to borderline behaviour.”

Although Pacelli’s words have been seen by some as too harsh, they carry a heavy implication mirrored in the above quote from Shore – that “innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil”; in other words, that if Knox cannot reconcile her two sides and seek atonement, she has no hope of redeeming herself as a human being.

I have argued before, in a comment posted here on the TJMK board, that Knox is not likely to make a confession in the near future due to the pressures exerted by her family’s innocence campaign. The innocence campaign is, in my opinion, just one of the factors which prevent Knox from admitting her direct involvement in the crime against Meredith Kercher.

The other factors may include her failure to reconcile the two parts of her persona (innocent, carefree, kind, compassionate young woman versus “diabolical” murderer) and perhaps a culturally-engrained inability to accept involvement in a destructive act. The discussion of these latter factors is perhaps best left to someone with formal training in psychology or sociology.  What I would like to enlarge upon is my conviction that there is a direct correlation between the strength of the innocence campaign and Knox’s unwillingness to admit guilt.

I would like to draw your attention to a conversation between Knox, her mother (Edda Mellas), and her father (Curt Knox) which took place in the early days of the investigation, when Amanda had already been detained.  This conversation will be well-known to those who have been consistently following this case as evidence that, in the early stages, Knox may have been inclined to give a confession.  I have chosen not to include it, but it is readily available on both TJMK and PMF. 

The reason why I believe this conversation to be so important is not only because it might contain the beginning of the confession, but also because it highlights the involvement of her family in defining her position.  I would argue that, had Knox been left to her own devices, she might have cracked in the early stages and given an accurate description of that night’s events, saving both herself, her family, the victim’s family, and anyone involved in the trial considerable grief, time, money, and effort.

At that particular point in time, she may not have been as psychologically divided and conflicted, and she may have had an easier time accepting her criminal side and perhaps moving on to experience positive changes.  It is, however, her parents’ firm belief in her innocence and in her inability to commit such a heinous crime that has consistently mired her in a difficult position.

As we well know, the Knox-Mellas family hired a PR firm, Gogerty-Mariott, to clean up Amanda’s image after unflattering stories started appearing in European tabloids.  The PR campaign has grown exponentially from a few stories about Amanda’s childhood, complete with baby pictures, to what I consider to be a falsification of public opinion. 

On the one hand, there is a concerted effort to offer inaccurate information about existing evidence (limiting the crime scene to Meredith’s room, stating that there is no evidence linking Amanda and Raffaele to the murder, pushing Rudy Guede as the “lone wolf” assassin, etc.), which is then fed to news outlets unwilling to do their own research and pushed upon the unsuspecting public via books, blogs, and forums. Then comes the even more insidious effort to falsify the public’s response to these stories, by hiring posters to write positive reviews for FOA books, post positive comments to inaccurate stories, and shout down any reasonable opposition.

Of course, this entire effort does not come cheaply, and rumors say that the PR campaign’s tab is around one million.  This is an enormous debt to place on the shoulders of a young woman who already needs to contend with the guilt of having committed an incomprehensible, heinous, violent crime.  While it is difficult to feel sympathy for any of Meredith’s killers, I find it impossible not to feel a certain amount of compassion for Amanda, who most likely never asked for this campaign to be initiated.  How could she admit her role in this crime when a million dollars has already been spent to trumpet her innocence?

In addition to the material aspects, there are social and psychological aspects to contend with.  While many of the FOA members are paid for their public appearances and statements (and may not harbor any personal opinions about the case), there seem to be individuals who are supporting Amanda’s innocence out of personal conviction.  Some of them may have even donated money to help her family.  How could she disappoint everyone who invested money and time into supporting her, from her own family to charitable strangers? How could she look them in the eye, after four years of lies and obfuscation, and admit that she was terrified of being punished, or incapable of seeing herself as a murderer?

Peter Quennell has suggested to me that this may be an example of “path dependence,” a concept used in both economics and social sciences to describe a scenario in which current actions and decisions are inexorably determined by past decisions. While my personal knowledge of path dependence is limited, I think that it is certainly applicable in this case and that it can be traced back to the prison conversation discussed before.  During the conversation, Amanda’s parents indirectly communicated to her that the course had been set – that the legal team would handle all questions and that she was not to communicate her thoughts without supervision; also that a confession would be unacceptable because she was undeniably innocent. 

As to why her family took this position, I think we can find the answer in the concept of pseudoinnocence – the inability to accept responsibility for and involvement in a terrible event, accompanied by a forced distancing from anything that could be considered troubling. 

It is not a coincidence that Amanda has been consistently portrayed as a victim of the supposedly corrupt, medieval Italian justice system, as someone who has been “railroaded” in a “third-world” country, as her supporters want us to believe. It is more comforting to become a victim than to accept responsibility and acknowledge that Amanda’s problems may have started at home, long before she was on a plane for Perugia. I believe that the innocence campaign is not only meant to exculpate Amanda, but to also exculpate her family from any perceived contributions to the formation of a murderer. 

As long as Amanda’s family continues to invest so much money and effort into supporting her innocence, and to maintain so much publicity around her case, I believe that any professional attempts to help Amanda admit her involvement will prove ineffective. This entire undertaking, combined with her own psychological dividedness and any cultural influences, is placing an enormous amount of unnecessary responsibility on Amanda and displacing a more appropriate type of responsibility. 

Amanda, at this point, should feel responsibility towards Meredith and Meredith’s family primarily.  While the murder itself cannot be reversed and no true solace offered, a confession would offer a certain amount of closure to those who knew and loved Meredith. Instead, Amanda’s sense of responsibility is being artificially redirected to not disappointing her own family and supporters, and to not betraying the trust they have placed in her innocence. Aside from being hurtful to the victim’s family, this situation is also damaging for Amanda herself, as it’s setting her on a path of continued “evil” rather than one of heal

Posted on 09/28/11 at 02:29 PM by Vivianna. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Book Explains The Unfruitful Emergence Of More And More Conspiracy Theories

Posted by Peter Quennell

Conspiracy theorists have dismally failed to come up with a plausible alternative theory of how Meredith died.

However, they do keep trying. So do the proponents of literally hundreds of other conspiracy theories, constituting vast amounts of effort probably better spent elsewhere - conspiracy theorists very rarely achieve very much, or do well economically, or rise to the top jobs.

The articles here and here look with skepticism on the 9/11 conspiracy theories which on the tenth anniversary of the twin towers coming down have been pushed hard by the various factions.

Now a new book “The Believing Brain” explains the mental makeup that disposes people to so eagerly believe the worst of our fellow man or our governments: One review in the Wall Street Journal..

In Mr. Shermer’s view, the brain is a belief engine, predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them to knowing agents rather than to chance—the better to make sense of the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.

This is why, on the foundation of some tiny flaw in the evidence—the supposed lack of roof holes to admit poison-gas cans in one of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers for Holocaust deniers, the expectant faces on the grassy knoll for JFK plotters, the melting point of steel for 9/11 truthers—we go on to build a great edifice of mistaken conviction….

Mr. Shermer offers a handy guide for those who are confused. Conspiracy theories are usually bunk when they are too complex, require too many people to be involved, ratchet up from small events to grand effects, assign portentous meanings to innocuous events, express strong suspicion of either governments or companies, attribute too much power to individuals or generate no further evidence as time goes by.

The increasingly shrill posts appearing daily on the website Ground Report seem to mark pretty high against that list. Could the Evil Mignini have engineered even this?

Oops. Another conspiracy theory in play.

Posted on 09/14/11 at 11:05 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamReporting on the caseMedia newsThe psychologyMore of the same
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Sunday, September 04, 2011

An Overview Of Modern Thinking On The Criminal Mind

Posted by Ergon

[Above: an image of the influential researcher Dr Abram Hoffer]


The question of criminality has been much in the news lately, as wild gangs of youth rampaged through British cities, and wild gangs of feral financial speculators rampaged through the world’s economies.

As a scientist I wonder about the pathologies involved, and as a spiritual person I wonder about root causes.

So this is about where we are going as a society. Are we descending into criminality, and is the problem getting worse? I also wonder about the connection between criminality and mental illness.

In the course of trying to find a treatment for my own children’s Autism, I came to the following conclusion: conventional medical science has no clue about the causes or effective treatment of mental illness.

Therefore I had to range further into alternative medicine to find solutions, and serendipitously, I did. Yet, when my son’s autism reversal was confirmed by psychologists, no one seemed to want to know how. Neither the media, nor the conventional establishment.

Never mind. My findings were presented, for free, to various alternative medical doctors and clinics, reported in journals and books, and confirmed by them. The protocol has great possibilities in the treatment of other neurological illnesses. It is possible to reverse brain disease.

At my clinic in Toronto as well as other countries, I treated hundreds of young people with Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, and other psychological disorders, using holistic medical methods alone. Many of them went on to have normal lives; most improved significantly. And, when I have the time, I will write a book about this journey, and share it with everyone.

Which I already did in fact.  See here. But this is by way of background. I do not claim to have cures, or answers; I’m a searcher for knowledge, which I wish to share with others.

The question:

So: Is there such a thing as a criminal mind? This was a question much pondered as the new field of psychology came into being. In opposition to religious belief that crimes were caused by man’s original state of sin, and provoked by deadly sins like avarice and lust etc., it tried to define abnormal behaviour as a function of upbringing and environment.

It was only later as research into the nature of the brain emerged that new theories were formed; could neurological deficits explain criminal acts? Along with other suppositions of nurture and nature, addictions and abuse?

The answer:

According to these studies yes there is..

The release today of a study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) showing than 64 percent of local jail inmates, 56 percent of state prisoners and 45 percent of federal prisoners have symptoms of serious mental illnesses is an indictment of the nation’s mental health care system. It is both a scandal and a national tragedy.

The figures are worse than those generally believed in the past, in which estimates of the total number of inmates with mental illnesses have been approximately 20 percent. The study reveals that the problem is two to three times greater than anyone imagined. What is even more disturbing is the number of these inmates that have served prior sentences, committed violent offenses, or engaged in substance abuse.

This is not an ideological statement, nor is it an attempt to avoid the serious problem of crimes in society. We have to have a system of laws and justice, and we have to protect the innocent. But the present system of crime and punishment doesn’t work, either.

So, how do we measure the criminal mind? Could there possibly be genetic, neurological, behavioral or even, physiognomic markers? I was 10 years old when a gentleman took one look at certain bumps on my head and said I “was very perceptive; could look at a scene and see what others could not"Cool, and this was my introduction to phrenology.

This was where 18-19th century researchers sought to determine racial and emotional differences through the study of skull size, shape and protuberances. And yes, they did believe the criminal’s head was different than that of normal people. This later became the field of craniology and craniometry as scientists tried to avoid making unsavory determinations.

The scars left after World War II by these atrocious programmes of research meant that the study of human skull shape and size fell into disrepute. Human variation, the core subject of anthropology, was increasingly explored through genetics and other biological markers, and became functional and adaptive in orientation rather than a search for racial affinities.

In recent years, however, the introduction of new computer-based techniques of measurement, and the greatly enhanced power of statistical analysis, has meant that there has been a resurgence of interest in this subject, and, stripped of its non-Darwinian and racist past, the study of the human head remains a topic of major importance.

So now, scientists are using cranial measurements to determine mental illness as shown here:

Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder…

When you compare the faces and head shapes of children with specific types of autism to other children, it is obvious there are variations. Currently, autism diagnosis is purely behavior based and doctors use tape measurements to check for facial and brain dissimilarities. We are developing a quantitative method that will accurately measure these differences and allow for earlier, more precise detection of specific types of the disorder,” said Ye Duan, assistant computer science professor in the MU College of Engineering.

Then you have “The Criminal Brain-Understanding Biological Theories of Crime”, by author Nicole Hahn Rafter, New York University Press (October 2008)

What is the relationship between criminality and biology? Nineteenth-century phrenologists insisted that criminality was innate, a trait inherent in the offender’s brain matter. While they were eventually repudiated as pseudo-scientists and self-deluded charlatans, today the pendulum has swung back.

Both criminologists and biologists have begun to speak of a tantalizing but disturbing possibility: that criminality may be inherited as a set of genetic deficits that place one at risk for theft, violence, and sexual deviance.

If that is so, we may soon confront proposals for genetically modifying “at risk” foetuses or doctoring up criminals so their brains operate like those of law-abiding citizens.

Wow. Now this really frightens me, to see scientists, once again, barking up the wrong genetic tree, but there you go any way.

Brain Injury as a factor in crime:

Alternative physician Dr. Russell L. Blaylock:  Vaccines, Depression and Neurodegeneration After Age 50

Previously, it was thought that major depression was secondary to a deficiency in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly the monoamines, which include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. While alterations in these important mood-related neurotransmitters is found with major depression, growing evidence indicates that the primary culprit is low-grade, chronic brain inflammation.

In addition, we now know that inflammatory cytokines can lower serotonin significantly and for long periods by a number of different mechanisms.

I would agree with him there, since it has been my observation that mental illness is often accompanied by inflammatory disorders or auto-immune illness. I also believe the changes in vaccine schedules may have led to increased neurological deficits and genetic damage passed on to subsequent generations, but that is an argument for a separate article. I do not blame vaccines alone, as I will explain here.

There is research that shows criminal minds and behavior issues are often accompanied by brain damage.

Brain injury is a condition that involves microscopic damage to brain tissue that can only be seen in life through the lens of the patterns of the injured person’s life. Chris Henry, the former NFL wide receiver whose autopsy results confirmed he was living with brain damage, may have finally made that clear.

“Limbic Abnormalities in Affective Processing by Criminal Psychopaths as Revealed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging” by Kiehl, et al, (PDF)

Results: Compared with criminal nonpsychopaths and noncriminal control participants, criminal psychopaths showed significantly less affect-related activity in the amygdala/hippocampal formation, parahippocampal gyrus, ventral striatum, and in the anterior and posterior cingulate gyri. Psychopathic criminals also showed evidence of overactivation in the bilateral fronto-temporal cortex for processing affective stimuli

The brains of autistic individuals show similar defects:

The two research teams have noticed an intriguing abnormality in the brains of the small group of autistics they have examined: The cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved with muscle coordination and the regulation of incoming sensations, contains fewer neurons known as Purkinje cells. There are also preliminary indications that growth in parts of the limbic system, which oversees emotion and memory, is arrested while autistics are still in the womb

Likewise in schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

New research shows for the first time that both have a common genetic basis that leads people to develop one or other of the two illnesses..find that thousands of tiny genetic mutations – known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – are operating in raising the risk of developing the illness.

“Early Signs of Psychopathy” argues that signs can show at an early age.

A twenty-five year study, published this month in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, demonstrates that, as early as the age of three, there are temperamental and physiological difference between those who show psychopathic tendencies as adults and those who don’t.

Not only do psychopaths lack emotions of conscience and empathy, but research has shown that these individuals consistently display certain aspects of temperament including a lack of fear, lack of inhibition and stimulus seeking behavior.

A lack of a hormone that affects empathy:

We’ve long accepted that hormones can make you amorous, aggressive, or erratic. But lately neuroscience has been abuzz with evidence that the hormone oxytocin—which also acts as a neuromodulator—can enhance at least one cognitive power: the ability to understand the gist of what others are thinking. In this week’s Mind Matters, Jennifer Bartz and Eric Hollander, two leading researchers in this area, review the many and surprising ways in which oxytocin seems to influence both our openness to others and our understanding of them.

For inherently social creatures such as humans, the ability to identify the motives, intentions, goals, desires, beliefs and feelings of others is not a nicety but an essential skill. We must understand “where others are coming from” not only to pursue our individual goals but also to facilitate social harmony more generally. Specifically, we need to recognize that other people can have thoughts, beliefs, desires and feelings that differ from our own…

And it may be this that drives psychopathy, or the criminal mind.

Cleckley in Psychopathy: Two lengthy checklists of psychopathic, or anti-social personality disorder:

Cleckley’s original list of symptoms of a psychopath:

1. Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.
2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
3. Absence of anxiety or other “neurotic” symptoms considerable poise, calmness, and verbal facility.
4. Unreliability, disregard for obligations no sense of responsibility, in matters of little and great import.
5. Untruthfulness and insincerity
6. Antisocial behavior which is inadequately motivated and poorly planned, seeming to stem from an inexplicable impulsiveness.
7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
8. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience
9. Pathological egocentricity. Total self-centeredness incapacity for real love and attachment.
10. General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.
11. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.
12. Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness, and trust.
13. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking—vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.
14. No history of genuine suicide attempts.
15. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life.
16. Failure to have a life plan and to live in any ordered way, unless it be one promoting self-defeat.

Hare in The Psychopathic Personality:

A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack “emotional intelligence”. They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why).

The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign.

The following is a list of items based on the research of Robert Hare, Ph.D. which is derived from the “The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, .1991, Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.” These are the most highly researched and recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior”:

1. glibness/superficial charm
2. grandiose sense of self worth
3. need for stimulation/prone to boredom
4. pathological lying
5. conning/manipulative
6. lack of remorse or guilt
7. shallow emotional response
8. callous/lack of empathy
9. parasitic lifestyle
10. poor behavioral controls
11. promiscuous sexual behavior
12. early behavioral problems
13. lack of realistic long term goals
14. impulsivity
15. irresponsibility
16. failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
17. many short term relationships
18. juvenile delinquency
19. revocation of conditional release
20. criminal versatility

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Is it becoming a rare quality among young people? It certainly seems to be declining in society.

Emotional intelligence “is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (Mayer & Salovey, 1993: 433). According to Salovey & Mayer (1990), EI subsumes Gardner’s inter- and intrapersonal intelligences, and involves abilities that may be categorized into five domains:

Self-awareness: Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.

Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate; realizing what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.

Motivating oneself: Channeling emotions in the service of a goal; emotional self control; delaying gratification and stifling impulses.

Empathy: Sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.

Handling relationships: Managing emotions in others; social competence and social skills.

And according to Goleman (1995: 160), “Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come.”

The last words belong to the educators, of course.

Howard Gardner (July 11, 1943 - ) American Psychologist and Educator

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) proposes that intelligent behavior does not arise from a single unitary quality of the mind, as the g -based theories profiled on this Web site suggest, but rather that different kinds of intelligence are generated from separate metaphorical pools of mental energy.

Gardner derived this conceptualization of intelligence in part from his experiences working with members (of) extreme populations, in which certain cognitive abilities are preserved (often to a remarkable degree) even in the absence of other, very basic abilities. For example, some autistic savants display extraordinary musical or mathematical abilities despite severely impaired language development and social awareness. Likewise, individuals with localized brain damage often demonstrate severe deficits that are circumscribed to a single cognitive domain (Gardner, 1983/2003).

And Piaget, who inspired me many years ago: Jean Piaget (August 9, 1896-September 16, 1980) Swiss Biologist and Child Psychologist

Definition of Intelligence:  Intelligence is an adaptation…To say that intelligence is a particular instance of biological adaptation is thus to suppose that it is essentially an organization and that its function is to structure the universe just as the organism structures its immediate environment” (Piaget, 1963, pp. 3-4).

Intelligence is assimilation to the extent that it incorporates all the given data of experience within its framework…There can be no doubt either, that mental life is also accommodation to the environment. Assimilation can never be pure because by incorporating new elements into its earlier schemata the intelligence constantly modifies the latter in order to adjust them to new elements” (Piaget, 1963, p. 6-7) (Including, imo, ‘criminal intelligence’)

Major Contributions:

The Theory of Genetic Epistemology.  Piaget also believed that intellectual development occurs in four distinct stages.

The sensorimotor stage begins at birth, and lasts until the child is approximately two years old. At this stage, the child cannot form mental representations of objects that are outside his immediate view, so his intelligence develops through his motor interactions with his environment.

The preoperational stage typically lasts until the child is 6 or 7. According to Piaget, this is the stage where true “thought” emerges. Preoperational children are able to make mental representations of unseen objects, but they cannot use deductive reasoning.

The concrete operations stage follows, and lasts until the child is 11 or 12. Concrete operational children are able to use deductive reasoning, demonstrate conservation of number, and can differentiate their perspective from that of other people.

Formal operations is the final stage. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly.

It is my opinion that emotional intelligence development also follows these four distinct phases. This is where nurture and nature come into play, and any trauma, abuse, neglect, that occurs during these phases can lead to an emotional stunting where the child is unable to progress to the next stage of development.

In the same way, a positive home and school environment can help children grow to be more harmonious members of society, once you adjust for any biological and neurological deficits. Early recognition and treatment is key…

Having worked as a volunteer in the public school system, I can tell you what teachers and educators have been telling me for years: the number of learning disabled and emotionally disturbed children is increasing exponentially..

Is it just me, or does it seem like the world has become an increasingly disharmonious place lately?

But the last word might well come from a book written by a Norwegian judge, Jens Jacob-Sander:  The Criminal Brain: A View from the Bench…  Exploring the Criminal Mind

What goes on in the minds of criminals? This question raises perennial philosophical issues about human behavior in general and criminal conduct in particular. Do criminals act the way they do because of how and what they think and feel? And, are these internal forces of thought and feeling caused by the states of their brains, which in turn are predetermined by biology, chemistry, and genetics? Is the problem, in short, what used to be called bad blood?

Or, are the thoughts, feelings, and actions of criminals caused by external factors such as parents, education, and other influences in the environment that mold and shape malleable brains, which, in turn, give rise to the criminal personality? In other words, is the real culprit for criminal behavior what used to be called society?

With the emergence of brain science over the past 50 years, including brain imaging technologies and the study of brain chemistry, perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers.

At the present time, although some scholars of brain science lean heavily toward a reductionistic biological determinism, others call attention to the plasticity of the brain and its capacity for change. Even if we cannot ever uncover a single satisfactory answer to how the criminal mind works, perhaps we can begin to diminish the devastation caused by criminal behavior.

An exploration of the criminal mind might yield insights, ideas, and innovative hypotheses worthy of serious consideration and further study. It might also provoke us to reconsider how we think about the questions we ask about the causes of criminal behavior. Instead of polarizing the discussion by pitting determinism (biological or social) against free will as mutually exclusive explanations of criminal conduct, we might discover that biological predispositions and habits of thought can be influenced by education, cognitive retraining, and behavior modification. Whatever our current state of knowledge, isn’t it worth our effort to try to formulate better theories and more effective forms of intervention?

That daunting task has been undertaken in a new e-book titled Exploring the Criminal Mind and subtitled Advances of Brainscience and Mental Procedures of the Criminal Personality: A Unified Brain-Mind Theory. The author and publisher, Jens-Jacob Sander, is a judge in the Norwegian Courts of Justice, located west of the city of Oslo. Judge Sander tells us in the foreword to his book that it grew out of his frustration with trying to understand the criminal mind while he was engaged in a major international fraud-hunt in 1989 that, although successful, was apparently hampered by the lack of adequate information and insights about criminal minds.

Perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers, indeed.

Posted on 09/04/11 at 12:01 AM by Ergon. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thinking About Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox: What Might Have Been

Posted by Ergon

This is my post on my website Man From Atlan of June 26, 2011 cross-posted here at the invitation of TJMK.

Due to my Scorpionic nature, I think, I come across a great many criminal and legal cases that grab the public attention.

It seems, also, that I get involved in the case in one way or the other, and, a great number of coincidences seem to er, follow me. Psychologists call that the ‘I was there syndrome’ and that’s fine, it’s a form of mental illness, and you can decide if I have it, or not!

But I have spent a lifetime studying the fine line between Psychic Sensitivity and Schizophrenia, and what interests me here is not only how we identify with the crime and the individuals involved, but how these cases establish themselves in the public consciousness.

And yes, I want to write about the lives wasted, and what might have been.

Whenever a person dies, there is a break in the fabric of consciousness, and all of humanity is affected. Most people learn to ignore it; some, more sensitive, get consumed by it, but we are all affected by it at some level.

A murder case may be just one individual; the devastation of an earthquake or tsunami may affect hundreds of thousands. As for me, I am an observer, but also in a way, a catalyst.

Look, you know my spiritual claims. Forget that for a moment. What I do is warn people about the fateful consequences of the psychic and spiritual damage done to our souls (or psyche) and environment, and if you don’t listen, if you don’t change, then so be it. What will be, will be. But a part of me, having seen what would happen, mourns for what might have been.

One of my patients was a girl who had Rhett’s Syndrome, a severe form of Autism. She came to my clinic and the treatments really helped, yet it was the mother who also needed help. In the end, suffering from depression, she killed her child and tried to commit suicide.

A woman two streets down from us, suffering from post partum depression, killed her husband and stabbed her two children as well. My son used to play with their dog at the local park, but curiously, I never met them.

I worked on a mayoralty campaign. The candidate, a lovely soul, came second. At the farewell party I saw something dark around him. I told his partner that he needed help, and offered. It wasn’t heard because they were, I think, already caught up in their karma. A year later he jumped off a bridge and killed himself.

Then, going from the personal to the ‘famous’ cases, and the ‘coincidences’ and lessons thereof.

I wrote in “Michael Jackson, the Drowning Man” about how I helped a famous musician with his Parkinson’s Disease in 1994 but when I asked him to introduce me to Michael Jackson, he didn’t. I was too controversial. Pity, I could have helped him before he descended into his inappropriate behavior.

OJ Simpson was the first criminal case. I lived in Santa Monica almost equidistant between him and his ex-wife Nicole Brown. I had driven around the neighborhood enough times to know the story had some inconsistencies, but I believed he was guilty. I also accepted the jury’s verdict of Not Guilty, because the principle of reasonable doubt, in American law, had to be upheld.

There also was the fact I had closed my practice in Toronto and moved to Los Angeles just to help people there, arriving in 1993 in time for the Malibu Fires and Northridge Earthquake (written in “A Spiritual Journey To The United States”) and once I knew my work was done left for Texas. And a few months later, the murder, the White Bronco slowly driving down the freeway, the media circus and all of LA enjoying a mass catharsis.

After I left the US in 1995 I shifted my focus to Europe, though Canada remained my home base. I still looked back to the US with fondness, and sadness for what was yet to come.

I was in England in 2005 when the Terri Schiavo case gripped the nation. She was in a lengthy coma, with most of her brain destroyed. Her parents were fighting to keep her on life support, while her husband wanted to pull the plug and let her die.

I tried to stay uninvolved, even though I knew her spirit wanted to be free. I felt this was wrong, for parents to keep holding on to their child. So one day, when Chloe called me about the latest developments, I said enough was enough, and helped her spirit pass on. She died that evening. And shortly after I left England, there was the London Tube bombing. Coincidence, or catharsis?

Madeleine McCann, a little girl from the U.K., disappeared from her holiday bedroom in Portugal just a few days before her 4th birthday, in May of 2007. Her parents were dining some distance away with their friends and inexplicably had left the children unattended and the door to their villa unlocked. The investigators never found Madeleine. The conclusion, absent a body, was that she had been kidnapped. There were many false sightings after that, as people assumed she had been kidnapped by child traders.

This was two months before I went to the UK with my family on holiday. I was asked what I thought about Madeleine. Would she be found? I replied that she had died that first night, and the parents were involved in a cover up. The person who asked me that question then consulted a psychic, who of course said what everyone wanted to hear: Madeleine was alive.

Then further reports came out, and we found that special police dogs, trained to sniff for evidence of death, had indicated she had died inside the bedroom that very night. Nothing further came to light, as political interference corrupted the whole process, and police investigators were sacked for ‘unfairly blaming the parents’

Yet, there’s a website that does just that; you be the judge. See here and here and here.

This was another example of a case that would consume the public, as so many identified with the missing child, or the parents. And, as always, my presence seemed coincidental to a whole series of events. A few weeks before we arrived in Glasgow, bombers hit Glasgow airport with a van loaded to the top with propane cylinders, the rains hit the whole country for three months straight, and the biggest floods in over a century inundated large parts of Southern England. Yet wherever we went, there was sunshine…This is the dichotomy of healing, that there can be sunshine, but also, darkness.

I had already arranged to go back to the UK for a month as a consultant. I returned to Canada on October 31.

The very next day, on November 1, 2007, British student Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, was murdered in Perugia, Italy. Her roommate, Amanda Marie Knox, was convicted of the murder, as was her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Hermann Guede, a drifter from the Cote de Ivoire in Africa.

I hadn’t read much about the case and trial, but came across it on the pages of Huffington Post, the social news website. Here was a full blown narrative: Amanda Knox was innocent of the crime, she was the victim of a corrupt Italian prosecutor, and Rudy Guede was the sole perpetrator (All untrue, btw)

What piqued me was the fingerprints of an extensive PR campaign to manipulate public opinion so as to influence the outcome of a trial in another country. Appearances by Knox’s family on Oprah, calls to boycott Italy, politicians trying to intervene in a judicial process, oh my.

And the comments on the numerous Amanda threads were funny, and so sad. These people were, in a word, disturbed. They were even foul mouthed about the victims parents, for daring to say they felt justice had been served. And they had no compunction about blatant lying and slander either.

I’d seen this so many times, the ease with which people could be led to believe, on the basis of something they saw or read, the most outlandish things.

Now I really do believe that trying to convince True Believers is a waste of time. (But arguing with them can be er, illuminating:) I’m interested in the process by which they come to that belief, but any good book on mob psychology can give you the basics, and of course, you must always read Orwell’s 1984. The same principles of propaganda used to create support for war can also be used to support a position, no matter how wrong it might seem to the intelligent observer.

So I looked at the facts of the case. Amanda Knox had falsely accused her black boss, Patrick Lumumba of the crime, she and her boyfriend had provided alibis that were later disproved, there was a staged break in to mislead the investigation, and there was sufficient DNA, blood and foot prints to prove the complicity of the other two accused.

Two courts, led by Judges Micheli and Massei, had already looked at over 10,000 pages of evidence to conclude that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also been involved in the murder. And, the most compelling DNA evidence, Raffaele’s DNA on the victims bra, and Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s on the murder knife found in Raffaele’s flat.

The Supreme Court of Italy, while affirming Rudy Guede’s conviction, had already established that more than one attacker had been involved, and that DNA attributed to Knox and Sollecito had already been found.

I also noted that the Wikipedia page on Meredith Kercher, once reflecting the findings of guilt against all three accused, had now been hijacked by, let’s say, Amanda Knox partisans.

I have to thank the two websites TJMK and PMF for the fine work they have done compiling and translating the vast volume of Italian language transcripts of the trial and summaries of evidence. Without them, my technical knowledge of the case would have been quite inadequate. I can’t recommend them highly enough for anyone interested in learning about the case.

But I formed my opinions way before I found their sites, and I say this out of respect: I don’t want their work compromised by association with my own views.

What I write about here is first and always, spiritual in nature. I may use logic to confirm something, I will look at evidence, but ultimately I look at disturbances in the fabric to search out imbalance and untruth. And I learn to trust my instincts. It is only afterwards that I look at other factors, and if I need to adjust my views, so be it. But the patterns and the coincidences, are fascinating.

First, the Astrology. Meredith Kercher, born Dec. 28, 1985, and Rudy Guede, December 26, 1986, are both Capricorns. Raffaele Sollecito, March 26, 1984, is Aries, and Amanda Knox, July 09, 1987, a Cancer. Their signs form a T-Square, at 90 degrees to each other, which are widely seen as indicators of stress and incompatibility. The day of the murder saw widespread stressors on all their horoscopes which would lead to murder, detection, conviction and imprisonment. The Astrology even shows Raffaele’s drug dependency and mental confusion on the night of the murder, the conflict between Amanda and Meredith, and the violence and rage that simmered just below the surface of Amanda Knox’s psyche.

And the night of the murder, November 1, 2007, saw Saturn and Venus in the house of emotional excess, Uranus in the house of sudden death, and Jupiter/Pluto, in the sexual house, in an almost exact T-Square to each other. The close conjunction of Pluto to the Milky Way’s Galactic Center shows the potency of this murder in attracting the public imagination, and also, the trigger for the murder.

But Astrology is just one of many tools in Humanistic psychology. It shows patterns, yes, but mainly it gives a picture of motivations and stages of development. And sometimes, it tells us what might happen. For me, there are many tools: Psychism to know, and other tools to understand.

So I will say this about all four:

Amanda Knox’s profile is that of the self destructive individual who will fall from ‘the shattered tower’ due to her associations with others. Btw, her July 09 birthday is the same as OJ Simpson’s and they Both Wielded Knives, hmmm!

Raffaele Sollecito has powerful friends who won’t be able to help him. He almost had it too easy, and his drug use took him into some deep dark spaces. Note he wasn’t just using cannabis, but more likely a potent form called skunk weed, plus heroin and cocaine.

Rudy Guede may actually turn out to be a sympathetic individual. His is the one chart I see that leads to redemption and indescribable potential. He is, quite frankly, the most believable of the three, even though he did lie, and he was rightly found guilty.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was greatly loved, had the intellectual capability to go far, and would have, if she hadn’t been murdered, been a bright blazing star. RIP Meredith.

I hate to make predictions. Human beings will always have the capacity to alter the future (though truth be told, not as much as they like to think) My prophecies have to do with the future of this planet and humanity’s ability to survive and regenerate itself.

But on June 27, Rudy Guede will face Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in their appeals trial, and for the first time, be forced to answer questions directly. I believe this will be the day he begins to redeem himself.

(Update: And on that day, he placed Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the crime scene)

On June 30th, the DNA experts will present their findings. This will be one day before the solar eclipse in Cancer. I predict bombshells in court.

(Update: the expert’s report was presented a day earlier, on June 29, and it was interesting, to say the least. It disputed some of the DNA findings accepted by the previous court and one would think from the media reporting they prove Knox and Sollecito’s innocence. From my reading of the report, it does no such thing, only places ambiguities on some of the evidence. There definitely will be fireworks in court, as the prosecution tears into the many errors of the report)

I am struck by the coincidences of the cases I outlined: allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, disputed forensic and DNA evidence, racism and political interference, your standard trial. But they all, held a special place in the public imagination.

But in spiritism we see that it is the unquiet spirit of the victim that calls to us, and we can only hope and pray for their peace. Justice is always done.

And one can only look back at them with sadness, for what might have been.

Posted on 07/06/11 at 02:36 PM by Ergon. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thoughts On Meredith’s Tragic Case And Its Significance In The Bigger Scheme Of Things

Posted by Saskia van der Elst

As one of the regular commentators on this forum once pointed out, the question we all are trying to answer regarding the pointless murder of the talented and beautiful Meredith Kercher in Perugia is: What is it, that keeps on drawing us to this case?

We all have our own reasons. According to me, a murder case seldom has so much in common with an old school murder mystery, or ¨whodunnit¨. A victim that you instantly sympathize with, several suspects, each with their own particular background, ethnic origin and possible motives, a tragic event taking place on the day of the Death, a charismatic prosecutor, who himself is the center of some controversy, and all of this set in the stunningly beautiful medieval hilltop town of Perugia, with its two universities, its relatively small population and its many temporary residents, studying and partying in the small town center.

All are ingredients for a captivating story: a small universe, that can easily be explained to an outsider and once you heard the beginning of the story, you crave more. More information, more depth, more color. For those that have a normal, healthy brain, there comes a point in any murder mystery where you are convinced of the guilt of one or more of the characters in the story and as you near the end of the story, there might be an unexpected twist, but you can rest assured that you will find out who did it.

Of course, in real life stories don´t follow formulas, most of the time they don´t have a definitive ending and in the case of the murder of Meredith, the book is not closed. The three perpetrators of the crime have been convicted to a total of 67 years in jail between the three of them, but all three maintain their innocence. We all know that three cannot keep a secret, so it is a matter of time until one of them reveals more about the exact events that took place on the 2nd of November in 2007.

Each of the three perpetrators will go through a process of maturing in prison. Once they feel they have paid a significant price for their crime, they may realize the graveness of they crime and realize that they made bad decisions in their past. Not until that moment, they can find redemption and may feel the need to let the world know that they have changed as a person. All three perpetrators were immature in their own way when they committed their crime, so it might take a while for them to mature enough to be able to face reality.

Rudy might be the first one to reach that point, since he is more or less an orphan, with no controlling relatives, friends and others with vested interests in the lies that have masked the truth. Nobody will lose face if he decides to confess his participation in the crime. The same thing, but to a lesser degree,  is true for Raffaele. Since he never even cared about clarifying all inconsistencies in his stories, he implicitly has already admitted his involvement. He too, doesn´t affect many people if he opens up and gets clean. The only close relatives he has are his father and sister and they have not publicly expressed a strong believe in his innocence.

Amanda is in a much more difficult position, because of the amount of people that was mobilized to defend her. By now she has been the income generator for quite some people and although nobody envies her parents, they have a clear mission, that keeps them occupied and that gives their lives meaning. The moment Amanda would confess her involvement, the parents would be forced to exchange the “free my innocent daughter” banner for one that reads “I raised a murderess that is serving two and a half decades in a foreign prison”.

On top of the above, the process of coming clean might be a slow one, because all three suffer from uncertainty about how the other two are doing. That uncertainty might cause postponing the advance, until they are forced to speak up, because one of the others did so first.

The result for those that are following the case is that we know we don´t have all information yet and for us to fill in all the blanks and be able to understand what exactly has happened to Meredith we need that information. Until we have it, we cannot accept the story as is as it leaves us unsatisfied. Of course we are talking about a true story here and not about a work of fiction, but for the rational part of our minds that doesn´t make a difference.

Posted on 03/05/11 at 10:33 AM by Saskia van der Elst. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Don’t Perpetrators Say They’re Sorry? A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Posted by Carol Poole

[Image: In downtown Leeds, a city in which Meredith was extremely happy]

A disclaimer: I do not intend these remarks as commentary on any specific individual(s). I’m offering them as food for thought, for anyone who (like me) struggles to understand both the human capacities for destruction and for healing

Why don’t abusers apologize when they’re caught? Even when it would be in their own best interest to show remorse?

Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes people own their crimes and take responsibility. The less shameful the crime, the more likely this is. As Johnny Cash sang, “I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die.” When he sang at Folsom Prison, no doubt his audience nodded along, sharing a general sense that shooting or getting shot in a bar is the kind of thing that any man might find himself doing on a bad day.

But no one sings about molesting a child. Or rape. Even the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, was offended when officers suggested he had raped the women he murdered—women, most of them young, all of them working the hardest of jobs and deserving much better.

So there are some crimes that no one brags about—or apologizes for, either, which is a shame, since the survivors and loved ones are left to try to understand what has happened. In my work as a psychotherapist for trauma and abuse survivors, I seek answers for this difficult question: how can people do such terrible things to others, and show no remorse?

This is especially hard when the perpetrator seems like a nice, “normal” person, a respected member of society. We can more easily understand when an act of violence is committed by someone in the grip of a psychotic delusion. It’s just a terrible accident then, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Likewise, we don’t lose sleep trying to understand a coldly sociopathic attack: we don’t have to wonder why a mugger steals a purse.

But it baffles and hurts us deeply when someone we should have been able to trust commits violence against one of us. Especially when the crime is covered up by denial, adding injury to injury by robbing the injured parties of something they need in order to heal: acknowledgment of the truth of what’s happened.

Dori Laub, a psychoanalyst who survived a childhood in concentration camps in the Holocaust, observed that when our faith in goodness is shattered, we feel abandoned by the world of goodness, and lost in a kind of desert of the soul, a deathly state that feels empty of all life except for the malign presence of the perpetrator.

And he pointed out something he must have learned by experience: there is something about trauma that messes with our ability to recognize it when it’s happening. Our minds sometimes cannot see it, refuse to put together the picture that is right in front of our eyes, perhaps because we fear that if we see the truth, it will destroy our hope that the world is the good place we need it to be.

This, I believe, is why good people sometimes collude with abuse by refusing to see it. The refusal is happening at such a deep instinctive level that it’s rarely an entirely conscious choice.

And in a sense, it’s also why perpetrators of the worst crimes so rarely own what they’ve done. Research has shown that abusers have a curious relationship with remorse: they may have formidable defenses against feeling guilt, which is feeling bad about what you’ve done. But they are highly prone to shame, which is feeling bad about who or what you are.

The kind of people who are most likely to abuse others are those who are absorbed by a damaged sense of self. They lash out in a crude effort to fend of feelings of being bad, in a kind of magical thinking: If I put the badness in you, it won’t be in me anymore. If I make you hurt, then I won’t have to hurt. To a very childish state of mind, to hurt is to be bad. We all make that equation when we’re very small, but most of us grow a mature sense of self that integrates our many different feelings into a whole picture.

Having a mature sense of self means being able to say, “I sometimes do things that aren’t good. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. At least I can try to repair the harm I’ve done, and learn not to do it again.” The same sense of integration is what prevents us from acting out our worst impulses. We can safely want to strangle people from time to time, knowing we will never do it.

When someone’s sense of self is so badly damaged that they can be violently abusive, they aren’t able to hold together a whole story about themselves, or about what they’ve done. It’s only after years of therapy (or other means of growth) that such a person might become able to really put together the picture of their own violence, and take responsibility for their actions.

Which means that people who have been harmed by violence have to find ways to take care of themselves and heal, even though the perpetrator has an infuriating, baffling way of seeming not to have been there at all. It’s as though nothing happened.

It’s natural to wish that the perpetrator would be sorry. It would help so much to hear their apology. But there’s a trap, too, in waiting for help from that quarter. It’s no good trying to get such a person to hear you or understand that gravity of what they’ve done. It’s like trying to get a clear reflection out of the fragments of a shattered mirror.

Instead, what helps survivors and loved ones heal is to tend their souls, and work their way back toward everything that makes life full: love, trust, gratitude, hope. Which means finding a way to grieve the losses.

We don’t grieve in the cold shadows of the death zone; we grieve when we remember our love and our hope for the future.

It helps to have a sense of community acknowledging our loss. It helps if we can find a way to bring something good out of the devastation—if we can at least bring some meaning to the loss by letting the tragedy inspire us to do good.

It’s only at the end of the movie, when the mother and child embrace, that we can let down and weep for everything they had to go through to find each other again, and weep too for the ones we miss.

Posted on 01/28/11 at 09:55 AM by Carol Poole. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers ItalianOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Claims Amanda Knox’s Confessions Resemble “False Confessions” Not Backed Up By Any Standard Texts

Posted by Fuji

[Above: Perugia’s central police station where Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all interviewed]

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.

Posted on 01/12/11 at 10:16 PM by Fuji. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

More On Motive: Some Of The Cases Of “Nice” Girls Who Killed With Little Or No Motive At All

Posted by The Machine

[Above: One of the Manson girls’ murder victims, Hollywood film star Sharon Tate]

The conspiracy theorists trying so hard to spring Amanda Knox now have about zero credibility - because they can’t field even one good expert that any other expert respects. 

The various claims of their various faux experts about this or that aspect of the evidence having been mishandled or misread or contaminated lack the one really crucial element. ANY real evidence.

And NOT ONE Italian interrogator or investigator or prosecutor has been proved to have done even one thing wrong with intent.  Which seems these days to be making the conspiracy theorists more and more shrill in their claims.

An ex campus security guard Steve Moore is now one of the shrillest faux experts - but the conspiracy theorists still seem to think he is their great ace in the hole.

Steve Moore is not exactly what we might call competent as a real-crime-scene investigator. He seemingly can’t get even one core fact right and his knowledge of the Micheli and Massei reports are absolutely abysmal.

Few of this faux expert’s claims arouse more ridicule and sardonic contempt than one sweeping claim made to any lazy and gullible reporter who will listen - Ann Curry, Linda Byron and Steve Shay, for example.

The claim that there is some standard profile for women who kill. And that well-bred educated middle-class girls like Amanda Knox do not fit “it”. That profile.

So it is impossible that they would ever kill.

In an interview with Anne Curry on NBC the faux expert actually claimed: ““This was an honor student; she is not a violent person….  What they are alleging is that she not only helped assault the roommate, but stabbed her in the throat. That kind of deviant, violent behavior doesn’t go unnoticed for 18, 19, 20 years. Some things leak out; you see some episodes, some indication that this person has issues.”

Actually she DID have issues.

Their faux expert clearly does not know the history of Amanda Knox very well. She seems to have started putting out warning calls for help from around the age of four, and there are a number of stories about her quirks and her drugs up to when she left for Perugia.

In this piece, we will look at some some high-profile murder cases in America, Italy and New Zealand involving seemingly normal young women with profiles not unlike Amanda Knox who suddenly committed horrific and senseless murders.

[Above: Laurie Ann Swank’s victim, hotel night clerk Janet Chandler]

USA: Laurie Ann Swank

If anyone thinks the idea that a woman would arrange for men to sexually assault and murder her friend and roommate is totally far-fetched and beyonds the realms of possibility, they should read about the Janet Chandler case.

In January 1979, Laurie Ann Swank held a position of responsibility, working as the manager of the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, Michigan. She was also the roommate and friend of Janet Chandler, a 23-year-old student who worked as a desk clerk at the hotel. 

Laurie Ann Swank lured Janet Chandler to a “party” where she was tied to a chair and raped and tortured for hours by five security guards who were staying at the Blue Mill Inn. After Janet Chandler had been gang raped, she was strangled and her body was dumped on the side of Interstate 196.

The officers involved in the case concluded that Laurie Swank orchestrated the attack on Janet Chandler out of envy and jealousy “to teach her a lesson.” The motive behind this vicious murder was actually admitted by Swank to have been petty jealousy, especially over a boy. She actually watched while Janet was raped and then strangled with a belt.

[Above: Two more of the Manson girls victims Leno and Rose Labianca ]

USA: Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel

Steve Moore seems to think that honor students are incapable of committing murder. His apparent refusal to believe that someone who is from a respectable background and well-educateed could be involved in murder is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Vincent Bugliosi was the chief prosecutor in the Manson trial. He has pointed out that the backgrounds of the Manson killers terrified America precisely because they were from fairly good backgrounds and that many people refused to believe they could be involved. Vincent Bugliosi, chief prosecutor in the Charlie Manson case:

The other thing that terrified the nation so much is when the identity of the killers became known. And who were they? Young kids from average American homes with fairly good backgrounds. There was a feeling that this could be our own children.

Tex Watson, Manson’s “chief lieutenant” at the murder scene, was from Farmersville, Texas, hometown of World War II hero Audie Murphy. Watson was a football, basketball, and track star. He had almost an A average in high school. And when the people in Farmersville learned he was being charged with these murders, the general consensus was this is absolutely impossible, it must be a case of mistaken identity.

Patricia Krenwinkel—another one of the main killers—her father was an insurance executive; she sang in the church choir; got good grades in school; at one time she even wanted to attend a Jesuit college in Alabama. Leslie Van Houten—another killer—she was a homecoming princess at Monrovia High School here in L.A.

[Above: Manson girl Squeaky Fromm attempted to murder President Gerald Ford]

Leslie Van Houten was an honor student and a homecoming queen. She came from a middle class background; her father was an auctioneer and her mother was a school teacher.

In 1968, she joined Charlie Manson’s family. She was not involved in the vicious killings at Roman Polanski’s home - which upset her - but she took part in the savage murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.  She along with Patricia Krenwinkel attacked and stabbed Rosemary LaBianca. Van Houten tied the electrical cord from a lamp around La Bianca’s neck and put a pillow case over her head before stabbing her 16 times in the lower back.

Patricia Krenwinkel came from a fairly normal background. Her father was an insurance salesman. She graduated from high school and then attended a Catholic college for a semester before moving in with her sister. In 1967, she met Charles Manson when he was visiting her sister.

Krenwinkel participated in the Tate and LaBianca murders. She stabbed Abigail Folger more than 70 times. When the police found Folger’s body, they thought she was wearing a red dress.

Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are currently serving life sentences for the Tate and Labianca murders. They are still being denied parole 40-plus years later.

USA: Amy Bishop

Dr. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated neurobiologist, inventor and mother of four, went on a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama. 

Amy Bishop had already shot and killed her 18-year old brother, with a shotgun, during an argument in 1986. Bishop claimed it was an accident and no charges were filed then - but 24 years later, charges were indeed filed.

According to witnesses, Amy Bishop later killed three professors and wounded three others during a meeting at the University of Alabama. They said that she sat through the first 30 minutes of the meeting and then pulled out a 9mm handgun and opened fire until the weapon jammed or ran out of bullets.

[Above: Karla Homolka murdered her own sister Tammy and and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French]

Canada: Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo

Karla Homolka was the oldest child of three. She was regarded as well-adjusted and intelligent. She was a popular child who received plenty of love and attention from her family and friends. She loved animals and after high school she went to work at a veterinary clinic.

When she was 17, Karla Homolka attended a pet convention and met 23-year-old Paul Bernado. They soon discovered they shared the same sado-masochistic tendencies.

On 23 December 1990, Homolka and Bernado gave alcoholic drinks spiked with halcyon to Homolka’s 15-year-old sister, Tammy, at a Christmas party. They took her to the basement and Homolka held a cloth soaked with Halothane to Tammy’s mouth until she became unconscious. Bernado and Homolka then raped her. Tammy choked on her own vomit as she was being raped.

On 15 June 1991, Bernado kidnapped Lesle Mahaffy and took her to the couple’s home, where they repeatedly raped over a number of days. The couple videotaped many of the assaults. They then killed Mahaffy and cut her body into pieces and encased the pieces in cement.

On 16 April 1992, they kidnapped 15-year-old Kristen French and took her to their home and videotaped themselves torturing and sexually assaulting her. The couple killed French before they left for Easyer Sunday dinner with Homolka’s family.

Karla Homolda was convicted for her role in the raping, torturing and killing her own sister, Tammy and Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. She was released from prison after serving 12 years in prison. Paul Bernado is still in prison.

There are videos on the seeming normality of very dangerous people like these two here and here.

[Above: Julet Hume who with Pauline Parker battered Pauline’s mother to death]

New Zealand: Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker

Juliet Hulme was the daughter of Dr. Henry Hulme, an eminent physicist and a rector at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 1954, Juliet Hulme and her friend, Pauline Parker, battered Parker’s mother, Honora Rieper, to death with half a brick in a lisle stocking. At the trial, it was revealed that Honora Rieper had been subjected to a sustained and brutal attack. Hulme and Parker had planned to murder Parker’s murder because they didn’t want to be separated.

After the murder, Parker and Hulme ran to a nearby tea shop, upset and covered in blood, claiming that Pauline’s mother had slipped and fallen.

Honora Rieper had 45 separate wounds on her head. The torn blood-soaked stocking with the brick in it was found nearby.

Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker were found guilty of murder.

[Above: Kelly Ellard was convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk]

Canada: Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski

Kelly Ellard came from a middle class family and lived in a well-to-do neighborhood.

In 1997, she and Warren Glowatski murdered convicted of murdering Indian immigrant Reena Virk, who was the 14-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants. Ellard and six other teenage girls beat up Reena under a bridge. Ellard and Glowatski then dragged Reena to the other side of the bridge and beat her for a second time. It is believed that Ellard forced Reena’s head under the water and held it there until she stopped struggling.

Kelly Ellard was sentenced to life imprisonment for the second-degree murder of Reena Virk on 20 April 2000. . A second trial in 2004 ended in a hung jury. The Supreme Court of Canada reinstated the second degree murder conviction against Ellard in 2009. Warren Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999. Six girls aged between 14 and 16 were sentenced in 1998 for their roles in the initial attack.

Next year Kelly Ellard will apply for parole. Reena’s parents are still waiting for any sign of remorse or sorrow for their loss.

[Above: Nadia Roccia was murdered by her friends Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica]

Italy: Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica

Anna Maria Botticelli and Mariena Sica lured their school friend Nadia Roccia to Botticelli’s home with the excuse of doing homework together and then they killed her. It was their second attempt as The Independent reports.

They turned off the lights and Sica began strangling her with a scarf. Botticelli urged her to pull it tighter and kicked Roccia in the stomach. Once satisfied she was dead, they looped a rope around her neck to simulate hanging…

The mother of Nadia Roccia yelled “Bravi ... finally justice for Nadia” as the sentences were read out. In imposing the toughest sentence, the court accepted the prosecution argument that the crime had been “premeditated, ferocious and for futile motives”.

Investigators are still at a loss to uncover a motive for the murder - with theories ranging from Satanic sects to prostitution rings. The pair appeared in court only once, but refused to answer questions and never showed any repentance.

It was discovered that the pair had tried to murder Roccia several months earlier. They offered her a cola drink laced with rat poison, but she refused to drink it. They made her sign a blank sheet on which they later typed a fake suicide note. “I am lesbian and in love with my best friend, that is you, my sweetest Anna Maria ... unfortunately you like men but soon you won’t have to worry about my jealousy any more,” read the note found by Roccia’s body.

Anna Maria Botticelli and Sica, both now 20, heard the sentence on television from their cell in Foggia, 90 miles from Naples. In jail they have completed their high-school leaving exam and are now studying law and economics.

Before Wednesday’s verdict Botticelli’s father pleaded: “I beg you on my knees to give these two girls a chance.”

There was widespread disbelief that Botticelli and Mariena Sica could be guilty of such a horrific murder because they were normal girls from respectable backgrounds. It was only after they were recorded admitting that they were involved, that many people acknowledged their guilt.

[Above: Erika de Nardo at letf with dark hair murdered her mother and brother]

Italy: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro

Erika de Nardo came from a wealthy middle class family - her father was a factory manager and her mother was an accountant - and she grew up in an affluent part of Novi Ligure in Italy. From Wikipedia:

The crime scene, indeed, didn’t suggest a robbery: doors and windows weren’t forced and nothing precious had been stolen. Neighbours noticed nothing unusual and De Nardo’s dogs didn’t bark all evening long. Moreover, Susy and Gianluca had been over-killed (medical examiner counted almost 100 brutal wounds on their corpses), while young Erika was safe and didn’t exactly seem shocked.

She immediately described the presumed aggression she faced, but her version of the facts was full of contradictions. Policemen showed her several mugshots and she “recognized” without any doubt an Albanian teenager named Cezar: the boy was immediately interrogated but proved he had an alibi. Erika stated that she ran away from the garage’s door, but police easily observed that her footprints didn’t mark a run: in fact, she had walked quietly.

Some close friends described the 16-year-old girl as a neglectful, pampered girl, recalled she often squabbled with her parents because of her bad school marks and because her new boyfriend, a bully named Omar Favaro, was someone her mother disliked.

Investigators found Erika’s diary in her bedroom. It was full of terrible sentences such as “That damn child (her brother) made me angry today and I beat him… ” or “This is the end, Mommy, I hate you” or “However we know that everything will be finished by death” and so on. Two days later, Erika and Omar Favaro (a 17-year-old) were left alone in a room at the police station where some hidden microphones and a camera recorded their shocking confession.

It is reported that Erika even performed the very scene of the stabbing and whispered: “I hit her (referring to her mother) right here…” and recalled: “My brother was so strong, he didn’t want to die… he fought so much… was as strong as a bull… oh my God, he was my little brother! He was just eleven years old!” and later ironically asked Omar: “You enjoyed yourself by killing them, didn’t you?”.

But Omar was upset: “You don’t understand, Erika, this is not a game… two people have died… we do risk a life sentence for this!” whispered “Come here, you, murderer!” the boy screamed while shaking her. The girl stated: “I hate my mom, I hate my brother and if you keep on saying this I’ll hate you too! They (policemen and judge) can’t do anything, there are no evidences, they are to believe me!”

De Nardo’s false claim about Albanians (shades of Amanda Knox) caused immense collateral damage. There was an anti-immigrant outcry with Italian newspapers articles demanding a crackdown on illegal immigrants, and anti-immigration demonstrations.

Erika de Nardo drew only a short sentence as a minor and is due to be released in 2012. Omar Fasaro was released a few months ago.

[Above: Erika de Nardo murdered her mother and brother, above]


There are some clear parallels between the Meredith Kercher case and the cases above. There was widespread disbelief that some of the highlighted killers were capable of committing brutal murders.

Like Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, many of these killers attempted to derail the police investigation. And nearly all these murderers came from respectable, middle class backgrounds, were well-educated and had no previous history of violence.

Real experts know that it is indisputable that murderers come from all walks of life. The motives behind the horrific murders described above are beyond the comprehension of any normal person, and in some of these cases a motive was never uncovered.

The claims of faux experts like Steve Moore that Amanda Knox is innocent because she doesn’t fit the profile of a someone who would kill in a violent rage are in fact the complete opposite of true.

[Above: Erika de Nardo and Omar Fasaro after their arrest in Italy]

Posted on 11/26/10 at 12:10 AM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Report Students Studying Abroad on Average Double Or Triple Their Alcoholic Intake

Posted by Peter Quennell

American embassies and other nations’ embassies abroad get to hear of hundreds of cases a year of students who got in over their heads.

In the past couple of years, there have been TWO notorious murders by foreign students in Florence alone. Florence is about one hour’s drive north of Perugia. The embassy simply shrugged and moved on as Italian justice worked its careful process through.

Both perps happened to be American, and both were high. There were no cries in those cases of anti-Americanism. Howvever, there was some troubled talk in Italy of the excesses foreign students go to.

And a lot of tightening up by the colleges who send a lot of students abroad, including the University of Washington (Amanda Knox’s college) and Pepperdine University (Steve Moore’s former college - this helped to seal his firing.)

Amanda Knox is one of the rare ones who shrugged off all home-college supervision, presumably with the okay of her parents. Meredith was closely watched over by the Erasmus scheme, which sadly did not save her life.

Now the University of Southern California’s student newspaper carries this report on one root cause of students facing foreign judges.

Students traveling abroad can keep glass half full

By Kelsey Clark of the Daily Trojan

According to researchers at the University of Washington, American college students who study abroad are likely to increase — even triple — their alcohol consumption while traveling internationally.

Students over the age of 21 doubled their intake of alcohol from an average of four drinks per week on campus to eight drinks per week abroad, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The overall increase in surveyed students’ alcohol consumption was 105 percent, while those underage students tripled their drinking with an increased consumption of 170 percent….

By consuming alcohol in excess, particularly in an unfamiliar country, the risks for students are greater than those traditionally associated with a night of drinking at USC.

Though instances of injury, crime and sexual abuse do occur as a result of binge drinking at USC, such severe ramifications are comparatively rare within the university’s party culture. Some of the more prevalent woes are students who slept through class because of a hangover or ruined a cell phone by jumping in a pool.

But students who travel abroad must take additional precautions as the heightened risks include becoming lost, getting pick-pocketed or otherwise taken advantage of.

And of course bumping some poor innocent person off.

Posted on 11/12/10 at 01:08 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Is The PR Campaign Finally Now Pushing Amanda Knox Very, Very Close To The Edge?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Things seem to be getting increasingly tough for Amanda Knox.

We have already posted that she seems increasingly adrift. Now consider all that is about to hit her.

1) Next week a book of interviews with Knox will be release by an Italian politician, Rocco Girlanda (image below), who we hear comes across as more than a little obsessive toward her. 

We are told that an active Italian MP is in fact legally forbidden from meddling in an ongoing case, and it seems he started the interviews with Amanda in Capanne without her even realising she was being recorded. Who knows how this book will come across in Italy, and how she will then be regarded?

2) Next week also the slander trial of Knox’s parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, may get under way in Perugia. We have posted repeatedly lately on what seems the real reason why Amanda Knox accused Patrick Lumumba: Sollecito had just destroyed her alibi.

Only very much later did Knox start to claim that she was driven to make her demonstrably false accusation because she was being harrassed by an interrogator. This is supported by no witnesses at all. The tough confident insouciant Amanda Knox who took the witness stand last June did not manage to make this claim sound remotely credible.

In the echo-chamber occupied by such shallow grandstanding self-servers as Steve Moore (Machine’s post below) this belated accusation somehow morphed into Prosecutor Mignini himself leading the harrassment, which was said to go on for hours and hours, with no food, no water, no lawyer, and no interpreter present in the room.

So Amanda Knox herself and her two parents are now facing their separate slander trials - Knox’s own trial will recommence in November. All three seem to be between a rock and a hard place. Either they must look all of the cops right in the eyes and say “Yes you did this” or visibly freeze or melt down emotionally on the witness stand, and end up facing possible legal punishment.

3) The Sollecitos increasingly seem to be going their own separate way. The Sollecito family trial for illegally releasing an evidence video to Telenorba showing Meredith naked at the crime scene (which stirred considerable dislike for them all across Italy) will recommence on 24 February in Perugia. Raffaele’s sister Vanessa, who was fired from her job in the Carabinieri (federal police) for trying to get politicians to use their influence for Sollecito, will also be facing her own hearing.

As we have explained so many times before, Raffaele Sollecito has NEVER endorsed Amanda Knox’s final alibi - that she was with him at his place all night. The Sollecitos do NOT like Amanda Knox or her family, and they have no time at all for the strident anti-Italianism of the PR campaign, which has done them nothing but harm.

4) Amanda Knox is now said to be pretty desperate to talk in person or on the phone with Raffaele Sollecito. This has just been approved. For each, it will be their one approved phone-call a week, and it will be monitored.

Although some of the Italian media have made light of this - that this may be a sign of love’s hot embers - the far more likely explanation is that Amanda herself and the inner Knox team are desperately worried that Sollecito could cut them adrift, and come out at appeal with a show of penitence and even a sort of explanation.

So Knox reaches out to Sollecito now in what seems to be growing desperation.

5) Hayden Panettiere is hanging around in Rome waiting for the shooting of the Lifetime movie to begin, grinning vacuously for the cameras as she thoughtlessly heaps still more pain on Meredith’s family and her friends and shows zero concern for the real victim.

To their considerable credit, Amanda Knox’s own lawyers in Perugia seem to have taken a strong dislike to Hayden Panettiere, and to the timing of the Lifetime movie. We have just now heard that they have said no to a request from Hayden Panettiere to meet with Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison. This film is likely to stir enormous controversy unless it sticks to the facts, and the facts hardly seem to favor Amanda Knox.

6) There is less sign now than there ever was that the US Rome Embassy or the State Department are inclining to intervene, even if there was an obvious way open. They know the case from end to end and they believe last year’s trial was a perfectly fair proceeding.  Just a couple of weeks ago the State Department did move actively to help some other Americans in foreign trouble, but in light of the strident anti-Italianism and the Massei Report, it just isn’t going to happen here.

7) The depth and detail and precision of the Massei Report is a nightmare for the Amanda Knox defence team. Even if all the DNA and other forensic tests are repeated, the result are very unlikely to be fully in their favor, and there’s a real chance new tests will work against them.

And now we are hearing that the opportunistic prisoners Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello, one of who claims he was a cellmate of Rudy Guede who heard him confess, and the other who claims he is the brother of the “real” murderer, may STILL be the defense’s star witnesses at the appeal starting late in November. Both are very much reviled in Italy for their crimes, and each has a known history of lying.

So good luck to the Knox defense team with this one. Their appeal statement seems weak and disjointed. Amanda surely picks up on their despondent vibes, which hardly helps in her own struggle for emotional stability. 


So what do we ourselves hope for here? We hope that Amanda Knox finally breaks. Not calamitously, of course, but in a totally new direction. Maybe a shorter sentence for her. And certainly relief to the thousands this cruel senseless act toward Meredith has so very much damaged.

Posted on 10/15/10 at 01:03 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda Knox
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Conspiracy Theorists Follow A Well Known Pattern - They ALL End Up Out Of Steam And Ignored

Posted by Stilicho

[above: conspiracy theorists don’t want you to believe that is an aircraft]

Conspiracy Theories And Those That Surround Meredith’s Murder:

What do the Apollo moon landings, the JFK assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and Meredith Kercher’s murder all have in common? 

They have each attracted the vigorous cult-like attention of conspiracy theorists.  Despite the cold hard fact that in each case there has been ample documentation to support what might best be called the official story. 

We know from independent and highly credible and very respected sources that the Apollo missions were successful, that a lone gunman shot and killed the US president in Dallas, that a terrorist group was responsible for hijacking of four aircraft, that the World Trade Center complex was destroyed by the subsequent fires..

And that Knox, Sollecito and Guede attacked and killed Meredith in her rented room in Perugia on the first of November in 2007.

Among the dozens of similarities between the Meredith case conspiracy theorists and others, we will focus on those made most apparent by the words and actions of those advocating for Knox and (occasionally) Sollecito.

A Commonality: Lack Of Any Coherent Alternate Narrative:

The court was obliged to create a logical narrative supported by the evidence.  That narrative, briefly, states that Knox and Sollecito encountered Guede after they found they had no obligations that evening, consumed drugs that lowered their inhibitions, and entered Meredith’s room. 

What followed was a sexual assault upon the young British woman, the active participation of each of the three accused, Meredith’s attempts to scream for help, and the silencing of the victim by covering her mouth, throttling her and finally stabbing her in the throat.  The three assailants then departed after locking Meredith’s bedroom door. 

Her mobile phones and keys were taken by Knox and Sollecito to be discarded in a remote location. Once it was apparent that the authorities had not responded to Meredith’s screams, Knox and Sollecito returned to the cottage to stage a break-in and to obscure as much evidence of their presence as was possible.

Those advocating for Knox and Sollecito have never supplied a coherent narrative to refute the official story.

Similarly, 9/11 truthers have never been able to agree on much apart from their strident belief that the official story simply must be wrong.  Various hypotheses have been advanced and withdrawn in the face of objections by scientists, engineers, and even rival truther factions. 

There is a no-planer faction that argues there were no planes hijacked and that all the video and film evidence was created in a government production studio.  There is a controlled demolition faction that argues government agents secretly wired unknown explosive devices in one of the busiest office buildings in the world while nobody noticed.  There are others who believe the leaseholder of the site ordered the demolition because of concerns about asbestos replacement.

When asked how Guede gained entry to the cottage, conspiracy theorists promote three main theories without selecting the one they all agree upon. 

They argue that Guede entered through Filomena’s window OR that Meredith let him in the house herself OR that he entered by unknown means and was there before she returned home at roughly 21:00.

Because conspiracy theorists are not constrained by the requirement for a logical narrative they will pick any of the three available and contradictory claims.

A Commonality: An Aversion To Respecting Good Science:

The Apollo moon landing hoaxes have a lot in common with the advocacy sites proclaiming the innocence of Knox and Sollecito. 

Apart from the development of the atomic bomb, there has likely been no human technological achievement so intensively documented as the Apollo programme.

Among the many claims of the conspiracists is the position that late-Sixties technology and instrumentation was insufficient or too bulky to allow the moon landings to take place.  They compare the size and power of 21st century computing hardware and software with that of 1969 and make their conclusions based on a perceived inadequacy of the previous era’s equipment.

In Meredith’s case there are several advocacy sites that criticise the scientific police on exactly the same basis. 

The techniques employed by (mainly) Dr Stefanoni, in determining the presence of Meredith’s DNA on a knife found in Sollecito’s drawer, are attacked partly because the equipment had not been used this way before. 

Just to be sure of their position, however, they add confidently that she simply could have faked the results or kept her tweezers in a beaker of Meredith’s DNA accidentally left in the laboratory.  It matters little to the unscientific mind of the conspiracy theorist that Stefanoni’s techniques were fully documented and observed by an independent party as required by law.

A Commonality: Lack Of A Credible Alternate Suspect:

Wrongful convictions happen.  There are dozens of them documented on a site operated by The Innocence Project, an American advocacy group.  Its banner proudly proclaims that 258 convictions had been overturned. 

The foundation seizes upon several important facets of wrongful convictions including DNA evidence and improper defence counselling. In almost all the 258 cases there is another common feature:  a credible alternate suspect.

JFK conspiracy theorists have never been able to establish a credible alternate suspect - and neither have Knox/Sollecito advocates. 

The latter have not yet gone so far as to accuse the Mafia, Fidel Castro, the Teamsters Union, LBJ, Nixon, the CIA and a man carrying an umbrella in Dealey Plaza.  But their attempt to establish Guede as the sole perpetrator accomplishes the same thing. 

Just in case the ‘lone wolf’ doesn’t make any sense, they are not beyond implicating even Filomena, falsely claiming that it is only her word against that of Knox that Meredith did not normally lock her bedroom door.

There was only one attempt to identify an alternate suspect and that was made by Knox herself.  She told police investigators that Patrick, her boss, was the killer. 

She is one step ahead of those proclaiming her innocence; she knew better than they that without another explanation it is she and Sollecito who remained the prime suspects.  She also knows, more than her supporters, that naming Guede instead would invite reciprocation.

Conclusions About Conspiracy Theorists

As briefly illustrated above, the length and depth of those being falsely implicated by the mostly anonymous Knox/Sollecito conspiracy theorists, untethered by the 80,000 pound gorilla in the room, the Massei Report, now knows few bounds.

This has now reached such levels of absurdity that they are increasingly being laughed at or, for the most part, ignored.  Nobody - really nobody - in either the Italian or American governments is paying them even the slightest attention. 

Meredith’s case is showing to the clear-thinking and objective world that Italy has an enviable justice system, that it is very careful and very humane, and that its scientific and forensic techniques are among the vanguard in applied criminal research.

And with no obvious way of obtaining special gains for themselves (or for that matter of hitting back against the anonymous attacks) the very fine police and investigators and prosecutors and judges and juries in Italy are doing the very best they can for Meredith.

Posted on 09/09/10 at 10:40 AM by Stilicho. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersThe wider contextsAmerican contextThe psychologyMore of the same
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Monday, September 06, 2010

Van Der Sloot’s Attention Seeking Antics In A Peruvian Prison Are Continuing

Posted by Peter Quennell

We have periodically focussed on Joran Van Der Sloot now awaiting trial for murder in Peru because it was noted in the media that he and Amanda Knox both seem to be reveling in their prominence.

In Knox’s case, it tends to drive a new wave of media stories every few weeks (the stories now are about a new book which talks about baby adoption, and a movie) which re-energize a hard-line white knights movement that demonizes Italian officials for framing her to save face or because they don’t like Americans.

There is a present crescendo of such claims as an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the very impressive Massei Report (link at top here) the distribution of which from all sources is now pressing toward 10,000 and which seems to be convincing almost all readers that this really was a fair trial and outcome.

In Van Der Sloot’s case, the new wave of media stories every few weeks also seem aimed at attracting white knights to raising questions over his guilt and how the authorities are handling his cases in terms of competence and fairness.

1) Van Der Sloot has now gone so far as to confess now on Dutch TV that he did try to extort money from the family of disappeared Natalie Holloway - because they had been making his life hell.

“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family — her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not’?”

He has previously repeatedly hinted that he knows where Natalee’s body was disposed of and that he had some role in her killing. An extradition move by US law enforcement is expected.

2) Van Der Sloot seems to have posed willingly  in prison with several other inmates for a photograph that then appeared in the Peruvian media.

3) Van Der Sloot is receiving visits in prison from an apparent white knight who he is referring to as his girlfriend. 

4) There also appears to be a movie in the works by another white knight who has a history of taking the side of those who attempt to exonerate Van Der Sloot, in part by demonizing Natalee Holloway and her family.

On one side….defenders of Joran van der Sloot and the Aruban authorities who consider him a prime suspect in Natalee’s disappearance but have never charged him. That defense consists mainly of character attacks on Natalee and her mother Beth Holloway Twitty.

Prominent among those pressing that case is Renee Gielen, a film maker from Curacao who produced a 2008 documentary entitled “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lines"….a title that morphs on screen to “Natalee, The Unrevealed Time Lies.”  The film was widely attacked on line as a cover up and vicious attack on Natalee and her family. Others saw it as a defense of both the van der Sloot family and Aruban authorities.

And so we get to read about them periodically, at least until they grow somewhat older. The customary trend then is for such stories to drop dead.

Posted on 09/06/10 at 09:39 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe psychology
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Similarities Between Amanda Knox And A Teenage American Drug Addict Just Murdered In Mexico

Posted by Peter Quennell

Pretty, popular 18-year old Elizabeth Mandala (half Mexican, half Italian) was from Sugar Land, a rich outer suburb west of Houston in Texas.

That Fox report above of her very violent death was broadcast three months ago, when Elizabeth Mandala was found beaten to death with two unnamed Mexicans in a very dangerous part of north Mexico.

It appears she was already very deeply into addictive drugs. To support her addiction, she had secretly worked as a stripper, and she was secretly seeking to become a “mule” or “coyote” to move drugs or illegal immigrants across the Mexico border into Texas.

Although very under-reported by an American media that wants to give her every possible break, Amanda Knox was a KNOWN drug user back in Seattle.

And around Perugia, the perception of people who encountered Knox and Sollecito is that she was close to becoming or was already a cocaine addict. The same with Sollecito. They are still both referred to as coke-heads.

Possessing and using drugs both in the US and in Italy is of course a crime. It often results in stiff sentences. Prior to Meredith’s death, Knox seems to have already broken the drug laws of two countries, and quite possibly of a third (Germany). 

And this possible drug addict was already down to her last $5,000 or so, and she may have already lost the waitress job which she desperately needed.

This could have been making her desperate and dangerous. Prosecutor Mignini and Judge Micheli both seemed to think it was she that stole Meredith’s rent money which went missing on the night of the murder.

Here now is a long and well-investigated report in last Wednesday’s Houston Press on the circumstances of Elizabeth Mandala’s death. It is well worth reading in full.

You can bet your bottom dollar this story was read in full by a million anxious Houston-area parents, who in turn leaned a little harder on their own little darlings to keep them as far as possible away from drugs.

Paul Knight’s report makes it very clear that EVEN IF THEY WANT TO and it seems they very rarely do, the US State Department and the US Embassies and the FBI will NOT get involved in foreign crimes involving Americans when drugs are one of the factors.

Along with the mountain of evidence, this would help explain the cool attitude toward Knox’s case of the American Embassy in Rome, of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in Washington, and increasingly of that muddled Senator, Maria Cantwell.

Edda Mellas, if you or Curt Knox knew Amanda was on drugs, common knowledge in her circle in Seattle, you REALLY should have stepped in and stopped her. Stopped her drug-use, stopped her going to Perugia and in effect stopped her from killing Merediith.

So. Why didn’t you?

Posted on 07/27/10 at 05:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsAmerican contextThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Master Manipulators, Masks, and Murder: Parallels Of The Amanda Knox And Scott Peterson Cases

Posted by giustizia

Laci Peterson was soon to give birth in California in December of 2002.

On Christmas Eve, her husband Scott reported her missing. In April of the following year, her body and the body of her unborn son Connor were discovered in the San Francisco Bay.

Five years later, in Italy, on 2 November 2007, foreign study student Amanda Knox was at her rental home with her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, when the postal police arrived early one morning to return some cell phones traced to her flatmates; the phones had been found dumped in a nearby garden.

Shortly after, the shocking discovery was made that her flat mate Meredith Kercher had been murdered.

Parallels Between The Perpetrators And Their Crimes And Court Cases

There are some striking parallels between Amanda Knox and Scott Peterson and their crimes and convictions.

The horrific murders of two beautiful young women (one almost at the end of the full-term pregnancy of her first child) unleashed in each case a maelstrom of publicity rarely seen in search of the murderer.

When arrests were made, there also came the stunning revelation in each case that the accused was well-known to the victim – in Laci’s case, it was her husband, Scott Peterson; in Meredith’s case, it was her roommate, Amanda Knox.

Ultimately, three people were arrested for the murder of Meredith (a fourth person arrested, Patrick Lumumba, who was falsely accused by Knox as Meredith’s murderer, was released when his solid alibi was proven). Of the three people arrested for the murder of Meredith Kercher, it appeared to the prosecutors that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime.

In each trial, the defendant presented a seemingly normal and middle-class appearance. Neither defendant had a significant history of violence or widely-obvious mental illness. Their families insist on their innocence. Yet both were convicted of brutal murders.

Knox and Peterson were each described by casual acquaintances, neighbors and friends as nice, regular people.

Ann Bird, Peterson’s half-sister, described him as being “charismatic, charming, courteous, polite.”  On Dateline NBC television, a friend of Amanda Knox described her as being “generous, kind, genuine, optimistic, bubbly. Pretty much all the good words that you can find in a dictionary, she was.” 

But they proved superficial assessments that in fact really only scratched the surface.

Parallels: Amanda Knox’s Reckless, Odd Behavior, And Her Lies

Amanda Knox had been cited and she had received a fine (a sentence which could have been much more severe) for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks at a party in Seattle shortly before her departure to Italy.

Knox abruptly and without clear reason dropped a much-sought-after internship in Berlin, Germany, before arriving in Italy.

She posted a vignette on Facebook about a sexual liaison she had with a stranger, a middle-aged man, while on a train in Italy.

Her roommate Meredith had quickly become disenchanted with the American flatmate who brought home different men without warning. “So she’s [Meredith] waking up in the morning and there’s someone making tea. And it’s, who are you again?” commented Meredith’s friend Brittany Murphy on the subject of Meredith’s unease at the strangers Knox brought to their rented Italian home.

Richard Owen, the Italy correspondent of the London Times in Italy, who has written multiple stories on the case, stated that Knox brought home “people who Meredith Kercher distrusted. Didn’t like the look of. It got to the point where she actually confronted Amanda about this.”

And Amanda Knox’s behavior after the Meredith’s murdered body was found in their rental home was more than atypical for someone who had their flatmate killed in such a horrific fashion in such close proximity.

  • “As she put them on she swiveled her hips, pulled a face and said ‘hop la’ - I thought it was very unusual behavior and my suspicions against her were raised.” (Edgardo Giobbi, a police forensic scientist, testifying in court, describing Knox’s behavior just hours after the murder, after he handed Knox a pair of shoe-covers to prevent contaminating the evidence during a search of the house. Sky News, UK, May 30, 2009.)
  • “While I was [at the police station] I found Amanda’s behavior very strange. She had no emotion while everyone else was upset. I remember one thing that really upset me. [Meredith’s friend] Natalie said, ‘I hope she wasn’t in too much pain.’ Amanda said, ‘What do you think? She fucking bled to death.’ At that point no one had told us how Meredith died.”  (Robyn Butterworth, a friend of Kercher’s, testifying in court. London Evening Standard, Feb. 13, 2009.)
  • “Their behavior at the police station seemed to me really inappropriate ... They sat opposite each other, Amanda put her feet up on Raffaele’s legs and made faces at him. Everyone cried except Amanda and Raffaele. I never saw them crying. They were kissing each other.” (Amy Frost, a friend of Meredith’s and a student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia at the time, testifying in court. The Independent, London, Feb. 14, 2009.)
  • “My daughter was a Leeds student with Meredith in Perugia. They went out together on Halloween. When Amanda Knox was asked how she felt on 2 November, she said: “Shit happens”, which contrasts rather sharply with the contrived way she addressed the Italian court about “my friend Meredith”.  (Marc Rivalland, in a letter to the editor of the Observer commenting on the Knox case. The Guardian, UK, 12/13/2009.)
  • “They came into the shop at about 7 p.m. and were there for about 20 minutes. She bought a camisole and G-string. I heard her tell him that ‘Afterwards I’m going to take you home and put this on so we can have wild sex together.” (Store owner Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi’s testimony in court about Knox and Sollecito’s behavior in his store, taped on closed-circuit TV.)
  • “Knox and Sollecito were seen laughing as they hold up various G-strings. In one still shot taken from the footage, Raffaele is standing behind Amanda with his hands on her hips and his groin pressed into her. It was the same day as the candle light vigil memorial for Meredith, a few days after her murder.” (Excerpt from the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau.)

Perhaps the most controversial claim in the Knox trial was Knox’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba was placed under arrest and jailed for two weeks, until his solid alibi set him free.

Knox, who said nothing to help him during the two weeks Lumumba was incarcerated, changed her story after he was freed. She then claimed she was coerced by the police into making confusing statements. Knox’s parents made charges of human rights violations and anti-Americanism against the Italian justice system, though to date the U.S. government has refused to become involved.

  • “He’s bad. He did it. He killed her…It was him, it was him, he was crazy, he killed her.” (Amanda Knox’s statements, according to police at the police station, accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher. The Daily Telegraph, UK, March 6, March 21, 2009)
  • “She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge. By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty, dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.” (Patrick Lumumba, bar owner in Perugia and Knox’s boss. Daily Mail, UK, November 25, 2007)

Parallels: Scott Peterson’s Reckless, Odd Behavior And His Lies

Scott Peterson had all the appearances of an upwardly mobile middle-class white-collar worker. He was a salesman with a pretty wife and a baby on the way, and they owned a nice home in Modesto, California.

His friends and family described him as charismatic and friendly. But under the surface was a lifestyle filled with lies and mistresses.

Scott Peterson had hooked up with a mistress, Amber Frey, in November of 2002, leaving his pregnant wife home alone during the holiday season to see Amber Frey, with excuses of business meetings.

Peterson told Amber Frey that he was a widow, and also that he was traveling in France when he was actually in California - two of many false claims Peterson made to her.

  • “I’m near the Eiffel Tower. The New Year’s celebration is unreal. The crowd is huge.”  (Scott Peterson, from a taped telephone conversation to his mistress Amber Frey, telling her he is in Paris, when he is really in Modesto, California, about to attend a candle-light vigil for his missing wife. Dateline, NBC, 1/4/2005)

Shortly after Laci Peterson was reported missing, that candle light vigil was held for Laci. It was on New Year’s Eve.

  • ‘Three witnesses testified that Peterson’s behavior at the candle-light vigil seemed inappropriate for a worried husband. One woman said that he showed no emotion during the service and was grinning as he “socialized” with friends afterwards.’  (From The Murder of Laci Peterson, TrueTV.com)

The jurors were shown a photo of the grinning Peterson at the vigil at the trial as evidence. He called his mistress before and after the vigil ceremony, while Laci’s distraught family members tried to cope with the situation of their missing relative.

  • “Scott came in with a great big smile on his face, laughing, it was just another day in paradise for Scott, another day that he had to go through the motions,” said one juror, Mike Belmessieri. “Scott had no emotion on his face. Scott was being Scott.” (Juror of the Scott Peterson Trial, commenting on his unusually cool demeanor in court. New York Times, March 17. 2005)

Shades of Amanda…

  • “The cartwheels? This is Amanda just being Amanda. As her friends would say, it’s an Amanda thing.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Knox turning cartwheels at the police station. The Guardian, UK, June 27. 2009)
  • “I couldn’t help but think how cool and calm Amanda was. Meredith’s other friends were devastated and I was upset, but Amanda was as cool as anything and completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t seem to show any sadness, and I remember wondering if she could have been involved.” (Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s Italian boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs from the murder. Metro.co.uk, November 18, 2007)

Parallels In Forensic Evidence

In both cases, there were no eye witnesses or “smoking gun.”

In Scott Peterson’s case, the ONLY piece of hard evidence was a single strand of Laci’s hair, found on pliers in Scott’s boat, which the defense charged as being contaminated evidence. The rest of the evidence at his trial was circumstantial.

Both the circumstantial and forensic evidence in the Knox trial were more considerable. Key items of hard evidence included a knife found in Sollecito’s apartment that had Meredith’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA on the handle, and it was presumed to be one of the murder weapons.

A bloody footprint, the size of Knox’s foot, was found on a pillow underneath Meredith’s body. Mixed DNA material of both Knox and Meredith were found in several spots in the house where the murder occurred.

Parallels In Strange Coincidences

Laci and Connor’s bodies were found in the water in the bay area of San Francisco. Scott Peterson happened to own a boat and liked to fish – in fact, he said he went fishing on Christmas Eve, the day Laci disappeared, at a location where later the bodies turned up only about 3 miles away.

Meredith was sexually molested and killed by knife wounds. Raffaele Sollecito has a fascination with knives and he owns a large collection. Amanda Knox created and posted a fictitious story about rape on the Internet.

Sollecito posted a photo of himself on the Internet swathed in bandages and holding a large meat cleaver and a jug of a chemical-looking liquid. Knox and Sollecito were the only ones at the house on the day when the police showed up and later discovered Meredith’s body.

The juries in both trials concluded that these factors were more than mere coincidences, and represented incriminating evidence of guilt of the crime.

Parallels In How The Families Supported Their Children

Not all convicted murderers have a history of mental disturbance or violence. If there were any red flags regarding Knox’s and Peterson’s behavior, one would not know it from the descriptions provided by their families:

  • ‘Lee Peterson said his son never posed a discipline problem, did not rebel as a teenager and was a perfect baby. He was said even to lose golf games because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his opponents. ‘‘He woke up smiling and went to bed smiling.’’  (Scott Peterson’s father of his son, testifying to the jury after Scott’s guilty verdict but before sentencing.  New York Times, December 2, 2004)
  • “She was an incredible easy-going kid even from a baby. She was so mellow…She loved being read-to, she loved books. As she got a little older she always wanted to be outside - building camps, playing soccer. She never watched a lot of TV - she still doesn’t. She was an excellent student.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Amanda Knox’s character the week of her guilty verdict. The Sun, UK, December 5, 2009)

Parallels In Family And Groupie Websites

Peterson and Knox’s families insist on their innocence. There are family and groupie websites for each convicted murderer. They each proclaim innocence for the guilty, make charges of police incompetence, and make requests for money for the defense cause and legal expenses:

  • “Scott Peterson Family Mission Statement: ‘This web-site is a combined effort of our family and our support system. We know Scott is innocent and that he has been unjustly convicted. Our pursuit of justice for Laci, Conner and Scott remains steadfast. We want to keep you informed as to the specifics of the case, the appeal, and related topics. We also want you to know how grateful we are for your prayers and support.’ (From: http://scottpetersonappeal.org/)
  • “Amanda Knox - A heartfelt thanks for your support. On behalf of Amanda and her family, we want to thank everyone who has contacted FOA to express their concern and to offer help in the wake of an unjust and unsupportable guilty verdict. We are developing a strategy to raise public awareness of this case and help bring about a reversal of the verdicts against both Amanda and Raffaele. Once it is in place, we will welcome all the help we can get, and we will be in touch with you.” (From http://www.friendsofamanda.org/home_eng.htmleartfelt)

Parallels In The Verdicts Jurors Delivered: Guilty As Charged

The jurors in each trial fitted together all the pieces of the puzzle: timelines, witness testimony, cell-phone records, forensic evidence, lack of solid alibis, incriminating lies, and odd behavior of the defendants.

They each concluded after lengthy deliberation that the defendants were guilty of murder.

Non-Parallels In How The US Media Has Reported Both Cases

Of these two cases, not many people have questioned the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson trial. He has been sentenced to death via lethal injection, and he is currently incarcerated in San Quentin prison in California.

There are no repeated media interviews of Peterson’s mother in tears, insisting on his innocence and his release from prison. There are no angry declarations from Peterson family that the police, prosecution and legal system abused, railroaded and framed Scott Peterson.

If such media coverage were to exist, it would be widely considered in the US to be extremely upsetting and insulting to Laci’s parents and family and to the memory of the victims Laci and Connor.

Peterson’s media coverage, thankfully, has dissipated. He still pursues an appeals process, possibly to be heard next year by the California Supreme Court.

Amanda Knox’s story plays out very differently. After her arrest, her family hired a public relations team that puts forth a determined effort to change Knox’s image of wild child and murderer and to keep her in the news.

They obviously do not consider their repeated loud public outcries for release of their daughter distressing to Meredith’s parents and family, and they don’t perceive their actions as being disrespectful to the victim, Meredith.

Or of course, as many people suspect, perhaps Knox’s relatives do realize it but they simply don’t care.

Non Parallels In Future Legal Prospects

Imprisoned in Italy, Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. Italian prosecutors are now appealing that decision, and asking for life in prison. But regardless of this and the PR campaign, Knox’s prospects are considerably brighter than Peterson’s: she gets two automatic appeals and the worst case scenario is she serves life in prison.

Scott Peterson sits on death row in San Quentin Prison in California, waiting for the legal process to move his appeals case along.

It is curious that the fervent supporters of Amanda Knox do not crusade for the release of Scott Peterson as well. After all, he was convicted on LESS direct evidence, and also in the midst of a maelstrom of publicity. CNN.com had called the Peterson prosecution case so weak and “unimpressive” that they speculated that he could end up with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

But with the exception of his own family, no one has picked up beating the drum to overturn the jury’s conviction of Peterson. Perhaps it is because Peterson doesn’t fit well the damsel in distress role? More likely, it is because the American public trusted the jury’s assessment of the evidence and trial, as they and the American media usually do, and they feel that the jury delivered a just verdict, and justice to Laci and Connor Peterson.

Epilogue – Master Manipulators

How is it possible that two “regular” people like Knox and Peterson ended up in jail for horrendous murders? Below is a condensed version from an AP article about the type of personality attributed to Scott Peterson:

It is interesting to note that life transitions are tremendous stresses to a psychopath. Psychopaths also wear “false faces” and are master manipulators. They are the ultimate con artists and they are able to fool even those closest to them.

Peterson’s closest friends “never suspected there was a monster inside Scott’s psyche.
Motive still a question in Peterson case
By the Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP)—Of all the questions surrounding the Laci Peterson murder case, the one that seemed to be running through practically everyone’s mind was this: If Scott Peterson was so unhappy in his marriage, why didn’t he just get a divorce?

Experts on the criminal mind say the answer may lie in what lurked beneath Scott Peterson’s charming veneer —a psychopathic personality.

“When you say you’re going to get a divorce, everyone knows that it’s a long, tedious process. The psychopath wants the short-term solution,” said San Diego forensic psychologist Reid Meloy.

Peterson, 32, was convicted earlier this month of murdering his eight-months-pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, and the jury decided he deserves the death penalty.

Criminal psychologists say Peterson appeared to be a master manipulator who lacked the capacity to feel remorse or consider consequences —some of the same psychopathic characteristics exhibited by serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

Psychopaths “tend to con people very well and they wear false faces,” said former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. “They tend to be able to fool everyone from their families to their friends to society, schools, their community.”

At Peterson’s trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous liar who continued to carry on an extramarital affair even as police searched for his wife. They said he killed her to escape marriage and impending fatherhood for the freewheeling single life.

Whether Laci’s pregnancy was the catalyst for Peterson’s plan may never be known. But experts said pregnancy can lead to seismic changes within a relationship.

Pregnancy “represents commitment, fatherhood, another dependent, a lifelong bond ... and all of those things are strongly despised by the psychopath,” Meloy said… pregnancy represents a life transition, and there are stresses around that transition.”

Peterson’s case was made all the more perplexing by the lack of signs that the couple’s marriage was in trouble. Although Peterson had cheated on Laci at least three times, according to defense attorney Mark Geragos, he appeared to family and friends to be a doting husband and father-to-be after Laci became pregnant.

Those closest to the couple said they never suspected there was a monster inside.

Heather Richardson, the maid of honor at the Petersons’ wedding, is still hoping for a plausible explanation to emerge. Perhaps, she said, Peterson suffers from a disorder that has yet to be revealed.

“It would be at least comforting. Then I would realize that the person I knew and loved dearly was there. He was that person and the other person, too,” Richardson said. “So at least part of him was not a lie.”

And A Last Word On Masks

Here is Amanda Knox in her own words about masks — while taking the stand for the final time at her trial in Italy (CNN, Dec. 3, 2009): “They say that I am calm. I am not calm ... I fear to lose myself, to have the mask of the assassin forced upon me.”


For all the sources used here, please “Click For More” below the videos for Laci and Meredith

Click here for more

Posted on 07/24/10 at 09:59 AM by giustizia. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Pesky Confession: Now Joran Van Der Sloot Is Trying Hard To Backpedal

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for another seeming parallel with Perugia.

When the police first confronted him, Van Der Sloot seemed eager to talk and to tell a version of the violent murder of Stephany Flores in which he was involved. Presumably to get a few breaks as the prisons in Peru sound like they are no party.

Van Der Sloot now seems to be trying hard to re-bottle that particular genie.

His own line here is that the confession he gave was on bad advice from his first lawyer, Ms Luz Romero Chinchay. He now has his current lawyer, Maximo Altez, suing her for “misrepresentation”.

However, a Lima Peru judge ruled several weeks ago that the confession itself was perfectly valid. And it looks like he will be facing some horrific new charges as well. 

For sex trafficking. The kidnapping and enslaving of women for sex. What he might have been trying to do with poor Natalie Holloway, who vanished while on vacation in Aruba.

It seems Van Der Sloot is sitting on some money but apparently not what he thinks he is worth. And (surprise, surprise) Van Der Sloot’s mom refuses to visit him in jail.

Posted on 07/21/10 at 10:27 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

The Charging Of The Stephany Flores Murder Suspect In Lima Peru This Morning

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/11/10 at 05:35 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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The Lima + Aruba Murder Suspect Appears To Be Frantically Dealing: A Lesson For AK And RS?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Not surprising considering the thought of this.

That would grab any half-smart perp’s attention. Smart of the Lima authorities to make that hellish future quite plain.

Dealing is the only way Van Der Sloot can go now, several of our lawyer posters believe. His latest defense lawyer was talking of trying to have his confession to Stephany’s murder revoked, apparently on the grounds that his first lawyer (from Peruvian legal aid) was not a “real lawyer” whatever that means.

Perhaps he is not thinking things through.

Rudy Guede clearly dealt with the system too. He gave away a few things, but not very much (less than we would have liked) but still, he did end up facing only 16 years.

There is a rumor (just a rumor at the moment) out of Italy that Sollecito might - might - be separating himself out. He just might have offered to talk, and to do some sort of a deal.

Our lawyers suspect that Della Vedova and Ghirga might have wanted to try to deal for Amanda Knox too - maybe a psychological or hard-drugs based defense.

But that the hard-liners on the Knox bandwagon in Seattle and elsewhere (Preston, Ciolino, Anne Bremner, Michael Heavey, John Q Kelly, and so on) seem to have duped the Knoxes and Mellases into thinking that an innocence outcome was a very high probability with a hard-line PR campaign and defense.

And now look at where Amanda Knox stands. Not at all pretty. 

In our lawyers’ views, what is the worst move of all moves that the Knox bandwagon drivers and the AK groupies have made?

Arguing that this was simply a lone-wolf attack, and probably only by a seemingly very very very nimble Rudy Guede.

A lone-wolf- attack was totally ruled out over a year ago by Judge Micheli.

He based that on (1) the evidence from Meredith’s autopsy which showed 100% that two or three had to have been involved, (2) the overwhelming signs of a clean-up and the moving of Meredith’s body - several hours after the attack, (3) the various witness statements, and (4) the total meltdown of AK’s and RS’s various alibis.

And the AK + RS sentencing report due out soon on PMF and TJMK in English will be absolutely the kiss of death to any serious defense based on the lone-wolf scenarios (such as they are).

There is not the slightest possibility that Meredith was attacked by just one perp - with TWO knives - while being sexually attacked - while attracting all of THOSE wounds to her body - and not revealing ANY signs of being able to fight back.

Frankly, if the lone-wolf theory is the Knox campaign’s last best shot,  Amanda Knox is well and truly cooked.  She might still achieve a shorter sentence, some final peace of mind for Meredith’s family and friends, and some self-respect for herself through the rest of her life.

But she does need to deal.

Posted on 06/11/10 at 01:11 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Knox, Anthony, and Van Der Sloot: Why Some Murder Suspects Revel In Their Sudden Prominence

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click here for Barbie Nadeau’s report on bizarre murder suspect mindsets in Newsweek.

Quite typical of charming psychopaths.

Today Barbie Nadeau starts with the Dutch murder suspect Joran Van der Sloot, possible killer of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez, whose capture in Chile and extradition to Peru (video above) has been on every US newscast.

He has previously been shown on TV in an interview secretly filmed (video below) in which he gleefully pretty well admits that he killed American student Natalee Holloway in Aruba, a Caribbean island that is an integral part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.

Now, as such smug suspects often do, he seems to have killed again.

In this case, as in the case of Casey Anthony, who is charged with killing her baby daughter Caylee, there has been no murder suspect’s PR campaign, no adolescent sliming of the prosecutors, and no adolescent mis-stating of the evidence. The true victim is the one getting all the sympathy.

The far more typical stance of the US media in such cases.

Certainly no one is more famous as an irreverent celebrity suspect than Seattle native Amanda Knox, who is serving a 26-year sentence for the sexual assault and murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.

In the early days of the Kercher murder investigation, Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, acted absurdly. Knox, with no apparent grasp of the seriousness of a murder investigation, performed cartwheels for the cops in the police station waiting room.

The two suspects admitted to being high before talking to police, as Sollecito said, “to take the edge off.” They told investigators multiple stories and lies, including Knox’s naming her Congolese nightclub boss as the real assassin.

For added flavor, she even described Kercher’s screams to investigators. During her 11-month trial, she behaved like a beauty queen on the runway, making what jurors later called a mockery of the court by her blatant disrespect of the Italian legal system.

In the final days of her trial, when things were looking grim, she started to act demure. By then it was too late.

Dupes like Oprah and Geraldo Rivera and certain others should wake up to the true danger of charming psychopaths. They do tend to kill again. And also wake up to the one true victim in Perugia, whose name was Meredith Kercher.

By the way, in a bizarre parallel, it now seems that Joran Van Der Sloot is setting out to further entangle his mother.

Posted on 06/06/10 at 01:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Chilling Killing Propensities Of Sollecito’s Various Knives

Posted by SomeAlibi

[click for larger image]

The few rather puerile websites trying to make the case that Knox and Sollecito were framed all have this one thing in common.

They are all of them a mile or more wide on the facts of the evidence - but only a millimeter or so deep.

Time and again on some point of evidence TJMK and PMF have gone far, far deeper than they have - and from then on, on that particular point, deafening silence is quite usual. Here is one very good example, on TJMK, highly incriminating in itself, and highly suggestive of when and how Edda Mellas first realised her daughter was guilty.

On that point of hard evidence, almost enough to incriminate Amanda all by itself, there has never been any real comeback. The PR campaign’s Wizard of Oz moves on. 

Now we advance another in-depth analysis. This time it focuses on the really deadly nature of Sollecito’s various knives, and we’ll await the comeback if any with interest.

In effect, the deniers’ argument made is that Sollecito is not a collector or an aficionado, just a young man who might need to cut an apple with a pocket-knife. And he’s certainly not a hardcore knife collector, collecting fantasy-wish-list knives.

Carrying a pocket-knife above a certain size in public is illegal in Italy. But ignoring that technicality for a minute, let’s examine the knives of Raffaele Sollecito which were impounded during his arrest. Three knives, moving up in degrees of interest, not counting the very large knife prosecution witnesses identified as the murder weapon.

Knife Three

Take a look at the image up the top here. This knife actually hung above Sollecito’s bed.

It is a replica combat knife. The heavy t-bar protection is designed to protect the hand of the knife-user from slipping onto the blade when being used to stab another person, as well as to protect the user against another blade.

Blood grooves exist for only one purpose - as they imply, they are there for when one stabs someone deeply with the knife: they allow the blood to run out down the grooves. This breaks the seal and suction of the enclosing wound around the blade which makes the knife far easier to withdraw

That knife is specifically designed for stabbing people as well as cutting sentries’ throats etc. The female arm in the picture is Amanda’s by the way (you can find the zoomed-out version showing all of Amanda in the PMF gallery), as it was taken when she was being shown the knife in court.

She must have recognized it, of course, since it was from Raffaele’s bedroom, and would have been a rather noticeable discussion piece within view whenever Knox was in the room or laying on the bed.

Many teenagers and young adults put the objects of their highest interest and infatuation, from bands to film-stars, on their walls. Raffaele chose to put a knife designed for killing people on his wall.

It would be a lurking and incongruous presence on a small student-sized bedroom wall in the minds of the vast majority of people. The question of Raffaele’s degree of attraction to knives such that he actively chose to mount a replica combat knife on his bedroom wall doesn’t appear to need much further discussion.

And yet, it’s actually only less than a third of the equation as it was only a replica. Now let’s turn to two real knives - his so-proclaimed pocket knives - which Raffaele confirmed in his own words that he carried on him every day for years, and which tell a more subtle and deeper story.

First, consider what is the meaning of a pocket knife to you.

The phrase ‘pocket knife’ has been translated from the Italian from the transcripts / press coverage. For many, including myself, this will have conjured a mental image of a Swiss Army type knife or a simple blade and indeed this is the prevalent definition of a conventional pocket knife.

Let’s actually have a look at Raffaele’s “pocket knives” courtesy of pictures posted by poster Jools on PMF. These knives were impounded, one from the apartment and one, unbelievably, from Raffaele’s person at the Questura.

In the case of the latter, even Raffaele saw this as a devastating “own-goal” as we can read from his diary entry of 7 November 2007; “I’m not even able to offer guilt, given my deep fu**ing stupidity for the fact that I smoke cannabis I even forget what I have eaten and also for that I carry behind a knife to nock the tables and the trees and I carry it so often that I brought it also to the police headquarters.”

Knife Two

[click for larger image]

This is a 2.9 inch blade drop point, near spear point knife. At first glance (apart from the mark on the clip which should be ignored and was benign), the deniers camp might say “Well, look at it - it’s just a pocket knife even if it looks a bit sharp and so on – look, it’s even got a cute clip for the pocket, like on a pen.”

Let’s start there. The clip is actually a reversible one – it can be taken off and re-screwed to the knife to the user’s side / orientation of preference. This is already a proper knife rather than a cheap shop pick-up.

More obviously, the half-serrated edge to the blade for cutting is an active design (and purchase) feature.

Third, the ‘grind’ on the top the blade shows an aesthetic sensibility to the design but also serves a functional purpose for a cutting or stabbing use in terms of reducing friction.

Fourth, the serrations or (quite aggressive) ‘jimping’ on the top of the handle, just behind the blade are there to provide thumb grip.

Quite a lot of design features on this knife for a casual “pocket knife” one might think.

Which leaves us with the odd bar code thing at the top edge of the blade and the indistinct logo on the blade. Let’s see what that logo is with a little enhancing;

[click for larger image]

‘Brian Tighe Design’. Brian Tighe?? Google sets us straight on who he is.

“You’d need a calculator to count the number of custom knife-makers who have jumped into the tactical fray over the past five years. You can tally the cream of the crop on two hands, being sure to earmark one of those digits for knifemaker Brian Tighe. In a matter of just a couple of years Tighe (pronounced “Tie”) has risen from the rank and file of edged weapons artisans to the rarefied air of the top 10 elite.”

A look at Tighe’s site shows that his own company’s knives sell for 500 dollars and up. He is a globally feted knife designer whose wait list for his knives was as high as seven years at one point.

So the design of the knife here is actually that of a noted master knife maker. Almost something one might collect, one might say. As loaded as Papa Doc Sollecito is, did Raffaele really spend over 500 dollars on such a knife?

Well no, actually, he didnt need to. This is a Columbia River Knife & Tool produced 811x series knife bearing Brian Tighe’s name. CRKT are a dedicated knife company who specialise in working with the world’s leading knife designers and producing the knives for a bigger market but still as proper aficionado pieces.

At this level of knife, there are extensive magazine, web and ‘user’ reviews. Knives like this are tested for resilience and sharpness including things like edge-on paper-cut tests where paper is cut through just like a razor from the side of a piece of paper held by one hand.

Such a knife is able to catch the edge of the paper and then slice straight through the width of the paper side-on without any tension in the paper. That’s what a knife like this is capable of. A “pocket knife” to me sounds like something picked up for 10 or 20 euro. The current model that replaced Raffaele’s now out-of-series model sells for about $80 at retail. Here’s the actual 2004 model that Raffaele had i.e. the same as the one above;

[click for larger image]

Worth looking at that for a second or two… Oh the bar code? It’s not a bar code, it a rectangular thumb stud you flick the knife open with. When you do, the knife goes to a locked position unlike many “pocket-knives”. In English speaking knife circles, these knives are not generally referred to as pocket-knives but are called “Tactical Knives” which are a cross-over of usage knives for outdoors / cutting etc but also for personal “protection”.

So, in addition to the wall-mounted replica combat knife, one of Raffaele’s daily carries (see diary / testimony) was a designer thumb-flicked locking tactical knife with jimping, top blade grind, switchable clip and a razor sharp edge costing about 80 bucks. That you can only carry in your pocket. Illegally. Some apple-cutter.

Let’s take a look now at the most worrying knife of all…

Knife One

At first glimpse, this “pocket knife” looks quite martial arts like, given the hole and the weird top edge of the blade and the spider logo.

[click for larger image]

The logo marks this as a Spyderco knife – a large premium knife manufacturer of tactical and many other types of knives. This particular model is a Delica4 Emerson Opener retailing for about $109.95rrp. Of particular note about this knife is the hole and the top edge. The hole, a Spyderco feature, allows a thumb to flick the blade open very quickly. This knife is about speed.

But actually the thumb hole is not the real speed feature – that is reserved for the top edge curl.

This is a truly specialist feature known as an Emerson Opener or “wave”. The idea is that the curl in metal catches on the edge of a pocket edge on drawing the knife and opens it immediately (see videos below).

This is a speciality feature licensed from Emerson knives – Emerson being another feted ‘name’ knife designer. The wave is only present on two of Spyderco’s 330 knives listed on their website – the Delica and the ¾ inch larger sister knife the Endura (“the best self defence knife in the world” according to one enthusiastic teenager on youtube). That’s how specialist it is.

The job of the wave feature is to provide the fastest opening knife in the world bar none – faster than a flick or spring knife in fact. This video (many similar to be found) gives a rather disturbing insight into what the real attraction of owning this knife is to a hardcore knife knut like Raffaele; (remember when you watch this for the first time that the knife is closed inside that pocket and also enable the sound on the embedded player below by clicking off the mute)

If I thought my son had a penknife, but then actually saw him with this, we would be having a very long chat..

“Enough!” the deniers say?! “You’ve still got it in for Raffaele haven’t you?” they say?! Despite the replica combat knife on the bedroom wall, the designer Brian Tighe Design CRKT drop-point and the Spyderco Delica4 with wave design)?  “You’ve used prejudicial phrases like “hardcore knife knut” haven’t you?” they say?!

Sorry, but don’t look at me. They’re not my words.

They’re the words of Spyderco itself on its own webpage. See here and below. 

[click for larger image]

Raffaele was out to impress Amanda and by his own admission both obsessive about her and a hardcore stoner. He also thought knives - proper knives with exclusive features by name knife designers not pocket knives were fascinating.

Let me show you someone else who thinks this is how you impress with a Delica4 Wave

As with all of this case and any case, you REALLY need to look at the detailed evidence.

The overwhelming prevalence of skin-deep level of analysis / downplaying of this case by much of the deniers camp will lend and always has lent itself to people dismissing serious evidence as inconsequential based on their lack of understanding of what actually is in question.

The “mere pocket-knife” impression of Raffaele’s interest in knives is a clear case in hand. Raffaele’s father testified in court that his son carried a pen-knife. Some pen-knives or pocket-knives these really were…

As always with this case, when you take the time to look at the real detail, the reality you find is something far more disturbing…..

Posted on 05/25/10 at 09:14 AM by SomeAlibi. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPublic evidenceThe two knivesOther physicalCrime hypothesesThe psychologyRaff Sollecito
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Monday, May 03, 2010

From The Book Darkness Descending: The Insights On Knox And Sollecito

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is Hamburg above. And that is Berlin and its parliament (the Bundestag) below. 

Amanda Knox speaks German and she spent several months in these two cities, staying for some weeks in in Hamburg with her relatives, and several days in Berlin, before moving to Perugia to start her study period there.

Darkness Descending is the book on Meredith’s case by two British writers from which we excerpted on Meredith a few days ago.

As far as we know the writers did not visit Seattle, and their focus is more generally on Italy and to some extent the UK. But they did offer this brief take on Amanda Knox, and also one on Raffaele Sollecito.


From Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson (Pocket Books) pages 291 and 292

Meredith had enjoyed making the pop video with her University of Leeds friends, but Amanda’s summer job, before travelling around Europe and going to Perugia, had not been so successful.

A politically well-connected uncle in Hamburg had got her an internship to die for - a job working for a German MP at the Bundestag. Kindly Uncle Uwe also set Amanda up with a flat on the .outskirts of Berlin.

Astonishingly, two days later, his seemingly ungrateful niece walked out on the job without telling anyone, moaning that she had nothing to do and she wasn’t sure if she was getting paid. Again, money was a big feature in her thoughts.

She’d spent most of the time reading Harry Potter and showed no curiosity about how the parliament or the high-powered people in there worked. She ignored conversations about its history and architecture.

After walking out, she spent her time drinking wine in the local bars and reading more Harry Potter.

Two days later she left Berlin for Hamburg, where her uncle was waiting for her. He was furious - she had let him down.

It seems Amanda craved excitement on her terms, usually based on getting drunk and goofing around.

Her friends said she simply feared boredom like any young girl. She showed a healthy streak of youthful carelessness, they said, no worse or better than anyone else. A video posted on YouTube showed her drunkenly giggling in a friend’s kitchen after downing shots.

On campus, back in the US, Amanda had been fined for being drunk and disorderly at a party held in a fellow student’s house. During the incident she had also insulted the police.

However, her defenders gave another version, portraying a magnanimous Amanda. They said that in fact she was courageously fronting up for her underage friends, who were in no state to talk to the police; she was the only one sober enough to handle the situation.

A big plus in her character assessment, they said, possibly displaying a sense of chivalry that would later get her into deeper trouble in Perugia.

Despite her college party lifestyle, there was no denying that Amanda was clever and that she could compartmentalize her life.

She made the Dean’s List, an elite commendation of the University of Washington reserved for the institution’s brightest students, and an honour that would ultimately qualify her for a prestigious and sought-after place on the study-abroad exchange programme.

If Amanda wanted something, she would go all out to get it, no messing around.

Raffaele Sollecito’s later years were quite different: he seemed to laze around and evade responsibility.

He posted pictures of himself on the internet wrapped in blood-covered bandages, brandishing a meat cleaver, and wrote a weird story to go with the images. In a blog he expressed satisfaction at once being lodged in the same hostel as the infamous ‘Monster of Foligno’, a murderer who slaughtered two youths in the 1990s.

And yet his new-found fascination with gory horror and violent comics would have surprised the friends he left behind at Licea Scientifico Einstein secondary school at Molfetta.

They said Raffaele suffered from excessive softness - his kickboxing instructor recalled that he even hesitated when kicking out, for fear of hurting the hardened expert.


A few interesting insights there, though we could use more on Sollecito.  For most of it, this is a pretty good book, the weak part being the closing analysis of the evidence. Two small corrections.

  • The house where the notorious rock-throwing party took place was where Knox herself was living at the time. See here.

  • Knox was not on an official University of Washington study-abroad program, as the university has rather anxiously tried to make plain. See here.

If Knox had indeed been on a proper study-abroad program - something many caring parents actually insist upon - her behavior might have been more restrained. She may not have moved in with Sollecito for one thing.

She may not have hit the drugs so hard. And she would not have run so desperately short of money, just when Patrick was apparently about to hire Meredith to replace her. No monthly checks were arriving from Seattle. 

Maybe the second correction is not such a small one.

In fact, it is a pity that no writers have really explored all of this - there is, if anything, a surfeit of motives in this case, and the writers might be able to narrow them down.

Although he went to highschool in Molfetta (bottom shot here) and the book is correct on that, Raffaele Sollecito actually comes from Giovinazzo which is ten minutes drive south along the coast.

Both are north of Bari, where his father practices medicine.   

Posted on 05/03/10 at 05:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPublic evidenceThe timelinesCrime hypothesesThe psychologyReporting on the caseV good reportingAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Driving Psychology In The Perugia Case: Could Those Just Convicted Be “Charming Psychopaths”?

Posted by Miss Represented

Those not yet familiar with the “charming psychopath” concept may be in for a surprise when they google the term.

It has been quite thoroughly explored in the past decade, in part with the hope of preventing future crimes. Many thousands of relatives and friends of both victims and perpetrators have had their lives upended when one or other charming psychopath - probably part of a large pool - sheds any constraints and a cool callous murder results. 

The “charming” component leads easily to denial. There is quite a history of campaigns that set out to deny that any particular such murderer could actually have done it.

They simply seemed far too nice. 

A widely read article by Robert D Hare on charming psychopaths in Psychology Today presented a precise description of the symptoms that should hint to the perceptive eye that something might be seriously wrong.

These are two highly-rated book-length treatments of the charming psychopath concept which have recently been selling well

Psychologists well qualified in this field have now begun to float articles on the concept as it may apply to Raffaelle Sollecito and Amanda Knox and some books will presumably follow.

Here is an article “Signs that suggest Amanda Knox is a psychopath” by a highly experienced American psychotherapist, Dr Coline Covington, who now practices in England.

She was the former Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology as well as the former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council and she has also worked for the London police.  In the article she describes Amanda’s behaviour in court:

Knox’s narcissistic pleasure at catching the eye of the media and her apparent nonchalant attitude during most of the proceedings show the signs of a psychopathic personality. Her behaviour is hauntingly reminiscent of Eichmann’s arrogance during his trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961 and most recently of Karadzic’s preening before the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

The psychopath is someone who has no concern or empathy for others, no awareness of right and wrong, and who takes extreme pleasure in having power over others. The psychopath has no moral conscience and therefore does not experience guilt or remorse.

Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them.

The psychopath is the conman, or in the case of Amanda Knox, the con-woman par excellence. Her nickname ‘Foxy Knoxy’, given to her as a young girl for her skills at football, takes on a new meaning.

Whether or not Knox, who is appealing her verdict, is ultimately found guilty, her chilling performance remains an indictment against her. Her family’s disbelief in the outcome of the trial can only be double-edged.

This is not the only time a suggestion has been made that Amanda has displayed behaviour which is often associated with psychopathy. It is a view that I myself have supported in the past.

And similar arguments have just been made by Professor David Wilson and Professor David Canter.  Rather lurid headlines, but their science is sound.

On my companion website to TJMK on the psychological dimensions of the case, Miss Represented, there is some interesting discussion in the Comments on the arguments for charming psychopathia now being presented.

These articles are probably only the tip of the iceberg as more psychoanalysts get drawn to this case.

Posted on 12/31/09 at 08:59 AM by Miss Represented. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Smoking-gun postsOfficially involvedCrime hypothesesThe psychologyPondering motiveTrials 2008 & 2009
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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Summations: Patrick Lumumba’s Lawyer Describes Defamation By Knox As Ruthless

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click here for Nick Pisa’s noon report from the courtroom. Some excerpts:

Today the lawyer acting for bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who Knox blamed for the murder, was harsh in his judgement of the American student.

Lawyer Carlo Pacelli described Knox as a ‘talented and calculated liar, who had deliberately gone out of her way to frame Patrick.’

Mr Pacelli recalled how Knox had told police she ‘covered her ears as Patrick murdered Meredith. This was all a lie, his destiny at that moment was marked.

‘It was a ruthless defamation that destroyed Patrick as a man, husband and father. By naming him she hoodwinked the officer in charge of the murder investigation.’

Mr Lumumba was held for two weeks in custody before being released without charge after witnesses came forward to say he was at his Le Chic bar the night Meredith was murdered.

Mr Pacelli added: ‘Who is the real Amanda Knox ? Is it the one we see before us her, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti (a teenager made a saint by the Catholic Church after she was murdered by an attempted rapist)?

‘Or is she really a she devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline -is this the Amanda Knox of November 1st 2007 (night Meredith was murdered).’

As he spoke, Knox could be seen writing notes to herself on the pad before her.

‘Conclusions drawn before knowing anything,’ she wrote, before adding: ‘In prison you don’t become a better person you become worse unless you have a inner light that guides you.’

Posted on 11/27/09 at 09:30 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedPublic evidenceThe witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009Meredith-case hoaxesFamily/defense hoaxersThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Americans Pretending To Be Italians?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

What this blogger encountered, among other things, in an obviously very happy few days in Rome.

We’ve heard that one before, by the way. Quite often. Visiting foreigners envying the Italians for their looks, their fire, and (now and then!) their real class.

And they can be so funny. And so caring.

Images here are of some of the amazing fountains of Rome.

Posted on 08/11/09 at 12:05 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextThe psychology
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Defendant Testifies: Is This A Prosecutor’s Dream Come True?

Posted by Arnold_Layne

[click for larger image]

To my knowledge, in the past when Amanda has spoken on her own behalf she was not challenged by the prosecution.  Friday will be different.  On Friday, she will be asked to reconcile discrepancies in her statements.  She will not be a sworn-in witness so it is not clear which lines of questioning will be allowed but the prosecutor will certainly try to impeach her.  If she is a psychopath, things could get knarly.

You’ve all seen it many times on crime shows.  On cross examination, the witness offers some testimony, for example, the fact that she has never been married.  The lawyer then asks to offer into evidence a marriage certificate.  Reducing the credibility of a witness in this fashion is known as impeaching the witness.  There are special rules that apply which allow the attorney to ask questions not normally allowed.  To discredit a claim made by the witness, the prosecutor could, for example, enter new evidence not presented previously during the prosecution phase of the trial.  The jury is then instructed to use the evidence only as it reduces the credibility of the witness but to ignore it when otherwise considering the guilt or innocence.  That’s expecting a lot.

One characteristic of a psychopath is the ability to lie with facility.  This does not mean the ability to spin a yarn or to make up a good story.  Most of us can do this.  It also doesn’t mean that the lie is particularly bad (a boldface lie).  When asked a question when the truth is not going to yield a desirable outcome, most of us will pause a little, maybe lift our eyes upward, as we weigh the consequences of the lie.  Someone who can lie with facility speaks the lie as fast as they would the truth and with the same conviction.

The problem, of course, is that without the pause there is no weighing of the implications of the lie.  There is little checking for consistency.  In social situations this can easily be maneuvered around by saying something along the lines of, “Aw, I was just jokin’”.  Guede adjusted his story to meet the facts as they emerged.  Amanda now also knows the evidence against her and she’s had plenty of time to create a story to match it.  She will be on stable ground here as the Judge and jury weigh her statements against those put forth by the prosecution.  This is a good reason to only have one of the two defendants testify.  They can’t trip each other up.

Cross, on the other hand, is going to be a minefield for her.  Not only will the prosecution point out discrepancies but they will challenge her on them and she will be under pressure to correct them.  She will be up against a trial lawyer’s strong suit.  Mignini will be trying to impeach her.  If she steps on one of his mines, she will probably step on many – and he’ll be laying even more as she speaks.

Other incendiaries include her basking in the attention and notoriety she is getting.  Additionally, she is a creative writer.  Who can say what this might lead her to say if she strays from the straight and narrow.

I give her credit for doing this but I certainly don’t envy her.  I can’t say that I have ever done anything tougher myself.  I wouldn’t eat for two days, just as a precautionary measure. Btw “can you smoke on the witness stand?” I’d bring a carton, of Luckies.

Posted on 06/12/09 at 01:26 PM by Arnold_Layne. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009The psychologyPondering motiveAmanda Knox
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Miss Represented Compares Behavioral Evidence With What’s In The Textbooks

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for a further post in her excellent psychological series.

This particular branch of psychology never makes for pleasant reading, yet some of the issues covered in books, journals and articles over the last 30 years have made a huge impact on our understanding of violent sexual homicides and the sorts of people that commit them.

Group theory has also expanded our knowledge of the terrible things that people can be driven to do for the sake of not losing face or perhaps due to the strange phenomenon that is diffusion of responsibility.

Posted on 05/25/09 at 07:03 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychology
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